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Job figures

Brian Taylor | 13:42 UK time, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

An intriguing variety of responses to the news today that unemployment in Scotland has fallen by 2,000 over the past quarter.

Firstly, the Scottish TUC rightly points out that the improvement registered is in ILO unemployment (down) - and in the number of those employed (up).

The claimant count has still risen which the STUC says is a "concern".

For the political parties, it instantly translates into a further fight over the Holyrood issue of the moment: public spending.

That is because negotiations are under way right now with regard to the draft Scottish budget for 2010-11.

Further, it is because the implications of the PBR are still being absorbed in Scotland - and indeed debated at Holyrood this pm.

The SNP says that budget cuts would be a "cruel blow" at a time when there is cause to derive cautious optimism from the jobless figures.

Job creation

They argue that the dole queue has been shortened by Scottish government action.

By contrast, Labour says that the Scottish budget needs reshaping to make a bigger impact on the economy.

As an instance, they suggest reinstating the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL).
To some extent, that mirrors one conclusion of Holyrood's finance committee which was that the draft budget was insufficiently focused upon job creation.

The Tories, like the other opposition parties, are in talks with John Swinney.

Unlike the others, the Lib Dems have shown their hand a little, suggesting that one of their aims is to cut top pay packets in the public sector, most notably in the health service.

But, behind it all, there is the prospect of substantial budgetary constraint in the period following 2011 when the next Comprehensive Spending Review is due to be implemented. That is true whichever party wins the UK general election.

Mr Swinney, the Finance Sector, has been setting out, in detail, his department's estimate of the PBR impact and future plans.

Increasing impact

That latter section is based upon a projection, derived from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, that there will be a 3.2% annual retrenchment in UK public spending from 2011-12 to 2013-14.

Scotland will experience a proportionate share of that which might vary depending on where, precisely, any cuts fall. Remember that is cumulative. The impact increases, progressively, year on year.

The haggling over the 2010-11 budget seems rather insufficient to meet that longer term challenge.

Naturally, there must be detailed negotiation, not least because the SNP does not have a majority at Holyrood.

But should that negotation not be founded upon the perception that, in future, spending is going to be tighter still?

Should Scotland not be preparing the ground, now, for the economies which are going to be required?

If we don't, is it not likely that the cuts will fall in the "wrong" places, that the ripest, lowest-hanging fruit will be plucked - perhaps regardless of the longer-term impact?

Or, being realistic, is that type of debate electorally impossible when the political parties are trying to present competing visions of the current state of the economy for the verdict of the voters at the coming UK general election?

Comments

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  • 1. At 2:24pm on 16 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Brian
    Thank you. As I asked for, these are the Scottish dimension of the questions posed by Martin Wolf in the Financial Times:- While the chancellor has presented overall numbers, he has shied away from exploring the full implications and, still more, the nature of the choices the country faces. This is the debate the UK must have. It must start from a realisation: the country is poorer than was thought. So how should these losses be shared in ways that minimise both the harm done to vulnerable people now and to the country’s economic prospects for the longer term?
    I'm sure the Nats will say Independence will make everything better but we have years of less, a lot less, to endure before that panacea. So how do we in Scotland cut our cloth to best cover our nakedness before this approaching storm? GARL is irrelevant, a vermiform appendix to a rail system that needs proper guts like a line into the Borders, W10 to Aberdeen and Inverness and electrification before vanity projects for Glasgow Councillors.

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  • 2. At 2:28pm on 16 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Brian
    Or, being realistic, is that type of debate electorally impossible when the political parties are trying to present competing visions of the current state of the economy for the verdict of the voters at the coming UK general election?
    This is what you get when you allow your politicians to put the interest of party before that of their constituents. Party politics will never give good government.

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  • 3. At 2:47pm on 16 Dec 2009, mince and mealie wrote:

    Does Andy Kerr want the £1 billion plus Edinburgh Airport rail link brought back as well?

    But hey, who cares about the odd billion or two, it's only money, and the government has got plenty...oh, wait a minute, hold on....

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  • 4. At 3:14pm on 16 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    I think labour are dead right about wasting much more money on GARL.

    Labour have shown that they can organise large scale events (e.g. the london dome, the london olympics, the london parliament house extension, the london this, that and the other). I have yet to read a SERIOUS INVESTIGATIVE REPORT in the Scottish media that labour are incapable of running large scale events without serious problems.

    I can assure everyone that the Edinburgh tram line, that labour demanded, is going super smoothly - As there is NEVER a word about this project in the BBC news.


    Excellent work Brian et al and remember don't mention marqueegate.

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  • 5. At 3:21pm on 16 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    Hard times are ahead - it is galling that Scotland will suffer dispropionately especially as Scotland contributes far more to the london exchequer than it receives back in the block grant.


    What is doubly galling is that labour can only get away this because of glencampblly reporting.

    Labour fears nothing as much as the truth.

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  • 6. At 3:52pm on 16 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    "The SNP says that budget cuts would be a "cruel blow" at a time when there is cause to derive cautious optimism from the jobless figures".

    The calm before the storm - the recession hasn't started yet. And labour are correct in asking for a focus to be put on jobs. Having been on the receiving end of them mucking up the economy in the past and not being in the slightest surprised when they've done it again - I think it's the least they could do.

    The real question is, are they big enough to work with the government or are they just going to be the party of whine and greet?

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  • 7. At 3:55pm on 16 Dec 2009, rochcarlie wrote:

    These employment/unemployment figures seem strange. The GDP has contracted sharply so you would expect employment to do the same.
    What's the explanation? Are employers holding on to staff with a shakeout to come later? How accurate are the stats at measuring the unemployed?
    And when the expected public sector budget cuts happen, as most spending is on staff, there is sure to be employment consequences here.

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  • 8. At 4:29pm on 16 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #7 rochcarlie
    If the missing GDP is the financial trickery of the City and its hangers on, then what's left is the real economy. The perpetrators of the missing GDP are still in employment due to the massive bail-out that Global organised for them out of our, and more particularly our children's, taxes and still they want their bonuses!

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  • 9. At 4:32pm on 16 Dec 2009, curley_bill wrote:

    It should be noted that the jobless figures are about to take another tumble when the new Taxi Deal takes effect.
    What deal, you ask?
    Why, this one - 'Controversial taxi deal approved'
    This is a link on the BBC Scottish News page but, wid ye credit it, it disnae work.
    The gist of the story has something to do with Greater Glasgow Health Board and a taxi firm whom Strathclyde Polis considers 'interesting'.
    Does this taxi firm have a 'Red Rose' as a symbol?

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  • 10. At 4:34pm on 16 Dec 2009, ronreagan wrote:

    Liebour spin AGAIN - does ANYONE belive these stats?????? Darling slashes defence bases in Scotland - where is the Grey man to defend us???? is he proclaiming increased spending instead???? - probably is.

    What about Marqueegate and OUR MONEY Brian - hard questions etc etc etc - not likely from u or Campblly.

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  • 11. At 5:03pm on 16 Dec 2009, kendosteel81 wrote:

    Going off on a tangent somewhat but I watched the report about Scotland's renewable energy industry last night on the BBC and what I got from the report was that Scotland could produce 10 times the amount of electricity that it uses and could sell the rest for profit. Unless of course were still part of the UK in which case, London will take the rest of the energy and we won't see a penny (or cent depending on what currency we use in the future). This sounds all too familiar and is just further evidence that Scotland has suffered, is suffering and will continue to suffer as part of the union. No matter who is in charge in London, Scotland will get the short end of any stick.

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  • 12. At 5:24pm on 16 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    #8 HC - in case you missed this last night: related to what's going on in bankrupt UK. A little slow to start but good for a hoot!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io00QGNNTEE

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  • 13. At 5:28pm on 16 Dec 2009, FatherMacKenzie wrote:

    Am I missing something?

    There were 2000 people who were unemployed in August, who were looking for work in August but weren't looking for work in October.

    Universities start in September.

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  • 14. At 6:03pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    13. FatherMacKenzie
    "Universities start in September."

    Spot on as well as college entrants.

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  • 15. At 6:25pm on 16 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    13. FatherMacKenzie
    "Am I missing something?"

    Possibly (I don't know). But these figures are usually seasonally adjusted to take such normal transitions points into account.

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  • 16. At 7:04pm on 16 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    12. Robabody

    That's a great video!

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  • 17. At 7:09pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Garl? Scotland's biggest airline goes bust when will the BBC start questioning the pushers of this farcical proposal too justify there stance, never thought so.

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  • 18. At 7:14pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Not Drowning, But Waving every little helps.

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  • 19. At 7:16pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

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

  • 20. At 7:24pm on 16 Dec 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    GARL shouldn't be re-implemented untill Aberdeen get's it's bypass. That's my personal feeling regarding capital spending projects and budgetary restrictions.

    If GARL was to become bankrolled again - The Labour drones would crow all day about thier percieved "victory" over the SNP.

    Labour pushed and bullied it's way through the Glasgow NE by-election by using GARL as a blunt instrument to hit the SNP with - If I genuinely cared about Glasgow and it's airport link - I'd have tried gentle persuasion and negotiation as opposed to brute force.

    As it stands, the rhetoric and self-delusional posturing over GARL has pretty much killed off any realistic chance that it will be re-implimented.

    Grey and his horde of westminster washouts will have to wait until they win thier seats back before it'll see a government purchase order.

    Sorry is always the hardest word.

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  • 21. At 7:43pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    20. Gary Hay
    "Sorry is always the hardest word. "

    Easy to say but harder to have any real sincerity.

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  • 22. At 7:44pm on 16 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    20. Gary Hay
    "Grey and his horde of westminster washouts will have to wait until they win thier seats back before it'll see a government purchase order.

    Sorry is always the hardest word.
    "

    First the good Mr. Gray will have to stop behaving like a braying loon.

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  • 23. At 7:54pm on 16 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    In a UK article:

    UK national debt interest bill to double to £60bn in four years.

    Britain’s annual interest bill on the national debt is forecast to hit £60 billion within four years; the Chancellor is expected to admit today.


    In a separate but related Scottish article:

    Public spending cuts may total up to £1.2bn - John Swinney.

    Public spending may be cut by as much as £1.2 billion in the coming years, Finance Secretary John Swinney said today.

    He said the looming spending squeeze will be unprecedented, as MSP's debated Chancellor Alistair Darling's pre-Budget report from last week.

    The absence in the report of any acceleration of cash to Scotland was again criticised.

    Mr Swinney said: "It is clear that we can expect a significant squeeze on public spending in Scotland in the years ahead and that is likely to be unprecedented in severity and duration."



    Yet NuLabour are still trying to sell their ‘Gerald Ratner’ product to the electorate.

    Does it not make you feel ‘all warm inside’ to know that you are part of the union?

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  • 24. At 7:59pm on 16 Dec 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    Our wee Willie Bain asked a crawly question in the H of C today, pointing out that there was a dearth of millionaires in his constituency who wouldn't benefit from a hike in the inheritance tax base. This was confirmed by Harman who stated this was because they didn't live in Notting Hill gate but in ,Wait for it---Glasgow. Maybe wee Willie will someday (if he plays his cards right) be able to buy a wee house either in Notting Hill Gate or better still, in Glasgow.

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  • 25. At 8:06pm on 16 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    #17 CH Well that'll blow the stats somewhat

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  • 26. At 8:06pm on 16 Dec 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    Glenn Campbell will be presenting another amazing expose on BBC 1 tonight on Scotland's contribution to solving global warming.

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  • 27. At 8:08pm on 16 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    #17 CH and this http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/8414179.stm

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  • 28. At 8:14pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Someone had better tell him that that is not allowed during a recession Douglas Carswell introduces EU Referendum Bill to Parliament, unionist rules apply or is that only in a northerly outpost.

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  • 29. At 8:23pm on 16 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Turbine dragged through Taliban territory by British troops 'may never be installed'.

    A huge hydro-electric turbine dragged 110 miles by British troops through Taliban territory in Afghanistan is being packed away because the cement required to install it cannot be delivered safely, it has been reported.

    More joined up thinking by the MoD under this NuLabour numpty government.

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  • 30. At 8:38pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    27. Robabody

    Aberdeen has had financial problems for years that is why they are pro Trump as they can only see the expected revenue from council tax aided and abetted by the local property developers, they will regret this decision when the bills start to come in and the locals see the total incompetence of that hierachy.

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  • 31. At 8:54pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Report proves Scottish funding not UK priority

    ""With the most recent official figures showing that Scotland was in surplus for three years running to the tune of £2.3 billion – compared to a UK deficit of £24 billion over the same period – this decision highlights the real rip-off with London Labour ripping off Scotland."

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  • 32. At 8:55pm on 16 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Flash Gordon

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  • 33. At 9:11pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    I wish please after all it is the season of goodwill!

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  • 34. At 9:31pm on 16 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Another slant on Political Xmas Cards.

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  • 35. At 9:38pm on 16 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Labour want to reinstate the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL)just as Flyglobespan go bust because of Gordon's recession..... Brilliant.

    Even worse of course if BA ends up having to cut flights as well...


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  • 36. At 9:51pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    AWOL

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  • 37. At 9:53pm on 16 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Blaenau Gwent: the lost Labour heartland.

    With a general election on the horizon, John Harris travels to the Welsh valleys to find out why voters turned their back on the Labour party.

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  • 38. At 10:07pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Any suggestions?

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  • 39. At 10:22pm on 16 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Comment 36:

    As the anniversary approaches there will be attempts by the media to highlight the release again, the BBC did it on Sunday with QC Paul McBride the main chearleader.

    This particular story appears to be just that, a bucket of speculative swill thrown to the likes of Richard Baker and Bill Aitken who then grunt to order - wee Glenn 'Outrage' will be lapping it up as well no doubt.

    One of three security officers sitting in a grey Mercedes car outside told the paper: “They’ve all gone,” and declined to elaborate.

    East Renfrewshire Council tried to telephone al-Megrahi at his home on Tuesday, where an official spoke to a Libyan man who said al-Megrahi was too ill to speak to him.

    The paper said it was entirely possible he was too ill to speak.


    So, if there is no-one there why are there three security officers outside?

    Bill Aitken, the Scottish Conservative justice spokesman, called for an immediate investigation.

    “This is outrageous and there will be intense anger that Britain’s biggest mass murderer appears to be able to disappear,” he said.


    No Bill, you are citing a newspaper short story, the guy is dying and the reporter was basically told to go away. Megrahi isn't a lithsome cat burglar who eludes with the skill of the scarlett pimpernel, he is terminally ill and can't walk.

    I'll let others find Richard Bakers comments - they are just as moronic.

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  • 40. At 10:22pm on 16 Dec 2009, ILOVEFLORENCE wrote:

    I am sure I read somewhere last week that 900 new businesses of various sizes have started up in Edinburgh?At a time like this thats absolutely fantastic.Not to mention Glasgows booming hotel trade, increasing number of conferences, discretionary business tourists and Uk visitors to that wonderful city.

    Scotland is booming,deseves to boom and could boom a lot more given the right tools/policies.

    Surely a lot of this startling positive news is down to Scottish government policies?Imagine what they could achieve with more powers.

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  • 41. At 10:27pm on 16 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    38. cynicalHighlander

    What a sweet little troll!

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  • 42. At 10:27pm on 16 Dec 2009, Edzell_Blue wrote:

    30. cynicalHighlander

    Aberdeen will not benefit from council tax revenue from the Trump complex because it will be in Aberdeenshire Council.

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  • 43. At 10:27pm on 16 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #38 cynicalHighlander

    Its picking its nose: Must be Pa Broon.

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  • 44. At 10:28pm on 16 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    38. At 10:07pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    I'm still laughing !!!

    I originally though it might be Jim Murphy, but the ears are too small and the hairs too neat ... oh, and not creepy enough.

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  • 45. At 10:43pm on 16 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    38. At 10:07pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander:

    I believe it is the mythical creature known as a GARL - used in order to frighten people into voting Labour.

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  • 46. At 10:50pm on 16 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    37. Roll_On_2010
    "With a general election on the horizon, John Harris travels to the Welsh valleys to find out why voters turned their back on the Labour party."

    You're kidding, right? What astonishes many is that there are so many who still DO vote Labour. Can one actually tell Labour froom the Tories unless you look at the rosette?

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  • 47. At 10:51pm on 16 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    43. Roll_On_2010
    "Its picking its nose: Must be Pa Broon."
    QFT

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  • 48. At 10:55pm on 16 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    40. At 10:22pm on 16 Dec 2009, Gooseberry5:

    Sir, don't you read the papers - Megrahi's absconded and is living in a villa off the South of France, everybody is laughing at Scotland or are they furious at Scotland?

    Salmond's destroying the climate and embarassing this feeble wee country by jetting off to Copenhagen where no-one spoke to him anyway - everyone is laughing at Scotland.

    Our kids can't read or write, education is in a shambles, chaos ... in turmoil, our schools have started falling down al of a sudden.

    Our hospitals are filthy and crawling with deadly disease, the disease is spread by nationalists - meanwhile our doctors and dentists are lapping it up in Las Vegas with £millions in bonuses.

    Glenn Campbell is 'Outraged' at something or other.

    The SNP have come under attack .... for something.

    The SNP 'suffered a blow' .... or was it a 'flagship policy'?

    Every person under the age of twenty is carrying a knife, ready to plunge it into the back of YOU !!

    The internet is not safe anymore, forget paedophiles it is cybernats you need be afraid of .... they'll come after you once they finish with the innocent journalists.

    There is nothing wrong with the UK economy and the SNP are wasting all the money - they have wasted so much that Labour are giving them even more.

    Only the GARL can save us !!

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  • 49. At 11:01pm on 16 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Can those of a faint hearted disposition please close their eyes?

    Panto season has started.

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  • 50. At 11:06pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    42. Edzell_Blue
    "Aberdeen will not benefit from council tax revenue from the Trump complex because it will be in Aberdeenshire Council."

    I live in Banffshire yet my council tax goes to Moray Council so those in Aberdeenshire pay their tax to Aberdeen Council, yes/no. Stand to be corrected if wrong.

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  • 51. At 11:14pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    48. Online Ed

    Wow! that effect in just 2.5 years must be caused by salmonela or some other flu virus dormant but hidden in the folds of the Saltire or by the roe of certain fish:)

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  • 52. At 11:14pm on 16 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    NEWSFLASH:

    Scotlands Recovery Continues.

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  • 53. At 11:23pm on 16 Dec 2009, spinspamspun7 wrote:

    Employment figures?
    Glen Campbell still employed by BBC Scot !!!Why ???


    Tonight he falters,lacking incision with non-prepared questions !!!
    Nicky Campbell would wipe the floor with this Campbell.

    He's useless unless someone writes his questions !

    A programme to sleep through !!!

    Where I have that heard that before Greyman ???

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  • 54. At 11:26pm on 16 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    50. cynicalHighlander
    "I live in Banffshire yet my council tax goes to Moray Council so those in Aberdeenshire pay their tax to Aberdeen Council, yes/no. Stand to be corrected if wrong."

    Banffshire disappeared in 1975 as a local authority in 1975! The old county is currently split between Moray and Aberdeenshire. You must live in the Moray bit.

    Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire are totally separate councils.

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  • 55. At 11:37pm on 16 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    MPs expenses

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8417114.stm

    I think the LD Browne may have a reasonable case, in that the other options available to him would have cost the taxpayer more, but the Tory from Essex!!!

    "Mr Jenkin, MP for Essex North, has been asked to repay the highest amount known - £63,250 - because he claimed it for rent on a property owned by his sister-in-law.

    The rules changed in 2006 to prevent MPs renting from relatives but Mr Jenkin has said he was not informed".

    Yet MPs are happy to pass laws which the rest of are expected to know, since ignorance of them is no defence.

    I don't condemn every Westminster MP, but some have no understanding of how appalling their behaviour still is.

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  • 56. At 11:39pm on 16 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    54. oldnat

    Didn't mean to repeat the year!

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  • 57. At 11:44pm on 16 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Online Ed has been kidnapped by the blog police and via "negotiations" has written the truth about the SNP.......

    Either that or RE has hacked his account........:p

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  • 58. At 11:53pm on 16 Dec 2009, spinspamspun7 wrote:

    Just stirred.
    Campbell off the screen.
    What a pussycat when he hates no one ???

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  • 59. At 11:57pm on 16 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    54. oldnat
    "Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire are totally separate councils."

    As I said hands up but I will still stand, no matter which authority, that this whole episode stinks of particular business interests overriding public/environmental benefit for private monetary gain and this isn't the sole 'abuse' of power within councils throughout the UK.

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  • 60. At 00:00am on 17 Dec 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    #54 Oldnat

    "You must live in the Moray bit"

    SNP country :-)

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  • 61. At 00:02am on 17 Dec 2009, Gary Hay wrote:

    #57

    Is satire really so lost on the nescient?

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  • 62. At 00:09am on 17 Dec 2009, spinspamspun7 wrote:

    #55 oldnat.
    #
    Expenses ?

    How about the 1st minister of NI and his wife,claiming food
    allowances when Parliament was progrogued,and when they were
    in Florida for 5/6 weeks.

    Did you know the same wife claimed more than £1700 for two side tables!!

    Little re Scots MP's expenses ???
    Have they got the message???

    Watching Scot MP's,not a lot of talent !!!

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  • 63. At 00:15am on 17 Dec 2009, spinspamspun7 wrote:

    #48 Online Ed

    Off to bed,chuckling at your post !

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  • 64. At 00:39am on 17 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    48. Online Ed
    "Sir, don't you read the papers - Megrahi's absconded and is living in a villa off the South of France, everybody is laughing at Scotland or are they furious at Scotland?

    Salmond's destroying the climate and embarassing this feeble wee country by jetting off to Copenhagen where no-one spoke to him anyway - everyone is laughing at Scotland.

    Our kids can't read or write, education is in a shambles, chaos ... in turmoil, our schools have started falling down al of a sudden.

    Our hospitals are filthy and crawling with deadly disease, the disease is spread by nationalists - meanwhile our doctors and dentists are lapping it up in Las Vegas with £millions in bonuses.

    Glenn Campbell is 'Outraged' at something or other.

    The SNP have come under attack .... for something.

    The SNP 'suffered a blow' .... or was it a 'flagship policy'?

    Every person under the age of twenty is carrying a knife, ready to plunge it into the back of YOU !!

    The internet is not safe anymore, forget paedophiles it is cybernats you need be afraid of .... they'll come after you once they finish with the innocent journalists.

    There is nothing wrong with the UK economy and the SNP are wasting all the money - they have wasted so much that Labour are giving them even more.

    Only the GARL can save us !!
    "

    Oh, my... Well all true if you read just about ANY Scottish news media and actually BELIEVE what they say.

    But that's your first mistake. Oh, dearie me. And to think there was a time I had a great respect for the BBC--much more than our American news. A pity.

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  • 65. At 00:40am on 17 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    60. Gary Hay
    "SNP country :-)"

    The other part is Banff & Buchan!

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  • 66. At 01:02am on 17 Dec 2009, ILOVEFLORENCE wrote:

    Enjoyed your voyage of comedy online ed!

    As with all countries Scotland has its blemishes and issues BUT dont let anyone talk Scotland and its people down!

    Scotland is a fantastic country ,with huge potential, its dynamic and has some excellent qualities not least its people and their unique cities.
    Edinburgh is highly desirable, a hub of biotechnology and heritage and Glasgow is really becoming dynamic cosmopolitan and full of exciting regeneration.And thats just for starters.....

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  • 67. At 05:40am on 17 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    57. enneffess
    "Online Ed has been kidnapped by the blog police"

    I'm picturing the blog police torturing him by showing him Glenn Campbell interviews until he screams in pain and begs for mercy.

    *nod nod*

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  • 68. At 09:27am on 17 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Bill Aitken, the Scottish Conservative justice spokesman, called for an immediate investigation.

    “This is outrageous and there will be intense anger that Britain’s biggest mass murderer appears to be able to disappear,” he said.

    Tony's probably just go on holiday to somewhere warm for Christmas!!

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  • 69. At 09:57am on 17 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    I've written about the demise of The Herald and now sadly it appears complete.

    They are running a story that seeks to suggest Mike Russell was aware of the blog, run by the former aide who was either sacked or resigned, prior to it becoming public knowledge.

    The story headlines 'emails' as though proof of the headline claim, however a read through them and one sees immediately that Russell is responding on the day the aide was asked to resign - which was AFTER the story broke.

    The article contains this line:
    However, in e-mails obtained by The Herald, Mr MacLachan alleges that Mr Russell knew about his blog.

    There is no such allegation - there is a suggestion that, by the time of 26 November, that Russell knows that the claims in the media regarding the nature of the blog are untrue.

    The emails 'chain' starts from a desperate Maclachlan (who knows his job is all but gone) seeking help from Russell, one email suggests that Russell knows that claims that the blog was an anti Labour rant were untrue.

    This I believe is where The Herald have decided that Russell knew of the blog beforehand - tenuous to the point of extreme.

    At the time of writing the emails Maclachlan knew the game was up and is trying to limit the damage. By then, Russell, like every other SNP politician, member and simply interested members of the public ( and indeed journalists) will have had a look at this blog to see if there is indeed a story - hence the suggestion that Russell knew that the blog wasn't that bad.

    Anyway, Mike Russell's response makes no reference to knowing about the blog. However, Maclachlan's subsequent email to Russell's private account verges on being a veiled threat.

    This man appears to have been desperate, without employment and clutching at straws. We can probably guess how the emsils were obtained by Hutcheon - a once decent journalist.

    They [the emails] show, prove and suggest nothing at all, save that there was correspondence between Maclachlan and Russell, instigated by Maclachlan, on the day he was fired/resigned. I repeat, this is AFTER the world knows about the blog.

    The Herald's headline is:
    E-mails 'link' Russell to SNP smear blog that he denied knowledge of

    The quotation marks are there probably to prevent court action, which I think Russell should consider. The implication of the wording is that Mike Russell lied about knowing about the blog.

    The Herald have obtained, probably from Mr Maclachlan himself, a series of emails instigated by Maclachlan himself.

    The emails are written well after the story has broken, by which time anyone with an interest will have known about the blog.

    Note to Paul Hutcheon:
    Correspondence afer a story is in the public domain proves nothing, especially if allegations contained therein are made by the 'guilty' and now damaged party.

    Indeed such correspondence, given the desperation of the individual making the allegations, are probably the worst kind to hang a story on.

    This is what is known as a smear, one without foundation.

    The sad thing about it is that opposition politicians are not involved, this smear is entirely the product of The Herald newspaper.

    To practically invent stories in this fashion is despicable.

    Will the rest iof the unionist media run with this?

    What do you think - all they have to do is to uae the phrase "Claims made in a newspaper" and they are in the clear.

    Meanwhile the UK economy sinks ... and with it Scotland who is still chained to it.

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  • 70. At 10:13am on 17 Dec 2009, coineach watson wrote:

    I agree with handclapping post #2. Party Politics is NOT democratic.
    Take Gordon Brown yesterday (wish someone would - and take him far far away from these shores) he is now condoning War Crimes and allowing alledged War Criminals immunity from proscecution in this Country. We are becoming the laughing stock of the World. Bring us your War Criminals and we will welcome them, give them support etc., etc. We will probably feed them too!!!!!
    I am (of course) refering to the proposed visit of Tzipi Livni the Iraeli opposition leader who, when in office, was involved in the direction of the operation against the people of Gaza in which innocent men, women and children were murdered using illegal armaments and who was subject of an arrest warrant issued legally by a judge in the UK.
    Gordon Brown wishes to to amend the current laws of the UK to allow these (alledged) criminals into our country. Why then does he not allow all the other (alledged) criminals including paedofiles, people trafficers, murderers etc., from the rest of Europe in too, while he is at it????

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  • 71. At 10:33am on 17 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #70 coineach watson
    We already have Tony Bliar, why do we want more?

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  • 72. At 10:41am on 17 Dec 2009, coineach watson wrote:

    Received a letter the other day from the prospective Conservative and Unionist Candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire. What a load of "bull" it was. Firstly he appologised for not finding me in when he called - actually he had NOT called at my home - he also made a mistake in the name on the letter (parallelling Gordon Brown maybe). Nothing was actually stated about the guy, so I did a bit of investigation on my own.
    The WAK Conservative website was worse than useless, it provided absolutely NOTHING as far as the person was concerned, so I did a name search and found that he is currently a "list" MSP - not having been elected. He is "senior partner of his family firm" - a dairy farmer who earns between £0 and £5,000, the farm is alledged to be worth between £200,001 and £300,000, so not a large undertaking and not appearing to make much money. I would therefore suspect that being listed as a prospective member of the Scottish Parliament was a "nice little earner" and came at an appropriate juncture. Being elected to the UK Parliament would be even better with a nice (additional) £65,000 PLUS expenses income.
    Now, what has he actually done while serving on Aunty Annabelle's team - well it would appear not a great deal - apart from voting as directed from time to time. He asked SOME questions, the most memorable was concerning the documentation required to export a horse from Scotland to somewhere outside the E.U. Maybe he is offering this as transport for a certain ex-MSP who was (allegedly) going to Malawi to work. Such Christian charity and the other guy being the opposition too.
    He also asked the constituents what local issues were important - well if he doesn't know what they are - and he professes to live in the constituency - I don't hold out much chance of him doing anything withwhile when living it up in London town.
    I suspect he will be yet another "Yes man" like the previous Conservative MP in the constituency who was more interested in his self gratification that anything happening in the area. i.e. he refused to support the outdoor heated swimming pool when it was to be closed. Also he was Finaince Director of his family firm which was in finaincial difficulties when he became MP for the constituency. Is there any similarities there???
    I will continue to dig to see if there are any other "interesting" information ....... Jobs for the boys ........ eh???

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  • 73. At 10:46am on 17 Dec 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    Online Ed re 69

    Is it not a bit ironic that the story immediately below the one about Mike Russells "link" is, we can do without these online smear campaigns!!!

    Are the Herald saying that main stream media smear campaigns are ok?

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/herald-view/we-can-do-without-these-online-smear-campaigns-1.992740

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  • 74. At 11:34am on 17 Dec 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    @48 online Ed, love that summary of the Scottish Media for 2009.

    Brian you have to admit ,it's not that wide of the mark.

    I suppose that's what happens when unionists go to work on Scotland.






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  • 75. At 11:42am on 17 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    I'll write my own response to this intimidation and smearing by a once proud newspaper.

    A Scottish 'quality' newspapers might want to morph into a 'tartan News of the World', that's up to them.

    I recently contacted them over their manipulated version of the recent story concerning the prisoner found hanged in Africa, the P&J version destroyed the twist that The Herald had attempted to present.

    Their omission of facts allowed them to imply things that were untrue, they have thus far failed to explain why they ommitted very important details, details that would have destroyed utterly the statements within the rticles from Unionist politicians.

    The article implied, and the Unionists alleged, that no arrest warrant had been issued for this prisoner by the Scottish authorities - it was a lie.

    The Herald have now reached equal status with The Scotsman - they are both without credibility.

    Hutcheon in my eyes, has riuned an excellent reputation for being a journalist who will investigate all parties equally. He has now concocted a smear using nothing more than a vague line in an email sent after the story broke.

    This cannot be put down to poor journalism or lazy journalism - it has taken quite a bit of effort in order to manufacture the article and headline.

    I repeat my earlier comment, Mike Russell should issue a public statement attacking all smears, whether emanating from online activists or from within mainstream news outlets.

    Let The Herald defend their accusations without hiding behind single quotes. Moreover, have The Herald asked Mr MacLachlan outright whether he is alleging Mike Russelll both knew about the blog and its content prior to it becoming public?

    This is an excellent opportunity to draw wider attention to what is going on in the Scottish media.

    Note the disappearance of the East Lothian Labour fundraising scandal from the media. Note also the continued suppression of the BBC apology to senior SNP Minister Alex Neil. Finally the story about Glasgow council adopting the term 'Scottish Executive' instead of 'Scottish Government' has also been ignored - although those who do not receive Newsnet Scotland can read it here.

    If someone can furnish me with contact details of Mr Hutcheon I would be happy to put a few questions directly to him on everyone's behalf.

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  • 76. At 11:52am on 17 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    73. dubbieside

    The Herald states that MacLachlan used his blog "to smear political opponents." A constituency office manager is not a politician so the phrase "political opponents" was not appropriate.I doubt however that it was a case of slack writing.More likely another attempt to put the idea subliminally in readers' minds that Russell was connected to it.

    The sub-heading to the piece is "Politically motivated blogs need to be more accountable."

    Orwell would have loved that.

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  • 77. At 11:58am on 17 Dec 2009, tullibardine wrote:

    For pure poison look no further than Alan Cochrane's vitriolic diatribe
    in Tuesdays's Telegraph. A Scottish cringe hasn't a look in.

    http://tinyurl.com/yduuma8

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  • 78. At 12:11pm on 17 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Having re-read the chain of emails again The Herald's behaviour is worse than I originally thought.

    The email sent to Russell's private account seems more like blackmail than anything else. A series of threats from Mr MacLachlan coupled with new 'meaty' allegations that Russell knew of the blog and suggested input to the blog together with a threat to take up an offer from the media to 'put his side of the story'.

    There is the implication that this particular email is designed not to elicit a favourable reaction from Mike Russell but has been sent with the sole purpose of making the emails more appetising to the media.

    A disgruntled former employer sends an email to the former employer containing allegations against the former employer.

    This email is then headlined by a newspaper with no corroborating evidence to back up the allegations.

    This stuff would be laughed out of an employment tribunal - else it would mean that any disgrunlted employee simply had to send an email containing malicious allegations to their former employee.

    Blackmail should never form the basis of a newspaper headline.

    Instead Hutcheon should have first corroborated the story with hard evidence - then and only then ran it.

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  • 79. At 12:30pm on 17 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    77. tullibardine

    Cochrane writes

    "As Alex Salmond spews hot air in Copenhagen on sexy-sounding policies for which he has no responsibility,he ignores the humdrum realities of his office."

    Ludicrous content aside,that has to be the worst written sentence in the history of journalism.

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  • 80. At 12:43pm on 17 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #79 misty
    The Telegraph is into lists; send it to the Editor with the suggestion that it is an entry into the Telegraph's "10 worst sentences in the papers in the Noughtys".

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  • 81. At 12:53pm on 17 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    80. handclapping

    Good idea.I know which writer would be most likely to have multiple entries.

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  • 82. At 1:20pm on 17 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Just watched FM's question time... Can't wait to read Brian's take on what happened. Come on Brian get a move on.....

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  • 83. At 2:08pm on 17 Dec 2009, john wrote:

    Good to see that Ireland were out of recession by the end of September.

    John

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  • 84. At 2:35pm on 17 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    83. At 2:08pm on 17 Dec 2009, john wrote:
    Good to see that Ireland were out of recession by the end of September.

    John


    Read it here

    Ireland entered the recession after the UK, they entered it in much better shape - they now leave it before the UK.

    Expect more smear stories against the Scottish Government in light of this damning news for the union.

    Also:
    Watched kenny MacAskill taking questions from Labour today. If any journalist were serious about scrutinising Labour they need only note the ridiculous questions fired at MacAskill.

    One question used the story about some prisoners from an open prison being allowed home for Christmas in order to attack MacAskill only to be reminded that the practice had existed since the 1950's.

    Not only that but the current figures for release show that MacAskill has actually reduced the number of such releases from the Labour/Liberal term in office.

    Better governance in every area, and still the media headline Labour attacks eben when Labour themselves are responsible for some of the issues such as NHS contracts leading to bonuses for some staff.

    Labour light the fire then squeal that the SNP are not putting it out fast enough.

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  • 85. At 3:12pm on 17 Dec 2009, FatherMacKenzie wrote:

    77.
    As Alex Salmond spews hot air in Copenhagen on sexy-sounding policies for which he has no responsibility,he ignores the humdrum realities of his office.

    Presumably there are no domestic matters that require the head of state's attention in any of the other countries?

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  • 86. At 3:37pm on 17 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #85 FatherMacKenzie
    Give us a break! While Global is 'saving the World' in Copenhagen, we've a chance to start getting things right here. The World will probably need Obama to jet in there to sort out the mess Jonah's making at present.

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  • 87. At 4:37pm on 17 Dec 2009, gt-cri wrote:

    From A. Cochrane's (presumably pronounced "cock-ran") article:

    "No amount of knock-backs from Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister — “no, Alex, you shall not go to the ball. I’m in charge” — have had any effect on this headstrong, and increasingly petulant, politician."

    Ignoring the latter smear; he forgets Cinders actually did and ended up living happily ever after, as a result.

    An terrible metaphor, if ever I heard one!

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  • 88. At 4:59pm on 17 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    75. Online Ed
    "If someone can furnish me with contact details of Mr Hutcheon I would be happy to put a few questions directly to him on everyone's behalf."

    http://www.123people.co.uk/s/paul+hutcheon

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