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Will he do it?

Brian Taylor | 11:57 UK time, Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Would he do it? Gordon Brown, that is.

Would he dump his Chancellor and fellow Scot, Alistair Darling?

Given the presently febrile state of politics at Westminster, the answer must be: if that's what it takes.

The relationship between Prime Minister and Chancellor is at the very core of UK politics.

Normally, a PM is exceptionally reluctant to abandon his Downing Street neighbour.

Sends negative global signals. Spooks the market, apparently.

Me, I think we could do with marketeers who are capable of taking a somewhat longer view of events - but no matter. Quivering markets must not be upset.

Adverse publicity

In any case, these are far from normal times.

Mr Brown may be forced to conclude that the only way of attempting - repeat, attempting - to counter the tide of adverse publicity is to offer a highly significant grey-haired, dark eye-browed scalp.

At the very least, it's not looking good for the MP for Edinburgh South West.

The custodian of the UK's finances has had to repay over-claimed expenses in order "to avoid ambiguity".

It follows the disclosure that he had repeatedly "flipped" his second home designation in claiming cash at Westminster.

Not good at all. Invited to comment by the BBC, Mr Darling said: "It's up to the prime minister. He's got to decide the team he wants to be the next government."

Was there just a note of resignation - in both senses of the word - in that answer?

And of course there's more. We learn now that Jim Devine, the Labour MP for Livingston, has been referred to the party's special panel in order to determine whether he should continue to be a Westminster candidate in future.

Not good at all.

PS: Welcome your comments as ever. Would remind you, gently, that it is one of the house rules that responses should not stray from the particular topic on offer.

This is designed to ensure that, in the interests of all readers, there can be focused, substantive debate.

Over a prolonged period, it means that the broadest possible range of topics can be aired.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:18pm on 02 Jun 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    Brian,

    I think this is in fact VERY GOOD, that the rot is at last being exposed.

    GB should also be making an exit, as it was under his watch that the ecomony got into the state that it is currently in, with no saving for a rainy day.

    Obviously this has been going on for a very long time, and probably since Westminster was created.

    Time for radical change, not just talk.

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  • 2. At 12:23pm on 02 Jun 2009, MathCampbell wrote:

    Oh dear oh dear...
    Things aren't looking too rosy for the downing street duo, are they?
    Mind you, I think we may be seeing the fall of Rome here.....

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  • 3. At 12:26pm on 02 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    Should Darling go over his expenses? Probably not, his infringements were minor.

    Will he go? Will Brown want to get rid of the impression that the Government is run by a Scottish cabal? Will he want an utter loyalist like Ed Balls as Chancellor? Is he getting rid of any dissenting voices in his cabinet? Probably yes to all, so Darling is likely to go

    A mistake I'd say as Darling has a lot of experience as a politician and Brown needs to consult with his senior colleagues. He won't though.

    Anyway, who cares? Brown's govt is a dead duck, the public has absolutely no faith in it. A good reputation is hard to gain and much harder to regain. He has neither the time or the political skills to build his reputation up. Blair had many faults, but he did have a natural ability to assess and respond to the public mood. Brown demonstatedly doesn't

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  • 4. At 12:26pm on 02 Jun 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    Maybe it is time for Brown to consider his position as well. It may not be good for the economy, or internal interstate politics, but the voters are screaming for a General Election. This is the only way that we can get rid of the snouts in the troughs MPs. I know that Gordon is going to hold on for as long as possible and, possibly, sacrifice all and sundry to retain his grasp on Government. It must be difficult for him to hang on by his fingernails and bite them at the same time. The people want an election.

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  • 5. At 12:28pm on 02 Jun 2009, HudmaToungue wrote:

    Thanks for today's blog Brian - Think you, like AD answered it for yourself!

    He is gone - But not alot spring to mind as to who will replace him!

    Rats & Sinking Ships spring to mind!

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  • 6. At 12:38pm on 02 Jun 2009, Colkitto wrote:

    I'm sure Darling will be well compensated with a very large pension.

    The problem is, no one has actually been sacked from Parliament !

    It's all very well saying they will stand down either from Ministerial posts or at the next election, but, these MPs' will still be well looked after financially by us the Tax payer for many years to come.

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  • 7. At 12:38pm on 02 Jun 2009, snptacticalvoter wrote:

    Agreed, Darling has to go but only with some regret.

    His latest crime, the £700 oversight does seem like a genuine oversight (a man that's had to solve the UK's economy would deserve move consternation if he hadn't missed a few domestic bills and expenses here and there). It's something of a shame that this is what may finish his political career.

    But his budget performances have been poor, chiefly the predictions for when we'll come out of recession, and of course all that flipping looks pretty bad.

    So I agree with Brian "not good at all". Not convinced Balls will do a better job though and that, after all, should be the main concern.


    http://snptacticalvoting.blogspot.com/2009/06/darlings-rather-limp-killer-blow.html

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  • 8. At 12:40pm on 02 Jun 2009, wilddog wrote:

    All MPs who say they will not stand again should go now,lets have by-elections so we the public can have our say,don't let them hang on to get the big pay off.If they don't go lets have a general election now.

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  • 9. At 12:50pm on 02 Jun 2009, oldmack wrote:

    A prediction!
    Come Sunday night around 9 oclock Downing Street will be very busy, by Monday at mid-day we shall have a new cabinet. By the time the second Thursday 8th October we will have a general election, the morning Friday the 9th will produce a hung parliament, full of people wandering around lost with no answers and no one going to the palace.
    The media running around publishing more rubbish and hanging on to every word and syllable uttered by the New Great and the Good who still are trying to find excuses and lies just like to-day.

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  • 10. At 12:50pm on 02 Jun 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    Brown should appoint Darling as Deputy Prime Minister, and announce that he himself will (in addition to continuing as Prime Minister) return to the responsibility of Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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  • 11. At 12:53pm on 02 Jun 2009, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    "Will he do it?"

    Brown would dump (on) his fellow Scot at the drop of a hat - but his Darling?

    That would be a different matter!

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  • 12. At 1:03pm on 02 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    "Would he dump his Chancellor and fellow Scot, Alistair Darling?"

    Having now watched Sunday's Andrew Marr interview and seen Duff Gordon in his current "I'll finish saving the world single-handedly before I let any of you have your say at the ballot box" mode, I'd say the question should be: "Who wouldn't he dump if he thought it would help him cling to power?". To which the answer would be nobody.

    The moral compass seems to be stuck directly above magnetic North and spinning out of control.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 13. At 1:03pm on 02 Jun 2009, Zootmac wrote:

    Even a superficial analysis of the "expenses" of Ed Balls and the missus reveals that their collective pocket-lining puts Darling's bawbees in the shade. The Balls and Cooper efforts to hide behind legal sanctions to prevent being outed will eventually come to nothing. So where, exactly, lies the advantage of making that particular change?

    Is the idea that Balls has the Mandelson PR gloss, and that he will eventually be able to talk us all into cosy submission?

    Despite appearances to the contrary, it hasn't actually worked with Mandelson. We know what he is.

    Then again, what IS he? He's now a "Lord", and a multi-millionaire, and one of the most influential people in Britain; we can't do anything about it.

    Maybe the Balls strategy WILL work.

    What awful people.

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  • 14. At 1:08pm on 02 Jun 2009, minceandmealie wrote:

    Jim Devine, according to published reports in the Daily Telegraph, was involved in a scam with fellow central Scotland Labour MP Michael Connarty whereby one bought and then sold the other four thousand pounds worth of furniture and both claimed expenses for the full four thousand. Jim Devine also claimed for more than two thousand pounds worth of electrical work, submitting an invoice from a fake company with a fake address and false VAT number; when queried about this Mr Devine claimed he met the guy in a pub,paid him in cash and had the invoice pushed under his door. That's what he said, really, a Member of Parliament. Devine also claimed more than two thousand pounds for bookshelves for his office; the invoicing contractor was subsequently revealed by the Sunday Herald to be an arthritic publican in Livingston with no joinery business. The Sunday Herald also reported that no bookshelves were visible in Mr Devine's office.

    Investigating this series of reports should not be left to Mr Devine's political party. The words 'Semper Vigilo' spring to mind.

    And there will be more of this to come from various long-serving central Scotland MPs, I am sure...

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  • 15. At 1:08pm on 02 Jun 2009, Blind_Captain wrote:

    Golly, another piece of reasonably balanced journalism. Brian, look to your legacy and keep this up, please. It's very healthy.

    I still think we should be doing a bit of DIY education of our fellow Scots (see my previous suggestion on Brian's previous posting). Every little helps (to borrow a familar phrase).

    But isn't this all very embarrasing for politics in general. The UK must be the laughing stock of the world; it's like a live action version of that old gem Spitting Image. How will this be viewed by history? And Brian, how will the journalistic coverage be viewed? Something rather big and important is gathering momentum in Scottish and UK politics and you, along with your colleagues will be talking points in the future. Keep up the balance, please.

    On another note; the reluctance of MPs to resign. Considering that they are mostly "New Age" career politians, you can understand their reluctance to go. It's not as if Blears and co have a wealth of experience in the real world to fall back on. Can you imagine one of them calling their old boss at Tesco's and asking for their old job back on the tills or even Brown falling back on his sparkie's ticket?

    Ha ha!

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  • 16. At 1:11pm on 02 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    At last, an acknowledgement that Scottish Labour MP's are behaving in a less than appropriate manner at Westminster.

    What brought this change of heart about? Well in Darling's case it is due to the exposure given to the story South of the border.

    The Devine case has only been reported after his second questionable invoice for the shelves and after Labour decided to investigate. In other words the BBC in Scotland refused to mention this story until Labour had officially acknowledged it.

    So here's the questions:
    Why, when the 'non existant firm' claim was exposed around ten days ago, did the BBC in Scotland not cover it until now?

    Why, when it was then compounded on Sunday by the 'non existant shelves' revelation did neither the BBC nor Brian Taylor still make no mention of Devine on Monday?

    The suspicion is that the BBC in Scotland simply weren't allowed to run with this story. That they were already playing their part in the forthcoming 'Get MacAskill' campaign and to have broadcasted the Jim Devine revelations would have scuppered this particular plan.

    Even on Sunday, when further embarrassing revelations about Devine bacame public, the BBC still refused to broadcast the story. Remember that a live debate between MacAskill and Gray was to be broadcast and again, the Devine story would have dramatically reduced the impact of such a debate.

    So, the MacAskill story has run it's course and served it's purpose, Labour now decide to act on the Devine revelations and hey presto a 'Labour investigate Devine' story appears.

    Note the way the story is being presented, not from the point of the questionable nature of the claims but it instead focusses on Labour's investigation.

    "We learn now that Jim Devine, the Labour MP for Livingston, has been referred to the party's special panel" writes Brian. Yes, but why make no mention of this man's original claim when you learned about it ten days ago?

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  • 17. At 1:14pm on 02 Jun 2009, dthalliday wrote:

    I agree with previous posters, Darling's "crimes", along with many other MPs of all parties, appear to be nothing of the sort. He forgot to reclaim part of a service charge which was paid in advance, and he changed his designated second home when that was appropriate based on his changing circumstances. The use of the word "flipping" by supposedly reputable news media is as inappropriate as the use of the word "u-turn" when somebody changes their mind. Both actions can be entirely justifiable but you would never think so by the judgemental shorthand employed by a lazy media.

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  • 18. At 1:17pm on 02 Jun 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    NO POINT REPLACING HIM!!! Who can he replace him with. So far I believe only 2, yes thats TWO MPS out of 6-700 can stand with their heads held high, with completely unquestionable claims for god sake man!

    Thats J Smith anouncing she's standing down, wonder how much that's going to cost us?!

    And what's with all this standing down p**H any way, as if its some kinda great scaraficial self punishment, why the hell are they not being dismissed on the spot for gross misconduct? which is the treatment I'd expect and bl**dy well get, followed by the polis chapin on my door with a warrant!

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  • 19. At 1:25pm on 02 Jun 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    How THICK is Gordon Brown?

    Politics is, for good or ill, dominated by the results of elections.

    We are led to believe that the Great Leader intends to reshuffle his Cabinet teams AFTER Thursday's European elections, i.e. TOO LATE to derive any political benefit from changes he might wreak.

    He really should go, and go now.

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  • 20. At 1:38pm on 02 Jun 2009, mmarsattacks wrote:

    Who can Broon sacrifice next? The notion that he will send Darling out of the tent to meet his fate is not in question, but who will be left to throw to the wolves afterwards? What will be left of his party? Not much I predict, which is fine by me!

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  • 21. At 1:45pm on 02 Jun 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #18 waiting- you are 100% correct, if you are given information, you investigate it ,you interview the person involved, you interview any witnesses, you build a case. if and when found guilty you sack the person ,if it is a serious case you involve the police,who decide whether the matter goes forward to the fiscal . the employee does not get a golden good bye, does not get a large pension and most certainly dose not get to decide when they will leave!
    As far as i can see we have not even got past stage 2 yet and our MP's ARE GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER.
    Any MP found to have committed fraud should be charged with such as soon as poss before browns government totally falls apart(in the next few weeks probably) and all the pensions & golden good- byes kick in.
    Sid

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  • 22. At 2:36pm on 02 Jun 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    If we are going to start with a clean slate after the next General Election, then - as was the case when PR was brought in for Councils - we should PAY OFF (handsomely) the sitting MPs who agree not to stand at ANY future election (at any level of Government).

    If it costs a million or ten to clean-out the pigsty, it would be a price worth paying.

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  • 23. At 2:39pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #14 minceandmealie

    "Investigating this series of reports should not be left to Mr Devine's political party. The words 'Semper Vigilo' spring to mind."

    Actually the words: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" spring to mind.

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  • 24. At 2:46pm on 02 Jun 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    Brown, being a true Christian " son of the manse " will sacrifice anyone if it keeps him in Downing street for a few more months. He still has not grasped what is required of him, we don't want him to sort out parliament, WE want to sort out parliament. All we want from him is full publication of all MP's expences, followed by a general election. As for those MPs who have abused the system, whether it be within the rules or not, they must be removed from parliament now, without a golden handshake, and those who broke the rules must be charged with fraud. Any other course of action is unacceptable and does not reflect the monstrous breach of trust a majority of our MPs are guilty of, either directly or by failing to look after the interests of the taxpayer by remaining silent about the obvious abuse.

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  • 25. At 2:57pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    My #23 has just been referred to the moderators for quoting in response to minceandmealie's #14 the words: "Who polices the police?" in Latin!

    Can anyone out there explain to me how that contravenes the BBC's posting rules?

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  • 26. At 3:04pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    What are these BBC moderators on? Valium? It seems they have become more ultra sensitive each passing day as Brown's holed flagship sinks ever more into the deep.

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  • 27. At 3:08pm on 02 Jun 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    22. At 2:36pm on 02 Jun 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:
    If we are going to start with a clean slate after the next General Election, then - as was the case when PR was brought in for Councils - we should PAY OFF (handsomely) the sitting MPs who agree not to stand at ANY future election (at any level of Government).

    If it costs a million or ten to clean-out the pigsty, it would be a price worth paying."

    WHAT?!
    So you're saying they are above the law then, yes? What the h*ll do you mean pay them off handsomely. ou must be handsomely off your head!

    Phone the police, help!




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  • 28. At 3:10pm on 02 Jun 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    25. At 2:57pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Is it not one of the house rules that posts must be in English?

    ;)

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  • 29. At 3:17pm on 02 Jun 2009, Jimmythepict wrote:

    BH - you fell foul of the house rule

    "Are written in anything other than English - Welsh and Gaelic may be used where marked "

    Latin is not accepted, unless Brian uses it :)

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  • 30. At 3:28pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #28 waitingformyman

    "Is it not one of the house rules that posts must be in English?"

    Yes it is one of the rules that posts must be in English.

    My #23 WAS in English"!

    The Latin phrase made up only a few words in it. It was not incomprehensible in its entirety by virtue of being exclusively in a foreign language.

    It included a Latin phrase for "who police the police?" only in response to a Latin phrase used in minceandmealie's #14: ("Always Alert").

    minceandmealie's Latin phrase was NOT referred to the moderators.

    So let's hear your suggestion why my Latin phrase was referred to the moderators whilst minceandmealie's Latin phrase wasn't.

    Otherwise I'm afraid "posts must be in English" doesn't explain it at all. Not a bit.

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  • 31. At 3:31pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #29 Jimmythepict

    How about reading my #30 and then coming up with a suggestion that DOES explain why my #23 was moderated! The reason you give in your #29 certainly doesn't.

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  • 32. At 3:32pm on 02 Jun 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #28 and 29

    So the words 'S***** V*****' in minceandmealie's penultimate paragraph (in #14) are not Latin ;)

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  • 33. At 3:42pm on 02 Jun 2009, Gaelstorm wrote:

    I wonder if the son of the manse is familiar with Matthew 4 vs 8 & 9

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  • 34. At 3:46pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #32 Angusblogg

    Thank you kindly!

    I get why posts incomprehensible in their entirety by virtue of being exclusively in a foreign language are not allowable. I'm not stupid.

    I don't even mind the BBC having a rule that you can't quote a latin phrase in a predominantly English sentence - I am used to how utterly senseless can be.

    However I draw the line at allowing some posters to insert a Latin phrase in a predominantly English post but not another poster.

    If they are going to have senseless rules at least apply them equally to all posters. My TV tax money is just as good as minceandmealie's.

    As usual watch out for the "helpful" souls going suddenly quiet when the only rational explanation left is that the BBC are selectively censoring posts.

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  • 35. At 3:49pm on 02 Jun 2009, minceandmealie wrote:

    Indeed the words I wrote are Latin, but they are written on the side of almost every polica car in Scotland, being the shared motto of the Scottish constabulary. So I would claim a defence of normal everyday usage.

    I certainly hope that the ladies and gentlemen working under that motto are taking an interest in the financial affairs of members of parliament, as reported in various newspapers.

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  • 36. At 3:57pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #35 minceandmealie

    I'm afraid your "defence" doesn't stand up in court! Not unless the BBC has published a list of "acceptable" and "unacceptable" Latin phrases based on whether they think people know what they mean through everyday use!

    Also, I'd just point out that it's not exactly difficult for a non-Latin speaker to guess what the Latin words for "who polices the police?" actually mean, especially in the context of answering the point you were making. (I knew you were quoting the motto of the Scottish constabulary before I wrote it although I wouldn't assume everyone does).

    The point remains: why leave your Latin phrase uncensored whilst censoring someone else's?

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  • 37. At 4:08pm on 02 Jun 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #30 bighullabaloo

    Should we take it that you put 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' in inverted commas, either double or single, as I have just done?

    If so and if this post gets through, then it would appear that someone at the BBC doesn't like you, improbable, baffling and mystifying though that may seem.

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  • 38. At 4:13pm on 02 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    I take it you said "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" or something of that ilk. Actually, I think the direct translation is "Who shall guard the guards themselves?" but as there aren't any ancient Roman's around to ask, I guess you are close enough.

    Seems a bit odd, not allowing common Latin phrases. Just as well the BBC no longer show the programme Q.E.D. "Which Was To Be Demonstrated" would be ever such a catchy name for a current affairs programme if they applied their own rule to themselves.

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  • 39. At 4:16pm on 02 Jun 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #36 bighullabaloo

    As you can see, I have just had a post referred to the moderators.

    In it was your Latin phrase, inserted between inverted commas. Apparently, it is a phrase that they don't care for.

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  • 40. At 4:17pm on 02 Jun 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    30 BH
    Yes it is one of the rules that posts must be in English.

    My #23 WAS in English"!

    Well actually it is a "reserved right" that they claim, I think. And yes I do notice that it is not applied consistently. But pointing it out just gets the likes of RE on his horse and dumbing down nationalists for being conspiracy theorists. Which is why I put the wink in at the end man. So, sorry, I dont' want to put fwd any explanations as to why yours was modded and M&Ms was not. Do you really need one?

    ;)

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  • 41. At 4:38pm on 02 Jun 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #36 bighullabaloo

    On reflection, the fact that the phrase in question has got through in #38 seems to indicate inconsistency, as suggested in #40.

    Different moderators, perhaps.

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  • 42. At 4:40pm on 02 Jun 2009, minceandmealie wrote:

    I only know as much Latin as they write on the side of police cars. It is who the police cars should be going to visit that I am interested in.

    MPs who have grossly exploited the rules to their own advantage have to answer to the electorate for their behaviour. Michael "Air Miles" Martin springs to mind there; I doubt that he actually broke the law, but his personal trough-snouting was truly shocking, and I doubt anyone could be found to defend it (apart from his relatives).

    However, MPs who have committed plain fraud should be getting a ride in the back of a police car and a night in the cells. The ones who apparently forgot they had paid off their mortgage (yeah, who forgets that?) and claimed thousands of pounds of fictional mortgage interest, and the ones who made fake claims for non-existent purchases (they know who they are...) should be made to answer in court for fraud. If paying back the money after being exposed acquits you of guilt, then walking out the door of a shop with a telly under your arm and offering to pay when challenged would be a perfectly ok form of behaviour....

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  • 43. At 4:41pm on 02 Jun 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    As the moderated posts have now appeared it would seem that someone in the BBC is still sufficiently erudite to appreciate that the appropriate use of Latin tags is an indicator of civilised debate and should be encouraged, not squashed.

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  • 44. At 4:42pm on 02 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    bighullabaloo

    Wonder what would happen if you changed your username to that particular Latin phrase?

    Actually, your 23 and frankly's 36 have been uncensored and my 38 seemed to have gone unoticed (or maybe they just gave up).

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  • 45. At 4:43pm on 02 Jun 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #41

    No, they have eventually allowed my #37 and bighullabaloo's #23, I see. So that's that. What a curious little incident.

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  • 46. At 4:45pm on 02 Jun 2009, Jimmythepict wrote:

    #31 bighullabaloo
    Just trying to be of help, keep your hair on.
    You asked the question, I suggested an answer, it may have beem wrong answer, I reserve the right to be wrong :)
    My apologies if you have taken any offense with my suggestion of a house rule that may have been applied to your post.
    Maybe the moderator is not drinking enough water on during this hot spell and is acting in irrationally :)

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  • 47. At 5:01pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #46 Jimmythepict

    Well be "helpful" then! Now you know my post was in English, what's your suggestion for why it was moderated? You were quick enough with the first suggestion. Look sharp and have another go.

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  • 48. At 5:05pm on 02 Jun 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    How serious is this? I notice it's not worthy of a place on the BBC news front page or even on the 'Scotland' front page, just their respective 'Politics' pages.

    Now who was it that was comparing Brown to Callaghan earlier? Could it be coming true - or is an SNP/Plaid motion too 'pretendy' and 'wee' to be worthy of notice these days?

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  • 49. At 5:14pm on 02 Jun 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    See the usual suspect is trying to change the subject.

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  • 50. At 5:20pm on 02 Jun 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #48 Bandages_For_Konjic

    The similarities between the present period and the 1970s just keep on coming, and there will be another one along shortly.

    In the meantime, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru are to be congratulated on taking command of the media's agenda by indicating that they will be calling for a general election by tabling an opposition-day motion on Wednesday afternoon, giving MPs an opportunity to debate it in the Commons.

    Very shrewd to time this so well, i.e. on the eve of euro-polling day. Smart politics.

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  • 51. At 5:30pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    To all that replied:

    My #23 is now uncensored. Everyone can see for themselves it WAS IN ENGLISH!

    It contained a short Latin phrase the meaning of which could easily have been guessed at, exactly like minceandmealie's #14 which was NOT censored.

    That's not a "conspiracy theory" that's a clear-cut irrefutable case of the BBC selectively censoring posts containing identical types of information.

    #37 frankly_francophone

    "Should we take it that you put 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' in inverted commas, either double or single, as I have just done? If so and if this post gets through, then it would appear that someone at the BBC doesn't like you, improbable, baffling and mystifying though that may seem."

    As you can now see for yourself the Latin phrase in my #23 WAS in double inverted commas. So can I take it you now accept it appears that indeed someone at the BBC doesn't like me?!!

    #38 Fit Like?

    "Actually, I think the direct translation is "Who shall guard the guards themselves?" but as there aren't any ancient Roman's around to ask, I guess you are close enough."

    Don't be ridiculous. Everyone knows "who polices the police?" is a widely-accepted modern translation of "Who shall guard the guards themselves?" It's not the literal meaning that matters here. It's the sentiment that the the Labour party are policing themselves.

    #40 waitingformyman

    "Well actually it is a "reserved right" that they claim, I think."

    A "reserved right" to do what? Treat posters who post the same sort of phrase in different ways? You've got to be joking. They take my money so I get the same treatment as everyone else or it's my "reserved right" not to pay it!

    #40 waitingformyman

    "pointing it out just gets the likes of RE on his horse and dumbing down nationalists for being conspiracy theorists."

    It's a bit much Reluctant-Cowpat getting on his "high horse" over "conspiracy theories" when the irretuable proof of selective censorship is in front of his face! My #23 is now uncensored and is clearly in ENGLISH and within the posting rules. That's an irrefutable fact not a "conspiracy theory".

    #41 frankly_francophone

    "different moderators"

    Doesn't excuse it. Different moderators should be applying the same rules to all.

    #43 Caledonian54

    I think you'll find the word you're looking for is "quashed" - not "squashed". Sorry if that's too "erudite" for you.

    #45 frankly_francophone

    This "curious little incident" is in fact a clear-cut case of the BBC selectively censoring a post. It's not a "conspiracy theory" when the evidence is produced that the BBC is actually doing it!

    Everyone can see for themselves exactly what they've done in this case. They have selectively censored a post that did not in any way breach their posting rules. I'm not having people telling me that's a "conspiracy theory" when the irrefutable evidence is right in front of their faces!

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  • 52. At 5:31pm on 02 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Could it just be that Duff Gordon's moral compass will stop spinning quite so much with the departure of Tom Watson - McPoison's old colleague and of free pizza wheel fame? As ever, Guido has apposite comment and a wicked cartoon on the subject.

    One really must start to wonder who will be left to re-shuffle...

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 53. At 5:45pm on 02 Jun 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    # Nope, I really did mean squashed, as in blootered by a big size ten boot :-)

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  • 54. At 5:47pm on 02 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Thanks to Guido, I just read a nice opinion piece in the Trudigraph, by James Kirkup [ex Scotsman] who was apparently a fly on the wall of last night's PLP meeting, where the NuLab footsoldiers were none too kind to the fragrant Ms Harman. His "Fear and loathing in the Parliamentary Labour Party" predicts revolting peasants at next Monday's PLP meeting, although he makes no suggestions of who will play Brutus to Duff Gordon's Caesar.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 55. At 5:52pm on 02 Jun 2009, Skip_NC wrote:

    Greetings from Raleigh, North Carolina where, in the last five years we have seen an Agriculture Commissioner, Speaker of the State House, a US Congressman, a judge, a US Attorney, a state legislator and a member of the Lottery Commission sent to jail for financial shenanigans ("Depriving the people of honest services.") And those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.

    #3, Scot2010, I do not think Mr. Darling's infractions are minor. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on the service charge. That's easy enough to overlook. However, the constant changing of second home is an issue. You see, what I do not understand is why the main home for parliamentary expenses is anything other than in the constituency. In fact, surely any MP would wish it to be so. If any MP were to ask me, I would explain the contents of section 199 Income & Corporation Taxes Act 1988, along with the principles of section 198. Section 198 is, of course, the section that gives us common folks a deduction for expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred in the performance of the duties of the employment. Now, if an MP has their main home very close to Westminster, I find it hard to see how they can make any claim for subsistence (for tax purposes) whilst attending the Palace of Westminster. Section 199 merely fixes the method by which expenses for MPs and public servants are paid. There is no special deduction.

    So we either have an incorrect claim for second home or we have an incorrect claim for subsistence expenses. Either way, HMRC really should be investigating. Lester Piggot went to jail for a whole lot less.

    In the interests of full disclosure, I have dealt with the tax affairs of one MP (at the time) and have knowledge of the tax affairs of several others (both Labour and Conservative). They all managed to keep to the rules. Really, it isn't rocket science. MPs are supposed to be the brightest and best minds available to the country. Oh dearie, dearie me. Is this lot the best we can do?

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  • 56. At 5:54pm on 02 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    A priceless comment in the Trudigraph article I link to in my #54 suggests that the turmoil in the PLP could be a case of the "sh*ts leaving the sinking rat".

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 57. At 5:58pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "Jacqui Smith is to stand down as home secretary in the cabinet reshuffle, sources close to her have told the BBC."

    Another one bites the dust!

    Westminster's rotten edifice is teetering on the brink of total collapse.

    General Election now!!!

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  • 58. At 5:59pm on 02 Jun 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #51 bighullabaloo

    Yes, it may well be that someone at the BBC doesn't like you, but my #37 didn't get through either for quite some time. Maybe someone at the BBC doesn't like me either, although I find that hard to believe.

    Seriously, you are clearly justified in questioning the referral of your #23.

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  • 59. At 6:05pm on 02 Jun 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    I have just got in from work and looking at my mail, I now have a full compliment of pamphlets from all the party's who are running... er, except for Labour that is!

    ...I get the feeling that even the Labour activists may have given up and gone home... either that or they couldn't afford the printing costs, now that they can't claim them back on expenses?

    Ya gotta smile *;o)

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  • 60. At 6:08pm on 02 Jun 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    55. Skip_NC, any chance you could give us more details of those jailed five 'public servants'?

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  • 61. At 6:37pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #58 frankly_francophone

    "Yes, it may well be that someone at the BBC doesn't like you, but my #37 didn't get through either for quite some time."

    It appears you have a problem understanding the difference between a post "not getting through for quite some time" (i.e. sent but not yet published) and a post sent and "referred to moderators". These are in no way the same thing.

    If I was annoyed about slow publication of posts I'd have said so. I was complaining that a post that contained the exact same sort of information as mine was NOT moderated whilst mine was. The post has since been published proving that it in no way breached the posting rules but was selectively censored. That's not a "conspiracy theory" or an allegation: it's a plain fact.

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  • 62. At 6:43pm on 02 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Having now caught up with most of the relevant BBC political video and audio available to us expats, I turned my attention to Sky News, for whom Adam Boulton did an interview which constrasts nicely with the Andrew Marr interview of last weekend available on this website. In "Boiling Brown", we see Duff Gordon back to his McAvity ways, denying any knowledge of the rule changes in 2004 re second homes which NuLab ministers brought in and just happened to benefit, er, the said NuLab ministers. When Boulton presses the point, Duff Gordon switches from his usual wisnae me mode to demanding evidence of a conspiracy which, if it ever existed, has long been conveniently shredded. Worth a look, I think.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 63. At 6:44pm on 02 Jun 2009, Bruce wrote:

    Alistair Darling, Smith, Blears, Hoon etc should go not because of expenses, not because of sleaze, but because they are rubbish at their jobs. The sad thing is Gordon Brown, with his many faults, is probably a decent man who has surrounded himself with poor ministers.
    We should not rush into an election right now but should set a date this winter or early in the new year. That would give everyone time to put things in perspective and for voters to get all the information they need to make an informed choice.
    We also need more information about David Cameron, he might be riding high in the polls, but is he really the answer to our problems. I just don't think so. I will never forgive the Conservative Party for what they did to families in Scotland in the 80's and neither should anyone else. The thought of the Torries back in is as bad or worse than the present Labour Government.
    We also need to have radical change in our system before we go to the polls, we probably won't get it and that again is reason for people to take their time, think about the issues, and vote for what you feel is best for your family and Scotland.

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  • 64. At 7:18pm on 02 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    Brian Taylor: "Texas could choose to secede from the US. Texas chooses not to do so."

    JayeVee: "Actually, Texas can NOT secede if it wants to -- that's a big myth. However, Texas can divide into 5 states if it wants to, per the provisions in the annexation."

    Oh dear! Another "divide 24 by zero" moment? Not good. Not good at all.

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  • 65. At 7:30pm on 02 Jun 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #60, Reluctant-Expat, corruption is rife in the USA, forget naming 5 cases... here are quite a few.

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

    ...It shouldn't come of any surprise either.

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  • 66. At 7:48pm on 02 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    16. At 1:11pm on 02 Jun 2009, greenockboy:

    It was also in the evening edition of the Record about Jim Devine.


    Got a prediction for you: Angus Robertson has called for the motion to debate dissolution of parliament over the expenses issue. What is the betting the focus will be on his tv claim.

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  • 67. At 8:11pm on 02 Jun 2009, scottish_solstice wrote:


    Lib Dems to join Plaid Cymru and Scottish National party in voting to force dissolution next Wednesday.....

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jun/02/mps-to-debate-dissolution-of-parliament


    Should be an interesting day!

    Will we see Murphy though!!

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  • 68. At 8:11pm on 02 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #63 Bruce206

    "The sad thing is Gordon Brown, with his many faults, is probably a decent man who has surrounded himself with poor ministers."
    Do you have any evidence to back that assertion? Nothing I am aware of in the 26 years Duff Gordon has been an MP suggests that he is anything but the bullying, sub-prime, party apparatchik so ably depicted by Lord Gnome. Even if you do, is not managerial ability essential in a successful PM?

    "We should not rush into an election right now but should set a date this winter or early in the new year."
    Having worked for a UN agency for the past couple of decades, I know all too well the downside of the patients running the asylum syndrome which Westmidden now clearly demonstrates. For once, I'd agree with Clegg of the unLib unDems that it would make sense for MPs to work through the summer on the reforms needed so that a general election could be held in September or October, but leaving it any later than that would only give the current scoundrels more time to cover their tracks and to work on ingratiating themselves with the electorate.

    I tend to agree with you re David Cameron, who has rejected fair voting and English devolution out of hand and by demanding equal sizes [in numbers of voters] of Westmidden constituencies merely wants to make sure that a NuLab phoenix cannot emerge from the celtic and gaelic ashes of the current lot of scoundrels.

    But we all know that no matter how hard Aunty Bella works at being a human being, there is no chance of the official unionists gaining a majority of AMs, MSPs or Scottish, Welsh or Irish MPs in the forseeable future, and failing that Cameron will have much less ability to wreak havoc outwith England than Mrs T was ever able to. A pity for England, but they're the ones who'll be voting Cameron in and will have nobody to blame but themselves.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 69. At 8:13pm on 02 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    #55 Skip_NC
    OK "relatively" minor. I'm no fan of Darling or the rest of his "Scottish" Labour chums, but the point I was trying to make is that if you're under attack, you circle the wagons and keep your best fighters. Brown does not even have the sense to see that. He constantly refers to himself, not his govt, as the saviour of the economy. He will not go to save his party. Even John Major managed to behave with more responsibly to his party in his final days.

    I never thought I'd see the death of Scottish Labour, I only hoped I would. However, it is like seeing a sick dog sinking slowly. Just wish somebody would finish them off quickly so we all could get on with things

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  • 70. At 8:47pm on 02 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Two cheers for NuLab's Star Chamber, who have banned 4 MPs from standing as Labour candidates according to this website's Gibson barred from standing again. The other three [Moran, Morley and Chaytor] had already said they won't stand of course, so not quite a draconian punishment, especially as we're told that "they have not been expelled from the party or had the whip removed".

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 71. At 9:39pm on 02 Jun 2009, Moral_Code wrote:

    *SNOOOORE* Man, people on this blog talk so much Colin(s) (sic Sainsbury's) - and yes that is french before the Linguistic Police haul me up.

    I think the focus on Darling and Latin (?) is interesting for the first few posts however I'm more concerned with so-called political heavyweight, Jim "Super Jim" Devine. His most high profile campaing was against Farepak, a group who swindled hundreds of hard working people out of their cash and squandered it, delivering nothing in return.

    Does that sound familiar to ANYONE??

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  • 72. At 9:46pm on 02 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Bob Ainsworth's repairs cost the taxpayer £5,925

    "According to the Green Book of parliamentary rules, MPs are not allowed to claim the capital cost of repairs which go beyond making good dilapidations and enhance the property.

    The invoices included removing a wall between the sitting room and study and adding support with oak beam, supplying and fitting oak beams to the ceilings, hacking off Artex, the swirling ceiling plaster popular in the 1970s, and removing pipes at the side of the fire."


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  • 73. At 9:56pm on 02 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Private prosecution gets into gear

    Looks like the police are dithering which will do them a lot of harm with the general public if they don't act.

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  • 74. At 10:00pm on 02 Jun 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    Someone who has 'done wrong' and been caught is far more trustworthy than someone who just hasn't been caught (yet), if only because such an individual knows people will think the worst if there is any suspicion of conduct unbecoming.

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  • 75. At 10:24pm on 02 Jun 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #51, petted lip doesn't make friends. Most of your sympathisers are on the same side as you politically, why are you so dismissive and insulting? If you want them all to be bighullabaloo in every way, shape and form, you're seriously deluded.

    I find it slightly amusing tho because it's funny to see Nats show themselves as parochial, paranoid nutcases. There are sane and coherent Nats with good arguments like oldnat, aye write and even Thomas Porter. You must embarrass a fair swathe of them. It's a win for internationalists when you expose the true weakness and paranoia behind Nat arguments.

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  • 76. At 10:26pm on 02 Jun 2009, fourstrikes wrote:

    #69 a sick dog sinking slowly is an *amazing* metaphor. Agree wholeheartedly.

    Now to see what bubbles up from the depths...and what comes out of a clear blue sky...

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  • 77. At 10:27pm on 02 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Disgraced MPs eligible for Parliament's perks

    "All MPs leaving parliament at the next election will be given the option of keeping hold of a Commons pass, allowing them to mix freely with MPs and use Westminster's publicly subsidised facilities."

    A constant drain on public finances.

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  • 78. At 10:59pm on 02 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    59. At 6:05pm on 02 Jun 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:
    I have just got in from work and looking at my mail, I now have a full compliment of pamphlets from all the party's who are running... er, except for Labour that is!

    ...I get the feeling that even the Labour activists may have given up and gone home... either that or they couldn't afford the printing costs, now that they can't claim them back on expenses?

    Ya gotta smile *;o)


    ===============

    Lucky you. We have had NOTHING except from the UKIP. East Kilbride has a sitting Labour MP and Labour MSP, plus Ms Fabiani for the SNP.

    What is wrong with the SNP in this area? They are NEVER round doors. They have a excellent chance of taking several EU seats, yet it appears that in this area certainly they are expecting an automatic win.

    The same applies to the Lib Dems and Tories. Unlikely to gain anything but there is no harm trying.

    The EU elections never carry the same importance to most voters, but this is an opportunity for all the parties to get themselves a bit of notice, especially since there is going to be a general election within 18 months anyway.

    Many voters who do not wish to vote Labour, but are undecided might plump for the most visible party. The SNP at present are this but UKIP (I'm not a supporter incidently) might potentially takes votes that the SNP would otherwise pick up. In splitting the vote in some areas there is a chance that a Labour MEP might just hang on.

    So, two days to go and still zip.

    I hope the general election is not conducted in this manner.

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  • 79. At 11:00pm on 02 Jun 2009, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    #75

    Agree with your initial sentiments - but then you get self-contradictory.

    Would a cross-sectional sample of the 'deluded' (however defined) not be expected to thow up as many or more pro-Brits than pro-Scots??

    And in what way is 'internationalism' mutually exclusive to supporting our national independence??

    Those who choose to defend UK rule are no more 'internationalists' than British nationalists, and it is precisely to free ourselves of their imposed doctrines that Scotland and her people deserve to join the global community of independent nations.

    Slainte.

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  • 80. At 11:11pm on 02 Jun 2009, Tom wrote:

    I am disappointed that Gordon Brown may sack Alistar Darling. I understand that Darling and I, do not see eye-to-eye politcally, however Alistar Darling was 'one of us'. I can hear the cheers from England, the Scottish Mafia are now one less...!

    I will be pleased to see the Conservatives walk the walk, and follow the nationalists by supporting their motion to dissolve Parliament. This is the best moment for the Conservatives, Scottish National Party and other groups accross the country. Labour are suffering, suffering is perhaps to soft a term, but Labour are going to see losses on Thursday, and come the general election we should expect Labour to be damaged on a large scale. However the longer the scandel conintues the moment may be lost and Labour could recover.

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  • 81. At 11:11pm on 02 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    69. At 8:13pm on 02 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:
    #55 Skip_NC
    OK "relatively" minor. I'm no fan of Darling or the rest of his "Scottish" Labour chums, but the point I was trying to make is that if you're under attack, you circle the wagons and keep your best fighters. Brown does not even have the sense to see that. He constantly refers to himself, not his govt, as the saviour of the economy. He will not go to save his party. Even John Major managed to behave with more responsibly to his party in his final days.

    I never thought I'd see the death of Scottish Labour, I only hoped I would. However, it is like seeing a sick dog sinking slowly. Just wish somebody would finish them off quickly so we all could get on with things


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

    Well, the SNP and Plaid are giving it a go, with backing from the Lib Dems and Tories. But I wonder if it will work. There might be sufficient Labour MPs who are fed up to the back teeth with Gordon and vote against. However, that would leave them fighting a general election with Gordon in charge. They have a better chance of hanging onto seats (not power) by ridding themselves of Gordon and getting in someone new.

    So while the motion is a good idea, I have a feeling that it might not work and force Labour MPs to support the Government, even if they want a change of leadership.

    Everyone except Labour want an election now. They need to convince 32 Labour MPs to vote for the motion. (Have I got my maths right??)

    But if the motion succeeds, and an election is called, would it not happen in July? Bad time for Scotland, since we are on holiday. That could possibly affect the SNP vote, maybe not. I'm using a rather big assumption that the less well off are likely to vote Labour for the benefits, something that has not really been discussed by the SNP. Although to be fair benefits will be decided by Westminster, and that is likely to be the Tories. In that case then the SNP need to be actively canvassing votes, since the media is not likely to be exceptionally benevolent to them.



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  • 82. At 11:14pm on 02 Jun 2009, hadrianswall wrote:

    Labour really are sinking. I am delighted. It is Devine

    I am with BigH on UDI.

    Freedom

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  • 83. At 11:15pm on 02 Jun 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #61 bighullabaloo

    If you had been paying attention, you would have seen that the post of mine that I referred to (#37) was indeed referred to the moderators, as was made perfectly clear in my #45 and my #39.

    There can, therefore, be no question of my having a problem in understanding the difference between slow publication and referral to moderators, as is plain for anyone to see, I would have thought.

    However, have it your own way if it makes you happy. It is of no consequence to me.

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  • 84. At 11:27pm on 02 Jun 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Gordon Brown: Labour's dilemma

    "Political reform can no longer be put aside as an abstract idea, of appeal to dreamers but not to voters who face the harder realities of life. The public is calling furiously for a better system. People want an honest parliament. They want leaders who are prepared to act. They loathe the old system, and many of the people who are part of it."

    It seems that Boris might be throwing his teddy out of the pram tomorrow!

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  • 85. At 11:44pm on 02 Jun 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    #75 fourstrikes

    As a euro-unionist, I fancy that I for one am an internationalist with impeccable credentials. This is no more inconsistent with support for Scottish independence than with support for French independence, I venture to suggest.

    As for the poster whom you criticize, I see what you mean, but abrasiveness is, after all, not uncommon in the blogosphere. We internationalists are tolerant fellows and should take this in our stride, even if I do say so myself.

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  • 86. At 11:46pm on 02 Jun 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    Did you see the labour euro election broadcast in NE scotland?

    Apparently, Scotland is not capable of this, it's not capable of that, in fact its not capable of anything? Then the smile at the end really put the end brush stroke to it.

    Followed immediately by news at six (STV by the way). LABOUR GOVERNMENT IN ABSOLUTE CAOS...or something like that.

    Cool timing.

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  • 87. At 11:48pm on 02 Jun 2009, LYDIA-REID wrote:

    Darling never seemed effective as an MP, why did Brown think he would make a good chancellor. I suppose we must assume he judged him by his own capabilities which were nil.

    My biggest fear is that with no jobs in London some of the Scottish MPs like Darling and Brown may decide to come back to Scotland and stand in the Scottish Parliament. The list system could allow them in. Enough to give me nightmares. It seems at least possible that the motion asking for the dissolution of Parliament may win. Some of the Labour MPs may feel it unfair that they have been sacrificed at the alter of Labours want to carry on at any cost and may vote against him. Some have nothing left to lose.

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  • 88. At 11:53pm on 02 Jun 2009, Skip_NC wrote:

    #69, Scot2010, on reflection my #55 wasn't clear enough. I cannot help feeling that the bigger issue is not the claiming of expenses but the tax implications that arise. Of course, we will never know until or if HMRC gets an MP into court.

    #60 Reluctant-Expat, Sure, here goes. The Congressman and the Judge are father and son (Frank & Garey Ballance) who got funds from the state, ostensibly for charitable purposes, and used it on themselves. Frank got 4 years and gets out in a couple of weeks. Garey got, if I remember correctly, eight or nine months.

    Meg Scott Phipps was agriculture commissioner. She accepted campaign funds from carnival operators bidding to run the shows at the state fair. She was released last year after serving four years.

    Jim Black is the former Speaker of the NC House of Representatives. He took checks from various donors and instructed them to leave the payee lines blank. He then distributed the money in his best interests. This included paying Michael Decker, a state legislator $50,000 to switch parties so that Black could remain in power after the Republicans won the House elections in the first time in a generation. Black is serving over five years in federal prison and will do 8-10 months in state prison immediately afterwards and has paid a $1 million fine (no, that is not a typo - one million dollars in fines!) He was also responsible for appointing Kevin Geddings to the Lottery Commission. Geddings "forgot" to tell the commission that he was secretly employed by a company seeking to gain a contract for the state lottery. He is serving four years in federal prison.

    Sam Currin (former US Attorney for Eastern North Carolina) is serving a six year sentence for laundering money for e-mail spammers. He is the only Republican I have mentioned. All the others are Democrats in a heavily Democratic state (at state and local level). It seems to me that they all got too big for their breeks. There are no clear parallels between these cases and what is going on in the UK right now, but it seems that this attitude of "You can't touch me," prevails wherever you are.

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  • 89. At 11:58pm on 02 Jun 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

    Labour has gone down the plug hole;
    Labour has gone down the drain;
    The poor little mite is so sickly and thin
    The angels arrived and have taken it in.....

    Or maybe:

    The Camerons are coming, ye ken by the smell,
    The dirty wee scoundrels hae came richt fae hell.

    Possibly:

    The BNP and UKIP are we,
    There's not that much difference
    As any fool can see.
    English supremacy is our bidden game,
    To send Jock back to his old Heilan' hame.

    As for the Liberals:

    Blank verse......

    That is the Party Political Euro Broadcasts from the BBC .... wait there's a party we have missed, nope can not compute, not UK national, only interested in Scotland, must be raging fascists, only interested in preserving salmon (must be the Scottish Greens).........

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  • 90. At 00:21am on 03 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    82. At 11:14pm on 02 Jun 2009, hadrianswall wrote:
    Labour really are sinking. I am delighted. It is Devine

    I am with BigH on UDI.


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

    I still think UDI is political suicide for the SNP. Better to go they way they are going, rather than dive into what will be unknown territory. If UDI was legally challenged, and the SNP lost, it would finish the leadership. It could possibly be construed as treason - MPs swear an oath to the monarch remember.

    Let's look at this a bit more sensibly. Let's assume Alex Salmond declares UDI. What then happens next? Does Scotland suddenly become an independent nation? What if Westminster says "OK, fine, you are on your own as from now."

    What will be the status of businesses? What about public sector bodies? Tax colection, health, defence....... Remember, you will most likely be sitting with a Conservative Government, struggling with sorting out the mess made by Labour. The Scots, Welsh and Irish want to go alone? Fine. You won't hear much complaining from England. This is not scaremongering. Any party wishing to declare UDI is scary.

    Referendum is the way to go. That way, of a referendum decides on independence, timescales are set, plans are made and s smooth transition will take place.

    Declaring UDI is basically nonsense and it would destroy all the work laid down by the SNP.

    And why the sudden desire to declare UDI? Are you scared of the SNP losing popularity? Scared of Scots not giving the desired result in a referendum? Labour is about to get hammered. Start messing about with ideas like UDI and the media will pounce.

    The more radical supporters of independence might like the idea, but seem to give scant attention to the consequences.


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  • 91. At 00:31am on 03 Jun 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    75

    You cannot be an internationalist without recognising the proper place of nation states. Internationalists are nationialists first.

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  • 92. At 00:35am on 03 Jun 2009, bluelaw wrote:

    To me the "reshuffle" is a bit like a magician who realises that the coin from behind the ear hasn't worked and now he's trying the rabbit in the hat thing. Probably not an analogy that should be aired publicly but there you go.

    I recall the detestable arrogance with which Darling treated SNP calls for 10% of oil revenues to go to an oil fund. I was angry at the manner of his dismissals as much as anything. Therefore I have no sympathy for him. Pay your 700 quid back and make sure the door doesn't hit from behind on the way out.

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  • 93. At 00:38am on 03 Jun 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #78 Neil_Small, Aye, I grew up & lived in East Kilbride for 20 years before moving to Glasgow city centre... the place is housing scheme after housing scheme... nobody would either survive walking the distances involved or remember which round-about they had been at, in order to get leaflets to all the houses *;o)

    ...anyway, there isn't much in the print that you can't already get from their websites... and the media are keeping the elections high profile enough with Labour currently reaching a point of critical mass.

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  • 94. At 00:45am on 03 Jun 2009, Andrew Morton wrote:

    Your comment about the folk who run "the markets" is important. Sure it would be good if they could take a longer term view - but they can't. They are third rate players of the economic game getting paid top-whack wages because we've been told that if we don't pay them they'll take their ineptitude elsewhere.

    Trouble is, our economy has been so strongly hitched to these shysters that we have to take their wobbles seriously. And ditching a Chancellor mid-recession is guaranteed to provoke wobbles, especially as it's beginning to look as if sinking billions of pounds into underwriting the incompetence of our management class might actually save us. Are those wobbles an acceptable cost of bringing Darling to book over his expenses? I'm not at all sure.

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  • 95. At 07:50am on 03 Jun 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 90 Neil_Small147

    Let's get this idea of UDI straight. Nobody is calling for UDI. All we are saying is that it should not be discounted as an integral part of the options that the Nationalists have.
    If, and this is a big if, the Nationalists (SNP and Plaid Cymru)get a majority in their own parliaments, and in Westminster, and have had a referendum in which the majority of the voters vote for independence, and talks take place to initiate the seccession from the union, within the lifetime of the home parliament, and the UK government still will not let us go, then, and only then, should the thought of UDI be discussed.
    As to the talk of treason, I can't see where that would come into it when A.S. has made it clear that the Queen would still be head of state of an independent Scotland.

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  • 96. At 08:03am on 03 Jun 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    #95: Perfectly true; Scotland and England had the same monarch but separate governments between 1603 and 1707 - and very different concepts of monarchy - so treason doesn't come into it.

    As to this curious rumour of UDI which has sprung up from nowhere, again this is straightforward enough. The SNP is pledged to hold a referendum; if there was to be such a substantial increase in the number of SNP MPs at Westminster as is being optimistically hypothesised above, then such a result would be reflected in any referendum, ie; the Scottish people would vote for independence. Only if a Westminster was unprepared to accept the result of that referendum would it be necessary to contemplate UDI

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  • 97. At 08:45am on 03 Jun 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 96 Caledonian54

    'As to this curious rumour of UDI which has sprung up from nowhere'

    Mea culpa. # 85 previous blog. R.E., in his usual style, twisted the posting out of all recognition from;

    'The supreme importance of the Westminster elections is the fear the Unionists have is that the Nationalists (mostly the SNP and Plaid Cymru) will end up having a workable majority in Scotland and Wales which can lead the Nationalists to declare UDI.'

    to:

    'But warming to hear you are considering drastic undemocratic measures now! Awesome.'

    So, there you have it.

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  • 98. At 08:56am on 03 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    #81 Neil_Small147
    I think it is extremely unlikely that the SNP/PC motion will succeed as I don't see there being a big enough revolt in the PLP. Nor do I think it was intended to succeed. It is more likely that it was moved to keep up the pressure on Brown. If it did succeed, the SNP is probably best placed to fight a quick General Election. We have the organisation and the activists to do so.

    As to who would do best in a July GE, the SNP did pretty well in Glasgow East last July. As I understand it, the best support was from "aspirational" wards, who are more likley to vote anyway. The election would likely have a lowish turnout, so will depend on who's vote turns out. A disillusioned Labour core vote may well stay home or vote for a party like the SSP.

    Labour's activist base in Scotland is poor, they were bussing in from England during the Glenrothes by. They used to rely on trade union resources to staff campaign rooms, but they have managed to alienate the unions, so not sure what support they will have from that sector. Oh, and they're skint too. Rich supporters are not inclined to throw money away on them when they are likely to get bad publicity from it (Paul Green, say).

    However, in a straight fight under first past the post, I don't see the SNP winning a majority of Scottish Westminster seats. The system is way too skewed in Labour's favour. However we would prob win the popular vote. We will consolidate our hold on the areas we have. We will take some "softer" seats in Ayrshire/Dumbartonshire/Lanarkshire/Lothian. AS's 20 seats definitely looks possible.

    With a likely Tory UK Govt and massive public debt, Scotland needs a party that will stand up for it, that is the SNP not the toothless, discredited Scottish (sic) Labour pussycat.

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  • 99. At 09:09am on 03 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    #78 Neil_Small147 & #93 BoNG0_1

    I too grew up in EK, left it in 93. I was also in the SNP there too for a number of years. I now live in Glasgow and I've had electoral addresses from all parties (incl. the BNP, which I shredded, just in case kids were around). all the addresses were delivered by the Royal Mail, so assume that the delivery was publicly funded. I'm positive all the major parties would have supplied leaflets and, as I take it there is still letter delivery in EK, I'm not sure why Neil did not get any. Perhaps, needs further investigation.

    BTW BoNG0_1 in the past, we managed to do manual leaflet deliveries across EK. Mind you I used to be fit then. All you needed were hiking boots and polar gear. Only if it was a nice day though!

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  • 100. At 09:28am on 03 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #98 scot2010

    Personally, I'm not as confident of a Labour wipeout in Scotland at the next General Election as some posters on this site are.

    History tends to show us that, no matter how badly a Westminster Labour Government is doing, in Scotland, a Conservative government is seen as being so much worse (how it could be worse than the present bunch, I don't know but that's not the point).

    Anyway, come the General Election, you can pretty much guarantee that Labour will fall back on their old tack of a vote for any other party of than Labour, and especially a vote for the SNP is effectively a vote for the Conservatives by the back door.

    Given the antipathy that most of Scotland holds towards the Conservative party, there will be some (hopefully not too many but I can't help being pessimistic) who will be swayed by that argument and continue to vote Labour (even if they have voted for other parties at the Scottish/Euro/Local Council Elections) in the forlorn hope that it keeps the Conservatives out of power. It won't though. The Conservatives are coming again and much as I look forward to seeing the back of Labour, Cameron and Osborne almost epitimise the breed of 'Career Polititians' that so many people (even the likes of Expat) despise and fill me with very little confidence that things will actually get any better any time soon.

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  • 101. At 09:37am on 03 Jun 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    A few people have commented how sad it would be to see Darling go - what with his "wealth of experience" as a politician.

    Doesn't anyone else think that maybe it's this "wealth" of experience that is the problem? The Man is a career politician - the worst kind of politician in my book.

    Let anyone stay in a position of power for any length of time and watch with how much reluctance they give it all up.

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  • 102. At 09:55am on 03 Jun 2009, jwm007 wrote:

    #96 I agree that the SNP will hold a referendum which is party policy. However, if you listen to the Unionists among us - and there are still a few - a majority of Scottish MPs elected to the London cesspit would be enough to declare Independence. If a majority of Scots voted for independence the 'Brits' would simply be sent home.

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  • 103. At 09:59am on 03 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    #100 Fit Like?
    You are right about history of the anti-tory vote as far as the 80s was concerned. However it's who is seen as the best to combat the Tories? The SNP is now a real choice in this role. Even if every Scottish seat went labour it is v unlikely that this would keep the Tories out of power. Wilson's incorrect tartan-tory label will no doubt be used again, but with Labour MPs filling their boots, cash for honours and incompetent financial management, who are the tartan tories now, Gordon

    The SNP lives or dies on the will of the Scottish electorate. We will always fight for what's best for Scotland. Labour's record from the McCrone oil coverup to Trident's replacement shows that they don't.

    Ultimately, you have to trust the electorate to make the right decision, however frustrating that can be. Step-by-step, we are winning the argument, so hopefully people will be persuaded.

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  • 104. At 10:04am on 03 Jun 2009, mmarsattacks wrote:

    #100 Fit Like?

    I tend to agree with your point regarding the usual frighteners put out by Labour regarding an impending Tory government, but I do believe we are in uncharted waters this time. The last time we had a Labour government facing almost certain defeat at the hands of the Tories was '79. Much has changed. We have a popular and competent SNP government in a Scots parliament. We have that Scots parliament. Only the most deluded of Labour die-hards really believe that we won't see a Tory administration after the GE. Of course the tribal vote still exists, but I predict a swing to the SNP from large numbers of disaffected Labour voters who realise that the SNP are the only credible defense from Dave and his friends.

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  • 105. At 10:14am on 03 Jun 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    When he first became Chancellor Darling told the FT that he didn't believe in economic patriotism. He should of course been fired there and then.

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  • 106. At 10:23am on 03 Jun 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #98 scot2010

    My initial reaction was to agree 100% with you, that there is no real prospect of enough of the PLP backing the SNP/Plaid motion to dissolve parliament. It would be like turkeys voting to bring forward Christmas.

    However, on reflection, there may be enough who want to get out NOW, while their golden good-byes and pension pots are still ring-fenced. If there are any astute 'troughers' left, they may sense the growing public call for them to be sacked immediately without a parting pot of gold. So the short term sacrifice may by very appealing when weighed against their potential personal future financial losses!

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  • 107. At 10:40am on 03 Jun 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

    Labour are now eating their own in a violent attempt to save their communal skins. Of course being Labour they do not bother consulting with the constituency parties before wielding the guillotine.

    With the exit of so many minsters, you have got to guess the rats know what they are about and the Titanic which is 'Nu Labour' must be about to break its back.

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  • 108. At 10:40am on 03 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    #106 Angusblogg
    You maybe right but I still can't see it. Labour tends to band together under direct attack. Plus, there is no guarantee that an incoming Tory Govt would not rip up the rules and strip such MPs of there ill-gotten gains.

    Those MPs that want Brown out, do not want a General Election right now, just a new leader. Alan Johnston or Jack Straw as leader my keep some of them in jobs

    The part-privatisation of the Royal Mail maybe where they do rebel. If Brown cannot command a majority without Tory support, he's dead. I think those with a blade to wield will keep their powder dry (to mix a metaphor) til then.

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  • 109. At 10:46am on 03 Jun 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    So, Hazel Blears is gone.

    Jacqui Smith is said to be going.

    Alistair darling may well be sacked.

    If he's got any sense, the Great Leader will show the Millibands the door.

    What odds, that next week we will have a Cabinet of one?

    (Might not be a bad idea, presidentialising the role of PM...)

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  • 110. At 11:01am on 03 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    #109 Older than etc
    Blears going. PMQs are going to be really interesting today. I'll have to break out the popcorn, I enjoy a good horror movie.

    Recently, Brown has been compared to Nixon, Maybe Greta Garbo would be better. "I want to be alone" indeed

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  • 111. At 11:06am on 03 Jun 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Ms Blears has now gone.

    Going to stick my neck out now.

    Labour will be slaughtered in the EU elections.

    Gordon Brown will be told by PLP on Friday to resign.

    Alan Johnson comes in as PM.

    SNP/Plaid debate next week narrowly defeated.

    September election.

    Conservative majority, but less than expected.

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  • 112. At 11:08am on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "Shadow energy minister Charles Hendry, told the paper domestic servants he paid for on expenses were 'necessary'.

    Yes, he just didn't say he meant "necessary" for his personal comfort, not for doing his job as an MP!

    The amount of not-so-subtle word twisting now going on is verging on the absurd.

    For everyone except MPs a strict distinction is enforced by tax authorities: expenses are deductible from tax only if "necessary in the performance of performance of job-related duties".

    Of course we understand ANYTHING can be interpeted in a global sense as being "necessary" to allow an MP to perform their job. However that IS NOT the test of allowability as applied by tax authorities.

    The test is ANYTHING that can be interpeted as having MORE THAN A SINGLE PURPOSE is not allowable as a deductible expense.

    So, if whatever is claimed for is used to perform a job but IS ALSO CAPABLE OF BEING USED OUTWITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE JOB it is not deductible as an expense.

    Mr Hendry's servants certainly play a role in helping him to perform his job duties but they are ALSO CAPABLE OF BEING USED TO PERFORM NON-JOB-RELATED DUTIES.

    Therefore "servants" fails the tax authorities' own test of allowability as a deductible expense.

    The same logic can be applied to many, many other items claimed by MPs as being "necessary" for their job duties. All of these items are capable of being used to peform NON-JOB-RELATED DUTIES and are therefore not deductible as an expense under the tax rules applied to the majority - the same rules MPs created and strictly enforce under the threat of imprisonment to the rest of us.

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  • 113. At 11:12am on 03 Jun 2009, mmarsattacks wrote:

    Smears, Blears and tears...

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  • 114. At 11:15am on 03 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    #111 Neil_Small147
    Wouldn't bet against you. If Brown resigns beforehand, the SNP/PC motion will be easily defeated

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  • 115. At 11:18am on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    To all the sanctimonious: Clearly I'm not alone on UDI.

    #71 "Counting the votes"
    handclapping wrote: "Anyone for UDI with 80% of the Scottish seats?"

    #82 "Will he do it?"
    hadrianswall wrote: "I am with BigH on UDI."

    No doubt there are many more who haven't yet stated their agreement.

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  • 116. At 11:24am on 03 Jun 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #109

    The problem for the 'Great Leader', if he's still around next week, is to bring in a new cabinet untainted by the expenses debacle.

    The press vultures will pick over the bones of all the new appointees, and if there are any skeletons in cupboards, they will be fed to the lions. [Today's prize for the most mixed methaphors in one sentence?]

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  • 117. At 11:33am on 03 Jun 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #111 Neil_Small147 -

    Am inclined to agree with your timeline. Any change of PM will have to be backed up by a commitment to a GE by the Autumn at the latest.

    Seems unlikely that the public mood will be mollified by the installation of (yet) another PM who idoesn't have a mandate from the electorate won by leading his/her party successfully through a General Election.

    Also, replacing the PM without calling for a GE will only lay the PLP open to criticisms that they're wasting time on internal party wranglings while neglecting the serious constitutional (And economic) work that this country desperately needs.

    In other words, replacing the PM alone will not be enough to convince the public at large that this government is capable of governing effectively.

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  • 118. At 11:35am on 03 Jun 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #108

    I would suspect, like you, that Labour will survive next weeks vote. I was merely outlining a possible scenario where individual members of the PLP would vote for self-interest as opposed to the longevity of the current parliament.

    I would strongly suggest, however, that when Cameron does get elected, he will do nothing to retrospectively strip any ill gotten gains - remember a sizable propotion of his chums are 'troughers' too!

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  • 119. At 11:38am on 03 Jun 2009, Dissector wrote:

    The removal or otherwise of Littl' Darlin' is really of no consequence.Spooking the market may or may not happen but that will be a short-lived event before being overtaken by a matter of longer term substance.
    The entire question revolves around G Brown's capacity to lead a team, sustain a moral compass, impose and sustain high ethical standards, be consistent in dealing with the public e.g. £Ms support for lame duck vehicle makers but specific obstructive action to deprive pensioners who suffered from the collapse of Equitable Life due to Govt failure - Ombudsman reports are dire.
    Reason - there are labour votes in manufacturing but precious few in Equitable.

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  • 120. At 11:42am on 03 Jun 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #111

    Seems a very possible scenario, Neil.

    But I'm sitting on the fence until we get the preditions from Mystic Meg ....er I mean Greenockboy.

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  • 121. At 11:44am on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    p.s. to my #112

    The chances of Hendry not being aware that "servant" costs do not qualify as a deductible expense are literally nil.

    The idea that a very large number of MPs are ignorant of how tax rules work on deductible expenses stretches credulity well beyond breaking point.

    If any "ordinary" (= honest!) member of the public had done what these MPs have done they would be gutted like a fish by the tax authorities who work on the basis that people are "guilty until proven innocent".

    If anyone other than an MP claimed they had made an "error" or a "mistake" or an "oversight" this would not be accepted as an excuse.

    It is made clear to every taxpayer on every tax form that they are responsible for claiming deductible expenses only and that it is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment if they do not.

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  • 122. At 11:45am on 03 Jun 2009, Bruce wrote:

    * 68 Brownedov

    Thanks for your responce to my post (63). The reason I think or hope that Gordon Brown is a decent man is that I would prefer to think that whatever his personal faults that deep down he is decent. It doesn't make him good at his job, I know many decent people who are not that good at their jobs, but I don't believe that someone would spend so long in politics just for himself, I would prefer to believe that the people who voted for him as an MP would have seen through that by now.
    An election too soon, given the public anger, would not be the best thing for the country in my opinion. People may vote through anger and we could see some parties getting in that possibly we would not want at this time. I am not talking about BNP as the vast majority find them disgusting but I fear for a UKIP senario and that is a bit scary. I just hope that people seriously think about who they want to vote for. I also believe that we should have the same or similar voting system nationally as we do in Scotland, PR is the way ahead and as voters, if you agree, we should be demanding it.

    From a personal point of view I tend to vote SNP and at the moment would say the Green party are the only ones who have talked real sense in this whole process.

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  • 123. At 11:47am on 03 Jun 2009, Aikenheed wrote:

    Hello Brian
    I think we need a new blog
    This one has been overtaken by events, well past its sell by date, 20 mins is a long time in politics - I think we all know now that El Gordo will sacrifice the country, labour appartchik, colleagues (to use the term loosly) just to stay in power

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  • 124. At 11:52am on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    As usual, poor old Andy Murray was "British" yesterday:
    "British number one Andy Murray says he will need to be at his best to beat Fernando Gonzalez in their French Open quarter-final on Tuesday."

    And today, he's back to being "Scottish":
    "The 22-year-old Scot, ranked three in the world, lost 6-3 3-6 6-0 6-4 to Gonzalez"

    ugh.

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  • 125. At 11:56am on 03 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    #118 Angusblogg
    Cameron is making policy on the hoof right now, so he may make promises to deal with golden goodbyes/pensions etc for those who have transgressed.
    His chums that are going can afford to live without these payments. He may balance political/electoral advantage over personal relationships. The comrades have shallower pockets (in the main) so will be more worried about losing thousands

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  • 126. At 11:57am on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "London's mayor has said he "mistakenly" claimed £16.50 on expenses for a Remembrance Sunday wreath when he was an Oxfordshire MP."

    Of course, no one could ever suggest that Boris is "lacking in common decency" could they?

    That would be grossly unfair and a total distortion of the facts.

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  • 127. At 11:59am on 03 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    #123 Aikenheed
    Agree, but who could keep up? Brian's no spring chicken.
    maybe once PMQs are finished.

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  • 128. At 12:07pm on 03 Jun 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #125 scot2010

    Yes, you're right Cameron wouldn't break a manifesto promise once he's been elected, would he? ;0)

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  • 129. At 12:13pm on 03 Jun 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #121 BigH

    Agree 100%. I would rather see the Custom & Revenue investigating, than the police - the tax authorities have more powers and would give the 'troughers' a much harder time.

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  • 130. At 12:14pm on 03 Jun 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #123 Aikenheed

    You took the words right out of my mouth - at this rate Darling will be the only one NOT to go.

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  • 131. At 12:18pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #127 scot2010

    "Brian's no spring chicken."

    Sorry, "avian comparators" are not allowed under the house rules after we all er, rattled some cages over Brian's article "Bird's-eye view of jail break".

    ......oops

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  • 132. At 12:26pm on 03 Jun 2009, frankly_francophone wrote:

    Did somebody say we are living in interesting times?

    I notice today that the French media are reporting an historic general-election victory for independentists. You might have thought that the French media would not be terribly interested in what goes on in Greenland, but you would be wrong. When Greenlanders chose to accept from Denmark a substantial degree of greater autonomy in a referendum several months ago, the French media and the French public followed events with interest, while the BBC and other UK media restricted themselves to a brief mention after the result was in, a result which meant that a new constitutional arrangement would be put in place this summer (on June 21st), in preparation for which the general election which is currently being reported on in France and, I see, to a limited extent by the BBC, has been held.

    It seems that the independentist Inuit Ataqatigiit party has beaten the Siumut social-democratic party, which has been in office for the past 30 years. This, one may reasonably speculate, is not unlikely to lead to a further constitutional referendum in due course, as Denmark has undertaken to allow a referendum on independence if one is desired. As the IA's share of the popular vote, however, while representing an increase of 21.3 per cent since the general election in 2005, is still only 43.7 per cent, such speculation may be premature, but I somehow doubt it.

    As a matter of passing interest, this new era in Greenland's political and constitutional history seems to have been at least partly ushered in as a result of a phenomenon which may seem uncannily familiar: various scandals, abuses of power and extravagant spending by non-independentist parliamentarians (belonging to the party which has just lost the election).

    On the subject of shenanigans of this type, I perceive that in "the presently febrile state of politics at Westminster", the Labour UK government is still haemorrhaging, with the resignation of the redoubtable Ms Blears. How much longer can this drawn-out agony go on before a UK general election has to be called? Fortunately, as we know, the SNP and Plaid Cymru are to be posing the question at Westminster, and we may get an answer next week. Let us hope so.

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  • 133. At 12:33pm on 03 Jun 2009, scot2010 wrote:

    # 128 Angusblogg

    He may well break those promises, but are the Labour troughers gonnae take the risk? Anyway events are going so fast who knows where we'll be later this afternoon

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  • 134. At 12:47pm on 03 Jun 2009, deducted3points wrote:

    #124 Bighullabaloo

    Get over it dude, it's of no consequence whether he's referred to as Scottish, British, European - he is all of those. He's the best chance we've had of having a winner in one of the slams in decades (with all due respect to fellow Brit Tim Henman)

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  • 135. At 12:58pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #134 deducted3points

    Scots know that Murray himself doesn't buy into this "British" tag.
    Andy's smart and realises it will just make his job harder to say so, but all Scots know he feels that way deep down.

    So I'm afraid you'll just have to get over that......dude.

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  • 136. At 1:01pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #134 deducted3points

    According to you my point was "of no consequence" but you still think it's important enough to reply to my post. With that level of logical contradiction you must be a Unionist.

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  • 137. At 1:01pm on 03 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #121 bighullabaloo

    "If any "ordinary" (= honest!) member of the public had done what these MPs have done they would be gutted like a fish by the tax authorities who work on the basis that people are "guilty until proven innocent"."

    Very true, but "If any "ordinary" (= honest!) member of the public had done what these MPs have done" they wouldn't actually be honest, would they? :-)

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  • 138. At 1:03pm on 03 Jun 2009, salmondella wrote:

    #124 Bighullabaloo

    Really! narrow minded comments like that do expose some of the utter nonsense attached to your drum banging for Scottish independence:

    "Whit dae we want - INDEPENDENCE;
    When dae we want it - NOOOO;
    Whit dae we want - INDEPENDENCE;
    why dae we want it - erh cos those bad yins doon south only call us Scottish when we lose at things".

    I watched the BBC coverage of Andy Murray's wins and the commentators kept referring to him as a Scot. Of course, even if you and your ilk had tuned in you wouldn't have recognised that because it doesn't quite fit with your agenda.

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  • 139. At 1:25pm on 03 Jun 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    138. I think I can safely say Murray has far more supporters down there than he has up here.

    Anyway, bighullabaloo is just being his normal self. Leave him be. Just remember that he absolutely is NOT 'anti-english' in any way.

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  • 140. At 1:28pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #137 Fit Like?

    You're deliberatley missing my point...again. I've asked you to stop making mindless knee-jerk responses to my posts but it seems that's all you're capable of.

    Any "ordinary" member of the public could certianly be honest and make a mistake on their tax form but they'd still be treated as "guilty until proven innocent" by the tax authorities.

    So, no, your "point" isn't a logical conclusion from what I wrote.

    What we have with these MPs is clearly dishonest people being treated as "innocent" and there's no sign of those who have a duty to hold them to account even suggesting they might be "guilty".

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  • 141. At 1:31pm on 03 Jun 2009, deducted3points wrote:

    #135 / #136

    "Scots know that Murray himself doesn't buy into this "British" tag.
    Andy's smart and realises it will just make his job harder to say so, but all Scots know he feels that way deep down."

    You're telepathic are you?

    "According to you my point was "of no consequence" but you still think it's important enough to reply to my post. With that level of logical contradiction you must be a Unionist."

    Learn to understand what you read... my comment "it's of no consequence" refers to the fact that it doesn't matter whether you call Andy Scottish, British or European; NOT that your comment is of no consequence.

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  • 142. At 1:33pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #138 salmondella

    "those bad yins doon south only call us Scottish when we lose at things"."

    Actually - ridiculous as it is - the truth is even worse than that.

    When THEY "lose at things" it's our fault! And you've got the cheek to call ME "narrow minded"!!

    If you want irrefutable proof of that I refer you to the same example I gave to Reluctant-Cowpat on a previous blog that exposed him as talking 100% nonsense...yet again.

    (See my post archive)

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  • 143. At 1:34pm on 03 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Many posters are attempting to predict what London Labour will do next in the face of the collapse of both Brown's authority and the almost hourly disintegration of the cabinet, for me though it doesnta matter what they do, nor do I really care.

    The slaughter we are seeing down South is wholely as a result of the English based media. Remember that the media in Scotland are reporting this with the same enthusiasm of a teenager who is asked to mow the lawn. When this spectacle is over and the news agenda in Scotland is no longer being controlled from elsewhere then their instinctive behaviour will return.

    The opposition in Scotland is both Labour and the media, they are two sides of the same coin. There are simply too many influential individuals who are relient on the endurance of the Union in order to sustain their power, wealth and of course their careers.

    They are angry and bitter as they witness the savaging of their London based generals and the damage to the mecca that is Westminster. Without the checks and balances that are usual in Western democratic societies, this animal, hungry for revenge will rampage through the political sections of our news outlets defecating on the truth as it goes.

    Get ready for it !!

    PS
    A few days ago I suggested that there might be more than met the eye to the 'non return' of the long term prisoner who was being readied for release.

    The police have just issued a statement regarding this person and they say that it doesn't make sense, is against his character and that he "may not have done it willingly", it's on the BBC website.

    The police clearly feel that all is not as it appears here, has someone spoken out of turn by saying this?

    Watch out for this story being buried !!

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  • 144. At 1:39pm on 03 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #122 Bruce206
    "An election too soon, given the public anger, would not be the best thing for the country in my opinion."

    Thanks for a thoughtful response to my #68. Although I suspect we'll have to agree to differ on Duff Gordon's decency, I do agree with you that an immediate election would not be best. It's for that reason I agree with Clegg's plan to make the scoundrels work during the summer so long as they hold the general election straight after. In that time, they could not only clean up the expense system but also get rid of golden goodbyes for those who have abused it, pass a law on fixed-term parliaments and agree on a fair votes referendum to be held simultaneously with the general election.

    It's just conceivable that if Gordon steps down by next week, the new Labour leader could agree with the Clegg plan and generate enough momentum to prevent Cameron winning an overall majority in the autumn general election.

    That seems to be the thrust of the Grauniad editorial linked to by cynicalHighlander's #84, which must have stung to the quick in the Downing Street bunker.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 145. At 1:45pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "You're telepathic are you?"

    No. You just need to look at the guy: Most of the time he's decked out with St Andrews flag wrist bands, St Andrews flag baseball cap, dark blue and white kit.

    Unlike some idiots who apparently can't use the eyes God gave them, any rational person can see where his true loyalties lie just by looking at how he chooses to dress on court.

    In any case, anyone who's read Andy's official blog wouldn't even dare ask such a stupid question.

    "my comment "it's of no consequence" refers to the fact that it doesn't matter whether you call Andy Scottish, British or European"

    And my point is that it does matter....to him! Learn to read what I've written.

    Keep going with your ranting replies. Every single one shows how riled you are about something of "no consequence".

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  • 146. At 1:50pm on 03 Jun 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    Just to return to the original blog and speculation that Captain Darling's days (if not hours) in no.11 are numbered...

    Sacking a chancellor "Sends negative global signals. Spooks the market, apparently." says Brian, admittedly quoting the received wisdom of others, but (a) the market is already as spooked as its ever likely to get, in part thanks to the policies of said Captain Darling and his lord and master, and (b) at the present rate of departure his own demise will probably be all but un-noticed. Will anyone care? Might it even cheer the market up if he (and the saviour of the world) were to go sooner rather than later?

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  • 147. At 1:50pm on 03 Jun 2009, salmondella wrote:

    #142 Bigheluvanarrowmind

    Sorry, I don't have time to trawl through your post archive. It really does go on and on and on - do you get paid for this blogging stuff ;-)

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  • 148. At 1:55pm on 03 Jun 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    so GB of GB was asked 3 times by CMD in PMQ's "will the chancellor still be there next week " no answer came the loud reply.
    the way things are going this week Mr Brown may attempt a re-shuffle but will ,what remains of, his cabinet play the game , or will someone fire the golden bullet and put him and us out of our misery??
    Sid

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  • 149. At 1:58pm on 03 Jun 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    144. "It's just conceivable that if Gordon steps down by next week, the new Labour leader could agree with the Clegg plan and generate enough momentum to prevent Cameron winning an overall majority in the autumn general election."

    This is certainly a possibility. The majority of the UK is still centre-left and the Tories have certainly not come out of this expenses fiasco unscathed. Labour do still have an opportunity to wipe much of their slate clean with sweeping parliamentary reforms and an ideological relaunch. As much of a Tory as I am, Cameron is still unpalatable to many and Labour would be daft not to capitalise on that. Also, Thatcherism may have been 18 years ago but the unpopular aspects of her reforms still remain in people's memories.

    Brown's clearly finished though. An abject failure on almost every count.

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  • 150. At 2:02pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    "Det Sgt Jim Smith from Tayside Police said: 'We are concerned because there is nothing to suggest that John would have willingly absconded. He has been in jail most of his life and judging by his prison record this is completely out of character for him.'"

    The logical inference from this police officer's statement is that this prisoner may have been forced to abscond against his will.

    There must be an immediate investigation by the Scottish government into whether any pressure was applied to this prisoner to abscond from the open prison.

    This investigation must identify who was in a position to apply such pressure.

    If it subsequently proves pressure was applied then the person who applied it must be compelled to reveal why they did that and if they refuse to do so they should face serious legal sanctions.

    If any evidence surfaces that the pressure was applied so Alex Salmond could be criticised in parliament then things look very grim indeed for Labour in Scotland because they so obviously tried to make polticial capital out of it.

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  • 151. At 2:04pm on 03 Jun 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    145. How about supplying some quotes from Murray's blog that back up your (not in any way riled or ranting) posts.

    And get yourself a good strong coffee, lad. You're almost comatose.

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  • 152. At 2:09pm on 03 Jun 2009, Older than the Pyramids wrote:

    For all his faults, there is NOT ONE member of Cabinet (or Shadow Cabinet) whom I would trust to any greater degree than our Great Leader.

    Indeed, given that he will (like Tony Blair before him) want to [try tpo] create a positive legacy - however unlikely that might currently seem - Gordon Brown's motivation to improve matters is far greater.

    The Tories must be rubbing their hands with glee at the propsect of an Alan Johnson-headed administration, relishing the prospect of 20 years uninterrupted power as a result...

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  • 153. At 2:10pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #149 Reluctant-Cowpat

    "Brown's clearly finished though. An abject failure on almost every count."

    Just like the Union he symbolises. Welcome to reality.

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  • 154. At 2:10pm on 03 Jun 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #147 salmondella -

    Think of me as akin to the shopkeeper from Mr Benn. As if by magic, the link you need is here

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  • 155. At 2:15pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #151 Reluctant-Cowpat

    "How about supplying some quotes from Murray's blog that back up your (not in any way riled or ranting) posts."

    How many times do you think people are going to run around providing "quotes" for you?

    I've done it enough times to prove you talk rubbish. How about you providing some "quotes" for once?

    Go to Andy's blog and come up with a statement that proves he regards himself as "British".

    When you don't find one come back and admit it like a man or, better still, don't come back at all.

    The way things are going for your beloved Union it won't be long before anything you say is going to be even less relevant than it is now, if that's possible.

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  • 156. At 2:15pm on 03 Jun 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    153. I am absolutely nowhere near your 'reality', bighullabaloo! Don't make that mistake!

    Your post 150. 'Nuff said.

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  • 157. At 2:22pm on 03 Jun 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #149 Reluctant_Expat -

    "As much of a Tory as I am, Cameron is still unpalatable to many."

    Are you a Tory? I always had you down as some bizarre, chimaerical hybrid of DUP and Nu-Labour. Just goes to show, there's nowt as queer as folk etc. Dean must be comforted too I imagine knowing that he can count on covering fire from your idealogical 'big guns'.

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  • 158. At 2:22pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #154 Bandages_For_Konjic

    That was only one of several times I have proven Reluctant-Cowpat to be talking through what Eminem now regards as his least favourite part of human anatomy.

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  • 159. At 2:27pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #156 Reluctant-Cowpat

    "Your post 150. 'Nuff said."

    Yes, I imagine you read that carefully and found it threatening enough you couldn't resist responding, even although that betrays your obvious anxiety about it.

    But enough hasn't been said, not by a long way. However I am going to make sure more is said.

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  • 160. At 2:30pm on 03 Jun 2009, Angusblogg wrote:

    #144 Brownedov

    I suspect its not in Brown's nature to 'step down' without having a positive legacy to be able to spin.

    It is not inconceivable that closed door's deals are being brokered at the moment between GB, the PLP and Clegg. Some form of Proportional Representation as part of an overall package to Reform Parliament, BEFORE Cameron is elected, would keep a significantly higher number of Labour MP's at Westminster than First Past the Post. The PLP would benefit, the Lib Dems would jump at it and GB would get to stay in place until Autumn, before moving to House of Lord's with his legacy as the Great Reformer in place!

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  • 161. At 2:45pm on 03 Jun 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    New blog.They're coming think and fast these days; the documentary must be 'in the can', so to speak.

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  • 162. At 2:50pm on 03 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #140 bighullabaloo

    "You're deliberatley missing my point...again."

    No, I actually agreed with you.

    "I've asked you to stop making mindless knee-jerk responses to my posts but it seems that's all you're capable of."

    Pots and kettles mate. If you'd read my post before flying of the handle, you'd have seen that I agreed with you. that's what my "Very true" meant.

    "Any "ordinary" member of the public could certianly be honest and make a mistake on their tax form but they'd still be treated as "guilty until proven innocent" by the tax authorities."

    Granted, that is true but we were talking about 'ordinary people' doing what politicians have been doing, some of whom definately have not made honest mistakes. If that means they are acting dishonestly, then any 'ordinary person' doing the same thing is also acting dishonestly.

    Some of the MPs expenses may have been genuine mistakes. If that is the case then they too deserve to be treated as innocent until proved innocent. Something that a lot of posters on here are overlooking with the 'hang them all' mentality. None, I'm not defending anyone, just pointing out some inconsistancies.

    "So, no, your "point" isn't a logical conclusion from what I wrote."

    True, but then that's only really because I wasn't trying to make a point. I was trying to make a (semi)humorous observation. The humour, however, was clearly lost on some people.

    "What we have with these MPs is clearly dishonest people being treated as "innocent" and there's no sign of those who have a duty to hold them to account even suggesting they might be "guilty"."

    That, sadly, is very true. It's no wonder so many people feel such antipathy towords politicians and politics.

    Anyway, all of the above aside, I've told you before, I'm not having a go at you, so please stop taking my comments so personally. I have a particularly sardonic outlook on things and tend to use irony where you rely on indignation. If my outlook on life upsets you, then I apologise but it's the way I am.

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  • 163. At 2:53pm on 03 Jun 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    155. Bigleapsintothewildblue...Er, no. You said in your usual 'trying very hard to sound arrogant' manner, "In any case, anyone who's read Andy's official blog wouldn't even dare ask such a stupid question.".

    So when someone asks you to back up what you claim, you don't just say "Go to Andy's blog and come up with a statement that proves he regards himself as British."! LOL!

    So, once you get back from finding all the anti-UK sentiment in Andy Murray's website, make sure you tell us more about why the SNP should just ignore the will of the people and declare UDI, and then also some more about how an anti-nationalist group coerced a convict to escape from prison just so Iain Gray could have a go at Salmond in Parliament.

    Plus, I think you should read the link given in #154.

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  • 164. At 2:53pm on 03 Jun 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    They've just been discussing the vote on a GE in hollyrood at FMQs. Why the hell is this not on the BBC Parliament channel, BBC as opposed to 6 MPs in the whole of the house of commons rattling about like old farts struggling to see each other, eh BBC?

    Wow that Salmond is formidable!! You should check it out.

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  • 165. At 2:58pm on 03 Jun 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    157. Yep, I'm usually a Tory voter although I do tend to float around during some elections. Not a fan of Cameron (there are more suitable leaders in the party) and don't agree with their anti-Europe stance but the core ideology of small govt/low taxes/freedom of choice/pro-business is certainly all for me.

    160. I can't see PR ever happening in the UK Parliament. The runaway majorities need to be addressed but going all the way down the PR route is almost certainly not an option.

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  • 166. At 3:11pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #162 Fit Like?

    "we were talking about 'ordinary people' doing what politicians have been doing, some of whom definately have not made honest mistakes."

    No, I wasn't talking about ordinary people doing what MPs have been doing.

    MPs are being dishonest. Just because they're acting as if they are innocent doesn't mean they are.

    If you think they's making "genuine mistakes" that's up to you.

    I don't: "The idea that a very large number of MPs are ignorant of how tax rules work on deductible expenses stretches credulity well beyond breaking point." (#121)

    I'm saying that if honest people did what MPs are doing they'd be hammered for it. That's not the same thing at all.

    "If that is the case then they too deserve to be treated as innocent until proved innocent."

    "They too" implies ordinary people are treated as "innocent". They are not. As I said ordinary people are treated as "guilty until proven innocent" but MPs the opposite.

    The only "inconsistencies" here appear to be yours.

    "I have a particularly sardonic outlook on things"

    Well, try to do something about that instead of selfishly imposing your outlook on others and expecting everyone to put up with it.

    In the meantime your apology is, of course, accepted.

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  • 167. At 3:13pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #163 Reluctant-Cowpat

    "So when someone asks you to back up what you claim, you don't just say "Go to Andy's blog and come up with a statement that proves he regards himself as British."! LOL!"

    For the umpteenth time YOU'VE been asked to back up what you claim but as usual it turns out you're a man of straw! LOL!

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  • 168. At 3:22pm on 03 Jun 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #165 Re-Expat, Quote "don't agree with their (Conservatives) anti-Europe stance but the core ideology of small govt/low taxes/freedom of choice/pro-business is certainly all for me."

    ...So... Pro-Europe (SNP),Small Gov. (SNP,Scottish Gov.), Low Taxes (SNP,froze council tax), Freedom of choice (SNP,stv voting), Pro-Business (SNP, tax relief for small businesses)...

    ...that is some jump Re-Expat from the Tory's to the SNP *;o)

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  • 169. At 3:35pm on 03 Jun 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #149 Reluctant-Expat &
    #160 Angusblogg

    Thanks both for thoughtful responses to my my #144.

    For once I agree with R-E, at least in respect of his: "Brown's clearly finished though. An abject failure on almost every count."

    The scenario painted by Angus could well work, but only with anyone but Gordon as NuLab leader. First, he's such a ditherer and second I simply don't believe that Clegg and his senior colleagues are daft enough to believe a word Duff Gordon says, especially if it's behind closed doors. What you suggest would be just conceivable if NuLab published the electoral reform bill first.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

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  • 170. At 3:39pm on 03 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #166

    "Well, try to do something about that instead of selfishly imposing your outlook on others and expecting everyone to put up with it."

    And the fact you frequently refer to someone 'Cowpat' is, of course, the epitome of respect and understanding of your fellow man and not in any way abusive. I'm not excusing some of that individual's less reasoned comments, I'm sure that person is big enough and ugly enough to look out for theirself, I'm simply using it as an example of your fabled level of tolerance.

    Anyway, as I said in #162, Pots and kettles, mate. If there is a mirror anywhere nearby, I suggest you go and have a long look in it. I wonder if you can resist responding given how often you bemoan my inability and lack of restraint on that front? I suspect not. The need for you to always have the last word is probably too strong.

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  • 171. At 3:51pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #170 Fit Like?

    "And the fact you frequently refer to someone 'Cowpat' is, of course, the epitome of respect and understanding of your fellow man and not in any way abusive."

    It's not about me. Stop trying to project your faults onto others and give it some serious self-reflection. You are doing anything to avoid looking in your own mirror.

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  • 172. At 4:23pm on 03 Jun 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    170. Bighullabaloo always needing to have the last word? Never! I just won't have that said!

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  • 173. At 4:32pm on 03 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #172 Expat

    I'm away to find myself a mirror and, assuming it doesn't shatter, I'm going to have a wee smile to myself.

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  • 174. At 4:34pm on 03 Jun 2009, reaktor303 wrote:

    Darling is NOT a fellow Scot. He's a London-born Englishman. He will never ever be a Scot.

    You know what Roy Keane called Mick McCarthy? Even Brown and Scot in the same sentence takes the biscuit.

    Cameron must also be a fellow Scot by this theory. He's got more Scots blood than anyone!

    PS: Vote SNP this Thursday.

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  • 175. At 4:35pm on 03 Jun 2009, Fit Like wrote:

    #171. That's not fair, you didn't even give me enough time to put money on my predicted outcome. There again, I suspect the odds I'd have been given would have been pretty poor anyway.

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  • 176. At 4:35pm on 03 Jun 2009, bighullabaloo wrote:

    #173 Fit Like?

    You're again proving everything I say about you is true! Okay, let me show you how it's done. The first one to stop posting wins.

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  • 177. At 4:59pm on 03 Jun 2009, greenockboy wrote:

    Blink and you'll miss it !!

    A few days ago I suggested that there might be more than met the eye to the 'non return' of the long term prisoner who was being readied for release.

    The police have just issued a statement regarding this person and they say that his non return doesn't make sense, is against his character and that he "may not have done it willingly", it was on the BBC Scotland website earlier.

    The police don't make such statements willy nilly, so they must have a reason for suggesting that this 'soon to be released' prisoner is being forced to stay away from the open prison.

    I said on the other blog Watch out for this story being buried !!
    It's alrday been moved from the BBC Scotland website and is now just a link, disappearing faster than Brown's cabinet.

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  • 178. At 5:28pm on 03 Jun 2009, waitingformyman wrote:

    157. At 2:22pm on 03 Jun 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:
    #149 Reluctant_Expat -

    "As much of a Tory as I am, Cameron is still unpalatable to many."

    I knew you wern't a scot!!

    I bet your an advocate of the tyranny of thatcherism too!
    The woman who tackled unionism by shutting down all the bl**dy industries they were represnititive of, the woman who so enthusiastically encouraged the fever of borrowing for consumption, eagerly following the example of her equally questionable pal Rattling Regan!! Yeah look where that took the world - to its damn knees near.

    The woman who treated scotland like a bit of sh*t on the heel of her shoe.

    Then of course nulab came in and embraced all this. yeeuch! Grrr!




    God help us.
    Independance now please thankyou very much..a!

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  • 179. At 6:12pm on 03 Jun 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    176. Like I say, bigleapsintotheblue having the last word? Never.

    He's absolutely above that!

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