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The battle over class sizes

Brian Taylor | 14:02 UK time, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Is it a sensible policy to reduce class sizes in the earliest stages of primary schooling to 18 or fewer?

Did Alex Salmond promise to deliver such a policy in the first Parliament of his administration?

Do not attempt to answer both questions at once. Candidates have until the next Holyrood election to complete this paper. Marks will be given by the voters.

As expected, opposition leaders all pursued the First Minister today on the replacement of his Education Secretary.

Of the three, Labour's Iain Gray was the most effective. He had substantive research upon which to base his attack.

Mr Gray disclosed a leaked minute from 2 July 2007 of a meeting in which civil servants from the Scottish Executive (as it was then billed) discussed the implications of the class size policy for primary teacher recruitment.

Donald Henderson of the Schools Directorate is minuted as noting that the commitment would require more than 4000 extra student teachers.

He is further minuted as saying: "The scale of the commitment does not allow it to be delivered in the life time of a parliament."

According to Labour, this means that the First Minister was being advised by his officials that the policy was undeliverable in practice - by contrast with a Parliamentary answer given by the FM to Hugh Henry MSP on 5 September 2007 in which Mr Salmond confirmed that the class sizes promise would be delivered within a single Parliamentary session of four years.

Also according to Labour, that means the FM misled the chamber. Mr Henry now plans to pursue this alleged deceit.

The FM's answer? Progress is being made year on year on class sizes, not helped by obstruction from Labour councils. He said they make up one third of Scotland's local authorities - while they are responsible for two thirds of the drop in teacher numbers: the issue which despatched Fiona Hyslop from the education brief.

Further inquries of the government elicit the response that any advice given by officials was superseded by the concordat with local authorities in 14 November 2007 - which featured a pledge to take action on class sizes, with implications for teacher numbers.

At questions today, Annabel Goldie broadly took the same tack: that Ms Hyslop was a victim of an impossible pledge delivered by her boss.

Tavish Scott noted that the ministerial changes only followed the prospect of a no confidence motion, prepared by himself.

Will Alex Salmond be found to have misled Parliament? I very much doubt it. There is the defence re the concordat, there is the more general point that officials advise and Ministers decide.

Had there been a private quotation from Mr Salmond to the effect that the policy was futile, then different story.

However, these exchanges, deftly pursued by Mr Gray, add to the impression of difficulty with this portfolio: an impression given rather noted substance, of course, by the removal of the incumbent.

Already, one is hearing defensive postures from Ministers: class sizes are now at a record low, we only promised to make progress year on year, we are being blocked by Labour councils, the real focus should perhaps be on cutting class sizes in the most deprived areas.

There is justice in some or all of these arguments. Snag is the manifesto pledge was to cut class sizes to 18 or fewer in Primaries 1 to 3.

Is there a "crisis" in education, as Mr Salmond's opponents aver? No more than usual.

Certainly, difficulties with a class size policy covering the very earliest years do not amount to a crisis for education as a whole. For Ministers, however, not good.

Earlier, Opposition leader teased the new Education Secretary Mike Russell over his previous views on the topic. MSPs were voting on whether to endorse his appointment. (They did.) Murdo Fraser of the Tories made a notably witty speech.

Mr Russell was reminded that he had, in the past, suggested that councils were "arrogant" and that their collective organisation, Cosla, was inclined to offer "self-serving, mealy-mouthed advice".

The Minister grinned politely, well aware that these comments were delivered during his wilderness years outside Holyrood. (He had been shunted way down the regional list by his ungrateful party.)

In those days, he was thinking grand thoughts. He was publishing pamphlets. He was challenging for the party leadership. He was thinking six impossible things before breakfast - and, rashly, committing some of them to print.

Now that his penance is paid and he has achieved Cabinet rank, perhaps his noted diplomatic skills will take precedence over his propensity for blue-sky thinking. However, let us hope that he has not entirely lost his sense of iconoclasm.

Scotland could use a Minister who challenges "the way things have aye been".

Comments

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  • 1. At 2:26pm on 03 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    Consecutive posts about education in Referendum White Paper week.Tut tut Brian.

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  • 2. At 2:26pm on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Brian
    Scotland could use a Minister who challenges "the way things have aye been".
    Oh dear, at first I read Media for Minister. Wishful thinking, 8-(

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  • 3. At 2:41pm on 03 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    oh no ; i am now simply a number and can't get my name back HELP
    Sid

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  • 4. At 2:51pm on 03 Dec 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    We hear a lot from parties these days about "aspirations" and, yet, when it comes to a party actually setting one down in stone, they get slaughtered if they don't achieve it (and they do leave themselves exposed as fair game, so there you go).

    I would rather governments set targets too high than too low.

    Under Labour the targets are always too low and, even then, they're rarely met.

    So, if the SNP have overshot the mark with their pledge on class sizes, I don't care. It means that they have forced themselves to pursue it which means that they must and will achieve the optimum result within their power, just as they did with the "broken pledge" of providing 1000 additional police officers on our streets.

    I wish politics was like this all the time. I wish, for example, that governments would pledge to wipe out all crime until there was no crime left, with manifestos declaring "we will reduce the country's crime rate to zero". They wouldn't fulfill this pledge, but they'd certainly get it reduced to the maximum levels of possibility.

    So the SNP have made a pledge on class sizes that is undeliverable. Good. It means that in striving to deliver the undeliverable they will ensure that the best possible amount of progress will be achieved.

    If Labour want to crow about it, so what? We are so used to their nagativity and no-can-do attitude and approach to politics that we are completely fed up of it.

    It seems that Labour's only function these days is to sabotage any attempts by the Scottish Government to make progress in Scotland.

    Is anyone else as sick of them and their hatchet job on Scottish politics as much as I am?

    A tenner to the first person who can sum up Labour's negativity better than me!!!

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  • 5. At 2:58pm on 03 Dec 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    "However, let us hope that he has not entirely lost his sense of iconoclasm. Scotland could use a Minister who challenges "the way things have aye been".

    Well said, Brian.

    Couldn't agree more.

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  • 6. At 3:14pm on 03 Dec 2009, crazyislander wrote:

    I am sick and tired of all this rubbish about class sizes. In my day, primary school classes could be up to forty and it did me no harm. Also we didn't have, 'Nursery Education' which is just a euphemism for a creche, do we really need someone to teach kids how to play? Let's get back to teaching kids how to read, write and do their times tables, then perhaps we might return to having the best education system in Europe. Also, I agree with Mike Russell, we should take education away from money-grabbing councils and directly manage the system on a central basis. This would put an end to councils creaming off the education funding for other things.

    Get politics out of education and leave it to the experts.

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  • 7. At 3:15pm on 03 Dec 2009, that wee C wrote:

    http://tinyurl.com/ylj26wb

    This poll shows the SNP 2 points ahead in the Westminster poll, but very few Scottish papers have told us about it.
    I'm not a Nat but I do support Full fiscal Autonomy and I believe that the current UK is dead.

    see also this BBC2 programme
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00pbpm9/Scotlands_Conspiracy_Files/

    We really need to see some Media honesty or we are doomed to be driven to extremes by this tame support for Labour.
    Where are the Scottish Unions in our demands for Fiscal powers and oil money to support Scottish Industry.

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  • 8. At 3:30pm on 03 Dec 2009, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    Smaller class sizes is probably the single most effective measure to improving educational standards. Standards would improve, even with poor teachers.

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  • 9. At 3:31pm on 03 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    How can Education ever go anywhere when our children are misled
    by Labour, Conservative and Liberals calling themselves
    Scottish when they are all British Party Shams !

    Is there no legal way for this crime to be halted ?

    God Help Scotland.

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  • 10. At 3:59pm on 03 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Last week we were being told the economy was the most important thing that the Scottish Govt should be dealing with.. But then of course a week is a very short time in politics...

    Ian Gray may well have been the most effective of all three opposition types today but that's not really saying much now is it. He's just a chancer and not a serious politician.

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  • 11. At 4:05pm on 03 Dec 2009, romeplebian wrote:

    its a good deflection for the lies that the Labour Party and the Tories have been telling for years, so your telling me none of them have made promises and not kept to them???

    best get your BA kit ready Brian your red ship is sinking fast and the blue one will zig zag over the horizon because it wont see you

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  • 12. At 4:08pm on 03 Dec 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    As usual, Mr Grey mumbled and stumbled his way through another pointless, negative set of questions. He is preoccupied with thinking by damaging the education system, he can maybe, just maybe, bring the government, with the backing of the media of course.

    The government is strong, and Labour are leaderless and on the way out at both ends of Britain.

    What's the point of Labour when they don't do anything constructive.
    Scotland and the education system were neglected all the time Labour were in power. Just look at the state of the schools.

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  • 13. At 4:13pm on 03 Dec 2009, Florence wrote:

    Noticed on the lunchtime news that Glenn was repeating Labour's claim that the FM once again misled the Parliament. I wonder how often this will be aired? Oftener, no doubt, than the report that Jim Murphy had to remove claims about Paul McBride. Will it be on a par with the Megrahi affair? Will Glenn be as zealous in pursuing the FM as he was McAskill? Can't wait!

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  • 14. At 4:27pm on 03 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    i have had my ID stolen so until the beeb give me it back I will simply be known as S__thesceptic or S__

    S__

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  • 15. At 4:55pm on 03 Dec 2009, Camperoo wrote:

    I actually thought Gray was a tad more effective today!

    Clearly someone's been coaching him...could it be Murphy? or even minions of Lord Mandy? He's been crap for so long I can't quite believe he achieved it himself.

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  • 16. At 4:57pm on 03 Dec 2009, Alex wrote:

    Brian says: "Is there a "crisis" in education, as Mr Salmond's opponents aver? No more than usual."

    I would say that you are wrong there.
    The fact that no new schools have been commissioned in 2.5 years by the SNP, doesn't mean that the current schools are going to fall down. So it's not a crisis in that sense. But there are schools which need to be repleced in the next 5 - 10 years, and we need to commission them now.
    The crumbling education infrastructure will build-up real problems for future schooling.
    Government is about taking the right decisions at the right time.
    The SNP has not taken them in respect of schools.
    We will pay. Probably after the SNP is out of office.

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  • 17. At 5:04pm on 03 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Sinister moves afoot Another Cheerio and a Reluctant One

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  • 18. At 5:13pm on 03 Dec 2009, Alex wrote:

    "A tenner to the first person who can sum up Labour's negativity better than me!!!"

    Labour build 236 new or major school projects and the SNP have built none.

    That negative enough for you?

    How do I claim my tenner?

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  • 19. At 5:15pm on 03 Dec 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    I reckon Gray has taken the hypocritical oath. Last week he was asking Fiona Hyslop to resign, today he appeared to be feeling sorry for her!

    The perception every time we see FMQs is that the opposition leaders do not have Scotland's interests in mind, only those of themselves and their parties. There is bit of light however as all three leaders seem to be on a sticky wicket as far as their personal performances are concerned.

    As we were informed at the end of the broadcast, the civil servant quoted by Gray is an advisor and there is no need for ministers to take any notice (Brown does it all the time). I wonder if the advisor anticipated that the Labour councils were going to activate against the government on education policy?.

    Does anyone what know what the benefit is of having to sign on every time we come onto this website. It was working quite well up to now. Is this a prelude to the BBC closing down or manipulating the site. Perhaps they have been got at by the politicians.

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  • 20. At 5:28pm on 03 Dec 2009, tryagain wrote:

    #17 cynicalHighlander

    Is it just me, or is the ending of several pro-indepndence blogs in a short space of time, the authors of which all claimed some sort of underhand pressure as a causing factor, not the kind of story our "independent" media should be covering?

    Scoop, anyone?

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  • 21. At 5:29pm on 03 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Wow, I had to read Taylor's blog to see if I had picked him up wrong.

    Believe me, I have just this minute finished watching FMQ's and Gray was his usual self - he was trying to accuse Salmond of sacrificing Hyslop - the backhanded 'misled' smear [yes, another one] came as a result of Salmond dealing with Gray as he usually does.

    Salmond very eloquently highlighted the problem with Labour run council's, for Brian to completely ignore this is simply unacceptable. The Labour council point was hammered home by Salmond again and again, it is an uncomfortable truth that is simply ignored by Taylor.

    Only one leader landed a blow on Salmond and that was when Tavish Scott made a jibe about Salmond resigning in order to go to Westminster.

    This is one of the most misleading blogs Taylor has ever produced.

    He also incredibly fails to mention the blundering attempts by all Unionist parties to attack the FM over the referendum - a huge blunder by them as Salmond gleefully grabbed the opportunity to highlight their hypocrisy.

    Even Jackie Bailie stepped into the bear trap by trying to make a point over minimum alcohol pricing - allowing Salmond to highlight Labour's politicisation.

    Don't take my word for it though, have a look at proceedings yourself - Salmond is in very good form and the prediction that the SNP will not allow Labour councils to play politics with childrens education is very, very clear - although not clear enough for BBC 'journalists'.

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  • 22. At 5:47pm on 03 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    " Perhaps they have been got at by the politicians."

    Now that did make me laugh Hamish!
    ( a little hollow one I admit!)

    Really sorry the Dundee wifie has been got at, I really enjoyed her musings.

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  • 23. At 5:57pm on 03 Dec 2009, Lenathehyena wrote:

    Smaller class sizes are a great advantage for children who find it difficult to learn. Where there are numbers of motivated kids, it doesn't matter too much if the classes are large, except for the amount of marking that falls to the teacher. However, there's no way there will be smaller class sizes across the board at the rate schools are being closed and teachers paid off. It should be noted that large numbers of teachers in Scotland work from part-time temporary contracts are are not recorded as lost staff when they're told not to come back. The SNP has given itself an impossible task and there is no chance it will be successful pursing this policy. Labour couldn't do it, even with the help of the Lib Dims and SNP won't. PS why can't Labour in Scotland find a leader with a normal voice? They all sound like extras from Walt Disney cartoons.

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  • 24. At 6:02pm on 03 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    17. cynicalHighlander
    "Sinister moves afoot Another Cheerio and a Reluctant One"

    This makes me too angry to be able to comment in a rational way. That such a woman should suffer harassment because of blogging (nary an obscenity in sight) about her own personal political opinions is something people had better give some SERIOUS thought.

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  • 25. At 6:04pm on 03 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    20. U14242524
    "Is it just me, or is the ending of several pro-indepndence blogs in a short space of time, the authors of which all claimed some sort of underhand pressure as a causing factor, not the kind of story our "independent" media should be covering?

    Scoop, anyone?
    "

    They'll be right on it. Of course, they will.

    They are great defenders of freedom of speech, are they not? A woman being harassed out of the ability to express perfectly legal and what SHOULD be main-stream political opinions will of course be given appropriate investigative reporting. We will soon know who this scum is who is harassing here and just what THEIR political affiliation is.

    Won't we?

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  • 26. At 6:23pm on 03 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    20. U14242524

    A GE looming or jealous journalists fearful of their future employability.

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  • 27. At 6:34pm on 03 Dec 2009, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    Online Ed - Dont be so hard on Brian, this is the first time he has had the opportunity to report that Iain Gray managed to, at long last, string a few questions together. At best a Pyrrhic victory for the Gray man.

    So, well done Iain, a researcher managed to get some info on class commitments. This is so NOT going to remove Labour council responsibility for their own failures. Will Labour be arguing for budgets to be re-allocated to achieving this goal then and ensuring their councils comply where they have already failed? Which budgets? Trams perhaps? Answers on the back of a brown envelope.

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  • 28. At 6:47pm on 03 Dec 2009, tamO wrote:

    Look I think its time for the nationalists to put the unionists back in there box they should call for a Scottish election the fact is with them having to steer clear of each other due to the uk election this is the time to stick it to them.

    Look you should use these blogs to further your views without any reference to any BBC journalist
    I unlike some don't know the personal political preferences of any of the BBC staff. I am sure some will hold views that there employer don't like but thats not the point they all adherer to there employers rules and its commitment to uphold the British state.
    There lack of guts to express any independent thought proves that the zombie is not a work of fiction but lives in the halls of the bbc in Scotland

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  • 29. At 6:52pm on 03 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    I hope the SNP do call for an enquiry and maybe then we can find out just where the labour councils have squandered the money that was earmarked for education.
    Our media is getting worse by the day.
    My normally politically neutral father said tonight after watching 'Reporting Labour' that this country is fast becoming like 1930's Germany.

    How about some honest reporting for a change, Beeb.

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  • 30. At 6:59pm on 03 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    The real crisis is that because of Labour's utter economic incompetence so many children will be leaving school, college or university and simply won't be able to find a job.

    Fiona Hyslop's new job and promises over class sizes pale into insignificance compared with the economic and social destruction that Labour have brought down on the Scottish population.

    They should hang their heads in shame.

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  • 31. At 7:07pm on 03 Dec 2009, Florence wrote:

    Re my comment at 13: Yes, the BBC are running with the FM misleading the Parliament. Once trailing the 6.30 news, during the programme and at the end of the programme. Haven't been able to listen to Newsdrive but no doubt Labour's accusation will have had an outing or three.

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  • 32. At 7:07pm on 03 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Briefly mentioned on BBC radio earlier that Mike Russell personally telephoned Stephen Purcell to 'suggest' a meeting between the two.

    Oh, anyone who wants to compare Brian's take on FMQ's with mine posted at comment number 21 can do so by clicking here.

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  • 33. At 7:25pm on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #29 Harry Stottle
    Of course its been spent on education, paying for all these Labour PFI new schools.
    Love the moniker; is it Aristotle or Harris tottle? Is there a difference?

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  • 34. At 7:31pm on 03 Dec 2009, Tom wrote:

    I feel that Education is currently horrible, beyond repair but I am not blaming the current administration. Education has never, ever been perfect, not even close for years or possibly decades.

    I don't believe university is for everyone, so instead of individuals wasting their time in classrooms we should allow pupils to leave (apart from English and Math lessons) and attend some type of trades school, or class.

    I personally feel that subjects are abit of a mish-mash. History for example, we should be learning history from a young age or at least learn history starting from an early moment of history, as we grow up we learn more modern history. It's simply not worth learning abit of WW2, Scottish Wars of Independence and Culloden. There is no connection and we miss major parts of History out by picking topics are random and learnign what happend during those very short years.

    Mathematics is the same too. The last teacher said in primary six, all he learnt was timetables (UK was very high in the boards thosedays apparently). Nowadays there is ALOT more... and we got overtaken by everyone else.

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  • 35. At 7:35pm on 03 Dec 2009, sid the sceptic wrote:

    evening , #30 wee scamp, yes they should be hanging their collective heads in shame but they won't because the ARROGANCE far out weighs the incompetence every time!
    S__

    PS. - RE - I'm still waiting!

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  • 36. At 7:38pm on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #32 Online Ed
    BwB is a blog, not a piece of reportage. It's what interests Brian, not an analysis of the day's news. Think order_order rather than ft.com. On the last thread RE and oldnat were posting from the same Ipsos Mori poll; they drew from it what interested them. What I drew from it was not either of their viewpoints.
    I like your take on the news as you see it, but when Brian is blogging it's his viewpoint, that's all. If he is on air or on camera and fails the impartiality test, give him laldy, when he's on his blog, he is just another viewpoint.

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  • 37. At 7:46pm on 03 Dec 2009, kaybraes wrote:

    Correct me if I'mm wrong but isn't it the Local authorities who are supposed to deliver education? Salmond may have promised something he couldn't or didn't deliver, but compared with what Britain's Labour government promised and has failed abyssmaly to deliver, Salmond's misdemeanour is hardly momentous. If the local authorities were given the task of delivering smaller class sizes then they should be explaining why they failed and perhaps a few directors of education should be joining Ms Hyslop in posts better fitting their talents.

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  • 38. At 7:54pm on 03 Dec 2009, Sheneval wrote:

    7. At 3:15pm on 03 Dec 2009, thatweec wrote:
    http://tinyurl.com/ylj26wb
    "I'm not a Nat but I do support Full fiscal Autonomy and I believe that the current UK is dead.
    We really need to see some Media honesty or we are doomed to be driven to extremes by this tame support for Labour."

    Would you like to explain what you mean by the comment "driven to extremes" and who are the 'we' you talk about?

    No one in this country has a mandate for anything other than the democratic process however unsatisfactory it may be.

    If you are suggesting that bloggers should mount some kind of scurrilous campaign making personal unfounded attacks on individual politicians, that has already bee tried and we have seen the results just this week.

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  • 39. At 8:10pm on 03 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    17 Cynical highlander : And so the unionist campaign begins.



    I just don't think they are going to be able to fool enough Scots this time.




    What Scotland needs desperately is an unbiased media outlet.




    I have yet to see any evidence of Brian asking difficult questions.

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  • 40. At 8:14pm on 03 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    We should rename this blog "Das Boot" in honour of all the U-Boat names (yes I know someone already mentioned this!).

    ---------

    29. At 6:52pm on 03 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle:

    I agree with an enquiry, but that also means ALL councils who have spent the money on other areas should be brought to task.


    -------------
    18. At 5:13pm on 03 Dec 2009, U14242822 wrote:
    "A tenner to the first person who can sum up Labour's negativity better than me!!!"

    Labour build 236 new or major school projects and the SNP have built none.

    That negative enough for you?

    How do I claim my tenner?


    I can do better, I'm certain a certain Mr GB blamed a Mr DC for being responsibly for 15% interest rates.........

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

    32. At 7:07pm on 03 Dec 2009, U14094468:

    I'd say yours is more accurate.

    Watched the politicians carefully. They are all in serious need of coaching for their body language. Alex has a tendency to lean on his lectern as though he is in the pub. Mr Gray can't keep his hands still, enjoying a frequent scratch of the chin and hands in pocket. Never, ever put hands in pocket when presenting. Dennis Skinner once berated a Tory minister who did so by telling him to stop playing with himself!

    But you are right, Salmond wasn't exactly savaged, was he.

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

    23. At 5:57pm on 03 Dec 2009, ellow wrote:

    PS why can't Labour in Scotland find a leader with a normal voice? They all sound like extras from Walt Disney cartoons.


    Well, they want emulate the SNP, since the FM does have striking resemblance to Shrek. But that is better that looking like the assistant to King Louis! (The one with the leaf fan).



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  • 41. At 8:15pm on 03 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Vot! Convoy in sight!

    I am now U2346674......I didn't realise so many were built.


    Neil

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  • 42. At 8:23pm on 03 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Brian , could you tell me what was /is the point of Liberal and Labour MSPs abstaining from a vote ? Any vote?
    I thought they were in Holyrood to earn their 65 thousand a year.
    Surely not voting just shows them to be uncommitted to the job?
    Or cowardly?

    On a totally different note and since JR is around and about can she or anyone else please explain why we have " Tiger Woods is a very naughty boy !" on our news?
    I have as much interest in his sex life as I have in the outcome of the X factor, and I'm sure I'm not alone!
    I listened in astonishment to the sanctimonious twaddle of some reporter telling me how horrified I should be at his behaviour because his so squeeky clean persona, was as all humanity, flawed.
    Sacre bleu!

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  • 43. At 8:36pm on 03 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    41. U2356674

    Now your all "U's" is this another way of the biased Beeb to add to the confusion.

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  • 44. At 8:43pm on 03 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    36. At 7:38pm on 03 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:
    #32 Online Ed
    BwB is a blog, not a piece of reportage. It's what interests Brian, not an analysis of the day's news. Think order_order rather than ft.com. On the last thread RE and oldnat were posting from the same Ipsos Mori poll; they drew from it what interested them. What I drew from it was not either of their viewpoints.
    I like your take on the news as you see it, but when Brian is blogging it's his viewpoint, that's all. If he is on air or on camera and fails the impartiality test, give him laldy, when he's on his blog, he is just another viewpoint.


    I couldn't disagree more, this is simply another BBC news outlet in all but name. Brian has basically regurgitated what the BBC are presenting as the main themes of FMQ's - Salmond smear and Hyslop sacrifice.

    If Brian Taylor really wants to give us his personal views then let him do as Iain MacWhirter does and create his own private blog and post in his own time.

    This alternative news outlet is provided by the BBC for a BBC employee who more often than not gives us the same BBC line. Do you really believe that Taylor failed to notice Malcolm Chisholm undermining Iain Gray twice? surely a blogger 'free' of the constraints of the BBC might just have mentioned it.

    Also not noticing the highly suspicious statistics showing Labour councils to be the worst offenders as far as teacher numbers are concerned.

    I yearn for a 'Brians Big Debate' where the subject is BBC Scotland and the people facing the questions are:

    Brian Taylor, Glenn Campbell, Shereen Nanjiani and one Catriona Renton.

    Bernard Ponsonby as the host.

    Now that would be a show to listen to.

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  • 45. At 8:53pm on 03 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    This is Scottish journalism in 2009:

    Click Here

    How many people will see this headline without knowing the actual truth?

    Nice of them to put a picture of the First Minister alongside a picture of Mussolini.

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  • 46. At 8:55pm on 03 Dec 2009, Lenathehyena wrote:

    Scottish education used to have a great reputation but there were always people who slipped through the net. Personally, I despair at the lack of understanding of the language of those whose education days are well behind them especially the ignorant bunch whose basic tool is language - journalists, at the BBC or otherwise. Of course, many who front news programmes are just presenters not actual journalists and it shows. I'm not suggesting Brian is one of those but he's one of a minority at the beeb. Does anyone understand the difference between singular and plural anymore? Have sports presenters ever attended school? Fiona Hyslop is not responsible for them, don't think so, anyway. But, the SNP's own manifesto did have something about dropping class sizes to .. or less. Hey Salmond! It's fewer not less. If you can't get that right the Party's got no chance with the bigger stuff.

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  • 47. At 9:11pm on 03 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    8. GeeDeeSea

    Your point seems to be instead of dealing with poor teachers, leave them ruining kids lives but in smaller class sizes.

    I must say a well thought out argument sure to help the fiscal problems.

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  • 48. At 9:14pm on 03 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    6. crazyislander

    Excellent idea anew ministry of education. Based where? Edinburgh? staffed by more civil servants? They will understand all the regional issues required to deal with education problems?

    Just what we need less local control, less devolution more centralisation. Well Holyrood is so good at running things more efficiently isn't it?

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  • 49. At 9:16pm on 03 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    16. U14242822

    the SNP don't commission new schools. They only commission 2/3rd's of a new school. Councils have to find the rest from existing budgets.

    Hardly surprising that councils are regretting supping with the devil.

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  • 50. At 9:22pm on 03 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    4. U13724389
    I'll have that tenner: Iain Gray.
    5 U13724389
    Scotland could do with a media that challenges "the way things have aye been".

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  • 51. At 9:24pm on 03 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    I'll take this opportunity to remind northhighlander that sooner or later the Unionists will have to come up with their alternative to independence - the status quo is not an option (no pun).

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  • 52. At 9:26pm on 03 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    Foulkes new nickname for Salmond - Il Duce

    Cybernats new nickname for Foulkes - Il Dunce

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  • 53. At 9:27pm on 03 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Scotland could do with a media that challenges "the way things have aye been".

    Well said.

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  • 54. At 9:32pm on 03 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    It's so much more than class sizes. The standard of education achieved also has a lot to do with aspiration and demand.

    Aspiration is driven by the type, size and attraction of companies or organisations that make up the economy. To use a simplistic example it's no point a Scottish youngster thinking they'd like to become an automotive designer or an engineer developing engines. We don't do that.

    And this of course means of there is no demand here for engine developers or automotive designers.

    The result is that youngsters interested in these things see little opportunity for them so begin to wonder why they need to work so hard at school.

    The problem that Scotland has is that our economy just isn't broad enough. Nowadays we have little really exciting industy and that's down to a complete lack of a real industrial policy and a financial services sector that isn't interested in industry.



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  • 55. At 9:36pm on 03 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    The Daily Record's distortion of facts is well up to standard.

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics-news/2009/12/03/new-poll-shows-most-snp-supporters-want-gordon-brown-for-pm-86908-21869278/

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  • 56. At 9:44pm on 03 Dec 2009, Lenathehyena wrote:


    52. At 9:26pm on 03 Dec 2009, mistydougie wrote:
    Foulkes new nickname for Salmond - Il Duce

    Cybernats new nickname for Foulkes - Il Dunce

    *********

    Surely Scotland's most eminent politician, George Foulkes of wherever he's from should have a film made about his life as rent-a-rant with Sir Sean Connery playing Sir George. I'd go to see that.

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  • 57. At 9:46pm on 03 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    51. U14094468

    The existing constitutional arrangements could easily stay for the next few years.

    I remind Greenock Boy that it is up to the SNP to make the case for change. No point in trying to cover the complete half baked rubbish Alec produced on Monday by trying to throw the spotlight elsewhere.

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  • 58. At 9:46pm on 03 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    55. oldnat

    The comments are all the same as Maddox's comments ie. stop telling lies. What pathetic journalism no wonder Rangers are in such dire straits.

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  • 59. At 9:50pm on 03 Dec 2009, impartial_lm wrote:

    I was hoping that we may get some sensible debate on this site.
    However it would seem that the bloggers of the Glasgow herald (before it shut down the nonsense that used to be printed) are all here.
    Albeit with different names - but irrational opinions and distorted facts are stiil gracing a public site.

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  • 60. At 9:53pm on 03 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    55. oldnat wrote

    Daily Wreckord

    '2009/12/03/new-poll-shows-most-snp-supporters-want-gordon-brown-for-pm'

    They were crowing only a few days ago that most SNP voters want Cameron as PM.

    Our media must be the laughing stock of the world.

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  • 61. At 9:56pm on 03 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    #56 ellow

    How about Ronald Villiers to portray Foulkes in that film?

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  • 62. At 9:59pm on 03 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    59. impartial_lm
    "However it would seem that the bloggers of the Glasgow herald (before it shut down the nonsense that used to be printed) are all here."

    RE and NCA999 are a bit of a problem, but they are entitled to express their views - even if their manners are poor.

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  • 63. At 9:59pm on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    Scotlands local authorities have demonstrated their inability to hold to their side of the concorat.
    It wasn't perfect, but it was a great opportunity to show how central government could stop messing in the detail while retaining an ability to have nationally agreed 'standards'. Who knows where that road could have led? Difficult times and politicisation at local level have taken their toll on it, and at a national level the thought of cheap points for the unionists is too much for them - they can't help themselves.
    Any dreams anyone has of more control for local authorities can kiss it goodbye now - remember to say thanks to the unionist parties.

    The unionists not in opposition aren't interested in making anything work.
    The media will not analyse the situation - where is the analysis of the concordat, the role of cosla, local councils, teaching unions (did you know the EIS had petitioned for reduced class sizes?), etc...
    The SNP should hold an enquiry of some sort and expose the detail of what has happened here. They have no other outlets.

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  • 64. At 10:02pm on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    17. cynicalHighlander
    "Sinister moves afoot Another Cheerio and a Reluctant One"

    That's a bad one, shady sounding too. Hope some resolution is acheived, and the blog returns.

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  • 65. At 10:02pm on 03 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    #59 impartial_Im
    "irrational opinions and distorted facts are still gracing a public site"

    Sorry Mr.Cholmondely-Warner.

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  • 66. At 10:02pm on 03 Dec 2009, Lenathehyena wrote:

    61. At 9:56pm on 03 Dec 2009, mistydougie wrote:
    #56 ellow

    How about Ronald Villiers to portray Foulkes in that film?

    ****
    Oh, surely too slim, too handsome for Dods Foulkes? I think a sack of tatties would be more appropriate.
    Only suggested Sir Sean to see him on the screen again.

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  • 67. At 10:09pm on 03 Dec 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    If the opposition were really serious about class sizes, rather than just using it negatively again, then they must discuss this matter with their councils who are letting the side down, surely.

    I think the opposition need to rethink this constant negativity, and start being positive about Scotland (like Jim Murphy, ha, ha, as per his interview on the BBC, can't remember what it was about now though, he just has such a presence - grabs the stage don't you think, not).

    People are getting totally sick of the childish behaviour of the opposition. The Government has a job to do, the opposition should get on with the job of improving Scotland as well.

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  • 68. At 10:10pm on 03 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    57. At 9:46pm on 03 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:
    51. U14094468

    The existing constitutional arrangements could easily stay for the next few years.

    I remind Greenock Boy that it is up to the SNP to make the case for change. No point in trying to cover the complete half baked rubbish Alec produced on Monday by trying to throw the spotlight elsewhere.


    You still have to put forward an alternative option.

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  • 69. At 10:13pm on 03 Dec 2009, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    Brian,

    What about fair and balanced coverage?

    We get near enough 24 hours of Westminster on the BBC Parliament channel. How about live coverage of First Ministers Questions from all of the nations, broadcast nationally? What happened to that? It used to be available.

    I guess the BBC just wants to sweep the troublesome outposts under the carpet - a media blackout in reality. What a cheek!

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  • 70. At 10:14pm on 03 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    59. impartial_lm wrote:
    "irrational opinions and distorted facts are stiil gracing a public site."
    It is Brians blog after all....we can't tell him what to write.


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  • 71. At 10:26pm on 03 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Blogger Witch Hunt?

    "This smacks of McCarthyism, the institutionalised persecution of a swathe of society whose opinions were seen as suspect."

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  • 72. At 10:37pm on 03 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    "The Independent leads with National Audit Office figures showing the cost of Britain's bank bail-out has reached an "unprecedented" £850bn."

    politicshome

    The true cost of the Labour mismanagement, I wonder how many new schools and teachers that would of funded as it is costing every family £5,500.

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  • 73. At 10:51pm on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    FAO: Brian Taylor -

    In Reporting Scotland items today (3rd December 2009), Glen Campbell addresses the camera with a copy of what I asume is the SNP's 2007 Manifesto, and asserts that in the Manifesto Alex Salmond promises to reduce class sizes etc... .

    I can not find any statement in the SNP's 2007 manifesto where a promise is made to reduce class sizes. I can not find any statement where any promise is made.

    Assuming for a moment that I am correct that the document contains no promises. In these days where we endlessly hear of voter apathy, i find it extremely disturning that the BBC in Scotland take its public service remit so lightly that they would casually misrepresent both the nature of party manifestos (particularly in Scotland's PR context) and also use loaded language to present the current situation in a more negative light. This against a backdrop of very shallow sensational and unbalanced coverage of a complex issue.

    If I am mistaken, and such promises do exist in the manifesto, perhaps you could update your blog with the relevent quotes, where we can see the promisary declaration as well as thing 'promised'. My apology will follow shortly after.

    Otherwise, perhaps a public apology and some professional coverage.

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  • 74. At 11:01pm on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    65. mistydougie
    "Sorry Mr.Cholmondely-Warner. "

    Lol!
    'Nationalists, know your place!'
    :)

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  • 75. At 11:04pm on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    67. HughEdinburgh
    "If the opposition were really serious about class sizes, rather than just using it negatively again, then they must discuss this matter with their councils who are letting the side down, surely."

    Further, why don't the media pick up on it? The bbc at least ought to be giving proper analysis to issues like this - the are not simple, and invlove many different individuals and organisations.
    Instead we get dumbed-down partisan sensationalism.

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  • 76. At 11:10pm on 03 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    I'm no great expert on education, but reducing class sizes for P1/2/3 to 18 is a laudable ambition. That local councils are playing politics with our children's education is disgraceful. They should be ashamed of themselves.
    Scotland used to have an education system that was world class. Years of first conservative and then labour corrosion have reduced the quality of teaching at the coal face. Not a critisism of the teachers, but definitely a critisism of the bureaucracy and unnecessary "management" (much the same as the health service).
    The education budget whoever it is administered by should be ring-fenced. set percentages of this budget should be allocated to front line services/management. To my mind it should be something in the region of 80/20. New schools should be dealt with on a countrywide basis. school assets should be audited, and a national plan drawn up to deal with our worst schools as a matter of priority as finances allow.
    Education should not be a political football. It's far too important.

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  • 77. At 11:12pm on 03 Dec 2009, makinghistory wrote:

    If the SNP Government is guilty of anything then it is in setting itself tough and challenging targets. Universal P1-3 class sizes if 18 was always going to be very tough to deliver. The important thing is that we now have a record average low at 23.1 pupils and a commitment to go further. This is characteristic of a Government that has real ambition for Scotland.It is equally characteristic of the Labour opposition to seek to deride the SNP in Parliament whilst ignoring the fact that the real failure has come from Labour-run councils who have allowed teacher numbers to fall and ignored the agreements they made in the concordat.

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  • 78. At 11:22pm on 03 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    73. mrbfaethedee

    Holyrood Manifesto 2007
    p48 of.pdf

    "Education, Skills, Culture and Arts
    IV. Department for Education, Skills, Culture and Arts
    The SNP wants to deliver more opportunities for Scots to succeed.
    Our approach will see a new emphasis on children’s early years, with an increase in free
    nursery education and smaller class sizes in primary schools.
    We will work with education professionals to stretch every child to achieve their full potential,
    providing them with the individual attention and support they need to flourish.
    We will pay particular attention to raising the achievement of the poorest performing 20 per
    cent of school pupils, with increased early intervention and support.
    We recognise and respect the crucial role of education professionals in this vital task.
    We believe that access to further and higher education should be based on the ability to learn,
    not the ability to pay. We will deliver a return to free education.
    And we will deliver more targeted support for Scotland’s creative community to boost success
    and maximise the economic potential of the cultural sector."


    No specific numbers!

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  • 79. At 11:23pm on 03 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    17.cynicalHighlander
    "Sinister moves afoot"...
    I wonder if this might have anything to do with it?
    "Alastair Campbell - who's now back at No 10 as a regular visitor.."

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  • 80. At 11:25pm on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    'He is further minuted as saying: "The scale of the commitment does not allow it to be delivered in the life time of a parliament."'

    He is indeed.
    The next point from him in the same set of minutes, expands that notion further -

    "With the scale of the plans to reduce classes in PI to P3 and for pre-school and demographic change and replacement needed the commitments will take 8-10 years to achieve."

    Why is this important?
    Many local councils have in large part excused themselves from making financial commitments by insisting that they'd just make progress towards agreed commitments to reduced class sizes by virtue of changing demographics in their area.
    In other words the person whose statements the Labour party are using to point the finger at the government is, in the same set of minutes, highlighting that the actual cause is because of the local councils hopeful reliance on demographic change instead of spending budget on it.

    Perhaps Brian Taylor or Glenn Campbell ought to try working on this story in more investigative style.

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  • 81. At 11:28pm on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    77. makinghistory

    Well said!
    You'd think our education system was in tatters.
    It's doing fine, and the government are - as you suggest - setting challenging targets to make better. Isn't that what we want in our government?

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  • 82. At 11:30pm on 03 Dec 2009, nate_oz wrote:

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

  • 83. At 11:30pm on 03 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    If local councils cannot be trusted on education education responsibility should be taken from them - or a least taken from those councils who are deliberately frustrating Government plans.

    It is only a matter of time,despite what the dishonest Scottish press try to suggest, till most people will understand what Purcell and a few others have been doing. This will damage Labour hugely so their silly victory today is very hollow indeed and I'm surprised that the Tories are stupid enough to pile in on this. Mike Russell is just the boy to have Purcell and the other pygmies for breakfast which is why he has been put there. Fiona Hyslop was doing a good job but Russell's got sharper teeth.

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  • 84. At 11:42pm on 03 Dec 2009, Tealray wrote:

    "Labour build 236 new or major school projects and the SNP have built none.

    That negative enough for you?

    How do I claim my tenner?"

    Paid for by Scottish Oil!!! How's that for negativity

    Even then from someone who knows they didn't pay for it they borrowed the money and the rest of us will be paying private shareholders vast sums for the next 30 years to pay for these schools

    What has Labour done for us for 74 years???? ---Taken us for granted----

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  • 85. At 11:49pm on 03 Dec 2009, nate_oz wrote:

    My comment has been referred, probably because i started a scathing attack on biased journalism

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  • 86. At 11:54pm on 03 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    I don't think the "establishment" have ever wanted Scottish education to be too good. They don't like people thinking for themselves. Especially Scottish people. The education system has been used as a tool of the establishment for many years. It has supported the views of the establishment, and largely left out things they don't want us to have knowledge of. This, it strikes me, is what the ever increasing government "control" of the curriculum, under the disguise of "standards" has been all about. This is how it has always been under labour or tory rule. Keep the mushrooms in the dark and feed them Murphy manure. The establishment doesn't like losing control of Scottish education to a party that has the quality of education as it's ambition, rather than establishment brainwashing. This is why the unionist parties don't care if the education system is damaged by their political games. If they can't control it they'll break it. They wouldn't want Scottish kids starting to think they could run their own country!

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  • 87. At 00:02am on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Bendy Wendy gets it wrong again.

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  • 88. At 00:03am on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    The battle over minimum pricing of alcohol reignited yesterday with the revelation that a third of people treated in hospital for drink-related problems were repeat admissions.

    Politicians at Holyrood called for targeted efforts to help those in need, such as young people turning up in accident and emergency units.

    But the Scottish Government and doctors attacked opposition parties which have rejected imposing a minimum price per unit of alcohol, for failing to come up with any other solutions.

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  • 89. At 00:12am on 04 Dec 2009, nate_oz wrote:

    Well I don't think my comment is getting posted, i'm starting my own website, hopefully post details soon, will include a Scottish politics blog, but also the daily news with interpretations, holding the media to account.

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  • 90. At 00:34am on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #89 nate_oz

    I look forward to it. Best of luck and please let us know where when it does open!

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  • 91. At 00:36am on 04 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    86. At 11:54pm on 03 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:
    I don't think the "establishment" have ever wanted Scottish education to be too good.


    I'm sorry, but that is total and utter nonsense. Is this one of these conspiracy theories? Is the "establishment" secretly recruiting sub-standard teachers in order to dimish the Scottish people?

    Don't you think teachers would have risen up by now? Teachers are highly intelligent people, most with strong character and they would not allow politicians to somehow "dumb down" the system.

    I've got two kids at school. I don't see any evidence of this. One of the regular posters on this board has a relative doing an honours degree.

    The reason you need controls within the education system is to ensure minimum standards across the board. League tables etc I agree are a distraction, and there are areas that certainly need improvement.

    Please come up with some substantial evidence.

    I'd be interested in the views of oldnat and sneckedagain. They are in a much better position to comment on this.

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  • 92. At 00:37am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    32. U14094468
    "Oh, anyone who wants to compare Brian's take on FMQ's with mine posted at comment number 21 can do so by clicking here."

    Anyone who hasn't followed that up and watched FMQ's (the beeb's Democracy Live), to see what actually transpired and to make an assessment on this blog's telling of it should do so now.

    It encourages me no end (as a nationalist, and current SNP voter) that there are schoolkids invited to see all the parties in action without the filter of the media in the way. There is only one positive party in there!

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  • 93. At 00:41am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    89. nate_oz
    Well done nate_oz!
    Give us a shout when it's up - we'll come to your 'blogwarming'!

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  • 94. At 00:51am on 04 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    I'm back to being the U-Boat commander........

    Neil here.....

    I've noticed from some comments that all the attacks are aimed at Labour councils. One third of councils are Labour controlled, and they have contributed to two thirds of the drop in teacher numbers. Can we have some comments about the non-Labour councils as well?


    75. At 11:04pm on 03 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee:

    I agree that there should be a full investigation by the media focusing on ALL councils. Get the Chief Execs on camera and ask them what are the spending plans for schools, including South Lanarkshire Council cutting money back so schools need to photocopy textbooks.


    What all the parties at Holyrood should be doing is sitting down, agreeing that there are problems at council level and agree to put pressure on their respective local parties/councillors to get it sorted. Instead, we are getting the "ya-boo" type of debate that belongs in Westminster.

    I think the SNP's announcement for maximum class size of 18 was recognised by most people as fantasy anyway. They might have been better by not stating a specific number but aim to reduce etc etc. All this did was to stir up the opposition who will seize on the slightest opportunity to attack. Now that they have done some damage, they will not let go, which is annoying to say the least as it just draws out an argument.

    Stop fighting and start working on the problems.......

    Rant over.....



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  • 95. At 00:57am on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Demand for Trident to be scrapped.

    A 100-strong coalition of celebrities, religious leaders, campaigners and politicians has urged the Chancellor Alistair Darling to axe Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system.

    Not once does the article mention the Scottish Governments (SNP) stance on Trident - Speaks volumes for the union.

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  • 96. At 01:07am on 04 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    91. U2356674
    "I'd be interested in the views of oldnat and sneckedagain."

    Agreed. The suggestion was possibly appropriate referring to the Scotch Education Department in the late 19th century when they were applying the rules consequent on the class based English Education Act of 1870 - but nonsense in the late 20th century, much less the 21st.

    It still surprises me that there is so little mention of Labour's manifesto "promise" in 2007 - to reduce the class size for all of P1-P7 to 20. That would have been vastly more expensive than the SNP's targetted approach to Infant classes (though I still think a combination of the LD and Con proposals on class size would have been best).

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  • 97. At 01:14am on 04 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    91. U2356674
    I don't go in for conspiracy theories. I am just making an observation. It is based on my own education, and all the things I have subsequently found I was either not educated about, or actually misled about. It is also based on having two kids in the education system, one at secondary and one at university, and I don't see much that has changed since I was there.
    I did not say that I thought that teaching or teachers were sub-standard, but that they are strictly controlled in the curriculum and what they teach. It's not about the maths, english or physics. It's to do with the lack of Scottish history. It's to do with the "corralling" of thinking into the establishment view. How wonderful our mother of parliaments and democracy is. How lucky we are to have such a great "empire". What a big world power Great Britain is, and how magnanimous we have been to all those foreign countries we once ruled. How we won the war, and so on.
    It is probably not quite so bad now as it was in my day, but it is still there. The curriculum is selective in what it teaches. Free thinking is not encouraged, it is seen as a threat to the system.

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  • 98. At 01:16am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    94. U2356674
    "I think the SNP's announcement for maximum class size of 18 was recognised by most people as fantasy anyway. They might have been better by not stating a specific number but aim to reduce etc etc. All this did was to stir up the opposition who will seize on the slightest opportunity to attack."

    I pretty much agree with your post in entirety.
    The media won't do any such thing of course ;)

    Not giving hard figures - fair enough, perhaps they'd have been better not to.

    I think 'fantasy' is a bit strong, but without the economic climate and if they'd had local authorities prepared hold more strongly to the intent of an agreement, and given that it's not 2011 yet - they might've come close. Maybe they still will :)
    It's academic though - we are where we are.

    I'm not sure there is any likelihood of anyone working together to move this on. I know you'll have heard it a million times before, but all the evidence shows that the opposition simply will not countenance the SNP government acheiving anything - regadless of whether it works for Scotland. You may disagree, but that's where I am until I see evidence outweighing what we've seen so far.

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  • 99. At 01:19am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    I'm off for now.

    If anyone is looking for the minutes of the meeting, there's a pdf at the Scottish govt site. Google "Note of Meeting with Deans of Faculties of Education on Monday 2 July, University of Edinburgh" and it's the first hit.

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  • 100. At 01:33am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    One last thing...

    While I think that our education system is doing ok in most respects, i do have issues with it.

    I'd rather see education for education's sake. I believe that a large part of the problem in further improving education and motivating the kids embedded in it, is that business and social concerns have far too much influence in the education our kids get. It isn't there as a mill for the creation of useful employees, or to better socialise the children unfortunate enough to lack parents who'll do it.
    People educated for the sake of educating them will be far more productive to economy and society than kids whose education has been tailored to business and social requirements.

    I'd like to see engineering, creative, and physical programmes expanded and given equal scope to academic programmes in a much broader curriculum.
    I'd like to see the removal of religious education (except perhaps as a subpart of other subjects where relevent), and its replacement with philosophy and critical thinking.

    Other stuff too, but I'm really off to hit the sack now...

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  • 101. At 01:35am on 04 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    97. X_Sticks
    "It is probably not quite so bad now as it was in my day"

    Thanks for the explanation. Unless you are my age, I doubt that you were actually taught the glory of Empire as I was! The obsession of school history for the past 20 years or so has been the World Wars. I don't think that has been done with the intention of stressing the unity of Britain - but that has been the effect.

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  • 102. At 02:04am on 04 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    99. mrbfaethedee
    ""Note of Meeting with Deans of Faculties of Education on Monday 2 July, University of Edinburgh""

    Thanks for the link. The Schools Directorate official was making the obvious point that training new Infant teachers takes 4 years (the length of a BEd degree). The meeting was one where Government officials were discussing the implications of the SNP policy with the representatives of the teacher training departments of the Universities. No politicians were present.

    LA representatives were not present at the meeting - but they were the ones who had the power to implement policy. The intention of the 18 sized Infant class policy was always based on prioritising staffing resources towards the Infant department - with a consequent rise in class sizes towards the maximum in P4-7. That's a value judgement (but one I agree with).

    It's been said previously on this thread that politicians aren't expert in managing schools. That's true of all parties (and also true of the Schools Directorate officials!)

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  • 103. At 02:10am on 04 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    One should never laugh at the afflicted. But ....

    http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/2757876/Better-watch-your-back-in-politics.html

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  • 104. At 02:17am on 04 Dec 2009, cassidy wrote:

    Why is there a battle? Why are lib/lab/cons not actively challenging all councils on our behalf, showing a 'realistic' united front for the good of the children - (the people at the chalkface want this, as do the electorate). Education is not in a mess, but these political games will harm our children.



    The public is increasingly becoming aware that certain parties/politicians do not seem to be in the business of pushing Scotland forward. They appear to be ferreting in corners, hunting for 'damp ammunition' purely to discredit and undermine. - Is this the height of their ambition for the country- What is their contribution/vision? I haven't heard 'anything' productive of late! -- Well, apart from "Ripped off Glasgow"! - Google- Clyde Gateway- to scotch that myth!!


    It is all becoming so predictable that there is a sense of deja vu even before the first word of FMQs is spoken.


    However, missed the 'in depth' news report on this one..... but expect that was predictable too...

    *Also, 'Westminster now pushing for a cut to drink- driving limit'. Who knows, a Westminster minimum pricing of alcohol might be next. Scottish labour's rescue plan?

    Further, BBC headline: "A Fith of Scots have poor literacy"- dreadful reflection of years of labour's education/social policy


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  • 105. At 02:55am on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Someone doesn't like nationalist bloggers.

    Who'd a thunk it?

    Or are those threats me being paranoid again? ;-)



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  • 106. At 03:00am on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    89. nate_oz
    THAT is EXACTLY what Scotland does need. Scots going out and telling the truth. The news has been controlled by a cadre of unionists for far too long. It's time to put a stop to it.

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  • 107. At 06:20am on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #103 oldnat


    I agree.

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  • 108. At 06:56am on 04 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    71. cynicalHighlander

    If it were true that these people were comunicating reasonable opinions then fine, i would always support free speech. They aren't. All have posted offensive material and been taken to task, quite rightly. lies smears and in some cases worse show a real nasty underbelly, in some cases right at the heart of the nationalist machine.

    Politics has no need for this type of behaviour.

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  • 109. At 06:56am on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    So yet another smear/baseless accusation from Labour produces a headline from every single Scottish paper implying that the First Minister misled Holyrood.

    No news outlet is yet to ackbnowledge the very significant figures involving Labour run councils and teacher numbers.

    Propaganda is actually not a strong enough term for what the very small clique of people who control Scottish news are doing. Comment 80 explains the baseless nature of the latest Labour inspired smear.

    The media set a lynch mob on the best First Minister Scotland has ever seen whilst at the same tome promoting one of the most self serving and opportunistic men that Scotland has ever produced.

    Still no mention of Jim Murphy's decision to remove alleged defamatory comments from hos own website - not a smear, a 100% verifiable fact.

    It really is out of control - my only hope is that enough people will see what is happening. I think that the ony organisation or institution that can help here is the church.

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  • 110. At 07:09am on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    The BBC are headlining a report from The Literacy Commission today - timing is merely coincidence.

    The Literacy Commission is a Scottish Labour party commission investigating child literacy standards in Scottish schools, it was set up in 2008.

    Well known auhor Iain Rankin was present at the launch of the Literacy Commission at Gorebridge Primary School, Midlothian, together with the Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander and Judith Gillespie, from the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, who will chair the commission

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  • 111. At 07:22am on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    108. northhighlander
    "If it were true that these people were comunicating reasonable opinions then fine, i would always support free speech. They aren't. All have posted offensive material "
    WHAT offensive material did Subrosa post... EXACTLY. I want to know.

    And I suggest you take a look at the humor on your precious BBC and tell me that Conan's site isn't a heck of a lot milder.

    Don't be a hypocrite.

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  • 112. At 07:34am on 04 Dec 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    I've been trying to log on to the Dundee wifey's blog to try and read it but keep being fobbed off. Does anyone have access to her last blob?
    What is with all the names being changed to numbers?

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  • 113. At 07:41am on 04 Dec 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    Lol. I meant to say blog.

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  • 114. At 07:43am on 04 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    111. JRMacClure

    A google search will produce the evidence you need, when commenting on non-scots settling in Scotland.

    I don't support this type of politics on any side. Please don't try to associate me with any of these types. Free speech is a fundamental British Freedom that is cherished. I dislike those who abuse it.

    The part of the world I come from is typified by a live and let live attitude. It is something I value most strongly.

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  • 115. At 07:44am on 04 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    110. U14094468

    Your point is what?

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  • 116. At 07:50am on 04 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    103. oldnat

    At last we have found out what he is good at! Well noted. I am impressed we have an MSP that can multi-task. This is the result of complete apathy. For those with decent MSP's of whatever colour, this is what happens when people give up on politics.

    Still I suppose at least he was in the chamber, unlike the majority who obviously don't think children's rights are even worth turning up for.

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  • 117. At 08:11am on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    115. At 07:44am on 04 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:
    110. U14094468

    Your point is what?


    Amongst the many points I make is the one that Unionists will have to offer the Scots a very real alternative to independence now that it is clear that the status quo is finished.

    If you don't understand the point of post 110 I'm soory, but I haven't the time to explain it to you.

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  • 118. At 08:15am on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Interesting little exchange between Gary Robertson and Glenn 'Outrage' on Good Morning Scotland.

    'Outrage' described this week as being bad for the SNP (white paper on referendum, poll lead at Westminster and Holyrood and huge majority wanting more powers for Holyrood) and the SNP team "looking tired".

    However, 'Outrages' usual comments aside, it was his revelation that Labour are calling for yet another investigation into their smears that brought an audible sigh of exasperation from Robertson.

    A small but encouraging sign from a BBC presenter.

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  • 119. At 08:15am on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    All you U-Boats out there, there may be a reason for it, read the following link:

    New BBC ID

    Yes a new BBC ID system kicked in on 2nd December. A number of people across the BBC blog network have received emails from the BBC telling them that their username contravened the house rules.

    There is further info at this link:

    More info.

    From what I gather you can edit your settings by using the ‘Settings’ link at the very top of this blog on the right-hand corner, on the black BBC bar across the top.

    Notes (disclaimer):

    ■ You will need your password to enter your profile to edit it!

    ■ I signed up to the new ID some weeks ago, my username has not changed therefore I have not tried it, so I do not know if it works.

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  • 120. At 08:52am on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    114. northhighlander
    "I dislike those who abuse it.
    "

    So do I--by refusing it to other people.

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  • 121. At 09:01am on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Yep, the unionists never use any such language.

    Haha Even the NAME of the unionist blog couldn't get past the obscenity filter. But we know they have a high level of discourse and never stoop to calling nationalists obscenities. Right?

    In fact, I never EVER saw Subrosa come even close to an obscenity. If you don't agree with her politics, I really don't care. She has a right to politics, and to express them, that you don't agree with.

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  • 122. At 09:08am on 04 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:


    "Ambassador: Scotland is a hotbed for Israeli-haters" headline in the Scotsman by guess who?

    So , not only are we the stupidest, fattest ,drunkest,unhealthiest , poorest, most aggressive nation on earth ,we can add anti semitic to the list!
    'Triffic!

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  • 123. At 09:16am on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Westminster signals bid to cut limit for drink-driving.

    A move to lower the legal drink-drive limit in line with what Scottish ministers have been demanding has been signalled by the Westminster Government.

    Lord Adonis, the UK transport minister, yesterday finally bowed to mounting pressure from road safety groups by appointing an internationally renowned legal expert to come up with recommendations on a revised level.

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  • 124. At 09:19am on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    114. northhighlander

    I am thoroughly disgusted with people smearing this woman. As it happens I don't agree with some of her political opinions, but let's take a LOOK at her oh-so-shocking opinions. Here is a quote from a comment from her former blog:

    Subrosa posted:

    ...I'm always happy to hear the views of others but as you rightly assess, the views of many commenters on this thread are different from your own. Have you ever thought why?

    I agree the SNP differs from me in some of their policies, but as a supporter of independence and not an SNP member, I shall voice my opinions about their policies as I do about the other parties policies.

    Where did I place blame on immigrants personally? I realise you're passionate about this because of your work but you have to hear the general views of people or you may lose any perspective dare I say.

    As reiterate, our labour problem has to be solved by getting the 'unemployed' and 'disabled' back to work rather than bringing in more workers who require all the services scunnert mentions.

    So let's draw this to a close and agree to disagree. I'm not against immigration but it has to be controlled, laws have to be met and those who have arrived here illegally (having crossed many other countries) must be deported...


    You tell me that there aren't quite a few people who agree with that or that it is somehow shocking even if you don't agree. Yet I don't see you screaming about what people call Alex Salmond every day of the week.

    Rational and reasonable and not at all inflamatory. But you'd smear her AND allow her privacy to be invaded by having her name AND her home address spread across the internet by someone who is systematically attacking bloggers whose politics they happen not to agree with.

    No longer "paranoia" because the people doing it have publicly admitted it.

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  • 125. At 09:30am on 04 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    Good to hear Mike Russel demolish Bernard Ponsonby last night for trying to attack the SNP armrd with a labour press release.

    Hopefuly we can let the people of Scotland know they are being treated as scum by the media and how they are being denied even the most basic of human decencies - the truth.

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  • 126. At 09:38am on 04 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Well said!

    Subrosa had an excellent , calm ,gentle blog.

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  • 127. At 09:42am on 04 Dec 2009, RandomScot wrote:

    I wouldn't get too excited by Gary Robertson. His first sentence on discussing Child Literacy with Mike Russell was to close off any discussion of the past.

    No criticising Lanour please

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  • 128. At 09:43am on 04 Dec 2009, skint wrote:

    Class sizes have been discussed ad nauseam, ministers have already changed their policy in class sizes and yet it comes up again and again like a broken record.

    And the audacity of the opposition to query the stance on reducing the numbers of new undergraduate teaching places when we already have a glut of qualified teachers in the market place is so hypocritical, especially when the majority of these new teachers were studying under their watch!
    Education is for all and it should be targeted to meet the needs of the student and the needs of the country, I agree with one of the earlier posts that not everyone is suited to academic study and more practical options should be made available for those with higher practical than academic skills.

    I cannot understand why the government as a whole – including the opposition, don’t get behind a concerted effort to improve education in Scotland rather than reducing it to a political football. It is a thoroughly depressing sight to see criticism of a government for having the audacity to try and make improvements, it would be a different matter of they had been deliberately undermining the education system but that appears to be the remit of several Local Authorities with it would seem the backing of the opposition parties.

    This is a minority government working under the constraints of a significant recession, with no ability to raise additional funding to steer the country out of recession, hampered by reduced budgets and an opposition hell bent on preventing anything that might be construed as good for Scotland being attributed to an SNP government.

    The government should be spending more effort on sorting out the recession and getting people back to work according to the opposition – thats why we have so many teachers out of work then – the governments fault, despite providing adequate funding to Local Authorities – yes am sure its not as simple as that but it is certainly not as simple as it is being painted by the opposition either. We need consensus on education not pathetic posturing.

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  • 129. At 09:46am on 04 Dec 2009, Hamish wrote:

    Why does it have to be between Local and central Government? Surely the schools themselves ken best what they need and how to deliver it?

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  • 130. At 09:51am on 04 Dec 2009, RandomScot wrote:

    A post mentioning literacy and I make a typo, D'oh

    That is what I get for posting from my phone

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  • 131. At 09:55am on 04 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Truth? Given the results of this study on literacy in Scotland it would seem to me that whoever has been in power in Scotland during the past few decades has a great deal to answer for.

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  • 132. At 10:07am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    110. U14094468
    "
    The BBC are headlining a report from The Literacy Commission today - timing is merely coincidence.

    The Literacy Commission is a Scottish Labour party commission investigating child literacy standards in Scottish schools, it was set up in 2008.
    "

    Online Ed, do you know of any online presence the Literacy Commision has? I can't find any. Also, is the report available online? I can't find any info the the commission, and just press snippets from the report.

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  • 133. At 10:27am on 04 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    Second, make sure pupils can read. Labour, like parents, expect children to be able to read by the time they leave primary school. The number who cannot do so are going up. That’s why Labour founded our Literacy Commission, with experts from teaching and authors, such as Ian Rankin. The Commission will be reporting shortly and we want the SNP to put party difference aside and work with out Commission in the interest of Scotland.

    from http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/education

    No internet consultation that I can find either.

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  • 134. At 10:31am on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #132 mrbfaethedee

    Apparently the commission is a Quango, I cant find anything either, but I did find this article in the Times:

    Children need books, not quangos.

    Last year (2007), an international study revealed that the literacy levels of Scottish primary school children had plummeted. Of 45 nations surveyed, Scotland plunged from 14th place to 26th place in just five years, a period that coincided with Labour’s spell in office.

    England fell in the rankings from 3rd place to 19th place. All of this has taken place against the biggest phenomenon in children’s literature since Enid Blyton: the publication of the Harry Potter novels by a Scottish-based author.


    It appears that NuLabour are giving the SNP a kicking for something they created. Whats new.

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  • 135. At 10:36am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    133. U14124896
    "we want the SNP to put party difference aside and work with out Commission in the interest of Scotland"

    Thats rich, bloody hypocrites!

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  • 136. At 10:36am on 04 Dec 2009, Alex wrote:

    The commitment to reduce class sizes in P1-P3 to 18 could never have been met in a single parliamentary term. It is practically impossible to deliver on this promise in a 4 year term.

    It's quite simple really. If you have an intake in P1 of 30 pupils, and to cut class sizes to 18, you split that to (say) two classes of 15, you obviously need another teacher. But it takes 4 years to train a primary school teacher. So right there is a problem in delivering the promise in 4 years.

    Also, and more importantly, you need another classroom to house the extra class you have just created.

    It takes around four years to plan, finance, commission and build a new school.

    So you have to plan, train and deliver more teachers. You have to plan, finance, commission and build more schools.

    It was never possible. It was never feasible. It was a manifesto pledge that should not have been made, because it could not be met.

    So, if there was a lie to parliament it was preceded by a lie in the manifesto.

    Blaming councils is just a tactic for the gullible. Anybody who thinks councils committed to this target, or are to blame for its non-delivery, just because Alex Salmond says so, is fooling themselves....

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  • 137. At 10:44am on 04 Dec 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    #103

    The funniest one I have seen so far was some time ago - Murdo Fraser trying to stifle a yawn without opening his mouth and with a camera full on his face.

    What annoys me is when Iain Gray is standing up at FMQs, asking his questions on a serious matter and his collegues sitting immediately behind him are laughing their heads off. Apart from the lack of reverence for the subject matter it can be a quite disgusting site, and these are the people who would represent us. Perhaps Iain will have a reshuffle of those sitting behind him next week?

    I suppose this is are why there was resistance from MPs to having cameras in the commons.

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  • 138. At 10:48am on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #132 mrbfaethedee

    It appears that J K Rowling donated her £1M to the wrong place.

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  • 139. At 10:52am on 04 Dec 2009, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    Since the subject is education, a basic maths question How much is a minimum of 23 billion BOE of oil worth? Please remember to factor in the Scottish share of value to UK economy and balance of payments by some £30billion per annum


    Why? Interesting article form the Press and Journal:
    "26th round screening study that analysis of its databases showed that on currently unlicensed acreage there were 57 undeveloped discoveries with unrisked potential reserves of 513 million barrels of oil equivalent.

    It said that in addition there were six abandoned fields with redevelopment potential, and 518 undrilled prospects, with 22.65 billion barrels of oil equivalent of unrisked resource."

    The unionists are right, this union dividend we give to the uk is certainly substantial.


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  • 140. At 10:53am on 04 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    # 134. There is far too much centralisation and government direction.

    Finland has the best educational results (OECD survey) with no central or local government direction of the classroom, in which trained teachers teach for external exams.

    There is ONE political movement that wants teaching returned to teachers and money spend on bureaucracy spend instead in schools - the SDA, aiming at an alliance of pro-independence parties. We are doing the hard work of developing policies for an Independent Scotland. If you want to contribute to getting Scotland back under Scottish control visit our web site - Scottish Democractic Alliance (no spaces) dot org
    If Finland can be independent and successful, and Norway etc, why not Scotland. We have the hard workers with brains and skills that are required.

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  • 141. At 11:01am on 04 Dec 2009, Sir_James_Douglas wrote:

    The Scottish newspapers are trying to promote the idea that the long running education problem somehow appeared suddenly as soon as the SNP took over, ignoring the fact that all these problems have existed for decades under Labour rule.


    In other news, the SNP are ahead of Labour again in Holyrood and Westminster voting intentions (1st December).

    As usual, the Scottish newspapers won't tell you about this poll:

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2364

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  • 142. At 11:01am on 04 Dec 2009, sid_ts2 wrote:

    morning it's sid here , goodness knows what the name at the top will say!
    the time for scoring silly political points is long gone.

    All we want as parents is a school that is safe , teachers that are good at their job, decent class sizes, and our children getting a better chance than we had. if all the above are achieved there is one other thing that must be included in the mix .
    PARENTS WHO ACTUALLY GIVE A MONKEYS- the most important bit

    Sid

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  • 143. At 11:13am on 04 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    U13874522 - convoy of unionists sighted on starboard bow.
    Prepare all tubes and blow them away.

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  • 144. At 11:16am on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    Yet another example of the astonishing denial within the nationalist contingent:

    117. Amongst the many points I make is the one that Unionists will have to offer the Scots a very real alternative to independence now that it is clear that the status quo is finished.

    Yet, in that poll that oldnat bought to our attention, 'status quo' received far more support (over 50% more!) than independence.

    Can we, using 'Online Ed's line of thought, now accept that independence is finished? Are the nationalists now hinging everything on "independence creep"?

    Back on topic: Labour made a total hash of the education system but the SNP have not done anything to improve it other than offer a large bundle of unachievable and broken pledges.

    It's not just the class size and teacher recruitment pledges. What happened to the "brick for brick" pledge to continue the refurbishment of our schools? They repeatedly announce 'funding' but STILL not one brick has been purchased by the SNP, let alone been laid.

    All they have done is steal the credit from Labour's work. I quote:"We are on track to deliver in excess of 250 new or refurbished schools in the lifetime of this Parliament through £2bn of investment already underway". All schemes initiated by Labour.

    What have the SNP actually achieved for our schools?

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  • 145. At 11:16am on 04 Dec 2009, albamac wrote:

    119. Roll_On_2010
    "BBC ID"

    change is afoot
    your persona is moot
    though I knew UB4
    now your name is no more

    alas and alack
    pressed into wolf pack
    submerged and unseen
    a blogging machine

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  • 146. At 11:20am on 04 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    Sid,

    See #119 to sort out name.

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  • 147. At 11:21am on 04 Dec 2009, mightychewster wrote:

    I see the convoy has extended to our northern neighbours!

    Has anyone successfully changed their unterzeeboot into anything recognisable yet??

    mightychewster....

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  • 148. At 11:25am on 04 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    Still trying to sort out my U13704863 number.

    Testing.

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  • 149. At 11:30am on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    141. I see a few familiar nationalist names from this page leaving comments on that site. Still working hard to spread the anti-UK/pro-SNP party line?

    Strange how no nationalists are prepared to comment on the YouGov and TNS polls from last week that showed the SNP far behind in Westminster (14-16% behind). Yet when this one comes along showing a slender lead, they won't stop commenting!

    And why no comments on pro-independence figures being repeatedly shown as down in the 20s, the lowest level of support yet?

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  • 150. At 11:35am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    136. U14242822
    "It's quite simple really. If you have an intake in P1 of 30 pupils, and to cut class sizes to 18, you split that to (say) two classes of 15, you obviously need another teacher. But it takes 4 years to train a primary school teacher. So right there is a problem in delivering the promise in 4 years"

    Hmmm, if only there were trained teachers around looking for work...

    "Also, and more importantly, you need another classroom to house the extra class you have just created."

    Hmmm, i wonder if it's possible to define a class as something other than a group people in the same room? It's not like we just made more kids is it?

    "It takes around four years to plan, finance, commission and build a new school.

    So you have to plan, train and deliver more teachers. You have to plan, finance, commission and build more schools.
    "

    Hmmm, unless you don't need to train that many new teachers, and you don't need so many new classroms that you don't need newly built schools...
    In which case you wouldn't have to do anything like all that training and building...

    "It was never possible. It was never feasible. It was a manifesto pledge that should not have been made, because it could not be met.

    So, if there was a lie to parliament it was preceded by a lie in the manifesto.
    "
    Given that the beeb has elected to give you a U-boat designation :) i don't know if you're one of the people i've already asked to show me where the manifesto lie is, so please quote from the manifesto the promissory declaration associated with a commitment to class sizes.

    "Blaming councils is just a tactic for the gullible. Anybody who thinks councils committed to this target, or are to blame for its non-delivery, just because Alex Salmond says so, is fooling themselves...."
    Imagining that an issue involving national minority government, cosla, individual local authority agendas, party politics, economics, the current laws in place and the behaviour of parents trying to get places for their kids can be boiled down to -'they lied in their manifesto' is for the gullible!
    It's not about blaming councils - it's about the fact that they are responsible for their part in trying to deliver reduced class sizes. That they have a part is down to their being part of the concordat.
    If all parties - SNP govt, local authorities, and opposition parties - recognised their part in this situation, we wouldn't have this overblown reporting over what is nothing more than a policy implementation going less well than expected - shock,horror!

    By the way, while you're looking through manifestos (quote the lie, remember), perhaps you can give me your opinion on Labour's Scottish manifesto commitment to reducing class sizes to below OECD average, which as far as i can tell is 21.5?

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  • 151. At 11:36am on 04 Dec 2009, john wrote:

    Thought that Mike Russel's performance on GMS this morning was excellent. He actually answered the questions and when attempts were made at diverting him, he completed his answer then moved onto the point made (except on the one occasion when it was blatant misinformation when he corrected the interviewer, then continued with his answer). If he deals with the education brief in the same manner, then education is in good hands.

    He did, when pressed confirm that he thought that politics had been played with children's education, and to be honest that is the most depressing thing about the education system here. from being one of the best in the world, it has declined as long as I have been aware of it (about 30 years).

    During this time there has been too much political interferance in the system (indeed I hear anecdotally, and know of a particular case where a teacher joined the labour party because that is the only way they would be promoted within a school (the justification given was that the teacher in question had to raise his family)). With that sort of background, it is no wonder that it will take more than one term of government for the system to start improving.

    John

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  • 152. At 11:42am on 04 Dec 2009, john wrote:

    #149
    pot kettle black

    John

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  • 153. At 11:43am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    134. Roll_On_2010
    "Apparently the commission is a Quango, I cant find anything either, but I did find this article in the Times:

    Children need books, not quangos.
    "

    Thanks for the link!

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  • 154. At 11:49am on 04 Dec 2009, Usually-Right wrote:

    I think people outside this blog will realise that the SNP made a pledge that they simply could not deliver, they made it up because they wanted to go one better than the electoral competition. This childish approach of "I can promise more than you" will eventually undo them as people realise that their track record on keeping promises is more rubbish than any of the other parties. They can blame local authorities if they want but that does not demonstrate any kind of commitment to achieving their claimed goal. Hopefully they will be similarly incompetent in achieving their desire for a referendum on Scottish Independence, and of course that will be someone else’s fault.

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  • 155. At 11:49am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    149. Reluctant-Expat
    "And why no comments on pro-independence figures being repeatedly shown as down in the 20s, the lowest level of support yet?"

    Be as vocal in support of a referendum as you are about polls you like, and we'll get a real answer!
    There, that's my comment.

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  • 156. At 11:56am on 04 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    151. U14061496

    'If he deals with the education brief in the same manner, then education is in good hands.'

    I think Purcell and his cronies will be gulping down the anti flatulence tablets as they realise they are going to have to answer questions about what they did with the money that was earmarked for our childrens education.

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  • 157. At 12:02pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    151. I have noticed a surge in the use of 'anecdotal evidence' by nationalists.

    Surely not a means of posting nationalist propaganda without risk of being challenged?

    Don't hurt the back of your head on that brickwork, lads and lasses.

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  • 158. At 12:08pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    155. Aye, it's not about 'independence' nowadays, is it.

    It's all about 'having a referendum'. That's what the SNP and nationalism is about...now.

    SNP: The Referendum Party!

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  • 159. At 12:11pm on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    For all the U-Boats out there.

    I put this comment on the BBC Internet Blog.

    Nick my username has not changed, probably because I filled in the new ID when it was offered a week or so ago.

    But can you offer any advice to those bloggers, for example on Nick Robinsons blog, who have had their username changed to a ‘Uxxxxxxxx’ number.

    Is there any way to get the original name shown on the blog?



    I got an answer from Nick Reynolds here.

    Roll_On_2010 - I'm being told this is a bug which we put a fix in for last night. But our technical teams are still working on this, and I will alert them again.

    I will keep an eye on the blog for any further progress. In the meantime I advice you to do nothing and wait for the bug to be fixed.

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  • 160. At 12:13pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    154. Usually-Right
    "I think people outside this blog will realise that the SNP made a pledge that they simply could not deliver, they made it up because they wanted to go one better than the electoral competition. This childish approach of "I can promise more than you" will eventually undo them as people realise that their track record on keeping promises is more rubbish than any of the other parties. They can blame local authorities if they want but that does not demonstrate any kind of commitment to achieving their claimed goal. Hopefully they will be similarly incompetent in achieving their desire for a referendum on Scottish Independence, and of course that will be someone else’s fault."

    Promises, promises all around, no evidence found in ink!
    It's a manifesto - a statement of intent, what a party (any party) is planning to try and achieve.

    How is an SNP manifesto intent to reducing P1-P3 class sizes to 18 significantly different to a Labour manifesto intent on reducing class sizes to below oecd average?

    Why, given that we aren't yet at or below the oecd average, aren't Labour lending their considerable clout to the effort at least up to the point at which they could say - 'we're not even in office, yet we're delivering our manifesto to the people of Scotland? Why not?

    Yes, i agree, you are right to say they can blame (in part) local authorities for their part in the lack of acheiving this - to date (it's not 2011 yet). Quite how this demonstrates the SNP not being committed to it is beyond my feeble brain, please elaborate. They've already stated that they are intent on continuing in their efforts.

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  • 161. At 12:20pm on 04 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Why do you lot ever bother responding to the obvious WU merchants ?
    leave them talking to themselves , don't address them by name or number!

    I've just caught up with another wee Scottish characteristic, one fifth of us suffering from CRAFT!
    Even more 'triffic!

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  • 162. At 12:24pm on 04 Dec 2009, john wrote:

    #157 R-E

    Believe me or not as you wish, but the labour party was not given the nickname: "the lanarkshire mafia" for no reason. I will obviously not post any names or schools, as I do not know whether the teacher involved is still working (or is still alive!) but it did happen in the '80s, and I do have a very reliable source.

    John

    ps. what other anecdotal evidence have you seen on this blog?

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  • 163. At 12:24pm on 04 Dec 2009, Usually-Right wrote:

    Blaming the local authorities because they (the SNP) could not provide adequate resources to them, perhaps the £9-12m ear-marked for a referendum could have gone at least some way to helping the local authorities who are struggling to meet the burden of ill-thought out SNP pledges. Just curious but does anybody know what is the average beenficial impact in terms of educational attainment of a class size of 18 as opposed to 19?

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  • 164. At 12:36pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article6943650.ece

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  • 165. At 12:36pm on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    149. Reluctant-Expat
    "And why no comments on pro-independence figures being repeatedly shown as down in the 20s, the lowest level of support yet?"

    155. At 11:49am on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee replied:
    Be as vocal in support of a referendum as you are about polls you like, and we'll get a real answer!
    There, that's my comment.


    If you must respond to RE,northhighlander and NCA the that's how it's done - short and sweet.

    Unionists at some point will have to put forward their own proposals for change - for there wil be a referendum.

    Back to the current media propaganda:
    Note that there is one policy here - class sizes.
    There are two parties to the subsequent problem - Hyslop and councils.

    Thus far the media have reported every angle on the demotion of Hyslop [the BBC are now using the 'sacked' word], no stone left unturned or unthrown [the glass house has nary a window left].

    What usually happens now is that the other party concerned is scrutinised to see what, if any, role they played and to ensure they provide adequate answers.

    This is where the Unionist machine takes over and journalism is jettisoned. This latest smear by Labour against Salmond is a ruse; it allows the media to abdicate it's responsibility of scrutiny of the 'other party' and instead creates a diversion.

    With Hyslop gone the media and indeed the opposition are apparently not now concerned about class sizes. If they were then attention and focus would surely turn to those councils who are refusing/unable to comply with the agreement to recruit teachers.

    In other words, the policies implemented by all of these councils will continue because they are not being asked to explain or justify them - they are acting with complete impunity.

    The biggest 'offender' is of course Glasgow Council and Mike Russell is on that particular case. It is a measure of Russell that he is able to make his point so forcefully even when BBC brodcasters are trying to divert the debate.

    I almost forgot when slightly praising Gary Robertson earlier that this morning he claimed that almost a quarter of Scots couldn't read or write.

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  • 166. At 12:40pm on 04 Dec 2009, redrobb wrote:

    Teachers / Education Scotland have never had it so good, try living in the real world aka the private sector! the latter expects results every-time!

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  • 167. At 12:41pm on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #158 Reluctant-Expat

    Given your enthusiasm for polls RE, I thought you might like this one out a few days ago.

    There have been two polls, from the same pollster, over the past few weeks. The second poll shows that the Tories' advantage over Labour has narrowed to 10 points over the past month, and raises the real prospect that next year’s election could result in a hung parliament.

    The results are:

    CON 37% (-3%)
    LAB 27% (nc)
    LD 20% (+2%)

    If the result was reflected at the ballot box, it would leave David Cameron six seats short of an overall majority.

    CON 320 seats
    LAB 240 seats
    LD 58 seats
    OTHERS 14 seats

    It does appear that the UK will have a weak government with Nick Clegg in the driving seat. But don’t worry ‘I am you man Dave’ has already made a deal with them.

    Just think of it the Tory’s operating a minority government, I wonder if they will seek advice from AS, after all he has the experience in that particular scenario.

    In fact most of the polls in the last month have narrowed the gap between NuLabour and Conservative to 10%. That’s Hung Parliament territory. In fact one poll narrowed the gap to 6%.

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  • 168. At 12:46pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    163. Usually-Right
    "Blaming the local authorities because they (the SNP) could not provide adequate resources to them, perhaps the £9-12m ear-marked for a referendum could have gone at least some way to helping the local authorities who are struggling to meet the burden of ill-thought out SNP pledges. Just curious but does anybody know what is the average beenficial impact in terms of educational attainment of a class size of 18 as opposed to 19?"

    The concordat was signed off in full knowledge of a tight financial settlement, but don't let that stop you from to trying to gloss over the the local authorities agreed role in trying to impelement this.
    We could include any money earmarked for anything, and say that would have been better spent on [insert wahtever subject you're trying to make an asinine point about here].
    Forget about whether you agree about independence or not - why shouldn't a party predicated on achieving independence which has been voted into power by the electorate not seek to spend a relatively small sum of money in carrying out a manifesto proposal to ask the Scottish people? You were just bleating about broken 'promises' in the post before - how a bit a wee bit of consistency in your position.
    I'd be amazed to find any significant educational benefit in having class sizes of 18 rather than 19, or between 19 and 20, and so on...
    Tell this isn't the surgically sharp edge of your incisive 'i can promisemore than you' comment :(
    Good grief!

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  • 169. At 12:49pm on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here
    163. At 12:24pm on 04 Dec 2009, Usually-Right wrote:
    Blaming the local authorities because they (the SNP) could not provide adequate resources to them

    Watch where you're going with that son, remember that the Scottish Government operate on a fixed grant decided [currently] by Labour at Westminster. Remember also that the Unionists forced through the Edinburgh trams at a cost of around half a billion.

    perhaps the £9-12m ear-marked for a referendum could have gone at least some way to helping the local authorities

    The costs of the referendum have yet to be publicised. We could of course get rid of the anachronism called The Scottish Office that costs Scots £8 million every year and is used at the moment as a propaganda machine for Labour.

    Of course we could also get rid of all elections and save a fortune - or is it just this particular referendum that ought to be cancelled?

    Democracy for all, except our own.

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  • 170. At 12:56pm on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Have to admit to being bemused by comment 164 which is a link to a newspaper with the very headlines that we are suggesting are a diversion from the councils role in the class sizes issue.

    Take a look at The Herald, The Scotsman, The Record and The BBC and you will see the same Salmond misled/Hyslop scarificed theme.

    See my comment 44 from yesterday where the tactic was already apparent.

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  • 171. At 12:58pm on 04 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    The SNP sense that now is not the time to push for Independence.

    So they are trying to be a best party available to avoid being shoved down the pecking order by Labour. Their policies and day-to-day operations are about power for the SNP Inner Three - we know their names.

    Independence for Scotland will not go away. It will see a resurgence. Not least because government is so awful that anything is worth a try - when more and more sensible hard working people realise how well the Scandinavian countries run themselves without a "Union" - they don't have three government capitals to pay for and suffer under like the Scots. We NEED London and BRUSSELS and EDINBURGH and our local authority to run us? FOUR levels of government for a wee country like us?

    Need them? Are we so stupid, lazy and incompetent that we cannot run our own country?

    Watch this space. Independence will come.

    Michael Hamilton (SDA Spokesman)
    Still waiting for the U-boat bug to get fixed by the BBC.

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  • 172. At 12:59pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    167. Sorry to disappoint but I'd be very happy with a narrow majority for the Tories as it would temper the more radical elements of the party.

    Absolutely against a hung Parliament as coalitions often lead to the tail wagging the dog. You're forgetting the NI parties, by the way.

    (Good to see you again grasping hold of polls that make you feel warm and fuzzy, while absolutely ignoring those that don't.)

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  • 173. At 1:16pm on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #142 U14243515

    Cid the Ipsos/MORI poll was discussed in the last thread.

    The following are two links to comments I put in the previous thread:

    Link 1


    Link 2

    75% of Scottish people want a referendum, its just a matter of timing.

    By the way you can see that the Tories and LibDums in Scotland have both reached a new low.

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  • 174. At 1:24pm on 04 Dec 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    Relectant Ex-pat

    Now then, let's face up to this poll you're referring to. Here's one result regarding the desire in Scotland for a referendum:

    I believe a referendum should be held as soon as possible - 25
    I believe a referendum should be held in a few years time but it is not a priority at the moment - 50
    I do not believe there should be a referendum on this issue - 20

    Notwithstanding the vagueness of "a few years time", what we see here, clear as day, is a poll revealing that 75% of people in Scotland want a referendum in the relatively near future.

    That is an overwhelming majority by any standards. We've put up with a week of the media shouting that nobody wants a referendum where, it is clear, they damn well do. They just don't necessarily care for it at such a precarious time for our economy.

    Why this should be cause for you to celebrate is beyond me, given that the desire for independence tends to grow during periods of economic stability and to recede during periods of economic woe like we're seeing now.

    The uninionist parties have committed themselves to having a referndum after the ression has passed. We will hold them to it.

    Anyway, this poll shows that three quarters of people in Scotland want a referendum, which means we are going to get one within the next few years. And that's it.

    Back in a moment....

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  • 175. At 1:31pm on 04 Dec 2009, gentlemanheelander wrote:

    This blog is beyond redemption!

    Brian, do you ever acknowledge or address the very good points made by your posters?
    Does anyone know what he meant by his last comment? I mean surely the SNP haven't aye been in power?

    I'm not sure if I can add a link but I've started a blog to highlight innaccurate or biased reporting in the Scottish media, it's at wordpress and its called Scotlandfreepress, feel free to contribute!

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  • 176. At 1:33pm on 04 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    117. U14094468

    Sorry for wasting your time, It must be difficult for people like you having to deal with thick voters.

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  • 177. At 1:35pm on 04 Dec 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    Reluctant Ex-pat

    Me again.

    Here's another part of the said poll which you've recently referred to, the 20% for independence and such.

    Scotland should remain part of the UK with the same devolved powers it has at present - 32
    Scotland should remain part of the UK with increased powers - 46
    Scotland should become a fully independent country, separate from the rest of the UK - 20


    Let us ignore the loaded phrase "separate from the UK" (as if we'll drift off into the Atlantic never to be seen again).

    What we have here is roughly a third of people stressing support for the union as it presently stands.

    In the meantime, we have 66% stressing a desire for a further optimisation of autonomy for Scotland.

    No doubt the extent of further autonomy that people desire for Scotland will vary.

    However, if you think that I, as a supporter of independence, am discouraged by a poll that says 66% of people in Scotland want more power for our country, then by all means go ahead.

    My dear fellow, it delights me to know that there are so many people in Scotland eager to increase our country's autonomy because, as devlotuion itself has proven, the more autonomy we get, the more we want more.

    It's a question of confidence-building and, after 300 years in the wilderness, we can expect that to take a bit of time.

    As it is, we are gaining in confidence reasonably quickly, even while we continue with these cautious steps of slowly but surely acquiring more self-determination.

    You might continue to bandy about the "20%" figure if it pleases you, and I hope it does. I mean it when I say that I'm actually enjoying the political battles and changes of scene that Scotland is going through just now and I hope it's the same for everyone, including you!


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  • 178. At 1:36pm on 04 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    120. JRMacClure

    Freedom comes with responsibilities. When debating there are some standards that should be maintained. Abusing anyone on grounds of race or ethnicity is never acceptable, nor is spreading lies and gossip. You may choose not not to read some of her stuff fair enough. However don't portray her as a saint, she is clearly not.

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  • 179. At 1:42pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    177. Understood.

    So, how many other nationalists have given up on this independence campaign and are now hinging all their hopes on 'independence creep'?

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  • 180. At 1:44pm on 04 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Ian Gray has said: "I pledge Scottish Labour to the task of eradicating illiteracy and innumeracy from 21st Century Scotland. We need a revolution in literacy teaching in our schools. We will argue for that in opposition, and once in office we will pursue this relentlessly."

    I know this may be nit picking but why didn't Labour do this when they were in power in Holyrood and of course it also begs the question as to what Labour have been doing since 1997?

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  • 181. At 1:45pm on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    More bobbies heading for the beat.

    “Whatever happens over the next few months on police numbers, the predictions from police forces and local authorities are clear – the current funding allocations from the Scottish Government will mean that police numbers will not be maintained in the long term.”

    Mr MacAskill said some fluctuation in police numbers was to be expected. “We are well on track to deliver an increase in police numbers of 1,000 over the lifetime of this parliament, and are well ahead of where our own police force projection study said we would be at this stage,” he said.

    “With a year-and-a-half to go, this quarter's figure is just 17 officers short of our target for 2011, and the underlying trend is clearly very strongly upwards.”


    Another myth blown!


    By the way RE you may have problems getting into Glasgow tonight.

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  • 182. At 1:47pm on 04 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    140. U14124896

    The more local control over education the better. It would be good if in reality there was one group of individuals like the council or government that were to blame for not seeing the step change in performance that we need from education for the extra investment. It would be easily fixed.

    the truth is however far more complicated. there are a number of factors responsible and all are a little culpable. The debate is a false one in so many ways. Class sizes are not as important as made out by the government. In any case this pledge really was a stupid vote grabber that is now being ditched.

    there will never be uniform agreement on education as it is used by all sides as a football. The SNP would have deployed the same tactics as Labour are now if they had been in opposition.

    the reality of the situation is that we need to get on with improvements in education and need everyone pulling on the rope together. Someone has to start that process of consensus building and it has to be the government.

    Also education is not just about passing exams. It really should be about maximising attainment levels for all pupils, not just the most able. That is real key to success.

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  • 183. At 1:52pm on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #175 gentlemanheelander

    I have tried to Google ‘Scotlandfreepress’ but cannot find your site.

    If you can be a bit more specific I can put the link in for you.

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  • 184. At 1:55pm on 04 Dec 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    #179

    Now you're making the mistake of thinking that indepedence creep is somehow a victory for you.

    Oh, I understand that you're trying to put a negative slant on it (creep instead of gradualist or whatever).

    The point is, though, independence creep is still independence.

    I'd rather have independence right now, but if the bigger tendency among people is to do it by gradual steps, fine.

    That's cool.

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  • 185. At 1:56pm on 04 Dec 2009, john wrote:

    #182 Northhighlander
    "The SNP would have deployed the same tactics as Labour are now if they had been in opposition."

    The SNP have until recently been in opposition. Please give me an illustration of when they harmed our children's education for political ends.

    John

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  • 186. At 1:58pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    181. More selective quoting from the nationalists.

    In that report you link to is:
    However, overall officer numbers across Scotland fell...

    and

    The small rise in officer recruitment in Grampian and Northern police boards is undermined by reports about Northern Constabulary freezing recruitment and inviting staff to apply for early redundancy.

    And wasn't this a "flagship" and "fully costed" manifesto pledge that was dropped very soon after the election ("we actually meant 1000 more officers on the beat consisting of 500 new officers and 500 redeployed from other roles") only for the Tories to force it back into the budget?

    So this is actually a Tory success that the SNP are taking credit for?

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  • 187. At 2:08pm on 04 Dec 2009, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #179: Reluctant-Expat -

    "So, how many other nationalists have given up on this independence campaign and are now hinging all their hopes on 'independence creep'?

    Given that the journey's already taken over 300 years, I'd say that 'independence creep' is a pretty, fair description.

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  • 188. At 2:09pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    182. northhighlander
    "The SNP would have deployed the same tactics as Labour are now if they had been in opposition."
    They may or may not have - so this is speculation.
    What we know is that Labour are using these tactics here and now! Stop trying to just cover it up by continually seeking to make out that they're all as bad as one another.
    Worse still, Labour are kicking this around as a political football despite the fact it has a not-dissimilar manifesto commitment!


    "the reality of the situation is that we need to get on with improvements in education and need everyone pulling on the rope together. Someone has to start that process of consensus building and it has to be the government. "
    What was the concordat, then? Doesn't constitute an agreed consensus turned into signed off set of mutual commitments?
    Again, the SNP have shown they are the consensus builders, the unionist parties spend all their time on wrecking tactics, then congratulate themselves by wasting parlimentary time passing ridiculous motions that let them say how the government has failed!

    Bring on the referendum, and the Scottish people will pull a rope alright! Then we can all watch this rag-tag unionist rabble get flushed away!

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  • 189. At 2:11pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    179. Reluctant-Expat
    "So, how many other nationalists have given up on this independence campaign and are now hinging all their hopes on 'independence creep'?"


    It's not either/or it's win/win!
    :)

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  • 190. At 2:12pm on 04 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    #175.

    Look in http://wordpress.com/

    2,357 results for Scotland free press - have fun.

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  • 191. At 2:13pm on 04 Dec 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    #180

    Exactly.

    They had their chance and blew it.

    Interestingly, I found this from 2006 on the scottish.gov website:

    "It is estimated that 23% of adult in Scotland have low literacy and numeracy skills"

    Now, I'm not very good with figures, but am I right in thinking that the current figure of one fifth is 20%, which means that since 2006 we've seen a reduction of 3% in poor literacy in Scotland?

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2006/06/12094904/10

    I've got no journalistic skills whatsoever and yet even I can do a bit of digging to show that under the SNP the literacy figures have probably improved a little and certainly got no worse (while the tone of this story in the scottish media implies that it has worsened dramatically).

    I don't know. This outrageous bias of the media against such a large swathe of Scottish public and political opinion is completely unacceptable.

    We have now reached a level which I would reckon to be on a parr with Russia by now.

    It's unacceptable.

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  • 192. At 2:14pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    175. gentlemanheelander
    I'll take a peek when I find it.
    You might be able to just copy and paste the link in your comments here.

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  • 193. At 2:19pm on 04 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    188. mrbfaethedee

    Your powers of reason are slipping by the day. From a moderate sensible poster you have become a seriously infected Uber nat.

    The political parties are all as bad as each other. That is why people vote in ever decreasing numbers.

    The concordat was a good idea, but the correct levels of funding were not put in to meet the government demands. This is just a way of blaming councils.

    The debate on education needs shifted on to more appropriate ground where consensus between the parties can be built. This has by and large been achieved on Health with the Kerr report, which is the basis for what is now being delivered.

    The same process can happen with education if the government steer a different course.

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  • 194. At 2:23pm on 04 Dec 2009, gentlemanheelander wrote:

    183 Scotland free press DOT Wordpress DOT COM!

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  • 195. At 2:27pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    184. Absolutely. I totally understand and accept your attitude.

    But where do you think this independence campaign failed? (Don't attempt to claim it was about anything other than full independence from St. A's 2010, because that just won't wash.)

    Almost from the go, the SNP initiated a very broad campaign to garner support for their primary goal (the Nat Con, 'Town Hall' meetings, a considerable spin campaign on the SG website, encouraging dozens of nationalist blogs and websites - notably failing to correct the wildly inaccurate/libellous sites etc.) with almost no competing opposition campaign, yet support for independence has plummeted to record lows. In oldnat's poll, the 'status quo' is significantly more popular than the concept of full independence.

    On top of that, the SNP, within their very first term, are already struggling to sustain a polling lead over the most unpopular UK government in recent years. Some polls have even put Labour back in control of Holyrood in 2011.

    Many people have a grasp of why people have rejected the campaign......do you?

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  • 196. At 2:30pm on 04 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    Is labours running down of the education system not part of their plan for a two tier britain.

    The elite and the scum.

    This is getting more and more evident with the ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor.
    The scum don't need educated as they'll be directed as what to do and think by the state controlled media.

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  • 197. At 2:33pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    186. Reluctant-Expat
    "More selective quoting from the nationalists."

    Oh Nooooo!
    Police numbers in mild fluctuation shocker!
    Help, murder, polis!


    More reflexive posting from the unionists.

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  • 198. At 2:35pm on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #132 mrbfaethedee

    I will post my previous comment again:

    Apparently the commission is a Quango, I can’t find anything either, but I did find this article in the Times dated June 22, 2008:

    Children need books, not quangos.

    Last year (2007), an international study revealed that the literacy levels of Scottish primary school children had plummeted. Of 45 nations surveyed, Scotland plunged from 14th place to 26th place in just five years, a period that coincided with Labour’s spell in office.

    England fell in the rankings from 3rd place to 19th place. All of this has taken place against the biggest phenomenon in children’s literature since Enid Blyton: the publication of the Harry Potter novels by a Scottish-based author.


    It appears that the Northern contingency of NuLabour are giving the SNP a kicking for something they created.

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  • 199. At 2:39pm on 04 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    #194. It works! You are STAR.

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  • 200. At 2:52pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    917. [You]...............................................................[the point]

    1. 1,000 new police was a Tory initiative. The SNP wanted only 500 new police. This is a Tory policy.

    2. Police numbers are going down so not only are the SNP trying to claim credit for something that isn't their's...but they haven't even made it yet!

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  • 201. At 2:56pm on 04 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #194 gentlemanheelander

    Scotland free press link.

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  • 202. At 2:57pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    193. northhighlander
    "Your powers of reason are slipping by the day. From a moderate sensible poster you have become a seriously infected Uber nat."
    Wheeeeee! I like a good slide :)
    Thanks for the mild insult though - just as well you only restricted yourself to being against abusing people on the basis of ethincity or gender earlier, and not political leaning - phew! ;)

    "The political parties are all as bad as each other. That is why people vote in ever decreasing numbers."
    I'm glad your (doubtless ever increasing) intellect has discerned for us the reason why people aren't voting as much as they used to. I await your peer reviewed paper on the subject prof! Isn't it nice the way it turned out to be becuase of exactly the point you happened to be trying to make.
    Whoa! Enough sarcasm i think.
    No! they are not all the same. Show me what policies the SNP are using are trying to score political points with as opposed to seeking to carry forward their manifesto proposals. I'm no dewey eyed lover of political parties, but that's what we've got. The SNP are playing with much more integrity than any of the main opposition parties.

    "The concordat was a good idea, but the correct levels of funding were not put in to meet the government demands. This is just a way of blaming councils."
    This is what I mean - the SNP brought it forward and cosla accepted; they did so understanding and accepting the tight financial scenario. That's why the SNP didn't play political football, and 'watered down' the commitment to keep the same target in numbers but accept year on year progress towards it for now. I've said before, it's not about just blaming the councils - if the opposition hadn't decided to play political football with this by gunning for hyslop - we wouldn't be in this position now. Some councils are doing ok with it, some aren't, and some seem obstructive, but if the opposition parties had lent a little weight it would have kept on moving.

    "The debate on education needs shifted on to more appropriate ground where consensus between the parties can be built. This has by and large been achieved on Health with the Kerr report, which is the basis for what is now being delivered."
    The concordat would have been the best wee testbed of getting central govt to let go of the stuff they're best not doing; while keeping overall control. It could have led to many other moves in the direction of de-centralisation, not just from central govt to local, but from central govt to domain specialists. The unionists are in the process of wrecking the experiment, covering up their tactics will not help it. I think it's still salvageable.

    "The same process can happen with education if the government steer a different course. "
    But that's your answer every time the wrecking crew block the government - you would say that.

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  • 203. At 3:01pm on 04 Dec 2009, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Ex Pat.

    ''So, how many other nationalists have given up on this independence campaign and are now hinging all their hopes on 'independence creep'?"

    Is it the fact that the 'staus quo' is unacceptable even to Calman, or, 'Unionism Creep' doesn't exist makes you so bitter?

    Sorry I cant wait for your reply as I have a train to catch.


    Wansanshoo.

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  • 204. At 3:12pm on 04 Dec 2009, parisfrance wrote:

    #195

    RE,

    Go ahead. Underestimate and obfuscate and do the fandango for all I care.

    If you're going to insist on being obnoxius about it while I'm being so nice, I'll just refer you to the figures:

    status quo - 32%
    more powers - 66%

    Have a nice day.

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  • 205. At 3:28pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    198. Roll_On_2010
    "Apparently the commission is a Quango, I can’t find anything either, but I did find this article in the Times dated June 22, 2008:"

    Again, thanks for the link to the times article - Children need books, not quangos.
    Politically spot on -
    "It seems odd that having failed to address declining standards when they were in a position to do something about them, Labour — neutered and ineffective when in opposition — believe they can change things now."

    But aside from the politics, it is a good article, and well worth anyone who professes an interest in this subject taking the time to read.

    Still amazed to see no link to the report yet!

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  • 206. At 3:42pm on 04 Dec 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    Has there ever been a Scottish government which was scrutinised so assiduously by the media. BBC Scotland, The Scotsman, The Herald, The Record, et al.

    If the media had been as critical when Labour was in power perhaps some of the problems that Scotland is facing and now being left to the SNP to sort out, would never have arisen. So effectively the media have failed Scotland in all sorts of ways, so I can have no sympathy for them for the financial straits in which they find themselves.

    It's now being said the on the advice of an American 'expert' the Labour party now seem to be gaining on the Tories in the polls. The advice was to use 'negativity' to damage the opposition. It seems the same policy has been and continues to be applied in Scotland against the SNP government. The SNP needs to respond with some sort of defence, but I realise their hands are tied somewhat by the extreme bias of the newspapers and the BBC.

    The tragedy is that the 'negativity policy' depends on the ignorance and gullibility of the electorate and advocates the use of lying, obfuscation, twisting the truth and omission. If the mass of the electorate knew they were being treated in this way then the policy would have the reverse effect to what was intended.


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  • 207. At 4:02pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    203 & 204. You seem unable to accept my point, so I will clarify:

    The independence campaign, spearheaded by your much-adored "Big Boss", has been so disastrous that even the status quo, for which no-one has campaigned, is now more popular than the concept of independence.

    I'll put it another way for you: After a broad-based campaign of 24/7/365 anti-UK and pro-SNP propaganda with almost zero opposition...independence is now the least preferred option with support at record lows.

    That nationalists still attempt claim this spectacular failure as some kind of a victory is just wonderful.

    We all know, and believe me it is that obvious, that you all want full independence from those south of the border and nothing less. However, if you take possibly gaining control over airgun policy as a victory....well, I just don't know what to say. Speechless.

    And you wonder why fewer and fewer people are taking you seriously?

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  • 208. At 4:06pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    The Literacy Commission report can be found at the foot of Ian Gray's spiel on the Labour web site - here.
    You will also, find a list of the membership of the commission alongside it.

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  • 209. At 4:08pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    206. The media were as critical of Labour then as they are of the SNP now. You, being on the opposition side, were no doubt agreeing with them and would not have considered such anti-government bias an issue.

    It is childish to accuse them of bias just because they are now criticising your beloved party.

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  • 210. At 4:17pm on 04 Dec 2009, Bruce wrote:

    I watched FMQ's last night for the first time in ages, mainly due to never having the time. I actually thought that Alex Salmond wiped the floor with Ian Gray, Tavish Scott, Annabelle Goldie and I thought Wendy Alexander might actually cry.
    However, I did get an insight watching it. I now understand why labour, the torries and liberals are so negative all the time. They are actually void of any talent on their benches. Alex Salmond demonstrated that he is so far ahead in getting his points across that the others look like they are scrambling around for ideas. If we had an honest media in this country the SNP would be light years ahead in the polls and anyone seriously thinking about voting for labour would be ashamed to admit it. Bring on the election if the best labour and the rest have to offer is their leaders, maybe then people will vote for the party that might not always get it right but at least stand up for Scotland.

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  • 211. At 4:18pm on 04 Dec 2009, Douglas Daniel wrote:

    #195 On top of that, the SNP, within their very first term, are already struggling to sustain a polling lead over the most unpopular UK government in recent years. Some polls have even put Labour back in control of Holyrood in 2011.

    That's more than a little misleading. The SNP only got one more seat than Labour in 2007, so they were hardly likely to be massively ahead in the middle of a period of Government. Matters are hardly helped by the increasingly unsubtle anti-SNP bias in the media (Glenn Campbell's report on Reporting Scotland yesterday was nothing short of a disgrace - how long until he starts just saying "Alex Salmond is a (profanity censored) and you hate him, okay?")

    Many people thought the SNP's victory in 2007 was mainly due to people placing a anyone-but-Labour vote. If this is true, then for the SNP to avoid a sudden drop in support suggests that many of these people have been impressed by what they've seen so far, so if they're still intending voting SNP, then their anti-Labour vote has turned into a pro-SNP one.

    Until someone manages to convince Glasgow and the surrounding areas (with their 20 constituency seats) that a monkey with a red rosette is not their best option, Labour will always have a stranglehold - or at least a headlock - on Scottish politics. Hmmmm, who was it that drew up the Scotland act again...?

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  • 212. At 4:38pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    207. And to add to that, I remind you that I am a federalist, preferring to see considerable powers devolved from both Westminster and Holyrood to local government. I think the rule of government should be that any role that only affects any given town or city, should be the responsibility of that local council. National legislatures should be restricted to intra-council matters with the UK restricted UK-wide matters.

    So, I'm on the losing side as well.

    But at least I can accept it.

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  • 213. At 4:57pm on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    The media inspired firestorm will pass as it did with Trump as it did with Megrahi.

    This time when the smoke clears the councils will still be refusing to recruit teachers and it will have to be sorted out, education is too important for it to be ignored.

    I'm pretty relaxed about the end of this year, it could have been much worse especially given the non stop attacks on the SNP from the weeks prior to the Glasgow North East by-election until now.

    That the SNP are not just close to Labour in the polls but ahead is quite an achievement.

    Prior to the 2007 Holyrood elections would anyone here have predicted a referendum white paper, Unionist parties in disarray over the same referendum and an astonishing two thirds of Scots unhappy with the Union as it stands?

    On top of that let's remember that the Labour vote continues to erode year on year and that independence is being discussed more and more.

    Remember also that Unionists will have to come up with an alternative to independence. The Union as we know it is finished, the question is what will Scots opt to replace it with?

    None of us here, not one, knows the answer to that - not even Glenn 'Outrage'.

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  • 214. At 5:04pm on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    209. At 4:08pm on 04 Dec 2009, Reluctant-Expat wrote:

    It is childish to accuse them of bias just because they are now criticising your beloved party.

    Clear evidence of bias was reported by Newsnet Scotland, it led to the BBC apologising to Alex Neil - no mainstream media oulet will report it. I will, at some point, reproduce the article here for you to read.

    What you must appreciate is that it might not always be the SNP that is the target of institutionalised political sectarianism - if it is happening now, with impunity, then it will happen again.

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  • 215. At 5:09pm on 04 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    Michael Hamilton here.

    Just wondering if there are any bloggers in the north of Scotland and what school standards and results are like up there.

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  • 216. At 5:10pm on 04 Dec 2009, archie_f wrote:

    #73: In Reporting Scotland items today (3rd December 2009), Glen Campbell addresses the camera with a copy of what I asume is the SNP's 2007 Manifesto, and asserts that in the Manifesto Alex Salmond promises to reduce class sizes etc... .I can not find any statement in the SNP's 2007 manifesto where a promise is made to reduce class sizes. I can not find any statement where any promise is made. Assuming for a moment that I am correct that the document contains no promises. In these days where we endlessly hear of voter apathy, i find it extremely disturning that the BBC in Scotland .... [predictable Nat rant continues]
    Take a look at the manifesto again. Ignore the nice pictures of Alex Salmond, and look at the words.
    Look first at page 11 where it says "Smaller class sizes, starting with a reduction in the first three years of primary to 18 or less" ( this not only promises to reduce p1,2 and 3 to 18 OR LESS, but is deliberately worded "starting with" to imply that the SNP would do this quickly and go on to deliver MORE ...)
    If that's not clear enough then look on page 52 where it says "We will reduce class sizes in Primary 1,2,and 3 to eighteen pupils or less?"
    I don't really understand how you missed these statements in the SNP manifesto. Maybe you accidentally tore out these pages when the SNP scrapped their promise (on pages 11 and 54, in case you think you can deny their existence too) to "remove the burden of debt repayments owed by Scottish domiciled and resident graduates" ?

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  • 217. At 5:17pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    211. After two terms of an increasingly unpopular Labour government in Holyrood, then the SNP's clear intention to be populist (as opposed to ideological), followed by the expected honeymoon boost to the SNP's polling after the election...I had assumed that the SNP would walk a second term (especially with Labour being even more unpopular now). Populism may be an unsustainable short-term strategy (sooner or later, you have to choose the left or right road, ask Labour) but it usually lasts more than one term. So, to see the SNP's polling lead either be lost or, at best, barely exist after less than 3 years is a big surprise.

    UK politics is (NI asides) a two-party system and very cyclical. No party stays in power forever and two terms is very often the maximum term in office for any one party (two terms is almost certainly the max for any party leader). I expected the SNP to last two terms with a slightly larger majority second time round. This is looking increasingly unlikely.

    Clinging to 'biased media' is just not going to wash. It is the media's job to criticise the government of the day and while the UK media is famously ruthless and unforgiving, they are going quite easy on the SNP. Check out the UK media for their coverage of Brown - even I feel sorry for him sometimes!

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  • 218. At 5:19pm on 04 Dec 2009, RandomScot wrote:

    @Ex-Pat

    You come across, to me at least, as a negative,sniping character. But here is a topic I can ask you to be positive about.

    I am sympathetic to the notion of a Federal UK as an alternate to Independence IF the English outside the M25 can be given a voice too.

    So I ask you, in all interest, how would you set it up. How would you evenly distribute power and bring decision making to the local level?

    What would be the benefits?

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  • 219. At 5:21pm on 04 Dec 2009, archie_f wrote:

    #73: Oh, and in case the manifesto itself doesn't convice you, the SNP's own website today says ...
    In the 2007 Manifesto the SNP promised to reduce class sizes in Primary 1, 2 and 3 to eighteen pupils or less.
    Laughably enough, it's in a section of the website called "Fact check" !

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  • 220. At 5:24pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    214. Clear evidence of bias was reported by Newsnet Scotland..

    Isn't that your nationalist blog, the one you plug on a daily basis?

    Are you quoting yourself as proof of media bias?

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  • 221. At 5:29pm on 04 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    AstonishedII Here

    Online Ed :- I agree with your heartening analysis (213). I think never before have people been more able to refute glencampblly lies. I think this is the reason for targeting bloggers. I am delighted others are stepping up to take their place (see post 201).


    Radio Labour and Labour TV are widely discredited. Just look at their listening/viewing figures. I feel the time is ripe for an online pro- independence newspaper.






    I recall listening to Zoe Wannamaker being scathing about those who aided McCarthy and his witchhunt. I don't think people will easily forgive the liars when the truth eventually surfaces.



    And finally remember in the seventies everyone believed the labour lie that "an independent Scotland will be as poor as Biafra !".


    Never again !

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  • 222. At 5:42pm on 04 Dec 2009, gandcslovechild wrote:

    g and c's lovechild here, it is still not working ,this is my 3rd reincarnation and I have received an e mail saying they are trying to fix the problem but if I was at all cynical i could suggest they (the BBC) are just trying to sicken us in the hope that we go away.
    Sid

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  • 223. At 5:46pm on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    Just for Expat: ... the following is all true and verifiable.

    Newsnet Scotland can reveal that the BBC have been forced to issue a personal apology to senior SNP MSP Alex Neil after an item broadcast on Sunday 18th October attributed views to the SNP Minister that he had not expressed.

    The BBC’s Catriona Renton, filming at the SNP conference in Inverness, had claimed on BBC Scotland’s Politics Show that Mr Neil had confirmed the SNP’s desire to see David Cameron become the Prime Minister at the next general election. The recorded interview with Mr Neil that followed Ms Renton’s claim contained no such confirmation.

    A source close to Mr Neil explained that the MSP had subsequently complained to the BBC and had received an apology. However, there was a feeling of frustration that, unlike the inaccurate broadcast which came in the midst of the Glasgow North East by-election campaign, the BBC had refused to broadcast the apology.

    Catriona Renton is a former Glasgow Labour Councillor, who represented Kelvindale before being ousted by the LibDems in 2003. Ms Renton went on to represent Labour in both the 2003 Holyrood elections and the 2004 European elections.

    Ms Renton’s background is steeped in politics having worked for an MEP in Brussels as part of her Oxford University course. Her first job after graduating was working for ex Labour MP Dennis Canavan.

    Catriona Renton was recruited by BBC Scotland's parliamentary unit in 2006, where John Boothman, husband of Labour MSP and ex-Health Minister Susan Deacon, was a senior producer.

    Questions will surely be asked as to why someone with such recent and very close links to the Labour party in Scotland has been allowed such a high profile platform within BBC Scotland’s political department and whether her professional judgement may have been compromised.

    Newsnet Scotland has contacted the BBC for an explanation of why the apology was not broadcast and what editorial control was exercised over Ms Renton’s inaccurate statement....the BBC have yet to respond.

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  • 224. At 5:49pm on 04 Dec 2009, govanite wrote:

    It should be remembered by all that the SNP manifesto was (like all other party manifestos) based on a working majority and a full 4 year term to reach its targets.

    Throw in plans to cancel the Edinburgh trams to save £500 million and we see why Online-Ed at #213 makes valid points about the SNP's resilience.

    The SNP is stronger, more experienced and more confident than ever.

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  • 225. At 6:12pm on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed here

    I do believe Expat that your claims there is no proof of bias within the BBC have been blown out of the water.

    Remember that the article above is not an isolated incident. Feel free to condemn the BBC for such a blatant abuse of it's charter.

    In answer to your question about the newsnetscotland blog:
    Yes, Newsnet Scotland has a very basic blog - it serves as a place where articles can be published that might be dated by the time of the newsletter. It also acts as a kind of portal to allow people to subscribe to the newsletter if they wish.

    The newsletter is a monthly publication with contributions from a small number of individuals - it serves to inform and educate. We are non affiliated and have an open editorial policy, in fact if you ever wish to draft an article in support of the Union I guarantee it will be published.

    We are one of the very few outlets who's readership is steadily increasing.

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  • 226. At 6:13pm on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    213. U14094468
    "That the SNP are not just close to Labour in the polls but ahead is quite an achievement.

    Prior to the 2007 Holyrood elections would anyone here have predicted a referendum white paper, Unionist parties in disarray over the same referendum and an astonishing two thirds of Scots unhappy with the Union as it stands?
    "

    Exactly. The FACT is that polling results from Mori (12/01/09) clearly show that the SNP would gain seats substantially at both Westminster and Holyrood if the election were held now. In fact, much of this is the RESULT of those polls and show Labour desperation at SNP figures.

    Voting intention in Westminster, with changes from MORI’s last Scottish voting intention poll in August, are CON 15%(-3), LAB 32%(+5), LDEM 12%(-2), SNP 34%(+1)

    In fact, the SNP *may* be going up in the Westminster polls--may because it is within the margin of error. This poll had to have sent some tremors though the Labour leadership. It more than DOUBLES the number of SNP MPs. This is a very SOLID performance and the unionists who blather on about the SNP struggling have to make you chuckle.

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  • 227. At 6:16pm on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    216. archie_f
    "Ignore the nice pictures of Alex Salmond, and look at the words."
    Please go back to the manifesto for the previous Labour government and list all of their manifesto "promises" and how many of them they kept. I think it would be an interesting exercise.

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  • 228. At 6:20pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    218. First, I have little patience for the ridiculous lies, conspiracies and just general sloblocks that dominates this board, hence my impatient tone.

    However - NE England made it quite clear that they want England to remain as a political entity and not be broken up into regions with no national legislature/executive. And who can blame them. Would we accept that?

    However, at 50m people and growing fast (+6m migrant workers and their families?), England is too large to be governed by one body. It's economy varies widely from the strength of London/SE to the weakness of the NE, plus has many regional cultures, so I would certainly persist with a regional structure but within a national government.

    The (much debated elsewhere) suggestion is as I'd prefer to see in Scotland but amended for the neighbours, ie. an English Parliament with secondary assemblies (based on the 'regions' but as that is a loathed word down there, how about calling them 'Provinces'?) with strong local government to complete the picture. Eight (checks map) provinces, all with powerful legislatures and executives (Governors?), with a national parliament and an English FM based in London.

    To avoid unnecessary elections and just having too many blessed politicians, representatives would serve on both Provincial and National legislatures with sittings split.

    The basis of their respective powers would be that the councils run local affairs, provinces would manage intra-council matters (health, universities, culture, local development...) with the national parliament running intra-province affairs (motorways, railways, national development...), although they would be able to decide between them who manages what within what will be a very flexible constitution.

    As for the structure of the legislatures; UK Commons as now, with constituency elections and a PM. UK 'Lords' to mirror the make-up Scot/Welsh/NI/Provincial legislatures with ten representatives from each. To clarify: Holyrood would send 4 SNP, 4 Labour, 1 Tory and 1 LD mirroring the make-up of our parliament. Commons will then represent the people, the 120 'Lords' representing the nations and provinces.

    As the make-up of the English parliament would also be the sum of the provinces, there is no need for separate English national representation in the UK Parliament.

    Altering national government to include more local provinces capable of legislating for more local needs could just as well apply to Scot/Wales/NI as to England. We could have a rural Highlands/urban Belt&Borders two-way split, Wales could split north/south and NI could split along obvious lines.

    Here endeth this particular lazy thought.

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  • 229. At 6:26pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    224. That argument has never worked.

    Every Scottish government runs as a minority, the voting system guarantees that as it closely mirrors public opinion (within which no party has majority support).

    So what you are saying is that the SNP drafted a manifesto for a majority government even though there was zero chance of there being one.

    Very poor planning or a deliberate attempt to mislead?

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  • 230. At 6:30pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    226. Yet again, a nationalist ignores the previous TWO polls that show a 14-16% Labour lead over the SNP and instead posts at length about one that shows a slim SNP lead.

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  • 231. At 6:41pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    223. Wow. Indeed 'proof' of anti-SNP bias.

    That's reinforced concrete proof with Chobham armour cladding, that is.

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  • 232. At 6:42pm on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    229. Reluctant-Expat
    "Very poor planning or a deliberate attempt to mislead?
    "

    So you are telling us that Labour KEPT their manifesto "promises"?

    *has a hearty laugh*

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  • 233. At 6:43pm on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    230. Reluctant-Expat
    "Yet again, a nationalist ignores the previous TWO polls that show a 14-16% Labour lead over the SNP and instead posts at length about one that shows a slim SNP lead."

    Yet again. a unionist ignores the most recent poll and posts about older ones that show a Labour lead.

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  • 234. At 6:47pm on 04 Dec 2009, Dunroamin wrote:

    233. Brilliant!

    Yep, Labour's strong lead has collapsed 18% in a week!

    Aye, that's what's happened!

    (RandomScot, this individual is a prime example of who I'm talking about)

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  • 235. At 6:50pm on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    223. Online Ed
    "Catriona Renton is a former Glasgow Labour Councillor, who represented Kelvindale before being ousted by the LibDems in 2003. Ms Renton went on to represent Labour in both the 2003 Holyrood elections and the 2004 European elections.

    Ms Renton’s background is steeped in politics having worked for an MEP in Brussels as part of her Oxford University course. Her first job after graduating was working for ex Labour MP Dennis Canavan.

    Catriona Renton was recruited by BBC Scotland's parliamentary unit in 2006, where John Boothman, husband of Labour MSP and ex-Health Minister Susan Deacon, was a senior producer.

    Questions will surely be asked as to why someone with such recent and very close links to the Labour party in Scotland has been allowed such a high profile platform within BBC Scotland’s political department and whether her professional judgement may have been compromised.
    "
    An EXTREMELY valid question.

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  • 236. At 6:53pm on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    234. Reluctant-Expat
    "Yep, Labour's strong lead has collapsed 18% in a week!"

    You want to show me the SCOTTISH poll from a week before? Please do.

    *chuckles some more*

    There wasn't one, my dear. It didn't exist.

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  • 237. At 6:53pm on 04 Dec 2009, govanite wrote:

    Lets all remember that Labour had to abandon key manifesto pledges like these:

    To abolish child poverty.
    To cut the gap between rich and poor.
    British jobs for British workers.
    Abolish Boom and Bust.
    Make streets safer.
    Education, Education, Education.
    A referendum on Europe.
    Cutting fuel bills for pensioners.

    ...... just some of the things they never did - and now they are all washed up. Their voters are betrayed.

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  • 238. At 6:53pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    216. archie_f

    archie_f, your follow up post notwithstanding, you still ahve not pointed out a promise. What you have quoted are simple statements there is no promissory commitment with them. In fact if you look at the introduction you will see that the manifesto states - "This manifesto sets out our ideas and proposals to build a more successful Scotland". That is the context of the statemnets in the manifesto.
    If you are of the opinion that every proposal in a manifesto constitutes a an actual unconitional promise, then i assume you're here to call every party in the country liars and/or oathbreakers.

    As regards your follow up - if the SNP website chooses to call their manifesto proposal a promise - then that is at least their prerogative, and the formal or casual sense in which it is used is left to the reader. It does not, however, alter the fact that you still cannot point to any actual written statement of promise in the manfesto; beyond the facile notion that everything in a manifesto is an unconditional promise.

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  • 239. At 6:57pm on 04 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    Following Opinion Polls is like watching rain drops racing down a window pane.

    The race sequence changes.

    Tomorrow, next week, next month the rain drops will still be running down the window pane.

    The race sequence will go on changing.

    Will we remember who was in the lead and who then overtook?

    It is very relaxing but not particularly productive. But, that is just one opinion.

    Orra best.

    Michael Hamilton

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  • 240. At 6:59pm on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    238. mrbfaethedee
    "If you are of the opinion that every proposal in a manifesto constitutes a an actual unconitional promise, then i assume you're here to call every party in the country liars and/or oathbreakers."
    Of course, some would call all political parties liars. None here I'm sure, and certainly our unionist friends wouldn't say that about Labour. ;-)

    But manifestos are NEVER absolute promises. They are at most goals and often nothing more than a wish list.

    I have no problem with pointing them out when they aren't achieved, but saying that they are absolute promises from any party is the height of silliness.

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  • 241. At 6:59pm on 04 Dec 2009, ambi wrote:

    Amazing how constantly repeated falsehoods gain currency in the most unexpected places. BBC R4's un-satirical, unfunny, comedy satire programme, The Now Show, had a musical skit tonight on Scotland to the effect that 'Salmond has proposed a referendum to give the Scots freedom from their English oppressors Gordon Brown and Alasdair Darling(canned laughter). Unfortunately polls show that less than 20% of Scots want a referendum. Perhaps Alex Salmond should be given one-man independance', and so on.

    As has been posted before, I suspect most English are deeply un-interested in Scottish politics, and those that are prefer to take the unchallenging view.

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  • 242. At 7:09pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    219. archie_f

    Perhaps archie_f, I should have focused on the real point regarding manifestos.
    It is simply this -
    saying 'oh, you didn't do it. You lied!' when a party hasn't met a manifesto commitment doesn't even meet the level of playground politics. That's before you even begin to consider, the nature of our PR based parliament, and minority government, or the fact that the intent is still there but has been modified to accomodate the very real issues raised by current economic circumstances.

    But that's what the situation is - I presume you support the Labour party in abandoning their manifesto what to reduce class sizes, and go the opposite direction and try to do waht they can to stop reduction in class sizes?

    It's ok, we'll break out of the playground, and join the world of grown-up countries. Maybe then we'll get grown-up politics.

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  • 243. At 7:09pm on 04 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    The English are very interested in Scottish politics.

    Opponents of Independence for Scotland, particularly those in England, seem to be in two minds.

    They react instantly to the words “Barnett Formula” by indulging in Scotland bashing and moaning about the fact that the formula is more generous to Scotland than to England, which is weird because the formula does not only does it not apply to all financial allocations, it is non-statutory and entirely discretionary. The Treasury can apply the Barnett Formula in whole or in part of not at all.

    But when “Independence” is mentioned people moan that Scotland could not afford to go it alone without England. They ignore or are unaware that HM Treasury figures consistently show that Scotland runs a current account surplus and costs England not one penny.

    When the fated word “Barnett” appears, no one bothers with the fact that Northern Ireland and Wales have a more generous share than England, or that some poorer areas of England are badly underfunded. No one moans about that. It is always SCOTLAND this and SCOTLAND that.

    There are those who believe that purely by accident, the distribution of shares of new money (or reductions) using the Barnett Formula, for that is what it is for, is fair for Northern Ireland with its greater security costs, for Scotland with its special health and rurality needs and for Wales with its de-industrialisation and other problems.

    How many people realise that Barnett is population based and not needs based? How many ever think of the extra health and other costs of rurality in Scotland and know that the Highland health area measures 32,500 km² whereas Wales measures 20,800 km²?

    It is the whole Barnett Formula that needs rejigging - not the recalculation of the share of Scotland - of only one recipient. Despite UK Parliamentary Select Committee investigations and government promises of reform, no one has yet come up with a better formula than that devised at a time that he has described as “very short” in the late 1970s by the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Joel Barnett, as a short-term solution to minor Cabinet disputes.

    In the SDA we are looking at economic and financial policy for an Independent Scotland. http://scottishdemocraticalliance.org/ and look at our Economy section.

    Might be more exciting than opinion polls.

    Cheers folks,

    Michael Hamilton

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  • 244. At 7:15pm on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    As any of our polling anoraks can explain much better than I can, the tiny fraction of a sample from a UK wide poll is too small and not properly weighted to show anything. You can only judge Scottish opinion (assuming you can by polls at all) with a Scottish poll with a meaningful sample size and proper weighting. Mori periodically does such polls. Since different companies weight differently, it's well to compare polls from the same company to compare like to like. The previous Mori one that I recall was in September:

    SNP - 33%
    Labour - 27%
    Tory - 18%
    Lib Dem - 14%

    So compared with that we show not a huge swing as our friend would have us beile

    SNP - +3
    Labour - +5
    Lib Dem - -2
    Tory - -6%

    So both the SNP and Labour picking up votes from the Tories and (more importantly) the Lib Dems.

    Talking about 18% swings is just silliness. No such thing happened in any Scottish poll. That is VERY encouraging results for the SNP though. In fact, Labour percentage has gone up and not down but we are seeing a result of the continued SNP climb in intense attacks upon them--frankly, nothing but what would be expected. I can't blame Labour for doing what parties do. I can blame so much of the media for working from a Labour script instead of doing their job.

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

    217. Reluctant-Expat
    "Clinging to 'biased media' is just not going to wash. It is the media's job to criticise the government of the day and while the UK media is famously ruthless and unforgiving, they are going quite easy on the SNP. Check out the UK media for their coverage of Brown - even I feel sorry for him sometimes!"

    I disagree. I think the job of the media (re: politics) is to scrutinise our political parties and systems. The governing party will come under more scrutiny naturally, because they are the 'active' party. The problem is one of differential - the SNP are criticised a lot, often for (IMO) without actual cause, while the woeful oppostion parties are given a free ride.
    I agree that Brown, in particular, gets a very rough ride; but the tories and libdems are also at least under scrutiny - not so for the opposition up here.

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  • 246. At 7:20pm on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    245. mrbfaethedee
    "I think the job of the media (re: politics) is to scrutinise our political parties and systems."

    The job of the media is to report the TRUTH not to skew it and lie to either attack OR support one particular party.

    Any time the media becomes partisan one way or the other it has ceased to do its job. That is what one sees, unfortunately, in almost all of the media in Scotland to a rather scandalous degree.

    And they ARE paying a price. Look at their plummeting numbers almost across the board.

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  • 247. At 7:22pm on 04 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Neil here......


    RE - I have to defend Online Ed here. We don't always see eye to eye but he is quite fair most of the time. I'd say there is a bit of a bias at time against the BBC, but he does give credit where due. For example, pointed out that Tavish Scott landed a blow on Salmond at FMQs.

    On balance, you are correct to point out that the media will attack the government of the day, but at times the headlines can be a bit sensationalised.

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

    On recent polls, trends might be there but it still doesn't give a totally accurate picture. Part of the reason for an increase in SNP support is down to Labour's popularity. That must be accepted.

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

    On manifestos, no party ever keeps them. (Labour no more boom and bust anyone?).

    As I previously stated, the SNP were naive in giving exact figures, and they must have known it would have been nigh on impossible to achieve this, and it does leave them open to the accusation of misleading the electorate. But this will always happen with any party regardless.

    But to deflect attention by pointing out the failures of other parties still does not explain a party's own failures. Labour were still blaming the Tories ten years after they were kicked out of office. The Tories were still blaming Labour fifteen years after they went.

    The SNP have made a number of achievements, especially within health. It would be fair for the media to report these as well.

    ---------------
    211. At 4:18pm on 04 Dec 2009, Douglas Daniel:

    Stop having a dig at Glasgow. Try looking at the quality - or lack of - of some of the SNP candidates. Also accept the fact that a lot of Labour MPs are very good constituency politicians, regardless how their party is doing. The same applies to the SNP. Salmond, Sturgeon and Swinney for example will always win seats, even of the SNP nosedives. We have a local SNP councillor who has been in post for as long as I can remember, because he is very good. My local Labour MSP and MP have responded immediately when written to about problems (usually with my council!). A certain Ms Fabiani never responded despite her office receiving the letter on two separate matters. Also, only Labour came knocking round doors. THAT is how you win support. OK, I agree with the views of many about the sitting Glasgow NE MP, but that does not apply elsewhere. The SNP came quite close in the last Holyrood elections, but not enough. Had the party workers been out hammering doors it might have swung things.

    Things will be harder come the next Holyrood election. Why? Because it is likely the Tories will be in power in Westminster, and that will take the heat off Labour. That is something that should be considered.




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  • 248. At 7:29pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    229. Reluctant-Expat
    "So what you are saying is that the SNP drafted a manifesto for a majority government even though there was zero chance of there being one.

    Very poor planning or a deliberate attempt to mislead?
    "

    There are alternatives beyond those two.
    How about a statement of intent which, independence apart, is not inimical across the board with any (let alone all) of the other parties. So, in a parliament of reasonable parties, one would expect a good number of the proposals to be acheivable, with support by the like minded.
    Who could have forseen that, despite any potential impact on the people of Scotland, the opposition parties would seek to block even proposals closely aligned to their own, and in the face of evidence and support - simply because the governing party had the temerity to also seek independence.

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  • 249. At 7:34pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    215. Michael Hamilton

    You're right.
    It's dawning on me that all this FUD is only based on partisan reaction to the consequences of pragmatic government, further fueled by a single de-contextualised quote from a meeting, magnified by the media.
    Also, sadly, further contributed to by myself :(
    To what end? This is nothing much, very little.

    Soon.

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  • 250. At 7:36pm on 04 Dec 2009, nate_oz wrote:

    What you are all saying about the media couldn't be more right. I have tried reading different newspapers with the hope of finding a new unbiased approach and truthful reporting, but i can't find such thing. I now refuse to purchase newspapers until they start reporting the truth, or at least being more impartial, there is a large section of the Scottish public that goes unrepresented due to the pro-union nature of the newspapers, after SNP's many successes you think the papers would capitalise on this, but they have failed miserably by continuing to criticise the party that is supported by the electorate and their readers.

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  • 251. At 7:37pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    My previous post was intended in response to Online Ed's 214.

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  • 252. At 7:41pm on 04 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    240. JRMacClure
    "I have no problem with pointing them out when they aren't achieved, but saying that they are absolute promises from any party is the height of silliness."
    Exactly.
    I think i've simply been fanning the flames for some folk though.
    Note to self - don't try to take simple pleasures away from wee kids.

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  • 253. At 8:00pm on 04 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    228. Reluctant-Expat

    No problem with that kind of Federal model - it's the kind of thing I used to support. It's a pity that no party puts it forward as many Scots would probably go for something along those lines.

    However, there are three main reasons I now argue against that model.

    1. Europe. I want to remain part of the EU (although like many other Europeans, I want to see changes as the Union matures). Planning the governance of the UK without looking seriously at which powers are/should/will be exercised at the European level is "very 20th century thinking" :-)

    2. Powers matter more than structure. I know that there is no exact definition of a Federal system as opposed to a Confederal system, but of recent years, there is has been an increasing use of these terms in European political discussion to describe a structure which is essentially centralised with devolved powers (Federal) as opposed to one where powers are ceded from / pooled by the nations to the centre (Confederal). I much prefer the latter concept. I believe in the right of the Scottish nation to determine its own political structure and to negotiate whatever arrangements they want to make with other nations.

    3. Asymmetry is actually a constitutional benefit in political structures. It reflects the different geographies and wishes of different communities. Spain is quite a good example of that.

    Of course, we come to the debate from different angles. Politically I'm a Scot, you're a Brit.

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  • 254. At 8:01pm on 04 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    248. mrbfaethedee
    "Who could have forseen that, despite any potential impact on the people of Scotland, the opposition parties would seek to block even proposals closely aligned to their own, and in the face of evidence and support - simply because the governing party had the temerity to also seek independence."
    Very well put.

    I said in a previous post that I couldn't blame Labour for doing what political parties do. In attacking the SNP, I stand by that.

    In working AGAINST the good of Scotland to make political points, I DO blame them.

    There is, in my opinion, no excuse for their using the health of Scots as a political football by opposing minimum pricing for no other reason than opposing ANYTHING that the SNP proposes in the face of across the board support from health and police. And while the SNP is open to criticism on some points in education, it has been ramped up to an unconscionable degree by Labour instead of their trying to work with the SNP for a solution to the problmes--which they in large degree are responsible for.

    Scots had better start asking themselves WHEN Labour will put the needs of Scotland ahead of the party's own interests. Independence or no, Scotland needs a party that puts it first. That, I am convinced, is what explains the SNP continual climb. They're a long way from perfect but everyone knows where they stand.

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  • 255. At 8:07pm on 04 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    247. enneffess
    "Part of the reason for an increase in SNP support is down to Labour's popularity. That must be accepted."

    No it doesn't! :-) Much more significant has been the collapse of LD support. Most seems to have gone to the SNP, but also some to Labour. Unlike England, the Tories haven't benefited at all. There were some signs of this as far back as September, but it now seems to be a definite trend.

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  • 256. At 8:12pm on 04 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    #255 oldnat

    Well....in my area it is!! The Lib Dems are non existent! I might be totally wrong here, but do the Lib Dems in Scotland do better in areas where the SNP are historically strongest? But then, I've never paid much attention to the LDs anyway....:p

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  • 257. At 8:27pm on 04 Dec 2009, peteraberdeenshire wrote:

    I listened to a part of good morning Scotland with Mike Russell, firstly the usual anti SNP mode of the interviewer but also a distinct edge on Mr Russell's replies.The thing is though the item about a fifth of Scots having literacy problems did not probe how this came to be, in fact Gary Robertson made a coment about who was to blame being irrelevant but then tried to attack the SNP over it.
    I welcome the robust approach being taken with the Labour lapdogs at BBC Scotland, its about time the bias was tackled head on, and the bias is also aimed at the Tories although not as frequently, but just compare the tone of the interviewer, anyone of them with the tone when feeding their Labour puppetmasters with lines.
    Licence fee, its a joke.

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  • 258. At 8:33pm on 04 Dec 2009, Kingkev wrote:

    209 Reluctant-Expat


    The media were as critical of Labour then as they are of the SNP now. You, being on the opposition side, were no doubt agreeing with them and would not have considered such anti-government bias an issue.

    Are you just havin a laugh and on the wind up. Would be interested in seeing some articles of the same kind of media reporting that the SNP has to constantly endure by twisting it, half truths etc and not reporting the full stories and remember this is a minority goverment not a lib/lab cozy up in bed together, so it is harder to get policies implemented and when they (labour)do agree they still cant vote with the government they just abstain



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  • 259. At 8:38pm on 04 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Bernanke trashes Brown's tripartite system

    ""[O]ver the past few years the government of Britain removed from the Bank of England most of its supervisory authorities. When the crisis hit - for example when the Northern Rock bank came under stress - the Bank of England was completely in the dark and unable to deal effectively with what turned out to be a destructive run and a major problem for the British economy.”"

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  • 260. At 9:05pm on 04 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed Here

    I could have spent the last two or so hours typing responses to RE.

    However, as his assertion that there is no evidence of BBC bias against the SNP has now been destroyed, I decided my time was better spent.

    Click Here

    Go on RE - you know you want to.

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  • 261. At 9:16pm on 04 Dec 2009, gandcslovechild wrote:

    the Parliament was set up to run on consensus politics which in my opinion is no bad thing . the problems arise when one of the main party's
    A: still think they are in power with a massive majority
    B: pick the ball up and go home in the huff when things don't go their way
    C:just decide to be as obstructive as possible and block everything that the minority government try to do simply because of their total hatred of the said minority government and they no longer do positive anything anyway !
    Labour - we don't do consensus politics, you do as we tell you!

    Sid

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  • 262. At 10:14pm on 04 Dec 2009, Lenathehyena wrote:

    Dreamed last night that Ian Gray, intrepid ladies corset salesman, was driving at great speed down a mountain road with Sir Doddy Foulkes riding lookout and gripping on for dear life. Wee Wendy Alexander was gamely holding on to the bonnet as the radiator mascot. Don't know what they were running from but they were going hell for leather with Andy Kerr and Jackie Baillie the ballast on the back seat. The car screeched to a halt and the child scarer Jim Murphy leaped out terrifying the kids with one look.

    Sorry apropos nothing

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  • 263. At 10:34pm on 04 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    262. ellow

    Sweet dreams

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  • 264. At 10:56pm on 04 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    263. At 10:34pm on 04 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander:


    You can buy wallpaper like that in B&Q!

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  • 265. At 11:20pm on 04 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    264. enneffess

    In the discontinued lines I presume!

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  • 266. At 11:27pm on 04 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    264. enneffess

    They also have toilet seats in a similar design! Mind you, although I really dislike Ffoulkes, due credit for being prepared to make himself look stupid in a good cause (as opposed to making himself look stupid in Labour's cause.)

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  • 267. At 11:31pm on 04 Dec 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    Just watched a totally useless debate on Newsnight with Emily Maitlis leading the discussion for the BBC. This was about the leaked climate research e-mails, with a Prof from E. Anglia Uni. and a climate change sceptic from the US.

    Each time the American was asked a question, Maitlis cut him short then switched back to the Prof. This happened several times so we didn’t get to hear the American’s side of things. The Prof told the American to shut up at one point and then at the close of the discussion some words were uttered by the Prof which I didn’t catch. Maitlis subsequently apologised if the viewers had heard swearing.

    My questions to the BBC. Why don’t they use an interviewer who can conduct a proper interview and what is the point of having the interview if viewers don't hear both sides of the argument?

    My question to East Anglia Uni. If you are so sure of your ground why get heated about the American?

    (Of course it's Friday night and the big guns interviewers are away for the weekend.)

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  • 268. At 11:39pm on 04 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    I make no comment.

    http://www.snptacticalvoting.com/2009/12/tory-bear-vs-lord-george-foulkes.html

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  • 269. At 00:11am on 05 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    267. hamish42
    Thats what happens when you get an organisation that 'legally' extorts money from people.
    They don't have to fight for market share and so can spout any drivel they want.

    It's time the licence fee issue was looked at again.

    I wonder if they'd be spouting spurious propaganda and smears against a democratically elected government and therefore against a large part of the population if their jobs relied on viewing and listening figures.

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  • 270. At 00:19am on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    269. Harry Stottle
    "I wonder if they'd be spouting spurious propaganda and smears against a democratically elected government and therefore against a large part of the population if their jobs relied on viewing and listening figures."
    Well, it doessn't stop The Scotsman which happens to be bleeding readers practically in torrents. You would think that some of these people would figure out that maybe Scots are tired of being insulted.... but nope.

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  • 271. At 00:21am on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    268. oldnat
    *snorts*

    The good gentleman is threatening to sue apparently. It seems comparing the FM to Mussolini was just satire--but this isn't funny. =)

    *snort* I didn't laugh. Really. No. I didn't.

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  • 272. At 00:22am on 05 Dec 2009, yourkidding wrote:

    reluctant expat
    Can you tell me if the SNP want an independant Scotland why would they propose policies which would be detrimental, if Scotland became independent ? Perhaps its not short term policies but effectual policies which take more than a soundbite to implement.Why would they want to inherit a country on its knees and as their raison d'etre is INDEPENDENCE perhaps it really is about the long game ?
    Also anybody else receive STV emails ? Did you notice the constitutional poll 57% independace , status quo 15 % at this time,not sure how scientific it is but hey every little helps as they say

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  • 273. At 00:39am on 05 Dec 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    #272

    The converse of your argument is: why would the opposition parties want to introduce the Calman taxation policy which would be detrimental to Scotland's economy, modified for an even more detrimental effect in Murph's white paper.

    They would be lumbered with this if they ever got back into power, which, I assume, they would hope to be. So for short term gain to frustrate the SMNP they shoot themselves in the foot. Wait a minute though. Labour do this all the time.



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  • 274. At 01:01am on 05 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    272. At 00:22am on 05 Dec 2009, jingswhatsitallabout wrote:
    reluctant expat
    Can you tell me if the SNP want an independant Scotland why would they propose policies which would be detrimental, if Scotland became independent ? Perhaps its not short term policies but effectual policies which take more than a soundbite to implement.Why would they want to inherit a country on its knees and as their raison d'etre is INDEPENDENCE perhaps it really is about the long game ?
    Also anybody else receive STV emails ? Did you notice the constitutional poll 57% independace , status quo 15 % at this time,not sure how scientific it is but hey every little helps as they say

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

    The SNP have publicly stated their intention for independence as soon as possible, hence the referendum in 2010.

    To change plans publicly would likely lose them votes for starters, and could spark a leadership challenge. Alex Neil is not a supporter of either Salmond or Sturgeon, and is a strong candidate for the leadership. However, Salmond has a better public profile and Sturgeon I would argue is more popular than Salmond in the West of Scotland.

    But I doubt at present any such action will take place. It would require either a critical error by Salmond or possibly a loss in the referendum vote. If the SNP cannot get a referendum vote through Holyrood Salmond is safe. If he loses one he is not.

    The SNPs strength at present is that the party is publicly united. They are also viewed as having strong leadership both by supporters and opponents alike.

    A long term plan for independence might be active in private, but the SNP will not change things unless they cannot get the referendum.

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  • 275. At 01:22am on 05 Dec 2009, yourkidding wrote:

    Hamish42
    I understand what you say,but there is a bit of me thinks if they got back in power here,the proposals such as air guns etc would be implemented but the tax raising powers ? As Labour was in power in Westminster, they could not be seen to be used here in the previous 10 years and anyway I think its supposed to back the SNP into a corner where when finances are even more restricted our SOS can say but we gave you the power to raise taxes and obviously if the SNP did (which under this commision I don't think they would )that would then go down with the electorate like a lead balloon. A few years would then have passed, the Scots would get over their" crazy notion of Independence " and normal business would resume.Lets face it from the Calman Commission what bit could the labour party object to ? There is also the bigger picture-if the Tories get in down south, Scotland will be very important to labour and perhaps the short term view, bearing in mind the stakes- would be worth it.Based on history,it would'nt be the first time Scotlands been shafted sorry sacrificed

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  • 276. At 01:48am on 05 Dec 2009, yourkidding wrote:

    enneffess
    sorry, what I meant was reluctant expat continually posts what he sees as the SNPs failings and I was just trying to find out why he thought the SNP in Government would think of implementing any policies which would be detrimental to Scotland thus working against their aim for independence eventually

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  • 277. At 02:01am on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Anyone know anything about a reputed new TNS/System 3 Scottish poll? I saw numbers for it posted over on UK Polling and it has some possibly startling results for Holyrood.

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  • 278. At 02:11am on 05 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    I'd missed this before

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics-news/2009/12/04/labour-bid-to-resurrect-glasgow-airport-rail-link-shot-down-by-snp-and-tories-86908-21872888/

    Actually to tell the truth, I'm bored and just trawling the press!

    Look at the headline "Labour bid to resurrect Glasgow Airport Rail Link shot down by SNP and Tories" and then read the fairly reasonable report.

    Labour's strategy seems to be one of retreating, not just into their heartlands - but into Glasgow (and maybe Paisley).

    Meanwhile the GARL aside, the main rail route to Ayrshire continues to be improved. There is consideration being given to the hard shoulders of the M77 being used as bus lanes - which would massively reduce public transport times from Ayrshire to Glasgow.

    The SNP Government seems to be delivering for Ayrshire. Though to be fair, when we had a Labour MSP they did blow a large bit of the Roads Budget on the 3 Towns bypass. I find it very useful, as it's very fast - that's because it's also very empty.

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  • 279. At 02:14am on 05 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    277. JRMacClure

    It was copied from a Welsh blogger who, I think had misinterpreted various reports from the SNP website. I don't think there is any such poll. (Pity though!)

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  • 280. At 02:41am on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    279. oldnat
    I wondered since I hadn't heard a whisper about it elsewhere. Still the last confirmed one looked good so that's all right.

    I think the SNP will look very good in the next SP--which will have a LOT riding on it.

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  • 281. At 07:07am on 05 Dec 2009, Ardon wrote:

    Michael Hamiltons #215 and Crazyislanders #6 can both be answered in one reply.
    About sixty five tears ago BSW (before Shirley Williams) I began my formal education in Milngavie. A few years later the family moved and I went to school in Annbank. From there it was on to Ayr Academy, and when we moved again it was to Girvan Academy. All that moving, yet I still received an excellent all round education. In fact when compared with my sons' (3) education, received in Girvan which was by now comprehensive, it was double excellent, as they themselves often admit. I have forgotten more than they ever learned.
    Now I live in the Far North, I quiz my gransdon every day when he comes home from school about just what he has learnt that day. He is a bright intelligent kid, and is learning, and he surprises me sometimes with what he does know, but not everytime. For example, yesterday when questioned about what he was doing in maths he told me he was learning about fractions - "not the decimal ones, but the other ones". He did not know the term vulgar fractions. But most interestingly, I was taught all about vulgar fractions at the age of eight, in Milngavie. My grandson is thirteen, in Thurso! Something is wrong somewhere, although I doubt its a council problem. I put it down to this comprehensive system. Educating down to the lowest common denominator.


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  • 282. At 08:10am on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    42. Diabloandco
    "On a totally different note and since JR is around and about can she or anyone else please explain why we have " Tiger Woods is a very naughty boy !" on our news?"
    I meant to answer this sooner. I don't know why "Tiger Woods is a very naughty boy" is on OUR news. I sure don't know why it's on yours. LOL

    I notice that people are ceasing to be numbers. What will we do without U-boat jokes? ;-)

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  • 283. At 08:30am on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    38. Sheneval
    "If you are suggesting that bloggers should mount some kind of scurrilous campaign making personal unfounded attacks on individual politicians"

    Well, they could take lessons from a certain Baron Foulkes of Cumnock, could they not, who compared the First Minister to Mussolini, explaining later that it was merely a jibe.

    Coming from a Baron it and a member of the Labour party, it couldn't be a scurrilous attack.

    And that makes it perfectly reasonable that the same Lord Foulkes would threaten to sue a Tory who made fun of him on a blog--coming from someone not in Labour that WAS a scurrilous attack.

    We all understand the rules now so we'll all tug our forelocks and be good peasants no longer making fun of our betters. ;-)

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  • 284. At 08:51am on 05 Dec 2009, gandcslovechild wrote:

    morning , G and C's lovechild here.

    JR - just you leave humpty dumpty alone

    he has a hard enough life without wicked people like you picking on him

    Sid

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  • 285. At 09:27am on 05 Dec 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    #275 jingswhatsitallabout

    I had similar thoughts about the Lloyds/HBOS merger. It seemed to me that Brown and Darling were anxious to push this through just to hurt the SNP and the failure of the banks gave them the perfect excuse - they set aside competition policy rules etc. Their thinking would have been to do short term damage (for a few years) to undermine the SNP case for independence, then at some point in the future the company would be split up again, after the anticipated damage had been done. This all seems to be coming true now but with some arm twisting from the EU. The only problem that this approach brings is to permanently damage Scotland's economy (including many jobs lost) and delays any improvements for Scotland until the opposition are in a position to deliver them. The Labour party have never had much consideration for that in the past anyway, and is still being amply demonstrated. Like the minimim pricing for alcohol. I would have thought there will be more to come out about the Lloyds merger when the Tories get hold of the documentation after the election. I believe some people have already been asking for the government dossier on this one.

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  • 286. At 09:48am on 05 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Online Ed here

    It's a good morning.

    Let me direct any new blog readers to Newsnet Scotland's take on the Fiona Hyslop/Teacher Numbers issue.

    Class War

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  • 287. At 09:51am on 05 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    285. hamish42
    Well, Kim Jong Brown did say he would do anything it takes to prevent the Scots from breaking their colonial shackles.

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  • 288. At 10:08am on 05 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    278. At 02:11am on 05 Dec 2009, oldnat:

    Re the improved rail links to Ayrshire. They are improving, but partly at the cost of the Strathclyde South rail network timetable being totally and utterly rehashed to accommodate this. The trains from East Kilbride to Glasgow have remained at the same times for at least 14 years. Now they are being turned upside down.

    The fault lies jointly with Network Rail, Scotrail and Transport Scotland.

    Network Rail for being unable to maintain infrastructure - there are signalling problems at Busby constantly, ongoing for years.

    Scotrail for using trains to join up at Glasgow Central.

    Transport Scotland for failing to do anything about the mess of the EK line. I got a PQ raised with the Transport Minister who batted it straight off to Transport Scotland who came up with the standard reply.

    The fault also lies with successive governments.

    Anyone who gets the East Kilbride train will understand my rant.

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  • 289. At 10:41am on 05 Dec 2009, Ardon wrote:

    The numbers game may be over, but there would seem to be a new one in town. Post #281 has been credited to YOU, instead of me.

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  • 290. At 10:46am on 05 Dec 2009, Ardon wrote:

    I note an article in today's Scotsman "Class size pledge is wrong say SNP 'wise men'". It suggests that size is not important (!) but the standard of teaching is. In my earlier comment I stated that I had been educated in a number of different schools. What I didn't say, but which is relevant to this article, is that ALL my teachers were degree educated, mostly M.A. but some just B.Sc. Are teachers today educated to that level?

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  • 291. At 11:12am on 05 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    #281. Hello Ardon.

    Were there armies of education department officials in those days? A Department of Education nationally? Local education authorities?
    Or just teachers, slates, jotters, pencils and chalk?

    Some of the greatest intellects in world history were born and educated in Scotland writing, inventing, discovering.

    In the days before educational bureaucracies.

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  • 292. At 11:27am on 05 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    290. Ardon

    'It suggests that size is not important'

    Thats what my wife says.

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  • 293. At 11:36am on 05 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    Ardon.

    "You" in blue means You as in Ardon.

    Best,

    Michael

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  • 294. At 12:30pm on 05 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8396818.stm


    Just shows what a bit of campaigning can do.

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  • 295. At 1:47pm on 05 Dec 2009, snowthistle wrote:

    Ardon #281 ( how did you get that past the mods?)

    My son is 10 years old and is conversant in vulgar fractions (though he didn't know the term when I asked), decimal fractions and percentages. He says he learned about vulgar fractions in P4. He goes to the local state primary school and is clever but not exceptional.

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  • 296. At 3:01pm on 05 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    It's panto time!


    Labour Productions Presents

    BABES IN THE SOUP


    at the Millenium Dome



    THE CAST


    BUTTONS.....................JIM MURPHY
    BARON FOULKES...............HIMSELF
    SASH GORDON.................GORDON BROWN
    WISHEE WASHEE...............JACK STRAW
    UGLY BROTHERS...............THE MILLIBANDS
    CINDERS.....................MIKE WATSON
    FLIPPER.....................ALISTAIR DARLING
    CRUMPLEDCHEQUESIN...........HAZEL BLEARS
    MAN IN SHOP.................IAIN GRAY


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

    Director: Peter Mandelson
    Props: Michael Connarty
    Make Up: Catriona Renton


    SONGS SUNG BY
    'DON'T STOP MOVING'...................ALISTAIR DARLING
    'HEATWAVE'............................ED MILLIBAND
    'MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE I'M A LONDONER'...WILLIE BAIN
    'ROAD TO NOWHERE'.....................THE CAST


    This production is sponsored by Woolworths.

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  • 297. At 3:35pm on 05 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    225. Online Ed

    Greenockboy

    How conceited can one person become! Please don't try to quote your DIY natfest as a news source. As for your assertion it is some bastion of the free press, it is completely risible. Looking at your article about Ms Hyslop it is for one poorly written, secondly the BBC would never post such a blatantly partisan piece and try to call it journalism.

    So basically if you want to play journalists, fine but be honest that you are a SNP sycophant and offer no political balance. Don't try to pretend you are open to alternatives, you have never posted any comments even remotely critical of the SNP. Nor have you ever given any credit to any non nat politician. You are completely blinkered.

    The whole education debate is completely sterile and neither side will improve things as policy curently stands.

    The stat that 1 in 5 has literacy problems is a shameful one for the nation. We need a new direction to solve this. I don't think class sizes are the answer, nor is adding teachers necessarily the answer. These are just simplistic responses that offer no new thinking.

    The research on class sizes is far from conclusive. I feel the quality of teaching is more important. I also feel the concentration on exams to the exclusion of pupils that can't attain exam passes is wrong. it turns many off education and contributes greatly to the literacy problem.

    I think we need a cross party group to look at the problem and find a way forward. So we can build a consensus. Stop the political football stuff, get everyone focused on the important issue, improving education.


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  • 298. At 3:42pm on 05 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    296. mistydougie

    script writers: Campbell/McBride ent.

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  • 299. At 4:28pm on 05 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    #297. Hi Northhighlander.

    Without getting into class warfare, I observe that those who send their children to fee-paying schools (and who pay for empty desks at state schools) do not use an education system that is burdened with interfering MPs, local councillors, civil servants and council employees. In these schools the teachers teach and the pupils sit nationally set exams.

    Finland is top of the OECD education achievement tables in mathematics, reading/writing and science. Finland has no educational bureaucracies.

    We have an NHS and a huge Department of Health. Armed forces and a huge Ministry of Defence. Educational bureaucrats at national and local government levels.

    It is time to eliminate much of these unnecessary layers of government and spend money instead on teaching resources and teachers, medical resources and clinical staff, military equipment and servicemen.

    Other successful countries such as Finland manage without huge bureaucracies.

    Best regards,

    Michael Hamilton

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  • 300. At 4:33pm on 05 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    And if they film it,

    Best Boy ---- Oor Glenn

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  • 301. At 4:46pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    297. northhighlander
    "BC would never post such a blatantly partisan piece "

    haha! Good one!

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  • 302. At 5:00pm on 05 Dec 2009, tullibardine wrote:

    #296 Mistydougie:

    ‘Man in shop………………………….Iain Gray’

    Iain Gray always reminds me of the man trying on a jacket in a shop.
    Assistant: ‘How do think it suits you, sir?’
    Man: ‘Just a moment. I’ll get my wife to tell me my opinion.’

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  • 303. At 5:30pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Ah, I see Mr. Salmond is taking off the kid gloves.

    "At present, each of the three London-based parties - Labour, Tory and Liberal - say no, no, no to Scotland, in the same arrogant manner as Margaret Thatcher did.

    In Scotland, I think them are fighting words. ;-)

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  • 304. At 5:50pm on 05 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    303. JRMacClure

    Mixed messages from Alec, Maggie was one of his idols not so long ago. Seems a bit desperate to me, none of his announcements got the public imagination, trying to evoke Maggie is well, desperate negative campaigning.

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  • 305. At 5:59pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    304. northhighlander
    "Seems a bit desperate to me"


    I'll remind you that Thursday a certain Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, a member of Labour unless I mistake, compared the FM to Mussolini.

    THAT I suspect was desperation.

    The SNP standing in the polls hardly calls for desperation, NH. I suspect he's just tired of taking it without hitting back. Plenty of people have been telling him to take off the kid gloves. =)


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  • 306. At 6:00pm on 05 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #304 northhighlander
    But we've seen from Labour how well desperate negative campaigning works. But we can't have the SNP doing that, it would be unfair.

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  • 307. At 6:02pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    304. northhighlander
    "Mixed messages from Alec"
    I do wonder when you'll realize that miscalling him doesn't impress anyone though. At least use a real insult, why don't you?

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  • 308. At 6:02pm on 05 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    304. At 5:50pm on 05 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote -

    'Mixed messages from Alec, Maggie was one of his idols not so long ago.'

    Mixed up again NH.
    Maggie was North British Brown's hero and still is.

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  • 309. At 6:03pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    I noticed the following article on a blog and thought I would share it:

    PM to say sorry

    The Prime Minister will today respond to criticisms that he has not made any apologies recently. It was thought that he would make an apology this week for an historical event with which he is totally unconnected - perhaps the Black Death or the Magna Carta.

    However Number Ten is hinting that the PM might make an announcement later today and possibly go one step further. There are suggestions that he might apologise for something that will happen in the future, with which he is also unconnected, but which might be perpetrated by the Conservatives, such as excessive bank bonuses...

    More on this breaking story later.

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  • 310. At 6:07pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    308. Harry Stottle
    "Maggie was North British Brown's hero and still is."

    Would someone answer something for me. I've seen English posters go on about it being unfair that they're stuck with the unelected Scot, Gordon Brown.

    I have NEVER ONCE seen the good Prime Minister describe himself as a Scot. I have been wondering of late--does the word Scot or Scottish or Scotland ever pass the man's lips? Has he ever in his entire career referred to HIMSELF as a Scot? I notice a very careful lack of a certain accent.

    Just wondering and too lazy to do any research.

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  • 311. At 6:07pm on 05 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    303. JRMacClure

    Thanks for the link but I'll be avoiding all 'news' until the world cup is over.

    My stomach cannot cope with watching David Beckham for fifteen minutes in every thirty minute news broadcast.

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  • 312. At 6:13pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #303 JRMacClure

    Thanks for the link; it led me to another article on the BBC Scotland web-site:

    SNP 'striking the right chord'

    Karen Smith, who's 17, feels Scotland's currently being ignored.

    "You kind of get the impression that the people sitting in the Houses of Parliament don't really have any clue about what's going on up here," she said.

    "It could be anywhere in the world. Life down there is totally different to life up here."

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  • 313. At 6:14pm on 05 Dec 2009, Wee Folding Bike wrote:

    No, Maggie was not one of his idols it was just misrepresented in the papers.

    "It wasn't so much Margaret Thatcher's economics that Scots objected to as her social policy."

    This is not approval of her economic policy, it is a comparison of disapproval. Similarly were I to say "I don't loath liver and onions so much as liver on its own" this in no way implies that I like to eat liver in any shape of form.

    It's not Mr Salmond who has Mrs T over for tea, had her portrait painted and authorised a state funeral for her.

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  • 314. At 6:18pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    311. Harry Stottle
    "My stomach cannot cope with watching David Beckham for fifteen minutes in every thirty minute news broadcast.

    "
    I can't say I blame you. I noticed a certain blogger over at SNP tactical voting post how it is Scot's patriotic duty to cheer for England or else they're just jealous and that Scots have a duty to support England. Not any of your friends from the EU or a team that just catches your fancy. Nope. You're just jealous and rabid cybernats if you don't support your *ahem* Never mind.

    I found that peculiar on a pro-independence blog. *shrug*

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  • 315. At 6:42pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    312. Roll_On_2010
    "Karen Smith, who's 17, feels Scotland's currently being ignored.

    "You kind of get the impression that the people sitting in the Houses of Parliament don't really have any clue about what's going on up here,"
    "

    Interesting article. They obviously had problems finding a quote to suit their purpose. I kind of imagined a few naughty words passing their lips as they struggled for an anti-independence slant.

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  • 316. At 6:46pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    313. Wee Folding Bike
    "It's not Mr Salmond who has Mrs T over for tea, had her portrait painted and authorised a state funeral for her."

    Ouch! I'd heard rumors about the funeral thing but never researched it. Did Mr. Brown REALLY authorize such a thing?

    Amazing.

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  • 317. At 6:47pm on 05 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    304. northhighlander
    "Mixed messages from Alec, Maggie was one of his idols not so long ago. Seems a bit desperate to me, none of his announcements got the public imagination, trying to evoke Maggie is well, desperate negative campaigning."

    You talked about everyone else as having their heads in the sand, stones and glass houses.

    Alex Salmond & Margaret Thatcher: The Truth

    "Anyone who seriously thinks that Alex Salmond has turned into an admirer of Margaret Thatcher must want their heads read. As he has been quick to point out, it was Gordon Brown who invited her to Number Ten, so it’s a bit rich for Labour to make hay with his remarks!"

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  • 318. At 6:50pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #314 JRMacClure

    SNPtacticalvoting has a blog on the SNP National Council meeting held in Perth this weekend:

    Invoking Thatcher

    The SNP has and the key quote from the First Minister's speech seems to be this one, according to the BBC.

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  • 319. At 7:04pm on 05 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Re Alex and Maggie......

    I've read his blog and the comments.

    One person sums it up correctly by saying the statements were taken out of context (bad editing?), but Salmond really should have thought what he was going to say.

    And raising the spectre of Thatcher again is asking for trouble, as they media will now refer to that previous interview.....edited of course.

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  • 320. At 7:09pm on 05 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Just on the World Cup. Watched some of the draw yesterday, and yup, 1966 got mentioned.

    But hopefully England will get thumped.

    As for Scots supporting them, Mr Beckham himself said why should we?

    I'm putting a bet on at the bookies to see how many times 1966 is mentioned in non-England group matches.

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  • 321. At 7:11pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    New Statesman article:

    Thatcher's funeral.

    Gordon Brown’s announcement that he and his acolytes have drawn up a £3m plan to give Margaret Thatcher a state funeral is a disgrace and an unforgivable betrayal of the millions of Labour and trade union people who have constantly cast their votes for the party.

    But there again Thatcher was noted as saying ‘Tony (Blair) won’t let us down’!

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  • 322. At 7:14pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    318. Roll_On_2010

    I'm not impressed with his constant defensiveness on that blog. He needs to get over worrying so much about what every dog and its brother thinks about the SNP. It doesn't matter how meek the SNP acts, they're still going to be attacked so stop worrying about it. However, he does point out one important part of that Mori poll:

    I believe a referendum should be held as soon as possible 25%
    I believe a referendum should be held in a few years time but it is not a priority at the moment 50%
    I do not believe there should be a referendum on this issue 20%

    75 percent of Scots want a referendum. At some point, the other parties had better get a clue.

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  • 323. At 7:28pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    321. Roll_On_2010
    "321. At 7:11pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    New Statesman article:

    Thatcher's funeral.

    "

    Playwright Ed Waugh, who co-wrote Maggie's End, attacks the news of a state funeral for Conservative ex-PM Margaret Thatcher as "an unforgiveable betrayal" of Labour voters who suffered under her rule

    You know, Scottish Labour voters are a FORGIVING lot. I must admit I've never understood it, but there ya go. I'm an American, after all.

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  • 324. At 7:32pm on 05 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    322. JRMacClure
    One thing to come out of it is that it's got people talking.

    People are realising that the future of Scotland is in their hands and they don't have to be dictated to by a alien regime.

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  • 325. At 7:37pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    324. Harry Stottle

    Which is REALLY the point, isn't it? If the Scots decide to remain in that regine--that's THEIR choice.

    But they WANT to decide for themselves. They've SAID they want to decide for themselves.

    So for heaven's sake, put it to a VOTE.

    SIMPLES.

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  • 326. At 7:44pm on 05 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    Here's a good one

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=4U1wVgi7Tss

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  • 327. At 7:49pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #323 JRMacClure

    You know, Scottish Labour voters are a FORGIVING lot. I must admit I've never understood it, but there ya go. I'm an American, after all.

    Westmidden: 1 Tory MP out of 59

    Holyrood: 16 Tory MSP’s out of 129

    I would not call that very forgiving, especially 19 years after Thatchers resignation.

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  • 328. At 7:57pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    326. Harry Stottle

    VERY good one, Harry. Thanks.

    And be sure to tell the SNP not to mention anything NEGATIVE. That would be... erm... POLITICS. After all, Labour never did anything wrong. Did they?

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  • 329. At 8:02pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    327. Roll_On_2010

    I'm sorry, but Labour voters don't seem to worry that Gordon Brown has done worse!

    An illegal war (and that's not counting Afghanistan) and a bankrupt country under the Labour watch. *shakes head in bewilderment*

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  • 330. At 8:15pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Ok, GB didn't do Afghanistan--but that was Labour. Sorry for blaming him for something Blair did. Still... you get my drift.

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  • 331. At 8:19pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    And yes, I know that it was really OUR fault. We put the Bushes in office, but the British PMs didn't HAVE to follow along at our heels.

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  • 332. At 8:35pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Telegraph ICM poll puts Conservatives back on course for general election majority.

    The new survey sees the Tories hitting the key measure of 40 per cent with Labour 11 points behind on 29 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 19 per cent.

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  • 333. At 8:36pm on 05 Dec 2009, Wee Folding Bike wrote:

    GB was the chancellor when the wars were started. Robin Cook resigned. If Brown did not agree with the wars he was at liberty to follow Cook's lead.

    Of course you might not see Brown around much when questions were asked.

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  • 334. At 8:44pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    333. Wee Folding Bike
    "GB was the chancellor when the wars were started. Robin Cook resigned. If Brown did not agree with the wars he was at liberty to follow Cook's lead.

    Of course you might not see Brown around much when questions were asked.
    "
    I was thinking he was already PM when Afghanistan started. My bad. Sorry. But I don't see how Labour in general isn't being blamed for this mess. The fact is, in the US we blamed the Republicans in the harshest terms you can think of--we kicked them to the curb and I don't expect to see them back in any substantial way in the forseeable future.

    I am just baffled at the Scots not reacting in the same way. They got mad enough at the Tories for, if anything, doing less. But I'm sure there are reasons I just don't understand.

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  • 335. At 9:07pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #333 Wee Folding Bike

    Of course you might not see Brown around much when questions were asked.


    He was certainly around for these two events:

    Duff Gordon: Blank Cheque.

    December 20 Treasury accused over Iraq funds. Yep who was the chancellor at the time; of course it was Duff Gordon.


    My dearest wishes are:

    ■ Teflon Tony, Duff Gordon, Meddlesome and Campbell are on the driving seat when the NuLabour Project hits the buffers next year.

    ■ That all the above are shipped of to the Hague to stand trial for the illegal invasion and war in Iraq.

    As a number of grieving parents have said: They have blood on their hands.

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  • 336. At 9:46pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #333 Wee Folding Bike

    By the way here is another event in our history that I would like to see revisited:

    The Kelly inquest.

    Dr David Kelly never got the inquest he deserved, instead he got the Hutton whitewash inquiry.

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  • 337. At 9:47pm on 05 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Honey Trap

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  • 338. At 10:09pm on 05 Dec 2009, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    So it was all fibs then....

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/economics/article6945979.ece

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  • 339. At 10:31pm on 05 Dec 2009, Sheneval wrote:

    283. At 08:30am on 05 Dec 2009, JRMacClure wrote:
    38. Sheneval
    "Well, they could take lessons from a certain Baron Foulkes of Cumnock, could they not, who compared the First Minister to Mussolini, explaining later that it was merely a jibe."

    I'm sure Mr. Salmond is perfectly capable of putting Mr Foulkes in his place without resorting to the kind of hate language used by some of his supporters and I'm certain he would be the first to condemn the 'hate mail' used by those people just as Mr. Russell has condemned that used by one of his aides.

    "Coming from a Baron it and a member of the Labour party, it couldn't be a scurrilous attack."

    As above


    "We all understand the rules now so we'll all tug our forelocks and be good peasants no longer making fun of our betters. ;-)"

    If it makes you happy to poke fun at opposition politicians, whilst achieving nothing, that is up to you, but that is in no way the same as many of the personal insulting remarks that are made daily on this blog and the even worse stuff that takes place on other blogs.

    I am sure that all the SNP politicians recognise that the latter type of behaviour is not in the best interests of the SNP as it will put off many of those who take their politics seriously and prefer to see the opposition's policies attacked rather than nonsensical attacks individuals.

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  • 340. At 10:40pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Can we see your documents please, Your Majesty... Queen faces anti-terror checks every time she leaves UK.

    I thought I had heard it all; but life in Britain can still jump up and bite you on the bum.

    Roll On 2010

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  • 341. At 10:45pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Gordon Brown snubbed by soldiers' 'curtain' protest.

    Gordon Brown was snubbed by badly injured Afghan veterans when they closed curtains round their beds during a hospital visit and refused to speak to him.

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  • 342. At 10:54pm on 05 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    338. Wee-Scamp.

    By Alexander Tytler. 17th century Scottish historian.

    'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

    From bondage to spiritual faith;
    From spiritual faith to great courage;
    From courage to liberty;
    From liberty to abundance;
    From abundance to complacency;
    From complacency to apathy;
    From apathy to dependence;
    From dependence back into bondage.'

    Well, it looks like we're heading for a dictatorship or was that the plan all along?

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  • 343. At 10:56pm on 05 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    'Bush and Blair misled the public... yes, it's conceivable both could end up on trial'

    Tony Blair and George Bush were orchestrating a witch-hunt against Saddam Hussein that ended with the Iraq War, according to a former UN weapons inspector.

    Hans Blix said the two leaders behaved like 17th century witchfinders in their willingness to oust the dictator.


    So why hasn't UN weapons expert Hans Blix been called to give evidence at the Chilcot Inquiry?

    Sorry about the rants tonight but Iraq, as you may have gathered, hits my ezone.

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  • 344. At 11:05pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    339. Sheneval
    "the personal insulting remarks that are made daily on this blog"
    Point those personal insulting remarks out, if you please--the ones toward UNIONISTS that is. I see plenty of them TOWARD nationalists but darn few the other way. Including from you.

    And if you are unaware that satire is a normal political tool, that is YOUR loss.

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  • 345. At 11:07pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    337. cynicalHighlander
    "Honey Trap

    "

    Good for him!!

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  • 346. At 11:15pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    339. Sheneval
    "I'm sure Mr. Salmond is perfectly capable of putting Mr Foulkes in his place"

    The arrant hypocrisy of excusing hate from an OFFICIAL of Labour making speech TOWARD the SNP as "Salmond can take care of himself" but whining and whinging about INDIVIDUALS who happen to be nationalists exercising their right to express their OWN PRIVATE OPINIONS is just breath taking.

    And you continually drag up these accusations of "hate speech" saying it occurs on what I must point out to you is a MODERATED blog.

    My good man, the reason I bother to post here as an American is because I have been so appalled and nauseated at the constant barrage of hate speech FROM unionists. I have NEVER seen the like anywhere else in the world.

    If you were really against hate speech you would be calling for the expulsion of Lord Foulkes from the Labour party. Hypocrisy anyone?

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  • 347. At 11:16pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    343. Roll_On_2010
    I hope so. If I prayed (afraid I'm an athiest) I would PRAY for the day George Bush stands trial for what he did.

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  • 348. At 11:28pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    345. JRMacClure
    Ummm I should have said good for HER.

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  • 349. At 11:37pm on 05 Dec 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    @346 JRMacClure, well said.

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  • 350. At 11:46pm on 05 Dec 2009, albamac wrote:

    341. Roll_On_2010
    "Gordon Brown was snubbed by badly injured Afghan veterans when they closed curtains round their beds during a hospital visit and refused to speak to him."

    TONY TALKS TAE THE TROOPS


    Scots wha' hae wi' Wallace bled,
    Ill-equipped an' poorly fed,
    Welcome tae yer gory bed
    An' hollow victory!
    Noo's the day an' noo's the hour
    Tae die fur Georgie Porgie's pow'r.
    Even though the lie's turned sour,
    Rise an' follow me!

    The people's voice will hold no sway,
    Might will triumph on this day.
    I may be mad but, as I say,
    I, honestly, believe
    That evil Saddam's bound to stay,
    tyranny won't go away,
    an' that's the awful price we'll pay
    unless yer faimlies grieve.

    Yer claes ur crap, yer guns might jam,
    the kitchen's runnin' oot o' Spam,
    yer General's another bam
    that thinks yer 'Good to Go'.
    He says yer plight is jist tough luck.
    Lik me, he couldnae gie a ....
    When yer up tae yer ears in blood an' muck
    We're naewhere near the foe.

    Ah'll no' be rushin' tae the front
    Or joinin' the Bin Laden hunt.
    It'll no' be me that bears the brunt
    O' this war oan terror.
    Ah'll take a leaf fae Georgie's book
    An' fin' masel a cosy nook.
    Why should mah flesh burst an' cook
    Fur an honest error?

    Lik barefit weans, lang years ago,
    Yer beggin' food fae GI Joe
    but ye'll staun up strong an' gladly go
    Wherever cowards send ye.
    Ye'll bite the bullet, cos ye must,
    An' fight wance mer fur foreign dust.
    Through mothers' sons ye'll cut an' thrust
    An' may the right defend ye.

    Meantime, lads, ye can rest assured,
    the nation's gratitude's secured
    An' aw the pain that ye've endured
    Hiz made ye heroes.
    But lik veterans o' aw oor fights,
    don't think that gies ye special rights.
    Ye'll never see the promised heights.
    In fact, yer on tae zeroes

    If ye return fae foreign shore,
    Tae reach yer homeland, safe, once more,
    Ye'll join the dole queue, like before,
    Fur joabs ye widnae spit oan.
    Ye'll open doors an' tip yer hats
    Subservient tae the same fat cats
    Who battles wage wi' lies an' stats
    fur seats ye widnae sh!t oan.

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  • 351. At 11:55pm on 05 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    What If the Banks Hadn’t Been Bailed Out?

    "And why is there so little outrage that whereas when miners and shipbuilders and car manufacturers argued that there were systemic consequences from the shut-down of their companies - blighting whole regions for a generation - we all (rightly, in my view) said they had to be sacrificed on the altar of the free market, but when it’s bankers and London that’s involved, suddenly systemic effects and the misery of unemployment are rediscovered? It has absolutely, unequivocally, been one rule for the rich and another for the poor; and one rule for London and the South-East and another for Yorkshire, Wales, and Belfast. I think that’s immoral, and I am disappointed that so few journalists seem to be able to see it."

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  • 352. At 11:55pm on 05 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Conan the Barblarian?

    They obviously have him scared--or not. ;-)

    Since you're not capable of recognizing it, Sheneval, he does something called satire. Lord Foulkes does not.

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  • 353. At 00:10am on 06 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    Between the Blix testimony brought to our attention by Roll_On_2010, and now this:
    Six doctors are taking legal action to demand a formal inquest into the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly. We are slowly uncovering the truth.
    "Trauma surgeon, Mr Halpin said: "We don't believe that anyone, high profile or not, should go without an inquest in this country. Any unnatural death has to be investigated properly. This has not."
    He said his personal view was that it was "very likely" Dr Kelly was assassinated."
    Teflon Tonys time is coming. The truth will out and justice will prevail. Tony must be tried for his war crimes. Brown, Hoon, Campbell, Straw and Goldsmith should be joining him. Bush should stand trial for his war crimes along with the neocon mob.



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  • 354. At 00:18am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Ok, I'm rolling on the floor laughing and that is NEARLY literally true. Some dim-wit is threatening to expose Nationalist Mythbusting as a NATIONALIST blogger using government paid equipment.

    Now for any who may not know, Nationalist Mythbusting is a TORY site that is ANTI-nationalist. So if he is exposed, it will be to some chuckles.

    Actually, I hope he isn't. I think (as you probably know) that people on the blogosphere should be able to express their opinions. But posting from work is a BAD idea whatever side you're on.

    So don't.

    Meantime, I'm laughing at the very idea of anti-nationalist people making a goal against themselves. *grin*

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  • 355. At 00:38am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #350 albamac

    As ever albamac a poem that is, in my opinion, up there with the greats. I saved your ‘BIRDS CANNAE FLY WHERE PIGS FILL THE SKY’; I will certainly do the same with this.

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  • 356. At 00:46am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    350. albamac
    Painfully true.

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  • 357. At 00:50am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Here’s one NuLabour tried to slip in under the radar:

    New parliamentary standards body will cost more than £100 million.

    The Treasury has set a £103 million-a-year budget for the running of the new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority – the body that is to decide MPs salaries and expenses following the scandal that has rocked the House of Commons for the past year.

    The budget was slipped out in a pile of statistics released by the Treasury to Parliament covering the annual vote and supplementary winter estimates.

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  • 358. At 00:52am on 06 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    339. Sheneval

    Rest assured that the mods are quick to pull stuff off here GorbalsSheneval, and when they don't - people always free to refer them.

    Who made you languange police of the blogosphere anyway?

    Whatever you or other posters may think, just because there are lots of folk on here supporting the SNP and seeking independence doesn't mean they don't want to post comment in their own way, not according to some sanitized party HQ protocol.

    Anyone that gets themelves in a position where what they write becomes actionable will presumably find themselves being served papers, if the person being 'offended' is actually 'offended' enough.

    I sincerely hope people don't sit here at every post worrying 'is posting this in the interests of [political party x]', what is the point of that?

    If i want party cribsheet postings i'll go to their websites thanks.

    Here's to a heterogenous collection of voices, and not a orderly queue of party mouthpieces!



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  • 359. At 00:56am on 06 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    349. GrassyKnollington
    "@346 JRMacClure, well said."

    Seconded!
    Well bloody said!

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  • 360. At 01:02am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    I don’t think you could make this up if you really tried:

    Warning over demand for 600,000 engineers.

    The automotive sector and the building of a green economy could be threatened by a shortage of hundreds of thousands of engineers, according to an industry report this week.

    The Engineering and Technology Board said Britain needed to recruit 587,000 manufacturing workers between now and 2017, but that the fall in the youth population and the trend towards uneducated worklessness threatened this.


    This is precisely the area we should have been targeting the money at, not the reckless casino banks.

    This just goes to prove that NuLabour haven’t got a clue and have written off not only our futures, but that of our kids, in Industries that will sustain/build jobs as we come out of the recession.

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  • 361. At 01:05am on 06 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Just to prove there is balance out there in blogland:

    http://nat-mythbusting.blogspot.com/


    But who is it?

    Will anyone dare..........

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  • 362. At 01:06am on 06 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    JR, I've just read your 354......

    oops

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  • 363. At 01:07am on 06 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    351. cynicalHighlander

    Interesting link cynicalHighlander. I've said before that I think the economy should've been refloated from the bottom (the top always makes sure it gets it).


    The last two sentences you quoted get close to the thing that's really been the most unpleasant undercurrent i've felt over the past couple of years -
    'Don't mention the class war!'

    I'm sick hearing the priviliged or their apologists tell us that they don't like people bringing up things that sound like 'class war' - when we have had (at least) a generation of parties in power at Westminster who have during a period of - in their own terms - some of the greatest economic growth, managed to increase the gap between rich and poor and its rate of change! Oh, but don't talk about it - that'd be rude; politcs of envy and all that!

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  • 364. At 01:07am on 06 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    I see the SoS has plummeted to new depths in spewing crud.
    It looks like that chip wrapper knows no bounds in attacking Scotlands democratically elected government.

    Roll on the day when when the people of Scotland finally put that sorry pile of garbage into the history books.

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  • 365. At 01:10am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    491. Sheneval
    "True, a dirk can give you that certain edge, if you'll pardon the pun.;-)

    I think the Highlander's would have found it extremely useful for encouraging bloggers to mind their Ps & Qs
    "

    A death threat against bloggers whose opinions you don't like, perchance? Sounds mightily like hate speech to me.

    Or mayhaps you were exercising a right to satire?

    Might want to watch those accusations.

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  • 366. At 01:11am on 06 Dec 2009, Sheneval wrote:

    346. At 11:15pm on 05 Dec 2009, JRMacClure wrote:
    "The arrant hypocrisy of excusing hate from an OFFICIAL of Labour making speech TOWARD the SNP as "Salmond can take care of himself" but whining and whinging about INDIVIDUALS who happen to be nationalists exercising their right to express their OWN PRIVATE OPINIONS is just breath taking."

    I did not excuse Mr Foulkes - I was making the point that Mr Salmond could take care of himself without your help.

    "And you continually drag up these accusations of "hate speech" saying it occurs on what I must point out to you is a MODERATED blog."

    You are right the word 'hate' is too strong in most cases - the word 'snide' would fit better.


    "My good man, the reason I bother to post here as an American is because I have been so appalled and nauseated at the constant barrage of hate speech FROM unionists. I have NEVER seen the like anywhere else in the world."

    I am not your good man and you obviously follow the bile from the Unionist side far more closely than I do.

    "If you were really against hate speech you would be calling for the expulsion of Lord Foulkes from the Labour party. Hypocrisy anyone?"

    I didn't hear Mr Foulkes speech or read about it so I can't comment on it but I doubt if Mr. Salmond will be unduly bothered about it but if it was as bad as you make out, which I very much doubt, then no doubt Mr Foulkes has contravened the rules and can be challenged via the Parliamentary system which deals with such matters.

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  • 367. At 01:21am on 06 Dec 2009, oldnat wrote:

    358. mrbfaethedee
    "Here's to a heterogenous collection of voices"

    While I recently joined the SNP (seems the best option at the moment) I see no reason why I should necessarily support all of their policies. I want to maximise Scotland's autonomy, but am quite happy for us to pool aspects of our sovereignty with others in a greater Union (as opposed to the UK which is a has been Imperial Union).

    Oops, That is SNP policy. Damn I have to find something else to disagree with my party on!

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  • 368. At 01:24am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

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

  • 369. At 01:26am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    363. mrbfaethedee
    "I'm sick hearing the priviliged or their apologists tell us that they don't like people bringing up things that sound like 'class war' - when we have had (at least) a generation of parties in power at Westminster who have during a period of - in their own terms - some of the greatest economic growth, managed to increase the gap between rich and poor and its rate of change! Oh, but don't talk about it - that'd be rude; politcs of envy and all that!

    "
    True all over the world, my friend, not just in your neck of the woods. One day people will wake up to what's happened and continues to happen.

    Some people have mentioned Reign of Terror, guillotines, and peasant revolts... But it wasn't me. I wouldn't do that. I'm a peaceable sort.

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  • 370. At 01:28am on 06 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    364. At 01:07am on 06 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:
    I see the SoS has plummeted to new depths in spewing crud.
    It looks like that chip wrapper knows no bounds in attacking Scotlands democratically elected government.



    Chippies aren't allowed to use newspaper anymore. You might catch something......

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  • 371. At 01:28am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    367. oldnat
    "Oops, That is SNP policy. Damn I have to find something else to disagree with my party on!"

    Haha. Funny lad you are.

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  • 372. At 01:31am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    362. enneffess
    "JR, I've just read your 354......

    oops
    "
    I suspect it's all tosh, but with what's gone on in the blogosphere lately you just can't tell.

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  • 373. At 01:37am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    What's this about NoTW being ripped a new *ahem*? Saw on another blog it had something to do with that £1000000 payed to those harassed and threatened after having their telephones tapped.

    Rumor or true?

    I once called their editor a bad name and a certain nationalist came on MY blog and said I was a naughty girl bringing nationalism into disrepute although I never DID understand how anyone could blame the SNP for what an American said.

    I still think the editor (and anyone who works for that slimy publication) are a bad name, by the way, and I hope they are being torn to shreds. What they exercise has darn little to do with free speech.

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  • 374. At 01:38am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    368. JRMacClure
    "This comment has been referred to the moderators."
    LOL I don't remember saying anything questionable but I'm feeling chatty tonight. No CLUE!

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  • 375. At 01:46am on 06 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    361. enneffess

    But who is it?

    I don't know but he looks a prat in his butchers apron semmit.
    Still, he's got the Baron as a follower so he must be of some eminence in the circle of self servers.

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  • 376. At 02:09am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #375 Harry Stottle

    He’s even got ‘deanthetory’ down as a follower.

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  • 377. At 02:17am on 06 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    367. oldnat

    I've nothing against broader union with others, to a level at which we remain consonant. My only, not inconsiderable, caveat concerns the degree to which the institutional make up of such a broader union is as democratic as it can be.

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  • 378. At 02:25am on 06 Dec 2009, mrbfaethedee wrote:

    374. JRMacClure
    ""This comment has been referred to the moderators."
    LOL I don't remember saying anything questionable but I'm feeling chatty tonight. No CLUE!
    "

    Nothing so maddening as capriciousness.

    Night all...

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  • 379. At 02:50am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    New YouGov poll in the Sunday Times:

    Gordon Brown’s toff attack finds voter appeal.

    The attempt by the prime minister to portray David Cameron’s Tories as the party of the wealthy and privileged has resonance with voters, a Sunday Times-YouGov poll has found.

    Despite this the Tories remain in a 13-point poll lead, only slightly down on the 14-point gap a month ago. Their rating has slipped from 41% to 40% over the past month while Labour is steady on 27%, the Liberal Democrats unchanged at 18% and other parties up one at 15%.


    The poll details, as yet, are not on the YouGov site.

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  • 380. At 03:06am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    379. Roll_On_2010
    "Despite this the Tories remain in a 13-point poll lead, only slightly down on the 14-point gap a month ago. Their rating has slipped from 41% to 40% over the past month while Labour is steady on 27%, the Liberal Democrats unchanged at 18% and other parties up one at 15%."

    Couldn't that put them in hung parliament territory?

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  • 381. At 03:42am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #380 JRMacClure


    Political Betting

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  • 382. At 04:02am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #380 JRMacClure

    How serious is this for Obama.

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  • 383. At 04:36am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    382. Roll_On_2010
    "How serious is this for Obama.

    "
    It's pure tosh. These nutcases have been around ever since he started running but some nutcases are nutcases with money.

    Obama's mother was an American which makes him a "natural-born citizen" and the courts have already ruled on this silliness. He was also born in Hawaii which makes him a natural born citizen but he would have been no matter where he was born. If either of your parents are citizens, you're a citizen. My daughter was born while I was in Japan. Believe me, it made NO difference in her citizenship.

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  • 384. At 04:37am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    381. Roll_On_2010
    I'd heard 40% or under might be a problem but I never can figure out how that works in the UK.

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  • 385. At 04:42am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    As Paul McCartney once sang, it’s ‘Back to the USSR’:

    Emails that rocked climate change campaign leaked from Siberian 'closed city' university built by KGB

    Suspicions were growing last night that Russian security services were behind the leaking of the notorious British ‘Climategate’ emails which threaten to undermine tomorrow’s Copenhagen global warming summit.

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  • 386. At 04:51am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    385. Roll_On_2010
    "Emails that rocked climate change campaign leaked from Siberian 'closed city' university built by KGB
    "

    A KGB conspiracy??? Talk about conspiracists. That just...

    Ok. I'm speechless. Or typeless as the case may be.

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  • 387. At 04:59am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #384 JRMacClure

    I am not a polling geek so I can’t help you there. But I imagine the 40% and indeed 50% are more psychological thresholds, and it’s the gap between them that is more important. I feel oldnat would be the best person to ask or one of the other polling anoraks on this site.

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  • 388. At 05:40am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    387. Roll_On_2010
    "I am not a polling geek"

    LOL I'm with you there.

    I don't know that Oldnat cares to answer the question but I assume someone will. I think I'd heard that as kind of the point at which a hung partliament became possible, but figuring out UK voting patterns is SO complicated.

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  • 389. At 06:05am on 06 Dec 2009, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 385 Roll_On_2010

    Even if it was leaked from Russia, does that in anyway detract from the fact that these e-mails were true? Does it matter where the e-mails were leaked from and what were the reasons of the people who leaked them? I would say it doesn't matter, what does matter is that certain scientists in the UK were deliberately being obstructive to other scientists who did not hold their views. That is the scandal, not where it was leaked from.
    There has been some recent information in the UK media that they have figures going back over 100 years showing an increase in temperature during this period. Well, it is bound to show an increase as we had just came out of a mini ice age just over 100 years ago, which started in the medievel times, so the figures are bound to show an increase. Strange how the scientists 'forgot' to mention that one. The pro climate change scientists have their own agenda; I wonder who is funding their research? Follow the money and you'll get your answer.

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  • 390. At 06:11am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #388 JRMacClure

    I will have to say goodnight… going for some shuteye. Its after 6am in the morning here and I have a date this afternoon… my youngest daughter.

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  • 391. At 06:26am on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #389 gedguy2

    “The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than a small one.”

    Adolph Hitler. ‘Mein Kampf‘ Chapter 10 1925.


    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Josef Goebbels. Hitler’s propaganda chief.

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  • 392. At 07:44am on 06 Dec 2009, spinspamspun7 wrote:

    What how's waits for post/drivel! Watching/reading how threads develop!!!
    What tiresome the posts the banter of oldnat/JRMaclure have become???
    Help us avoid all these patronising "posts"
    Should be limited one post every hour!!!60mins max???
    A chance to get to Brians Blog!and develop threads !!!
    It's what's exchanges are about,not pseudo chat !!

    Education,Education,Education is what the blog is supposed to be about!!!



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  • 393. At 07:53am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    392. spinspamspun7
    "Education,Education,Education is what the blog is supposed to be about!!!"

    LOL So post something about education. Why are you whinging about what someone else posts? =)

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  • 394. At 08:08am on 06 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Pity old mythbuster was'nt educated in the spelling area!
    Spam is as Spam does!
    I really appreciate the insight of Old Nat and JR - especially as hers are made from a distance.
    Just what have you added to tickle the intellect?


    Thanks for the article from the Times - most interesting reading
    Up the creek and only a broken paddle in the boat!

    And , of course greetings to all from the unheralded Region 9!
    No trumpets, no parties , not even so much as a damp squib!
    Now , if we are Region 9 are there any prizes for guessing who the other regions are???
    Do they know??

    As for the comment on SNP supporters being name callers , what can one say?
    Certainly nothing that would be printed on such a douce site as this.

    Maybe " Ya boo! Mussolini!"

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  • 395. At 08:24am on 06 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    Sunday Post for a wee snigger!

    A wee taster!,
    "SCOTTISH Labour Party leader Iain Gray’s campaign for the leadership of the party was indirectly funded by council tax payers, it has been alleged.

    It’s claimed local tax payers in East Lothian unknowingly subsidised Labour fund-raising events in Prestonpans."

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  • 396. At 09:40am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    395. Diabloandco
    Oh, thanks for the tip. Nice article about Mr. Gray in The Times, too.

    Iain Gray Under Pressure

    It has been revealed that a branch of his constituency party has been given support worth £6,700 by East Lothian council over the past 14 years.

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  • 397. At 09:46am on 06 Dec 2009, Peter_of_Fife wrote:

    I appreciate that the thread of this blog is the reduction of class sizes or more correctly the promise of the SNP, misguided or otherwise, to reduce them.

    I feel many of the problems in education today, standards of literacy and numeracy have existed for many years, since before the Edinburgh Parliament and through all of said Parliament's masters and their own particular machinations.

    For example in June of 1997 the then Scottish Office Education Minister, Mr Brian Wilson, MP, announced a £24 million package to raise standards of literacy and numeracy for all Scotland's five and six year olds.

    I feel many of today's problems can be clearly laid at the feet of politicians of all persuasions and our educators; each shiny new graduation of teachers leaving university seem to operate on the principle that they alone understand education and how their future charges should be taught; this sort of misconception is not limited to teaching and teachers.

    If teachers understand where education is going wrong how come so many of their variations on the theme of education have failed; how do we still have the same problems today that we have had for many years?

    I would suggest that too many changes combined with tinkering and a lack of commitment from teachers to follow the official guidelines which they seem to disagree with, have led to lower standards of education than we should expect for our financial outlay.

    We know what does not work, we need to abandon the newfangled ideas which have exited and are about to exit from teacher training colleges and get back to basics; I can't believe I just used that phrase.

    We need to get back to the basics of education and teach as many of our children as possible to standards which will prepare them for modern life; we also need to accept that there will be a minority who will struggle these individuals will need additional help whilst at the same time avoiding placing them into positions of ridicule.

    We need education ministers to clearly define teaching methods and curricula for all age groups; teachers are paid to teach not define teaching methods and curricula.

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  • 398. At 10:05am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    366. Sheneval
    "

    So it's all right with you as long as it's Labour using hate speech.

    Well, now we know, don't we.

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  • 399. At 10:16am on 06 Dec 2009, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    Brian can you look into the story regarding -

    "Labour leader Iain Gray in new donations ‘sleaze’ row"

    I am sure you have some difficult questions you would like to ask him.

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  • 400. At 10:16am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    395. Diabloandco
    ""SCOTTISH Labour Party leader Iain Gray’s campaign for the leadership of the party was indirectly funded by council tax payers, it has been alleged.
    "

    Oddly enough I can't seem to find a whisper about it on the BBC.

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  • 401. At 10:17am on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Well, as my username appears to be back there's no need for my usual Online Ed Here

    The news that Iain Gray's leadership campaign may have been funded in part by East Lothian council taxpayers was covered in depth on the Shereen Nanjiani radio programme.

    Yes, I'm joking of course - it was given around ten seconds where guest panellist David Dinsmore jokingly referred to it and tried to make it sound contrived, too complicated to understand and a non story.

    It's mentioned around 18 minutes into the programme if you can be bothered listening to it on iplayer.

    At the end of the programme, 44 minutes and 45 secs in, it covers the referendum white paper. Well actually it doesn't, what follows is a piece that starts off by mocking Alex Salmond, this tone continues as we are presented with excerpts of a Jeremy Paxman interview and Glenn Campbell's balanced coverage of Hyslop's demotion.

    The guest pannellists then make a series of comments about Salmond being "weakened" by Hyslop's demotion [the recent polls are simply ignored], that no-one wants independence and the usual Unionist line about the wrong time for a referendum.

    We are told that Salmond is 'wily', he can 'come back' and that he mght be in a win-win situation if Unionists prevent a referendum.

    There is absolutely no discussion at all about the contents of the white paper, the merit or otherwise of the four options presented by the paper, the fact that the electorate want a referendum and the clear evidence that the current constitutional set up is all but dead.

    Probably the worst news and current affairs programme around ...

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  • 402. At 10:23am on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Now it's in The Herald.

    Methinks Mr. Gray may have been a bad boy

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  • 403. At 10:26am on 06 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    351. cynicalHighlander

    I usually ignore nationalist paranoia on this subject. But you really need to think about what you say.

    At the time of bailout it now appears that HBOS was effectively finished, with RBS not far behind. Not because of anything other than reckless and stupid decisions made by the respective managements.

    However had they gone under the consequences would have been far-reaching for us all. It would have resulted in the total collapse of the banking system, people would have lost savings, businesses would not have been able to trade, it would have been a disaster.

    While I feel very deeply for those in other industries that have lost and are still losing their jobs, each one is a personal tragedy, banking underpins the whole system and could not fail.

    I think when history is written we will have handled this reasonably well, given the circumstances.

    However nothing will stop your conspiracy theories, you only see what you want to see.

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  • 404. At 10:42am on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Anyone else get the impression that our media are trying to convince us that somehow Scottish education is suddenly in meltdown?

    Also:
    The Scotsman/SOS are back to their old 'The pressure mounted on the First Minister ....' type articles.

    It kind of reminds me of the guy who used to walk around London's Leicester Square with the sandwich board proclaiming 'The End Is Nigh'.

    He though had more credibility.

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  • 405. At 10:42am on 06 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:

    307. JRMacClure

    I don't miscall the man, although there are temptations. I try to avoid this. What in my post was derogatory to our esteemed and glorious leader?

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  • 406. At 10:51am on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    Comment 403 from northhighlander is bizarre.

    Another poster has posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article beneath which is an extract from the article.

    northhighlander then says this:
    I usually ignore nationalist paranoia on this subject.

    However nothing will stop your conspiracy theories, you only see what you want to see.

    Strange, since cynicalHighlander didn't actually say anything at all - the words are from the journalist who wrote the article.

    Like I say, bizarre.

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  • 407. At 10:56am on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    405. At 10:42am on 06 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:
    307. JRMacClure

    I don't miscall the man, although there are temptations. I try to avoid this. What in my post was derogatory to our esteemed and glorious leader?

    I think your deliberate mis-spelling of Alex Salmond's name is being percieved as an insult.

    I suppose only you know why you mis-spell it.

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  • 408. At 11:00am on 06 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    JRMacClure
    Can I wish the USA the very best of luck in the forthcoming world cup and may they convincingly win all their games.

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  • 409. At 11:03am on 06 Dec 2009, Independista wrote:

    401. Like you I have just listened to the ever lightweight Shereen Nanjiani Radio Scotland programme. Why is this programme consistently negative about the SNP, and why does it never have a commentator who happens to believe in independence? I searched in vain for a link to her programme so that I could complain, but failed. So here I am on Brian's blog to make my point. Not that it will make a blind bit of difference, since BBC Scotland seems to be staffed from top to bottom by pro Unionists. Is it any wonder that their ratings are going down?
    Time to resurrect Radio Free Scotland methinks!

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  • 410. At 11:15am on 06 Dec 2009, Peter_of_Fife wrote:

    Iain Gray was/is a poor Leader replacement for the previously discredited Leaders Jack McConnell, and Wendy Alexander; I also note that another one of West Coast Jack's Civil Service relocations has hit yet another problem, this time with their council tax.

    When I scan the Labour ranks in the light of this latest scandal, who stands out as a Leader in waiting? Nobody!

    Will we have the continuation of a discredited Iain Gray, the return of West Coast Jack, Wednesday Alexander, possibly Andy Kerr or God forbid one of the three from Cawdor.

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  • 411. At 11:28am on 06 Dec 2009, Harry Stottle wrote:

    409. Independista

    'Time to resurrect Radio Free Scotland methinks!'

    It's sad that this country which gave so much to the world cannot even have an ubiased media.

    As you say, it's time to get some fresh thinking in our media and rid ourselves of the London controlled anti Scottish spin machines which are destroying our country.

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  • 412. At 12:06pm on 06 Dec 2009, Diabloandco wrote:

    I have just visited the Daily Mash, I do enjoy their unique take on things!

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  • 413. At 12:17pm on 06 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    The Labour Party has gleefully dug a big trap for the SNP on class sizes by several Labour controlled council deliberately and dishonestly doing all they can to frustrate the SNP Government's attempt to bring down class sizes.
    I suspect however that the Labour Party is going to fall foul of their own trap.

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  • 414. At 12:38pm on 06 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    403. northhighlander
    "I usually ignore nationalist paranoia on this subject. But you really need to think about what you say.

    At the time of bailout it now appears that HBOS was effectively finished, with RBS not far behind. Not because of anything other than reckless and stupid decisions made by the respective managements.

    However had they gone under the consequences would have been far-reaching for us all. It would have resulted in the total collapse of the banking system, people would have lost savings, businesses would not have been able to trade, it would have been a disaster.

    While I feel very deeply for those in other industries that have lost and are still losing their jobs, each one is a personal tragedy, banking underpins the whole system and could not fail.

    I think when history is written we will have handled this reasonably well, given the circumstances.

    However nothing will stop your conspiracy theories, you only see what you want to see.
    "

    If common sense and reality are a sign of nationalism I put my hand up as do others.

    Britain tops bank bail-outs with nearly 20% of GDP, report finds

    "Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said: "This is a direct consequence of playing host to international banks. Britain is in an extremely exposed position. These are global banks, but they're not being rescued by the globe.""

    Just as a footnote these losses only amount to 40% we still have to uncover the other 60%.

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  • 415. At 12:43pm on 06 Dec 2009, Rockycoast wrote:

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  • 416. At 12:50pm on 06 Dec 2009, Rockycoast wrote:

    Online Ed 10.17 am
    Yes, I heard the part of Shereen Nanjiani's programme where Alex Salmond was discussed. The thing that struck me most about the conversation was their obvious fear of him.Was it Napoleon who said
    'They want me dead,but their afraid to come to the funeral'?

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  • 417. At 12:51pm on 06 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    407. At 10:56am on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:
    405. At 10:42am on 06 Dec 2009, northhighlander wrote:
    307. JRMacClure

    I don't miscall the man, although there are temptations. I try to avoid this. What in my post was derogatory to our esteemed and glorious leader?

    I think your deliberate mis-spelling of Alex Salmond's name is being percieved as an insult.

    I suppose only you know why you mis-spell it.


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

    Now I was about to correct Online Ed on his spelling of PERCEIVED. And to double check myself ran it through Word, which accepted both versions.
    The correct version is of Perceived (i before e except after c).

    Maybe the evil unionists have infiltrated Word to mislead us all.....


    ps Couldn't resist the correction....

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  • 418. At 12:53pm on 06 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    413. At 12:17pm on 06 Dec 2009, sneckedagain wrote:
    The Labour Party has gleefully dug a big trap for the SNP on class sizes by several Labour controlled council deliberately and dishonestly doing all they can to frustrate the SNP Government's attempt to bring down class sizes.
    I suspect however that the Labour Party is going to fall foul of their own trap.

    -----------

    It's a fair point. But have all the SNP controlled councils correctly allocated the funding to education? The trap may floor Labour, but there is a good chance it will rebound on the SNP as well.

    Councils should be legally bound to use funding correctly.

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  • 419. At 12:57pm on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #402 JRMacClure


    JR you have left the digit ‘1’ off the end of your link. Consequently you link to another article.

    The correct link is:

    Labour leader Iain Gray in new donations ‘sleaze’ row.

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  • 420. At 1:26pm on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Polls suggest 'Brown bounce' over.

    Polls at the end of last month had suggested Brown's Labour government was narrowing the gap with David Cameron's Conservatives, with the surveys saying an election would result in a hung parliament and no party in overall control.

    But the latest opinion polls gave Cameron double digit leads that would see him end more than a decade of Labour rule and enjoy a parliamentary majority of between 20 and 50 seats.



    #392 spinspamspun7

    Hi Delboy, long time no see?

    I see you are still helping your boss, Duff Gordon, to dig his hole. What a pointless task.

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  • 421. At 1:47pm on 06 Dec 2009, Norganicks wrote:

    Thank you snowthistle on your #295. You must have put the smutty connotation (which I didn't even think about) into the mod minds because I have been locked out since, and had to re-register!

    Nice to know that some kids are learning at the correct speed. Support your local school. It is obviously doing things right.

    To the rest of you, I thought that this thread was about education, not Iain Gray's probable misdemeanours!

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  • 422. At 1:48pm on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    The BBC not at all happy that the Iain Gray donations story has broken.

    So much so that they actually tried to suggest deviousness on the part of the SNP, or to quote the BBC reporter on The Politics Show "there might be more to this than meets the eye".

    Now, what are the BBC trying to imply?

    Glenn Campbell gave an insight when he remarked to the SNP's Christine Grahame that this story emerges after a "bad week" for the SNP.

    Seems the BBC are quite happy and eager to headline accusations that the First Minister misled parliament but show signs of irritation when the legitimacy of donations to Iain Gray's leadership campaign is questioned.

    A big thanks to Catriona Renton for recycling the old 'Flagship Policy' phrase - I had wondered where it had gone.

    In case you're wondering what SNP policy it has been attached to now, it's class sizes.

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  • 423. At 1:50pm on 06 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Back to the biased media for a minute. A very good example of the sort of unbalanced and biased and in fact dishonest repoerting is over the new Licensing regulations coming into force.
    There are repeated attempts in te media to associate the SNP Government with the difficulties these are prewsnting to the licensed trade. The latest is in today's Sunday Wail where a piece about a Morrisons store's dificulties remarks that these are due to legislations which "are in line with Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill's crudsade against Scotland's booze problems". Photo of Kenny MacAskill accompanies the piece.

    The actual legislation has nothing whatever to do with Kenny MacAskill. The whole of the article implies that it does.
    If the reporter concerned - Mark Aitken - doesn't know the actual facts about the legislation he should not be writing about it for a large circulation newspaper. The legislation in question is entirely a product of the last Labour/LibDem Scottish administration. It was put before the last Parliament as a white paper, led through Parliament by LibDem minister George Lyon, then an MSP, and voted into law in that Parliament. The only connection the SNP Governmen has to the new licensing regulations is that they are now in power when the legislation is coming into effect and without the whole parliamentary procedure being gone through again they cannot undo the law.

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  • 424. At 1:53pm on 06 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #419 Roll_On_2010
    Isn't it nice to read the Labour spokesperson averring that Labour's opinion of the efficacy of the SNP culture secretary is more important than the rule of law. I think the Scots will be very well advised to give the Labour such a booting that they have to claw themselves out of the gutter and are forced to stop treating Scotland and the Scots as their private fiefdom where they can "borrow" council people and property as their own. The law is the law, even for Labour.

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  • 425. At 2:03pm on 06 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #419 Roll_On_2010
    As I was there, I had a further peruse of the paper and came across this:-
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/how-a-colony-of-bats-is-set-to-scupper-scotland-s-most-controversial-road-and-51m-of-taxpayer-cash-1.990225
    Now wasn't this road one of the feathers in Tavish's cap? Surely they would have mentioned that in a report of the whole thing going pear shaped, wouldn't they?

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  • 426. At 2:15pm on 06 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    #421. Norganicks: we blog about the main topic but as the blog is on for 3 - 4 days we also comment on other topical stuff.

    Thanks for your comments about your education. My Mum taught us to read before we got to primary school and we were given something to tread while the others did their reading lessons. No one seemed to worry.

    We had to recite tables to learn them and then later answer tables' questions in any sequence. We were taught mental arithmetic and even now I find that when folk are adding or using a calculator I have the answer in my head.

    We all worked hard because we got the belt if we didn't. I don't remember a single incident of ill discipline in all my primary years.

    Changed days!

    Michael

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  • 427. At 2:17pm on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Brian, it’s all about Education, education, education:

    Who is to blame for Scotland's education failings?

    The most recent Trends in International Maths and Science Survey (Timms) found that English scores were significantly higher than Scottish scores in maths and science, the difference widening between 1995 and 2007, and with Scotland ranked below the global average.

    I think this part is worth repeating: the difference widening between 1995 and 2007

    It will be no surprise whatsoever to many that NuLabour have let the Scottish people down. But now is not the time for recrimination but the time for positive hard work to rebuild the educational legacy Scotland inherited from NuLabour.

    Leave the negative recrimination on NuLabour’s doorstep, they do not have the policies for this century as they proved with their stance on ‘minimum alcohol pricing’.

    The SNP now have to be bold and turn this NuLabour wreck around. I believe the have made a concrete start in appointing Michael Russell.

    The article also states:

    Her replacement [ Fiona Hyslop ] last week with Michael Russell, an educational free thinker who had previously criticised the statist rigidity of Scotland’s education system, seemed a good move.

    Overall the lengthy article provides a balanced and constructive criticism of education in Scotland.

    Although it will take time I believe that the SNP are the only party that are capable of reconstructing Scotland’s educational system back to its former glory, once recognised as great the world over.

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  • 428. At 2:23pm on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #425 handclapping

    Yep, the LibDums going nowhere but costing the Scottish taxpayer a lot of dosh to get there!

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  • 429. At 2:40pm on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    With the year drawing to a close Newsnet Scotland's dedicated team of panellists (me) have been deciding on this years political awards.

    Here are the results:

    The Best Release Award:
    Kenny MacAskill for ‘Al Megrahi’

    The Best Re-release Award:
    Jack Straw for ‘Ronnie Biggs’ (Originally unofficially ‘released’ in the sixties)

    The Monte-Cristo Award:
    This years ‘Count’ is Jim Murphy

    The Deal or No Deal award:
    Tony Blair for the deal in the desert.

    The ‘Glenn Campbell’ Award:
    David Maddox

    The ‘David Maddox’ Award:
    Glenn Campbell

    The ‘Name, rank and serial number’ Award:
    Alex Salmond for skillfully avoiding answering awkward questions
    (Jim Murphy was disqualified due to not being asked any)

    The ‘My feet are always cold’ Award:
    The entire Scottish press for poor circulation.

    The ‘Mr Magoo’ Award:
    Brian Taylor for failing to see Malcolm Chisholm undermine Iain Gray ..... twice.

    Feel free to add to the list, I might publish them in Newsnet Scotland next week.

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  • 430. At 2:47pm on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    (Appendage to my) #427. Roll_On_2010

    I do not include Higher Education in my comments at #427. This area of education is still renowned as world class. But it wouldn’t do any harm if the whole of the educational provision provided across Scotland is looked at in a - ‘Joined up thinking way’.

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  • 431. At 2:51pm on 06 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    #421. Norganicks
    "...I thought this thread was about education..."

    We're a bunch of anarchist scallies here pal.We make the threads be about what we want.Though we do pay Brian the courtesy of making some of the posts relevant to his blog.

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  • 432. At 2:56pm on 06 Dec 2009, Michael Hamilton wrote:

    #429. Online Ed

    Cool post - thanks for the laugh - or were you being serious?!

    Michael.

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  • 433. At 3:01pm on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #429 Online Ed

    Glad to see you have got your monicker back.

    Just one criticism on your awards…. I feel you have left the Grey man out. Surely an award of…say.. 4th caretaker of the busted NuLabour North Contingency does deserve some recognition. I mean it must be a difficult position to fill and they are desperately short of any credible replacements.

    Apart from that you are doing a brilliant job… keep the beggars on their toes!

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  • 434. At 3:03pm on 06 Dec 2009, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    The Best Creative Mind Award:
    Catriona Renton

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  • 435. At 3:07pm on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:

    #429 Online Ed

    Afterthought:

    You could call it the wooden spoon award. After all our Iain is very good at stirring it.

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  • 436. At 3:11pm on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    #429. Online Ed

    Cool post - thanks for the laugh - or were you being serious?!

    Michael.


    Thank you and you're welcome.

    The Salmond award of course refers to FMQ's and how he continually turns Iain Gray's questions around and batters Gray with them.

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  • 437. At 4:05pm on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    434 - I like it !!

    I see that BBC have managed to word the Iain Gray donations issue in order to minimies the damage to Gray.

    There are of course two issues:

    1. Council equipment has, for years, been given free of charge to the local Labour party for use in fund raising events for Labour.

    2. That same local party donated funds to Iain Gray's leadership campaign.

    This is how the BBC present the revelation:
    Gray embroiled in local donor row

    Local donor row?

    There is no row, there are verifiable facts none of which are being contested. I would suggest that this is a bit more than a 'local donor row'.

    The implication is that local taxpayers have been indirectly subsidising the Labour party for years. Incredibly, the defence offered by the Labour party is that this has been a "long standing agreement".

    This excuse simply beggars belief, Labour appear to be saying that the practice is OK because they have been doing it for years. It has only come to light because Labour no longer control the council.

    This is in fact far more serious than Gray accepting the donations, although for Gray it is not good news. For if the practice has been going on here then how many other local authorities are indirectly promoting Labour in a similar manner?

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  • 438. At 4:28pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    429. Online Ed
    "The ‘Glenn Campbell’ Award:
    David Maddox

    The ‘David Maddox’ Award:
    Glenn Campbell
    "

    *claps and cheers*

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  • 439. At 4:36pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    419. Roll_On_2010
    "JR you have left the digit ‘1’ off the end of your link."

    Oops! Thanks for the correction.

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  • 440. At 4:37pm on 06 Dec 2009, Kingkev wrote:

    You know whats going to happen the media will spin it out, that its no big deal and everything is in order (be brushed under the carpet i would say)and Gray will get an easy ride,his picture is up so that people know who he is.lol

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  • 441. At 5:22pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    What a whitewash that BBC article is. Even the other pro-union press isn't giving it that kind of cover up.

    In fact, it is outright "misleading" (the "l" word tends to be moderated out of existance) by saying: East Lothian Council is investigating the Prestonpans Labour Party over the use of a council marquee for its annual fundraising summer barbecue.

    This mis-states SEVERAL facts such as these from The Herald article: A council spokeswoman said: “We expect our investigation into this to be concluded early next year. The resources in question relate to the cost of erecting a marquee and other associated costs, such as stage furniture and flowers.

    The amount involved is not necessarily MINOR either judging by this paragraph from the same Herald article: East Lothian Council said it was investigating how about £6700 of public resources were directed to Prestonpans Labour Party to help it stage an annual fundraiser, despite council rules forbidding it.

    Absolutely shameful whitewash by the BBC. It will be a bit hard for BBC to spin in the face of The Herald's coverage though.

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  • 442. At 5:36pm on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    This must be a record:

    The story about Iain Gray's leadership donations has disappeared from the BBC Scotland politics main area.

    It was only up for a matter of hours, three or four hours - if that!!

    It's been shunted off to the 'OTHER POLITICAL STORIES' section already, not even the top story on that.

    Clearly trying to bury this - well, it's getting in the way isn't it.

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  • 443. At 5:37pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    437. Online Ed
    "The implication is that local taxpayers have been indirectly subsidising the Labour party for years. Incredibly, the defence offered by the Labour party is that this has been a "long standing agreement"."

    You've got to admit that's an amazing defense. I'd paraphrase that as: "We've always gotten away with doing something illegal so we should keep on getting away with it."

    I'm not sure I'd call it "indirectly" though since money from this went into his campaign. We should be glad that The Herald is, at least on occasion, somewhat balanced in its coverage.

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  • 444. At 5:46pm on 06 Dec 2009, dubbieside wrote:

    If you thought that the unionist press could not get any worse try this for size.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/politics/all/5592608/salmond-may-save-labour.thtml

    Good to see Forsyth back. He should ensure no toxic torys in Scotland at the next election

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8398097.stm

    I wonder if Dean the tory still thinks that Forsyth is not the next, unelected, Scottish Secretary?

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  • 445. At 5:54pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    Believe it or not, a pretty balanced and non-hysterical article from Joan McAlpine about "cybernats":

    Cybernats are the new Pamphleteers

    I found this paragraph particularly salient:

    ...it is up to individual bloggers to police themselves and anyone commenting on their site. Many take this responsibility seriously, warning that abusive and offensive comments will not appear. But it depends on what you regard as offensive. Our mainstream media culture is pretty crass these days. Jonathan Ross, who yelled obscenities into the answering machine of a grandfather, is prime-time Saturday night entertainment and enjoys a generous salary paid by the taxpayer.

    Which, I think, underlines the hypocrisy of holding bloggers to a separate standard. Of course, one chooses ones own language and might eschew such that offends, but Guy Fawkes is a prime example that the most effective blogging is not necessarily the least "scurrilous". (Or have we forgotten some of the stories he's covered?)

    Anyway, an interesting article, up from her usual standard in my opinion.

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  • 446. At 6:05pm on 06 Dec 2009, Independista wrote:

    442. At 5:36pm on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:
    "The story about Iain Gray's leadership donations has disappeared from the BBC Scotland politics main area."

    Maybe they are sending in Catriona Renton to investigate! After all she should know, having been (maybe still is for all I know) in the Labour party, she will know where all the bodies are buried.
    BTW how come Elizabeth Quigley, got taken off political reporting, when she married John Swinney, and not Renton? After all she only married at Nat, Renton was a Labour councillor.

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  • 447. At 6:17pm on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    The Iain Gray donations story first appeared in the East Lothian Courier.

    It's actually worse than reported by the papers and shows just why the BBC put out their insipid version, then removed it as fast as they could.

    Read the original article here.

    Pay particular attention to the part that the mainstream media haven't reported, that prior to 1996 the council actually used to hire flowers and furniture specifically for the Labour fund raising event - costs have yet to be determined.

    In other words not simply payment in kind in the form of using council equipment, premises and workmen but the event actually cost the council money.

    The event is also frequently attended by top party brass including Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray.

    This is potentially a huge story.

    Did Iain Gray know that council funds were being used in this way?

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  • 448. At 6:29pm on 06 Dec 2009, inmykip wrote:

    #443 sounds like a throwback to the bad old days when Scotland was effectively a one party state, and Labour took it as their 'right' to such things, one wonders how many other 'long standing agreements' are in place between the Labour party and councils that have yet to come to light.

    Can we expect yet another new leader of the Scottish(London) Labour party, will they try and recycle one of the previous one's.

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  • 449. At 6:31pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Evening all - just back from a grand few days in god’s real country - Wigtownshire. It hosed down - brilliant, you drink don’t you!

    Now back to this board - Post 18 BE - 236 schools built, fantastic - on tick - you wont have a tenner to spend, you'll be too busy paying back for it for the rest of your days - that negative enough for you?

    Vote labour - get debt (war, illiteracy (yes you’ve been in charge since 19 oatcake and the SNP have only been in for 2.5 years)) and another financial crisis

    Never mind, since I'm late to this board I've no doubt you've been kicked into touch already. Good evening

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  • 450. At 6:43pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Sorry on catch up

    # 20 Tryagain - no, the WB's of the press only respond to certain stimuli - i.e., the sack, So will print or say anything their masters bid (hence the cover of the dug listening to the lodspeaker - "his masters voice"). Got to look after the sprogs, wife, car etc., so will say or do anything bid, No chance of a scoop since they are up to their necks in it. Meantime over to Glancampbelly for the latest.

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  • 451. At 6:51pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    447. Online Ed
    "Pay particular attention to the part that the mainstream media haven't reported, that prior to 1996 the council actually used to hire flowers and furniture specifically for the Labour fund raising event - costs have yet to be determined.

    In other words not simply payment in kind in the form of using council equipment, premises and workmen but the event actually cost the council money.
    "

    Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

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  • 452. At 6:54pm on 06 Dec 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    #429----Ed, you're back :}

    A few suggestions

    The Baron Martin of Springburn Honourary "Golden Trough"
    to
    Who else but my favourite MSP, the one and only His Lordship the Northern British NuLab List Member for the Lothians, G. Foulkes

    The David Blaine Award (for services to making difficult things disappear)
    to
    [CENSORED]

    The Lech Walensa award for (briefly) standing up to the demands of a Dictatorship
    to
    Gary Robertson for his recent interviews on GMS

    The "Come and Have a Go if you think you're hard Enough" Award
    to
    Health Secretary and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

    Best Impression of members of the phylum Invertebrata
    to
    The Newsroom of the Northern British Broadcasting Corporation

    Best Impression of a Scottish Nationalist
    to
    The Member for Edinburgh North and Leith, Mr Malcolm Chisholm
    Honourable Mention to The Member for Ross, Skye and Inverness West, Mr John Farquar Munro

    The "Nicol Steven" award for Desertion of a Sinking Ship
    to
    Rt.Hon Mr Des Browne, former Defence and Scotland Secretary, for his decision not to fight Kilmarnock and Loudon in 2010.

    I think that we should also consider our own "Bloggies" for 2009 from the contributors to these pages.

    Some suggested categories

    Blogger Whose Posts I Immediately Read
    Best Overseas Blogger
    Most Ranting CyberNat
    Most Ranting Unionista
    Most Obvious NuLab Researcher masquerading as a member of the public
    The Voice of Reason
    The Last Scottish Tory

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  • 453. At 7:08pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Still on catch up

    Post 23 Ellow – agreed, less pupils more teacher time per head. That is a worthy aim. For myself, I’d like to see our kids start “education” later, for example at seven; the preceding years being spent in social education. At that age, their little minds are like sponges and can soak up the some of the things we would like them to retain as values as adults.

    Anent part time contacts – nothing wrong with that – providing the measures expected and the value of the teachers are recognised and rewarded accordingly.

    As for labour politicians – well it’s nice to hear an east coast dialect as to the usual Glasgow “we’ve been robbed”, whine is it not?

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  • 454. At 7:21pm on 06 Dec 2009, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    Whoops looks like Giggity is now morphing into "rent a tent".

    Best of all is the quote from a Labour spokesman,

    “At the end of a week where Scottish education is in crisis, the Education Secretary has been sacked and the First Minister is being investigated for misleading Parliament, it is a sad spectacle watching the SNP try and attack Labour about a community marquee.”

    Classic Labour, don't look at us look at them!

    Like they need to worry about any journalistic scrutiny in Scotland. Lets hope the English media runs with it or it'll be buried faster than Gordon Brown's Scottish accent.

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  • 455. At 7:27pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Sorry I'll be here a while -

    37 KayB wrote Correct me if I'mm wrong but isn't it the Local authorities who are supposed to deliver education? Correct!


    Salmond may have promised something he couldn't or didn't deliver, but compared with what Britain's Labour government promised and has failed abyssmaly to deliver, Salmond's misdemeanour is hardly momentous.

    Wrong - the man made himself a hostage to fortune. Meantime the Blairs made a fortune, Brown was in charge when he "saved" the world and will make a future fortune - meantime I have lost a fortune.


    If the local authorities were given the task of delivering smaller class sizes then they should be explaining why they failed and perhaps a few directors of education should be joining Ms Hyslop in posts better fitting their talents - wrong again but only on a minor point, local political interests dictate policy eg Glasgow, in the best socialist brotherhood traditions, lets cut the kids free meals and have a train set instead

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  • 456. At 7:28pm on 06 Dec 2009, Astonished wrote:

    Online Ed et al : - great posts.

    My nominations for most UNDER reported stories are :

    1.Labour's Ex-MP Mr Marshall and his possible scamming of funds for an office that didn't exist.(Where did this story go ?)
    2.Where does bain of Glasgow live ?
    3.Labour's ex-cooncillor Catriona Renton's biased, misleading and dishonest report from the SNP conference for the BBC.
    4.A late entry this one - Mr Gray's prestonpans barbecue unwittingly sponsored by the taxpayer. (However its OK as the labour party say the taxpayers have always unwittingly sponsored the event).

    A difficult choice for your panel of expert(s).



    And my nominations for most OVER reported stories :

    1. Mr MacAskill's compassionate release of Mr Megrahi according to Scot's Law.

    2. The strong-armed enforcing of the BBC charter regarding fair and balanced reporting by the governors of the BBC upon BBC Scotland.



    I would think this category could be somewhat less difficult to decide. :)


    PS Do you think Prestonpans taxpayers will let you have a marquee and chairs for the awards ceremony - as labour politicos seem to be in every category ?

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  • 457. At 7:38pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Post 38 Shenval – we – as in the people perhaps? Cosy when all the press are against the aims of a certain democratic party – great when the supporters of democracy are all your own chums and only want to publish your views? You’d whine (in top gear) perhaps if the Nazi’s got a leg in the game. So, ask yourself this …a level playing field or let’s play bias until a real monster catches you by the cods?

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  • 458. At 7:41pm on 06 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    452. At 6:54pm on 06 Dec 2009, Chiefy1724:

    How about most uncompromising unionist and a similar for nationalist.

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  • 459. At 7:41pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    My nominee for: Correspondent Americans Most Want to Slap...

    Guess. ;-)

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  • 460. At 7:48pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Post 42 - he's not a very naughty boy, he's human - end of story. PS the planet continues in its development of the next phase of its cycle of life.............or otherwise

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  • 461. At 7:52pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Post 54 WS and when did that happen mate? Try 1968 when they killed TSR2.

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  • 462. At 7:54pm on 06 Dec 2009, Chiefy1724 wrote:

    I wonder if "Donationgate" will be the first of many incidences of direct support for overtly political events that comes to light in the near future ? We all remember the days of the One-Party State in the councils of West and Central Scotland and if there is smoke from East Lothian, then be sure that there were likely to be raging fires in other weel-kent councils.

    What we can be sure of however is that this story will be gently pushed aside by the Northern British subsidiary of the BBC.

    I wonder, will Brian consider it "entirely right, indeed essential to ask awkward questions and expect answers" of Northern British NuLab over this one ?

    Or will it be left to Glen and Catriona to demonstrate some of that outstandingly unbiased investigative reporting that the BBC Northern Britain Newsroom is famous for ?

    (Did we ever get an answer as to whether or not Catriona will be standing in 2010 or 2011 ?)

    I won't be holding my breath. In fact, I'll bet good cash money that the next Blog that Brian writes will NOT be on the subject of the misuse of Council Money by a former NuLab Hegemony.

    We can only live in hope that Gary has the Political Interview on GMS tomorrow morning and that somebody from Northern British NuLab is up !

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  • 463. At 8:03pm on 06 Dec 2009, Roll_On_2010 wrote:


    Flash Gordon - Britain best placed to weather the recession:

    Britain could drop out of the league table of the world's top ten economies by 2015, a hard-hitting report warns tomorrow.

    The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) says Britain has slipped to seventh place this year behind America, China, Japan, Germany, France and Italy.

    It goes on to warn that Britain could slip out of the top ten by 2015 after being overtaken by Russia, Brazil, India and Canada.

    The report's author Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the CEBR, said 'it seems reasonably certain that within a decade the UK could move from largest economy in the Commonwealth to the third or fourth largest.'



    Perhaps people in the not to distant future will look back in nostalgia at Britain’s heady colonial days. But it does look as those colonial days are on the wane and in more ways than just economically.

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  • 464. At 8:03pm on 06 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    462. Chiefy1724
    "We can only live in hope that Gary has the Political Interview on GMS tomorrow morning and that somebody from Northern British NuLab is up !"

    No its BT on a about something or other, it was advertised.

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  • 465. At 8:23pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    464. cynicalHighlander
    "No its BT on a about something or other, it was advertised."

    Can we assume that Mr. Taylor will challenges "the way things have aye been".

    Might he even point out that there was wrong doing in "having always had an agreement" to misuse East Lothian Council assets for the Labour Party's benefit?

    Of course, he will...

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  • 466. At 8:24pm on 06 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Got a bit of time while they all went out shopping for my Christmas presents, I hope. Had a look across the YouGov, Ipsos Mori and ICM polls trying to work out how HEC could deal with variable turnout(s) as at the moment all HEC results assume the same 60.4% as in 2005. My eagerness for further fiddle factors is because of the vanishment of the LibDems. You can track some movement, to the SNP mainly, but only about 1/3rd, so what happened to the missing 2/3rds? I think the answer is in the people who won't vote. There is a systematic bias in all these polls in as much as they all produce much higher numbers of "voters" than actually turn out but it does seem that the turnout will be even lower than the 60% last time. This is not good news for Labour as they have the highest proportion of "weak" voters so if the turnout does drop to 54%, which is my gut feeling from looking at these polls, then this could severely impact the result.
    So what does it mean for the politics? I think it means Labour can't go with a negative campaign as alienating the electors will only make their situation worse. They need a positive campaign to enthuse their supporters enough to get them out to the polls. This may be difficult for them as they cannot show much benefit from their 12 years and promises to do better might not be so readily believed this time round.

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  • 467. At 8:30pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    #63 - My word is my bond? But only if you don't upset my trainset,

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  • 468. At 8:41pm on 06 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    465. JRMacClure

    07/12/2009

    Its free to call

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  • 469. At 8:43pm on 06 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    2 mins moderation!

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  • 470. At 8:48pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Yes – still catching up

    Post 86 – XSticks – is it just me part 210? Good point, did you see the poor lass on the tele, the other evening, who could not read properly? She was asked to quote from the front page of a paper. The headline was chuntering on about Alex and the referendum. Oh I thought, all this non reading must be the SNP’s fault after circa three years in power - the bruts.

    Eh, oh er, remind me again, who was in power since 19 oatcake and how did this literacy thing happen?

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  • 471. At 8:49pm on 06 Dec 2009, sid_ts63 wrote:

    #463 roll on 2010 - evening, not only is the UK the only member of the G20 still to be in recession Zimbabwe is no longer in recession for goodness sake.
    best positioned country to come out of recession - oh how they laughed !!

    #462 Chiefy1724 , evening , my money is on those "nasty cybernat's story's" why should they tell us REAL story's oh I forgot it's GMS.

    Sid

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  • 472. At 8:50pm on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    The Scotsman finally got around to acknowledging the donations story this afternoon at around 15:30.

    Here is the headline they ran:
    Labour say Iain Gray leadership donation 'accepted in good faith'

    Thay appear to have contacted Labour and then printed the Labour reply as their article.

    The story will probably be suppressed, the agenda just now is 'Education Meltdown' and it has another while to run so this very real scandal will not be allowed to get in the way.

    I will not be surprised if this is all we get from the Scottish media.

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  • 473. At 8:55pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    470. Robabody
    "Eh, oh er, remind me again, who was in power since 19 oatcake and how did this literacy thing happen? "
    It was all an SNP conspiracy? They were sneaking into the schools and stealing the textbooks.

    NO doubt about it! Evil SNP. EVIL!

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  • 474. At 8:56pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    472. Online Ed
    "I will not be surprised if this is all we get from the Scottish media."

    Perhaps, but on my online Herald Scotland it's the headline story--so it might be a little harder than usual to supress.

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  • 475. At 9:01pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Still catching up

    Post 108 NH - quite correct and I look forward to the purge of LAB/CON/Tory foulmoothers - I assume you agree? I think AS should announce an enquiry into the whole shebang........best get to the bottom of it all!

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  • 476. At 9:05pm on 06 Dec 2009, hamish42 wrote:

    The article about Scottish education in the Sunday Times showed a cartoon like line up of all the education ministers since devolution, from Brian Wilson to Fiona Hyslop. All Labour except Ms Hyslop.

    Apart from the SNP minister, it then went on to say exactly nothing about their contribution or failures in Scottish education. Not quite sure what the article was suggesting.

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  • 477. At 9:15pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    post 133 - were the SNP asked to join the commission? First I heard of this commission was Friday evening on the TV with the lass trying to read out loud from the front page of a rag regarding "Alex Salmond's" referendum .........what kind of brain (sic) suggested that it would be a good idea to use an struggling illiterate girl to make a party political point? Step forward the ……..name that tune in three

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  • 478. At 9:18pm on 06 Dec 2009, albamac wrote:

    Top Scottish story in The Times - makes BBC Scotland look a bit silly, doesn't it?

    Iain Gray is asked to pay back donations

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  • 479. At 9:26pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Still reading!

    post 136 - Oh dear, step forward the great five year socialist plan. This is after……..er remind me again………. how many socialist years? So if the ideas had been good they would have been retained? Oh sorry, every body rushed of to measure a load of old (incorrect measures) and as a result we have………….illiterate children. Jings, remind me again……measures drive behaviours!

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  • 480. At 9:31pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    478. albamac
    "478. At 9:18pm on 06 Dec 2009, albamac wrote:

    Top Scottish story in The Times - makes BBC Scotland look a bit silly, doesn't it?
    "
    What's sad is that if you compare the BBC story with The Scotsman story, they're very similar. What does THAT tell you?

    Both The Times and Herald Scotland are front paging the story. And if you read the original LOCAL article even they aren't hitting some of the worst of the scandal.

    I don't think (could be wrong, of course) the BBC will be able to sweep this under the carpet.

    *sigh* I keep thinking that one day the BBC will do something to regain my respect. I keep HOPING perhaps I should say. Silly of me.

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  • 481. At 9:33pm on 06 Dec 2009, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Interlude: sorry Robabody or should that be interupt.:)
    Bloggergate

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  • 482. At 10:02pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Not even there yet

    144 R-E good to see your usual acerbic craik back on line -

    "Back on topic: Labour made a total hash of the education system" - started by the tories of course, but continued by new lab, I agree……wrong measures, wrong behaviours.

    “but the SNP have not done anything to improve it other than offer a large bundle of unachievable and broken pledges” - and what, no alternative? Just accept new lab speak – what would you suggest as a federalist?

    “It's not just the class size and teacher recruitment pledges” – remind me again, who recruits them?

    “What happened to the "brick for brick" pledge to continue the refurbishment of our schools? They repeatedly announce 'funding' but STILL not one brick has been purchased by the SNP, let alone been laid” .....oh well, I’m happy to wait until the payback issue is solved, future generations not put in debt for the duration…….help ma boab, there might be some money left from not paying overcharged rates to pay for other stuff.


    PS What’s this “we” and “our” stuff you sometimes refer to in your comments? Are there more than one of you? It may explain how some of your comments are valuable but others are, to be frank….rancid

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  • 483. At 10:03pm on 06 Dec 2009, peteraberdeenshire wrote:

    I love the fact that more and more people are questioning and challenging the BBC in Scotland over their overt political bias toward the Labour party, any journalist with a shred of integrity would question the bias of their employer unless of course they shared the political views of the said employer.Taylor, Renton , Campbell et al.
    It just keeps on getting better.

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  • 484. At 10:08pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Still plodding on

    Post 154 – and tell me UR – would people have voted at all if there was no vision thing? It’s always been about jam tomorrow. Meantime back at Glasgow NE, 2/3rds of the voters, didn’t – what a wonderful day for democracy. UR wrong again.

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  • 485. At 10:15pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Post 163 -UR measures drive behaviours and here is a prime example of a............ person fascinated by minute, meantime our children’s future is being B( messed ) about with by politicians………keep going UR doing well

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  • 486. At 10:29pm on 06 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    #483 peteraberdeenshire
    Now there's an interesting thought. What do they do if there is a hung Parliament, or, worse, a Tory victory? They were probably engaged for their knowledge of the Byzantine world of internal Labour politics in the days when that mattered, as the councils, the Parly and Westminster were all Labour. What will they be able to tell us about come next June?

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  • 487. At 10:38pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Progressing slowly

    179 R-E, doesn't matter does it? Softly, soflty cathee R-E monkey!

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  • 488. At 10:42pm on 06 Dec 2009, Online Ed wrote:

    The Scotsman are covering the donations story tomorrow - headline this time a little more damning:

    Gray faces inquiry over Marqueegate
    It's actually an audit that is being called for, very proper too.

    This gem from a Labour spokesman:
    The party accused the SNP of smear tactics and trying to distract attention from its own problems by leaking details of the donation.

    Coincidently exactly the same thing was being implied by the BBC on their politics show.

    Leaking details?
    So Labour appear to be suggesting that improper use of council funds should not be reported to the press.

    Labour again:
    But Labour yesterday said the council had approved the use of the tent for the past two years, and the mistake was the council's.

    They now admit that it was wrong, they will have known that it was wrong all along but kept quiet. The Labour administration that set up the original deal have questions to answer.

    The hiring of furniture and flowers prior to 1996 by the previous Labour administration also needs explaining. Why was a Labour council spending funds on Labour party fundraising events?

    The arrangement only came to light when an SNP councillor was checking the books and discovered what had been going on.

    I'll wager that there are now some very nervous councillors the length and breadth of Scotland.

    Iain Gray was apparently a regular attender of these events as were other leading Labour figures.

    Questions need be asked and answers given.

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  • 489. At 10:44pm on 06 Dec 2009, Ian Robertson wrote:

    At least one or two comments seem to be suggesting that smaller class sizes is the most effective measure to improve educational standards, one even suggesting it would work with poor teachers.

    This is simply untrue, research suggests that the single most important impact on a child's education is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Smaller classes tend to produce less effectss as pupils get further in education and certainly won't make much difference if teachers do not have sufficient training to make use of the change.

    The SNP will ultimately have to continue pursuing a policy which in reality requires a great deal more thought!

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  • 490. At 11:08pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Post 288 - and what happened to integrated transport with the Stranraer Ireland boat / train link - gone. Ah well back to the car everyone?

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  • 491. At 11:21pm on 06 Dec 2009, handclapping wrote:

    Brian
    There isn't such a thing a Scottish education. There's Fife education and Ayrshire education, Glasgow education, etc.. I don't think we need it that way. The reputation of Scottish education was made when it was run by one body, the Scots kirk. We can go back to that singular control, except now we have a better body, a Scots Government. Giving the remit to local authorities was only a ploy to save taxing the rich who ran Westminster in those days.
    Admittedly the problems of education in the rural areas are different to those in the central belt but only administratively, like how many pupils for a bus for an outing. As for school buildings, etc. the local authority has the planning powers that will raise and lower the schooling needs of an area so they should provide, just as each parish once had to.

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  • 492. At 11:22pm on 06 Dec 2009, curley_bill wrote:

    Mr Robabody says: 'who was in power since 19 oatcake'
    I beg to differ, sir - it was 19 canteen.

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  • 493. At 11:23pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Moving along at a clip now

    #353 - Dr David Kelly - I wonder if his name was in the role call at the recent Westminster commemoration?

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  • 494. At 11:32pm on 06 Dec 2009, X_Sticks wrote:

    493. Robabody wrote:
    #353 - Dr David Kelly - I wonder if his name was in the role call at the recent Westminster commemoration?
    That's a very good question, I don't know the answer.

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  • 495. At 11:43pm on 06 Dec 2009, Robabody wrote:

    Getting there

    Post 403 NH agreed to a point..........had it been you or I that had done that to our businesses, we'd have been sacked and probably jailed. There were insufficient sackings to build assurance that the lessons would be taken on board. They haven't been. Message to RBS directors ........so long and thanks for all the fish

    PS No board placements without banking qualifications. Being able to stack shelves with beans (and having a harvard qualification that says you can) does not make you a qualified bean keeper.

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  • 496. At 11:44pm on 06 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    489
    "Simply untrue?"

    Of course better teachers teach better and this in fact is the most important thing in classroom. Nobody sensible would deny that.
    However smaller classes also undoubtedly provide the best environment for better teaching and no sensible person denies that either.
    And in my experience the benefit of smaller classes can be even more pronounced at much later stages of education.

    Smaller clasees and better teachers are not mutually exclusive propositions and we are not all daft. And I am a trained teacher.

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  • 497. At 11:44pm on 06 Dec 2009, enneffess wrote:

    Re the Iain Gray story. If you really want proper media attention ask your local MSP (non-Labour of course) to raise a formal PQ.

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

    On education, class sizes mean zip if the teaching standards are low.

    I also spotted a comment earlier describing nursery schools as a form of creche. I think that is grossly unfair. Both of my kids went through nursery and got a good start before commencing primary.

    Saying that, I still think kids are sent to school at too young an age.


    On education funding. It needs to be centrally controlled. Textbooks should be purchased centrally with strict controls on numbers etc. By that I mean they do not restrict the numbers of books, but ensure that there are sufficient in place without buying too much. Councils which spend the money elsewhere should face legal action.

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  • 498. At 11:52pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    489. Ian Robertson
    "At least one or two comments seem to be suggesting that smaller class sizes is the most effective measure"
    I don't think anyone says it is the most effective measure but I have seen research that small class size helps and also reduces the impact of poor teacher quality.

    Because if the solution is improving teacher quality (something I wouldn't disapprove of) HOW do you do that exactly? I'm not at all sure how a government can control that.

    Class size can be mandated. A good teacher?

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  • 499. At 11:53pm on 06 Dec 2009, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    The attack on Iain Gray may be significant. Taken along with the recent promotion of Malawi McConnell is it possible that inept Mr Gray may be getting set up for removal.

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  • 500. At 11:54pm on 06 Dec 2009, JTomlin wrote:

    488. Online Ed
    "Iain Gray was apparently a regular attender of these events as were other leading Labour figures."
    So the LOCAL newspaper reported. I think he'll have a very hard time distancing himself from this since he apparently regularly attended them--as did others not named who were referred to as "leaders".

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