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It's FMQs, stupid

Brian Taylor | 14:46 UK time, Thursday, 29 October 2009

"The economy, stupid".

Thus the phrase hung in Bill Clinton's Little Rock campaign HQ by James Carville in 1992.

It was designed to focus the team upon the voters' concern with the dollar in their pocket. It worked inasmuch as Clinton won.

Iain Gray borrowed the phrase today for first minister's questions. However, Mr Gray appeared keen to focus on the word "stupid". Rather than the word "economy."

For this was a sharp personal attack upon Alex Salmond, based upon sundry criticisms from business organisations that the Scottish government might be more helpful - and less inclined to promote other "anti-business" policies such as minimum pricing for alcohol.

Mr Gray said the FM was "a banker who got it wrong on the banks, an economist who is getting it wrong on the economy, and a Scottish first minister who is getting it wrong for Scotland."

If Mr Salmond was rattled, he contrived to conceal it exceptionally well. He reminded Mr Gray that, having reshuffled his front bench team, he had now appointed most of the Labour group to office.

Smart move, reckoned the FM, getting potential critics on the payroll vote. (Not that they get paid extra - but you get the concept.)

The two then barracked each other about help for small business.

Then they traded insults based on quotes from, respectively, the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday.

And that was that.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:00pm on 29 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Brian,

    Why has the BBC stopped putting FMQs on this website? Us expats cannot watch them on the iPlayer, you know. A the time of writing, they're still not avaialable from http://www.holyrood.tv/ so I'll have to comment later, when let's hope they will be.

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  • 2. At 3:09pm on 29 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Correction to my #1

    Today's FMQs are downloading from holyrood.tv as I write this. Unfortunately, the current version of the
    view/download page here is currently linking to a file ending in ....081009_FMQs.wmv. To get today's FMQs, copy the line, change the ending to 291009_FMQs.wmv and download or play that.

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  • 3. At 3:13pm on 29 Oct 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    No one can have any doubt that this 'gang of three' headed by Iain Macmillan have only one agenda. That is to stop the SNP from taking the country to independence. They are fully supported by Labour and their media cohorts.

    It would not matter what the SNP did for business it would never be good enough in their eyes, but I just wonder how many companies are supportive of SNP policies but prefer to remain silent whilst their leaders have their way.

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  • 4. At 3:22pm on 29 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Well, that is quite the wrong emphasis. And the thing with Bill Clinton (I remember the campaign well and did indeed vote for him) was that he actually had economic policies to offer, ones that made a difference.

    Clinton didn't have to use personal attacks since he had salient policy ones. You didn't mention policy, Mr. Taylor, and Iain Gray's possible lack therein.

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  • 5. At 3:31pm on 29 Oct 2009, DebateisFree wrote:

    Some people less kind than myself would say that Labour has got more wrong regarding the banks and more to answer about bankers bonuses and the UK's economy than the SNP do.

    http://debateisfree.blogspot.com/

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  • 6. At 3:34pm on 29 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online ed Here

    More useless mince from Taylor.

    Bloggers are informing the puiblic more.

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  • 7. At 3:36pm on 29 Oct 2009, Maurice_Minor wrote:

    Pity the SNP doesn't view Housing and Regenration as meriting a dedicated front bench portfolio. Perhaps that explains the 37.1% budget cut being proposed by the SNP's draft budget. Good on Iain Gray for giving it the prominence it deserves.

    P.S. 13 out of 46 MSPs does not constitute "most of the Labour group" but presumably these are mere details.

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  • 8. At 3:36pm on 29 Oct 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    Nothing about Iain Gray's reshu...SACKINGS then Brian?

    As for being called stupid by the likes of Iain Gray, I'd consider it a badge of honour.

    Now unionists are always saying that they've NEVER said Scots are too stupid to run their own affairs and then their very own representative on earth goes and does it in Parliament!

    As is often the case, you heard it here first......

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  • 9. At 3:46pm on 29 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Brian,

    Brilliant understatement in your "If Mr Salmond was rattled, he contrived to conceal it exceptionally well". But you got the order a little wrong there, Mr G's "All the signs of somebody who's lost the plot" quote from the Daily Mail and the FM's excellent riposte preceded the reshuffle exchange and the good news about T mobile jobs.

    Aunty Bella back on good form with "this is the man who was such an impressive minister for Enterprise he lost his seat" but that was against Mr G and she fared less well opposite the FM.

    Scott was a bit better than either going on mail contracts but not exactly scoring a goal.

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  • 10. At 4:11pm on 29 Oct 2009, john wrote:

    I fail to see how minimum pricing for alcohol can be perceived as "anti-business".

    Maybe it is over simplistic to think that businesses might benefit from a workforce that is not hungover or taking a sickie. I'm sure that a sharp analytical brain like Mr Grey's will be able to explain why seeking to reduce alcoholism and alcohol related crime and illness is anti business.

    John

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  • 11. At 4:11pm on 29 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #7 Maurice_Minor
    "13 out of 46 MSPs does not constitute "most of the Labour group" but presumably these are mere details"

    Don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant, Mo.

    The FM actually said "29 out of 46". If you take a look at the Scottish [sic] Labour Party's The Scottish Shadow Cabinet, at the time of writing you'll find, er, exactly 29 names.

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  • 12. At 4:13pm on 29 Oct 2009, john wrote:

    #7
    are you deliberately forgetting the budget spending that was brought forwards to help mitigate the effects of the recession? Spending that most parties agreed was wise.

    John

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  • 13. At 4:14pm on 29 Oct 2009, Donald_McNairn wrote:

    "The economy, stupid".

    Agreed!

    Who brought Scotland's economy to its knees, Alex Salmond or SNP?

    No!

    Could it have been Brown, Darling and Fred?

    Err, yes!

    Mr Gray days look numbered!

    D McN

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  • 14. At 4:24pm on 29 Oct 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    Good to see it was you that got the gig to interview the U.S. Ambassador and not Mr Outrage. He got the safe wee chat with his pal from the Times in the garden lobby at the end of FMQ's. Look forward to hearing or seeing your full interview.I wonder if some people will finally take the hint!!
    Sid

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  • 15. At 4:25pm on 29 Oct 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    Iain MacMillan thinks that the SNP introducing minimum pricing of alchohol will be bad for business.Are huge numbers of drunk young people falling down in our town and city centres of an evening,Thursday through Sunday,good for the economy?Certainly can't do much for Scotland's tourist trade.Unless it brings in lots and lots of sociologists from abroad to study the problem first hand.

    More rounded views from Mr. MacMillan would command more attention I'm sure.

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  • 16. At 4:26pm on 29 Oct 2009, john wrote:

    I'm sure Mr grey wanted to concentrate more on "stupid" than "economy". I know which of these he appears to know more about.

    John

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  • 17. At 4:40pm on 29 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    Interesting! the weeble was on the wobble and started shouting about his own failings.

    So they part privatised royal mail in the name of procurement?

    Well, Alex! not in my name!.

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  • 18. At 4:46pm on 29 Oct 2009, rochcarlie wrote:

    Of course Labour are business friendly, or more correctly, friends of the City.
    Just watch, next year, after the electors have given them the bums rush, how many of them go straight into lucrative sinecures with the investment banks etc, just like T Blair on £2M for a few days a month advising JP Morgan.

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  • 19. At 4:55pm on 29 Oct 2009, freedjmac wrote:

    Whenever I hear or read the words 'Ian MacMillan'I am remined of his infamous quote about the independence movement in Scotland - 'a boil that needs to be lanced'.

    Whenever he next looks in his shaving mirror, he will see exactly what needs to be lanced!!

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  • 20. At 5:04pm on 29 Oct 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    It's no wonder Gray focusses on the word "stupid ", he's been afflicted with it for long enough.

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  • 21. At 5:41pm on 29 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    Is it suprising that business organisations are criticising the Scottish Government about protecting small businesses?

    Is it suprising that Trade Unions are also critical about the Scottish Governments failure to protect public sector jobs?

    Is the public naive that certain groups have a personal interest and will use their influence to help encourage further support for their own interests?

    There will never be enough help for businesses and there will never be enough help for the public sector. You can't run a country like a business and you certainly should never expect the Government to make all your problems go away.

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  • 22. At 5:42pm on 29 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    I called Brian's latest offerings mince in an earlier comment and it was referred.

    It's still mince.

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  • 23. At 5:51pm on 29 Oct 2009, spinspamspun wrote:

    Brian,
    Were you off camera,because you were wearing a "wee"
    willie
    BAIN badge???
    How bad was the Grayman,after Murphy had told him
    what to ask. Murphy, who is involving the LOL's,
    the Pope,RFC,CFC etc, in Glasgow North East.
    Who's to help,in the next two weeks?
    What questions will 12%Gray ask at FMQ's next Thur?

    Brian,can you put Gray's questions on U tube?
    Let the world see these "bathroom rehearsed" questions!
    Mirror,mirror !!!

    Question Brian.If Bain fails to win (a lab gain!!!)
    is the 12% grey GRAYman emptied ???

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  • 24. At 5:54pm on 29 Oct 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    #18. Over 30 former New Labour ministers are now directors or paid consultants with large companies.The days of this being the Tories' preserve are long gone.George Robertson is almost in double figures in directorships and paid advisory roles with international companies.

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  • 25. At 6:03pm on 29 Oct 2009, spinspamspun wrote:

    #7 Maurice-Minor

    A dedicated front bench for Housing and Regeneration !

    What's the chance of joined up thinking or is it, "brainshare" !!!

    What has a Labour "weegie" Council ever done for Springburn/Glasgow NE ?

    Please tell all !

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  • 26. At 6:19pm on 29 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Labour friends of crimminals enemy of the people.

    SNP group walk as Glasgow Council ignore crime

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  • 27. At 6:44pm on 29 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    Wheels come off Labour road-show - Labour by-election candidate highlights SNP house building success

    Since 2007, under the SNP Government, 3241 properties have been started by housing associations in Glasgow – more than in any other 2 year period.

    And in 2008-09, 1898 approvals were granted in Glasgow through the affordable housing investment programme funded by the Scottish Government. A further 400 new homes were announced earlier this month.

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  • 28. At 6:45pm on 29 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    Report shows SNP success in tackling Glasgow deprivation:

    Kerr champions SNP action against poverty

    The SNP have made inroads in tackling deprivation in Glasgow according to the latest edition of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation published today (Thursday).

    The number of deprived areas in Glasgow has fallen 4.5% since the SNP came to power, with the largest improvement, a fall of 12% taking place in the Springburn area of Glasgow North East.


    Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation

    The SNP have got what it takes.

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  • 29. At 6:56pm on 29 Oct 2009, Brian Hill wrote:

    Even if minimum pricing turned out to be 'bad for business', so what!!

    It's going to be GOOD for HEALTH and GOOD for SOCIETY in terms of safer City Centre streets at the weekends and LESS work for Courts and Prison staff who will have less 'clients' to deal with thanks to low quality, high grade alcohol being priced out of easy access.

    Mr Gray and co should give a thought to that instead of making cheap political points.

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  • 30. At 6:57pm on 29 Oct 2009, Blind_Captain wrote:

    #26
    Now I'm not familiar with the workings of Glasgow City Council, but this appears to be atrocious behaviour on the part of those against the discussion of the proposed motion.

    Brian, Scotland's biggest city is blighted by crime. Will we hear of this on BBC Scotland?

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  • 31. At 7:18pm on 29 Oct 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    How fascinating that we see that Edifice of Straw, "Scottish Labour", pontificating on bringing forward Public Spending. But that the Grey Man "warns" that the "SNP Must use the money brought forward to create jobs..."

    I wonder, could there be a by-election on ? Will Capn Darling and The Murph "suddenly" be announcing that "they" will "allow" funding to be drawn down from future years expenditure "on the condition that it is used to build housing in deprived areas" (such as, purely for an example off the top of my head, Springburn ?)

    This "story" is reporting of the very worst order. A simple rehash of a Northern British NuLab Press release with absolutely no pretence at balance. John Swinney has been crying out to be allowed to draw down from future years funding but SUDDENLY its a story when the Grey Man and his feeble cohorts "ask the Chancellor" and "warn" The Scottish Government.

    One is tempted to ask in what way the Grey Man and the other Feeble Forty-Five "warn" the Scottish Government ?

    So in the same vein I cordially Warn Northern British NuLab. Not that it's much of a warning, more a prediction.

    You boys are in for a hell of a beating.

    Mr Grey, please remain leader. You are the Second Greatest Recruiting Sergeant that the SNP Could have. Behind Bliar becoming "EU President".

    Can't wait for the next Health session. Bring buckets for the blood.

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  • 32. At 7:41pm on 29 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Appears that the Damian McBride affair is still running:

    Smeargate damages for Dorries and Watson.

    Conservative MP Nadine Dorries and former Labour minister Tom Watson have received damages in separate claims following the spring's 'smeargate' affair.

    Ms Dorries, the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, received an undisclosed sum from former Downing Street spin doctor Damian McBride.

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  • 33. At 8:01pm on 29 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    My blog

    In fact Guidos blog says Nadine might not be finished yet.

    She has not halted her case against the government. Gus O’Donnell is the formal respondent because as head of the civil service he was the employer of Damian McBride, who as the PM’s Press Adviser, was line managed by Gordon Brown. What is panicking government lawyers is that Damian placed stories in newspapers about opposition politicians, sent from his desk in Downing Street, from his government computer during working hours. In the course of his job…

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  • 34. At 8:22pm on 29 Oct 2009, peteraberdeenshire wrote:

    I heard Ian Grey's so called attack, the problem is that he cant do the tough guy nor can he do spontaneous, it sounded like it was. A poorly rehearsed speech made by a man with the charisma of a blanket of fog.
    Grey is typical of Labour, negative and uninspiring, but a great boost for the cause of independence.

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  • 35. At 8:25pm on 29 Oct 2009, rochcarlie wrote:

    #26
    A reference perhaps to the licenced embezzlers in the City?

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  • 36. At 8:37pm on 29 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    By the way Brian I watched FMQ’s and noted that the Grey Mans twitch is back…..Palpably back.

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  • 37. At 8:44pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Rumour reported on PB

    "Rumours up here of “interesting” news from Glasgow North East, especially given the Glenrothes lost register.

    Official figures show 4000 extra voters have been added to the electoral register in last month. Postal vote registrations are up almost 50% since campaign started, including 1200 in last 4 weeks. 600 postal votes supposedly delivered by Labour at last minute.

    Even seasoned by-election campaigners are amazed by these numbers. Must be something in the air..?"

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  • 38. At 8:55pm on 29 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    Perhaps, we're witnessing some type of democracy by Labour. Did certain Labour officials not once ask their members to help delivery postal votes, or something similar but discard votes which went against the Labour party?

    There should be an investigation and we should ask the individuals themselves in they actually bothered voting.

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  • 39. At 9:05pm on 29 Oct 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    #37

    Is there a suspicion of naughtiness?

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  • 40. At 9:06pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    39. Wee-Scamp

    Seems unlikely. You'd need to find a party with a track record of such behaviour. :-)

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  • 41. At 9:09pm on 29 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #31 Chiefy1724
    "Mr Grey, please remain leader. You are the Second Greatest Recruiting Sergeant that the SNP Could have."

    A good post and I agree he's the best "Scottish" Labour leader in the sense you mean it, but although undoubtedly a "Top 10" performer, Mr G's problem in making the N°2 spot his own is that he has name recognition an undercover agent would die for, something his charisma by-pass is unlikely to correct.

    UK government ministers have it easier, and this week, I suspect that Oliver Hardy clone Ainsworth has the UK-wide silver medal position and in a few weeks' time Miliband Minor will be challenging hard for the Scottish silver medal in Copenhagen.

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  • 42. At 9:40pm on 29 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    For those who, for whatever reason, did not see FMQ's today and have only Brian Taylor's blog to offer an insight:

    Gray:
    Q1
    A rehash of a Scotsman headline that basically covered Iain Macmillan’s latest attack on the SNP

    Salmond responds by pointing out that these organisations all support the accelerated funding and that he welcomed Labour’s damascian conversion on the same funding calls.

    Q2
    Gray ‘acknowledges’ his support for accelerated growth and suggests small businesses are doing better in England than in Scotland. GARL is dragged up yet again .... though no clear point is made.

    Salmond responds by highlighting the benefits of the small business bonus.

    Q3
    Gray repeats the claim that small businesses get more support in England than do Scottish small businesses in Scotland. Gray then descends to insults as he reads out apparent quotes from a newspaper describing the FM in unflattering terms and claiming that the First Minister is damaging Scotland’s reputation abroad.

    Salmond responds in kind by reading out some less than flattering quotes from a senior Labour politician from a related newspaper.

    Q4
    An angry Gray begins by making a thinly veiled insult “It’s the economy stupid”; he spits the word ‘stupid’ at Salmond with venom. Gray accuses Salmond of being out of step with everyone else on the economy. “A banker who got it wrong on the banks” says Gray, “An economist who is getting it wrong on the economy”, “A Scottish First Minister who’s getting it wrong for Scotland”, “When will the First Minister realise that he is the problem”

    Salmond responds by pointing out that Gray is struggling to such an extent that he has had to appoint 29 Labour MSP’s as shadow spokespeople.

    Salmond reminds Gray that the last time [Gray] actually asked about the economy was the 11th Sept: In that question Gray had expressed concern about 300 potential job losses in T Mobile in Larbert. Salmond reveals that three months earlier the SNP had actually acted to save these jobs. Salmond reveales that two weeks ago the chief executive of the operation confirmed that there would be a further 170 jobs created and went on to thank in glowing terms the work of the Scottish Government in securing these jobs for Falkirk and Larbert.

    Goldie:
    Starts off by pointing to Iain Gray’s own lamentable tenure as enterprise minister and reminding everyone that he then lost his seat – howls of laughter as Gray looks crestfallen at the unexpected put down.

    Goldie then adopted a strange tack by trying to use Diageo, Dunfermline BS and minimum pricing in order to attack Salmond – it failed miserably.

    Tavish Scott asks simply why the £8m contract was awarded to TNT rather than the Royal Mail – topical given the current industrial dispute.

    Salmond points out that Scott should know that the Scottish government are obliged to use the competitive tender mechanism and effectively had to award the contract, he also pointed out that a contract double that amount had indeed been awarded to RM. Salmond goes on to state that in his opinion the shadow of privatisation is not helping the situation and should be removed.

    Tavish Scott agrees about privatisation but then highlights the criticism by the SNP when Labour in London awarded similar contracts to TNT – fair enough point.

    Salmond responds that the difference is that this time the SNP awarded the larger contract to royal mail.

    Labour’s Sarah Boyack then asks a supplementary question that focuses on the £600,000 loss that the company responsible for The Gathering experienced. Salmond responded by pointing out that that single event generated over £10million for Scotland’s economy.

    All in all a lamentable performance from Gray who was yet again reduced to using Scotsman headlines in order to attack Salmond. Gray’s personal insults were best forgotten as was his temporary loss of composure when he spat ‘stupid’ at Salmond.

    Goldie did more harm to Gray than to Salmond and was unwise to use Diageo and the Dunfermline in order to attack Salmond as these are areas that the Scottish Government did all they could on.

    Tavish Scott made a decent enough point although it will almost certainly be forgotten by tomorrow as the Royal mail dispute is viewed by all as Labour’s problem as is their desire to part privatise.

    Salmond highlighted the ‘U’ turn on accelerated spending at every turn and actually forced Iain Gray to concede the point. Salmond also used Scott’s question to highlight what he saw was the damage of having privatisation of the Royal Mail looming over the current dispute.

    There you go, a rather more informative summary of today’s events at Holyrood, many of them 'chisholmed' out of Brian's offering.

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  • 43. At 9:41pm on 29 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #37 oldnat
    "Official figures show 4000 extra voters have been added to the electoral register in last month"

    If true, that's nearly 7% of the 2005 electorate, an astonishing proportion to have taken advantage of the "rolling" register option, even though the electoral register is very nearly as old as is possible.

    It would certainly explain why, most unusually, NuLab had a whipped voted to prevent the SNP calling for the writ before the summer recess.

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  • 44. At 9:42pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Willie Bain getting ever more tribal -

    "This week I've been highlighting how the SNP government in Edinburgh is ripping off Glasgow."

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  • 45. At 9:49pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    43. Brownedov
    "If true"

    That's the important bit! It's a rumour, and should be considered as something to keep an eye on, more than anything else. Still some of these "insider" stories do turn out to be true.

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  • 46. At 10:04pm on 29 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    37. At 8:44pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:
    Rumour reported on PB

    "Rumours up here of “interesting” news from Glasgow North East, especially given the Glenrothes lost register.

    Official figures show 4000 extra voters have been added to the electoral register in last month. Postal vote registrations are up almost 50% since campaign started, including 1200 in last 4 weeks. 600 postal votes supposedly delivered by Labour at last minute.

    Even seasoned by-election campaigners are amazed by these numbers. Must be something in the air..?"


    Official figures after the election will reveal if the rumours have any substance.

    I have been saying for the last week that Labour's campaign is an absolute mess, more inclined to put people off than to attract them to Labour. There is a near blackout of news from Springburn which really is incredible. My view is that things are just too bad nationally for Labour and that any exposure of Bain in the media makes him susceptable to difficult questions [yes, who from I hear you say].

    I wonder how many articles were ready to go last week when everyone expected the UK to be out of recession. Brown had already announced that he would be visiting the constituancy so confident was he that the economic news would be good.

    The news that Labour in London have capitulated and will now allow an acceleration of capital funds can only be for one reason - let the Scottish media twist it from a clear SNP led initiative that Labour always opposed into a 'Labour Save Scotland' story.

    Note the wording on the BBC sites that I have already drawn attention to. "Labour call for" - "Labour echo" - "Labour issues a plea for funding to beat recession", no sign of the SNP in these headlines.

    We should have seen 'Labour Cave In To SNP Demands', but hey, this is Scotland.

    Brian didn't seem to notice this accelerated funding story, despite Salmond repeating it at every opportunity.

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  • 47. At 10:05pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Nice to see the smaller EU countries working together.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/6462174/Only-third-of-voters-want-Tony-Blair-to-be-EU-president.html

    "there were growing signs of opposition to a “President Blair”, as a group of smaller EU member

    states launched a co-ordinated “attack of the dwarves” in a bid to block him.

    The group of countries, which includes Ireland, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden, used a dinner discussion over “rules of procedure” last night to try to define the presidency as a low-key chairmanship instead of the high-profile figurehead post Mr Blair covets."

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  • 48. At 10:14pm on 29 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #45 oldnat

    Of course, but whether so or no, I anticipate that all the parties will be applying whatever resources they can spare to examining the "rolling" applications and all of the postal vote applications.

    A pity that the media will ignore it completely, of course.

    An early start tomorrow, so for tonight that's all folks!

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  • 49. At 10:26pm on 29 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Give MPs a proper job rather than licking postal vote envelopes.

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  • 50. At 10:28pm on 29 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    Talking about rumors! Is little (nakita) Ms Sturgeon about to challenge Alex for the leadership of a soon to be opposition party?.

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  • 51. At 10:34pm on 29 Oct 2009, loveme2times wrote:

    I read some comments about some sort of postal rigging, I was just interested in how this would work, would they doorstep people to check they would vote labour but then send in a postal vote for them, instead of them leaving the house to mark there X???????

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  • 52. At 10:36pm on 29 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Just listened to Scotland at Ten what is that about? Pathetic could do a lot better BBC -F marks in bright red.

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  • 53. At 10:38pm on 29 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    51. loveme2times

    Catching on fast, welcome.

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  • 54. At 10:38pm on 29 Oct 2009, Astonished wrote:

    Online Ed said "I wonder how many articles were ready to go last week when everyone expected the UK to be out of recession. Brown had already announced that he would be visiting the constituancy so confident was he that the economic news would be good."

    This is worth repeating. (My only complaint about online Ed's accurate reporting is that he doesn't use the word glencampbelly. This word, and its increasing usage, is proving extremely embarrassing for the BBC - So you know what to do.)





    Things must be really bad (for labour)that the BBC are refusing to report from the by-election. If the SNP come within 5000 votes in winning this seat then that would be an utter disaster for labour - From the glaring lack of reporting it is obviously much worse than that.


    Gray is only being saved by his media lackeys - this will only be fully understood once we have "truth and reconciliation".



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  • 55. At 10:39pm on 29 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    BBC Radio Scotland's audience figures are dropping, not surprising given the dearth of radical new talent and a refusal to commission in depth current affairs shows - coupled with the usual suspects that assault the ears on Good Morning Scotland and Drive Time and the virtual wall to wall football and assorted pundits.

    This from Jeff Zyncinski, head of Radio Scotland:
    "The dip partly reflected the summer gap in Scottish Premier League coverage.
    eh?


    "I'm very proud of the programmes that we have been producing lately," he said, "from the Under the Influence season, looking at Scotland's relationship with alcohol, to host Brian Taylor's new debate format on Friday afternoons."


    Good grief, is that the limit to this man's ambitions for radio Scotland? Why no political programme on at a time when the population can tune in?

    Oh, Watson's windup - never a more apt name for a so called comedy programme, and as for 'Get it on' with Brian Burnet ........ 'Get it off'.

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  • 56. At 10:41pm on 29 Oct 2009, Astonished wrote:

    I think the watchword for this by-election should be :


    Its the media, stupid !


    This comment was not directed at Mr Gray. I feel I had to point that out.

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  • 57. At 10:44pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    49. cynicalHighlander

    McWhirter is correct in his analysis of the UK Parliament. It would be interesting to hear the views of Unionists on the points re raises. After all, they are the ones who want us to live under its sovereignty.

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  • 58. At 10:52pm on 29 Oct 2009, enneffess wrote:

    A few comments about postal voting and hints that everything may not be above board.

    I've previously mentioned this, but do you think Alex Salmond would stand by and allow any potential illegal act to go ahead? Election fraud is a criminal offence, and some people have been convicted and jailed in recent years.

    Any such actions would be a godsend to the SNP and other parties. They would not hesitate to ensure the police were informed.

    If anyone here honestly thinks there is fraudulent behaviour going on, then report it to the police. Don't post hints and suggestions and allegations on here.

    Glenrothes keeps getting mentioned, yet why have the SNP not made any formal complaint? Allegations for fraud would destroy Labour.

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  • 59. At 11:00pm on 29 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    57. oldnat

    But those in power just cant see it which beggars belief in how they actually think or is that giving them more credit than they deserve.

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  • 60. At 11:07pm on 29 Oct 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #50 worsen trouBle
    Anyone care to comment ... you needed your medicine half a hour ago.
    Brilliant, I never saw that one coming! Derek, it's the way you tell'em. 8-)

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  • 61. At 11:17pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    58. Neil_Small147
    "Glenrothes keeps getting mentioned, yet why have the SNP not made any formal complaint?"

    You can't make an allegation without evidence. The Glenrothes registers were destroyed so they can't be checked. We wait to see if Murphy's motion last night will allow these to be eventually recreated.

    The rumour that I quoted largely related to a significant increase of the electoral roll. If these were people who had genuinely been mistakenly omitted or people who have moved into the constituency since its construction (if the roll actually has increased) then there is no problem - and if it has happened no allegation has been made as to which party has been more successful in ensuring that their supporters are registered.

    However, there have been cases in England where large increases in the roll have been the result of fraud - although it took a year to bring a successful case. This is an area where we need to ensure that close attention is paid to unusual shifts in registered votes to ensure that there is no subversion of the democratic process - by anyone.

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  • 62. At 11:21pm on 29 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    55. U14094468

    5. cynicalHighlander

    Moderation is non existant there as it appears instantly!

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  • 63. At 11:22pm on 29 Oct 2009, U11655018 wrote:

    Rather interesting that Iain MacMillan had already been shown the door by The Herald after trying to convince them of it's merits. No surprise, that it found a welcome from possibly the worst of the Scotland hating Hootsman journalists, David Maddox.

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  • 64. At 11:33pm on 29 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    58. Neil_Small147

    We have in the past have accepted the integrity of the polling system without question as that is how we were brought up but over the years anomalys have come into question, proving correct in there assertions, which allows suspicion to come to the fore especially with nuLabs manipulative ways.

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  • 65. At 11:33pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    So far, these are just ideas in a Working Paper for the English Ministry (which also decides on Scottish elections).

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6896218.ece

    "Thousands of polling stations would be closed and voting hours reduced under a plan to cut the cost of elections"

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  • 66. At 11:41pm on 29 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    Czechs about to sign EU treaty after EU amends their human and civil rights charter.

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  • 67. At 11:44pm on 29 Oct 2009, scottish_solstice wrote:

    61 Oldnat,

    "We wait to see if Murphy's motion last night will allow these to be eventually recreated"

    According to the Glenrothes Gazette 28th Oct 2009 the missing registers are to be recreated. The decision was taken on Monday afternoon.

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  • 68. At 11:55pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    From the Herald

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/swinney-defends-handling-of-scottish-economy-1.929303

    "he [Kerr] insisted Labour will try to reinstate the Glasgow rail link back into the budget plans.

    However he did not respond to challenges from Mr Swinney to detail where Labour would find alternative cuts in spending."

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  • 69. At 11:57pm on 29 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    67. scottish_solstice

    Thanks for that. The Parliament speak from Murphy was rather incomprehensible!

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  • 70. At 11:58pm on 29 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    65. oldnat
    ""Thousands of polling stations would be closed and voting hours reduced under a plan to cut the cost of elections""

    Resulting in an increase of application for postal votes!

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  • 71. At 00:10am on 30 Oct 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #39, this isn't Germany, and it is not 1939!

    When their lies are found out (and they will be)... Revolution will be the response.

    Saor Alba!

    The time is now.

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  • 72. At 00:16am on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    70. cynicalHighlander

    LOL!

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  • 73. At 00:19am on 30 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    71Bongo

    An environmentalist citing revolution? Sheesh! as handclapping would say!
    a scorched earth policy.

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  • 74. At 00:46am on 30 Oct 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    It was interesting to contrast the BBC National news report about the paedophiles case with that of ITV in the way the two channels presented the item.

    Both programmes had it as a lead item. The ITV programme didn't mention Scotland once in the whole of the article but it did become obvious that they were talking about the court case in Edinburgh. On the other hand the BBC continually made reference to Scotland many times from the word go.

    It seems that the BBC are continuing their old ways of always portraying Scotland in a bad light and amplifying it as much as possible.

    There is of course a similar case in England but they are not shouting about that from the rooftops.

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  • 75. At 03:35am on 30 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    74. hamish42

    There is a long history of this kind of thing in the US regarding race. Although, after years of protest, it is less common, it still happens that minority criminals are referred to by their color or now more commonly by code words that indicated color (such as minority) while whites are simply reported.

    The reasons for this are pretty obvious and from the comments one sees from the English regarding Scots and the cringe from Scots themselves, it seems to be pretty effective. As an onlooker, I have been shocked by the constant spewing of prejudice toward Scots, the terms of abuse that are routinely used, the rants about how all Scots are spongers, how Scotland only lives on England's bounty, etc.


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  • 76. At 07:02am on 30 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    News management stepping up a gear in Scotland.

    BBC have decided that the postponement until next year of an even aimed at improving relations between muslims and Scots is to be headlined under a 'forced to pay back' banner - suggesting impropriety of some sort.

    Herald have twisted another report on deprivation [previously it was crime] - one area not mentioned was Springburn.

    Scotsman have turned a walkout by Glasgow Council group due to a ruling that organised crime could not be debated into 'run away because of by-election' headline.

    No by-election interview on last night's Newsnight from what I can gather. News management, innuendo and attacks from usual suspects are replacing very real political stories in Scotland.

    Welcome to Scotland in by-election time.

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  • 77. At 08:09am on 30 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 50 brownresolute

    Talking about rumors!

    I notice that you have missed the 'u' from rumours. It is the same with your spelling of whisky, with an 'e'. I suspect that JR is right and that you are a 'reluctant expat' living in the Americas, probably the USA.
    I also notice that you haven't answered the question whether you support the Orange Lodge helping Labour in the next election. Your previous attacks on the SNP lead me to assume that you may be an old supporter of that organisation.

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  • 78. At 08:12am on 30 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    I cannot believe that the Labour party in Scotland, at the by-election in Glasgow NE, will engage in electoral fraud like the local Labour party did in Birmingham a few years back.

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  • 79. At 08:38am on 30 Oct 2009, Slaintmha wrote:

    If you want to know what Willie Bain is thinking go to:

    www.labourlist.org/willie-bains-campaign-diary-october-29-glasgow-north-east#Comment58671

    and be less than stunned.

    PS - anyone else think PPER 'escaped criminal' Gordon is trying to be Gray's Mandelson Minime look a like?

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  • 80. At 08:39am on 30 Oct 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    #46 Online Ed

    Another one for your collection of "Northern British NuLab Press Releases being masqueraded as News Stories by the Northern British Broadcasting Corporation".

    We note with interest this morning that one of the GMS headlines being read (by the lovely Ms Mir in the 7-30am bulletin) is that

    "Scottish Labour agree in principle to informing people if there are known sex offenders in their area".

    I listen to GMS from 6am - 8am. In that time, No Story. No Interview. Just a Headline.

    I did have to laugh though when herself and James Cook tried to do the paper Review and the papers were on the floor. One asks oneself how they got there ? Maybe somebody was reading the tripe, rubbish, lies and misdirection and flung them to the floor in a fit of pique before being directed by the Northern British NuLab Commissar from the Gallery to Get On With The Spinning.....

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  • 81. At 09:07am on 30 Oct 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    13. Donald_McNairn

    Two blogs the same post from you. It's all Labours fault, nothing to do with the SNP. What insightful, thoughtful argument from the nationalists.

    Yesterdays FMQ's was a really good example of how stagnant and banal our politics have become. Like two bairns in the playground. What did either politician do to try to push the issue forward? Nothing.

    Let's be honest if we are to move forward in Scotland we need to grow the economy. There are a number of positive ways we can start to do that. First we can look at the help offered to new start small business. At present it is poor, the re-organisation of Scottish enterprise and Highland and island Enterprise has just not worked. That needs revisited and very quickly.

    We need to encourage new business, one other method we could use is to introduce the concept of self employment in School and university, particularly university.

    We also need to help our existing employers prepare for the recovery. We need to help them improve productivity and marketing. We should be offering training to SME's to get ahead of the game.

    These are a few positive suggestions, it is a shame non of our politicians can be bothered to give some thought to the issue.

    It really is pathetic.

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  • 82. At 09:23am on 30 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Three interesting articles in the Scotland section of the Thunderer today.

    Their BNP withdraws from campaigning for Glasgow North East by-election would not, of course, be complete without the obligatory dig at the SNP following Griffin's announcement that he supports an independence referendum:

    "His comments will be regarded as an embarrassment for the SNP, who are unlikely to welcome any suggestion that their referendum plans are supported by the right-wing extremist party."

    This is naturally before the "meat" of the story which demonstrates how unwelcome Griffin was in Glasgow.

    The other two are on the decline in audience figures for BBC Radio Scotland as mentioned above:
    Listeners desert ‘trivial and parochial’ BBC Radio Scotland &
    Losing its Voice - BBC Radio Scotland is failing
      in its duty to speak to the entire nation


    Neither mention politics per se but both ram home the point that "Radio Scotland has a duty to the whole of the nation — not just a narrow segment of it".

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  • 83. At 09:28am on 30 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 81 northhighlander

    You put over some very good points about trying to turn the economy of Scotland around. However, all of those points that you put forward will need some form of investment. Considering that Scotland only gets a certain amount of money from the UK government, what do you propose to cut to fund those schemes of yours?

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  • 84. At 09:36am on 30 Oct 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    #81

    As far as start-ups or spin-outs are concerned one of the biggest problems we have in Scotland is the lack of availability of risk equity capital. It was bad before the credit crunch but now the situation is considerably worse. The banks are about as much use as the proverbial mammaries on a bull and what few venture capitalists we have spend most of their time sitting on their posteriors waiting for people to come to them via the traditional intermediatories i.e. accountants, lawyers....

    What we need desparately in Scotland is at least two or three proactive, go getting VCs that are run by people that understand markets and technology not beancounters or lawyers.

    It's in this area that organisations such as the CBI and the IoD could provide positive assistance by lobbying particularly their large financial services sector members.

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  • 85. At 09:38am on 30 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 82 Brownedov

    I find it strange that a radio programme designed to cover the whole of Scotland blatantly uses its good offices to alienate a large portion of the potential Scottish public by being anti-SNP, along with the rest of BBC Scotland. Anyone with a bit of sense would realise that this is an untapped market ready to be snapped up. It would seem that this station is more interested in serving the Union than serving its customers.

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  • 86. At 09:53am on 30 Oct 2009, Blind_Captain wrote:

    #81
    Some thoughtful points. I'm not an economist but surely the stealth taxes that have been heaped upon us by the Labour Government over the past years make it very difficult to start up and indeed run a business. I have a solution for our stagnant and banal our politics and for the stealth taxes - full fiscal autonomy. Now imagine the debates that would rage in Holyrood and among our political classes if that were the case.

    Re #13 and your comments on this post; well he/she has a point. The Labour Government are in power and, as such, pull the strings. How many decades in power does it take to get it right?

    I have a suggestion, and please indulge me on this. Remember when in school and the teacher would ask you to put yourself in the position that you naturally disagreed with and write an essay supporting this point, e.g. you personally disagree with Capital Punishment, now write an essay supporting Capital Punishment. Well, Scotland is Independent, what measures will you take to stimulate growth among small to medium business? See what you can come up with and we can debate :)

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  • 87. At 09:53am on 30 Oct 2009, Donald_McNairn wrote:

    81 - No Scottish government past, future or present can be judged fairly on running Scotland's economy, when London holds the purse strings.

    Once people living in Scotland make the move to independence, we negate the need for the constitutional debate. We can then move Scotland forward, also, responsibility for our affairs is our responsibility. No blaming of westminster for our sorrows or denigrating Scotland and Scots to points score, etc.

    Wouldn't disagree with points you put forward, but as pointed out, they need funding from our finite pot bestowed upon us by London. What would you cut?

    D McN

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  • 88. At 09:58am on 30 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 82 Brownedov

    Isn't it strange that Ms. Charlene Sweeney's article says His comments will be regarded as an embarrassment for the SNP when the BNP leader says:

    that he supported the Nationalists’ call for an independence referendum. “We will oppose it because we think overall it will be bad for Scotland and the United Kingdom.

    How can it possibly be an embarrassment for the SNP when Griffin said that he would oppose the SNP's stance on independence. Shouldn't the Unionists parties be embarrassed that the BNP is backing them?

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  • 89. At 10:02am on 30 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 86 Blind_Captain

    Scotland is Independent, what measures will you take to stimulate growth among small to medium business? See what you can come up with and we can debate

    Good point, but don't hold your breath on that one.

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  • 90. At 10:16am on 30 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    84. Wee-Scamp
    "It's in this area that organisations such as the CBI and the IoD could provide positive assistance by lobbying particularly their large financial services sector members. "

    Unfortunately that would put the cart before the horese - these organisations exist to lobby for their members :(

    Your post is otherwise spot-on, but there is also a problem with the bizarre location-centric problem of VC. They tend to be clustered in certain locales, and don't get out and about much. Any measures to encourage their more active hunting down of new ventures across the nation would be very useful - and something that the national and regional enterprise organisations should trivially be able to facilitate.

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  • 91. At 10:49am on 30 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    northhighlander:

    #81.

    Personally, I find it pathetic when someone comes riding in on their high horse and points out what everyone will agree are reasonable and well made points without actually explaining exactly how we can get from A to B.

    There is nothing you've mentioned that I can actually use, if I worked in Parliament or in the civil service for that matter.

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  • 92. At 10:55am on 30 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    Is the public that simple minded that it has became a suprise that the British National Party might actually support Great Britain?

    It should actually put the unionist parties to shame that the racist and fascist party is actually prepared to take on the Scottish National Party and defend the political union.

    If Nick Griffin were to put forward reasonable arguments in favour of the union, I believe Scotland will be independent in a matter of weeks... people say the Scots nationalists have stolen our saltire flag and now people can say the Brit nationalists have stolen our political union and the Brit flag...

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  • 93. At 10:57am on 30 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

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  • 94. At 11:00am on 30 Oct 2009, nate_oz wrote:

    Trying to use Clinton's successful campaign strategy would be good for Scottish Labour if they had a scooby how to implement it, Not to mention that Clinton had good policies and more importantly, great charisma, Iain Grey has as much personality as a dead fish.

    Denying me my right to vote in a referendum will be something i'll never forgive Scottish Labour for. C'Mon Alex Salmond, keep up the good work

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  • 95. At 11:01am on 30 Oct 2009, bingowings87 wrote:

    #61,

    Since you mention the Glenrothes registers (I thought they were missing rather than destroyed as you assert...)

    The 2 public bodies that contrived to engineer this cock-up were Fife Council (SNP/LD controlled) and the Scottish Courts Service (an executive agency of the SNP controlled Scottish Government). If you believe there was fraud perpetuated, then you can draw your own conclusions as to who might be responsible.

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  • 96. At 11:05am on 30 Oct 2009, nate_oz wrote:

    An earlier comment made a great point, the SNP were elected commanding the most votes from the electorate, the media constantly opposing and reporting in a biased negative fashion is only alienating the voting public, I genuinely want to enquire about a refund of my TV license fee, and i'll be happy to provide evidence why this should be given to me, I am fed up sick of BBC journalism as is most people in Scotland!!!!

    Shame on you Taylor and Campbell

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  • 97. At 11:19am on 30 Oct 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    #90

    Yes - rganisations such as the CBI do exist to lobby for their members and given this it is important that politicians need to be careful about how they use comments by them to support their own position. In effect by quoting the CBI Gray is saying that Labour agree with the view of their members.

    Yet we know don't we that in the case of the financial services companies they are generally only supportive of their own aims and that they have allowed themselves to become almost entirely disconnected from the needs of the rest of the real economy. Does Gray really want people to think that Labour in Scotland is happy to watch the bankers pay themselves huge bonuses whilst SMEs and entrepreneurs are struggling?

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  • 98. At 11:43am on 30 Oct 2009, john wrote:

    Looks like labour are at it again...

    Rabbi steps into Tory EU ally row

    Article is on main page.

    Do they really think thaat people will not check the sources they use, particularly in this age of information at everyone's fingertips?

    Although listening to what the Rabbi was saying, I am sure I have heard similar clarifications from people after thier views were expressed by BBC Scotland (particularly about Lockerbie). I Wonder why these two organisations appear to be using such similar tactics.

    John

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  • 99. At 11:49am on 30 Oct 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    83. gedguy2

    The ideas in my post are mainly changes in perspective and policy. Fair enough extra training could cost a few quid, but the rest is basically making better use of what we have and shifting focus.

    Everything does not need to revolve round money, sometimes it really is about looking at what we are doing and doing it differently.

    The tired old mantra of spend spend is gone it is just that our politicians haven't caught up yet. New ideas are required and new ways of tackling the problems. However I could line up a few spending reductions targets, but these are political decisions and would just promote the normal type of blog we would have here.

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  • 100. At 11:51am on 30 Oct 2009, Fit Like wrote:

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  • 101. At 11:57am on 30 Oct 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    84. Wee-Scamp

    good thinking, this is the type of idea that could make a difference. Good partnerships between the public and private sector are the way forward for the nation.

    I agree that risk taking is an essential part of finding the businesses of the future, SE should be leading on this, this should be high on their list of priorities. However I don't think it really is.

    This again is a situation where more government money is not always the answer, just using existing resources to create an environment that would bring these parties together.

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  • 102. At 11:57am on 30 Oct 2009, john wrote:

    #82
    With regard the falling listenership of GMS. Is it really surprising? I think they very badly misjudged the Scottish population with regards the lockerbie bomber's release. Particularly all the faux outrage, and the assertation that the rest of the world was outraged. They seemed to forget that people were about to go on holiday, and most of them to europe, where they would be exposed to civilised societies, where civilised people would have said that they were not outraged in the least, but were actually impressed by the move.

    We used to trust the BBC, particularly for its news coverage and analysis. We would put up with slightly dull programs just to get our fix of facts and analysis. That trust was blown out of the water by the lockerbie bomber's release coverage. It had the double whammy of being demonstrably inaccurate (with regards world reaction), and putting Scotland down.

    The inaccuracies may have been tolerated if as in football coverage they were patriotic or trying to brighten everyone's world. But they weren't. The inaccuracies seemed to be aimed at attacking the Scottish people themselves (or a large part of) for their views with no attempt to provide balanced coverage.

    People are turning off because we now have a national broadcaster that can't be trusted with the facts, and is unScottish. It is a sad way for an institution that I was once proud of to have gone.

    John

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  • 103. At 12:04pm on 30 Oct 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    87. Donald_McNairn

    typical it is all Westminster's fault. Okay lets put the question another way. If we were independent who would you tax to pay for the regeneration funds required?

    Hiding behind this pathetic excuse that we can do nothing until we get rid of Westminster is causing damage to our chance of recovery and condemns more people to unemployment. The Scottish people will soon see through such a pathetic argument

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  • 104. At 12:09pm on 30 Oct 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    91. Thomas_Porter

    What I find pathetic is that I have to make the point at all! Using the existing resources effectively to deal with the problems the nation has is the basic function of government. Another point no reasonable person can disagree with!

    What this is a question of leadership providing the focus to improve and change. Non of our politicians seem to be thinking this way, what do you need to see that?

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  • 105. At 12:22pm on 30 Oct 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #95
    For reasons obvious to most folk Fife Council do not have any executive responsibility for political elections in their area though many of their workers are employed at election time in a variety of tasks.
    The Scottish Courts Service is completely independent of government of whatever hue.
    The election is run by an Electoral Returning Officer, a legal appointment, also independent of Government who is responsible for all electoral arrangements.
    Neither Fife Council nor the Scottish Government had any prime responsibilty for the moving, storing or indeed loosing of all the Glenrothes voting records including voting papers, marked-up registers and postal voting forms. Responsibility lies with the Electoral Returning Offcer though it is not clear how he could guarantee the inviolability of the whole process if some others had been determined on mischief.
    We have been too complacent and trusting of this process and this will have to change

    Postal voting, as presently organised, is a recipe for electoral fraud and there have been a number of prosecutions of Labour Party officials in England over such.

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  • 106. At 12:33pm on 30 Oct 2009, redrobb wrote:

    Well I hope those seeking a form of sanctury come the next election, seek it from the SNP...............just for a wee while anyway!

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  • 107. At 12:39pm on 30 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 108. At 12:41pm on 30 Oct 2009, john wrote:

    #104
    "What I find pathetic is that I have to make the point at all! Using the existing resources effectively to deal with the problems the nation has is the basic function of government. Another point no reasonable person can disagree with!"

    This is such a basic point that the discussion has moved on from it. We are now looking at ways of creating the resources as well as using them.

    I think that there has been leadership to provide the focus to improve and change. It may not be perfect, and it is a slower process than I would have liked. But as they say Rome was not built in a day. We are moving in the right direction, and things appear to be improving. Again not as fast as I would like, but at least there is improvement. At least our leaders are no longer in thrall to the unions nor are they blindly creating targets and league tables.

    I can see in some cases why progress has to be slow, as a siesmic shift in priorities and focus may result in short term damage to the economy that would be difficult to justify in terms of the long term gains. where as gradual changes will allow a more ordered realignment of the economy. Think of it as a large oil tanker changing course. If you turn the tiller too sharply, it will break off.

    John

    ps. I just had to use the oil tanker as an analogy :-). If that offends you think of it as a large container ship.

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  • 109. At 12:45pm on 30 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    North Highlander:

    #104.

    "What I find pathetic is that I have to make the point at all! Using the existing resources effectively to deal with the problems the nation has is the basic function of government. Another point no reasonable person can disagree with!"

    I do, I disagree with your version of the matters. I believe in a strong state and that we live to ensure our country remains strong. I suspect you and others would disagree and believe the country should serve the individuals. Even before we take into account the different political groups, tribal lines, religious factors etc you and I differ ideologically and I will further suspect our priorities and methods will be different.

    It's quite simple pointing out valid points that will be popular with the masses, but difficult to actually turn into reality, or why are politicians so different?

    "What this is a question of leadership providing the focus to improve and change. Non of our politicians seem to be thinking this way, what do you need to see that?"

    Instead of simply writing points that everyone would agree too, you could spice things much and relate to our budget directly and point to exactly what you'd change and what should be done.

    Personally I do not look to politicians for leadership. I am strongly independent and have my own drive and ambition, plus my vision for the future. I am not going to follow another mans path, I would rather chart my own course ;-)

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  • 110. At 1:13pm on 30 Oct 2009, bingowings87 wrote:

    #105,

    The Scottish Courts Service report to the Justice Secretary.
    The Scottish Courts Service have the responsibility for retaining election records for a year after the election.
    The Scottish Courts Service lost the documents.

    You have been the most persistent claimant of fraud in this case. Do you agree that, if you really believe that a crime was committed, then it is your duty as a good citizen and supporter of the democratic process to report this to the Police, complete with whatever evidence you have.

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  • 111. At 1:14pm on 30 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here
    95. At 11:01am on 30 Oct 2009, bingowings87 wrote:
    #61,

    Since you mention the Glenrothes registers (I thought they were missing rather than destroyed as you assert...)

    The 2 public bodies that contrived to engineer this cock-up were Fife Council (SNP/LD controlled) and the Scottish Courts Service (an executive agency of the SNP controlled Scottish Government). If you believe there was fraud perpetuated, then you can draw your own conclusions as to who might be responsible.


    Missing presumed destroyed.

    The speculation over Glenrothes is just that, speculation. That Labour have a history of commiting, or attempting to commit, electoral fraud is a matter of public record.

    The Glenrothes result will stand; however if one was to ask oneself what needed to happen for suspicions of fraud to be justified or at least necessitate an investigation then Glenrothes contained all the circumstantial evidence needed - and more.

    Prior to the election there were many people flagging up a 'healthy' increase in postal votes. The expectations from all pollsters was that the election would be close at best for Labour but the probable result was an SNP win - even Labour party strategists admitted such.

    Gordon Brown had alreay been privately told to expect a defeat.

    The final result was bizarre to say the least. Labour managed to increase it's actual share of the vote despite the turnout being less than the previous election.

    Let's run that again:
    Fewer people voted in Glenrothes than had done so previously and Labour were desperately trying to shore up enough of their vote to hold the seat - there is no question that the Labour vote was dropping.

    Yet, we are asked to believe that the number opting for Labour went up.

    I believe that the statistical probability of this happening is so low as to be impossible.

    Then, when the SNP requested to see the register as is their right the request was ignored for months - in the meantime the only documents that would have confirmed electoral turnout disappeared.

    The last record of the register was of them being handed to the court, so Fife Council are off the hook. There are images of them sitting in a cellar in plastic bin bags, very clearly labelled.

    Who took those pictures, when were they taken and why?

    Who were the contractors who were suspected of throwing the bags into a skip and when were they working at the courtooms?

    Who supplied the skip and where was it taken to be dumped?

    Why are there apparently no CCTV images of the contractors, does this buiding have no security?

    Why was there a delay between the request for the registers from the SNP and the announcement, months later, that they were missing?

    No journalist will touch Glenrothes with a barge pole despite warning lights flashing furiously.

    If democracy was a body, then it had just been discovered tied to a chair, covered in bruises and with stab wounds to the back - it is on life support.

    'Police' have said that there are no suspicious circumstances.

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  • 112. At 1:23pm on 30 Oct 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    #73, no dude, a revolution is exactly what we need.

    The status quo is the alternative and look what that's achieving!

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  • 113. At 1:24pm on 30 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    bingowings87 asks:
    You have been the most persistent claimant of fraud in this case. Do you agree that, if you really believe that a crime was committed, then it is your duty as a good citizen and supporter of the democratic process to report this to the Police, complete with whatever evidence you have.

    There were similar complaints lodged with the police over the illegal donations to Wendy Alexander's campaign fund - the police simply ignored the complaints.

    A crime may have been committed in the case of Glenrothes, it is the duty of the authorities to investigate regardless of complaint when the circumstantial evidence is so overwhelming as it is in this case and given that the democratic process must be shown to be untainted.

    The fact is that these documents went missing. It is not just justifiable to ask if there is a possibility of fraud coverup it is actually beholden on the authorities to consider such.

    A failure to investigate is a deriliction of duty.

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  • 114. At 1:43pm on 30 Oct 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #110 bingowing87
    The Sheriff Clerk was the person appointed by Electoral law to hold the records delivered to him by the Returning Officer. The appointment was personal by function. It was not an appointment to the Scottish Court Service, so the Scottish Court Service did not lose the documents.
    In part as a result of this accident, the law has been changed and the Returning Officer now has the responsibility for the retention of Election documents.
    Factual accuracy is greatly prized on these blogs. Especially if it makes a non sequitur of your first three sentences.

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  • 115. At 1:47pm on 30 Oct 2009, Blind_Captain wrote:

    North Highlander: wouldn't you rather more funds to be available for the state to deal with the problems the nation has? That's the basic question we all have to answer; the chance of better things or a self imposed poverty. I know what I'd prefer.

    And I make a point that I have touched on previously. This isn't just about Scotland; it's about the other nations of the British Isles; a chance to reinvent themselves, to restructure their economies and societies for the better. Without Scotland, England will have to swallow a bitter pill, but one that is absolutely necessary for the people of that nation. England will revert to a small nation, no big boy pretentions, no backward looking nostalgia. That means no Trident, no foreign misadventures. If they do the right thing then the benefits will be huge - a functioning health service, a healthy economy, jobs, a stronger society - money to invest in infrastructure.
    We'll be doing the same thing and our futures will be better going forward - apart.

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  • 116. At 1:57pm on 30 Oct 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    #82 Brownedov,

    I had a great deal of sympath with that article until I got to paragraph 5 and saw

    "Lord Foulkes, the Labour MSP, criticised Good Morning Scotland for being “trivial and parochial” "

    Which will now make GMS compulsory listening in the Chiefy Household.

    Anything that attracts that sort of vitriol from His Lordship the List Member for the Lothians can't be all that bad.

    Even if their primary news-gathering enterprise is the in-studio fax from the Northern British NuLab Press Office and the Commissar in the Gallery.

    :)

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  • 117. At 1:59pm on 30 Oct 2009, govanite wrote:

    Brian - what a disgrace your Big Debate is. How is it fair to have a debate during a by-election campaign but not include an SNP spokesperson. Meanwhile your Labour guest is allowed free reign.


    Terrible.

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  • 118. At 2:07pm on 30 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed here

    117. At 1:59pm on 30 Oct 2009, govanite wrote:
    Brian - what a disgrace your Big Debate is. How is it fair to have a debate during a by-election campaign but not include an SNP spokesperson. Meanwhile your Labour guest is allowed free reign.


    Terrible


    If true, then it further evidence of the disgrace that is BBC Scotland.

    Any details on the question and the identity of the labour spokesperson?

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  • 119. At 2:30pm on 30 Oct 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    #117 govanite &118 online ed- and they wonder why they are losing listeners faster than snow off a dyke
    BBC Scotland the Fox news of Britain !
    the choice of who was allowed to take part in the debate probably says more about the labour party canvassing result for Glasgow north east than it does about the BBC impartiality rules!
    I am sorry Brian but i could only take so much, before i switched off in disgust!
    Sid

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  • 120. At 2:31pm on 30 Oct 2009, govanite wrote:

    #117 Ed

    It was Anne McKechin MP. And LibDem Marg. Smith. Plus someone from a charity [middle of the road, offending no-one] and Joan McAlpine. But no formal SNP rep.

    Brian did OK - especially when probing the FibDem's Referendum policy, but McKechin was freely allowed to condemn the SNP's drugs strategy although since 'drugs' are the preserve of Westmonster, the SNP fights this battle with one hand tied behind its back.

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  • 121. At 2:34pm on 30 Oct 2009, bingowings87 wrote:

    #111 & 113 greenock boy

    I refer you to the last sentence of my #110. If you don't have the courage of your convictions to do this then you are simply mischief making.

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  • 122. At 2:50pm on 30 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

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

  • 123. At 2:56pm on 30 Oct 2009, bingowings87 wrote:

    #114 handclapping,

    To the best of my knowledge the change in responsibility from Sheriff Clerk to Returning Officer has not happened yet. However as you say that factual accuracy is greatly prized on these blogs I'll take your word for it...... but if you do have the evidence it'd be useful to post it.

    On your other point of responsibility.

    The Sheriff Clerk is a civil servant employed by the Scottish Courts Service, to administer the work of the Sheriff Court.

    So, if the Scottish Courts Service did not lose the documents as you assert....

    ...why did the Chief Executive of the SCS, not only accept responsibility, but apologise for the loss of the documents.

    Do you accept the findings of Bill McQueens report into the incident?

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  • 124. At 2:57pm on 30 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 99 northhighlander

    I don't disagree with you on your basic premise and especially the 'spend spend spend' bit. However, (sorry about the 'however') this is where you and I would differ. I don't believe that Scotland remaining in the UK is going to change that attitude (especially under a Labour government) and the only way that I can see your type of ideas springing forward is if Scotland has full control of its own income. Only then can we forge the Scotland that the Scots will need. I suspect, and hope, that it will be a balance of government control and the type of attitude of the old 'yankee traders' had in their search for business opportunities abroad. Minus the piracy, of course.

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  • 125. At 3:10pm on 30 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Did anyone here refer my #107?

    To the best of my knowledge and belief [I forgot to keep a copy] it was a very mild and not terribly contentious response to both gedguy2's #85 and gedguy2's #88.

    If I've offended someone I'm sorry, but I can hardly mend my ways if I don't know how I have done so. On the very few occasions I have referred a post I have always also posted explaining why.

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  • 126. At 3:27pm on 30 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #105 sneckedagain
    "Responsibility lies with the Electoral Returning Offcer though it is not clear how he could guarantee the inviolability of the whole process if some others had been determined on mischief."

    Not quite. At the time it was with the Sheriff Clerk. However, there was a two-week delay in handing over some of the documents from the Returning Offcer to the Sheriff Clerk, muddying the waters still further.

    "Postal voting, as presently organised, is a recipe for electoral fraud and there have been a number of prosecutions of Labour Party officials in England over such."

    I fully agree, as it would seem do the Electoral Commission. I will be surprised if in Glasgow NE there are less than the 6900 electors who sought a postal vote for Glenrothes, and even more surprised if 100% are checked for both signature and "control questions" as the Electoral Commission recommend. What they do not seem to recommend is checking for similar signatures, which seems to be how many of the fraudsters have been caught and punished.

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  • 127. At 3:49pm on 30 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 125 Brownedov

    It certainly wasn't me. I have never referred anyone (even though I have been tempted a few times) because I believe everyone has a right to speak their mind, Derek excluded, of course ;-).

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  • 128. At 3:55pm on 30 Oct 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    sorry Brian but why did it take another of your panelist's and not yourself to point out that your "audience member's" Alex salmond is nothing but a playground bully statement was well out of order?

    I as well as a lot of other people who read your blog had respect and great hopes that you would try to remain at least neutral in the months to come. that respect is slowly evaporating just like your audiences.
    unless the BBC in Scotland start to reflect other parties opinions ,very quickly, they will become even more irrelevant than they are already. there is more in this world than labour party press releases.
    Sid

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  • 129. At 3:57pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    95. bingowings87

    Do keep up. We are told that the registers were in black bin bags and were destroyed. There is no evidence that this was anything other than a monumental cock-up by an official at the Sheriff Court. Please provide evidence if you know of any to the contrary. However, if any electoral fraud had been committed by anyone, they might have sought to ensure that the registers were destroyed.

    You clearly know little of councils or the Court Service, if you imagine that a political directive from any party would result in an official tamely complying with a breach of the law!

    Registers are routinely checked by parties following the count, because they are good sources for analysis of voting patterns. They also allow for fraudulent activities to be detected. In Glenrothes, the voting pattern was unusual for a by-election, hence the need to check that the election was won fair and square.

    What possible exception can you take to that?

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  • 130. At 4:03pm on 30 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    118. U14094468
    "
    Terrible

    If true, then it further evidence of the disgrace that is BBC Scotland.
    "

    BBC "Excommunicator"

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  • 131. At 4:05pm on 30 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    MODERATORS PLEASE NOTE

    My #122 on this thread was "referred to the moderators" without ever appearing and must therefore have be "referred* without ever appearing. The URL is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/briantaylor/2009/10/its_fmqs_stupid.html#P87794204

    It is a long post in response to another post on this thread, but the only possible reason you can have had for not publishing it is the length of the quotes it contains. These are in fact from PDF documents which the House Rules do not allow to be linked directly, but they are both IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

    One is from the UK Electoral Commission and the other is from the Scottish Courts Service, as you can confirm if you follow the links in the post itself. It's hard to see why you should take so long over displaying or removing it.

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  • 132. At 4:06pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Re Justice Dept Civil Service proposals to cut democracy (posted earlier)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/oct/30/election-night-cost-cutting

    Jack Straw has (quite rightly) said that they aren't acceptable.

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  • 133. At 4:08pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Gordon Brown to be highlight in Ripon!

    http://www.ripongazette.co.uk/ripon/Gordon-Brown-effigy-to-be.5778381.jp

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  • 134. At 4:08pm on 30 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Whispers

    "Postal votes are up as well - by an extra couple of thousand, 1200 in the last month, 600 applications delivered by Labour on the last day. Terribly nice of Labour to save all those people the awful trouble of posting the form themselves - hopefully they'll be around to post the ballot papers back as well, save the voters any trouble at all. I wonder how many of those people newly on the register have also just become postal voters?"

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  • 135. At 4:24pm on 30 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    125. Brownedov
    "Did anyone here refer my #107?"

    It never saw the light of day, mods are guilty party.

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  • 136. At 4:26pm on 30 Oct 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    108. John__

    You say that is such a basic point the debate has moved on?

    Well it never moves on from constantly reviewing the basic functions and allocating resources where they offer best value. That is a never ending task of government. Especially when the circumstances have changed as much as they have in the last year.

    Growing the available resources means that every single area we spend money on should be reviewed with the intention of removing waste and targeting where they will help grow the economy.


    My point is to use your analogy we don't as yet know what the new course for our tanker is. We know the existing one is not right but no-one has a credible plan for the new course.

    I think by now we should be expecting a bit more from all our politicians.


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  • 137. At 4:43pm on 30 Oct 2009, govanite wrote:

    Oh BBC. More misleading articles.

    MacAskill said he had not seen the report. I heard him say that on the radio. To imply that he has neglected to read it is just politically partizan.

    The report is not ready for ministers yet. That should be made clear.

    The people of this country will never ignore or forget the BBC's complicity in trying to hinder the progress of this small country. Never.

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  • 138. At 4:47pm on 30 Oct 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #123 bingowings87
    Electoral law is a mess. The Electoral Commission put it mildly when they said the complex and fragmented legal framework for electoral administration across the UK continues to impede the effective delivery of elections. To come right up to date, we know thanks to the Septennial Act 1715 that the present Parliament will cease to exist on 4 June 2010. What we don't know is what would happen if elections to a new Parliament had not a) taken place or b) been called prior to that date. Could Global rule by diktat? We don't know and that's scary enough even in the run up to Halloween!
    I'm afraid that if you wanted to sue for the loss of the registers you would have to sue the poor person in post at the time but I would hope that the Scottish Court Service would stand behind them. However it appears that there are sufficient of the other papers remaining for the lost registers to be reconstituted and that the Westminster Parliament has given permission for this activity to be attempted. So all in all probably not worth the costs for you to sue now.

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  • 139. At 4:54pm on 30 Oct 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #123 bingowings87
    You may well be right. I got the last marked up register from the Returning Officer but it was the Europeans, which is another kettle of fish. I'll have to check where we've got to for Westminster. 8-)

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  • 140. At 5:08pm on 30 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Some are more equal than others, now what were Brown's words!
    Questions over Olympic contracts

    "The numbers of the ODA's direct suppliers by nation (according to their registered address) are as follows:

    (a) Scotland: 17

    (b) Wales: 4

    (c) Northern Ireland: 3

    (d) England: 1,022

    (e) Outside UK: 17."

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  • 141. At 5:12pm on 30 Oct 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 142. At 5:21pm on 30 Oct 2009, john wrote:

    #136
    We are not talking about the details, but the principles, so the debate can move on.

    We seem to agree: our government should spend its money wisely. Where we appear to disagree (correct me if I am wrong) is that I think our government should also be pushing for new sources of money. You seem satisfied with our current source.

    (and said another way)
    I agree with your make the best of what we have philosophy. and think that this is being carried out. However it would be remise of the administrationn if it did not point out areas where there could be a larger pot to share around.

    And finally, to stretch the analogy further, there is an old sailing maxim: "no wind is favourable if you don't know where you are going."

    John

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  • 143. At 5:24pm on 30 Oct 2009, Donald_McNairn wrote:

    103 - there is absolutely no accountability for spending in Scotland. We get what others think we should get and we have to make do. Not a mature or responsible means of distributing funding.

    You appear happy for Scotland to let its affairs be run by another country. Would you be happy for your next door neighbour to receive your income then provide you with whatever funds from that income he or she deemed fit for you to spend for your own needs?

    No you wouldn't, it is an absurd means of governing and determining responsibility.

    Scotland will only flourish when westminster rule ends. It’s not westminster's fault, it merely capitalises upon the misguided who vote for parties like yours!

    One thing that puzzles me of unionists, have you no pride in being Scottish and that alone is sufficient grounds for seeking to govern ourselves like other nations?

    D McN

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  • 144. At 5:35pm on 30 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    This may have been posted but although it's a couple of days old, I missed it.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/politics/ahern-scotland-on-its-own-would-do-very-well-1.928838

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  • 145. At 5:37pm on 30 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #117 govanite &
    #118 U14094468/Online Ed

    I'm nearly finished listening to the Big Debate now on the iPlayer [here] and have to agree with govanite.

    The panel was:
      Ann McKechin MP, Glasgow N, Lab, Scotland Office minister
      Margaret Smith MSP, Edinburgh W, L-D
      Joan McAlpine, Sunday Times (see her SNP could benefit from bank crisis)
      Margaret Gibson, Director of Marketing & Communications of
        The Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust, a company limited by
        guarantee, without any democratic accountability.

    In other times there might be a case for having just two of the Holyrood parties involved in any particular week, although I cannot recall Any Questions having no government representative except when they have no politicos at all, but this is utterly disgraceful during a by-election. Will we be having just an SNP and a Tory elected representative next week, I wonder?

    First round of applause of the day was for an audience member reminding NuLab of Wendy's "Bring it on!" when the panel discussed the prospect of an independence referendum without a single home ruler on the panel!

    To be fair to Brian, he did make a valiant attempt at playing "Devil's Advocate", but to say the programme lacked balance would be an understatement.

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  • 146. At 5:40pm on 30 Oct 2009, Astonished wrote:

    Govanite said "The people of this country will never ignore or forget the BBC's complicity in trying to hinder the progress of this small country. Never.". May I say I wholeheartedly agree.



    The by-election polls must be terrible for labour as we haven't heard a peep. Is this a record ?

    I am delighted that the listnership of radio labour is going down the tubes. Is it any wonder when political discussion programmes don't even invite the largest party to participate ? I didn't listen to Brian today which was lucky.I am finding it increasingly difficult to stomach the shameless bias of the glencampbelly BBC - the brazeness of it all is extremely worrying.


    In light of this is it any wonder that the labour MP McNulty has swaggered into Westminster and apologised. McNulty knows that he will not be held to account by the media.

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  • 147. At 5:48pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    140. cynicalHighlander

    Do you know if any of those firms operate in Glasgow?

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  • 148. At 5:56pm on 30 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #127 gedguy2 &
    #135 cynicalHighlander
    "It never saw the light of day, mods are guilty party."

    Thanks folks. I never thought it was either of you. I'm utterly unclear what the mods found unpleasant, so I'll try again in précis...

    On BBC Scotland, it strikes me that there must be a niche for a commercial, more freethinking, talk radio station.

    On Griffin, I wonder that the SNP spokesman didn't add something like: But how disappointing for democracy that racists like the BNP fear it less than the mainstream unionist parties appear to.

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  • 149. At 6:34pm on 30 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    146. astonishedII

    With the news media (as far as I can tell from such a distance) doing the next thing to refusing to cover the by-election, one does wonder what IS happening in Glasgow NE. I have long been of the personal opinion that a swing that large would be unlikely in spite of the dire straits the Labour party finds itself in. After all, they have a history of what can only be called a huge majority there. Rarely does any constituency in any country swing that much in a single election even though it's not unheard of.

    The lack of mention makes me scratch my head. Is it such a foregone conclusion that Labour will win it isn't worth mentioning? Or the media knows something they'd rather not say? Or they simply can't find anything bad about the SNP so they say nothing? The few stories have had a bizarre twist such as that given the walkout over organized crime which had nothing to do with the by-election. It smacked of desperation, but perhaps that was only a perception.

    Label the American puzzled.

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  • 150. At 6:44pm on 30 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    147. oldnat

    2012 Olympics boost for Scots construction firm Barr

    Scottish Launch of London 2012 Business Network

    Needles in a haystack! A full list of the companies that have supplied the Olympic Delivery Authority is listed by sector below.

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  • 151. At 7:08pm on 30 Oct 2009, pattymkirkwood wrote:

    Funny how Scotland is recoverying faster economically than the rest of the UK, which is last out rather than 'best placed' of the G8 nations. Our economy is now smaller than that of Italy for goodness sake.

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  • 152. At 7:09pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    150. cynicalHighlander

    OK! I'm up for the challenge. Probably not worth writing a program to do this, so I'll spend some time mindlessly downloading the data and get back to you guys in due course.

    One Scottish "firm" that I noticed already is Disclosure Scotland - which supplies the details of those with criminal offences in Scotland. :-)

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  • 153. At 7:19pm on 30 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #123 bingowings87
    "Do you accept the findings of Bill McQueens report into the incident?"

    My #122, still awaiting consideration by the mods, covered this topic at length but those with short memories might want to download it from the Scottish Courts Service here, as well as the Electoral Commission's Glenrothes election report available here.

    I accept both, as far as they go, but it rather appears that you do not. The SCS report cerainly lists a number of failures on the part of the Sheriff Clerk but also makes it clear there was collective failure with "he personally cannot discharge all the duties ascribed to the office of Sheriff Clerk ... he employs staff to assist him in his duties, which are carried out under his direction and with him retaining the responsibilities of the office". It was doubtless for that reason that SCS made a collective apology.

    Do you suggest that every incoming government at community, council, Holyrood and Westmidden level should fire every single civil servant immediately unless they join the appropriate party? Failing that, it's hard to see how to extend the blame quite so far as you do.

    But although the issue of incompetence is clearly one we all hope the SCS has dealt with, the fact remains that neither report actually clears anyone. Saying that no "malicious intent was identified", for example, does not imply that none was present but simply that none was proven.

    In that context, s4 points out that the marked registers give parties "the ability to assure themselves that an elector, who did not himself or herself vote, has not unknowingly had his or her entitlement to vote “stolen” and used by someone else" and also points out that their loss "is a most unusual event". The loss of the marked registers, whether accidental or deliberate may (no more than that) have concealed any such theft and must leave the question cui bono?

    Assuming that the orders also postpone destruction of the ballots, SoS Murphy's actions in the House of Cards this week may help to answer that question by partially recreating the marked registers, but we should beware McQueen's assertion in s35 of his report that although the marked register of postal voters can be recreated, the main marked register of personal and proxy voters cannot.

    As we know that Roy's "majority" in the plurality election was 6,737 and that the reports tell us that 6900 electors sought a postal vote, cynics among us might conclude that no more than 6,700 postal votes were cast in favour of Roy.

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  • 154. At 7:22pm on 30 Oct 2009, RyogaHibiki wrote:

    Hey!

    Just curious if I'm the only one wondering if one of the "regular bloggers" may be Brian in Disguise..?
    No naming names of course, just want to know if folks think Brian contributes incognito.

    Not that I'm just a bit bored and without the incising wit and political acumen to make a meaningful contribution of course...

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  • 155. At 7:30pm on 30 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    154. RyogaHibiki

    I tend to think not because I haven't seen any unionist make any posts of a level of intelligence that I would expect from Mr. Taylor. In spite of my criticism of his blog and his interviews, I am convinced that he could do a better job of defending the union than any of the posters here do.

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  • 156. At 7:42pm on 30 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    In regard to news coverage in Scotland, this isn't exactly a new problem in your part of the world (or any part, one has to say). I seem to recall a certain writer making a point about such, one some here might recognize:

    Here's freedom to him that wad read,
    Here's freedom to him that wad write!
    There's nane ever fear'd that the truth should be heard,
    But they wham the truth wad indite.


    When news coverage is more concerned with concealing than revealing the truth, any country has a serious problem.

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  • 157. At 7:42pm on 30 Oct 2009, RyogaHibiki wrote:

    #155 JRMacClure

    Why does he have to be unionist? In an anonymous blog he can say what he likes. He could be a nationalist, or just post from a nationalist perspective to stimulate debate.

    Though American,thought this may be applicable to some situations at holyrood:

    "Obama's Declaration Of Swine Flu Emergency Prompts Pro-Swine-Flu Republican Response"

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/obamas_declaration_of_swine

    :)

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  • 158. At 7:47pm on 30 Oct 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    The Glenrothes Gazettee? Horror of horror's. Its a sister paper to the Scotsman! You just can't escape the Labour mafia in Scotland. We should be renamed little Italy.

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  • 159. At 7:53pm on 30 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    158

    Ciao Hamisho! Are you missing a finger?

    Well! I'm about to gut the pumpkin, eye and mouth it, then give it a name..........Hmmmmmm! now! any ideas?.

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  • 160. At 7:57pm on 30 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    152. oldnat
    Just about to leave the office, but a quick check of a 'Scottish' IT supplier leads to Idox Software Ltd, the only page I could find for them is Idox Group. It does have a Glasgow office in addition to the London and Newbury ones i suppose. I wonder where head office is?...

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  • 161. At 7:58pm on 30 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Lord Gnome has a very good PM Decree on "Biscuitgate" here.

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  • 162. At 8:07pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    150. cynicalHighlander

    Needles found! The database they use is a mess. I have identified some obvious anomalies - like a couple of Overseas contracts not being identified as such, but I'm not wasting my time checking them all.

    Geographical distribution (there will be some unresolved errors in THEIR data)

    London, 487
    South East, 151
    East of England, 84
    West Midlands, 46
    South West, 44
    East Midlands, 33
    North West, 28
    Yorkshire and Humber, 22
    North East, 14
    Scotland, 14
    Northern Ireland, 2
    Wales, 1
    Overseas, 17


    There appears to have been some attempt to classify the contractors by constituency (but they don't even have the wit to use a drop down list! - "CC" and "BC" in the last column below are the English terms "County Council" and "Borough Council")

    I found 14 identified Scottish based contractors -

    Millstream Associates Ltd, Procurement services, Aberdeen South
    Mason Land Surveys Ltd (1), Engineering services, Dunfermline and West Fife CC
    Portobello Partnership Ltd, Management consulting services, Edinburgh East BC
    Certified Accountants Educational Trust, Training services, Edinburgh West
    BiP Solutions Ltd, CompeteFor Buyer Engagement Team, Glasgow Central
    Iain McKinnon Access Consultants, Access design consultancy, Glasgow Central
    The Miller Partnership, Architects, design organisation, Glasgow Central
    Disclosure Scotland, Government - CRB checks, Glasgow Central BC
    Core PD Ltd, Design engineering, Glasgow Central BC
    Neish Training, Equalities training, Glasgow North
    Idox Software Ltd, IT and software consutlants, Glasgow North West
    Frank Musgrave, Business services, Gordon CC
    Barr Ltd, T1 Contractor Basketball Arena, Paisley and Renfrewshire North CC
    Trackstars Ltd, Events Management, Stirling CC

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  • 163. At 8:15pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    160. mrbfaethedee

    Maybe the consultants are in London but the "consutlants" [sic] that they mention are their dyslexic Glasgow branch!

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  • 164. At 8:20pm on 30 Oct 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    #159

    I suggest you name your pumpkin 'Murphy' but I am aware that name is usually applied to a potato (ref: Tom Brown's Schooldays. No relation to Gordon or the Labour hack).

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  • 165. At 8:31pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    150. cynicalHighlander

    Interesting that neither Aggreko, nor NORD Architecture mentioned by Scottish Enterprise appear in the London Olympics list. They could be subsets of companies located elsewhere, I suppose. They would also raise the number of Scottish companies I found from 14 to 16.

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  • 166. At 8:57pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    164. hamish42

    It's a potato because it's a bit of anti-Irish stereotyping. Since a pumpkin is orange, "Paisley" might be a more appropriate name - and very suitable for a Labour supporter.

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  • 167. At 9:11pm on 30 Oct 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #123 bingowings87
    Further to my #139, you are wrong. It has changed, it's section 25 of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 which received the Royal Assent on 29 July. Sorry to have taken so long to reply, other things to do. 8-)

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  • 168. At 9:14pm on 30 Oct 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Busy day at work, and just finished reading the posts.

    Few comments on the Glenrothes election.

    Without going into detail, I say again, if you have any suspicions or proof of electoral fraud - report this to the police.

    Bottom line - the SNP did not feel the need to report a criminal offence, so why do people continue to hint at electoral fraud? Bye-elections are notorious for producing strange results.

    There are already comments on the blog about a sudden increase in registered voters in Glasgow NE. But if the SNP win, will you still treat these as suspicious?


    Meanwhile, did anyone see the photos of Lord Foulkes in his pyjamas for charity.....perhaps he could be as generous to the rest of us and retire.......

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  • 169. At 9:24pm on 30 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    157. RyogaHibiki

    You're right that he wouldn't have to be but I've never seen any indication that he is, at heart, a nationalist in spite of his comment that a referendum will take place. I looked at that as an aberrant moment of realism rather than incipient nationalism. He is, mind you, one of the less extreme unionists and I think if he really tried he could argue for it--or maybe not. His blog tends to be lacking in that regard, more ignoring pro-independence information than arguing unionist.

    But he COULD be merely hiding his true politics on orders from London.

    And you posted a link to my all-time favorite US publication: The Onion

    The Onion is one of the few publications in the entire world that is really worth reading on a daily basis. I recommend the current article on Sasha Obama. =)


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  • 170. At 9:29pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    168. Neil_Small147
    "There are already comments on the blog about a sudden increase in registered voters in Glasgow NE. But if the SNP win, will you still treat these as suspicious?"

    If these are in a part of the constituency dominantly inhabited by members of the Orange Lodge - then yes!

    That's why the registers are so important. They allow apparent anomalies to be investigated.

    If that doesn't happen, then fraud will take over our elections. The current preventative measures are not sufficient, so post-election checking is essential.

    Do you have a problem with that?

    Agreed on Foulkes! The shame is that appearing in the SP in his jammies didn't make him look any more ridiculous than normal.

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  • 171. At 9:50pm on 30 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    The Onion giving the BBC lessons on biased reporting:

    Favorite Whipping Boy

    Sorry. He shouldn't have brought up The Onion. Blame RyogaHibiki!

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  • 172. At 9:55pm on 30 Oct 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    Oldnat and Neil,

    I thought that the picture of His Lordship the List member for the Lothians and The Part-time MSP for the Constituency of Motherwell and Wishaw and their two companions was part of the sackings, sorry, Dynamic Reshuffle recently announced by the Leader of the British Nulab Contingent at the Pretendy Wee Parliament.

    I'm kinda guessing where the brains are between the four of them :}

    For anyone who hasn't seen this one yet, it can be found by googling "George Foulkes and Jack McConnell"

    Fair dues to them, though, for the campaign, but dampty shame on them for trying to spin it into an anti-Eck photocall by "challenging" him to join them rather than politely asking.

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  • 173. At 10:01pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    171. JRMacClure

    Wonderful! You do realise that that will now be a training video for the political team at BBC Scotland?

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  • 174. At 10:05pm on 30 Oct 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    #166 Oldnat

    Go easy with the knife!

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  • 175. At 10:07pm on 30 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    173. oldnat

    At least, they'll learn to be more amusing than their current rather grim glencampbelly attempts.

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  • 176. At 10:09pm on 30 Oct 2009, enneffess wrote:

    170. At 9:29pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:
    168. Neil_Small147
    "There are already comments on the blog about a sudden increase in registered voters in Glasgow NE. But if the SNP win, will you still treat these as suspicious?"

    If these are in a part of the constituency dominantly inhabited by members of the Orange Lodge - then yes!

    That's why the registers are so important. They allow apparent anomalies to be investigated.

    If that doesn't happen, then fraud will take over our elections. The current preventative measures are not sufficient, so post-election checking is essential.

    Do you have a problem with that?



    I don't have a problem with measures to ensure any election has been carried out within the law. But some people insist there was wrong-doing, yet no one in the SNP seems to have raised any concerns.

    By all means, if evidence comes to light then I would expect swift justice. Anyone involved in electoral fraud must be punished appropriately and also banned from political office - however lowly - for life.


    172. At 9:55pm on 30 Oct 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    I agree with your last comment. It is sickening when a charitable event is used for political purposes. Perhaps Foulkes could donate his expenses for a month to charity.

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  • 177. At 10:13pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    174. hamish42

    It was just in my hand, while eviscerating a pumpkin! :-)

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  • 178. At 10:15pm on 30 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    176. Neil_Small147
    "I don't have a problem with measures to ensure any election has been carried out within the law. But some people insist there was wrong-doing, yet no one in the SNP seems to have raised any concerns.
    "

    If the SNP wasn't raising concerns, why were they asking to SEE the register?

    That seems to be me to be raising concerns. But it was, appropriately, raising concerns not making accusations without any evidence. That request was ignored for months after the fact, I've read.

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  • 179. At 10:21pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    176. Neil_Small147
    "some people insist there was wrong-doing, yet no one in the SNP seems to have raised any concerns."

    You may be right that some posters have done so. Most, however, are simply concerned that there is still no way of checking whether there was or not. Of course, no political party has made an allegation of electoral fraud. There isn't (and can't yet be) any evidence either way.

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  • 180. At 10:25pm on 30 Oct 2009, bingowings87 wrote:

    #137 govanite,

    Your devotion to the SNP is there for all to see, but I fear you are being way too kind to Mr MacAskill. His performance on today on the sex offenders issue was quite simply embarrasing.

    2:11.05 into todays GMS, Mr MacAskill claims rather hamfistedly that "..a report, I understand, has been carried out....". We now know that no such report has been issued, it is merely in draft.

    On a number of occasions he was quite fairly challenged on either had he read the report, or would read it. Had Mr MacAskill actually known the true status of the report, this would have been the easiest of challenges to rebutt. Something like "I'll read it when its formally issued" would have been more than enough. But no, the clearly clueless Mr MacAskill flounders on.

    Comically, at 2:16.10 into the broadcast, Mr MacAskill encourages the new Labour Shadow Mr Kelly to "get up to speed" on the issue, when clearly he himself didn't have the faintest idea of his subject matter.

    By a long way, the worst media performance by a cabinet mnister since the SNP came to power.

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  • 181. At 10:47pm on 30 Oct 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #178 JRMacClure
    Apparently their super wizzy computer system "grades" electors by the support they show. So people who say all the right things and vote are Goodies, people who say all the right things and dont vote are Poor, people who say all the wrong things and dont vote are Dont Care and people who say all the wrong things and vote are the Baddies or something like that. So they need the information of who voted to update their computer and that was why they asked. Nothing to do with fraud and the postal vote didn't worry them as only 5000 were actually cast so they couldn't have affected the result even if all of them were for the SNP. They actually think that the postal vote was pretty much 50:50.
    So it looks as if it was just a big swing to Labour in the last few days among the 27000 who went to the polling stations to vote. Makes me feel better about the duff gen I gave out on this blog at the time, I was too previous!

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  • 182. At 11:02pm on 30 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    163. oldnat

    No doubt.
    Still, saddening that a company listed as a 'Scottish' contractor is not registered Scottish company. According to the company's own website page of statutory information, neither the holding company nor any of its subsidiaries have their registered address in Scotland, this is backed by information at held at Companies House.
    I'm not going to look for any more, it's depressing.

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  • 183. At 11:08pm on 30 Oct 2009, InfrequentAllele wrote:

    177.

    It's got to be a tumshie* for a Scottish Halloween lantern. No pumpkins in this house!

    Am I the only Halloween purist left?

    *What the English call a swede and the Americans call a rutabaga. (I thought I'd better provide JR with a translation.)

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  • 184. At 11:10pm on 30 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    157. RyogaHibiki
    Ah The Onion! Still one of the internet's finest.
    Who could forget classics like Death rate holding steady at 100%. :)

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  • 185. At 11:10pm on 30 Oct 2009, enneffess wrote:

    179. At 10:21pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:
    176. Neil_Small147
    "some people insist there was wrong-doing, yet no one in the SNP seems to have raised any concerns."

    You may be right that some posters have done so. Most, however, are simply concerned that there is still no way of checking whether there was or not. Of course, no political party has made an allegation of electoral fraud. There isn't (and can't yet be) any evidence either way.



    Fair enough that there is no way of checking, but an accusation that an SNP sympathiser deliberately lost the register in the hope of embarrassing Labour could just as easily be made. No way of checking.

    Personally I think someone messed up and lost the blooming thing. Easily done if there are insufficient controls in place.

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  • 186. At 11:23pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    183. InfrequentAllele

    I always made "neep" lanterns with my kids (as my Dad did with us). Tumshie is fine, however.

    Not surprising that the Americans use pumpkins instead. I bought a bit of neep last winter in the US, when I was making broth. Very expensive, and coated in wax like a rarity.

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  • 187. At 11:41pm on 30 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #186 oldnat

    Also on a lighter note:

    Lucky 74 for Salmond as first by-election tremors are felt.

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  • 188. At 11:47pm on 30 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    184. mrbfaethedee

    Oh, that is a classic! You must forward it to the new Scottish Labour Party Shadow Cabinet Health Minister (I love paragraph long titles especially for people who, as far as I can tell, do absolutely nothing).

    I'm sure those statistics could be used to attack Nicola Sturgeon!

    #186. By the way, neeps over here ARE coated in wax because otherwise they will contaminate the actually EDIBLE vegetables!

    I was once at a meal a neighbor's in Edinburgh where they contaminated perfectly innocent mashed potatoes with the things. To be polite I was forced to swallow them (as opposed spitting them back into the plate accompanied by throwing up sounds). I will never recover from the horror of that event!

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  • 189. At 11:50pm on 30 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    187. Roll_On_2010

    I saw that - and the quote from Bane that now 1300 jobs have been lost to Glasgow (and nowhere else in Scotland!) due to the cancellation of GARL.

    I was sure that he had said 1000 jobs only a little time ago and, sure enough, on his website

    http://www.williebain.com/willie-bain-brands-snp-reckless-with-jobs-over-airport-rail-link

    both claims are there. At this rate, 20,000 jobs will have been lost to Glasgow (indeed Springburn) due to this one decision! :-)

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  • 190. At 00:03am on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    188. JRMacClure

    LOL But you are a heretic. (but we'll forgive you as a foreigner)

    btw Grits????

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  • 191. At 00:04am on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    188. JRMacClure
    "I was once at a meal a neighbor's in Edinburgh where they contaminated perfectly innocent mashed potatoes with the things. To be polite I was forced to swallow them (as opposed spitting them back into the plate accompanied by throwing up sounds). I will never recover from the horror of that event!

    I have a colleague who holds neeps in similar esteem to yourself - 'foul things' he calls them. Poor neeps - i think they're great, but what surprises me is the degree to which people don't like them. Who knew the humble neep could inspire such strength of feeling.

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  • 192. At 00:11am on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    191. mrbfaethedee

    My son calls parsnips "evil" because they disguise themselves as tatties, and trap the unwary!

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  • 193. At 00:21am on 31 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    "Murphy" fine! for where there is darkness let "Murphy" bring light!.


    If you take into consideration that the SNP have neglected employment
    for over two years.With their failed SFT scheme and their cut backs in the apprenticeship schemes plus the broken promise of the GARL, then the true figure of lost employment in the Glasgow NE area does certainly reach to over 2,ooo potential jobs gone.How many postman jobs will be lost in Glasgow NE because the SNP has part privatised royal mail in Scotland.How many other jobs will be lost when the SNP part privatise other avenues of their procurement bill?. It seems to be that any reasonable thinking business mind will point the finger at SNP fiscal policy and say, you failed Scotland and it's people at their most needed time of need.

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  • 194. At 00:22am on 31 Oct 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    When I was young we were so poor that we ate the tumshies!

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  • 195. At 00:41am on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    194. hamish42
    "When I was young we were so poor that we ate the tumshies!"

    In the Labour Party (NB Branch) that's called cannibalism.

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  • 196. At 00:46am on 31 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #42 U14094468 Online Ed

    The following article is the deranged ranting of Mad-Ox in the Hootsmon.

    What is interesting is Comment #31.

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  • 197. At 00:52am on 31 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    195
    Would oldnat like some butter with his human parts?.

    My! a fierce Scottish hen with fierce large teeth.

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  • 198. At 00:53am on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    190. oldnat

    Hey! Don't insult grits! With butter and even better cheese! Yummers! Ooo with a side of good Virginia ham. Hard to find in this part of the country though, that's only in the South.

    And at least no one disguises the poor innocent grits (there is no dish to compare it to that you eat in Scotland--it's kind of like a rough ground savory porridge is the closest I can describe it and one generally eats it with breakfast) as something good until you take a taste and discover your terrible error the way one can with the evil neep.

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  • 199. At 01:30am on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    198. JRMacClure

    OK Forget Megrahi! This is culinary war! :-)

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  • 200. At 01:33am on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    199. oldnat

    Mind you, barbecue around Lexington NC is the best I've ever tasted. Yes I know that every area says its recipe is the best (and most readers will think it's grilling out of doors).

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  • 201. At 01:42am on 31 Oct 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #198 When i was in Canada years ago i fancied grits for breakfast thinking they were like hash browns...only when i got them did it realize my mistake and couldnt eat the damned stuff. I can safely say i would rather have neaps anyday over the contents of the bottom of a hamsters cage !

    I would go for pumpkins over neaps tho in the lantern stakes as neaps can be tough to carve and the last thing you want is a run to casualty with a knife sticking in your leg.

    #196 'Mr Gray was following up on revelations in The Scotsman that leaders of three of Scotland's biggest business organisations believe the SNP has an anti-private sector agenda in government'

    I wouldnt say the SNP are anti business but they certainly wont hand over lots of money for poor returns like Labour are. You only have to look at the PFI disasters or IT contracts that are going wrong all over the country to see the management skills of Labour.

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  • 202. At 01:55am on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    200. oldnat

    Oh, well. Scottish Barbeques. Not actually barbeque but enough said. *grin*

    I prefer Texas barbeque, not too surprisingly, but NC is nae bad. ;-)


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  • 203. At 01:57am on 31 Oct 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    The Scotsman is saying that the 2010 referendum will be postponed until 2012. I hope its just another of their lies.

    Curtis is speculating about the SNP wringing consessions out of a hung parliament. This kind of goes against Jim Sillars theory that there will be a government of national unity which would block any of that. You wouldn't know who to believe. My guess is that they are all guessing!

    I think the last thing the Tories would want to do is surrender power to Labour and Liberals, having just got it back. They might soldier on as the SNP had to do when they were denied the alliance they wanted.
    Would anyone else like to debunk Sillar's theory or is he too big to be challenged?

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  • 204. At 02:00am on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    201. ubinworryinmasheep

    CANADIANS cooking grits? Oh, that's a terrible thought. No wonder it wasn't edible. I'd as soon have a Scot cook my grits. *rolls eyes*

    Anyway Scots also eat BLACK PUDDING! EWWWW!

    See what you did. Made me start listening to The Corries. You people are evil. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v15wEsHg3gY&feature=PlayList&p=43E61AA164D50FEC&index=30&playnext=2&playnext_from=PL

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  • 205. At 02:03am on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    203. hamish42

    My opinion doesn't count for much, but I've said that the Tories cooperating with the SNP in Holyrood pretty much disproves Sillar's theory even though he made some reasonable points. If the Tories need allies, they'll take them where they can find them. They're politicians!

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  • 206. At 02:06am on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    203. hamish42

    Someone believes anything The Scotsman says? *grin*

    Actually, I think it is possible that the SNP might not be able to get one before they win the 2011 Holyrood elections. That has always been a possibility, it seems to me. I wouldn't consider that "putting it off" though, just a matter of when they can win a vote.

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  • 207. At 02:08am on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    202. JRMacClure

    Thanks1 I'd forgotten that song.

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  • 208. At 02:17am on 31 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #189 oldnat

    Variations on a theme:

    Eyes down, as SNP battles to be Kelly's eye, No 1

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  • 209. At 02:20am on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    203. hamish42

    The article you refer to is here

    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/latestnews/Nationalists-39give-up39-on-2010.5783424.jp

    Nothing really new in it. The LDs are torn between Scott's hard-line Unionism and the Liberal strand within them which still believes in a Federal UK and Federal fiscal autonomy.

    They'll decide to fudge in the meantime and hope to be important in 2011 - but they need to avoid being destroyed in 2010 and 2011. Difficult decisions for them.

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  • 210. At 02:22am on 31 Oct 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #201 It thanks to the Corries i have such an interest in my countrys well being since i was only 7 and 8 when i saw them live. I cant access your link just now on this pc can someone tell me the song ?

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  • 211. At 02:38am on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    210. ubinworryinmasheep

    Chorus and 1st verse

    Come and join us Come and join us we are the chosen few
    Come and join us Come and join us at a scottish barbeque

    Now when the charcoals burning fiercely
    And the smoke gets in your eyes
    The steaks all taste like fried toothpaste
    And yer mouth is full of flies
    You know you've been accepted
    You've joined the chosen few
    When you have been invited
    To a greenbelt barbequeue

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  • 212. At 02:43am on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

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

  • 213. At 02:50am on 31 Oct 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    Thanks oldnat i will have a gander at that one later on when i get home. I remembered that the Corries invented their own musical instrument and had a wee browse and found this for anybody interested

    http://combolins.com/mp3.shtml

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  • 214. At 03:25am on 31 Oct 2009, spinspamspun wrote:

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

  • 215. At 03:33am on 31 Oct 2009, spinspamspun wrote:

    #201

    TOSH

    Choke on your grits!!!

    Pity RoyalM not relaying tosh!!!

    We can only hope that you go to bed!!!

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  • 216. At 03:50am on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    It's fairly amusing the way the Scotsman will delete about 75% of the comments they get and pretend they weren't posted--not marking them as removed but deleting them completely. They will suddenly go from 100 comments to 25 with no acknowledgment at all.

    I've never known a newspaper so in need of new ownership. It's a shame to have such a piece of trash with the name Scotsman on it.

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  • 217. At 03:56am on 31 Oct 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #215 'We can only hope you go to bed' ... lol who woke you up like ?

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  • 218. At 04:01am on 31 Oct 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #216 JR ..as long as it burns well and can be used to light my fire then it has a use. Mind you the wife buys the Sun so i only get to read the Scotmans content online occasionally when somebody posts something about it on here. Have noticed Labour being attcked in the English version of the Sun more tho.

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  • 219. At 04:39am on 31 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    Diageo workers vote in favour of strike ballot in protest at plant closures

    Workers with drinks giant Diageo are to vote on strike action following the firm's decision to press ahead with the closure of two plants.

    Members of Unite union backed a ballot on industrial action in response to the impending job cuts in Kilmarnock and Port Dundas announced in the summer.

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  • 220. At 05:02am on 31 Oct 2009, ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #219 Roll_On_2010 ... i hope from what i have been reading that you dont have to change your name to Roll_On_2012 !

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  • 221. At 06:04am on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    After 300 years, what's one year more or less? ;-)

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  • 222. At 06:54am on 31 Oct 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Ubinworryinmasheep, I remember a competition to name the instrument.
    I was young and enthusiastic then and sent in what I thought a brilliant suggestion , the Corriegill - for those who don't know it's a place on the island of Arran.
    Did'nt win obviously!

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  • 223. At 07:27am on 31 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    Did I read of some foreigner castigating our black pudding? I love black pudding on toast with a good helping of harissa. An ex-French girlfriend of mine used to look at me in disgust. Strange woman.

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  • 224. At 07:41am on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    223. gedguy2

    How does one become ex-French? =)

    Castigatng black pudding would involve touching it! Not a chance.

    I'll eat a lot of weird stuff. I even have a certain fondness for haggis which I consider about half-way between liver pate and meatloaf. Not bad really.

    But do you KNOW what they put in that black pudding? EWWWW!

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  • 225. At 07:50am on 31 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 224 JRMacClure

    How does one become ex-French? =)

    Good point :-)

    There are too important things which goes into black pudding: blood and my teeth. ;-)
    Haggis (depending on which make) is excellent with buttered mashed neeps.

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  • 226. At 08:08am on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    225. gedguy2

    NOT neeps. *shudders and makes throwing up sounds*

    However, I can deal with neeps being on the plate if I know that's what they are and they aren't mixed with poor innocent tatties. I just kind of shove them around a bit with my fork as though I'd taken a bite. As long as they don't TOUCH the other food thus contaminating it. (hence putting it in wax in this country)

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  • 227. At 08:51am on 31 Oct 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    The ever SNP supporting Allan Cochrane has a lovely piece in the Telegraph.

    The Guardian bloggers are busily shooting Denis (the menace) McShane.

    Meanwhile the BBC Scotland continues its relentless attack on the SNP.
    I noted the presence of the American ambassador , I wonder who asked the cringe/Uriah Heapy question on Mr Megrahi?
    Nice to know we have been forgiven for the temerity of releasing a dying man. ( According to the Scotsman, a dying man NOT dying quickly enough for their taste!)

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  • 228. At 09:04am on 31 Oct 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    I have read the frothing at the mouth comments on Nick ( impartial) Robinsons blog , which is again closed for comment, Denis McShanes "the Tories are friendly with anti semites and racists piece" , I have read much of the boy Millibands comments and I have just visited Guido who has shut them all up, tied them up really neatly!

    Never thought I'd write good old Blair in any context ,but never say never!

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  • 229. At 09:23am on 31 Oct 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    Surprising nobody's mentioned mealie puddens; you can get a poor version down south in places like Edinburgh calling themselves white puddings, but a real mealie pudden (I currently get mine from a proper butchers shop in Inverness) is something to savour, especially with the nights drawing in. Aaah, that's me tea sorted for tonight...

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  • 230. At 09:48am on 31 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    First:
    Well done to oldnat for the work on the Olympics contract companies.

    Anyway...
    The by-election 'coverage' becomes ever more bizarre by the day. There was a two minute item on the BBC news last night but [as far as I can tell] nothing much more. Willie Bain's reliance on GARL will wear thin very soon, if not already, his 1000 jobs has risen to 1300 and as we head into the last two weeks his 'Rip Off' campaign is looking stale.

    With the political landscape damaging to Labour at the moment [expenses, recession, Royal mail etc] the media in Scotland have little to work with, hence the BBC 'didn't read report' contrived item on MacAskill and a desperate headline on the SNP 'abandoning' the 2010 referendum in The Scotsman.

    The 'Big Debate' allowing labour what amounted to a PPB with no right of reply was brazen, but leads one to wonder what prompted such a clearly biased act.

    The SNP are noticably quiet on Glasgow East and I am getting the distinct feeling that there will be a very sizeable swing from Labour.

    Glasgow East saw a high profile media coverage with an honest debate, the SNP won. Glenrothes saw a similar high profile coverage with a skewed campaign that focussed on devolved and council issues, with 'Global Gordon' tagged on, Labour won.

    This campaign is being suppressed by the media, no local issues, no 'Global Gordon', there is no positive angle that the media can highlight for Labour. The result is that, aside from the contrived stories, the media are redundant.

    This means that it is down to local activists and candidates. This by-election is probably closer than many people think.

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  • 231. At 10:04am on 31 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Gordon Brown now sacking scientists because their advice is at odds with Labour policy on drugs - the first ever PM to ignore scientific advice based on sound research.

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  • 232. At 10:07am on 31 Oct 2009, raisethegame wrote:

    Discussion this morning on Radio Scotland talked about the lack of media interest in the forthcoming Glasgow by-election. Speakers said the difference between this one and the media-storm of the last two was that Brown's leadership was now no longer on the line. Also, there was a sense that nothing much was going to change. Angus MacLeod reckoned Labour's 'SNP Government dicriminates against Glasgow' line might be playing quite well for Willie Bain and had surprised the SNP. But he also said the SNP's 'what have you got after 74 years of Labour' was also beginning to resonate. They were all hoping it would hot up over the last 10 days.

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  • 233. At 10:11am on 31 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    Ed,

    I have to defend Gordon Brown on the matter. The scientists are paid to advise but are not paid to create policy. I am quite amused that scientists who are working for the British Government are becoming public with their views.

    I find it inappropiate and it does undermine the Government. The scientists should be sacked or learn to keep out of politics.

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  • 234. At 10:27am on 31 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    #223

    Fair enough point, however the scientist in question pointed out that Labour are ignoring reasearch and that a mass resignation may be imminent.

    On the lack of media interest into this by-election:
    Contributors to this blog picked up on this last week and have noted the lack of interest shown by senior BBC political correspondents.

    McLeod's claim that the SNP have been caught off guard by the 'ripping off Glasgow' nonsense is ridiculous. Again, we on this blog anticipated the campaign the moment Purcell started the 'anti Glasgow bias' line that was helpfully promoted by the scottish media.

    Bain walking around Springburn with a giant placard will not endear voters to him, I think that such a amateurish lowbrow campaign may backfire.

    The SNP are showing the voters a respect with their more mature low key campaign whilst gently remnding them who has been in charge for the last 74 years.

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  • 235. At 10:48am on 31 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 233 Thomas_Porter

    I'm not too sure about sacking a government scientist because he backs the work he and other scientists are paid to do. I understand the principle that scientists are there to advise and politicians are there to apply policies but when those politicians are making a mess of the advise given to them then I think the scientists have a right to express their points of view. The fact is that under successive governments the political policies on drugs have failed us. I remember in my home town of Dundee in the 70s I could count on one hand the people I knew that were on heroin, now it is out of control. The policies that are there to control the drug taking habits of our citizens has not worked and all that the politicians can think of is, making those that need help, criminalising them even more.
    It isn't even this drugs policy that the government is ignoring, they have done the same to our armed forces. The professionals asked for more helicopters but the politicians decided against this and we have had to lose men and women that needn't have died or been injured. Why have professional people telling us what we need to do and the government ignoring it?

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  • 236. At 10:49am on 31 Oct 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Labour are making life in Scotland even more difficult by putting up airport passenger tax by over 10% tomorrow. It will also go up again by a similar amount in a year's time. Motorists are also now paying almost 10p more for a litre of diesel than anyone else in Europe.

    Yet at the same time the amount being invested by Govt in energy R&D is the lowest amongst our perceived competitors. In 2007-8 the UK spent a
    total of £151 million on research, development and demonstration of energy technologies, of which £57 million supported demonstration.

    In his recent report on Energy Security Malcolm Wicks the former energy minister said "The UK does not compare well with other countries. This is partly a result of the UK not having a major industrial base in the energy sector and the UK having ended its involvement in the development of technologies such as wind power (now dominated by central Europe), nuclear energy (France) and solar photovoltaics (Japan)."

    What an admission....... After thirty something years of oil and gas we still don't have a major industrial base in the energy sector. Another union dividend.....

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  • 237. At 10:52am on 31 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 233 Thomas_Porter

    scientists should be sacked or learn to keep out of politics.

    The other side of the coin is that politicians should be sacked for not controlling the drug problem and that politicians should keep out of science.

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  • 238. At 11:20am on 31 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    Gedguy2:

    "Why have professional people telling us what we need to do and the government ignoring it?"

    Those professional people are simply volunteering their services. It does not make it 'a must' for ministers to follow their advice to the letter.

    "The other side of the coin is that politicians should be sacked for not controlling the drug problem and that politicians should keep out of science."

    It does not help that we have mixed messages. However I do not want to go down this route before someone claims we should allow all drugs to be legal, but if politicians are to stay out of science, who will make the decisions?

    It was more of a matter of justice instead of science really.


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  • 239. At 11:29am on 31 Oct 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Just watched FMQs.
    Had to laugh!

    I get the impression that there is an ever increasing coven of close advisers in Labour who sit and think up ways of " getting " the First Minister, all of them failures , NONE in the best interests of the people of Scotland and all of the attempts failing miserably.

    Elmer Fudd right enough.

    Mrs Goldie did herself no favours either.

    The "more in sorrow than in anger" bit by Tavish the Viking did'nt work too well either.

    Could someone please tell me why they ask the same rubbishy question every week?
    If they are limited in the number of questions they are allowed to ask , why , in the name of the wee man, do they insist on asking ,
    "When will the FM be meeting ....?"

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  • 240. At 11:35am on 31 Oct 2009, govanite wrote:

    #203 Hamish

    It doesn't matter what any of the commentators, or in indeed any of us say. All we are doing is hypothesising.

    Curtice, Sillars, and all of us know the Tories are going to win. To believe anything else [and Sillars never suggested he did] is foolish. Everything else is just election strategy by the parties but until Labour concede that they will lose then it is reasonable for Salmond to claim a hung parliament is likely - and as soon as Labour admit they will lose then a vote for Labour becomes pointless.

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  • 241. At 1:06pm on 31 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #232 raisethegame
    "Discussion this morning on Radio Scotland talked about the lack of media interest in the forthcoming Glasgow by-election."

    I presume you're referring to Newsweek Scotland, to which I have just listened on the iPlayer. Rather less than seven minutes on Glasgow NE [starts about 24m 30s in] in a full hour.

    "Balance" was definitively not given by those bastions of the dead tree press Angus McLeod of the Thunderer and Magnus Gardham of the Record plus a politics lecturer called Peter Lynch from Stirling Uni [wonder if Dean knows him?]. A guest list clearly as carefully chosen as that for yesterday's "Big Debate".

    With both their august organs doing their utmost to ignore Glasgow NE, how odd that the two hacks should bemoan the lack of coverage, whilst predicting a flurry of coverage next week if Duff Gordon bothers to turn up next week.

    The BBC Trust is clearly unable or unwilling to regulate BBC Scotland, who must either have a touching belief in nice Mr Cameron or a deathwish.

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  • 242. At 1:17pm on 31 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Malta to investigate key Lockerbie evidence.

    The Maltese government wants to examine the claims of Tony Gauci, the shopkeeper who identified Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi as the man responsible for placing explosives on Pan Am flight 103.

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  • 243. At 1:25pm on 31 Oct 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    #221 JRMacClure wrote:

    After 300 years, what's one year more or less? ;-)

    Its all very well saying that but I would like to see some progress before I depart from here.

    I reckon Patrick Moore must be feeling the same way. He will be thinking he is going to miss all the astronomical goodies that are coming up. Anyway Patrick has had a good innings. He has outlived Copernicus an Galileo.

    I would just say To Alex Salmond, get a move on please!


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  • 244. At 1:52pm on 31 Oct 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 238 Thomas_Porter

    I would be able to understand and back your point of view if successive governments had brought the problem of drugs under control, but they haven't. Indeed one can say that it has got worse; far worse. So what does one do? Ignore the facts that drug taking is rampant in the UK and hope it goes away, which seems to be the policy of all governments. Or do we listen to the professionals and try to find a way around this problem that is blighting our society. Sticking our heads in the sand, which seems to be what you are suggesting by not wishing to discuss it, is not going to solve this problem. The fact is that this government has made no inroads whatsoever into the problem of drug taking in this country by their policies. Maybe we should be taking the road that the scientists are pointing towards.

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  • 245. At 2:02pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    231. U14094468
    "Gordon Brown now sacking scientists because their advice is at odds with Labour policy on drugs - the first ever PM to ignore scientific advice based on sound research."

    Outrageous, in my opinion. If they want to overrule, or worse yet, ignore scientific opinion that they've asked for - well that's for them to decide - as long as it's clear what's gone on. But to sack a scientific advisor for providing their scientific and evidence-based view when it isn't what suits you is disgusting. To go further and accuse them of making the picture less clear is cynical in the extreme.

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  • 246. At 2:05pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    233. Thomas_Porter
    "I have to defend Gordon Brown on the matter. The scientists are paid to advise but are not paid to create policy."

    They get asked to advise, and that's what they do - advise. That's what this scientist did - advise.

    "I am quite amused that scientists who are working for the British Government are becoming public with their views."

    They are advisors, they advise on the basis of scientific evidence, not state secrets. The views of the scientist do not belong to the government, nor is the scientist likely to keep them secret - that's not what science is about. You will struggle to find any scientist working for the government or not who is unwilling to share their views in a public forum (unless constrained by legal or contractual reasons). I'm amused that you find it amusing.

    "I find it inappropiate and it does undermine the Government. The scientists should be sacked or learn to keep out of politics."

    He's not in politics, that's why he says what the scientific evidence tells him, rather than baaa'ing along faithfully to the reactionary stance of the political class or biting his tongue, as you'd like him to do. Letting the government ignore the scientific evidence but exploit having scientific advisors as political cover.

    To be clear - generally - it is in no way inappropriate for scientific knowledge to be disseminated in public forums. It is inappropriate to censor scientific knowledge to suit a political (or other) agenda.

    The government wanted his advice; they got it.
    They chose not to use it.
    They told him that telling the scientific truth about the relative dangers of drugs is harming the government's efforts to give people clear advice on the dangers of taking drugs.

    You square that for me.

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  • 247. At 2:09pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    238. Thomas_Porter
    "It does not help that we have mixed messages. However I do not want to go down this route before someone claims we should allow all drugs to be legal, but if politicians are to stay out of science, who will make the decisions?

    It was more of a matter of justice instead of science really.
    "

    What has justice got to do with it? Apart from the fact that we've got a public health problem that we misguidedly persist in making a criminal problem. The only justice issue here is social justice, and the failure of successive governments to pull themselves away from the cheap political points available from being 'tough' in 'war on some drugs'.

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  • 248. At 2:12pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    238. Thomas_Porter
    "
    It was more of a matter of justice instead of science really.
    "

    And by the way, justice also requires evidence and forthright honesty, all laking in the governmnet's role in this, not the scientists. So if you are claiming some principled stance here, it isn't reconcilable with the facts. I would ask you to stop and think about what has actually occured, and in what context, and rethink your position.

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  • 249. At 2:40pm on 31 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    mrbfaethedee:

    #246.

    "They get asked to advise, and that's what they do - advise. That's what this scientist did - advise."

    I also find the scientist becoming critical of what the Government decides. Is that appropiate? I personally would never publically admitt that I believe the actions taken by my employer is wrong, their word is final.

    "They are advisors, they advise on the basis of scientific evidence, not state secrets. The views of the scientist do not belong to the government, nor is the scientist likely to keep them secret - that's not what science is about. You will struggle to find any scientist working for the government or not who is unwilling to share their views in a public forum (unless constrained by legal or contractual reasons). I'm amused that you find it amusing."

    I'm not suggesting that the scientists should not be allowed to speak their mind, but I find it inapporpiate that this particular scientist decided to publically attack the Government. It was not his place to say as I feel that it's the duty of opposition to hold the Government to account. Do you honestly believe researchers, scientists and civil servents alike all agree with Labour and whats asked of them? It would be quite chaotic if we followed our own agenda.

    "He's not in politics, that's why he says what the scientific evidence tells him, rather than baaa'ing along faithfully to the reactionary stance of the political class or biting his tongue, as you'd like him to do. Letting the government ignore the scientific evidence but exploit having scientific advisors as political cover."

    The scientist has went beyond his original purpose. He is not in politics but it's certainly become political. Do you want a country run by ministers elected by the people or scientists and civil servents? I expect the scientist to respect that I would decide policy and understand the line between advising and setting policy. It's above his paygrade. I doubt the scientist will find it as simple getting into another position of influence out of fear that he will cause another public stir.

    "To be clear - generally - it is in no way inappropriate for scientific knowledge to be disseminated in public forums. It is inappropriate to censor scientific knowledge to suit a political (or other) agenda."

    It's not censored. I've always found scientists critical of the approach that Governments has took, especially concerning illegal drugs. It is inappropiate for an employee to undermine his employer in public.

    "The government wanted his advice; they got it.
    They chose not to use it.
    They told him that telling the scientific truth about the relative dangers of drugs is harming the government's efforts to give people clear advice on the dangers of taking drugs."

    Exactly... the Gov received advise and decided not use the advice. Is that a criminal offence? There is now a situation where an advisor has now undermined Gov policy, where's the benefit? Besides do you follow the advice from everyone regardless of what you feel?

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  • 250. At 2:51pm on 31 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    mrbfaethedee:

    #248.

    "And by the way, justice also requires evidence and forthright honesty, all laking in the governmnet's role in this, not the scientists. So if you are claiming some principled stance here, it isn't reconcilable with the facts. I would ask you to stop and think about what has actually occured, and in what context, and rethink your position."

    The Government decided to raise cannabis from class C to class B, against the advice of the scientist. Is that so wrong? Nothing will change apart from now you can be punished a little harder for being caught with cannabis. I honestly do not see the big deal.

    It's also not a public health problem. It becomes a public health problem once it becomes legal because the government will have to accept the existance of the problem, or do you believe there are facilities already capable of combating individuals will a drugs problem? It's illegal, therefore the problem should not even exist.

    I feel it is still a matter of justice.

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  • 251. At 3:05pm on 31 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Just listened to Brian's 'Big Debate' and must echo the sentiments of other posters regarding the content of the panel - no one from the SNP at at a time when there is a major by-election taking place was unbelievable.

    Midway through the 'debate' it descended into what can only be described as an anti Salmond orgy, with both panel and audience members taking it in turns to insult or abuse the First Minister.

    Not content with that there was also a series of false and questionable claims made about:

    The Calman Commission - "Universally accepted as a very serious piece of work."

    National Conversation - "as flimsy as you can imagine"

    Referendum - "Where’s the huge public support for a referendum?"

    Independence - "The majority of Scots do want to go through the separation process"

    An abuse of a publicly funded body was what it was. At least when the BNP were publicly taken to task on Question Time their leader Nick Griffin was afforded the opportunity to defend himself and address the criticisms.

    This show was actually cited by a BBC Scotland spokesman this week in response to criticisms following revelations that listener numbers are falling - how ironic can you get.

    I repeat, how the SNP can be omitted from such a programme in the midst of a by-election campaign whilst questions on their key policy of an independence referendum are asked is simply incredible.

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  • 252. At 3:14pm on 31 Oct 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    Look at the extreme situation that happened in the USA under Bush's administration. Scientific papers were being altered to play down climate change and god knows what else. There has to be some base line that we can believe, but its certainly not coming from the politicians.

    I think the UK problem (Professor Nutt? We must be living in a Hollywood movie!) rotates around a lack of trust in Gordon Brown. He is already at loggerheads with the military for coming out (with their opinions) and now it's science that's under fire.

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  • 253. At 3:17pm on 31 Oct 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Nothing beats haggis, mashed potatoes and mashed neeps!

    But I can't stand black pudding.......

    And see trying to get white puddings in the West of Scotland? Heathens!


    But what the hell are grits??


    ps I also have porridge almost every day......just careful how much though.......

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  • 254. At 3:29pm on 31 Oct 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    I have no health problems, I have a good job, I own my own home, I have good family and freinds, I do no wrong to any other people and I enjoy life.

    What right have you to suggest that I am a criminal? Or have a problem?

    "It's also not a public health problem. It becomes a public health problem once it becomes legal because the government will have to accept the existance of the problem, or do you believe there are facilities already capable of combating individuals will a drugs problem? It's illegal, therefore the problem should not even exist.

    ...and you so easily ignore Alchohol in that sttement.

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  • 255. At 3:34pm on 31 Oct 2009, BoNG0_1 wrote:

    Grits is porrage made from maize.

    It's white and looks a lot less tasty than our own oaty version.

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  • 256. At 3:42pm on 31 Oct 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #233 Thomas_Porter
    I have to defend Gordon Brown on the matter. The scientists are paid to advise but are not paid to create policy. I am quite amused that scientists who are working for the British Government are becoming public with their views.
    I find it inappropiate and it does undermine the Government. The scientists should be sacked or learn to keep out of politics.

    And if we substitute Dr David Kelly and Tony Blair, are you still of the same mind? Do you allow any reason(s) for "whistle blowing"?

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  • 257. At 3:44pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    249. Thomas_Porter
    "I also find the scientist becoming critical of what the Government decides. Is that appropiate? I personally would never publically admitt that I believe the actions taken by my employer is wrong, their word is final."
    You keep returning to the 'employer/employee' relationship as though though it makes ethical and appropriate statements of fact somehow beyond the pale, i dispute that. However, in this instance there isn't a straightforward employee/employer relationship - Professor Nutt was the chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.
    "The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is an independent expert body that advises government on drug related issues in the UK."
    That's from their website. He was presumably chosen as chair because of his standing and interest in the field. If the advice of the independent body which he chairs is solicted then ignored by the government, the body he chairs is independent, and he is also active in the field via his positions in his other 'jobs'. Why given that, you should expect him to not express his disagreement with the government opinion is beyond me.

    "I'm not suggesting that the scientists should not be allowed to speak their mind, but I find it inapporpiate that this particular scientist decided to publically attack the Government. It was not his place to say as I feel that it's the duty of opposition to hold the Government to account. Do you honestly believe researchers, scientists and civil servents alike all agree with Labour and whats asked of them? It would be quite chaotic if we followed our own agenda."
    It's the political duty of the opposition to hold the government to task politically. They're not there to hold the government to account if they distort scientific evidence to suit their agenda. The opposition aren't in a position to do it - they don't know what the scientific basis is, and they may also have a political agenda which makes them want to avoid the scientific evidence. It is not the role of politicians to highlight distortions of scientific evidence.
    Bear in mind - this is about drug classification. Classification is supposed to give people (including the government) a basis upon which to make judgements about the relative dangers of various drugs. How can that classification be constructed politically, and be taken as meaningful? It is fundamentally dishonest, and in an area where every politician is up on the moral highground at lightning speed.

    "The scientist has went beyond his original purpose. He is not in politics but it's certainly become political. Do you want a country run by ministers elected by the people or scientists and civil servents? I expect the scientist to respect that I would decide policy and understand the line between advising and setting policy. It's above his paygrade. I doubt the scientist will find it as simple getting into another position of influence out of fear that he will cause another public stir."
    His original purpose is science, his roles extend beyond the remit of the ACMD.
    Do you want bridges and scyscrapers to be designed and constructed by politicians, or engineers? I suspect not, i think you'd rather government decide that we need them, and have someone who knows what they're talking about do the rest. I want the government to advise it's citizens correctly when they decide that need to advise them. If they claim that part of the problem is that people don't know the true facts about drugs and that they are going to give them the true facts - when the facts are presented to them, i expect the facts to be presented to the public! If they are not, it is more than acceptable, it is desirable that the individual heading the body charged with bringing the facts to the government should highlight that the government have not presented them.

    "It's not censored. I've always found scientists critical of the approach that Governments has took, especially concerning illegal drugs. It is inappropiate for an employee to undermine his employer in public."
    So the government have an independent body provide them with advice, allowing the government to claim it's decisions have been made using expert advice, then when a member of the independent body whishes to expose the fact that the government has not used the advice in key areas, he should not do so for fear of losing his job. This is not censorship?
    He is the chair of an independent body tasked with providing the government with scientific evidence upon which to base its policies. He is not an employee of the government.
    Do you have a job application in with Trafigura? they'd like employees that keep quiet too.

    "Exactly... the Gov received advise and decided not use the advice. Is that a criminal offence? There is now a situation where an advisor has now undermined Gov policy, where's the benefit? Besides do you follow the advice from everyone regardless of what you feel?"
    I've already stated that the government are within their rights to ignore the advice. I've already said they should be honest and forthright about having done so. They would need to state that their policy on drug classification is driven not only by evidence but by politics. In a similar way, the chair of the ACMD is within his rights to point out where the government have decided not to follow scientifc advice. I will restate for clarity - my problem is with him being removed as chair of the organisation for daring to highlight the government's position in context.

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  • 258. At 3:50pm on 31 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    BoNG0_1:

    #254.

    "I have no health problems, I have a good job, I own my own home, I have good family and freinds, I do no wrong to any other people and I enjoy life.

    What right have you to suggest that I am a criminal? Or have a problem?"

    Who? Me? I didn't call you a criminal. I am pointing out that raising cannabis to class B is more to do with justice and seeking to appear tough on illegal drug users/dealers instead of science etc

    "...and you so easily ignore Alchohol in that sttement."

    Yes, I ignore alcohol because alcohol is legal. Therefore the government should provide servives to help alcohol related problems. It's one reason you pay taxes for alcohol, but other illegal substances are not taxed, so untill there legal the government can ignore the existance.

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  • 259. At 3:54pm on 31 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    handclapping:

    #256.

    "And if we substitute Dr David Kelly and Tony Blair, are you still of the same mind? Do you allow any reason(s) for "whistle blowing"?"

    It's quite a different situation. I find it wrong to use your position of influence to attack your employer for not accepting your advice. There was no reason why Labour should accept the advice and I believe the scientist should keep out of politics. There is a line between volunteering advice and setting policy, I believe it was crossed.

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  • 260. At 4:00pm on 31 Oct 2009, Tom wrote:

    mrbfaethedee:

    #257.

    That's a fair point. I thought the scientist worked specifically for the government instead of an independent body. So, I do change my opinion on the matter, although I still believe in principal that an employee should not undermine his employer in public it appears this was not the case.

    Thanks for sharing that information.

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  • 261. At 4:00pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    250. Thomas_Porter
    "The Government decided to raise cannabis from class C to class B, against the advice of the scientist. Is that so wrong? Nothing will change apart from now you can be punished a little harder for being caught with cannabis. I honestly do not see the big deal."
    If it's no big deal, why do you care that people who do are bothered that the scientist was removed from his position. The problem is that succesive governments have claimed that lack of real knowledge of the dangers is why some people take some drugs. They then sought to provide some factual basis for the positioning of drugs in terms of relative harm, they chose to ignore it. Now the government is in no position to credibly advise people on the potential risks of drug abuse - because they have shown themselves to be demonstrably dishonest. They are now contributing more to the problem. That is why it is a 'big deal' if you like. The big deal for me was that a scientist was sacked for highlighting the fact that the government is misrepresenting science that he was responsible for bringing to them. Punished a little more - up to 5 years in jail for possession?

    "It's also not a public health problem. It becomes a public health problem once it becomes legal because the government will have to accept the existance of the problem, or do you believe there are facilities already capable of combating individuals will a drugs problem? It's illegal, therefore the problem should not even exist."
    It is a public health problem, the fact that it is being dealt with as though a crime problem is one of the major reasons that all attempts to deal with it have failed. Your reasoning is simply to state that a thing is what we choose to say it is - the govt say it's a crime problem so it is. Sophistry! Hold on sec, i'm just off out to call my old banger a ferrari.

    Go and read about Portugal's efforts re: drugs.

    "I feel it is still a matter of justice."
    What's a matter of justice? Professor Nutt's removal, or drugs policy?
    If drugs policy, tell me - starting from what principles do you make it illegal for a private individual to take some substance?

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  • 262. At 4:20pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    259. Thomas_Porter
    "I find it wrong to use your position of influence to attack your employer for not accepting your advice. There was no reason why Labour should accept the advice and I believe the scientist should keep out of politics. There is a line between volunteering advice and setting policy, I believe it was crossed."

    He's not an employee of the government. It is not politics, simply because his statements invlove politics or politicians. Further, from sectin 10 of the ACMD code of practice -
    The Chair of the ACMD is appointed as an individual to fulfil the role of the Council, not as a representative of their particular profession, employer or interest group, and has a duty to act in the public interest."
    Public interest as opposed to political. I'm curious to know which statement's by Professor Nutt you deem to be an attack upon his employer, and why they constitute an attack rather than an exposition of the relationship between the government's claimed use of scientific evidence and the government's actual use of scientific evidence.

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  • 263. At 4:22pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    260. Thomas_Porter

    You're welcome. Thanks for displaying sufficient flexibilty to modify at least part of your position.
    I've made several further comments prior to getting this post i'm responding too, many of the comments therein are predicated on your earlier position. Please ignore as appropriate.

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  • 264. At 4:36pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    243. hamish42

    Understandable. But you must admit they might need a majority in Holyrood to get the thing which I'm sure is not Alex Salmond's preference. Perhaps not though. One can hope that the LibDems might decide to actually try democracy.

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  • 265. At 4:41pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    I don't know which state's legislature this originates from, but I thought i'd share this image of how IT is used by said legislature.
    :)

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  • 266. At 4:46pm on 31 Oct 2009, Blind_Captain wrote:

    #251.
    Online Ed Here

    Totally agree.

    I previously posted a draft petition on this subject, rolling forward to the General Eelection. Brownedov had noted it and was going to put his thinking cap on. Any thoughts Brownedov?

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  • 267. At 4:47pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    255. BoNG0_1

    I happen to like the oaty version but the maize version (made actually from a specially treated maize) is quite good too. They have totally different taste and texture.

    But generally one should avoid getting grits outside of the South because you can be quite sure they won't know how to make it properly. And I generally advice Scots coming over here to avoid US oatmeal for breakfast. You will NOT be pleased! Americans generally manage to turn it into something best described as library paste.

    I've heard of mealie but never had it. Sounds interesting. lol

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  • 268. At 4:57pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Poor Brian Taylor. His political blog is being turned into a FOOD blog. What a fate.

    Perhaps it's karma for his refusal to discuss the Glasgow NE by-election. ;-)

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  • 269. At 4:58pm on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    267. JRMacClure

    My butcher, here in Ayrshire, makes mealie puddings (for me and other East Coast ex-pats) from time to time using his Grandad's recipe. During WWII they were widely eaten here, apparently, because they weren't rationed.

    Incidentally KR. Is the entry in wiki about grits correct?

    "Dry grits can be used to kill ants. Simply put instant grits around ant dirt mound on a sunny day. The grits are eaten by ant and expand inside the ant's gut, which eventually blows up. It can kill the ant colony in 48 hours."

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  • 270. At 5:06pm on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    269. oldnat
    Sorry JR - not KR

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  • 271. At 5:10pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    269. oldnat

    LOL I think that's a myth. Considering that ants tend to be a bit of a problem in the South, I suspect they would have long since rid themselves of the problem. Haha! That is very amusing though, the thought of the little ants exploding. (Oh, dear. That makes me an evil person that I would find that funny)

    Perhaps we should go on a food strike and refuse to discuss anything BUT food until Mr. Taylor admits that there is a by-election going on. ;-)

    And something else... which is correct? I'm never sure. By-election or bye-election? (We call them special elections)

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  • 272. At 5:14pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Oh, don't believe the thing about sugar on grits. THAT is disgusting. ONLY a Yankee would put sugar on their grits. *shudder*

    And as far as a Southern is concerned (and when it comes to grits only Southerners count) only hominy grits are really grits. I do like the wording of that bill from Carolina: A man full of grits is a man of peace.

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  • 273. At 5:23pm on 31 Oct 2009, myretoun wrote:

    A page two article in the Scottish (sic) Daily Mail: Riddle of 4,000 by-election voters.

    According to Alan Roden, their Scottish Political Reporter, the Election watchdogs are to examine a surge in the number of registered voters ahead of next month's Glasgow North East by-election. Apparently, more than 4,000 extra names have appeared on the electoral roll since September 1st.

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  • 274. At 5:26pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    273. myretoun

    Interesting! It's nice to see it looked at now instead of a year after the fact.

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  • 275. At 5:36pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Speaking of the Daily Mail, I'd say they don't much like Tony Blair:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1224221/PETER-OBORNE-Did-Blair-betray-Britain-years-bid-EU-president.html

    Not Scottish but that's one harsh article. They all but call him a traitor.

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  • 276. At 5:43pm on 31 Oct 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    #272, sounds as bad as putting sugar or syrup (molasses) on porrage instead of dry meal.

    First time I was over your way it was British Columbia, where I was introduced to hash browns and to maple syrup by the bucket, but nobody mentioned grits. They were into maple syrup in a big way in Massachuusetts and Quebec too, where I learned the only difference between ketchup and catsup is the spelling, but Texas, ah Texas... learned the difference between bacon and ham, but was very very firmly instructed to avoid grits at all costs. Now chicken fried steak, that was something different and then down by the border, mole (ryhmms with Olay) with my chilli

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  • 277. At 5:45pm on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    271. JRMacClure
    "By-election or bye-election? "

    Both are acceptable.

    If we talked about nothing except food (and poetry), we'd never get another political thread from BT!

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  • 278. At 5:58pm on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Any news yet from the LD closed door conference in Dnfermline?

    http://www.libdemvoice.org/times-tavish-scott-expected-to-see-off-lib-dem-rebellion-on-opposition-to-referendum-16712.html

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  • 279. At 6:15pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Ah, if you never tried grits in Texas that is a shame although I'm sorry to say that the do both grits and sweet tea better in Georgia. Grits go well with chicken fried steak by the way. (I'm gaining weight just having this conversation)


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  • 280. At 6:26pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    278. oldnat

    Isn't the result pretty much a foregone conclusion though? Is there any chance that that Tavish Scott won't get his way on this for the time being?

    The widespread idea which you frequently see expressed that after years of demanding a referendum that the SNP woud be put on the backfoot by getting one tends to make me sigh and shake my head. Although if they demanded some kind of rigged wording or oversight by a commission that would somehow interfere with the vote, that would be another thing entirely.

    Anyone have any insight on that?

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  • 281. At 6:36pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    280. JRMacClure

    By they, I meant the LibDems, of course.

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  • 282. At 6:39pm on 31 Oct 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    #277. At 5:45pm on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    "If we talked about nothing except food (and poetry), we'd never have another political thread from BT!"

    Ah, but that's the point, if he won't give us a blog topic we can get our teeth into we might as well get them into food instead :-)

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  • 283. At 6:43pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    282. Caledonian54

    Since he has, recently, been pretty determined not to discuss politics or at most stick to the periphery of politics, *makes wavy motion with hand*

    Why not food? ;-)

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  • 284. At 6:47pm on 31 Oct 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #266 Blind_Captain

    I'm much less sure on what's needed for press coverage - we are after all supposed to have a free one [haha, I know] - but I suspect that what's needed for the broadcast media is much simpler and also much more urgent. I hate inventing brand new wheels, and the current rules on party political broadcasts and referendum campaign broadcasts are already fairly well defined. I think they just need a little tightening up. There's also the point that getting print and internet media "onside" in promoting the petition will be less difficult if it doesn't impact on them!

    Before rejecting my suggested text out of hand, do have a look at the House of Commons Library paper on Party Election Broadcasts SN/PC/03354, the Broadcasters' Liaison Group website and the Ofcom Rules on Party Political and Referendum Broadcasts, but here goes:

    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister / Scottish Parliament / etc
    To guarantee that all UK broadcasters, both television and radio, conduct a fair representation of the forthcoming General Election. In this respect we ask that Section 333 of the Communications Act 2003 be amended to:

    1. Enforce statutory regulation by Ofcom on all political coverage by the BBC in the light of the failure of the BBC Trust to enforce BBC Charter obligations of impartiality.

    2. Enforce the same rules of balance as apply to party political broadcasts and referendum campaign broadcasts to all news and discussion programmes exceeding two minutes in length from three months before the scheduled date in the case of all national and Kingdom-wide elections.

    3. In the case of such elections not pre-scheduled the same rules to apply from the earlier of the date the election is announced and four months before the latest possible date of the election.

    4. Recognise that any Kingdom-wide broadcasts must respect the rights of all of the major parties in all of the nations of the UK as currently defined by Ofcom. Broadcasts in only one of the nations must respect the rights of all of the major parties in that nation.

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  • 285. At 7:19pm on 31 Oct 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    As of 19.01 on this site the Lib-Dems have affirmed their opposition to a referendum:

    "The party overwhelmingly rejected Alex Salmond's referendum Bill.

    "There was genuine and widespread anger at the rigged question put forward by the SNP.

    "The Liberal Democrats are a party that will remain at the heart of the debate on Scotland' constitutional future. But on our terms."

    ... or to put it another way if the voters can't be trusted to give us the result we want, then we're not playing and we're not allowing them to either.

    Liberal?

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  • 286. At 7:31pm on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    285. Caledonian54
    "Liberal?"

    No. Social Democratic = 1980s non-Socialist Labour = New Labour. Not a surprise.

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  • 287. At 7:34pm on 31 Oct 2009, govanite wrote:

    Liberal Democrats? More like Liberal Hypocrits, freely reserving the right to obstruct the people's voice.

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  • 288. At 7:44pm on 31 Oct 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Since Foulkes did his fancy dress, I'm suitably attired for a halloween party at home.

    Sitting here in combat trousers, trainers and a red indian wig.......problem is I resemble Ozzy rather than Geronimo!

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  • 289. At 7:45pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    285. Caledonian54
    "As of 19.01 on this site"

    Which site is that?

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  • 290. At 7:45pm on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    287. govanite

    On the basis of their anti-democratic stance, I can now make the confident prediction that the LDs will lose their deposit in Glasgow NE (mind you, I made the same prediction yesterday!)

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  • 291. At 7:53pm on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    289. JRMacClure

    We use that to mean the BBC News site

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8336195.stm

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  • 292. At 8:18pm on 31 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #277 oldnat

    Yep, hopefully a bye-bye-election for NuLabour.

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  • 293. At 8:23pm on 31 Oct 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    162. oldnat

    Thanks. thats sure some spin off for Scottish businesses!

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  • 294. At 8:31pm on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    There has been a first draft of a codified constitution for the UK.

    http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/2009/10/30/uk-gets-its-first-written-constitution/

    "a collection of laws, fictions, powers left over from the old monarchy and powers that we make up as we go along. It allows us to decide what governments can do; and best of all, only we have the power to change it."

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  • 295. At 8:42pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    291. oldnat

    Thanks. LOL Count on me to occasionally miss the obvious.

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  • 296. At 8:46pm on 31 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Another article in the Times about the FibDems:

    Power-sharing deal awaits for Lib Dems - but it’s an appalling prospect

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  • 297. At 9:08pm on 31 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Guardian article paints a bleak picture for our youngsters:

    Graduate unemployment to soar, says thinktank.

    Graduate unemployment in Britain will soar over the coming years as the public sector, which employs 52% of university leavers, slashes thousands of jobs, a leading thinktank said today.

    Centre for Cities said that graduates would find it harder to get work in the public sector, where up to 290,000 jobs were expected to be lost between 2009 and 2014. It said that unless more highly skilled jobs could be generated in the private sector, cities would continue to see graduate unemployment rise.

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  • 298. At 9:15pm on 31 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Banks to be broken up

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  • 299. At 9:18pm on 31 Oct 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    ICM/Sunday Telegraph:
    Con 42 (-2), Lab 25 (-2), Lib Dem 21 (+3)

    But which party is benefitting from Lab/Con drop in Scotland?

    The Lib Dem announcement that they will still resist a referendum on independence suggests that they aren't the beneficiaries.

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  • 300. At 9:26pm on 31 Oct 2009, oldnat wrote:

    UK ICM Poll for the Telegraph

    Con 42% (-2) : Lab 25% (-2) : LD 21% (+3)

    My what an effect the Dunfermline decision made! :-)

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  • 301. At 9:55pm on 31 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    Article from the Sunday Herald:

    Labour in Scotland want broadband guarantee.

    Mr Gray added that France had made broadband access a right for people, and that Finland had also passed a new law making this a legal right for citizens.

    He said: "These may or may not be the approaches we should take here, but we should be considering how that kind of guaranteed access could be provided in Scotland."


    This is the Grey Mans policy on the hoof or should it be described as a rant. Certainly no meat around the bare bones policy; therefore it must be a rant!

    By the way Brian, even in the photograph it appears the Gray Mans twitch is back….palpably back.

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  • 302. At 10:02pm on 31 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    Whey Hey!................

    Trick or Treat!

    Independence film............Gone with the wind!

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  • 303. At 10:05pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    285. Caledonian54

    Scottish LibDems, spurning opportunity since the first Holyrood elections.

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  • 304. At 10:09pm on 31 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    Fright night with GomezNat and MorticiaClure, keep your hands in your pockets with these two out there.

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  • 305. At 10:16pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    284. Brownedov
    Sounds good to me, and appears to address the trust's superior postion re: impartiality as expressed in the addition to the memorandum of understanding between beeb trust and ofcom. Although I liked some of the specicity in Blind_Captain's original, If we can be confident all specifics are covered by this more generalised formulation, then it looks good to me.
    A smaller point - does it express a desire for more proactive enforcement? I think that is a fair part of the problem.

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  • 306. At 10:19pm on 31 Oct 2009, Robabody wrote:

    # 287 Govanite

    you're being to kind to the Lib Dems - political prostitutes would be a more apt description. Think about the scramble that took place during the first two administrations to see who got the Ford Mondeo's. If the SNP had wanted them on board as partners they should have offered Tavish a Mercedes.

    A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for labour - end of.

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  • 307. At 10:21pm on 31 Oct 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    The behaviour of the LibDem on QT last week offers an alternative reason why the Scottish LibDems have decided to shoot themselves in the head. I suspect they have the prospect of doing a deal with Labour in the event of the Tories not getting an overall majority at the General,Election and this will determine all their actions in the forseeable future. They are a UK party not a Scottish one and that is the arena they operate in.
    Despite the well publicised travails of Charles Kennedy I had imagined he retained some honest political core. Sadly he also is exposed as neither liberal nor democrat.
    The diminishing band of LibDem activists in Scotland must be gutted. The party has just adopted a position in direct contradiction of their constitution but I don't believe they have enough activists left to do anything about this. The LibDems are irrelevant.
    For what it is worth this is what their constitution says
    " We believe that sovereignty rests with the people and that authority in a democracy derives from the people. We therefore acknowledge their right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs"

    I believe the SNP should now offer a place in its ranks without hesitation and without reservation to all true Liberals.

    The "Irish question" destroyed the Liberals as a significant electoral force about 100 years ago. The Scottish question is having the same effect on Scotland's LibDems today

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  • 308. At 10:26pm on 31 Oct 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    #301

    Does Gray want this and the Glasgow Airport Link?

    Where's the money coming from? Gray has to understand we don't have a system in Scotland that enables us to print the stuff and simply pass the debt to our grandchildren.

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  • 309. At 10:27pm on 31 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Worrying article in the Times:

    BNP support up 50% in far-right strongholds.

    The study, for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the race watchdog, is the most comprehensive official analysis of the BNP produced. Supported by polling from ICM, it was based on three samples of 1,500 people in Blackburn, northwest Leicestershire and Stoke-on-Trent.

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  • 310. At 10:28pm on 31 Oct 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    294. oldnat
    It's funny 'coz it's true

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  • 311. At 10:29pm on 31 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    There's a potent pot on the boil and the nats are in the mix?

    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

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  • 312. At 10:31pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    A Halloween treat for my Scottish friends:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s96dAiD16Ow

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  • 313. At 10:32pm on 31 Oct 2009, Robabody wrote:

    # 301 - Roll_on_2010 - one big snag about giving everyone high speed Broad band may be that they have'nt got a receiving / transmission device?

    So I presume that now that Mr Gray has demanded we all should have access, he and his party will be happy to pay for the computers to attach to the end of the electric string? I can see it all now, free computers and broadband for the disadvantaged - aye right!

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  • 314. At 10:42pm on 31 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    Robabody/ Burke and Hare......this could be a good night for you my ghoul friend!

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  • 315. At 10:52pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    309. Roll_On_2010

    It seems to me that goes very much against Anthony Wells' recent argument over on UK Polling that BNP support could not cost the Tories seats.

    I still think that Alex Salmond might be right that people are underestimating the possibility of either a hung parliament or one that has only a small Tory majority.

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  • 316. At 11:09pm on 31 Oct 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Oh, I would post a link to this but the moderators don't approve of this particular Corries performance. However, if you go to youtube and do a search on 'The Corries Scotland The Brave (humorous)' you will find one of the best performances that (in my opinion) they ever did and one that is not available on any of their CDs or DVDs so is quite rare.

    Haha! Love the "walking around with your frozen twosome" line.

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  • 317. At 11:13pm on 31 Oct 2009, Robabody wrote:

    # 314 Brownresolute

    thank you my fellow wired blogger - I had a very ghoul night indeed. I trust your tumchie reeked of candle wax and festering vegetable?

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  • 318. At 11:21pm on 31 Oct 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #308 Wee-Scamps

    Yep the Scottish budget is a fixed pot of money and Gray wants to put GARL and Broadband into it. He has not said what he will take out, and what is alarming is that the media are not asking him that question ,,,Why?

    Unfortunately you are correct ‘our children and their children’ will pick up the tab for the debt NuLabour have created.


    #313 Robabody

    Of course you are correct but you need a brain to think the process through, as you have done. Unfortunately Gray has been found wanting in that department.

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  • 319. At 11:35pm on 31 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    Well! Burke, I'd thought I would "neep" that idea in the bud and opt for the more easier option of scooping oot! the pumpkin, to be quite honest, it may just have been to "Hare" um scare um to cut the inside of a "NEEP" oot.

    May the darkness be with you! Boooooooooooo!

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  • 320. At 11:57pm on 31 Oct 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    Apparently they burned witches at Linlithgow palace right up to the mid 18th century.More often than not the accused witch would have cured someones illness with the use of wild herbs and plants but because the powers above couldn't understand the medicinal power of herbs and plants they would accuse such actions as witch- hood and burn the poor accused.There were several ways how the powers above tried and convicted a witch, One form was the "PRICKER" and he' would pierce the back of an accused witch with a darn like needle which he forced right through to the accused lungs. Of course there isn't any blood in the lungs, so when he pulled the needle out and it was clear of blood above the tip and point, the powers above said that was the sign, that the accused was a witch and the burning would take place very soon after.

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  • 321. At 00:13am on 01 Nov 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #315 JRMacClure

    Correct me if I am wrong but PB is predicting a Tory majority of 88 seats on the back of the latest ICM poll. The article I referred to consists of less than a handful of seats, and based around localised issues, therefore I feel it will not affect the overall results. I think that view is supported by Anthony Wells in his earlier article directly following the BBC QT BNP show. Also if you look at the areas in question they are NuLabour ones therefore they will be the losers.

    My feelings are that the greatest threat to Cammie will be his stance, prior to the GE, regarding the EU. It will be UKIP that could inflict the greater damage to them dependant on their (Tory) stance.

    Regarding a hung Parliament I don’t think it will happen. But a week is a long time in politics; certainly things could change in 6 months, and certainly considering the EU.

    But what is certain is the SNP are playing the correct policy, ie a hung Parliament, and you will note that even after sustained pressure from the media for Wee Eck to name whom he would like to see in government he didn’t. Can you imagine what would have been screamed endlessly across the MSM - Salmon backs the Tories, it would not bode well in Scotland if the SNP are seen to be, if not supporting, but hoping the Tories get in with a working majority.

    There are two, possibly more, outcomes:

    1Hung parliament - In which case the SNP could have some leverage.

    2 A Tory government with a large majority - That will go down a bomb in Scotland and if I remember correctly recent polls have suggest that larger numbers of people will vote SNP as a protection. Therefore that could possibly give them their referendum after 2011, if indeed the current opposition deny it them now.

    Whatever the outcome it will certainly be exciting times in Scotland for the SNP.

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  • 322. At 00:22am on 01 Nov 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    #321 My Post - Correction

    if indeed the current opposition deny it them now.

    Should be:

    if the current opposition deny the people of Scotland a referendum/choice now

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  • 323. At 00:29am on 01 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    320. brownresolute

    The modern version of that is for a politician to reject the advice of the council of scientists appointed to advise him on scientific issues, and then to sack him because the politician prefers his own witch-hunt, rather than use science.

    Great Home Secretary you have!

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  • 324. At 01:04am on 01 Nov 2009, brownresolute wrote:

    323
    Oldnat, I dont doubt for one minute that some people use banned substances as medicinal measures however as a parent I also remain alert to the dangers of such substances and I've no doubt either that such substances have been and continue to be used by our medical experts for all types of situations.

    It's a real grey area of concern and I dont know whether to legalise some substances for sale and tax use would be a good or bad idea.

    At some point in the future they may have to legislate to ban tobacco completely. Is it possible to ban one form of drug but not another?.

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  • 325. At 01:08am on 01 Nov 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Revealed: where the MoD wants to dump its radioactive waste.

    The MoD has written to the Liberal Democrat MPs for Fife and Argyll and Bute, Willie Rennie and Alan Reid, saying that one or more of the candidate sites were “within your locality”. But it did not say specifically where.

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  • 326. At 01:18am on 01 Nov 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Hang on to your seats folk Duffs off on another bender:

    Gordon Brown plans new spending splurge.

    However, the proposals have caused alarm among Treasury officials who fear any increased spending could upset the financial markets, making it harder to service the growing national debt.

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  • 327. At 01:37am on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    321. Roll_On_2010

    I'm not sure what the PB prediction is after the latest poll. I haven't looked. Polls this far ahead don't mean too much, as I know you'll agree. I'm not sure about BNP only costing Labour. I'm only going by what I've read. Wells conceded, if I remember correctly, that the BNP would cost Tory seats--he just said not nearly as many as 50. I think he predicted about 10 seats would be affected. But again--this far ahead, that doesn't mean a can of beans.

    There is the EU referendum in play and the question of whether it is possible for Labour (and GB) to go a few months without shooting themselves in the head--apparently for the fun of it. And the expenses scandal lurking in the wings.

    It seems to me that with these factors in play it isn't unreasonable to say that it's too early to call it. Will the swing actually be large enough when people actually walk into the polls to give the Tories that large a majority? It's always possible but I have to see swings that big to quite believe them. You know they don't often happen in any country.

    I'm not making any predictions, merely saying that I think a closer result that people expect is a possibility. Obviously, the Tories will do well. Certainly they will end up with at least a plurality. I see no doubt of that at all. A majority is a probability but no certainty. A large majority? I dunno. I'm not laying down any money on it.

    As far as your analysis of the SNP and Alex Salmond, I agree 100%. He is taking the smart tack. His job is getting the SNP best placed for whatever happens and that's what he's doing.

    Definitely exciting times.

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  • 328. At 01:40am on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    323. oldnat

    Johnson didn't burn Professor Nutt at the stake though. Possibly Johnson confused witches and vampires and is planning a stake through the heart instead.

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  • 329. At 01:47am on 01 Nov 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #312

    Sought out your Corries song which led me to the Corries doing "A Parcel of Rogues" which introduced me to Steeleye Span's absolutely magnificent version of the same song which now goes onto my playlist.
    However if you want to hear the real goods on Parcel of Rogues it is Barbara Dickson's spine tingling version which I play whenever I get a bit down or discourgaged.
    The rogues are with us today as ever they were -those who take position in Scotland only because of their support of rule from London and whose only concern is their own vested interest.
    They say the night is darkest just before the dawn.
    I cannot understand how huge sections of the media community in Scotland can look at themselves in the mirror in the morning. Not because they support the union - they are entitled to hold that view - but because they all know they are supporting it with an absolute deluge of lies and distortions. Perhpas November 13th will see dawn breaking.
    If the SNP wins Glasgow North East in the face of the most dishonest and the most continuous and the most virulent campaign of lies and distortions I have ever seen the people of Scotland will indeed have crossed the Rubicon.

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  • 330. At 01:55am on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    329. sneckedagain

    I think, by the way, that The Corries did one of the best versions of Scots Wha Hae I've ever heard.

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  • 331. At 02:07am on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    329. sneckedagain
    "I cannot understand how huge sections of the media community in Scotland can look at themselves in the mirror in the morning. Not because they support the union - they are entitled to hold that view - but because they all know they are supporting it with an absolute deluge of lies and distortions."

    Just because it bears repeating.

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  • 332. At 02:10am on 01 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    324. brownresolute
    "Is it possible to ban one form of drug but not another?. "

    I don't have any better answers than anyone else, but one thing I am sur of is that this shouldn't be a party political issue.

    People have always taken "recreational drugs". it seems unlikely that this will stop.

    I am in favour of restricting the availability of the most addictive drugs to young people - nicotine is clearly one of the worst of these on the scientific evidence.

    I did some research on Prohibition in America some years ago, and that persuaded me that making drugs illegal (which people want to use) simply gives huge power and profit to the criminal gangs, and supplies adulterated products.

    How the solution is achieved, I don't know - but the current international war on drugs is essentially a US endeavour, which they demand of their clients and allies. Given their history of failure, I'd go for a European analysis - based on the scientific evidence - to determine the best way forward.

    Portugal has an interesting strategy.

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  • 333. At 02:27am on 01 Nov 2009, Scotus wrote:

    Barbara Dickson is well worth checking out. We both come from Dunfermline! And we sang together round the folk-clubs in the mid 60s. You might google John Watt and Rab Noakes as well.

    Jack

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  • 334. At 02:32am on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    332. oldnat

    Just consider the financial stream it would take away from criminal elements if addictive drugs were legalized. That in itself is one of the best reasons for legalization. Look at the money and power that has been put into the hands of gangs. Look at the murders and disruption to life in Mexico, for example, for one of the worst examples.

    The arguments for the criminization of cannabis are laughable--or to be more accurate, non-existent. You want to know the REAL reason it was criminalized in the US? It was the end of rehabilitation and it was come up with a new drug to criminalize or there would be layoffs of Fed enforcement agents.

    The money, time and effort that goes into enforcement, jailing people who have done nothing worse than use a recreational drug, the assets in the US that goes into running HUGE jail systems--we have one of the world's largest jail populations! It's ridiculous and inexcusable.

    And think about it. Until the 1900s drugs were not illegal. And the earth did not come to an end. Heck, they weren't even controlled.

    I happen to be in favor of strict controls and taxes on them, but people ARE going to take recreational drugs. They always have. They're not going to stop even in the face of laws against them. If you start with that as a FACT (and I think it is an amply proven fact) and go from there to limit any damage by keeping them out of the hands of kids, making any taxes on them pay for any social damage, and discouraging the use without criminalizing it, you'd go a long way toward solving some of our mutual problems.

    And anyone who wants to blame the US, yes, as is often the case we've bullied allies into following our rather bad example.

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  • 335. At 02:35am on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    I don't 100% agree with the Portugal policy because it doesn't take the money stream out of the hands of criminals and it does not make use of the money to treat the social problems, but it is a step in the right direction.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=portugal-drug-decriminalization

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  • 336. At 02:43am on 01 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    334. JRMacClure

    That's a perspective I hadn't come across before - but it makes a lot of sense.

    As always, it's not a matter of blaming Americans, but blaming the imperial power that your government has become.

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  • 337. At 02:43am on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    It was the end of rehabilitation = end of prohibition.

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  • 338. At 03:05am on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    336. oldnat

    The timing was such that it's the only possible explanation. And I've studied (in uni for a class) the hearings which were absurd. No one cared at all about those drugs, especially cannabis, until suddenly there were alcohol agents who were going to have no laws to enforce.

    Consider that when Federal Bureau of Narcotics was formed in 1930. Many of its agents, including its first commissioner, Harry J. Anslinger, are former prohibition agents. By this time the repeal of prohibition had was in the process of taking place. Anslinger was in large part behind the 1937 passage of the Marijuana Tax Act.

    In the US there is also an interesting correlation between who used drugs and their legality. There have always been strong class and racial overtones. Cocaine and opium were legal during the 19th century, and were favored drugs among the middle and upper classes. They were not criminalized until the 1914 Harrison Act by which time they had become associated with blacks and chinese immigrants. Marijuana was legal until the 1930s. The fact that it was associated with Mexicans and blacks made the criminizationa both easy and popular. LSD only became illegal in the US in 1967 after becoming associated with counterculture use. The history of ecstasy I haven't looked at.

    It's a much more complex and convoluted subject than most people realize and the argument for criminalization has a LOT of holes in it--and by the way, I am a not a drug user.

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  • 339. At 07:49am on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    I think my lecture about US drug laws killed the blog. :(

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  • 340. At 08:28am on 01 Nov 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Could any Liberal Democrat please explain where the " rigging" is in the SNPs referendum question?
    And could any Liberal Democrat explain the meaning of the word
    " liberal"?

    Come to think of it , could any Conservative or Labour supporter enlighten me as to the " rigging" - of the referendum question?

    And while I am in the mood for answers could someone tell me how Glasgow NE has managed to acquire more voters in the space of a week?

    Any inquisitive journalists left in Scotland who have the interests of all the people of Scotland at heart, prepared to stick their heads above the parapet and do some honest reporting ,prior to the belated Glasgow North East election?

    I am utterly weary of lies and spin.
    I did not expect to have a media so bereft of integrity that it would print lies and obfuscations in an effort to protect an out dated status quo and a lying, thieving ,warmongering traiterous Westminster Government.

    Anyone wishing to quibble the " traiterous" should read the reports on Nimrod and helicopters.
    That is what I call traiterous.

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  • 341. At 08:37am on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #305 mrbfaethedee
    "A smaller point - does it express a desire for more proactive enforcement? I think that is a fair part of the problem."

    Thanks for your comments and you make an excellent point not covered by my wording.

    Section 333 of the Communications Act 2003 on Party political broadcasts gives Ofcom a pretty wide remit, but Ofcom's How to complain on a specific programme makes clear that their approach is reactive rather than proactive with: "We do not watch or listen to programmes before they are broadcast. If you would like to complain about a programme that has yet to be broadcast, you should contact the broadcaster directly."

    For individual, non-political programmes, that approach is reasonable, but as a minimum it would not be unreasonable during election periods for the Electoral Commission to be provided with advance warning of all scheduled guests on relevant programmes and for them to make the entire list available to any interested individuals or parties via, say, an RSS feed, to provide early warning which in turn would facilitate pre-complaints to Ofcom. I am not qualified to say whether any law would have to be changed to enable Ofcom to act on such matters, but a petition need not dot every i and cross every t.

    If it is to gain signatories, it needs to be comprehensible to a wide audience and visible on a single screen. Why not have a go at producing a second draft from my first one?

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  • 342. At 08:43am on 01 Nov 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    I think what some of you are saying, over the use of drugs as a recreational pursuit, is that it should be decriminalised and taxed. I am not too sure about the hard drugs like heroin and crack and I would like to leave that out of the equation just now and concentrate on the drugs that have a lesser medical effect on us. Just to be honest with you, I was a drug user in the 70s, mostly cannabis, and nothing so far has convinced me that cannabis has any long term mental or physical detrimental effect on us. As with anything else, if people were to indulge in its use every second of the day then there may be some long term effects. However, we are not talking about heavy use but recreational pursuit. Even taking into account the stronger 'grass' out there now (yes, I have tried it) it is still not dangerous to health if taken as one might have a few pints with their friends on an occasional night out.
    The fact of the matter is that the reason that these types of drugs are illegal is because governments have decided to follow the policies of the USA and made them illegal. JR and oldnat have put forward some fair points concerning the history of the law and this should be taken into account when discussing what we do about this. Personally, I would be happy to see cannabis decriminalised and allowed to be sold in licenced premises. This would have two effects; it would take the control of these drugs out of the hands of the criminals and put under government control, and it would also control the purity of the drug whereby we won't be allowing our young people to be exposed to the gangsters' use of 'tranquilisers' getting added to sub-standard cannabis. At the same time the government would take millions, yes millions, of people out of the illegal zone and gain millions, yes millions, of pounds in taxes.

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  • 343. At 09:00am on 01 Nov 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 340 Diabloandco

    I suspect that there are many honest journalists out there. The problem is that the media is controlled by those who wish to see the continuation of the Union. Therefore, we will always get a media which is leaning towards the point of view of its masters. This is politics and the big boys of the establishment are not going to allow the break up of the Union by sitting on their hands. The only political weapon that the SNP has is the amount of people that it can get out onto the streets to support the SNP during by-elections and general elections. There is no sense in complaining about the Unionists having all the media, the trick is 'how do we counteract this unfavourable imbalance?'. Every nationalist, whether a supporter of the SNP or not has got to get off their bums and plod the streets during elections and referendums. This is the only way.
    In addition to that we must keep highlighting the glencampbellyness of the media in Scotland, and the rest of the UK, to show those that are waverers what is going on; black propaganda.

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  • 344. At 09:33am on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    My #122 above has just been removed for being "potentially defamatory" for reasons I find hard to understand, but my #153 covers most of the key points re Glenrothes. Re Glasgow NE, however, there are lessons to be learnt and in particular I hope that:

    1. The Returning Officer for Glasgow NE has read the Electoral Commission's Glenrothes election report [PDF available here], and noted their strong criticism of the law which allows checking of only 20% of returned postal voting statements, believing that 100% checking is needed. They were sufficiently concerned about Glenrothes to note that less than 2% of the postal votes were rejected.

    2. Both the Returning Officer and Sheriff Clerk for Glasgow NE have studied the SCS investigation carried out by Bill McQueen [PDF available here] and will act upon the 11 recommendations in S34 (p13 of the PDF): Recommendations in relation to receipt and handling of records and enquiries. In particular, let us hope that, with proper adjustment of the relevant date, No.8 is followed: "Sheriff Clerks should consider adding their own labels to the bags/boxes/packages of electoral registers received, along the lines of “Property of Sheriff Court: retain until 6 November 2009. Thereafter destroy as confidential waste”."

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  • 345. At 09:49am on 01 Nov 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    BBC ..... Blatantly Biased Corporation?

    Click Here

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  • 346. At 09:55am on 01 Nov 2009, ForteanJo wrote:

    #340 - "Come to think of it , could any Conservative or Labour supporter enlighten me as to the " rigging" - of the referendum question?"

    My understanding of it is that the grayman argues the question is rigged because it leads people to believe that it merely facilitates a negotiation on the terms of any independence settlement rather than actually authorising independece per se. Scots, being largely reasonable people, wouldn't rule out such a negotiation regardless of their thoughts and feelings on independence. After all, the position of an independent Scotland has been subject to so many lies and speculations that most people would want to see something concrete before rendering their final decision on the question of Scotland's independence.

    However the terms of the referendum proposal, as envisioned by the SNP, do not facilitate a second referendum to actually vote yes or no on Scotland's independence. So, the Greyman says, the question is rigged because it authorises a very reasonable sounding negotiation without explicitly stating that it would lead to independence without referring to the Scottish people again.

    The fly in the ointment for the Greyman is that Holyrood does not have the power to actually promise independence and a negotiation is the absolute maximum any referendum can promise.

    But, hey, when has the Greyman, or the Labour party in general, every let facts get in the way of a good rant. Yet another consequence of a neutuered and compliant media.

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  • 347. At 10:00am on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #334 JRMacClure
    Excellent post

    #336 oldnat
    "That's a perspective I hadn't come across before - but it makes a lot of sense."
    The DEA employment opportunities apart - I hadn't thought of it in those terms either - Ben Elton's 2003 High society covers much the same issues and is also a good read. If you haven't read it, I recommend getting it from your local library.

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  • 348. At 10:07am on 01 Nov 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 345 U14094468

    I did warn sometime ago that we are in the middle of a 'black war of propaganda' and was immediately derided as being too far fetched, especially from RE who now posts as 'brownresolute'. I am sure by now that those who watch this blog, but do not post, will be more than aware that BBC Scotland is not only party to this affront to democracy but may, indeed, be playing a leading role in it.
    Don't expect any change to this assualt on democracy soon, in fact, expect it to get worse the closer we get to a general election and/or referendum.

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  • 349. At 10:57am on 01 Nov 2009, Caledonian54 wrote:

    Just by way of diversion I laughed out loud at a report on the front page of this site, wherein a certain Ms Harman of some standing in the Labour party declares that the party "can't afford to lose Milliband to the EU", but says she can understand why there have been rumours that he might be in line for the projected EU Foreign Minister job because he is a politician of "international standing".

    Speak about ROFL, what a pathetic bunch of narcissists

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  • 350. At 11:14am on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Another routine piece of hate mail from the fragrant Ms Hjul in the Sunday Thunderer, helpfully linked to as "What worries the private sector most is the tone of the nationalists as they veer leftwards" on their main Scotland News page.

    Describing Iain McMillan, the CBI's man in Scotland, as somebody who has "managed to sustain cordial relations with the Labour party" she tells us that he has "blasted the nationalists for being anti-business, doing more harm to Scotland’s interests than good and described some of their recent forays into the private sector as “appalling” and “outrageous”".

    Many of us would regard that more as a badge of honour given that the opinion of an unashamedly Tory organisation is hardly unbiased, and represents more the reality of how far to the right Labour have lurched under Bliar and Lord Mandy with the connivance of Duff Gordon.

    In fact, all it represents is the truth that anyone even a tad left of centre now has only two options amongst the four "mainstream" parties, with the now unLib unDems doing their utmost yesterday to reduce that choice to one.

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  • 351. At 11:51am on 01 Nov 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    341. Brownedov
    "If it is to gain signatories, it needs to be comprehensible to a wide audience and visible on a single screen. Why not have a go at producing a second draft from my first one?"
    Excellent info as ever.
    Of course, I'll gladly try drafting a version to take the process forward. I'll look forward to better wordsmiths than me producing the final though.
    I'll probably be a few days though - i've a bit of work on this week.
    I'd also like to spend some time looking at various existing petitions for any pointers.

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  • 352. At 12:18pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Has anyone seen anything about the "new YouGov poll" the Herald are reporting in their New poll: Labour win most seats at Holyrood by Tom Gordon and Paul Hutcheon?

    It shows constituency vote as SNP 34% Lab 31% with regional vote level on 29%.

    The article doesn't mention it, but Google news seems to suggest it was commissioned by the Scottish Green Party, but there's as yet nothing on their site relating to it, nor anything on the YouGov site.

    If verified it may either demonstrate some of the concerns oldnat and I have had about YouGov weightings or that I have had about YouGov cosying up to the Fabian Society. Alternatively, it may be a sympton of the glencambliness of reporting, particularly by the BBC.

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  • 353. At 12:30pm on 01 Nov 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #344 Brownedov
    Your part 2 is no longer relevant; it has changed, see section 25 of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 which received the Royal Assent on 29 July.

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  • 354. At 12:37pm on 01 Nov 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    I see the Lib Dems have emerged triumphant from the chair store at the back of the village hall. "All hail the viking, for he shall continue as leader as we can't afford to lose another one just now."

    I'm delighted that they've formalised their opposition to Scots having a right to a referendum on the future of their country as it will make them even less popular than they are now. They've decided, like the loyal little unionists they are, that Westminster are the people best placed to decide the future of Scotland. That's how liberal and democratic they are.

    Tavish has, long before the traditional end of January Shetland conflagration, burned his Scottish boat, ironically named " The People's Right to Decide".

    Who would have thought it would burn so fiercely? And in the embers just some tattered saltires, a fragment of tweed jacket and the molten keys to the last ever Scottish ministerial mondeo.

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  • 355. At 12:39pm on 01 Nov 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #352 Brownedov
    What it does show on the figures reported is that the support for the minor parties can have quite an effect on the overall outcome. This agrees with what I am finding with HEC as I work through different scenarios. I'm looking forward to Nov 13 so I can touch reality again! 8-)

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  • 356. At 12:47pm on 01 Nov 2009, Blind_Captain wrote:

    mrbfaethedee and Brownedov

    Thanks for the assistance and contributions on the draft petition. I really think this could be a mover and shaker if we get it right.

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  • 357. At 12:58pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #351 mrbfaethedee

    Fair enough, I'm certainly no wordsmith either.

    Although I believe it's too late to have any hope of changing media coverage of Glasgow NE, I do think it's reasonably urgent in that if well put it will have significant impact on the blogosphere and a general election could be called any time if NuLab's MPs finally acknowledge that they're doomed with Duff Gordon at the helm and pluck up the courage to oust him.

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  • 358. At 1:04pm on 01 Nov 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    352. At 12:18pm on 01 Nov 2009, Brownedov wrote:
    Has anyone seen anything about the "new YouGov poll" the Herald are reporting in their New poll: Labour win most seats at Holyrood by Tom Gordon and Paul Hutcheon?

    It is the middle of a by-election campaign and sadly this sort of poll is now par for the course. The Herald's major decline started around the time of Glasgow East when it produced two bogus polls showing a double digit lead for Labour in the constituency, the SNP won.

    They also ran a similar bogus poll just prior to the 2007 Holyrood election that was completely at odds with every other poll.

    I remarked many weeks ago that The Herald would run stories of this nature when the campaign got underway.

    Their headline in today's edition about the Homecoming concert is carefully worded to give the impression that the event has been politicised by the SNP and is being harmed.

    Only by reading the article do we find that the event organiser is criticising opposition parties for their politicising of the homecoming and that it is they who are causing damage.

    It follows yesterday's edition that contrived to write three separate articles [yes three !!] based on a NUS survey of colleges.

    So, no - I don't take the poll seriously and would bet my mortgage on it being inaccurate.

    I also predicted a week or so ago that the political situation both in Scotland and the UK at the moment was the reason for a lack of interest in the Glasgow North East by-election. I pointed out that at that time there was little by way of positives for Labour.

    In Scotland the only contentious issue that could be used against the SNP was minimum pricing for alcohol and that the media would focus on this. Although I haven't seen it yet I was not surprised that the main issue to be covered by today's Politics Show was indeed minimum pricing.

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  • 359. At 1:22pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #353 handclapping
    "#344 Brownedov ... Your part 2 is no longer relevant"

    Point taken, but my part 2 requires amendment rather than deletion. s25 (Disposal of election documents in Scotland) of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 does indeed state that documents "are to remain in the returning officer’s custody" instead of that of the Sheriff Clerk.

    McQueen's recommendation No.8 should therefore be modified to something like: Returning Officers should consider adding their own labels to the bags/boxes/packages of electoral registers received, along the lines of “Property of the Returning Officer: retain until D Mmmm YYYY. Thereafter destroy as confidential waste”

    The Returning Officer of Glasgow NE should definitely still take heed of it.

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  • 360. At 1:31pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #355 handclapping
    "What it does show on the figures reported is that the support for the minor parties can have quite an effect on the overall outcome. This agrees with what I am finding with HEC as I work through different scenarios."
    Good point. What I find odd is that Prof. Curtice apparently already has the details before the Scottish Greens can put anything on their own website. Leak from YouGov, perhaps?

    #356 Blind_Captain
    "I really think this could be a mover and shaker if we get it right."
    I certainly hope so, and you're most welcome to my penn'orth.

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  • 361. At 1:57pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #358 U14094468/Online Ed

    I agree fully with the main thrust of your post, but I'd be a little more cautious with your "So, no - I don't take the poll seriously and would bet my mortgage on it being inaccurate".

    Obviously we'll have to wait and see when the YouGov PDF becomes available, but although I have doubts about their weighting methodology, their self-selection and their relationship with the Fabian Society, they are still members of the BPC and do put all of their polls up on their website reasonably promptly.

    In any event, even the Herald still shows the SNP ahead on the plurality seat votes. The calculated seats that turns in to are merely a reflection of that old and discredited method of counting, now obsoleted in every other EU member state.

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  • 362. At 2:06pm on 01 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Brownedov et al

    YouGov poll

    After discussing YouGov weightings (I have no reason to doubt their socio-economic weightings), I emailed YouGov. No response yet.

    "Basically I am concerned about the extrapolation of English assumptions onto the Scottish sample.

    Paper, GB, Sco
    Express/Mail, 21%, 13%
    Sun/Star, 22%, 15%
    Mirror/Record, 16%, 20%
    Guardian/Independent, 5%, 2%
    FT/Times/Telegraph, 8%, 5%
    Other Paper, 12%, 30%
    No Paper, 17%, 15%

    30% is far too high a figure to allocate to "others". It looks as if not only the strong Scottish Regional papers (P&J and Courier) which operate north of the Central Belt are included as "others", but also the Scottish broadsheets (Herald and Scotsman).

    Also if, as Anthony suggests, these are used for attitudinal discriminations (broadsheet v tabloid = class), then I am puzzled by the subdivisions you use within the tabloid and broadsheet categories - which from my limited knowledge of the English Press appear to be divided politically as well.

    As I pointed out to Anthony "It also seems unlikely to me that you could place a sliver of silicone enhancement between the readers of the Record and the Scottish Sun."

    It seems possible that, whatever use you are making of newspaper readership as a weighting factor, up to 65% (30% others + 15% Sun/Star + 20% Record) might be inappropriately used in the Scottish context.

    Since YouGov is used extensively in Scotland only polls, it is essential that in these polls the Scottish weightings are appropriate. Can you give any reassurance?"

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  • 363. At 2:27pm on 01 Nov 2009, govanite wrote:

    #352 Brownedov

    If anywhere near accurate [and Nov 12th will be illustrative] it does suggest that negative stories and media bias are having an effect. How else can we explain the strength of the Labour vote during a time when their UK vote is at an all-time low. Although I suppose we could say that their Scottish vote is also historically low. No matter, this is what we will get over the next 2 years. For the SNP, they need to be harder on the opposition + the media - there is nothing to lose there.

    Of course when Dave wins next year there will be no more phoney war. Labour will need to justify their unionism and allegiance with the tories.








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  • 364. At 2:31pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #362 oldnat

    Thanks for the info. If YouGov do give a response, please post it on these threads. If it addresses the issue I might try emailing some of my own concerns to them.

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  • 365. At 2:45pm on 01 Nov 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    356. Blind_Captain
    "Thanks for the assistance and contributions on the draft petition. I really think this could be a mover and shaker if we get it right."
    You're welcome, it was an excellent idea and well worth exploring. I agree that is potentially significant. Getting it before an audience, and getting across the reasons why it is important and worth supporting is also going to be crucial.

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  • 366. At 2:59pm on 01 Nov 2009, scottish_solstice wrote:


    This is part of a SGP email received today ....





    From: SCOTTISH GREEN PARTY

    SCOTTISH GREEN PARTY MEDIA RELEASE

    For immediate release 1 November 2009

    YOUGOV POLL: GREENS SET TO GROW AT HOLYROOD

    The Scottish Green Party today released the results of a YouGov poll commissioned by the party, results which would see the Greens return three extra MSPs if they were repeated in a Holyrood election, and which would see the SNP return fewer MSPs than Labour. (1)

    Regional voting intention (2007 in brackets):
    SNP: 29% (-2%)
    Labour: 29% (-0.2%)
    Conservative: 16% (+2.1%)
    Lib Dem: 14% (+3.7%)
    Green: 6% (+2%)
    Others: 6% (-4.6%)

    Constituency voting intention (2007 in brackets):
    SNP: 34 (+1.1%)
    Labour: 31% (-1.2%)
    Conservative: 16% (-0.6%)
    Lib Dem: 14% (-2.2%)
    Others: 5 (+2.9%)

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  • 367. At 3:06pm on 01 Nov 2009, Tom wrote:

    I was reading the link that Brownedov #352 provided. However considering tens of thousands of ballots were useless last year, if the SNP fall slightly behind does that honestly suggest that Labour will still come out and win?

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  • 368. At 3:21pm on 01 Nov 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    I meandered over to the Guardian, a truly nauseating article on Purcell and Murphy.
    However one of the posters drew my attention to this,

    http://www.kilmarnockstandard.co.uk/ayrshire-news/latest-news/2007/12/06/kilmaurs-man-x2019-s-voting-system-stalled-by-government-experts-81430-20211556/

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  • 369. At 3:27pm on 01 Nov 2009, scottish_solstice wrote:

    The post is a copy of A SGP email, not my opinion!


    Here's the link they have in the email .....


    http://www.scotlandvotes.com/

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  • 370. At 3:37pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #366 scottish_solstice

    Thanks. Putting those numbers into Weber Shandwick's http://www.scotlandvotes.com/ does give the predictions the Herald makes. Depending on how "others" are split up, you end up with a predicted Holyrood something like:
      Lab 45, SNP 41, Con 20, L-D 18, Grn 4, Ind 1

    The roundings to whole % will be crucial if things are really that tight, but the vagaries of the election system could give such a result if the constituency and regional swings were uniform.

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  • 371. At 3:44pm on 01 Nov 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Saw this article in the Scottish Sunday Express:

    Lost CCTV tape reveals true Lockerbie bomber.

    The video shows a baggage handler called Roland O’Neill,” said Mr Aviv. “He picks up the suitcase and realises it is heavier than usual. He goes to the phone and makes a call.

    “Then he takes the case and puts it on the trolley. All the phones were tapped, so I also had a tape of the phone call.

    “O’Neill called the CIA guy at the embassy in Bonn. He said, ‘This is O’Neill, I have the suitcase but it is much heavier than usual’. The CIA guy says, ‘Yes, we know, let it go’.”

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  • 372. At 4:16pm on 01 Nov 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #366 scottish solstice
    For me the interestimg figures are the LibDems. At 14% they are down 12.5% on the 16% registered in the YouGov of 28 August. I think they are awfully close to a tipping point where they become not irrelevant but certainly unimportant in Scottish politics. If the SNP can play their refusal of a referendum right, then a LibDem share of 2 or 3 MPs and 8 to 10 MSPs is very close.
    In as much as the Dunfermline congress turned down a referendum, I suspect a majority of any leavers will go to the other Unionists but if even only a third go to the SNP then the balance in Scotland's favour will be no worse.

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  • 373. At 4:28pm on 01 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    370. Brownedov
    "Weber Shandwick's "

    Just out of interest I put the actual 2007 poll into Weber Shandwick. Came out with almost a perfect match (Margo won, so the SNP had 1 less than predicted).

    I also put YouGov's poll taken immediately before the 2007 election into it.

    It gave the Greens an additional 9 seats! (4 from Lab, 3 from LD, 1 each SNP and Margo).

    That may put this poll in some perspective.

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  • 374. At 4:38pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #372 handclapping
    "I think they are awfully close to a tipping point where they become not irrelevant but certainly unimportant in Scottish politics. If the SNP can play their refusal of a referendum right, then a LibDem share of 2 or 3 MPs and 8 to 10 MSPs is very close."

    I'm sure you're correct on that. Of course, if Scott really can "sell" his policy to the electorate then it could go the other way, but I regard that as unlikely.

    It will be interesting to see the sample dates, since IMO their Glasgow NE candidate's performances and the no referendum outcome yesterday will not prove to be good selling features.

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  • 375. At 4:54pm on 01 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    "Gordon Brown rules out Lockerbie public inquiry"

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/scotland/6479538/Gordon-Brown-rules-out-Lockerbie-public-inquiry.html

    Professor Robert Black, a senior Scottish QC campaigning for an inquiry, accused the Prime Minister of “gross political cowardice”.

    “The security of the United Kingdom and foreign relations are non-devolved issues and if Gordon Brown is saying these are not areas that would be involved in a Lockerbie inquiry then the man is insane” he said.'

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  • 376. At 4:55pm on 01 Nov 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Iain Gray says "The message is starting to get through that Scottish Labour is the party of jobs and the economy, housing and tough action on crime"

    Indeed... Labour has dramatically increased unemployment, destroyed the economy, is allowing house prices to go back up and all this helps encourage crime.

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  • 377. At 5:02pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #373 oldnat
    "That may put this poll in some perspective."

    It certainly does. When we get the full poll info and know all of the questions asked, that may also add further perspective, especially if they were asked on "green" issues.

    In any event, I find it hard to imagine the greens going into coalition with a pro-Trident, pro-nuclear power NuLab, and in the very unlikely event of those numbers coming to pass, only a LabTor coalition or a NuLab minority administration would seem possible, with the chances of Mr G being able to repeat the Eck balancing act being well into the realm of fiction. OTOH, by then there will be a goodly number of NuLab ex-MPs trying to become MSPs and putting Mr G's position under some pressure.

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  • 378. At 5:08pm on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #366. What is the margin of error on that poll? There is a good chance that changes to the SNP and Lab are within that. The LibDems look to be hurting badly. That should be WELL outside any margin of error.

    I would put that down as a reminder to the SNP that they better work even harder to counteract an unfriendly press and nothing more.

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  • 379. At 5:09pm on 01 Nov 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Topical article from the Times:

    Murphy or Purcell: the best of enemies.

    In an arid political year in Scotland Murphy's relentless and adroit self-promotion has been a thing of wonder. Yet on those mornings his eager, angular face appears in the national press - a daily occurrence - Iain Gray's breakfast must turn to ashes in his mouth. Gray is a time-served politician who probably deserved his turn at the Labour leadership in Holyrood. It's not his fault that the hapless group he leads would have difficulty finding their way off a bus far less land a blow on a minority SNP. Now he must sit on the sidelines and watch as the Westminster cabinet minister squeezes every last ounce of authority from a UK office which many thought had been abolished before he took residence. Murphy is now de facto leader of Labour in Scotland.

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  • 380. At 5:13pm on 01 Nov 2009, Greetings_Earthlings wrote:

    #362 oldnat

    What is all this mumbo-jumbo about "YouGov weightings" and "extrapolations of English assumptions" that some of you seem to be focusing your attention upon as if it actually mattered? Opinion polls are an addiction and should carry a government health warning. Give them up before they stunt your growth.

    Having been given to understand that Earthlings are convinced that a crisis of cosmic proportions has befallen the planet, I naturally assumed that you would all be talking about it. According to the rumour, it all started in the autumn of last year. Had the authorities failed to act with determination and speed, or so it is claimed by beings known as spin doctors or some such thing, about which you would know more than I, it would have been the end of the world, apparently. Fancy! In the popular mind politicians have saved something referred to as capitalism from its own excesses.

    Having now virtually regained my composure following the discombobulation induced by the effort necessitated by the attempt to visualise politicians saving a planet with one hand while filling in expenses claims with another, I have now returned to the point at which I began my inspection of the progress made by the ascent of man: the 'dear green place' known as Glasgow, in the northern province of the southern ogre known as PM (an admirably concise denomination for a supreme overlord), little realising then how limited his actual as opposed to theoretical powers truly are, as the present comprehensive foul-up in the financial, fiscal and economic domains of what remains of the empire known as UK would appear to testify.

    The entities known as UK and US, apparently acting in collusion and believed to have been in a 'special relationship' for some time, had apparently perfected a science known as 'fraud' or rather 'finance', which consists, or so it would appear, in making off with the savings of something known as 'suckers', piling their dosh up into an enormous pyramid and then flushing it down the toilet. I may have left out a few details, but you get my drift, which at a little greater length might bore your pants off but here goes.

    What will go down in your history as the bubble era was, like the Great Depression, largely, if not completely, the result of government initiative. Artificially low interest rates, intended to counteract the modest downturn of 2001, sent the wrong message. 'Suckers' or rather 'consumers', notably those in UK and US, bought things they could not afford. Producers, notably those in the land called Asia, made things for which there was no real market. Debt piled up.

    As consumers bought more and producers made more, the economy grew. Much, however, of the so-called economic growth of the 2001-2007 period was fraudulent, being based on debt spending, not on genuine increases in purchasing power. Debt masquerades as real money. It looks like the real thing, but it is not. It stimulates the economy like counterfeit money. It causes production and consumption, but of the wrong sort. The level of 'counterfeit gross domestic product' is estimated at 4 trillion dollars, whatever they may be worth, in US alone.

    The fraud was discovered, though misunderstood, when 'sub-prime' debt began to implode. The economy had been stimulated; millions of houses had been built, bought and sold. Now 'owners' could not afford to pay for them. All of a sudden the counterfeit money began to reveal itself as such. Lenders, investors, and householders all began to de-leverage; paying down the debts as fast as they could, defaulting on those they could do nothing about.

    Rather than come to the obvious conclusion that they should never have meddled with the economy in the first place, politicians began 'rescue operations' on a stupendous scale. The UK regime of the present supreme overlord increased spending to 140 per cent of revenues. US now runs a stimulus programme nearly equivalent, in economic impact, to the planetary cataclysm known as WW2. Not since 1945 have the two pages of its ledgers, debits and credits, told such different stories, with almost 2 greenbacks of spending for every greenback in tax receipts. UK will add almost 50 per cent to its government debt in the next three years, while the publicly held US debt is expected to almost double in the next five years.

    Even at those levels many respected sages, known as economists - for their economy of sagacity, presumably - think politicians should do even more. They have warned that US and UK (and by extension much of the rest of the planet) could suffer a lost decade, like the entity of the Rising Sun, if politicians slack off before suckers/consumers have finished de-leveraging. The problem, however, would seem to be that there is too much debt, not too little spending. Leveraging up the public sector does not help, as even government debts must be paid, if not by the borrower, then by the lender. No wonder that some are saying that this system called capitalism has reached its end of days despite heroic efforts of heroic politicians to save you all from moving on from this casino-capitalist addiction to something better, the further ascent of man (and woman), no less.

    Anyway, to get back to my point, which concerns Glasgow, of which I have fond and unfond memories. When first inspecting that peripheral wasteland, which made me think at first that I must have taken a wrong turning somewhere, no offence intended, something called a by-election was going on there, which was great fun. I remember it well. Oh, how we laughed! And swipe me if there is not one going on again! Another fiefdom of the supreme overlord up for grabs! And his witch doctors claim he is not losing his grip!

    So what does this latest by-election boil down to? The word is that some faithful retainer of el supremo had to resign under a cloud, whatever that may mean, and consequently has been elevated to the upper chamber of the talking shop of which he ran the lower depths, which have been in high dudgeon about their perquisites and duck ponds ever since. Accordingly, UK being what is loosely termed a democracy in these parts, a by-election has to be held now because the powers that be cannot for the life of them figure out how to put it off any longer. How am I doing so far? Warm? Getting warmer?

    So far as I have been able to gather to date, PM's minions are maintaining that this place called Glasgow is oppressed by the party which is seeking to liberate it from his power. He is expecting the plebs to swallow this? Are they swallowing it? I shall go and ask, with my customary diplomacy and tact, and get back to you, unless your silly opinion polls have got the answer, of course.

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  • 381. At 5:19pm on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    #378. Another point: It never hurts to appear to be a slight underdog. Looking like you can't win is bad. Looking like you're within striking distance tends to activate both workers and votes.

    Just an additional thought. ;-)

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  • 382. At 5:23pm on 01 Nov 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Anyone who is interested in what may have happened to Pan Am Flight 103 will find the following article published in Time magazine in 1992 helpfull. It is probably one of the most comprehensive and informative articles ever written on the Lockerbie tragedy.

    Click Here

    Pay particular attention to the first paragraph of section 7, it deals with the Maltese baggage handling.

    Megrahi is guilty of being Lybian and nothing else.

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  • 383. At 5:37pm on 01 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    The YouGov poll

    Changes from their Scottish poll in September in brackets

    Holyrood constituency: CON 16%(nc), LAB 31%(+3), LDEM 14%(nc), SNP 34%(-2)
    Holyrood regional: CON 16%(-1), LAB 29%(+3), LDEM 14%(+2), SNP 29%(-1), Green 6%.

    Changes are within the margin of error. However, the comparison with the June poll does suggest a Labour recovery.

    Holyrood constituency: CON 16%(+2), LAB 31%(+5), LDEM 14%(nc), SNP 34%(-5)
    Holyrood regional: CON 16%(+3), LAB 29%(+3), LDEM 14%(nc), SNP 29%(-5)

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  • 384. At 5:50pm on 01 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    380. Greetings_Earthlings

    Opinion polls are an advanced form of haruspicy (but much less messy).


    And to save people the bother of looking up wiki

    Haruspicy = divination by the inspection of the entrails of sacrificed animals, especially the livers of sacrificed sheep and poultry.

    Personally, I'm happy to return to the old days and to work out the future by examining the entrails of that breed of sheep known as the Labour Party MPs/MSPs.

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  • 385. At 5:52pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Comparing the new YouGov numbers to their last Scotland poll in early September, the numbers are not really that different and only the astonishing NuLab increases of 3% in both Regional and Plurality polling are outside the probable margin of error of about 2%, viz:

    Regional
      New, 02-Sep, Party
      29%, 30%, SNP
      29%, 26%, Lab
      16%, 17%, Con
      14%, 12%, L-D
      6%, 7%, Grn
      6%, 8%, Other

    Plurality
      New, 02-Sep, Party
      34%, 36%, SNP
      31%, 28%, Lab
      16%, 16%, Con
      14%, 14%, L-D
      5%, 6%, Other

    I still want to see the questions and the weightings, though.

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  • 386. At 6:09pm on 01 Nov 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Just wiggle the margin of error (or entrails, whichever you prefer to call it) whatever direction you want and you come up with the results you want! It's easy! ;-)

    However, when I plug those figures into Scotlandvotes, I don't come up with the results you're saying. Not sure quite where I'm not entering them right--maybe not putting the Green votes in the right spot since there isn't an obvious place for them?

    Perhaps someone should go slaughter a new sheep.

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  • 387. At 6:09pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #383 oldnat

    I should have waited until your post had been through modding before posting my #385!

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  • 388. At 6:13pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #384 oldnat
    "Personally, I'm happy to return to the old days and to work out the future by examining the entrails of that breed of sheep known as the Labour Party MPs/MSPs."

    Careful, they're an endangered species. You'll be putting the Greens on their side next!

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  • 389. At 6:19pm on 01 Nov 2009, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #386 JRMacClure

    The Scotlandvotes calculator wants the plurality seat numbers first and the regional ones second.

    The Greens only contested one plurality seat last time so are in others there and obviously display regional intentions first as it's their only mention.

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  • 390. At 6:22pm on 01 Nov 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    384. oldnat
    "Personally, I'm happy to return to the old days and to work out the future by examining the entrails of that breed of sheep known as the Labour Party MPs/MSPs."

    A load of offal tripe!

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  • 391. At 8:11pm on 01 Nov 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #382

    Waow!

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  • 392. At 9:08pm on 01 Nov 2009, govanite wrote:

    #379 Very interesting, poor Iain Grey ha ha - but just what exactly is the motivation for them ?

    For Murphy it is probably just careerism + access to the trough. He will never be UK PM. He'd see the FM job as a cosy little niche. Slowly managing the decline of our country. He's like a dour CoS minister, 'ach well, what's to be done ?'

    For Purcell, equally never UK PM - that has gone for Scots now thankfully. But he has talent and ambition - is he really only fit to be London's little helper ? Does he see himself as Scotland's PM ( and I mean PM ) ?

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  • 393. At 10:16pm on 01 Nov 2009, oldnat wrote:

    Quite possibly means nothing at all, but one of the bookies is reporting

    "Big shift on the betting front towards the SNP in Glasgow NE in the last 48 hours."

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  • 394. At 10:54pm on 01 Nov 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #385 oldnat
    These polls do wobble. There are two Scottish polls 5 days apart being 28/08 (1st col) and 02/09 (2nd col) in % as sample sizes were 1183 and 1556 viz:-
    Contituency
    16 16 Conservative
    27 28 Labour
    16 14 Liberal Democrat
    34 36 SNP
    Regional
    16 17 Conservative
    26 26 Labour
    16 12 Liberal Democrat !!
    30 30 SNP
    Two things worry me; the first if you compare the weightings for Political Party Indentification (11:36:10:16 in Scotland) with April 2009 they have not moved, yet we had the Euros in between. I find that very difficult to square with the claimed weighting to be the last Election modified for the results they have found since.
    The second is that they are not finding LibDems in their samples, only about 6%, and always having to upscale them in the weightings.
    However I am always pleased when I see the Labour share in the output is less than the 36% in the input. Gordon Brown is doing something right!

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  • 395. At 11:29pm on 01 Nov 2009, raisethegame wrote:

    Today's Politics Show on the iPlayer- the Scotland section starts about 22 minutes in.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00nrtp6/The_Politics_Show_Scotland_01_11_2009/
    Towards the end Glenn Campbell mentioned that the BBC is launching a new website tomorrow - it's called Democracy Live - here's the link: www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive It will include live and on demand video of the Scottish Parliament

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