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On ice

Brian Taylor | 16:46 UK time, Thursday, 7 January 2010

"St Agnes Eve, ah bitter chill it was."

Thus does Keats open his prolonged poem on the remarkable, romantic ritual associated with the January festival.

But it was a seasonal chill of more contemporary origins - the current "blast o' Janwar' win'", if you like - which exercised our elected tribunes at Holyrood.

All three opposition leaders pursued Alex Salmond on the topic of what his government was doing to help Scots sustain themselves against the freeze.

Had he personally dug anyone out of a snow drift? Just how much grit had he scattered on icy pavements? Wasn't it about time he sorted out this weather?

I jest, of course.

But it's always slightly tricky when politics collides with naturally occurring catastrophe.

There is an anecdotal story told about political reaction to the disastrous Glasgow storm of 1968, when roofs were torn from houses.

Pratical action

As opposition politicians demanded statements from the Government, one minister was apparently heard to aver: "Statements? We don't need statements. We need slaters."

In comparable fashion, Mr Salmond suggested to his questioners that government, both local and central, was alert to the need for practical action, rather than rhetoric.

To be fair, Labour's Iain Gray was pursuing that same lightly-gritted path.

He was suggesting that Ministers had been complacent, that there should be more advice offered to the struggling public.

In particular, he seized upon comments made by Finance Secretary John Swinney on "Good Morning Scotland" on Monday.

I have listened (again) to that particular interview. (Wonderful thing, the iPlayer.)

While Mr Swinney might perhaps have phrased his comments a little more judiciously, I don't think it was quite the bloomer suggested by Mr Gray.

Next breath

The minister said that, in a number of the communities he had been out and about in, there had been "perfectly adequate walking conditions".

Cue instant anger from those listeners whose pedestrian facilities are less than perfect.

However, Mr Swinney went on in the next breath to stress that there are parts of Scotland where there are problems.

Annabel Goldie was up next - only to suffer a succession of skilled rebuttals from the FM.

Firstly, she urged ministers to deploy convicts on community sentences to clear the roads.

Mr Salmond duly explained where that was happening already - while noting that, if the Tories had their way, such individuals would be banged up in the centrally heated Bar-L, munching their way through three meals a day.

Ouch! In vain did Miss G. protest that she supported community sentences where real work was involved.

Clear-up effort

But it got worse. Where, she demanded, was the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill?

His absence from the chamber, she implied, was a slight.

Mr Salmond replied, ever so gently, that his ministerial colleague was in Fife.

Inspecting the deployment of community sentence workers in the clear-up effort. Ouch, twice.

By contrast, Tavish Scott took a more consensual line. Perhaps his Shetland upbringing has inured him to the fact that ferocious weather tends to come along from time to time.

More probably, he had calculated that there is little to be gained by sounding in any respect partisan while folk are struggling with the fundamentals of living.

Either way, the exchanges between Mr Scott and Mr Salmond were polite and solemn.

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:09pm on 07 Jan 2010, handclapping wrote:

    As I was saying on your previous blog, I hold Iain Gray responsible for the Scottish weather and true to form he is not doing anything for the benefit of Scotland so I must be right! 8-)

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  • 2. At 5:10pm on 07 Jan 2010, john wrote:

    The standard of the opposition is saddening.

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  • 3. At 5:28pm on 07 Jan 2010, LondonSteve wrote:

    3

    Agreed.

    It must be saddening for labour/tory/LD supporters that this is the best they can offer to represent them in parliament. More saddening that the BBC continues to peddle their negative utterings.

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  • 4. At 5:30pm on 07 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    Just watched the statement by John Swinney today on the severe weather, he took questions after.

    The display by Deputy Scottish Labour leader, Johann Lamont, was sadly predictable as was the performance from George Foulkes. Labour requested the statement and then set about throwing their usual baseless accusations.

    We now have the full house of this blog, The Herald, The Scotsman, The BBC, The Record, Newsnight Scotland and First Ministers Questions all contributing to this clearly contrived attack on the Scottish Government.

    It's easy to accuse people of complacency - the accusation can even be made when the accuser knows full well that it is a 100% fabrication.

    I saw this coming when the first headlines appeared at the beginning of the week, that was when the agenda was set.

    I make no apologies for urging people to take a look at how blatant this news manipulation is:

    Click Here

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  • 5. At 5:33pm on 07 Jan 2010, snowthistle wrote:

    I think we should have a statement from Westminster's ombudsman, but he has gone strangely quiet.

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  • 6. At 5:38pm on 07 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    *sigh*

    Mr. Taylor, you might have wanted to look at Mr. Iain Gray's squirm as the First Minister took him to task and the First Minister's scathing attack that Mr. Gray should "come to this chamber with something constructive to say" for an ouch.

    Yes, as is often the case Ms. Goldie did herself no favors but that was nothing to the hiding that Mr. Salmond gave to Mr. Gray although you seemed to want to ignore that fact.

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  • 7. At 5:50pm on 07 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    And IF Mr. Taylor wanted to discuss when Ms. Goldie's comments warranted an "ouch" the one that in fact did most of all was when she demanded to know which minister was in charge of the efforts:

    Mr. Salmond's response was unequivocal: I am.

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  • 8. At 5:51pm on 07 Jan 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    Iain Gray's questions and the answers that had to be given were so prolonged that only one backbencher got a question in.

    A waste of time!

    Attacks on the SNP by the media and the opposition are so comical in their implied suggestion that a government can be so incompetent that they cannot get any of their policies correct. A sign of desperation.

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  • 9. At 6:04pm on 07 Jan 2010, akava77 wrote:

    Even by his own standards, Iain Gray's expoits today were especially cringeworthy. He suggested setting up a national winter helpline, when this had been recommended against by the leader of COSLA. It looked like he'd been very poorly briefed by his advisors and was just making it up as he went along.
    For Mr Gray to go against the advice of one of his own party's most senior councillors in Scotland, or even worse - not to have even bothered to find out his advice - in order to score a few cheap points at FMQs makes you wonder what on earth is going on with Labour. The Conservative and Lib Dem parties leaders can be constructive when they want, and this was demonstrated today. Gray's performances have got to the point where they are no longer just a joke, they are seriously putting the credibility of his party at risk.

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  • 10. At 6:27pm on 07 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Oh dear even Murphy's at it The cold snap

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  • 11. At 6:30pm on 07 Jan 2010, frankly francophone wrote:

    Mr Salmond has my sympathy. Lying snow and ice are quite enough to have to cope with without lying Labour politicians as well.

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  • 12. At 6:35pm on 07 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Auntie Annabel used to have a sure touch. But I knew about the use of those on community sentences a couple of days ago. Why didn't she?

    While Labour were developing their attacks on this a few days ago, exactly the same problem has hit the Labour Government in England.

    There is no opposition in Scotland. They are weak and incompetent. I don't want the SNP in Government to get an easy ride - like anyone else they will become sloppy and incompetent if they aren't properly held to account.

    The Opposition are sloppy and incompetent, and that isn't acceptable in a democratic society.

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  • 13. At 6:37pm on 07 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    9. akava77
    "p"

    The only thing that helps is the stubborn refusal of the pro-Labour press to cover how truly dire his performance is. Any member of Labour who watched today's FMQ had to be squirming with him in embarrassment.

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  • 14. At 6:44pm on 07 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    On politics more or less outwith Scotland (I love that word by the way--thanks for teaching it to me), does anyone else find this statement of "support" for the PM from Miliband rather laughable:

    I am working closely with the prime minister on foreign policy issues and support the re-election campaign for a Labour government that he is leading...

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6052F920100106

    Been looking for that quote on BBC. Oddly enough, I can't find it.

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  • 15. At 7:01pm on 07 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    14. JRMacClure
    "outwith"

    One of the nice things I find about it is that other English speakers may find it unusual, but it is completely comprehensible to them.

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  • 16. At 7:02pm on 07 Jan 2010, Astonished wrote:

    I see we are back to a pravdaesque blog. How predictable.


    I haven't seen FMQ however I assume from your blog that Elmer was excellent, so far - so glencampblly.

    I have some deep concerns regarding Mr murphy, the governor general.As Brian has previously assured us that "difficult questions" must be asked of politicians. I would like you to ask mr murphy if he supported the coup against mr brown ? His support for the coup along with that of mr alexander was widely reported by bbc england. It comes as no surprise that the attempted coup failed abyssmally.


    Where does elmer stand regarding the coup?


    Difficult questions which will never be asked;never mind answered.

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  • 17. At 7:03pm on 07 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    The opposition have totally messed up here. The only thing that can be criticised about the Scottish Government is Swinney's comment about conditions in some areas being ok or whatever - not even worth the hassle to be honest.

    They would be better working with the Government and offering advice / help / support.



    What I do want to see now are strong questions to Patrick Harvie. We have the coldest winter for 30 (?) years. Global warming? I'd hate to think what it will be like when cold.

    Of course, it's all the SNPs fault.......

    Or maybe GB has secretly controlled the weather so it is too cold for people to vote. Therefore everyone will be encouraged to use postal voting..........



    #14 JM

    Milliband is a gift to the Tories and to foreign powers not overly friendly to the UK. I cannot take him seriously. Too much like the Management Consultant graduate with 2 years experience........

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  • 18. At 7:07pm on 07 Jan 2010, hbob wrote:

    "Any member of Labour who watched today's FMQ had to be squirming with him in embarrassment."

    ANYONE had to be squirming, including - if he has any self-awareness - Iain Gray himself. Of course the BBC gives Gray another soft ride bordering on the Pravda-esque...

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  • 19. At 7:17pm on 07 Jan 2010, hbob wrote:

    #16

    Interesting that someone else also used the phrase 'pravda-esque'! Coincidental, by the way, as both comments were awaiting moderation at the same time.

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  • 20. At 7:22pm on 07 Jan 2010, angus scot wrote:

    I tend on this occasion to agree with Brian though I am a little surprised he did not mention that the FM's method at QT is to make no attempt to actually answer the question put to him. It is also a pity that conflict politics seems to be the order of the day and is hardly surprising that this puts so many people off our politicians. The only leader to come out of this well was Tavish Scott and he at least reflects a better form of politics

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  • 21. At 7:31pm on 07 Jan 2010, dubbieside wrote:

    enneffess re 17

    John Swinney did not say "conditions in some areas being ok"

    What he said was "in a number of the communities he had been out and about in, there had been "perfectly adequate walking conditions"

    He went on to "to stress that there are parts of Scotland where there are problems"

    This is a million miles from what Gray said today. This was clearly an attempt to mislead the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish public, will anyone call for an inquiry?

    The game must truly be up for both Gray and Labour when the only thing they can do to attack the Scottish Government is be, at best, and I am being generous here, very economical with the truth.

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  • 22. At 7:34pm on 07 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    21. dubbieside
    "This was clearly an attempt to mislead the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish public, will anyone call for an inquiry?"

    Does anyone know whether "misleading Parliament" is only an issue for the governing party - or does it apply to all MSPs?

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  • 23. At 7:37pm on 07 Jan 2010, dubbieside wrote:

    angusscot re 20

    What questions were put to Alex Salmond today by Iain Gray?

    Maybe you mean when he totally distorted what was actually said by John Swinney to try to score a cheap political point.

    Is that all Labour have in opposition? being economical with the truth because they have no other line of attack.

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  • 24. At 7:42pm on 07 Jan 2010, dubbieside wrote:

    Oldnat re 22

    An interesting question.

    My own view is trying to deliberately mislead should not be tolerated no matter which side of the Parliament, the deliberate misleading comes from.

    The Presiding Officer should act in all cases.

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  • 25. At 7:56pm on 07 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    20. At 7:22pm on 07 Jan 2010, angusscot wrote:
    I tend on this occasion to agree with Brian though I am a little surprised he did not mention that the FM's method at QT is to make no attempt to actually answer the question put to him.

    Which question?

    Iain Gray has given up asking serious questions. Gray has now reduced the role of opposition to little more than a trolling excercise, devoid of dignity, substance and discipline.

    That no political commentator has picked up on this is idicative of the lamentable state of Scottish journalism, which incredibly is actually getting worse.

    Brian Taylor glosses over the worst aspects of this every week and tries to present it as somehow mature input from Gray, journalism and Labour are now rolling in the together so much that they have become indistinguishable.

    Gray makes accusations without foundation, he misrepresents statements and he employs insults regularly - his sole aim at FMQ's appears to be to try to provoke anger. Like a crowd of disgruntled football fans the Labour benches bay and howl at the SNP.

    Labour at Holyrood are out of control and have been for some considerable time, they a very real danger to our fledgling parliament.

    Salmond's anger was palpable, he also showed a very real contempt for Gray who is now disgracing his own party as well as our institutions.

    As for Jim Murphy, one can only thank god that his tenure as London's spokesperson in Scotland is coming to a close.

    Scotland doesn't deserve people like Gray and Murphy, no country does.

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  • 26. At 8:00pm on 07 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    Gray was adopting the same tactic as the BBC when he deliberately misrepresented John Swinney.

    The BBC did it on Newsnight Scotland, the reporter was Julie Peacock and her 'rentonesque' quote can be found on the Newsnet Scotland blog.

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  • 27. At 8:00pm on 07 Jan 2010, Calum McKay wrote:

    What goes through Iain Gray's mind whilst sitting in Parliament prior to his chance to shine at question time?

    Fear?

    Self doubt?

    Inadequacy?

    I believe he gets briefed at the last minute prior to entering the chamber and just busks it.

    He hasn't the capacity to learn lessons from one dismal showing to the next.

    Shocking!

    C McK

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  • 28. At 8:02pm on 07 Jan 2010, wilddog wrote:

    I thought in a new year we might get a bit more fair reporting from the Scottish media but alas no change,what a cringe FM questions was today I wonder if Grey watches a recording and what he thinks of himself.

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  • 29. At 8:12pm on 07 Jan 2010, highlandarab wrote:

    #10 J Murphy statement on blog

    "I went to the Nitshill winter depot in Glasgow yesterday to see the gritting operation and to say thanks to the staff for helping to keep the country moving."


    Interesting that the Nitshill depot keeps all of the country moving (as a unionist does he mean the UK country or the Northern extremities on its own - does he believe that Scotland is a country in its own right?)

    That will be the main problem in Inverness then - With the A9 being regularly shut over the past few days the Nitshill lorry wasnae able to get here. They should maybe think of storing wee piles of salt about the country.

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  • 30. At 8:21pm on 07 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    21. At 7:31pm on 07 Jan 2010, dubbieside wrote:
    enneffess re 17

    John Swinney did not say "conditions in some areas being ok"

    What he said was "in a number of the communities he had been out and about in, there had been "perfectly adequate walking conditions"

    ----

    I know what he said, hence my comment about "not worth the hassle". All Swinney did was make a comment, probably without thinking, but everyone that I know is blaming the councils. And the walking conditions in East Kilbride - which is rather large - have been anything but adequate. I'm on leave and been out a lot so I have seen what things are like.

    But the council is being blamed, no one is swallowing the line that someone the Scottish Government is responsible. Perhaps the Government was targetted because to target an SNP-led council would simply bounce back to the Labour councils, such as South Lanarkshire. Bear in mind here in sunny EK we have a different climate to everyone else, snow in July is not unheard of. You would think the council would have learned. Nope.



    #25. Online Ed:

    Perhaps the opposition are trying to see if they can get Salmond to lose his temper during FMQs. Would make a good headline. But I think Salmond is disciplined enough not to vent his spleen in public.

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  • 31. At 8:22pm on 07 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    20.angusscot

    I clicked on your name and I like your "Tavish is great" posts. It's good that he has fans. I must say that prior to the advent of the Scottish Parliament I had no idea that the Lib Dems in Scotland were such hardline unionists.

    Was this always the case do you think or has the SNP forming a government merely brought it into sharper focus?

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  • 32. At 8:31pm on 07 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    29. highlandarab

    The quality of humour on this blog constantly improves!

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  • 33. At 8:59pm on 07 Jan 2010, highlandarab wrote:

    #32

    Nothing else for it until big Jim gets these Nitshill boys up here with their lorry of salt. Wonder if South Britain has any to spare?

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  • 34. At 9:03pm on 07 Jan 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    Grassy , not plural surely?
    He may have a fan but fans???

    I missed FMQs today but regarding the FM losing his temper , I'd like him to blow a controlled gasket every now and then - particularly with the BBBC.
    Speaking of which, I thought Jonathan Ross had died while I watched BBBC 6 o'clock news.
    Ten minutes and second item after the glorified weather item .
    I realised why I body swerve BBBC news .( could'nt very well ask my pal to change channels - actually I did but he did'nt!)

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  • 35. At 9:04pm on 07 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    30. At 8:21pm on 07 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:
    #25. Online Ed:

    Perhaps the opposition are trying to see if they can get Salmond to lose his temper during FMQs. Would make a good headline. But I think Salmond is disciplined enough not to vent his spleen in public.


    By the opposition I take it you mean Iain Gray. I think that the anger provocation is secondary, like most trolls Gray really only wants to annoy.

    His demeanour and body language give it away.

    The looks to the Presiding officer and gestured plea for help are similar to that of the adolescent who displays appalling behaviour then dramatically exaggerates the slightest reasonable reaction.

    I would not be at all surprised if Iain Gray stood down after the General election.

    My view is that he is well aware of the gulf between himself and Alex Salmond and this 'heckling' style of opposition is all he has to offer - he is a very unhappy man and that cannot be healthy.

    If he has any sense then he will go immediately after Gordon Brown does, that way he will be able to slip quietly out the back door.

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  • 36. At 9:06pm on 07 Jan 2010, Colkitto wrote:

    Goldie was made to look rather silly today. Not one of her best performances.
    Gray just continues with attacks on the SNP, no matter the subject Labour will oppose. Getting tiresome I have to say.
    Scott just went through the motions, nothing more.

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  • 37. At 9:32pm on 07 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    34. Diabloandco, how can you be so cruel about the man who singlehandedly succeeded Nicol Stephen?

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  • 38. At 9:47pm on 07 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    37. GrassyKnollington

    I range across a lot of sites (and I had begun to worry that this one had succumbed to seriousness) but BT has recovered its status of being the home of the sharpest political wit.

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  • 39. At 10:03pm on 07 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    10. cynicalHighlander
    "Oh dear even Murphy's at it"

    I thought his "They need to do more..." without a single comment about what MORE they are supposed to be doing blatantly ludicrous. Maybe someone will be impressed by trying to score political points over a serious weather situation while making NO suggestions about what would improve the situation, but I find it hard to believe.

    And I do wonder what it has to do with the Secretary of State anyway. But then what DOES have anything to do with the SoS? =)

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  • 40. At 10:23pm on 07 Jan 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    Anyone who did not see the full half hour of FM questions and only got a glimpse on the evening news report would not appreciate how crass the whole thing was.

    BBC Scotland are experts at juxtaposing their news bytes so that the real meaning is obscured, 'as and when required'.

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  • 41. At 10:24pm on 07 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    39. JRMacClure
    "And I do wonder what it has to do with the Secretary of State anyway. But then what DOES have anything to do with the SoS? =)"

    An expensive non job filled by a non person of a disfunctional party heading for extintion.

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  • 42. At 10:38pm on 07 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    38 oldnat agreed. There's few days I don't get a chuckle from reading posts on here.

    I like Wee Folding Bikes post at the end of the last thread where he explains how Nick Robinson got the nickname "toenails"!

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  • 43. At 10:49pm on 07 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    I know the solution to the freeze.

    Just get all our politicians to have open air debates. All that hot hair would soon clear up the ice.......

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  • 44. At 11:00pm on 07 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    43. enneffess
    "hot hair"

    Are you suggesting that our politicians use curling tongs / hair straighteners / blow driers ?

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  • 45. At 11:13pm on 07 Jan 2010, reaktor303 wrote:

    44 Yes

    * GET Lindsay Roy to melt the ice around our streets using his £24 Babyliss Salon Dry Hairdryer and a very long extension cord.

    * ATTATCH a spade to the bottom of an old person's mobility scooter to convert it into an instant snow sweeper machine.

    * STRAP two Saxa Table Salt 750g tubes upside down to Postman's legs. Whilst they are out delivering mail, they will be distributing salt at the same time.

    * SAVE money on electricity by turning off your fridge and sit the entire contents outside.

    Send your suggestions c/o Scottish Office. Let's get Scotland moving.

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  • 46. At 11:26pm on 07 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    44. oldnat
    "Are you suggesting that our politicians use curling tongs / hair straighteners / blow driers ?"

    Would that hide the Grey ones?

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  • 47. At 11:29pm on 07 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    #44 oops......

    Actually, not oops. It is about hot hair.

    You see, Swinney is, shall we say, follically challenged, unlike Mr Grecian 2010. And since hot hair is the solution, then that is why the Scottish Government is to blame!

    Easy when you know how.......

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  • 48. At 11:41pm on 07 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    47. enneffess

    Masterful!

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  • 49. At 00:04am on 08 Jan 2010, AlastairGordon wrote:

    I'm not a menber of any political party, but I have to say that today's performance by Iain Grey reached a new all-time LOW. (He was never that good anyhow)

    Annabel Goldie has probably sacked her researchers by now (she certainly should have) That's unusual, she's usually rather good.

    And Tavish Scott was.... well Tavish Scot.

    When can we get a EFFECTIVE opposition to the SNP?

    Ian Grey just seems to want to increase there majority with the 'questions' he asks. If he was that good as a Maths teacher no wonder our kids are now thick when it comes to counting.

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  • 50. At 00:08am on 08 Jan 2010, Jane Ann Liston wrote:

    Why are people not getting loads of sand off the beaches, which will be nice and salty? That could be used for gritting in cases of salt shortage until the next delivery.

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  • 51. At 00:20am on 08 Jan 2010, highlandarab wrote:

    Sorry guys but i have been sitting in Inverness with the mother-in-law, snowed in and unable to get her home since before Christmas.

    Jim Murphy's blog had no responses so, although the christmas spirit is now beginning to fade in my heart (see above) I thought in a charatable sort of way to leave a reply. I have obviously been off work too long if I am reduced to writing emails to blogs with no traffic (a bit like the roads outwith nitshill)

    Sorry if I wasn't meant to / allowed to do this but his blog left so many unanswered questions in my mind and I thought I might as well try to get answers to quell my worry about getting the wifes mother back down the A9.

    I have put the blog answer here incase some of you have answers to the misery of 'global warming'. I am heading for a dram to get me through the night again and hopefully tomorrow Jim will have his Nitshill crew up the A9 and release me for the weekend.

    answer
    An interesting blog with a lot of calls for action but i am not sure what else could be done. You obviously have some ideas yourself. Is it possible to explain them in more detail?

    "keep the country moving" -
    should this not just be the Glasgow area covered by these gritters?

    "the Scottish Government has got to do more" -
    Any suggestions?
    How has the bad weather been handled south of the border?
    Are they coping better than we are?
    Is there any research data about how well / bad we are coping compared to other areas of the UK? Obviously if you are concerned about how we are coping there must be a visibly worse response up here or you would be calling for a UK wide response.
    Do you think it would be better to have a centralised gritting policy or tactical response centre run by the Scottish government, as I assume you are suggesting, rather than letting the councils do it locally? Is this a serious plan for south of the border as they seem to be suffering as much as we are according to the national news reports, although obviously not in your own view.
    If central control was considered would the budget be taken from the councils or would the councils be able to use their road maintenance money elsewhere? Is this a devolved item or is the funding for the road system from London?

    "They need to do more to support both businesses and councils get through this deep freeze" -
    Such as?
    What is happening south of the border that is not happening here?
    How is what is happening down south being funded?
    Is this new funding?
    Special funding?
    Emergency funding?
    Funding taken from each council?
    If special funding has been provided, has this been made available for Scotland or should this be taken from our annual budget?
    If it is to come from existing budgets are there any areas that you see as being over budgeted that could be cut to accommodate the extra cost? Do you have control over these budgets or do we need to wait on the Scottish government acting?
    Is there something like a 'cold weather payment' (or similar payments made to the banks) available to save businesses if they find themselves under financial difficulties and you are suggesting that it is the fault of an incompetant central government?

    With an election coming up it in the UK and back home here in Scotland it would be good to know what the Labour party would be doing in a case like this. To be fair it would also be good to see what all the other parties would do but I think it would be unfair to ask you to comment on the other parties policies.



    I don't know whether I am expecting a reply or whether he has time to read all his mail, but it would certainly be interesting to hear how the situation should be dealt with by professional politicions.

    BTY. It has just occured to me - is that not a contradiction in Jim Murphy's blog - he visited the Nitshill depot that is helping to keep the country moving and then complains about the country - em - not moving? Bizarre.

    Anyone want to recommend a superior malt to attemp or will I just stick to the usual local Forress one?

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  • 52. At 00:21am on 08 Jan 2010, romeplebian wrote:

    Having witnessed Prime Ministers Question time and many more previous, my thoughts turn to what point does this half hour serve ? half an hour of the opposition posing questions that are no answered, or the jeering of the muppets behind the first row, the mock shaking of heads , if they saved the oxygen and energy put into this farce, would this cure global warming ?

    and onto todays' First Ministers Questions, Labour, and the Tories wasted oxygen, and the biggest insult was Margot Macdonalds' point of order was brushed aside, she hit the nail on the head, Questions were not in order for FMQ's the local Councils and the various organisations are dealing with the weather related problems.

    not one word on the Pylons , not one word on the economy, not one word of decent opposition, a bit waste of time a disgrace no less !

    For this blog to gloss over what happened today, just adds this to the waste of oxygen and energy, the new newspaper that is supposed to be coming out soon (hopefully it will do the job as promised) will make this blog meaningless as I don't imagine the author will be on the list of journalists asked to write for a proper news organisation

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  • 53. At 00:22am on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    50. ArranBrownButterfly
    "Why are people not getting loads of sand off the beaches"

    Because it's illegal! Belongs to the landowner above the high water mark, and Lizzie below that.

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  • 54. At 00:34am on 08 Jan 2010, wilddog wrote:

    I see Gordon Bru.of Newsnight got it wrong about the size of the Pylons beside the Wallace monument and had to correct it tonight ,I wonder if he is going to say sorry to Mr Mather after badgering him about it doubt it .

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  • 55. At 00:43am on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    54. wildjackamo
    "I wonder if he is going to say sorry to Mr Mather "

    Jim Mather should have had the answer. If you are in Government you have to master your brief to deal with such points.

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  • 56. At 00:51am on 08 Jan 2010, curley_bill wrote:

    #51 HighlandRab - Smurf's Blog had 1 comment on it when I looked.

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  • 57. At 00:56am on 08 Jan 2010, Jane Ann Liston wrote:

    Because it's illegal! Belongs to the landowner above the high water mark, and Lizzie below that.

    That wouldn't prevent local authorities getting beach sand, then, because they own most beaches above the HWM. It's certainly worth those councils with a coastline looking at as an interim measure.

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  • 58. At 01:02am on 08 Jan 2010, highlandarab wrote:

    aye.
    sorry, that's one of my other pseudenom that is on that site. i did do the gaelic for a while so am allowed to use that.
    don't want my pupils to track me down too easily so need to be creative with the user names.
    I might also apply for a promotion and need to be anonomous to a certain degree just incase the interview panel don't think the same way as I do, although recently I think the early retirment packages on offer may be a better bet (and are likely to be suggested to me rather than activly hunted out).
    I just need to let my teaching skills talk for me rather than my out of school hobby.

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  • 59. At 01:11am on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Smurf's Blog

    It was actually very cleverly constructed. It implied (but didn't state) that the Scottish Government was responsible for the difficulties due to weather. It implied (but didn't state) that the Scottish Government was responsible for the difficulties due to UK Goverment.

    Worth a re-read. Skeletor is no fool, and he has ample time to hone such propaganda since he has no responsibilities, other than to attack the SNP at taxpayer's expense.

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  • 60. At 01:31am on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Another Union dividend

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6980047.ece

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  • 61. At 02:02am on 08 Jan 2010, gedguy2 wrote:

    I wonder if the national BBC news would have spent all this time talking about the weather if the south east had been free of snow? Normally, when the south east does not get hit by snow, it tends to mention the snow in passing. Could it also be that the Scottish (?) Labour Party were trying to set up the SNP with about the lack of grit because they would be safe to mention this. It must have come as a shock to them when the English councils started to complain that they were running out of grit. I believe one council in England is actually using the sand from the beach to supplement their stocks of grit. Could this be the reason that Iain Gray has not mentioned the grit shortage again but tried to concentrate on blaming the SNP government for..well, for everything really? What a sad state of affairs when the country is in the midst of the coldest winter for decades (so much for global warming) that all the opposition can do is to attack the government for the weather.

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  • 62. At 02:19am on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    61. gedguy2
    "the national BBC news"

    I think you have misused the term "national"? Didn't you mean "UK"

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  • 63. At 02:50am on 08 Jan 2010, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 62 oldnat

    Indeed, you are correct. I should have said UK.

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  • 64. At 03:56am on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    63. gedguy2

    I am the BT pedant, you understand! :-)

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  • 65. At 04:23am on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Oops!

    http://news.scotsman.com/politics/SNPstyle--crackdown-on-drink.5965823.jp

    "The SNP government's campaign to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol has been given an unexpected boost by an alliance of Labour and Tory MPs, who said the controversial measure should be introduced to crack down on problem drinking in England.
    Labour and Conservative members of the Commons health committee backed minimum pricing, despite their colleagues at Holyrood blocking the SNP's attempts to introduce it north of the Border."

    It must be really difficult being a Unionist MSP told to attack anything the SNP proposes, when your English colleagues ca' the feet fae ye.

    Why do I have no sympathy with such corrupt self-serving people, I wonder? :-)

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  • 66. At 04:32am on 08 Jan 2010, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #60 oldnat

    "Electricity producers in the north of Scotland have to pay £21.59 per kilowatt (kW) to transmit to the grid whereas producers in Cornwall receive a subsidy of £6.68 per kW. The discrepancy arises partly because Scotland produces more electricity than it consumes, but Cornwall has to import electricity."

    Sheer madness, charged to contribute power to the grid (rather than making a profit) whereas you are given money and power by being unable to contribute to the grid?

    Am I missing something? Perhaps we've all had this capatilist system backwards?

    If this isn't sorted out at Westminster then I would say the SNP should give prominence to this issue not only for the GE but also the independence referendum, the situation is an absolute disgrace.

    Also,if this isn't resolved at Westminster, can we make sure that those still clinging to the misguided impression that socialism based at Westminster is the best approach to furthering the prosperity of Scotland are disabused of this belief.

    How many more economic opportunities have to be threatened or pass us by due to the temerity of those at Westminster. I really am fed up with the 'what could have been scenarios', it's time to make things happen for ourselves.

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  • 67. At 04:47am on 08 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    Speaking of the "inimitable" Iain Gray, this gave me a chuckle:

    Red faced Mr. Gray?

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  • 68. At 04:52am on 08 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    66. ScotInNotts
    ""Electricity producers in the north of Scotland have to pay £21.59 per kilowatt (kW) to transmit to the grid whereas producers in Cornwall receive a subsidy of £6.68 per kW. The discrepancy arises partly because Scotland produces more electricity than it consumes, but Cornwall has to import electricity.""

    I can't be understanding this right? Even in the UK there is something wrong with this picture.

    Scotland PAYS to send England power???

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  • 69. At 04:59am on 08 Jan 2010, ScotInNotts wrote:

    "Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy said Scotland was the windiest country in Europe and the conditions were being created for the energy industry to invest in harnessing it."

    From this sites article on licences having been granted for an expansion to two offshore wind farms.

    Apart from some contributing to the natural hot air (or should that be hair?) and windiness of the place, it will be interesting to see if Murphy backs up his statement bearing in mind oldnats article link at #60, or will there be more duplicity?

    One can only hope they ensure that the national grid provides the conditions he refers to, otherwise there would appear little point to this or similar ventures.

    PS. Of course Murphy meant he and his pals at Westminster were solely responsible for the current renewables drive in Scotland...weren't they? Again, perhaps I've missed something?

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  • 70. At 05:06am on 08 Jan 2010, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #65 oldnat

    Their opposition found some resonance with those opposed to any state interference in their lives, even though NuLab at Westminster are the recen past masters at this.

    It would appear the there is a consensus across the UK that alcohol related crime and illness is proving an unacceptable cost both financially and socially. This would appear to be a reasonable attempt to improve the current situation, hopefully changing the underlying culture and attitude towards drink prevalent amongst many in the UK, not just Scotland.

    The poor unionists game of opposing everything the SNP proposes for the sake of it appears to have spectacularly backfired yet again.

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  • 71. At 05:54am on 08 Jan 2010, ScotInNotts wrote:

    Surely the national grids position would also put a large proportion of this at risk:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/8364773.stm

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  • 72. At 07:05am on 08 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    Gas rationing has been brought in for some of the UK's largest users, this includes factories in Scotland.

    Am I correct in assuming that Scotland is actually a net exporter of gas?

    If true, then that really is one helluva union dividend.

    Interesting figures on the charges to comnnect to the grid in Scotland - this should be headlined by every Scottish news outlet at this moment.

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  • 73. At 07:36am on 08 Jan 2010, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 64 oldnat

    I understand that it is difficult, for ex-teachers, to get out of the habit of correcting peoples' work. At least you didn't write in red ink: 'Could have done better'. I won't tell you where my girlfriend, who is a teacher, writes that. :-(

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  • 74. At 08:07am on 08 Jan 2010, peteraberdeenshire wrote:

    Just saw Hilary Benn on sky news when asked about gas supplies, and his reply was quite interesting in that there is more than adequate gas storage, "the north sea". Unionists keep telling us the north sea is finished, oil is running out etc. More lies, yes it will run out eventually but funny how this line is usually only used to frighten the natives into believing we wont be able to survive when independent.

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  • 75. At 08:45am on 08 Jan 2010, Wee Folding Bike wrote:

    gedguy2,

    These days we are encouraged to use green ink because it's less confrontational.

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  • 76. At 08:51am on 08 Jan 2010, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    Re: Crippling Grid costs.

    Even in a UK sense this is lunacy. Why does the UK have a policy to shore up areas that are overpopulated, highly polluted and no natural resources to generate themselves? The UK should be using the advatages that Wales and Scotland has as an opportunity to de-centralise and improve infrastructure elsewhere. But what do they do? They penalise the areas that already lack inward investment. I repeat: complete lunacy.


    The only funding outlying areas do get usually has to meet the criterion of: How does it or can this benefit the South east UK?


    In a Scottish Context this is a clear case of why Fiscal control is NOT enough. Scotlands future depends on controlling our Energy based economy and the ability to diversify based on our OWN priorities and needs and not what is best for the SE UK set by a naval gazing UK body.

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  • 77. At 08:56am on 08 Jan 2010, Florence wrote:

    51 - HIGHLANDARAB: I, too posted a comment, but I see from Murphy's site that no comments have been made re the cold snap. Odd.

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  • 78. At 09:28am on 08 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    #65 oldnat , so both labour and tory's in westminster want action now on minimum pricing as part of a package to tackle the drink problem and Scottish Labour want yet another bleeping commission.
    says it all really.
    look what we got from there last commission & how much did it cost us??? will they just move all those who sat on there last commission on to the next one. easy money when you think about it.
    cronyism at it's worst!
    Sid

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  • 79. At 09:31am on 08 Jan 2010, snowthistle wrote:

    From the recesses of my now legendary poor memory, didn't someone from the SNP take the issue of grid connection charges to some body in the EU? who in turn wrote seeking clarification from Westminster. That was a few months ago and then things all went quiet.

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  • 80. At 09:55am on 08 Jan 2010, Middy21 wrote:

    @highlandarab and others

    I tried posting a comment on Jim Murphy's blog and it complained that I was posting too fast. Previously posted on his other blog and it took over a month for the comments to become visible. I don't think he gets this modern interactive media stuff.

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  • 81. At 09:57am on 08 Jan 2010, skint wrote:

    I note that FMQ's is now on the front page of the BBC News and on the Politics page as well. To what end I wonder, it doesnt normally get such a high profile airing.

    Is it possibly due to the total embarrassment caused by our ineffectual opposition leaders that this this being put out there to show up our devolved government as a mickey mouse affair, giving the unionists more resolve to put us Scots back in the box? Or am I just being cynical.

    Re Highlandarab and Florence - excellent questions from Highlandarab, cant think why the comment wasn't posted ;-)

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  • 82. At 10:06am on 08 Jan 2010, Calum McKay wrote:

    Umph?

    Is there any other country in the world, where, to use the wind that blows over your land and waters the permission of a royal family in another country is required?

    And we think of ourselves as a forward thinking democracy?

    C Mck

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  • 83. At 10:11am on 08 Jan 2010, snowthistle wrote:

    #79
    It was Alyn Smith who lodged a parliamentary question in September last year calling on the EC to take action against the UK government.
    The EC asked the UK government to explain the system and to prove that it does not discriminate. I take it they managed to do that (god knows how) or we would have heard more on the matter and wouldn't be looking at charges rising even more.
    Union dividend???

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  • 84. At 10:19am on 08 Jan 2010, john wrote:

    #79

    The grid charges thing has been brewing for about 4 or 5 years now. Back then, the scottish grid infrastructure was handed to the private grid company that was in charge of the rest of the UK's grid infrastructure. They at that time decided to de-prioritise certain grid improvements that had been planned for the Scottish grid to allow renewables. The nett result was that these planned improvements were delayed by at least 10 years (and have not yet been carried out).

    The problem is that the grid connection to the north of Scotland is woeful, and as a result, much of the energy produced does not reach the final user (it is lost in the transmission lines), so in some sense you can understand why the national grid are trying to encourage generation close to useage. The energy is metered at the gate of the windfarm, or generator, so in reality for energy produced in the North of Scotland, the national grid is only receiving a fraction of the energy that is reported by the meter. In this sense it would make the position of the national grid reasonable, except for the fact brought up in the first paragraph (sorry I don't have references for that but I work in the energy industry, and remember the discussions at the time. I was shocked that at that time, it did not reach the MSM, as that is the real scandal).

    John

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  • 85. At 10:20am on 08 Jan 2010, Edzell_Blue wrote:

    66. ScotInNotts (and others)
    Crippling Grid costs.

    The SNP have been highlighting this anomaly for a number of years but have been constantly ignored by the MSM. Here is a link to a news release in 2005: http://www.snp.org/node/9720

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  • 86. At 10:36am on 08 Jan 2010, highlandarab wrote:

    #77 Florence + #80 Middy21

    That's quite impressive. JM has time to stay up all night and patrol the blog. He has maybe removed them so that he has a copy and is about to answer them. They were there at the end of 'Mock the week' on Dave last night at the back of 1.00. Ah the work of a busy elected member is never done.

    BTW when you were posting did you happen to notice the clock for the posting time at JMs blog. Considering the content of the blog I was slightly amused to see that it was still set up for UK summertime !

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  • 87. At 10:44am on 08 Jan 2010, The_Concept_Of_Mind wrote:

    #55 Oldnat ... Does this means you've read my response at #54 (to your #46) in the previous, 'Leadership game on?', thread ??? ...

    If so, thank you; fellow posters, if you've an idle moment/minute/day perhaps one/some/all of you could pass comment/wind/time on what I fondly perceived to be a pertinent point about those pesky pylons and power lines ...

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  • 88. At 10:50am on 08 Jan 2010, snowthistle wrote:

    john #84
    Thanks for that. It is an issue that I've been following but not understanding, for quite some time.
    So, the national grid is a private company that kind of transports the energy around the country, is that right? Are they paid by the energy producers to transport the energy or are they paid by the customers to deliver the energy?

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  • 89. At 10:59am on 08 Jan 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    With all the kerfuffle about transmission charges, isn't there a case for having industry and population centres nearer to the sources of the major renewables projects. This would be an opportunity to bring commerce and repopulation to the highlands.

    Of course there would be an instant reaction from the green lobby if anything like this was suggested.

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  • 90. At 11:17am on 08 Jan 2010, john wrote:

    #88 snowthistle
    I may be slightly shaky on some of the details (not sure exactly how private the grid company is), but I believe that the situation is that the national grid is in charge of maintaining the infrastructure, and transporting the energy. The energy producers all get paid for putting energy onto the grid. What is paid is governed by a grid connection contract, which details the connection location, the maximum power (energy per second), the quality of the energy (amount of reactive or real energy, any rate of change of power, and voltage, frequency levels), and the price paid per kW.

    The energy supply companies, pay for their users who use the energy (us).

    John

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  • 91. At 11:24am on 08 Jan 2010, john wrote:

    #89

    My preferred solution (in the short term) would be to cover the central belt in wind turbines, particularly the M8 corridor (that is ugly enough already).

    But yes, there is an arguement for decentralising industrial production. Good places to go would be thurso, Nigg, Inverness, Ullapool, Skye. It would revitalise these areas, they could all transport final products by rail/sea. People would live in (much) nicer conditions, and the economic benefits woudl be spread out.

    Scotland is going to have to wake up to the that in the coming decades, its best resource is going to be spread out evenly over the whole country, so the need to centralise into the coal fields of the central belt no longer exists. To make the best use of these resources, all areas of Scotland need to have an adequite infrastructure (road rail, broadband), energy).

    John

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  • 92. At 11:29am on 08 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #81 skintybroko
    "I note that FMQ's is now on the front page of the BBC News and on the Politics page as well. To what end I wonder, it doesnt normally get such a high profile airing."

    Quite so. Also interesting that at the time of writing, the DEMOCRACY LIVE insert is given different emphasis on the main Scotland and Scotland politics pages with Icy exchange over big freeze, while the News Front Page and the main UK Politics pages go with Alex Salmond defends Scottish government's reaction to big freeze.

    Presumably the UK links are intended to give the impression of those nasty nats making a hash of things in the wee pretendy, to people unlikely to explore the matter further while the Scottish links are designed to bore, in the hope of the natives not clicking on them to explore the matter further.

    The page itself does nothing to persuade anyone other than political geeks to click on and play the 31m42s video with "Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray has accused the Scottish government of complacency over the weather crisis in Scotland" and going on merely to state the intentions of the unionist "leaders" with no meaningful indication of the FM's responses. Even the L-D's Viking has some cause for complaint, since at least he did nothing to damage his own credibility [if he has any] yesterday.

    How different to the DEMOCRACY LIVE presentation of PMQs, which this week is headlined Brown defiant over public spending at PMQs, with "helpful" clarifications like: "But Mr Brown hit back, taunting the opposition leader about the recent row over whether the Conservatives' proposals on recognising marriage in the tax system are affordable."

    Same old, same old from our other unionist auntie B.

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  • 93. At 11:45am on 08 Jan 2010, Richard_the_Rogue wrote:

    The grid transmission charges are London-centric (or at least SE England-centric) and are the result of backwards or at least outdated thinking. They are designed to encourage the placement of power generating facilities close to industrial and population centres to minimise transmission losses and strain on the grid. Of course, the location of renewable sources of energy are dictated much more heavily by nature, so the policy should be changed to place industry and population close to the sources of power rather than the other way around.

    In a Scottish context, such a policy could lead to a re-population and re-invigoration of the highlands and southern uplands, and reduced pressure to build on prime farm land in the lowlands.

    Of course, so long as Westminster control energy policy and taxation, it simply isn't going to happen.

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  • 94. At 11:50am on 08 Jan 2010, skint wrote:

    #92 Brownedov

    I hadn't appreciated the differences in the headlines, thanks for pointing it out. And they say there is no bias mmm!

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  • 95. At 11:55am on 08 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    72. At 07:05am on 08 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:
    Gas rationing has been brought in for some of the UK's largest users, this includes factories in Scotland.

    Am I correct in assuming that Scotland is actually a net exporter of gas?

    If true, then that really is one helluva union dividend.

    Interesting figures on the charges to comnnect to the grid in Scotland - this should be headlined by every Scottish news outlet at this moment.

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

    On the gas rationing, is Scotland at this moment capable of supplying sufficient supplies for its own needs? The energy demands are far higher and of greater demand than expected. With regards to factory rationing some of them might be under the interruptable scheme.

    On gritting, South Lanarkshire Council are now using some sort of black grit which is absolutely totally useless. It does not melt the ice, and the limited additional grip it gives is soon made redundant as it is compressed into the ice.

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  • 96. At 11:56am on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    87. The_Concept_Of_Mind

    Yes saw it.

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  • 97. At 12:11pm on 08 Jan 2010, yourkidding wrote:

    Brian, perhaps when you have your Big Debate this afternoon, you could ask Anne McGuire ( who I know will have a comment to make about the pylons ), if it is true about people in Scotland having to pay £21.59 per K/W to the grid while people in Cornwall receive a subsidy? Perhaps you could ask her if she thinks this is a fair system and how it could perhaps be improved ?

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  • 98. At 12:15pm on 08 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #94 skintybroko

    You're welcome, and thank you for pointing out the blanket coverage. Had it had any balance, it would have pointed out Margo's and the Noble Lord F's contributions and gone with: Holyrood generates own hot air over big freeze.

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  • 99. At 12:28pm on 08 Jan 2010, redrobb wrote:

    Beit Nats or Labs we'll get a really expensive Inquiry or millions of leaflets offering advice after the horse has bolted....but hey-ho it will come in several languages excluding brail!!!! what a load of blah blah form our political captains!!

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  • 100. At 12:28pm on 08 Jan 2010, dubbieside wrote:

    jingswhatsitallabout re 97

    That would come under the heading "tough questioning" we all know that the BBC north british branch does not do tough questions, at least not to Labour politicians.

    JRMacClure re 67

    Red faced Mr. Gray?

    Yet again Gray being "economical with the truth" Just how low will this guy stoop?

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  • 101. At 12:36pm on 08 Jan 2010, Erida wrote:

    Re grid charging, Whitehall did indeed answer Salmond's 'unanswerable case', at least to their own satisfaction. It has not been forgotten, and is an ongoing matter. Some extremely able civil servants are working on it - though I am aware there are those who believe no such thing exists! For obvious reasons I can't say much more!

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  • 102. At 12:50pm on 08 Jan 2010, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #83 #84 #85

    Thanks for the info, I personally had not realised that this had been queried previously.

    However the fact that the charges are set to increase in the light of the further drive to increase our renewables capacity is surely a crippling handicap to the further development and expansion of the industry in Scotland.

    John, interesting that control of the Scottish grid was handed over to the national grid only 4 or 5 years ago. What was the situation Re transmission charges at that time? Who authorised the transfer of control and why? Short of independence any way Scotland can get that control back?

    Also, just how much mileage do the media expect to get from plugging the line that the SNP Scottish governement are 'complacent' in their actions during the current bad weather, rather than the councils?

    From the Herald to the Scotsman to the Beeb, and finally it makes it's way onto the FMQ's via Gray. This instead of asking questions on the Beauly-Denny power line, from the same man that asked AS questions on a certain blog rather than the demise of Globespan, it beggars belief.

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  • 103. At 12:50pm on 08 Jan 2010, john wrote:

    #97

    But the situation is fair given the current grid state (see my posts above) and the current spread of electricity useage.

    What was not fair was the lack of forward thinking, and lack of investment in the Scottish part of the grid, then the de-prioritisation of the grid improvements that would have made the transport of energy from (and around) the North of Scotland feasible and economic.

    What is also not fair is the centralisation of economic (and governmental) activity in one part of britain, when the physical reasons for this are quickly disappearing (indeed in some cases are reversing).

    What is also not fair is the lack of investment in the support infrastructure in the rest of the UK that is driving the previous point.

    What is also not fair is the concentration of social and health services around existing populations, and the closing of rural service that would allow the decentralisation of economic and industrial activity to the remoter regions of the UK

    We are now paying for a failure in energy policy, strategic planning and a centralisation ethos that goes back many years.

    John

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  • 104. At 2:15pm on 08 Jan 2010, Topher Allan wrote:

    The fact that there is snow on the ground is only half the problem as I see it. The other half is the country's expectation, and near-obsession, with keeping the roads and pavements 100% free of snow and ice in conditions where such a thing is clearly not practical.

    My walk to work since I came back from the holidays has been over compacted snow where people have already been walking, and the odd deep patch. It's a perfectly adequate walking surface as long as you have sensible footwear for the conditions. The only places where I've had problems have been where pavements have been entirely cleared, only to have frozen over again with sheet-ice, which is impossible to walk on.

    As for the situation on the roads, I would wager that the majority of cars are driving about with summer tyres on their wheels. Rather than complaining about the state of the roads, how about drivers take it upon themselves to fit winter tyres to their cars in these conditions?

    I've had all-season tyres on my car for a year or two now (not ideal at the moment, but better than summer tyres) and I've found driving on the un-gritted compacted snow currently covering most roads around town perfectly adequate. Granted I haven't been on any country roads recently, and there would still be a need to plough deep snow, but it would allow us to reserve stocks of grit for the times when it's both useful and necessary.

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  • 105. At 2:19pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Latest YouGov poll - England & Wales only.

    Cons 44% : Lab: 29% : LD: 16%

    Electoral Calculus (amended to no Scottish seat change) gives

    Con 373 seats : Lab 215 seats : LD 30 seats : Others 32 seats : Con overall majority 96

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  • 106. At 2:55pm on 08 Jan 2010, handclapping wrote:

    #105 oldnat
    All the more reason for Scots to elect MPs who will stand up for Scotland. The exploits of the feeble fifty should be engraved on the Scottish conciousness just as much as the image of Mrs T.

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  • 107. At 4:21pm on 08 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    I hope someone takes the Hootsman to task over this headline.

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  • 108. At 4:36pm on 08 Jan 2010, Wicked_Witch_of_the_West_Coast wrote:

    #107 - what's wrong with the headline?

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  • 109. At 4:48pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    108. GlasgowGooner

    If you don't read the article, then which "First Minister" would you think a Scots newspaper would be referring to?

    For comparison, their headline in June wasn't "Prime Minister flirts with a scandal too far for credibility", it was "Berlusconi flirts with a scandal too far for credibility"

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  • 110. At 4:50pm on 08 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    Just watched FMQ's from Thurs to see if Giggity Grey could possibly have been as barrel scrapingly bad as people had reported.

    He was worse.

    Iain MacWhirter summed up this attitude on his latest blog on minimum pricing for alcohol when he described it as "pig headed oppositionism".

    If it's the SNP doing it , it must be bad has become Labour's default position. The pity of it is that this lazy, stupid, Scotland harming stance is so rarely criticised by the media.

    I hope the unionist media darlings who coddle and encourage this p.h.o in the name of the union are proud of themselves. MacWhirter is a unionist who can think for himself and will speak up when he sees such stupidity in action. Next thing they'll be calling HIM a cybernat.

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  • 111. At 4:53pm on 08 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    We are consulting on the new system for managing MPs’ expenses

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  • 112. At 4:53pm on 08 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    See Maddox has a piece on The Hootsmon pages about Baron Foulkes wanting FMQs to be more relevant.

    Yes George,how about questions regarding Globespan instead of questions about The Universality of Cheese?

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  • 113. At 4:56pm on 08 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    109. oldnat

    Cheers.

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  • 114. At 5:28pm on 08 Jan 2010, highlandarab wrote:

    7 jan from JM blog

    "Councils across Scotland are doing all they can but the Scottish Government has got to do more. They have got to get a grip – this is no longer just about the weather, it’s now about jobs and the economy as so many businesses and staff are disrupted. They need to do more to support both businesses and councils get through this deep freeze."

    8 jan from Sky news
    UK government tell councils in England to use 25% less salt on the roads.


    There you go. I hope AS is paying attention. This is giving him the lead on how JM's cabinet pals think the way forward should be.

    Also, according to Sky News earlier in the day the mannie from Ipswich (I think) said that he was in charge of ordering salt but the government had taken over this role and would only send him supplies if they thought he needed it.

    So more centralisation and less activity is the way forward.

    Come on Alex - are you going to follow suit?
    (I am only interested because I have a bit to travel to get back to school when we open again on Monday and if you follow this lead I might get an extra couple of days away from the little darlings.

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  • 115. At 5:48pm on 08 Jan 2010, Wicked_Witch_of_the_West_Coast wrote:

    #109 - Mrs Salmond's name would not have instantly sprung to mind!

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  • 116. At 6:04pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    115. GlasgowGooner

    Indeed. But she is older than Alex!

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  • 117. At 6:24pm on 08 Jan 2010, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    Thanks for the replies to my post re Grid costs.

    However to be balanced from aconsumer persepective you need to look at supply charges and demand charges. Scotland gets kicked for supply, the producers take the hit, however this is (supposedly) balanced with much better demand charges. Details on http://www.nationalgrid.com

    However, clearly, from a business perspective Scotland (yet again) is at a disadvantage. This must be strongly challanged.


    Re: Gas production. Latest figures show Scotland produced 6 times more gas than we consume. However this is annual. Daily reserves is an area NOT develolved from London. Most UK gas is stored not in GAS works but under the sea in old, depleted, sources. There is little storage in Scotland. This is UK policy. The question is why does the UK have so little margin in case of crises.

    At the same time ask why is was more economical to pipe gas from Norway Sleipner to middle England undersea than to upgrade the route overland from Scotland. Note: Gas pipelines from Russia to Germany/France go evrland not through the Baltic which would be much shorter and less honerous from a political perspective.

    Ask whom? The 'Scottish' Secretary.

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  • 118. At 6:25pm on 08 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    107. At 4:21pm on 08 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:
    I hope someone takes the Hootsman to task over this headline.

    I noticed it myself and just sighed.

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  • 119. At 6:28pm on 08 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    #111 cynicalHighlander:

    Does it have any scope for claiming back fines for driving offences?



    117. EphemeralDeception:

    Good info. You want questions asked? Write to an SNP MP and ask for a PQ to be raised.

    Or even better, perhaps with various information now coming out since the whole of the UK is affected by the cold, Brian could start asking some awkward questions. And if he's not wanting to ask Mr Gray, he could always ask what the FM intends to do about this situation.

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  • 120. At 6:34pm on 08 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8448134.stm


    The things some people will do to try and blame the grit shortage on the Scottish Government.............



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  • 121. At 6:38pm on 08 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    I really need to stop clicking on the blooming post button........

    #109 oldnat:

    Their defence will be that the FM of NI is not well known (outside of NI) by his name, which while is strictly correct does not hide the alleged implication of what they were saying.

    The correct headline should have been prefixed "Northern Ireland's".

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  • 122. At 6:54pm on 08 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #105 oldnat
    "Cons 44% : Lab: 29% : LD: 16% ... Con overall majority 96"

    Thanks for the heads-up and the analysis. Must be worth putting them through UKPR's swingometer for comparison.

    Whatever they come up with, I'm personally convinced that if the Tories remain 8%+ ahead in England, that will be enough to give them an "overall majority".

    The $64,000 question is: How can that situation be communicated to the Scottish electorate to allow them to make an informed choice of who really will best protect them from the Tories?

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  • 123. At 6:55pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    121. enneffess
    "Their defence"

    I don't think they bother with "defence"! Actually with the Hootsmon, it's never clear what is ill will and what is just incompetence.

    I read elsewhere that Cameron tried to get the Barclay Brothers papers on board to support the Tories, but was sent off with a flee in his ear.

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  • 124. At 7:15pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    122. Brownedov
    "How can that situation be communicated to the Scottish electorate"

    It's not even being communicated to the UK electorate! I think all the Unionist parties are complicit in pretending there is a chance of a hung parliament, for their own ends.

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  • 125. At 7:24pm on 08 Jan 2010, tullibardine wrote:

    Several posters have commented on Smurf Murphy’s blog so deciding to have a look I typed in ‘Jim Murphy’. I cast a bored eyed down the list then sat up with a start.

    There it was: ‘Jim Murphy pope’.

    My mind was in a whirl.
    Were we going to lose our beloved SoS?
    Was oor Jim going to be first in a long line of Pope Smurfs?
    Everyone, including Smurf himself, knows he’s infallible so he is certainly qualified.

    But it was not to be. A click on ‘Jim Murphy pope’ disclosed his invitation to Pope Benedict XVl to visit Scotland.

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  • 126. At 7:38pm on 08 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #124 oldnat
    "It's not even being communicated to the UK electorate!"

    Quite so, but even if the English electorate knew about it, it would most likely make little difference to their voting behaviour.

    If, somehow, it could be communicated to the Scottish and Welsh electorates it might just make for constitutional headaches at Cameron's coronation.

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  • 127. At 8:01pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    126. Brownedov
    "it could be communicated to the Scottish and Welsh electorates "

    I don't the Welsh situation - but I do my bit by posting the E&W stuff on the 3 blogs I post on, and it seems to have got a bit of traction. Others on Polling report and PB are now doing the calculations.

    Worth spreading the word around the blogosphere is the best that we might get.

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  • 128. At 8:03pm on 08 Jan 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    One way of communicating with the electorate is through local newspapers. I am sure that editors would be please to get something other than the usual thankyou letters and those on minor local issues to liven up their letters page. In our local 'paper most letters of a political nature are sent in by councillors trying to snipe at each other. In my experience if ordinary citizens write in it seems to get more interest from the readers.

    This also gives a direct opportunity to debunk the rhetoric of the local Labour MSP (in my case Andy Kerr) who regularly writes articles to undermine the Scottish Government's policies.

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  • 129. At 8:04pm on 08 Jan 2010, tullibardine wrote:

    Gale-force winds and drifting snow are expected to bring traffic to a standstill in many parts of Germany, exacerbated by shortages of grit for clearing roads.

    I wonder if in Germany's Bundestag there is an equivalent of Labour's Iain Gray to ask similar inane questions asked in Holyrood yesterday?

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  • 130. At 8:19pm on 08 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    A unionist tells it how it is a pity they're almost becoming extinct. a site well worth bookmarking.

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  • 131. At 8:20pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    I've decided it's time for me to help Labour by publicising the odd (appropriate word) bit from the SLAB website.

    "According to Health Protection Scotland, in the 15-64 years age group, there were 327 cases of CDI reported compared to 313 in the previous quarter, representing a 5 per cent. The distribution of cases is skewed towards the older age groups.

    Shadow Health Secretary Jackie Baillie said:

    “I welcome the overall reduction in C. diff cases shown by today’s figures, but I am very concerned that the number of cases is still rising amongst younger patients."

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  • 132. At 8:21pm on 08 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    129. tullibardine

    I'm sure every parliament in the world has an Iain Gray.Almost all of them insignificant figures on the back-benches.Worringly our version is the leader of the opposition.

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  • 133. At 8:30pm on 08 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    128. hamish 42


    You can't be a million miles from me. Could you be referring to the EK News, where the letters page has turned into a clash of handbags between our local councillors?

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  • 134. At 8:30pm on 08 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    132. mistydougie
    "I'm sure every parliament in the world has an Iain Gray.Almost all of them insignificant figures on the back-benches.Worringly our version is the leader of the opposition."

    A punch bag is usually provided as an aid to improve one's own performance sadly these ones are filled with hot air rather than any substance.

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  • 135. At 8:33pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    132. mistydougie
    "the leader of the opposition"

    There's an opposition?

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  • 136. At 8:47pm on 08 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    134 & 135

    Come to think of it Gray is more like a Leader of the Supposition.

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  • 137. At 8:52pm on 08 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    135. oldnat
    "There's an opposition?"

    It's here

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  • 138. At 8:55pm on 08 Jan 2010, curley_bill wrote:

    One wonders if the reason Cathy Jamieson is so desperate to sling her hook is Ian Gray?
    Now, while Cathy is no Nicola, she did do no' bad when standing in at FMQ's - at least she had the ability to deviate from the script when she saw her line of questioning was going nowhere.
    I hold no love for Cathy - in fact I will be actively campaigning for George Leslie (SNP) at the GE and nothing would please me more than to send her back to Social Work - but she is miles better than that 'If Ah wiz Furst Minister' f*ckwit.

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  • 139. At 9:12pm on 08 Jan 2010, Caledonian54 wrote:

    It occurs to me that Mr Gray may be gray by name, nature and appearance as a result of being used by Mr Salmond to wipe the floor so frequently, he certainly gave it a fair dichtin in this week's FM questions

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  • 140. At 9:13pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    138. curley_bill
    "Cathy Jamieson"

    That reminds me. I picked up a copy of the freebie paper "The Ayrshire News" from December the other day.

    Lots of ads from MPs/MSPs listing their surgeries and a brief seasons greetings message. All paid for by us, and all perfectly reasonable - except one.

    A certain Cathy Jamieson included this in her ad -

    "With the global recession hitting local families, Christmas may be more difficult for many this year. In Parliament, I have worked hard to secure extra support for jobs and apprenticeships, new laws to help people in difficulty with their mortgages, and for banks to do more to help small local businesses. It's now time to curb excessive bonuses for the fat cats and help those on the lowest incomes".

    Now I'm no expert on the rules about publicly funded ads by MSPs, but if that piece is allowable, then the rules need revision. If she is out of line, then I'm sure someone on here has the contacts to have the matter raised in an appropriate place.

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  • 141. At 9:21pm on 08 Jan 2010, Pat McGroin wrote:

    lol and on that bombshell

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  • 142. At 9:26pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    A useful commentary on both bunches of incompetents who are competing to continue the destruction of the UK from 10 Downing Street.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/6953505/Labours-implosion-is-bad-news-for-us-all.html

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  • 143. At 9:30pm on 08 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    1984 is just round the corner, fill in correctly if not go to jail, do not pass go and do not collect your daily allowance.

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  • 144. At 9:39pm on 08 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    143. cynicalHighlander

    Better to quote the Scottish census form - very similar, but there are differences.

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  • 145. At 9:48pm on 08 Jan 2010, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #138

    I agree. I am very disapppointed in Cathy Jamieson and have written to tell her so. It is not the Scottish Parliament she should be leaving but the Scottish Labour Party.
    To digress.Has anybody read Denis Canavan's autobiography? He takes no prisoners and what a waste it was for such a man to spend his career in the Labour Party. His book should have been titled "Father of the Nation, My *rse!"

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  • 146. At 9:51pm on 08 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    128. At 8:03pm on 08 Jan 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    This also gives a direct opportunity to debunk the rhetoric of the local Labour MSP (in my case Andy Kerr) who regularly writes articles to undermine the Scottish Government's policies.

    Mention of Andy Kerr jogged my memory a bit and a little interesting titbit resurfaced .....

    Around the time of the SNP conference the Daily Politics show, a London based programme hosted by Anita Anand and Andrew Neil, carried an item based around the SNP and a their proposed independence referendum.

    A film crew had been despatched from London and their subsequent broadcast featured an interview with a 'typical' Glasgow businessman - owner of a scaffolding firm. The businessman claimed that Scotland was subsidised by England and could not afford independence.

    Well, as well as being a well known supporter of the Union (he appears on a BBC list of prominent Unionist businessmen) this gentleman had also donated around £3500 to Andy Kerr's Labour leadership campaign.

    Kerr also accepted a trip and hospitality to the Rangers Eufa cup final in Manchester (estimated value around £1500) from the same businessman.

    One would have thought that such a balanced and non-partisan organisation like the BBC would have made this known to watching viewers.

    They didn't.

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  • 147. At 10:05pm on 08 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    144. oldnat
    "Better to quote the Scottish census form - very similar, but there are differences."

    Is there a critique of the Scottish one? I have filled in censuses in the past more in innocence than fully realising how corrupt goverments are in using this information to control the general public, trust once lost will be very difficult to recover.

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  • 148. At 10:09pm on 08 Jan 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    #133 Enneffess

    got it in one!

    I think the editor of that paper gives a fair hearing to all points of view. Very refreshing compared to some of the broadsheets. Occasionally the 'paper invites comments by email on particular articles. They do a little survey thing where they have gone out on the street to ask opinions of members of the public about topical issues and quite often that is aligned with some of the letters on the same page.

    I agree about the clash of handbags which get quite heated. There have been several correpondents (not councillors) disputing some of the statements from the Labour councillors recently. The usual threats about voting Labour or you will let the Tories in and particular lies about the Megrahi release. One Labour councillor in particular must have wondered what hit him with the responses.

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  • 149. At 10:13pm on 08 Jan 2010, curley_bill wrote:

    Highland Arab and others - Smurf's blog now has all our comments up and the gent himself appears to be having an orgasm that his words drew so much attention.
    Twelve comments when I read it - eleven chastising the great man for doing nothing but sniping at the SNP while one spouted about 'cybernattery'.
    But the comments seem to have stung him into action - his blog today told us what he'd been doing to help (in a rather injured tone).

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  • 150. At 10:32pm on 08 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    146. Online Ed
    "Well, as well as being a well known supporter of the Union (he appears on a BBC list of prominent Unionist businessmen) this gentleman had also donated around £3500 to Andy Kerr's Labour leadership campaign.

    Kerr also accepted a trip and hospitality to the Rangers Eufa cup final in Manchester (estimated value around £1500) from the same businessman.
    "

    Register of Interest Ladder climbing comes to mind only HSE wouldn't approve.

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  • 151. At 10:54pm on 08 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    Two quick points:
    Genuine, genuine sympathy for NI First Minister Peter Robinson - the antics of his wife are truly awfull.

    I heard a rumour today that HSBC were paying off staff in Glasgow but can't seem to find it anywhere in the media.

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  • 152. At 10:58pm on 08 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    Kudos to fellow posters

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  • 153. At 11:08pm on 08 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    148. hamish42:

    Yeah, the paper does get a bit silly sometimes and none of the parties are being done any favours by the childish behaviour of the councillors. One thing I've found with the EK News over the years is that they have no political allegiances. They will attack or support anyone. And that is what we need in the national media.

    I have a good idea exactly who the councillor is, but I will not name him here because I have had a couple of run ins with him. In an open letter during the hospital closure saga, I openly accused the Labour group of hypocrisy for posing in a photo "supporting" Hairmyres. The councillor phoned me and basically asked me to withdraw the statement. I did so only for a senior member to openly criticise ME in the paper.

    I've also had a couple of issues with other Labour councillors, and it took a letter to both Adam Ingram and Andy Kerr to sort them out. The same letter that I sent to Linda Fabiani but she declined to respond. A golden opportunity to attack her opponents and she did zip.

    The point of that story is regardless how poorly Labour is doing nationally, the SNP have still got to fight for every target seat. Some MPs may be totally ineffective nationally, but at constituency level some are quite popular.



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  • 154. At 11:11pm on 08 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    #150 cynicalHighlander:

    At least there is no rainforest of shelves there!

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  • 155. At 11:42pm on 08 Jan 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    #146 Online Ed

    I remember the incidents you mention, the latter being all above board 'allegedly'.

    It's doubtful if the scaffolding guy was a great advert for the Labour cause!

    #153 enneffess

    The latest verbiage from Kerr is that the SNP decision not to close the the two A&E departments was taking money away from building projects in East Kilbride. Kerr playing one community off against the other. I thought Fabiani put in a good response to that one.





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  • 156. At 00:06am on 09 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    154. enneffess
    "At least there is no rainforest of shelves there!"

    There won't be any rainforests anywhere in a few years down the line let alone shougly shelves.

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  • 157. At 00:07am on 09 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    155. hamish42:

    I go to Monklands on a regular basis, and know staff in one of the departments very well, having gone there for about 6 years now. They were pleased Monklands stayed open, but there are some resource issues, mainly staffing, caused by having three hospitals open. Saying that, losing one A&E would put undue pressure on the other two, even with the redistribution of staff. To be honest, no government is ever going to solve the problems of staffing within the NHS, unless they reduce the number of unnecessary managers.


    On the issue of member's interests and donations, the SNP do have a major donator as well, and one that could cause problems come the next Holyrood elections. All I'll say is that the religious card may be played by the SNPs opponents, as the donator does allegedly have strong religious views. I have the link in an earlier post but can't remember how far back. Unfortunately, certain parts of Scotland still live in the religious twilight of intolerance.

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  • 158. At 00:09am on 09 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    So the coup did have a significant effect!

    http://news.scotsman.com/politics/39PM-has-lost-it-but.5968763.jp

    Labour weakened and divided. It'll be interesting to see how Labour voters here react as this message becomes the narrative!

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  • 159. At 00:25am on 09 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    158. oldnat

    I think sums Brown up in all things.

    ""He is there out of a mixture of obstinance and arrogance. There is a touch of the Churchills about him. He thinks he is destined for great things. Unfortunately, unlike Churchill, it is only what he thinks, rather than actually being true.""

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  • 160. At 00:32am on 09 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    97. jingswhatsitallabout
    "Brian, perhaps when you have your Big Debate this afternoon, you could ask Anne McGuire ( who I know will have a comment to make about the pylons ), if it is true about people in Scotland having to pay £21.59 per K/W to the grid while people in Cornwall receive a subsidy? Perhaps you could ask her if she thinks this is a fair system and how it could perhaps be improved ? "

    I'm trying to think of an adequate response for this.

    I"m tempted by sarcasm but somehow sarcasm seems useless in the face of such incompetent or deliberately skewed news coverage.

    I'll leave you to decide which it is. It HAS to be one or the other or BBC Scotland and Mr. Taylor would headline this unbelievable situation.

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  • 161. At 05:30am on 09 Jan 2010, gedguy2 wrote:

    The comment I put onto Murphy's site has not appeared. I wonder how many more have disappeared?

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  • 162. At 06:43am on 09 Jan 2010, bmc875 wrote:

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

  • 163. At 07:17am on 09 Jan 2010, bmc875 wrote:

    Since posting at *162, (which has been referred) my comment on Mr Murphy's blog has been removed. Hark! - I hear footsteps in the snow. Thought police methinks.

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  • 164. At 08:17am on 09 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Hello there,

    I hope everyone has noticed the, 'Have Your Say' topic regarding mininum pricing. It's quite interesting to read, although I cringed a few times, once coming upon plain stupid comments posted by a small minority.

    I never witnessed the type of bickering once this policy was discussed in Scotland, deap down, I feel most individuals understand the price we pay for our love of alcohol, but the people of England appear to be more concerned about their own circumstances instead of the overall situation.

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  • 165. At 09:09am on 09 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    Interesting article brought to my attention by a reader of Newsnet Scotland - seems Jim Murphy has had his nose put out of joint.

    Click Here

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  • 166. At 09:23am on 09 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    Morning , #164 tom , high, and there is the difference between England & Scotland. Whilst there is still a higher level of community spirit in Scotland ,it has all but been replaced in England with full, looking after no.1 , downright greed and dog eat dog.
    yes that happens in Scotland but there are still pockets of resistance and there is still a feeling of community ,granted no where anything like it used to be and there is definitely an increase of looking after no 1 and downright greed
    IMHO - This is ONE of the biggest reasons (not THE biggest reason) we should be getting out of the union before we are dragged down even further by our larger neighbour. The days of England & Scotland having shared values and ideals are dissapearing if not over, unlike the snow & ice

    Sid

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  • 167. At 09:28am on 09 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    The last couple of days has been decent overall for the Scottish Government.

    The disquiet amongst Labour MP's over Brown has pretty much overshadowed all other political news - even 'gritgate' melted into the background.

    The news that the crown estates have granted licences for two offshore windfarm sites in Scotland was positive - see the link above to find out why Jim Murphy was less than pleased [Is this a sign that London civil servants know he is on his way out?].

    Strangley enough I believe that the severe weather has meant that the vast majority of people are behind the Beauly to Denny power line - although I get the feeling that the Scottish media see it as an opportunity to redress the political 'news balance' in Scotland.

    I don't expect the media or Labour to disagree with the actual decision itself but [like Trump] they will try to suggest that procedure was not followed and that there were flaws in the process.

    The media will refuse to point out that the process was one that Labour actually put in place and that the Scottish Government have since improved it for future applications.

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  • 168. At 09:50am on 09 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    I see that The Scotsman has now joined The Record in trying to use meagre poll samples in order to suggest a ridiculously huge lead [19%] for Labour in Scotland. Even more ridiculous is the suggestion that the SNP and Conservatives are jointly challenging Labour in Scotland.

    The average of the samples of the first three YouGov polls taken in Scotland, before the attempted coup, showed that Labour was on 39 per cent and its main challenger north of the Border, the SNP, was on 20 per cent, the same as the Conservatives.

    If anyone has the time to break this down and provide the actual number of Scottish participants in each poll it would be appreciated.

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  • 169. At 10:18am on 09 Jan 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    Someone on the Scotsman website put the number of Scots polled as 170, which grossly reduces the credibility of an already discredited and unbelievable poll.

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  • 170. At 10:35am on 09 Jan 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    BTW I see a few comments of rationing sand and salt on English roads, and one or two comments about global warming theories reducing council expectations of proper winters ever occurring again therefore holding NO stocks of sand and salt - in England.

    I wonder if this will excite comment from Mr Grey or Mr Murphy?

    Old Holborn has a cracking piece on his blog!

    The Global Warmers are out in force in Times and Telegraph telling us all that they NEVER said it meant winters would be warm and wet and so would summers!
    Sadly for them there is plenty of evidence that they said just that and that snow would be a rarity!
    Canadians are adding to the furore by denying that they are warmer than usual - they ain't!

    Are w going to have to endure a BBBC news of weather forecast for the duration of this current piece of global warming?
    Though I have to say I was utterly delighted with the old couple from the coldest place in the UK with their " get on with it " attitude and the lovely cheery lady who owned the B and B.
    Congratulations to all three for enjoying winter!

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  • 171. At 12:59pm on 09 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    165 Online Ed that's a very amusing article about Whitehall civil servants apparently forgetting Jim Murphy existed.

    It raises once again the question of "what does the secretary of state against Scotland actually do?"

    If he's a completely powerless Labour talking head employed to make announcements then this an even bigger slight than it looks!

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  • 172. At 1:35pm on 09 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #168 Online Ed
    "If anyone has the time to break this down and provide the actual number of Scottish participants in each poll it would be appreciated."

    The Scottish "scraps" from the 3 polls are:
    Unweighted, Weighted, Poll Closed, Commissioned by
      167, 161, 30-Dec, Daily Telegraph
      372, 362, 06-Jan, The Sun
      301, 246, 07-Jan, The Sun
      840, 769, Totals

    On the face of it, you might assume that 840 participants squeezed down to 769 by weighting on demographics and political "identification" is close to the 1000 sample needed to get a broadly representative sample, but it's nowhere close for two reasons...

    First and most obviously, there's no way of telling how many of those 840 participated in more than one poll. YouGov don't publish their Scottish panel size, so far as I know, but I have yet to see a Scottish poll from them with over 1500 unweighted responses.

    Second and much more importantly is that the weightings are based entirely on demographics for the whole of GB and not Scottish ones - something that oldnat has been trying hard for some to get into the heads of the likes of politicalbetting.com and ukpollingreport.co.uk with initially indifferent success but now meeting rather less disbelief.

    Gender, age and social class weightings are likely not to be too far adrift, but - especially with YouGov - political "identification" weightings are very different for "proper" Scottish polls and GB-wide (effectively read English) ones. For example, the YouGov weightings used for these polls vs. the last Scottish poll were:
      Last3, Scotland (20 Nov), Party
      32.0%, 36.0%, Lab
      26.0%, 11.0%, Con
      12.0%, 10.0%, L-D
      3.0%, 16.0%, Other
      24.5%, 24.5%, None
      2.5%, 2.5%, DK

    From this, it should be obvious that while past Labour supporters in Scotland are slightly under-represented in the GB polls, past Tory supporters are over-represented by nearly 2½ times and every SNP supporter in the samples is weighted down to less than a quarter of a vote in the GB sample.

    Frankly, I suspect the YouGov political "identification" is now deeply flawed and even the 16% for Other (ie including SNP) in Scotland looks rather low in the light of the 2007 SP and 2009 Euro elections, which I accept were for a different chamber.

    Also worrying but less critical are the Newspaper Type weightings, since neither the GB nor the Scottish weightings show any "Scottish" newspaper but the Record.

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  • 173. At 1:42pm on 09 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #165 Online Ed

    Many thanks for the link, Ed, which brightened a dour day, and from Alan Cochrane of all people.

    I especially liked his:
    "Such is the angst amongst Scotland Office staff at this slight that I’m told that "punishment beatings" are being dished out to those London civil servants who had apparently forgotten that we still have a Scottish Secretary. Oh dear!"

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  • 174. At 1:45pm on 09 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    #166. sid_ts63:

    Where is your evidence for this? I live in England for many years and have friends and relatives there. I don't see anything different to Scotland. "Community spirit" has declined across the UK, but it is a weak argument to use for independence. The argument that carries the most weight could be considered as "greed", since we want control of all our natural resources so we can create oil funds, sell water to England and produce a lot of renewable energy to sell as well.



    On the gritting situation in England, especially the south, because they have generally milder winters, they are better investing public money into other schemes. Gritting lorries are rather expensive pieces of manchinery, as pointed out by an engineer from a London council, especially as it may not be used at all.



    #170. Diabloandco:

    I'm still waiting for harsh questions to Patrick Harvie.

    Canada is a bit milder than usual just now. I have a friend who lives near Montreal and the snow is not its customary six feet or whatever. But its not global warming, just a shift in air pressures and winds etc. Think of it as a Westminster debate at ten o'clock at night....



    #165. Online Ed:

    Wonder how Grecian 2010 will deal with this next FMQs. Stand by for some totally irrelevant attack.

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  • 175. At 2:14pm on 09 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    NFS 174 If a country controlling its own natural resources is defined as greed and Scotland by "sharing" hers is presumably showing selfless generousity, is there any chance you could get the rest of the world on board for this ?

    We'll be one big happy sharing family without borders :O) The cuddly league of caring sharing nations. Or something.

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  • 176. At 2:49pm on 09 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    175. GrassyKnollington:

    Greed is good if you want to look after your own, since the rest of the world won't help.

    I just found the post a bit strange, especially with the phrase "pockets of resistance", as though Scotland is under siege! I've got visions of people sneaking about under cover if darkness holding community parties in cellars. Watching out for the evil capitalist police, who are cracking down on anyone not interested in money.

    Seriously, there is nothing wrong with community spirit, but I'm not aware that England has suddenly turned a selfish land where no one speaks to anyone else.

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  • 177. At 3:01pm on 09 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Enneffess:

    #174.

    "Where is your evidence for this? I live in England for many years and have friends and relatives there. I don't see anything different to Scotland."

    I raised the point actually, in fact the political differences shows a typical left to right difference. It is therefore not suprising that the people in England (the people, not simply the English) are individualist and less collective, compared to Scotland.

    I also brought the point up since the reactions to mininum pricing has been very different. If we're not different, why the different reactions?

    ""Community spirit" has declined across the UK, but it is a weak argument to use for independence."

    Evidence? You asked another poster for theirs but put forward opinion of your own as if it were fact...

    "The argument that carries the most weight could be considered as "greed", since we want control of all our natural resources so we can create oil funds, sell water to England and produce a lot of renewable energy to sell as well."

    It could be considered, 'greed', if it were greed at all. It does not help if your showcased as some type of benefit stealing smack head...

    I believe most people who support independence are actually motiviated to some extent by the treatment of Scotland and the people of Scotland in the 'United' Kingdom.

    I also see flaws in your theory considering we're living in a capitalist country, we sell things, we make profits, it's what we do.

    You seem to believe we're in some kind utopia world. In the last blog you appeared to think that taxpayers money should be immune from the failings of private industry...

    Read up on economics please ;-)



    On the gritting situation in England, especially the south, because they have generally milder winters, they are better investing public money into other schemes. Gritting lorries are rather expensive pieces of manchinery, as pointed out by an engineer from a London council, especially as it may not be used at all.

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  • 178. At 3:01pm on 09 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    174 nfs - afternoon my post says it is one of the reasons not THE reason.
    we need control of all our natural resources because it is a resource that will become more and more important as the years go on.would you rather we gave it away without a fight as is happening today.
    we are paying double for the privelage of putting our electricity into the national grid and giving away our excess electricity ? yet another union dividend!

    I to have family & friends in England and the difference is there ,some people just don't want to admit it.

    I was simply pointing out that England & Scotland no longer have the same Ideals or shared values.

    the fact that England cannot produce enough power for it's population and has to rely on the wee diddy region of spongers, benefit cheats ,etc,etc,etc at the top of England ,even with nuclear, shows how dire a situation westminster are really in and the main reason for the UK fighting tooth and nail to keep Scotland in the union at all costs.

    Sid

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  • 179. At 3:07pm on 09 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Enneffess:

    #176,

    "Seriously, there is nothing wrong with community spirit, but I'm not aware that England has suddenly turned a selfish land where no one speaks to anyone else."

    It would be wrong to think of England as a single entity, however, perhaps you should consider London as the place where nobody else speaks to one another but if you do consider England a single entity, then yes, you will expect the people of England to be leaning slightly to the right, more individualistic and less keen of the nanny state...

    I don't see why this is actually difficult for you to accept.

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  • 180. At 3:09pm on 09 Jan 2010, ForteanJo wrote:

    #176 - "Seriously, there is nothing wrong with community spirit, but I'm not aware that England has suddenly turned a selfish land where no one speaks to anyone else."

    There is no denying that the Thatcherite stance that there is no such thing as society played much better "down south" than in Scotland. Alex Salmond was made out to be a lover of Thatcher for saying exactly that while the MSM ignored the fact that Duff was inviting Maggie to tea and hanging newly commisioned portraits of her above his bed.

    While generalisations are always dangerous, reading various blogs & have-your-say boards that are heavily frequented by our southern cousins, it's easy to take the view that many in England are of the "I'm alright Jack" variety (not to mention the "I'd be even better if less money went to the Scots/Welsh/Irish/Polish/Immigrants/Asylum Seekers/etc." variety).

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  • 181. At 3:12pm on 09 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    sid_ts63:

    #178.

    "I was simply pointing out that England & Scotland no longer have the same Ideals or shared values."

    However I believe you'd agree the north of England has more politically in common with Scotland then the rest of England (or at least London and the South East).

    "the fact that England cannot produce enough power for it's population and has to rely on the wee diddy region of spongers, benefit cheats ,etc,etc,etc at the top of England ,even with nuclear, shows how dire a situation westminster are really in and the main reason for the UK fighting tooth and nail to keep Scotland in the union at all costs."

    You also prove my point. The people want control to show we are worth our salt instead of being showcased as some type of idiot that doesn't know better.



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  • 182. At 4:01pm on 09 Jan 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    A cheery wee headline from the Wall Street Journal,
    "Big Deficits Cloud Britain's Future
    Even as Britain recovers from recession, it faces one of the largest budget deficits in the world. And paring it down may make recovery more painful than in many other places."

    Wonder if A Darling now has developed the courage to tell us all just how bad it is??
    Was'nt that one of G Browns concessions for A Darlings support??

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  • 183. At 4:03pm on 09 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    afternoon tom. From what I can see England are definitely moving even more to the right whilst Scotland remain left of centre politically not really helpful when you are trying to promote a "united"kingdom.
    Yes I accept the north of England has more ,politically, in common with Scotland as opposed to London & the south East but they flung out the opportunity of getting an assembly etc.
    yes I am sick fed up of my country and my fellow Scots being portrayed as idiots,spongers,wasters etc whilst our country is being abused by our far bigger neighbour.
    what really saddens me is the MSM in Scotland are more than happy to play along!
    Sid

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  • 184. At 5:03pm on 09 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    182. At 4:01pm on 09 Jan 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    Wonder if A Darling now has developed the courage to tell us all just how bad it is??
    Was'nt that one of G Browns concessions for A Darlings support??


    Looks like it.

    I do believe that Brown is now powerless, Mendelson is jostling to run the election campaign of not the country.

    The little judder everyone felt when the 'Hoon/Hewit' iceberg hit last week is akin to the gentle tremble felt when the iceberg holed the titanic.

    The point of last weeks little grenade was not to bring Brown down but to weaken him to the point where his removal is now inevitable - like the famous ship he will slowly sink without ever having realised what he believed to be his destiny.

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  • 185. At 5:08pm on 09 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

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

  • 186. At 6:05pm on 09 Jan 2010, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #146 Online Ed

    I'd recommend putting up that post and the link to the members interests (cynical #150) onto AN's Blog. It'd be itneresting to see:

    A. If he personally responds (doubt it).
    B. The reaction from the usual posters on that blog that tend to place the Daily Politics show on a pedestal as a place of impartial and accurate political information (might disasuage a few from that view, again doubt it).

    Seems even more pertinent since someone on that blog has commented on the UK having a free press, citing that as one of the few civil liberties we have left. I had to say that it was news to me.

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  • 187. At 6:50pm on 09 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    The outgoing Doctor Who has backed Brown to remain PM.I think that's definitely one regeneration too far.

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  • 188. At 7:48pm on 09 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    178. At 3:01pm on 09 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    Hi Sid, I wasn't having a blast at you - and you did point out it was one of the reasons, apologies for not highlighting that - its just that when people use issues such as community spirit etc I disagree that it is a worthwhile argument to use when encouraging support for independence.

    Certainly the national grid was an eyeopener and that needs rectified immediately. For once I am in full agreement with Alex Salmond (half the bloggers here drop down dead in shock!). This is a strong argument for independence, since you would expect a NATIONAL grid to have equal costs across the country.


    Tom, you are also taking my previous posts completely out of context.

    As for your comment "It would be wrong to think of England as a single entity, however, perhaps you should consider London as the place where nobody else speaks to one another but if you do consider England a single entity, then yes, you will expect the people of England to be leaning slightly to the right, more individualistic and less keen of the nanny state...

    I don't see why this is actually difficult for you to accept. "

    My original reference to sid's post at 166 referring to your post at 164, where you clearly stated "England". So where do you get the idea that I think England is a single entity?

    I'm well aware of the comments that are raised on boards such as HYS, something I steer clear of these days. But these are a minority, and most in England do not refer to the "spongers of the North". I spend a lot of time working across the UK, so I can speak from experience.

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  • 189. At 7:49pm on 09 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8450176.stm


    Now I AM worried......Gordon says everything is fine.......

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  • 190. At 8:01pm on 09 Jan 2010, nate_oz wrote:

    I think the outgoing Doctor Who made a valid point. People are giving away their support far too naively. Yes the country has got itself into a bit of a mess, it wasn't just the Labour parties fault, most people including myself were guilty of running up massive debts on borrowed money, the banks were guilty for lending it to anyone, the situation is far more complex. But should we really give Poster boy Cameron our support so willingly, I don't think so. The only reason I would is to bring Scottish Independence faster. Have to say i'll still be voting SNP though, only viable option, the nonsense that they are irrelevant at Westminster is crap. Most of those MP's are irrelevant, spending the last few years having a free ride off Taxpayers money.

    When Labour and Conservative MPs and MSPs squirmed around trying to block the release of details of their expense claims, the SNP were the first one's to offer out the information freely, be open and honest with the voting public, now that's not something i'll easily forget.

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  • 191. At 8:05pm on 09 Jan 2010, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Scotland and England have always had different social values and the difference is more pronounced the further south you go.
    This was not an important issue until the after the WW2 and into the fifties. Until then England and Scotland had bumped along in a union in which the vast majority of issues which affected people on a day and daily basis were decided in a very local framework. From the fifties onwards the differences began to become significant as a result of the centralising influence of the UK state, hugely exacerbated by the nationalisation of major industries and the public utilities which removed Scottish control from the central features of Scottish life.
    The strength of the union was the looseness of it. As that looseness was removed the strength of the union came under threat and unless Scotland and the Scots decide they no longer want to be Scottish the union is finished. It is only a matter of time and it is an illuminating spotlight on the sheer political paucity of Scotland's unionist pygmies that they haven't realised this yet.
    I have always been struck by the deferential nature of a huge proportion of the electorate in the South of England and encouraged by the hugely disputative nature of about the same proportion of the Scots.

    All things being equal the instinctive communalism and collectivism of the Scots is a much better model for a healthy society than the individualism which the self-serving powers-that-be continually encourage in the ordinary people in the South of England.

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  • 192. At 8:17pm on 09 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    189. enneffess
    "http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8450176.stm


    Now I AM worried......Gordon says everything is fine.......
    "

    ""We've got plenty of gas.. in our own back yard - the North Sea - and we also have access to the large reserves in Norway and Netherlands via pipelines.""

    Isn't that were he normaly speaks from!

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  • 193. At 8:23pm on 09 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    191. sneckedagain

    Absolutely!

    Those posting about "London" in this context, however, should remember is that it is really not an English city any more. Like New York it isn't really representative of the country that it is in.

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  • 194. At 8:32pm on 09 Jan 2010, R campbell wrote:

    " 183. yes I am sick fed up of my country and my fellow Scots being portrayed as idiots,spongers,wasters etc whilst our country is being abused by our far bigger neighbour. "

    Me too Sid. But is Scotland being abused by England? I don't think it is. I think mostly Scotland is being abused by British Nationalists in Scotland who are desperate to hang on to any power they can get in london. Scotland is a joke to them. A small, irrelevant, regional backwater. Inward looking, embarrasing and not able to be a 'real' country. Just look at the Scottish cringe of people like Murdo Fraser, David Cairns and Gordon Brown. You watch their interviews on TV and they have a genuine dislike of Scottish affairs.

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  • 195. At 8:32pm on 09 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    This might be an interesting read tomorrow Eddie Barnes - Lucky Jim

    A smooth ride or well gritted to trip him up.

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  • 196. At 8:53pm on 09 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Details of the Scottish constituency changes for 2011.

    http://macnumpty.blogspot.com/2010/01/boundaries-are-changin-again.html

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  • 197. At 8:56pm on 09 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    Re the link in the Barnes piece to Iain Dale's predictions for Scotland in the GE.

    I thought Iain Dale was supposed to be a blogging luminary.His Scottish predictions are ridiculous.15 seats for the Lib Dems,9 for the Tories and the SNP stuck on 7.

    His reason for thinking the Scottish LDs will do well is because they have fairly large majorities in the seats they hold.He's obviously spent about 90 seconds psephological research on Scotland.

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  • 198. At 9:10pm on 09 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    197. mistydougie

    Dale's predictions have been savaged on PB by Nats, Tories (and even LDs)!

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  • 199. At 10:04pm on 09 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    One comment that appears regularly on this blog is when a poster is asked to "provide evidence" of his or her point. A perfectly legitimate request, but things change when you are dealing with the general public, most of whom have little interest in politics.

    I'm making a point from absolute neutrality here, so please don't start jumping all over me!

    It is actually more important for the nationalist argument to provide evidence why independence is better for the country. Why? Because people already live in an unionist state (for want of a better word). They see huge problems with the credit crunch, bigger problems with Afghanistan and Iraq and can see potential benefits of independence. Likewise, with the national grid issue, which I think is going to cause a huge political storm, they can see where Scotland is being penalised. Nuclear weapons, they can see them going which to many is a positive.

    The Arc of Prosperity has backfired a bit on the independence argument, more so with the situation in Iceland. That will be rammed down throats of the voters come the GE. Never mind the facts behind the situation, most people see a headline of a skint Iceland.

    But when people start talking about issues such as oppression, then the nationalist side must provide evidence of this. More importantly, you have to get this over on the doorstep.

    The unionists too must provide evidence on certain areas. Most important will be the relevance of Westminster to Scotland if the Tories win power but only have a couple of seats in Scotland. They must show how Scotland is being treated fairly compared to the rest of the UK.



    Reading bits and pieces that there is massive untapped supplies of gas west of Shetland, and would cost approx 2 billion to extract. What's more important - a bridge or more gas?

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  • 200. At 10:06pm on 09 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Brown knew this book was coming out

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1241978/Browns-election-shambles-Man-ran-Labour-Party-reveals-chaos-No-10-devastating-new-book.html

    "Mr Watt claims International Aid Minister Douglas Alexander, one of Mr Brown’s closest allies, told him one reason for wanting an early poll: ‘The truth is, Peter, we have spent ten years working with this guy, and we don’t actually like him.

    'We have always thought the longer the British public had to get to know him, the less they would like him as well."

    No wonder wee Dougie was on the side of the plotters!

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  • 201. At 10:33pm on 09 Jan 2010, Ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    Oldnat ...that makes interesting reading ...but why does it not surprise me that the Labour party couldnt even control their own financial spending (30 million in debt)let alone the countrys. This from a party who get lots of money from trade unions (well for now anyway)

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  • 202. At 10:47pm on 09 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    Just had a horrible thought.

    JR has commented about a state of emergency, just to hold off the GE. If this cold snap continues we might just see one!

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  • 203. At 10:51pm on 09 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    200. oldnat, thanks for that link. My favourite bit was “He’s bonkers,” Vilma [Mr Watt’s wife] whispered. She was right.’

    There you have it, even the Flintstones think Global's completely hatstand!

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  • 204. At 11:36pm on 09 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    200. oldnat

    Brings this to the fore funny farm.

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  • 205. At 11:37pm on 09 Jan 2010, Ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #202 If this cold snap lasts till May then we really have a 'Day After Tomorrow' situation. Incidently in that movie Scotland is the first place to get 'Deep Freezed' .. totally unrealistic as young folks in Union Street would still be walking around in T shirts.

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  • 206. At 11:51pm on 09 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    172. At 1:35pm on 09 Jan 2010, Brownedov:

    Thanks for that - I might purloin it.

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  • 207. At 11:58pm on 09 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    204. cynicalHighlander

    Wonderful! I've posted it over on PB as well as "Brown's response".

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  • 208. At 00:05am on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    This is an interesting one, in terms of the Tories confusing the government of England and the UK

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8450368.stm

    The Higher Education Funding Council is an entirely English body. Either they intend to use English money to provide scholarships for Welsh, Northern Irish and Scots soldier's kids - or the policy only applied to kids of English soldiers.

    Either way, it demonstrates their total incomprehension of devolution and its political effects.

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  • 209. At 00:21am on 10 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    #205

    I've seen people out jogging! My exercise bike is a much better idea.



    #208 oldnat

    My interpretation that it would cover all UK service personnel, but Cameron has given a generalised statement when he really should have checked his facts.

    However, it is a good idea and one I agree with. Much better use of public money than MPs expenses.

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  • 210. At 00:47am on 10 Jan 2010, Ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #209 'but Cameron has given a generalised statement when he really should have checked his facts.' ,maybe this policy was dreamt up on the playing fields of Eton just shortly before he got tackled by a hooker. Rugby of course .......

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  • 211. At 01:00am on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    209. enneffess
    "My interpretation that it would cover all UK service personnel, but Cameron has given a generalised statement when he really should have checked his facts."

    Look at it more closely. It's the kind of election garbage designed to get some people to say "However, it is a good idea and one I agree with. Much better use of public money than MPs expenses."

    1. There is no mechanism to pay money from such an English budget line to those living in a devolved area.
    2. He wants to appeal to the "support our troops" feeling, but knows that he can't add additional expenditure to the public purse, so some fool in CCHQ has suggested the idea of taking it from an English fund because they don't understand devolution. How will that play in England? Is it fair?
    3. Even if you like the idea, why are the children of the armed forces to be so advantaged over the children of police, firemen etc who die in the line of duty.

    After 12 years out of power, and within weeks of an election, the Tories don't have coherent policies for the UK or England. I recently discussed the Tory education policy document with an English Tory. It's still in draft form, it lacks internal consistency, the limited detail given conflicts with the overall policy statements.

    I fear for England. They are about to lose one PM who had no plan or policy when he came into office. They are about to get another.

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  • 212. At 02:04am on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    "What little chance Labour had of retaining its grip on power has this weekend all but disappeared."

    http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/opinion/Labour-at-a-loss.5969598.jp

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  • 213. At 05:56am on 10 Jan 2010, gedguy2 wrote:

    It is nice to know that Gordon Brown has finally conceeded that there is plenty of gas.
    Transcript of podcast on extreme weather

    "We’ve got plenty of gas, of course, in our own back yard - the North Sea"

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  • 214. At 06:08am on 10 Jan 2010, gedguy2 wrote:

    # 199 enneffess

    "It is actually more important for the nationalist argument to provide evidence why independence is better for the country."

    I couldn't agree with you more. As soon as the UK government releases the unadulterated figures that we require to put over this evidence then, I suspect, that we would be more than happy to have an informed discussion on Scotland's ability to function as an independent country.

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  • 215. At 06:10am on 10 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Enneffess:

    #188.

    "My original reference to sid's post at 166 referring to your post at 164, where you clearly stated "England". So where do you get the idea that I think England is a single entity?"

    I do and I don't, however, I managed to explain that overall England is slightly to the right with an individualistic attitude, but it's because most people live in middle, or London and the south of England. If we begin looking at regional differences the people of north of England has more in common with Scotland compared to south of England.

    There will be individuals in Scotland who share values with the majority of people in England but I raised the issue of the types of reactions over the same policy had in both countries. I believe it reinforces the idea that England and Scotland still have differences on either taking a individualistic or collective approach to matters.

    "I'm well aware of the comments that are raised on boards such as HYS, something I steer clear of these days. But these are a minority, and most in England do not refer to the "spongers of the North". I spend a lot of time working across the UK, so I can speak from experience."

    It is a minority, however, it's quite a loud minority and some in this minority are public figures. It is not suprising that you see a nationalistic effect because of this treatment and we only want to prove we are worth our salt. You can choose to disregard it all, but do you not feel it's sad that you can actually gain votes for proving your Scottishness, Englishness etc? The United Kingdom is certainly not the image I had in mind of an ideal world and I will still push for independence because I also see it as a chance to improve our relations with our neighbour.

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  • 216. At 10:42am on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #214 gedguy2
    "As soon as the UK government releases the unadulterated figures that we require to put over this evidence" ...

    Quite so, but I would lay a small wager on the first stepping stone toward getting those figures - the undoubtedly initially adulterated Whole of Government Accounts - will be one of the first casualties of the spending cuts, whoever wins the Westmidden general election. These have been promised by NuLab since the late '90s and were last mentioned in the 2008 budget, which postponed them until the 2009-10 financial year due to appear just after the general election.

    If we do get a pre-election budget, I anticipate their further postponement as a "cost-cutting" measure, which the Tories will either heartily endorse or keep entirely quiet on, in the hope that everyone will forget about them.

    PS: Sky News will be interviewing the FM live at 11:05 GMT.

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  • 217. At 10:45am on 10 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    211. oldnat:

    I'd suggest - and maybe totally wrong here - that funds could be allocated via the defence budget, which is UK. But I agree that it is some advisor giving dubious advice to Cameron.

    The Armed Forces do look after their own to an extent. All the services have benevolent funds, which if you are serving you pay a miniscule amount. In addition, there are charities such as SSAFA who I've worked alongside who are excellent at providing support for families in need.



    214. gedguy2:

    The biggest worry has to be the true level of PFI debt, and the duration of each contract.



    215. Tom:

    I consider myself Scottish, and I've been on the receiving end of abuse. Many others will have as well. But there is certainly not the volume of incidents that have generated a huge groundswell of public opinion against England. Saying there is problems with out relationship - real or imagined - can be counterproductive. Many Scottish people live and work in England, and vice versa. Creating a situation where relationships are soured unless we get independence is not the way to go. It certainly is not the message I would expect the SNP to use.

    People get very brave behind a keyboard, and these people can be found on HYS.



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  • 218. At 11:07am on 10 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Enneffess:

    #217.

    "I consider myself Scottish, and I've been on the receiving end of abuse. Many others will have as well. But there is certainly not the volume of incidents that have generated a huge groundswell of public opinion against England."

    I have not spoken out against England either, I don't see where your getting that idea from as I, plus others, have not spoken out against England on the basis of public figures talking down Scots etc

    However what I am suggesting is that on some level Scots can be motivated to strive for more as an independent nation to prove we do have what it takes.

    "Saying there is problems with out relationship - real or imagined - can be counterproductive."

    You miss an important point, if Scotland and England were independent, neither could blame one another and both countries could no longer compete quite violently against one another. Scotland and England would be free to persue their own aims without looking over her shoulders to see if the other agrees with the same aims.

    For example, we can talk about money and resources. You can quite easily start a cross border row for simply opening that topic up. Overall I don't find it sensible seeing Scotland and England compete with one another as we're both in the same boat (at the moment) and I believe with independence (or full fiscal powers at least) the problems we have at the moment will disappear. The friction and competition will be practically gone, unless we disagree on a international level but at least both sides can agree to disagree and carry on with their own personal aims, you have to admit that sounds alot more healthier then the current system we have now.

    "Many Scottish people live and work in England, and vice versa. Creating a situation where relationships are soured unless we get independence is not the way to go. It certainly is not the message I would expect the SNP to use."

    I will point out I do not have to create situations... situations are created because the current system is corrupt, out-dated and relations are soured for political gain because it is popular to talk down the other side as we see certain public figures do. It is your choice to continue with the broken system and I have every right to point out the failings of that system and also suggest methods on improving that system. It just so happens that I couldn't care less for the United Kingdom and will egg on independence because it's what I see as the best solution.

    "People get very brave behind a keyboard, and these people can be found on HYS."

    Your still not accepting the fact, certain political figures have created a cross border row by talking down the otherside. You can choose to ignore it and blame it on the minority online community, but your putting your head in the sand.

    There's nothing stopping you looking for ways to improve our relationship and still remaining in the union. Just a thought.

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  • 219. At 11:11am on 10 Jan 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    Anyone read this cretinous article about the FMs chauffeur/bodyguard?
    It ends with someone |I've never heard of with ,

    "Labour election and campaign manager, John Park MSP, said the First Minister had to give a full account of his driver’s promotion and relocation package.

    He said: “This is typical of Alex Salmond’s delusions of grandeur. That he is riding roughshod over proper procedures with a special driver and bodyguard for himself is no surprise. Maybe because of all his broken promises he is a bit paranoid and feels he needs a bodyguard, but this all a bit ridiculous.”

    And this has Paul Hutcheons name attached to it.
    One of the few great hopes of sane,fair and sensible journalism in Scotland.

    Along with the two Iains of course.

    My disgust for the media of Scotland knows no bounds.

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  • 220. At 11:38am on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #219 Diabloandco
    "Anyone read this cretinous article about the FMs chauffeur/bodyguard?"

    Thanks for the heads-up to more typical Herald fare. The article itself is actually fair comment and not particularly attacking except for the obligatory NuLab rentaquote.

    What's both shocking and typical is that the headline - Salmond under fire over bodyguard’s role - is solely from said rentaquote.

    Skim the headline and you think those nasty nats are cheating. Read the article and you realise that the FM's approach makes a great deal of sense, Same old, same old.

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  • 221. At 11:58am on 10 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Gordon Brown has 10 armed police officers near-by, isn't security normal for political figures? Especially political figures that could become targets. I thought a nationalist First Minister would become a target for the passionate British nationalists out there who may look for an opportunity.

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  • 222. At 12:05pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Iain Macwhirter's Midwinter mutiny leaves Brown dead in water, Miliband overboard on his blogspot [pity it's not in the Sunday Herald] is a typically amusing and reasonably fair summary of this week's events.

    Who could argue with "This Labour government, and Brown personally, will be in the dock of history for the most irresponsible credit boom since the South Sea Bubble"?

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  • 223. At 12:05pm on 10 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Switch Off The BBC - The Enemy Within

    "BBC loyalty has implications. It means Gordon still has the backing of Brussels. His MPs are sick of him, his cabinet, and the nation. But as long as he sells out Britain to Brussels, he can stay on as Prime Minister for as long as he likes with full BBC support."

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  • 224. At 12:07pm on 10 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    219. Diabloandco

    The FM is entitled to a bodyguard, since there are people out there who will attack political leaders, regardless of what branch of politics they represent. And if you consider that Scotland was the target of a terrorist attack, then Salmond can be considered under risk.

    Ministerial drivers for Westminster and Holyrood are all specialist drivers. I'm not going into any further details but I'm trying to figure out what the Herald is getting at.

    The only possible criticism is the allegation of a relocation package for an individual driver.

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  • 225. At 12:09pm on 10 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    221. Tom

    Brown's 10 police officers are maybe there to protect the public from him.

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  • 226. At 12:14pm on 10 Jan 2010, tullibardine wrote:

    The Sunday Times:

    Scots most affluent

    Scotland is now the most affluent country in the UK, according to a new study which reveals that a decade of devolution has produced higher wages and less poverty and unemployment than in England.

    The report, by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, suggests the north-south divide, which previously characterised Scotland as the poorer relation, has been reversed. Scotland now has fewer families living below the breadline, more people in work and higher average salaries than England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    The changes have prompted renewed calls for an end to the preferential Treasury funding formula which gives Scots 20% higher public spending than those south of the border.

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  • 227. At 12:19pm on 10 Jan 2010, frankly francophone wrote:

    #211 oldnat

    "I fear for England. They are about to lose one PM who had no plan or policy when he came into office. They are about to get another."

    Strange to relate, this is, in fact, the impression which one could only too easily have gained from the Andrew Marr interview with Mr Cameron this morning, it seems to me, although I suppose that at this early stage in the pre-election campaign details of a comprehensive and coherent plan for government, if they had one, could not reasonably be expected to be unveiled by the Tories in case the Blighters in the other camp nipped across the snowfields to pinch their clothes.

    Still, it remains the case that in France, in preparation for forthcoming regional elections, the main right-of-centre party has publicized its impressively coherent, detailed and comprehensive plan for the period of economic recovery, with a credible account of how it is all to be implemented and paid for. If I ever see anything comparable from the Labour and Conservative parties, I'll not only eat my hat but post a video on YouTube showing me doing so. Or at least that would be my plan if I had a plan . . . and if I had a hat.

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  • 228. At 1:06pm on 10 Jan 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    #226 tullibardine

    Wow! Suddenly I feel a lot better off!

    It would be interesting to know who, if anyone, is pulling the strings on all these reports which seem to come thick and fast. How do they manage to get them out so quickly and always at a particularly opportune moment? My cynicism keeps telling me they are a diversionary tactic. A big ploy to undermine the nationalist cause.

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  • 229. At 1:15pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #223 cynicalHighlander
    "Switch Off The BBC - The Enemy Within"

    Thanks for the link. I now "follow" the man's blogspot as he seems to be reasonably numerate and have a close eye on HM Treasury output. OTOH he admits himself he's a europhobe who has flipped between UKIP and the Tories, so his thoughts on the great EU conspiracy need to be taken with a more than healthy pinch of the stuff that's now in short supply for the UK's roads.

    Re the BBC, he's pretty much spot on, though, with his "I jest thee not!" about the lack of mention of the Mail's Watt revelations in this website's main UK paper review, which at the time of writing is timestamped 05:52 GMT and says: "The Mail on Sunday voices frustration about school closures and football matches being cancelled and complains over "absurd warnings"."

    OTOH, someone in Pacific Quay may shortly be in line for their P45, since this website's Scottish review, timestamped 10:47 GMT, says "The Scottish Sunday Mail tells its readers that Gordon Brown is facing a new crisis after the man who once ran the Labour Party launched a devastating attack on his leadership and backed calls for him to step down." As Watt isn't named, perhaps it's not a hanging offence.

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  • 230. At 1:17pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #225 mistydougie

    ROFL - got it in one!

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  • 231. At 1:21pm on 10 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    #222 brownedov- here was me thinking it was Hoon & Hewit that were the lead conspirators. If a Midwinter was indeed involved as Iain's headline suggests then it surely changes the dynamics of this attempted mutiny.

    interesting that Mr Watts book is being ignored by all but one member of the MSM . UPDATE, those helpful souls on sky news are now leading with it while the BBC are leading with an old Simon & Garfunkel song.
    says it all really.
    I wonder if my MP will ever come out of hiding , or has he increased his training to enable him to avoid any amount of flying objects that will surely be coming his way ,next time he meets up with the glorious leader.
    Sid

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  • 232. At 1:29pm on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    231. sid_ts63
    "interesting that Mr Watts book is being ignored by all but one member of the MSM"

    I saw a good point elsewhere, that when one newspaper has bought the serialisation rights, other papers tend to ignore it, as they don't want to puff other papers circulation. Doesn't explain the Beeb though!

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  • 233. At 1:50pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #231 sid_ts63
    "I wonder if my MP will ever come out of hiding"

    Good post, but I must have missed your post on your own MP. Let me guess. Wendy's brother? Skeletor? Capn. Darling?

    If none of the above, do tell.

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  • 234. At 1:58pm on 10 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    afternoon, #233 brownedov, yep wendy's big brother. At least that now explains why he claimed for the chimmney sweep work on his expenses not that long ago ,obviously knew the book was coming and had to have somewhere to hide!!!

    Sid

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  • 235. At 2:08pm on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    234. sid_ts63

    ROFL!

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  • 236. At 2:23pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #234 sid_ts63

    "yep wendy's big brother"
    Thanks for the confirmation. The little grey cells are obviously not quite as knackered as I thought.

    "At least that now explains why he claimed for the chimmney sweep work on his expenses not that long ago ,obviously knew the book was coming and had to have somewhere to hide!!!"
    LOL, but I'm afraid that may not be good enough if Ollie Cromwell's poster is on the money.

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  • 237. At 2:32pm on 10 Jan 2010, dubbieside wrote:

    Just when I thought that it would never happen, Jim Murphy says something I agree with.

    Jim Murphy Secretary of State against Scotland said,

    In an interview with Scotland on Sunday, Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy warned that too many Labour MPs and ministers have "given up" on winning the coming election, describing them as "ignorant, selfish, lazy and wrong".

    Hurry up and vote for our ignorant, selfish, lazy and wrong MPs, you know it makes sense, once they get in they will ignore you for another five years.

    Full article.

    http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/news/Geoff-Hoon-letters--add.5969656.jp

    Apparently reading the comments this started as a Jim Murphy interview but changed to a Hoon article with a bit of Murphy at the bottom. Maybe Jim is not as important as he thinks he is.

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  • 238. At 3:43pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #237 dubbieside
    "Apparently reading the comments this started as a Jim Murphy interview but changed to a Hoon article with a bit of Murphy at the bottom."

    Thanks for the link - well worth a read, as are the comments. They certainly provide no inducement to vote for any of those "ignorant, selfish, lazy and wrong MPs" - Murphy included, of course.

    One of the more measured comments also provided a link to Joan McAlpine's interesting Iain Gray is harming himself and others in the Sunday Thunderer. During a week-end when the MSM are giving London Labour a kicking, it seems only fair not to leave out dour Iain Gray.

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  • 239. At 3:51pm on 10 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    Interesting piece on the herald Scotland web site. According to Damien Henderson's article Tavish "the viking" has been a victim of a successful COO as they have a picture of Nicol "the nose" Stephen accompanying their article about scotrail not having to pick up the cost of any strike ,with LIB-DEM LEADER Nicol Stephen as the narrative underneath the picture.
    Typical lib dems got to copy labour at every turn!!
    How did I manage to miss that? how did Damien find out? when exactly did it happen?
    more importantly will any of the MSM actually run with the story?
    this cosy deal was set up at the start of the contract by Mr Stephen and confirmed by his replacement Mr Scott 2 years later

    IMHO this story is just as big as the PPP or PFI con & the charges to get power onto the so called National grid with different prices for different providers how much more evidence do some people need ?
    we are being shafted or ripped off or anything you may wish to call it. The worst bit of course is it's Scottish Unionists that are doing it!

    when will we ever find out the true cost of these "projects" and more importantly whose making the profits!!

    Sid

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  • 240. At 3:53pm on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    238. Brownedov

    At the end of that article (having given Gray a kicking) she notes "Gray is often spoken of as honourable."

    On the evidence of his performance since being elected leader, that is the last word I would have chosen.

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  • 241. At 3:57pm on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    238. Brownedov
    "dour Iain Gray"

    Or a reverse Dorian Gray. As his public persona becomes more sour and intransigent, his portrait become that of an angelic figure.

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  • 242. At 4:14pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #241 oldnat
    "Or a reverse Dorian Gray. As his public persona becomes more sour and intransigent, his portrait become that of an angelic figure."

    A fair cop, guv.

    Meanwhile, the fragrant Ms Hjul does her best to encourage dour Iain Gray (along with the statutory digs at the separatists, of course) in her Politicians must pick their battlegrounds carefully, with cheery snippets like:
    "Scots are as sick of him [Duff Gordon] as the rest of Britain, and nobody would envy Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray’s task of selling Labour with Brown at the helm"
      and
    "If Labour maintains its seats in Scotland, it will be in spite of Gray or Brown or, indeed, any of the party’s leading lights".

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  • 243. At 4:24pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Is there no beginning to the BBC's coverage of this week-end's post-coup stories?

    Still no mention of Watts in the headlines, and nothing I can see on the latest Hoon story re Afghanistan covered widely in the other media. The Thunderer's Now Hoon savages PM over Afghan war is representative, sub-titled on their main politics page as "Coup leader is set to inflict more damage on Gordon Brown by revealing he vetoed the purchase of vital military helicopters".

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  • 244. At 4:35pm on 10 Jan 2010, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #219

    Paul Hutcheon is not a serious journalist. His skills are suited to no higher than destrutive tabloid fare and he gained prominence with his determined political assasination of David McLetchie. That is what he does and all he does. The Herald gave him an opportunity in the MacWhirter slot on one occasion and thankfully have not repeated the experiment as the "serious" political assessment he offered of the constitutional options facing us was of a juvenile standard and far below the level of insight one expects from even the pedestrian Labour hack copy we get from Tom Gordon and Brian Currie.

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  • 245. At 5:07pm on 10 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    226. tullibardine
    "Scotland is now the most affluent country in the UK, according to a new study which reveals that a decade of devolution has produced higher wages and less poverty and unemployment than in England."

    Should this TELL people something? Seriously.

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  • 246. At 5:43pm on 10 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    238. Brownedov
    "dour Iain Gray"

    I believe I have copyright on this particular phrase.

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  • 247. At 5:52pm on 10 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    239. At 3:51pm on 10 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:
    Interesting piece on the herald Scotland web site. According to Damien Henderson's article Tavish "the viking" has been a victim of a successful COO as they have a picture of Nicol "the nose" Stephen accompanying their article about scotrail not having to pick up the cost of any strike ,with LIB-DEM LEADER Nicol Stephen as the narrative underneath the picture.

    The Herald proof readers are not doing a great job these days. The story about MP's backing lower drink prices is headlined as MSP's backing lower prices.

    Things not going well there.

    Oh, I couldn't find the Joan McAlpine article - have The Times removed it?

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  • 248. At 5:59pm on 10 Jan 2010, dubbieside wrote:

    Online Ed

    Link to Joan McApine article.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6982362.ece

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  • 249. At 6:11pm on 10 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    245. At 5:07pm on 10 Jan 2010, JRMacClure wrote:
    226. tullibardine
    "Scotland is now the most affluent country in the UK, according to a new study which reveals that a decade of devolution has produced higher wages and less poverty and unemployment than in England."

    Should this TELL people something? Seriously.



    But my council tax is still 30% higher (even accounting for water charges) than a friend's identically sized house in Kent. The Scottish Government has managed to freeze the charge and water rates.

    I think the business rates are a prime reason for the increase in affluent levels. Swinney understands that sensible levels of taxation actually stimulates the economy which brings in more tax in the long run. Something the two main parties seem to have forgotten.

    Where I want to see the Scottish Government take action is the cost of public transport. The companies keep raising the fares but the level of service is reducing. About time they kicked a certain donator into touch and brought back control of public transport.

    Put Sturgeon or Swinney in charge instead of that idiot Stevenson, the man who when given a PQ to deal with hands it straight over to Transport Scotland who give out the standard customer service letter.

    I get annoyed with the private companies running things for profit because they are subsidised. Correct me if I am wrong, but it is actually costing more for the taxpayer with privatised public transport.


    --------------
    240. oldnat:

    I can think of a few words starting with "H" that may be more appropriate than "honourable".

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

    238. Brownedov:

    Those that self harm should be put away for their own (and others) safety.




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  • 250. At 6:12pm on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    This political blog is really quite unusual, in that Brian frequently uses poetry and football in the thread.

    It's actually quite a good demonstration of Scotland's "Democratic Intellect" at work!

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  • 251. At 7:07pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #246 Online Ed
    "I believe I have copyright on this particular phrase."

    Sorry, but I thought it was forfar-loon I was plagiarising. So does SUBROSA, and I was brought up never to argue with Dundee Wifeys.

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  • 252. At 7:07pm on 10 Jan 2010, tamO wrote:

    We have had two day’s on the 3 & 4 jan about a election that a date has not been set for. then followed by two days regarding a leadership bids that did not exist that’s what the bbc have been up to. then today in sunday evening reporting Scotland we have had the secretary of state getting a photo opportunity .. When you consider that over the last few weeks the bbc in Scotland other than reporting about the weather have did little to work with local councils and the Scottish government to provide public information in there TV news service. it seems they prioritise there propaganda relationship with the labour party before there public service duty.
    Can anyone tell me, is there any serious Scottish campaign against the TV Licence’s, and or any non-payment campaign in Scotland.

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  • 253. At 7:10pm on 10 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    The SNP have announced on their website that Big Brother contestant and Glasgow NE candidate Mikey Hughes has joined.Good on him.I noticed on the TV coverage at the count that he was having a long friendly chat with David Kerr.

    Mikey is a smart guy and his zaniness will be a positive for the party.

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  • 254. At 7:17pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #249 enneffess
    "Those that self harm should be put away for their own (and others) safety."

    Quite so, but to do that for the entire leadership of "Scottish" Labour would put a strain on the public purse. Perhaps nice Mr Cameron will take the problem away, by making it a "reserved" matter.

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  • 255. At 7:37pm on 10 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Just thought I'd pop in the rustle some feathers.

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  • 256. At 7:56pm on 10 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    253. At 7:10pm on 10 Jan 2010, mistydougie wrote:
    The SNP have announced on their website that Big Brother contestant and Glasgow NE candidate Mikey Hughes has joined.Good on him.I noticed on the TV coverage at the count that he was having a long friendly chat with David Kerr.

    Mikey is a smart guy and his zaniness will be a positive for the party.

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

    As long as the SNP are not trying the "Smeato" type publicity. He could be an asset to their communications team, since he is a radio presenter.

    They could get him to interview Grecian 2010 on his radio show.



    254. Brownedov:

    I can think of quite a few others from other parties who could join them! (Plus one from the SNP who occasionally opens her mouth prior to engaging brain).



    On the Conservatives, wonder what will happen to them if the unthinkable happens and Labour survives. I reckon they will implode and we will have no effective opposition in Westminster either. I still think Boris should be in charge.

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  • 257. At 7:58pm on 10 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    255 is that you Derek? Have you been sniffing the barmaids apron or typing with your oven gloves on?

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  • 258. At 8:35pm on 10 Jan 2010, albamac wrote:

    #250 oldnat

    "This political blog is really quite unusual, in that Brian frequently uses poetry and football in the thread."

    Is it a plot, an aberration,
    diversion fae the fate o' nation,
    tae while away the hoors in verse
    whilst clingin' tae the Union's erse?
    Change the subject, come ower witty,
    patronise them jist a bitty,
    gie them naewhere else to go,
    hem them in, absorb the blow!
    A sheltered nook, for blethers couthy.
    Let country burn an' play yer moothy!

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  • 259. At 8:36pm on 10 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    #257

    "Sniffing the barmaid's apron"


    Where on earth did you get that one from....or is there something you should be telling us :p

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  • 260. At 8:46pm on 10 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    258. albamac

    I hope someone is collecting all these verses as they will become collectors items in future history studies.

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  • 261. At 9:03pm on 10 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    It was here' right Here' where it all began' little did albamac realise that his Wittery would become Scotland's future espringo' read and laughed over by hordes of vacant newlanders.

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  • 262. At 9:04pm on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    An interesting rumour on PB about how the broadcasters might get round the debate question.

    http://www2.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2010/01/10/who-has-got-this-right-spin-or-extrabet/comment-page-3/#comment-1380213

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  • 263. At 9:26pm on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Anybody want to bet that there will be any debates now?

    Brown was unwilling to begin with, but I can't see him treating Cameron/Clegg as "equals" outwith the election campaign.

    However, there's nothing to stop BBC/ITV organising a Scottish debate on reserved powers (aye, right).

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  • 264. At 9:32pm on 10 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    259 NFS it's was a well known expression for being a bit squiffy. Not sure where it originated. Someone on here is bound to know.



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  • 265. At 9:35pm on 10 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    251. At 7:07pm on 10 Jan 2010, Brownedov wrote:
    #246 Online Ed
    "I believe I have copyright on this particular phrase."

    Sorry, but I thought it was forfar-loon I was plagiarising. So does SUBROSA, and I was brought up never to argue with Dundee Wifeys.


    Yes, I'm sure they did indeed beat me to it - I wouldn't be surprised if I've subconciously stolen it from one of them.

    However, the actual accolade might be claimed by someone else:
    Click Here

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  • 266. At 9:42pm on 10 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    262 oldnat:
    Is this the comment you refer to?

    Just spent the afternoon with an old uni friend, who works in the legal/compliance departments of one of the major broadcasters, and she’s dropped a few interesting tidbits about the upcoming debates that I think need sharing.

    The biggest legal hurdle facing the broadcasters, is not from the SNP, but from UKIP, as UKIP are a national party, and did recently beat Labour and the Lib Dems in the most recent nationwide election.

    To circumvent this, the broadcasters are looking at this option.

    Staging the debates with the 3 main leaders, before the election campaign starts, ie before Gordon goes to the palace.

    As they don’t have to be impartial during non election periods (for example, why UKIP, BNP, SNP etc aren’t represented on every Question Time)

    They would tag the debates with “In the next 3months these men are looking for your vote”

    However, one broadcaster is also looking to host a Brown/Cameron only debate too.

    Since it would be outside the election campaign period, there isn’t much Nick Clegg could do about it.

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  • 267. At 9:44pm on 10 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    So it's a "salt economy" the Scottish executive dusts Scotland with as little as possible to retain as much as it can.

    As the pudits Yell! there's snow way that will work.

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  • 268. At 9:53pm on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    266. Online Ed

    That's the one.

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  • 269. At 9:55pm on 10 Jan 2010, albamac wrote:

    #261 kered

    "It was here' right Here' where it all began"

    Sorry, BWB can't claim that distinction. It all began a long, long time ago but not in a land far, far away.

    "read and laughed over by hordes of vacant newlanders"

    You think it will be widely read in the Americas? Awesome, dude!
    Hope I'm around to cash in. :)

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  • 270. At 10:06pm on 10 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    albamac

    Dollars galore.

    OTOH,then you go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like POST 269.

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  • 271. At 10:06pm on 10 Jan 2010, albamac wrote:

    #260 cynicalHighlander

    "I hope someone is collecting all these verses as they will become collectors items in future history studies."

    Don't know why but Henry Ford sprung to mind. Here's what he had to say about history:

    "History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today." (Chicago Tribune, 1916).

    Don't agree with him on that but these are worth thinking about.

    "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."

    "If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can't, you're right."

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  • 272. At 10:11pm on 10 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #265 Online Ed
    "However, the actual accolade might be claimed by someone else"

    Gracious of you. Had it been almost anyone else but Alan Cochrane in the Torygraph I'd simply have said great minds think alike and left it at that.

    However, a little digging in that rag's website confirms that it cannot have been much earlier because the same day, 13 September 2008, is when the Torygraph first reported Iain Gray elected leader of Scottish Labour party.

    I have checked Brian's threads back to his Let the battle begin of 1 August 2008 which lists the candidates and it would appear we must grant the honour to Cochrane.

    Sorry about that.

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  • 273. At 10:27pm on 10 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    272. Brownedov

    However, since Cochrane isn't rated on here, I think we can probably all agree that "dour Iain" and plain "Dorian" are equally descriptive.

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  • 274. At 10:36pm on 10 Jan 2010, albamac wrote:

    #270 kered

    "then you go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like POST 269"

    You didn't stand in line until you thought that I'd the time to spend an evening with you
    and this just ain't the place where we could meet up, face to face, and have a drink or two. :)

    Your mention of newlanders, ignoring the vacant part, looked like a literary reference to Olin Johnson's 'The Newlanders'. So, my response was just a bit of banter based on that assumption. Mistaken, perhaps, but not stupid.

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  • 275. At 10:53pm on 10 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    271. albamac
    ""History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that is worth a tinker's damn is the history that we make today." (Chicago Tribune, 1916)."

    And where do you think we are going?

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  • 276. At 11:00pm on 10 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    albamac

    Yes, there was no need to be lyrical about the post. Sorry! seems to be an easy word.It didn't take you long to pick up on old Frankie.

    Well! we're all a bit vacant with the weather right now.Nothing like a bit of humor to warm the mind.

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  • 277. At 11:06pm on 10 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    I had a bit of an exchange with a poster over on the Newsnet Scotland blog who took exception to my suggestions that the BBC were, shall we say, less than objective when it came to political reporting - especially in Scotland.

    I have already noticed murmerings of discontent amongst our Southern brethren and came across this:
    Click Here

    The description of the BBC over the Watt story could very well have been the same over stories like Cathie Jamieson's resignation from Labour's front bench at Holyrood [amongst other suppressed stories].

    The criticism of Andrew Marr earily mirrored the charges levelled against our own Glenn Campbell.

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  • 278. At 11:19pm on 10 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    258 albamac, don't know how I managed to miss your ditty last time I looked at the thread. It's really rather wonderful.

    Still I can't help liking Brian, despite his couthy take on Scottish politics which can appear to trivialise and even having a slavering Glenn chained under his desk.

    I must be mellowing.

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  • 279. At 11:32pm on 10 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Online Ed
    " I have already noticed murmerings of discontent amongst our Southern brethren and came across this:
    Click Here"

    Do you believe that the BBC should be posting Conservatives links? especially in Scotland.I seem to remeber the Conservative party was totally wipe out in Scotland and had it not been for the Scottish parliament and proportional representation/list MSP's, the Conservative would have been all but one gone in Scotland.

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  • 280. At 01:04am on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    A remarkably balanced article in the Hootsmon!

    http://news.scotsman.com/politics/Scotland-39could-be-getting-too.5970316.jp

    "John Dickie, head of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: "There is a hugely disputed territory of who subsidies who."

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  • 281. At 01:43am on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Some good news Oldnat however we must consolidate and eventually grow our actions against poverty. It's paramount we get it right on education, apprenticeships and the continuation of employment.
    The SNP is into it's third term have lost their education minister Fiona Hislop and have lost their way with their Scottish Future Trust scheme, which evidently has cost apprenticeships and jobs.
    Granted it's not all bad news and there is a recession to deal with but the Barnett formula does dilute the effects a bit here in Scotland.
    We all want Scotland to succeed and our re-newable potential may well be an area that can lift our lot to new unprecidented levels.
    So far the SNP have had three budgets and some £111Bn GBP. I'd like to see an advancement on our re-newable potential like yesterday.

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  • 282. At 02:02am on 11 Jan 2010, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #253

    And "Smeato" refers to AS as "My big mate Alex Salmond" in his Sun column. Obviously there was more than meets the eye going on at GNE

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  • 283. At 07:01am on 11 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    Here's Pauline McNeill's radical idea to save the 'quality' journalism we in Scotland are fortunate to receive:

    ON THEIR 18th birthday, teenagers should receive a free year-long subscription to their favourite newspaper.

    From a premium article in The Scotsman.

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  • 284. At 07:01am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Kered:

    #281.

    I disagree, I feel your missing the point about Scottish Futures Trust and what it was suppose to replace in Scotland. The reality is, Scotland was sinking into debt with PFI projects that have yet to be paid for, if you feel the SNP have cost opportunitites, what about the debt we are still to pay back? I would have reckoned that opportunites created by the last administration on the basis of debt and borrowing would do more damage since we are no longer in the 'boom' and are already witnessing the first real terms cuts in our grant in Scotland. You still have to pay back debt with a reduced budget...

    The Barnett formula was created because it was presumed sensible since Scotland suffered many issues all those years ago. However I do not believe it has stopped the reality of this recession. Because of the current set-up Scotland is dependant on slightly high spending levels (if you believe what unionists tell you, anyway) and because of that need for money we actually have alot to loose from even the slightest changes to our block grant. The money is all in the same pot and we have to ensure we take slightly more per head then our neighbours... we've been built up and now that tower is about to fall.

    "So far the SNP have had three budgets and some £111Bn GBP. I'd like to see an advancement on our re-newable potential like yesterday."

    Energy Policy is a reserved matter :-)

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  • 285. At 07:40am on 11 Jan 2010, bmc875 wrote:

    257/259/264
    I believe it is a National Service expression applied to a young recruit who can't hold his drink (got tipsy on close proximity to the barmaid).

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  • 286. At 08:00am on 11 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    283. Online Ed

    That would boost the sales of the New Musical Express.

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  • 287. At 08:07am on 11 Jan 2010, skint wrote:

    Did anyone else hear the news yesterday that the UK government has taken control of all grit and salt supplies to meet demand in England and will be taking stock from Scotland? I hear it on the radio abut 2pm yesterday and then it was never mentioned again.

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  • 288. At 08:20am on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Tom!

    Fair enough but you just can't hide from reality.If energy is a reserved matter, then when is the Scottish government in the process of making an executive decision on the Beauly to Denny power line?.

    Tom I merely pointed out that the executive still receives the block grant, recession or no recession.

    Tom many people have a dislike of PFI however after 18 years of tory neglect, Scotland had to make an emergency decision about the state of our schooling.In short Tom PFI was the only game in the town and we had to build and refurbish our state schools,no one would argue against that vital need Tom, well almost no one.

    The SNP came to governace on the back of some big pledges! 18 pupils per class an end to student debt, the GRAL, a new forthroad bridge, to build new school and match the last executives targets brick by brick,to cut carbon levels and release Scotland's renewable potential, to bring an extra 1,000 police officer on the beat, to maintain teacher number levels.

    Tom, there's no point in being biased about what the SNP have failed to deliver in fact it's your responsibility to hold your party to account and insist that they try and deliver on all the pledges within their manifesto.

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  • 289. At 08:42am on 11 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    288. kered
    "...hold your party to account and insist that they try and deliver on all the pledges within their manifesto."

    Considering the SNP run a minority administration in the middle of a world economic recession and have to deal with a hostile Westminster government it's quite remarkable how many of their manifesto pledges have been fulfilled in 2 years and 8 months.

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  • 290. At 08:47am on 11 Jan 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    Telegraph, Tebbit , taster,

    " Grittiness and the stiff upper lip seem to have been replaced with emotional incontinence, political correctness and open-necked shirts worn with well cut suits."

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  • 291. At 08:54am on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    mistydougie

    The Scottish parliaments make up was to induce consensual politics through List MSP's and STV voting.It's not so much a minority executive thing as a executive that can't quite reach a consensus on it's spending or lack of spending plans.

    Had the SNP stuck to it's pledge like the school building programmme, then there would have been consensual agreement however they ditched the building programme and tried to establish the Scottish Future Trust scheme, which in turn has been unsuccessful and controversial.

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  • 292. At 09:01am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Kered:

    #288.

    I pointed out energy was a reserved matter because I was under the impression that you believed the Scottish Government could do more, even with the block grant as it is. It's quite the opposite and the only real power the Scottish Government has is either allowing private industry a peice of the pie and allow planning permission.

    "Tom I merely pointed out that the executive still receives the block grant, recession or no recession."

    And I pointed out why we receive what we do, why we set to loose a bigger state since we relied too much on a larger investment and the fact we actually have less to spend compared to previous years.

    "Tom many people have a dislike of PFI however after 18 years of tory neglect, Scotland had to make an emergency decision about the state of our schooling.In short Tom PFI was the only game in the town and we had to build and refurbish our state schools,no one would argue against that vital need Tom, well almost no one."

    I am normally the first person to admitt that at certain times Governments have to make difficult and sometimes unpopular choices. However this is not one of those occasions. If someone can explain why relying on debt and borrowing is a benefit to Scotland, I would like to hear. From what I now see is we're still in debt, less to spend and so how are we suppose to build schools? Shall we continue with PFI?

    PFI may have been the only option, however, nobody is arguing for change and Labour have simply encouraged it's use. It's disgusting and you simply can't take the high moral ground over the SNP on this issue.

    "The SNP came to governace on the back of some big pledges! 18 pupils per class an end to student debt, the GRAL, a new forthroad bridge, to build new school and match the last executives targets brick by brick,to cut carbon levels and release Scotland's renewable potential, to bring an extra 1,000 police officer on the beat, to maintain teacher number levels."

    Yes, the SNP made big promises, as did many other parties. However nobody was elected on the basis of a world wide recession, collapse of our financial services and reduced spending and sky high debts.

    Governments must be allowed to ignore original promises and act on new circumstances. I don't even complain about British Labour breaking their own promises to deal with this recession, but I will judge both on what they manage to acheive during difficult times.

    "Tom, there's no point in being biased about what the SNP have failed to deliver in fact it's your responsibility to hold your party to account and insist that they try and deliver on all the pledges within their manifesto."

    There is no need to accuse me of being biased. You could argue against the points I made against your comment earlier. That would be more appropiate, since as far as I am concerned I have punched several holes in your rant ;-)

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  • 293. At 09:07am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Kered:

    #291.

    I am still waiting for a very good reason why the SNP should not have tried to establish SFT.

    You admitt PFI is hated by many and therefore should we not congratulate the SNP for attempting to change the system despite the opposition?

    You claim I am biased but I see very little reason to be against the SNP and their SFT and in favour of PFI...

    You can't honestly believe debt and borrowing is the way we should build hospitals/schools etc and is still a good idea at a time when our block grant is being reduced and still we are left paying debts off from our last PFI projects...

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  • 294. At 09:19am on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Tom

    Your not grasping my point. If you have to build somewhere in the region of 300 new schools and refurbish almost the same numbers, then there is going to be a huge deficit, that's economics Tom but if you try and build within your means then the reality will be one commissioned school in almost 3 years, that's the reality of SFT! Tom.

    Now! will you accept that the SNP did pledge to build and match school for school brick by brick if they came to power and if you accept that, will you also accept that they have failed in that task, which in turn means that their SFT scheme has failed to deliver on their pledge.

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  • 295. At 09:25am on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Tom

    Your punches cant hurt me! why the aggressiveness?.

    Tom, you can't argue that a tax cut of 1Bn GBP over three budgets is good economics, especially when you have to ditch promises like the Glasgow Air Rail Link, for a cut in council tax?.

    Maybe you do agree with the cut? if so! are you a cut tax and scale back the public sector type?.

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  • 296. At 09:36am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Kered:

    #294.

    I am quite happy accepting deficit, however, I am not prepared to accept debt and borrowing as a way to build schools, at a time of recession with reduced spending all around, you still believe in PFI despite the fact that all earlier PFI projects are still not paid for, you still will use PFI...

    You agree PFI is an issue but will not support the group attemtping to change the system?

    How do you plan to constantly update schools and hospitals with PFI despite a budget that is getting smaller after each passing day?

    The SNP term is not over and I will hold my judgement untill it's over and then I will judge them on what has been acheived.

    However if there successful or not in their schools pledge, I do believe it was stupid claiming to be able to match Labour school programme brick-by-brick because their methods were unsustainable in the long-term and very unrealistic anyway.

    I will also point out though, SFT has only been in use for 1 or 2 of the years the SNP have been in power for. It would not mean the SNP have failed but simply slow to manage to find something that works.

    But I will not judge the SNP on how many schools are built. That's the simple and stupid way for measuring success. I will look at the levels of debt created and schools built compared to PFI and ask if it was worth changing too.

    If you can explain how Scotland can continue to rebuild schools etc with a smaller budget (predicted to be cut by over 10 percent) and continue to use PFI then maybe I will back PFI or SFT, but there is still far more evidence against PFI, as any economist will point out.

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  • 297. At 09:47am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Kered:

    #295.

    "Your punches cant hurt me! why the aggressiveness?."

    I am not aggressive, simply straight to the point and very impatient.

    "Tom, you can't argue that a tax cut of 1Bn GBP over three budgets is good economics, especially when you have to ditch promises like the Glasgow Air Rail Link, for a cut in council tax?.

    Maybe you do agree with the cut? if so! are you a cut tax and scale back the public sector type?."

    Yes, I am in favour of scrapping GARL too. Glasgow receives too much and should not rely on the good faith of the rest of the country, thats bad economics. In a recession we must all share the pain, Glasgow looses GARL but at least a freeze in council tax benefits everyone, mainly the poor.

    I do class myself as right wing, however, I still don't believe it's sensible building up debt for schools and hospitals. Northern Ireland can borrow 2 billion from the British Government, why can't Scotland manage her finances in a similar manner? Borrowing from the British Goverment must be better way of paying for a school over 30 years despite the costs of that school being met after the 4th or 5th year?

    You could also face a problem. If this recession was worse and deaper, you could end up with no new money, debts that still have to be paid and overall less services since you must pay the debts before basic services.

    :-)

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  • 298. At 09:49am on 11 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    Kered, "pfi was the only game in town" says who!

    that is plain daft, we should be telling all our kids - enjoy your new school kids because YOU will be paying for it till YOU retire, whether the schools last more than 10 years or not.

    PFI = build it cheap and charge them high. It's the only game in town after all .

    Sid

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  • 299. At 09:51am on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Tom

    Of course in a better world every government would want to build new schools with borrowing.

    "If you can explain how Scotland can continue to rebuild schools etc with a smaller budget (predicted to be cut by over 10 percent) and continue to use PFI then maybe I will back PFI or SFT, but there is still far more evidence against PFI, as any economist will point out"

    Tom, you are referring to the Calman report, which Alex Salmond wants too implement, within in the report is a policy to reduce the block grant by almost 30%, which would see any future Scottish government having to raise 10Bn GPB by it's own accord however there is a tax return from whitehall where Scotland would only commit to 10pence in the pound and keep the other 10 pence, towards the block grant cut.

    I have to agree with you that it was stupid for the SNP to pledge on school buildings but more importantly it was wrong to make that pledge to the electorate.

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  • 300. At 09:52am on 11 Jan 2010, snowthistle wrote:

    PFI is another of these things that I watch quite closely but don't really understand. At the time when we needed all these new schools, was PFI the only deal on the table or did we look at any other options? How were these projects funded before PFI? Was it the PFI system that failed or was it the way it was put into practise? Few people would argue that PFI gave us value for money but was that because of PFI or because of the incompetence of those who were putting it into practise.

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  • 301. At 09:56am on 11 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    286. At 08:00am on 11 Jan 2010, mistydougie wrote:
    283. Online Ed

    That would boost the sales of the New Musical Express.


    Or certain top shelf "educational" publications!


    --------

    285. bmc875:

    Someone showing their age!! Don't think political correctness would allow that one these days.

    --------

    Nice to see a bun fight between kered and tom. About time we had a bit of action here.

    --------

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8449253.stm

    This will form an attack on the Justice Secretary. Read the paras regarding the JS supporting strong sentencing, only for relatively small fines handed out, followed by the standard - correct - "courts deal with the sentencing".

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  • 302. At 10:04am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Kered:

    #299.

    "Of course in a better world every government would want to build new schools with borrowing."

    Perhaps, however, can you explain the benefits of building one school and paying it off over 30 years despite paying the costs of making the school after the 4th or 5th year?

    I am not reffering to the Calman report, I am reffering to the recent financial report that predicted Scotland faces the biggest cut since devolution. It should be logicial to look at ways to reduce costs in order to protect front line services, SFT could be the answer but PFI is certainly not the way to go.

    The SNP don't agree with all of Calmans suggestions. Don't misrepresent Alex Salmond or the SNP please. The financial part was certainly the most criticised part ;-)

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  • 303. At 10:07am on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Tom

    Why do you think Glasgow receives to much, when it has a lower life expectancy than Gazz and some of the worst poverty levels in Europe?.

    Scotland can and has borrowed over 2Bn?. You should be arguing why Scotland can't borrow more Tom?.

    Tom, you can't live you life worrying that the world will fall apart and we will all be pushed into abstract poverty. You have to govern and continue to plan, that's life Tom.

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  • 304. At 10:07am on 11 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    The Tories must be enjoying the Robinson scandal since it must boost the chances of their UUP allies gaining a seat or two in the GE.After Labour's woes last week the prospect of a hung parliament has receded a bit more but what's happening in NI must feel like a little bit of insurance for Cameron.

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  • 305. At 10:15am on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    300. snowthistle

    Pre PFI (and again now) schools, hospitals etc were built from a mixture of Capital Revenue Budgets and Public Sector borrowing.

    PFI was simply an accounting trick by which money could be borrowed (more expensively) but without appearing on the PBR.

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  • 306. At 10:30am on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Tom

    I had no idea that the SNP had a change of heart over the Calman report,
    that's pretty significant now that they dont support the Calman report.

    When did that change occure?.

    Tom, you were referring to the conservative cuts agenda under Cameron. If indeed Cameron wins an election. So far Alex Salmond hasn't said one way or another if he will follow the 10% cuts of public services in Scotland unless you are telling use that now.

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  • 307. At 10:40am on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Still nothing on this website about the Watt and Hoon2 revelations, but Iain Macwhirter has a reasonable take on them on his blogspot.

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  • 308. At 10:43am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Kered:

    #303.

    "Why do you think Glasgow receives to much, when it has a lower life expectancy than Gazz and some of the worst poverty levels in Europe?."

    I see, since the people of Glasgow continue to abuse their privilage of life that is not offered to everyone, the rest of Scotland must support their actions and result in poorer standards, so the people of Glasgow can live in slightly more comfort...

    I don't disagree with the level of spending. I disagree with the type of investment Glasgow has received, in other words how the money is spent. Now we're in recession, should Glasgow be immune? Of course not! Glasgow has benefited thanks to the rest of Scotland for years and it's not our fault it has grown relient on the good faith of the rest of Scotland.

    It's time to reload the gun and put the limping dog to sleep.

    "Scotland can and has borrowed over 2Bn?. You should be arguing why Scotland can't borrow more Tom?."

    I didn't say this. I said Northern Ireland can borrow up to 2 billion from the British Government and hinted it me be better if Scotland had similar powers.

    "Tom, you can't live you life worrying that the world will fall apart and we will all be pushed into abstract poverty. You have to govern and continue to plan, that's life Tom."

    The world is falling apart, rising population, dwindling resources including food, energy and water. You and I will soon have to decide where to draw that line on the world globe, one side will be the people who we will saved and on the other will be the people that can't be saved.

    I don't know what planet your on ;-)

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  • 309. At 10:48am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Kered:

    #306

    "I had no idea that the SNP had a change of heart over the Calman report,
    that's pretty significant now that they dont support the Calman report.

    When did that change occure?."

    The SNP have never officially supported the Calman report, why would individuals who support full fiscal powers/independence support something that denies either?

    "Tom, you were referring to the conservative cuts agenda under Cameron. If indeed Cameron wins an election. So far Alex Salmond hasn't said one way or another if he will follow the 10% cuts of public services in Scotland unless you are telling use that now."

    It appears your quite mistaken about what I was actually referring too. I will tell you now, your wrong, I was not reffering to the Conservatives at all.

    Now understand, I was reffering to an independent report.

    How can I suggest SNP policy? I am not elected member of Parliament, or have the authority to dictate SNP policy.

    Several here are members of parties but you can't claim something becomes party policy simply because the person supports a particular position.

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  • 310. At 10:53am on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    307. Brownedov

    I especially liked Mcwhirter's term "Hoowitt". And another Scottish political blog starting with poetry - nae fitba, though!

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  • 311. At 10:59am on 11 Jan 2010, snowthistle wrote:

    Tom #308
    Tatooine?

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  • 312. At 11:10am on 11 Jan 2010, clachangowk wrote:

    I seem to have to post the following every time the question of PFI comes up:

    Before New Labour adopted PFI as their pet funding strategy, senior Labour and Tory politicians were on record against PPP/PFI as being a flawed concept:

    Yvette Cooper, now a Treasury Minister, clearly voiced her concerns in an article in the Independent on July 26, 1996 when she attacked the then Conservative Government's proposals: "so long as the PFI is viewed as a wheeze to invest and provide services without the bill showing up on today's government balance sheet, serious problems will remain. The wheeze for the public finances and taxpayers of today risks being a burden on the public finances and taxpayers of tomorrow".

    In his book " Pretty Straight Guys", Nick Cohen says " PFI had been introduced by Kenneth Clarke when he was Chancellor in the Major government.He cheerily admitted afterwards that the PFI was a dreadful idea. He had only accepted it as a temporary expedient because the Major government had enormous debts and he couldn't raise money any other way ------- New Labour turned Clarke's stopgap into a foundation of public finance."

    So it appears that New Labour adopted a Tory wheeze as their basic capital funding policy and even now, when the costs are beginning to hurt they still push on with it; They even try to blame the SNP for not using PFI to build the new Forth bridge.

    You couldn't make it up

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  • 313. At 11:16am on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    PS to my #307

    Unable or unwilling to report Watt and Hoon2, until Clegg came to their rescue with his revelations that L-D pledges have to go because Britain's bust [there's a shock!], this website's main "politics" page was reduced to regurgitating dross like Women MP candidate quotas proposed from Westmidden's conference on diversity issues.

    On second thoughts, there are a couple of points worth making about their proposals to address the "democratic deficit" - as the Harperson puts it - and make parliament reflect "the country MPs served".

    First and most obviously, I thought the MPs were supposed to serve the people, their electorate rather than to shore up a ramshackle UK.

    In that respect, it's a combination of the corrupt party system and the decrepit plurality voting system that denies the electorate the choice to vote for whom they prefer. The "conference" does not discuss is changes in either of those, but rather proposes to strengthen them with either the parties improving "the representation of women at the 2010 general election, or fac[ing] mandatory quotas for the next one".

    Worse still, along with other "modernisation" measures, it sneaks in the idea of "remote voting" to further increase the power of the whips and not even subject the "honourable" lobby fodder to the chore of remaining near Westmidden to cast their bloc votes.

    All in all, another cunning wheeze to increase the democratic defecit, apparently supported by all three unionist Tweedles.

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  • 314. At 11:22am on 11 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    308. At 10:43am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:
    Kered:

    #303.

    "Why do you think Glasgow receives to much, when it has a lower life expectancy than Gazz and some of the worst poverty levels in Europe?."

    I see, since the people of Glasgow continue to abuse their privilage of life that is not offered to everyone, the rest of Scotland must support their actions and result in poorer standards, so the people of Glasgow can live in slightly more comfort...

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

    I see we have returned to the anti-Glasgow theme, an argument that will likely prevent the SNP from achieving their aims.

    Tom, your comment implies that the entire population of Glasgow are heavy smokers, drinkers and drug abusers - none of whom works and are all spongers of the state. Meanwhile, the rest of Scotland is hard working, clean-living and wants rid of the filth city and its population.

    A lot of these anti-Glasgow rants seem to stem from the Glasgow NE bye election result. The SNP failed to win so the whole city is either idiotic, traitorous or both. Perhaps it would be better to see why the SNP didn't win the required votes, rather than blaming people for "voting Labour as that's always happened". Jim Sillars proved what is possible in Glasgow.

    In case you were not aware, Stornoway has a drug problem. Aberdeen has a drug problem. Edinburgh has a drug problem. Alcoholism is a problem in the northern west fishing villages.

    You solve problems through education, not criticism or economic punishment.

    And the way for Scotland to succeed is by uniting the country.

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  • 315. At 11:22am on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #310 oldnat

    Yes, a nice turn of phrase, but I fear I finally have to "out" myself as no great fan of the "fitba".

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  • 316. At 11:23am on 11 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    311. snowthistle:


    I'd say Tom is not on this planet either judging by his anti-Glasgow rant.

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  • 317. At 11:27am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Brownedov:

    #313.

    I already noticed it, I find it shocking and completely nonesense that the people are being forced to support woman into Parliament.

    Democracy? It's there for when you need it, but nobody really cares about it ;-)

    It should be worrying that someone as young as I, totally does not support democracy. If this was the USA, I would be forced to take councilling untill I learn the importance of democracy and the privilages we are expected to fight for.

    Let's just do away with the lot.

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  • 318. At 11:38am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Enneffess:

    #316.

    I see, everyone who disagrees with the current policy surrounding Glasgow must be from another planet.

    The truth is I couldn't care, you have to realise when a bad investment is a bad investment and I believe what we have done for Glasgow is totally the wrong way to go about it.

    Yes, we offer them slightly better services but is that all life about? To simply scrape-by untill your dead? What a miserable existance.

    I would rather have the tools to build a better life instead of being left on life support ;-)

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  • 319. At 11:44am on 11 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    307 Brownedov. lol I knew I shouldn't have talked up Iain the other day.
    One minute he's talking sense and the next he's morphed into Polly Toynbee at the Grauniad.

    His closing appeal "It isn’t too late. Time for all good men, and women, to come to the aid of the Labour Party." could have come straight from Poll at the walnut writing desk of her Tuscan villa!

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  • 320. At 11:45am on 11 Jan 2010, snowthistle wrote:

    enneffess #316
    Just a wee joke.
    I think the major problem in Glasgow North East was not the folk who choose to vote for labour but the huge majority who choose not to vote at all. These are the people that the SNP have to inspire and, as you said, rather than blaming people we have to get to the reasons why they did not vote.
    Scotland is a small country and there is no room here for this east/west nonsense here.
    I believe that they made the right decision re GARL.

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  • 321. At 11:56am on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Snowthistle:

    #320.

    It's easier said then done if you see on council receiving more per head despite not contribtuing the same to the country, while at the same time your council in debt up to their eye balls.

    Aberdeen does not have much room to wriggle and for mistakes, so even the slightest mismanagment can do a huge amount of damage to the most basic services.

    The main issues I have with Glasgow is that we (as the UK and Scotland) have not encouraged enough businesses to start up in Glasgow, the Conservatives took away work but we never put anything back in.

    Now 20 years down the line Glasgow has invested alot in services that it can't actually afford and the people don't have much options apart from one mininum wage job and the other mininum wage job (if work at all).

    Recession time and the slightest fall in public spending and alot of damage is done since Glasgow relies more on public money then any other council.

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  • 322. At 11:58am on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    snowthistle
    Would George Lucas say Tom has no Kenobi.

    The return of the Jedi.

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  • 323. At 12:00pm on 11 Jan 2010, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    #306

    As I understand it if the SNP make cuts of say 10% in public spending then it doesn't actually end up as a saving leaving cash in the Scottish Govt's piggybank but is simply chopped off the amount Scotland receives under the Barnet thing.

    This of course benefits the Westminster commissariat and I have to say I think I would be loathe to do anything that might help them given the mess they've made of the overall economy.

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  • 324. At 12:09pm on 11 Jan 2010, snowthistle wrote:

    Kered #322
    He is young and must learn to control the force, you, on the other hand, are lost to the dark side.

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  • 325. At 12:16pm on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    The details of the Sun's huge poll are now out.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    Although the Scottish sample size is large (899) it's still not adjusted to the Scottish demographic. However, the polling numbers for Westminster are much the same as most polls recently. Lab 36% : SNP 25% : Con 17% : LD 15%. Electoral Calculus suggests that's a no change election - only Ochil going SNP.

    However, on the domestic issues, Scots are generally a bit happier than the English with education, health etc. Again this would suggest that the current high level of support for the SNP at Holyrood is likely to continue.

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  • 326. At 12:17pm on 11 Jan 2010, ScotInNotts wrote:

    #226 tullibardine

    Worth a look at Douglas Frasers analysis on the Joseph Rowntree Foundations report in his latest blog offering, in particular his comments on The Sunday Times "Scots most affluent" headline.

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  • 327. At 12:19pm on 11 Jan 2010, fifebirder wrote:

    Kered & Tom #many

    The bottom line is why do we sudddenly now need so many replacement schools. The SNP is being held responsible for 70+ years of Labour and Tory neglect in Scottish educational facilities.
    Kered , you should be asking your party (Labour?) why they let it get into such a state instead of blaming the SNP who have to try to sort this country out with one hand tied behind their backs.

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  • 328. At 12:38pm on 11 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    A blog that is apparently going to start a league table showing accuracy and integrity of newspaper poll coverage.

    Click Here

    I wonder if they'll include the Scottish titles and if so how far down the table they will appear.

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  • 329. At 12:47pm on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    328. Online Ed

    Well the Sun is going to be well down it!

    They splashed their super poll as Con 42% : Lab 30% : LD 16%.

    The detailed tables show that it's really Con 40% : Lab 30% : LD 17%.

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  • 330. At 12:49pm on 11 Jan 2010, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #295

    Cuts in council tax (or more accurately a freeze in the council tax)had no effect on the proposed GARL project which would have come out of a entirely different budget.
    The GARL project was nothing more than a completely unnecessary vanity project and there are far more pressing priorities on Scotland's transport network.
    The EARL link was sensibly cancelled also to no outcry and the GARL protests are no more than manufactured spin emanating from a completely cynical Labour group in Glasgow who are delibersately closing schools and not using the money they were given to employ extra teachers to try to undermine the SNP efforts.
    They will pay in the long run when even the idiots who swallow their guff at the moment become aware that they are having their dangly bits pulled.

    I would not build even one more school that we can't afford to pay for out of current budgets. Labour has left this Scottish government to pay out of stretched budgets a debt of £1 billion per year on its crazed PFI programme.

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  • 331. At 12:49pm on 11 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    Tom, how old are you? You seem to have a distinct lack of knowledge about any of the major towns and cities in Scotland.

    Glasgow may receive a high proportion of funding, but under your argument it would be removed. That would cause even more problems, especially to the vulnerable, ie the young and elderly. You don't solve problems by denying funding. If the SNP did that they would be committing political suicide, since other towns and cities would then wonder if THEY will be next. Plus the media would descend upon them like flies (more so than they are doing).

    Every town and city in Scotland has its good areas and bad areas. I know of estates in Aberdeen and Edinburgh that are comparable to the less favourable areas in the West.

    "Not encouraged enough businesses", "minimum wage jobs"

    What planet are you on? Is the rest of Scotland all on above average earnings?

    There were a spat of West/East arguments on this blog towards the end of last year. Such division is precisely what unionists want.

    Tell you what, write to your local SNP MSP or MP and ask them to raise such concerns in parliament. I can guess what the answer will be.

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  • 332. At 12:56pm on 11 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    327. fifebirder:

    I had a discussion (ok argument) with a local (Labour) councillor about the state of the schools about 5 years ago.

    He blamed the Conservative government for disallowing the proceeds from housing sales to be used for education.

    So when tackled on why they did not maintain the schools properly - since most buildings, even if poorly built, can last for decades if looked after - he waffled his answers about costs etc.

    Some of the schools in my area were literally falling to pieces. But it wasn't the fault of the council of course.......

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  • 333. At 12:57pm on 11 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    I see Labour's Scottish spokesman Jim Murphy has another press release covered by the papers.

    As usual he says nothing of note.

    I admit that I expected Murphy to start backpeddling on the debate, however I suppose we'll have to wait until discussions are finalised.

    Talking of the papers why is it that the press circulation drop in Scotland is blamed on everything - with the exception of actual content?

    As we approach our seventh edition the Newsnet Scotland mailing list sits at 550 plus ..... and still rising.

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  • 334. At 1:21pm on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Enneffess:

    #331.

    "Tom, how old are you? You seem to have a distinct lack of knowledge about any of the major towns and cities in Scotland."

    I find it strange that you seem to imply age comes with understanding of major towns and cities in Scotland. The real question you should ask, am I travelled? No, I am not well travelled, however, that should not forbid me of complaining about the types of strategy we use to improve local areas in and around Scotland, should it?

    "Glasgow may receive a high proportion of funding, but under your argument it would be removed."

    This is wrong. I understand why certain areas receive extra funding. I believe funding has been wrongly spent in Glasgow, as a result, despite being in a recession Glasgow remains vunerable to changes in levels of public spending. If I had resources I would have used it differently in Glasgow, it does not mean I would have taken it all away. You misrepresent me, completely.

    "That would cause even more problems, especially to the vulnerable, ie the young and elderly. You don't solve problems by denying funding."

    You don't solve problems by throwing money at a problem either, hence why Glasgow still suffers problems despite the extra funding. I should say still suffers far greater problems.

    "If the SNP did that they would be committing political suicide, since other towns and cities would then wonder if THEY will be next. Plus the media would descend upon them like flies (more so than they are doing)."

    Your still missing the point. Has resources spent in Glasgow been used correctly? I disagree with the idea and thats why I continue to attack spending levels in Glasgow because I want individuals to recognise the failure.

    "Every town and city in Scotland has its good areas and bad areas. I know of estates in Aberdeen and Edinburgh that are comparable to the less favourable areas in the West."

    I understand that, I poke fun of other areas in and around Aberdeen too. Don't worry. However I am not going to look at internal issues, I will look at the facts and figures of the area overall that shows Glasgow lacking. I say this proves investment has been spent wrongly, it's worse because of the recession since we have less to spend. If the recession was worse, we risk putting Glasgow in the same position as it was 10-20 years ago.

    ""Not encouraged enough businesses", "minimum wage jobs"

    What planet are you on? Is the rest of Scotland all on above average earnings?"

    I have not insisted most of Scotland earn above average earnings. If people earned above 'average' earnings then the average would also increase...

    However Glasgow does not have the same benefits as other parts of Scotland, or the same opportunites. It has a higher unemployment rate for a reason, you know. SHall we look at local differences in earnings? I don't think you want to open that can of worms ;-)

    "There were a spat of West/East arguments on this blog towards the end of last year. Such division is precisely what unionists want."

    It does not matter, in or out the union, people like me will be here to criticise the situation.

    "Tell you what, write to your local SNP MSP or MP and ask them to raise such concerns in parliament. I can guess what the answer will be."

    The reason I would not raise it with politicians is because politics is not about honesty, whats best for the country and thats before we consider the media inpact of any type of discussion.

    I prefer blogs because it's a place to trade ideas without worrying about a backlash.

    If you want to change my opinion you'll have to start arguing on Glasgows behalf, or you simply won't change my opinion at all. It's typical of individuals criticising anothers point while not suggesting an opinion of their own or proving the other poster wrong.

    If you beleive money in Glasgow has been spent well, tell me about it. I happen to believe differently and still think Glasgow has missed out.

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  • 335. At 1:26pm on 11 Jan 2010, tullibardine wrote:


    Is it time to lower the final curtain on Brown’s performance as King Liar? (no, it's no typo) It is if these articles are anything to go by.

    ‘US firm Pimco, the biggest bond trader in the world, plans to reduce its exposure to UK government gilts, as well as US Treasury bonds. In a year when Team Brown is depending on the bond markets to stump up £225 billion to pay for the RBS quasi-takeover and all the other emergency economic stimuli, this was like the Man from Del Monte telling the oranges market it’s a no to citrus products.’
    also:
    ‘Last week the Quality of Living index ranked the UK as just the 25th best place to live behind the likes of Hungary, Lithuania and Uruguay. If this depressed you, next year’s rankings might finish you off altogether.’


    http://tinyurl.com/ybzd9tl

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  • 336. At 2:07pm on 11 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    334. Tom:

    "Glasgow does not have the same opportunities?"

    If you are referring to the oil industry, well that's a fair comment. However, Aberdeen is not exactly know for it's financial centre, nor does it have a sunbstantial call centre industry.

    Differences in earnings? Depends on the industry, but also look at the cost of living. I can almost double my current wage in a similar job in London, but then there's no way I could afford a house the same size as mine.

    You do not have much faith in politicians, so how can you expect change to happen? You have to vote someone in.

    And I've never once stated that Glasgow spends its money wisely. But then, neither has Aberdeen.

    Are you in favour of independence, or do you simply to wish sit back and let things happen, while criticising policies?

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  • 337. At 2:09pm on 11 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    I see Nick Clegg has gone for broke. Big gamble but will it pay off?

    If he someone succeeds, then it will be a huge change in politics.

    If he fails, the Lid Dems will disintegrate and like Doctor Who have yet another reincarnation.

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  • 338. At 2:09pm on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #319 GrassyKnollington
    "lol I knew I shouldn't have talked up Iain the other day."

    Well, it's no secret he's a unionist, and the main point of late has been that his articles were head and shoulders above the quality of his "peers" in the Scottish MSM.

    Agreed that at the end of the article in question he makes an uncharacteristic appeal for Labour to find the soul which I suspect died with John Smith. Not quite St. Polly but definite similarities, I'll grant you.

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  • 339. At 2:27pm on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    337. enneffess
    "Lid Dems will disintegrate and like Doctor Who have yet another reincarnation."

    But unlike the Doctor, they've already had "a ginger". :-)

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  • 340. At 2:28pm on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Enneffess:

    #336.

    "If you are referring to the oil industry, well that's a fair comment. However, Aberdeen is not exactly know for it's financial centre, nor does it have a sunbstantial call centre industry."

    Of course.

    "Differences in earnings? Depends on the industry, but also look at the cost of living. I can almost double my current wage in a similar job in London, but then there's no way I could afford a house the same size as mine."

    Yes, something else we should consider. The main issue I have is that for example, Glasgow can have an education system but without the opportunites to suit the highly educated and the best health service in Scotland, but struggles to offer even the most basic opportunites to feed the people. We should have done some serious investing directly into businesses to help them expand as soon as one industry collapsed.

    "You do not have much faith in politicians, so how can you expect change to happen? You have to vote someone in."

    I wouldn't rely on a politician to do the right thing, I expect them to make the popular choices. It's not their fault since nobody really looks into policies etc to see if it's worth the cost and work. It goes back to my earlier criticism of PFI, yes, it is great seeing the schools and hospitals being made there and then, but most of us ignore the true costs. Read the headline but never the small print.

    "And I've never once stated that Glasgow spends its money wisely. But then, neither has Aberdeen."

    Agreed. Glasgow still relies more so on public spending though, if spending gets tighter Glasgow will have to compete with every other council for a slightly larger share of the pot simply to maintain the services. Aberdeen has hit rock bottom and I don't see how things could be worse (keep in mind it's Aberdeen City Council deap in the red) but we didn't have much to loose when it comes to funding in the first place since we received such a small amount.

    "Are you in favour of independence, or do you simply to wish sit back and let things happen, while criticising policies?"

    I am in favour of independence. However it's not a matter of independence or not, as I am criticising the current system as it is, I doubt it would change come independence either.

    I am, however, I am minority view. Although I feel we'd all be better off in the long-term, I doubt that I would survive the media if I had a chance to carry out all my ideas - even with wide support throughout the Scottish Parliament.

    But time will tell. I have a feeling the next 50 years will see the rise of individuals like me ;-)

    Muahahaha

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  • 341. At 2:30pm on 11 Jan 2010, Tom wrote:

    Enneffess: #336.

    "If you are referring to the oil industry, well that's a fair comment. However, Aberdeen is not exactly know for it's financial centre, nor does it have a sunbstantial call centre industry."
    Of course.

    "Differences in earnings? Depends on the industry, but also look at the cost of living. I can almost double my current wage in a similar job in London, but then there's no way I could afford a house the same size as mine."
    Yes, something else we should consider. The main issue I have is that for example, Glasgow can have an education system but without the opportunites to suit the highly educated and the best health service in Scotland, but struggles to offer even the most basic opportunites to feed the people. We should have done some serious investing directly into businesses to help them expand as soon as one industry collapsed.

    "You do not have much faith in politicians, so how can you expect change to happen? You have to vote someone in."
    I wouldn't rely on a politician to do the right thing, I expect them to make the popular choices. It's not their fault since nobody really looks into policies etc to see if it's worth the cost and work. It goes back to my earlier criticism of PFI, yes, it is great seeing the schools and hospitals being made there and then, but most of us ignore the true costs. Read the headline but never the small print.

    "And I've never once stated that Glasgow spends its money wisely. But then, neither has Aberdeen."
    Agreed. Glasgow still relies more so on public spending though, if spending gets tighter Glasgow will have to compete with every other council for a slightly larger share of the pot simply to maintain the services. Aberdeen has hit rock bottom and I don't see how things could be worse (keep in mind it's Aberdeen City Council deap in the red) but we didn't have much to loose when it comes to funding in the first place since we received such a small amount.

    "Are you in favour of independence, or do you simply to wish sit back and let things happen, while criticising policies?"

    I am in favour of independence. However it's not a matter of independence or not, as I am criticising the current system as it is, I doubt it would change come independence either. I am, however, a minority view. Although I feel we'd all be better off in the long-term, I doubt that I would survive the media if I had a chance to carry out all my ideas - even with wide support throughout the Scottish Parliament. But time will tell. I have a feeling the next 50 years will see the rise of individuals like me ;-)

    Muahahaha

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  • 342. At 2:39pm on 11 Jan 2010, albamac wrote:

    #275 cynicalHighlander

    "And where do you think we are going?"

    In a word? Nowhere! We already occupy ground that belongs to us. This is our country and we shouldn't be offering obeisance or begging anyone's leave to make the most of it and enjoy the fruits of our own endeavour!

    The road to independence is littered with obstacles and fraught with dangers but you'd have to wonder why, given the transparent fraudulence, incompetence and stupidity of those whose purpose it is to sabotage our peaceful progress towards the normality of self-determination. Unfortunately, by whatever foul means, they control the levers of power, many of which were designed to turn the screw on Scotland should they feel threatened by democracy.

    They have, in addition, planted and propagated seeds of suspicion and resentment in the minds of our English neighbours, to the extent that Scots are widely despised by people towards whom they wish no ill and pose no threat. There's nothing new or unique in that. Corrupt regimes have few qualms about setting one section of the population against another when it suits their primal instinct for self-preservation. In effect, the British Government, headquartered in the City-State of London, is a hostile power. Sadly, it suffers no shortage of Scottish agents, many of whom are New Labour MSPs, but I have to reserve a special compartment in my thoughts for the most despicable creature in British politics, the Secretary of State for Scotland, so that my soul isn't poisoned by the thought of him. An extremely difficult task when the object of my loathing is none other than the iniquitous, ubiquitous Mr Murphy!

    Perhaps there's something to Ford's view, after all, when he describes history as tradition. Tradition is important in preserving a sense of who we are, especially within families and communities, but it is also the anvil upon which the mind-forged manacles of ignorance, prejudice and bigotry take shape. Shackles which have held the people of Northern Ireland and a fair number of Scots hostage to history for generations.

    It also offers a partial answer to a question I've posed a number of times. Why would any Scot offer allegiance to a political party that, for the preservation of its power in another country, conducts a relentless campaign of malice and menace against its own? That, I think, could be described as one of the negative effects of a perverted tradition, hereditary voting, that should have been laid to rest decades ago.

    We have two generations of Scottish voters who have absolutely no idea why they vote Labour, other than that it's the direction in which the herd moves. Thanks to New Labour, they're as likely to think that the Labour Movement is a bowel evacuation during childbirth as anything else. They have no connection whatsoever with the history, traditions or principles upon which that Movement was founded and who can blame them when they are herded to the pens, fed, watered and bled by those who betrayed it, devoured it and wriggled into its skin the better to mingle with the unsuspecting herd? New Labour is anything but the 'party of the people' but it does bear a striking resemblance to an involuntary bowel movement; you'd rather it hadn't happened, it's dirty and it stinks!

    In gentler mood, I'd have thought that the UK Parliament should have been dissolved, immediately, following the expenses scandal but, having seen how easily the fraudsters and their Scottish accomplices evade justice, I'm inclined to think that we shouldn't be forced to endure further insult by preserving the privileges of exposed liars and thieves up to and beyond the ridiculous pantomime of a General Election. The Hole-in-the-wall-gang should have been dragged out of their Westminster hideout and cast into the gutter where they belong! None of them has any right to be there. Neither they nor any of their allies has the right to a voice in either parliament.

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  • 343. At 3:00pm on 11 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    342. albamac, that post's close to poetry too! well said.

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  • 344. At 3:02pm on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #325 oldnat

    Thanks for that. Surprised the mods removed your link. If it was direct to the PDF or to some temporary link now defunct, it's now available from the main YouGov site here.

    A huge pity that we cannot get meaningful data out of a reasonable sample size of 978 actual, weighted down to 899 based on the Scottish share of the UK population. If only they would publish the raw numbers as well, it would be very easy to reverse engineer and get meaningful scottish numbers.

    As it is, the numbers look very good for the SNP to me, given the difference between the UK political ID forcing to 3% vs 16% for their Scottish polls. It also looks bad for the Tories given their UK weighting of 26% vs 11% for Scotland. Differences in the Lab and L-D weightings are close to the margin of error of the poll so not worth arguing over.

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  • 345. At 3:09pm on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    344. Brownedov
    "If only they would publish the raw numbers as well"

    Yes. It is frustrating. Even if they would give them to 1 decimal point, or better put the unrounded % in Excel, one could do something with them.

    I tried working backwards fromthe mega poll via the earlier ones to see if there was anything that might be significant in the post-coup poll, but the rounded numbers don't allow that.

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  • 346. At 3:31pm on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Well, with those figures it looks like Mr Salmonds claim to 20 plus MP's is dead in the water and there's no point in calling David Tenant, as he supports Mr Brown. So the possible 20 maybe as low as 7.


    Lets do the time warp again!.

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  • 347. At 3:49pm on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #346 kered
    "Lets do the time warp again!"

    That part of your post I do not understand. The rest is plain daft. Can you not see that if the actual numbers of voters who identify themselves as SNP are artificially adjusted downwards to represent less than 3% of GB polls, the published result will be rather different to the actual Scottish situation where the same pollster - YouGov - recognises them to be the vast majority of the 16% "others" in Scotland?

    Let's wait for a Scottish poll before we jump to too many conclusions.

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  • 348. At 3:49pm on 11 Jan 2010, handclapping wrote:

    #346 kered
    Nice to see you back. 8-)
    Guido has a blog on Kirkcaldy worth reading, some of the responses will amuse you too

    #345 oldnat
    Haven't looked at the figures in detail but anyone who tries to claim that the Scots are no different from the rest of the UK should really try looking at the differences in response from their Scotland sample to those from other regions.

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  • 349. At 3:58pm on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    348. handclapping

    The detail of many of the questions is quite interesting. Many of them are very leading questions - along the lines of the ORB poll for the Tories.

    This seems to be the new Tory strategy - use their vast war-chest to commission professional pollsters to professionally ask unprofessional questions. It's immoral, of course, but what else would one expect?

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  • 350. At 4:02pm on 11 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    342. albamac

    Beautifully put, Albamac!

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  • 351. At 4:04pm on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Brownedov

    No more than a silly comment towards Dr Who (Timelord)

    Yes, I suppose you are right.The proof is in the pudding! so they say.

    I would say however that it is a general election and the SNP vote does tend to waver in a national election.

    Alex Salmond, has got to persuade his core vote, that the old system of switching votes at the general election is over and no longer suits the SNP's desire or will.

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  • 352. At 4:39pm on 11 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    348. handclapping you have to laugh at a media that rounds on so called cybernats when you read what Guido's commenters have to say about Scots.

    I often wonder if the British Nationalists in Scotland blank out the vitriol aimed at them or lap it up as they feel the abuse is aimed at some other Scots but not them.

    The classic case is Brown himself, desperately trying to be accepted as British (English really) by removing all traces of Scottishness and yet seemingly reviled all the more by the very people he's trying to win over.

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  • 353. At 4:44pm on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #351 kered
    "I would say however that it is a general election and the SNP vote does tend to waver in a national election."

    Well yes, but if you look at the trend in parliamentary elections over the past decade, there does seem to have been a step-change in 2007, viz:
      Year, SNP, Parliament
      2001, 20.1%, Westmidden
      2003, 23.8%, Holyrood (plurality)
      2003, 20.9%, Holyrood (list)
      2004, 19.7%, Strassburg
      2005, 17.7%, Westmidden
      2007, 32.9%, Holyrood (plurality)
      2007, 31.0%, Holyrood (list)
      2009, 29.1%, Strassburg

    About all we can say from the polls is that the step-change - from around 20% to around 30%, largely to the detriment of "Scottish" Labour - seems to have been consolidated in the past 2½ years and that the prospect of middle England voting overwhelmingly Tory seems not to have scared Scottish voters into sticking with SRN Duff Gordon for fear of something worse, leaving everything to play for come the general election.

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  • 354. At 5:05pm on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Brownedov

    If we accept your stats as correct, then yes! both general election dates of 2001 and 2005 both confirm your reasoning however this coming election has the SNP as the government of Scotland and those who usally vote tactically and switch because of the Indepence question will probably do so, plus the fear factor of new and unknown is also a very likely pulling factor to sway the SNP holyrood voter to vote either labour or conservative.

    I think Alex Salmond has been very late on the up take of this election and it's importance! christ Salmond should be driving home the need for constitutional change at Westminster and of course that expenses scandal.


    Waiting for TV debate are fine but the SNP are unlikely to make any great gains from those prepestive TV debates.

    Alex Salmond should have been trying to find common ground with the lib/dem voters. He has got to approach the election as a person with a positive input and a strong growing core vote.

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  • 355. At 5:12pm on 11 Jan 2010, albamac wrote:

    #342 GrassyKnollington

    "albamac, that post's close to poetry too! well said."

    Aye, they're only 84 posts apart! :)

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  • 356. At 5:20pm on 11 Jan 2010, albamac wrote:

    #355

    Apologies to GrassyKnollington. Your post was at #343 not #342

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  • 357. At 5:27pm on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #354 kered

    "If we accept your stats as correct, then yes!"
    Don't take my word for it. All those stats come from this website, but don't rely on the BBC's lousy search engine. Google "bbc vote 2001" etc. and you should find them in the first few hits.

    "Alex Salmond should have been trying to find common ground with the lib/dem voters."
    Well yes, but they do seem to be rather an endangered species so may not be easy to find.

    "He has got to approach the election as a person with a positive input and a strong growing core vote."
    Agreed, and I'm sure he will.

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  • 358. At 5:28pm on 11 Jan 2010, albamac wrote:

    #350 JRMacClure

    "Beautifully put, Albamac!"

    Thank you! Glad that my description of New Labour's ugliness didn't affect your opinion of my post.

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  • 359. At 5:30pm on 11 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    342. albamac

    Now that is how to rant.

    Particularly liked the bit about hereditary voting.

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  • 360. At 5:59pm on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    New Angus Reid poll on politicalbetting.com has toplines of CON 40% (40), LAB 24% (24), LD 20% (20) with full data promised later tonight.

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  • 361. At 6:08pm on 11 Jan 2010, Nat_very_likely wrote:

    The former top civil servant in Wales Sir Jon Shortridge has told the Westminster Welsh Affairs Committee that he expects that the Wales Office will "wither away."

    He said "Devolution in Wales will have come of age when the prime minister of the day feels that separate departments for Wales,Scotland and Northern Ireland are no longer needed."

    Of course it will be decided by the Scottish people in a referendum about what to do with the Scotland Office but even so it is interesting that a former civil service mandarin sees no sense in these Whitehall departments.

    What's amusing is imagining the look on Murphy's face when he heard about it.

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  • 362. At 6:25pm on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #361 mistydougie
    "it is interesting that a former civil service mandarin sees no sense in these Whitehall departments.
    What's amusing is imagining the look on Murphy's face when he heard about it.
    "

    ROFL

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  • 363. At 6:32pm on 11 Jan 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    361 & 362

    Jim's not worried, he's heard they're keeping on a skeleton crew!

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  • 364. At 6:33pm on 11 Jan 2010, RandomScot wrote:

    I take it none of you were listening to Radio Scotland's news this morning and evening. The report about the National Job Summit, although it mentioned it was a Scottish Government event, dominated with Jim Murphy and 300 jobs that he hops to create in Fife at some unspecified point, and seriously downplayed 4,000 apprenticeships the SNP were aiming for.

    Moreover Mr Murphy got to speak in a wee recording at least three times I heard, unchallenged and commented on, as opposed to Mike Russell who the Radio Scotland interviewer was basically characterising (my words not hers, but this was the gist) as too little, too late and for not long enough.

    The report on the BBC News website also promotes Mr Murphy, and gives scant attention to anyone else.

    Dearie me!

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  • 365. At 6:40pm on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    It is pretty difficult to see what kinda gain Murphy or any another secretary of state for Scotlands brings in this new age of devolution but I certainly wouldn't trust Cameron with Scotland's future.

    It seems to me that Wales is far more settled on it's future and devolution max, Scotland is in the quagmire, undecisive, with no settled will of choice.Change for change sake is unproductive,if Scotland and Scotlands people want a new constitution and final settled will, then Alex Salmond must come forward with a credible plan, that can carry support.It's as simply as that! a referendum on emptyness serves no purpose.

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  • 366. At 6:42pm on 11 Jan 2010, snowthistle wrote:

    GrassyKnollington #363
    Goodness I just choked and had to go get my inhaler..... but, boy was that worth it!!!

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  • 367. At 7:05pm on 11 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #283 Online Ed
    "Here's Pauline McNeill's radical idea to save the 'quality' journalism we in Scotland are fortunate to receive"

    And here's Conan's take on it!

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  • 368. At 7:25pm on 11 Jan 2010, albamac wrote:

    Murphy: Independence vote a distraction from economic recovery

    Again!

    It regurgitates its own vomit, time after time, and the electorate is expected to swallow it and keep it down!

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  • 369. At 7:25pm on 11 Jan 2010, clachangowk wrote:

    #365 Kered

    Many of us don't trust anyone in Westminster with Scotland's future. That's why we see independence as the only sane possibility.

    I, for one, do not doubt that Independence is inevitable and am relaxed about how quickly it comes. Short term polls up or down are irrelevant; the inexorable momentum is what matters.

    No one can bring any positive reasons for the continuation of the Union other than childish scaremongering.

    The Conservatives no longer have a serious role in Scotland.

    As Albamac so beautifully described it in #342 Labour voters no longer know why they vote Labour. The "Unionist" industries of Coal, steel and shipbuilding which held the Union together are long gone and Labour have lost their raison d'etre. There only direction is down.

    The arguments for Independence will be fact based; pro-unionist arguments will be increasingly emotional and frantic

    I am relaxed about the future

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  • 370. At 7:27pm on 11 Jan 2010, clachangowk wrote:

    To the moderator

    For how long will I be considered a new member

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  • 371. At 7:28pm on 11 Jan 2010, R campbell wrote:

    "287. At 08:07am on 11 Jan 2010, skintybroko wrote:
    Did anyone else hear the news yesterday that the UK government has taken control of all grit and salt supplies to meet demand in England and will be taking stock from Scotland? I hear it on the radio abut 2pm yesterday and then it was never mentioned again."

    Yes I have read that on a few blogs. It's on this one: http://mrsrigbysays.blogspot.com/2010/01/no-salt-and-no-snow-ploughs.html

    "Not that I’m the kind of chap to comment on unsubstantiated rumours……….but word reaches me that a certain cooncil official, maybe in the South of Scotland, in a rare display of initiative and foresight, realising that said cooncil was rapidly running out of salt for for the roads, contacted the people in the Welsh salt mines and placed an order for a sizeable amount of the anti-slippy salt.

    A local haulage company were allegedly asked to nip down to Wales and pick up a convoy of the salt to get us through the next part of what we like to refer to as Winter.

    Upon arrival, much chagrin ensued as the tired truckers were told to Ecclefechen off, as the company had allegedly been told there was no salt for them, as HM Government in London had ordered that all salt be retained for the exclusive use of the South East of England. Also the drivers supposedly were told that the company were under explicit instructions not to sell any road grit to local authorities or the Scottish Government."

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  • 372. At 7:36pm on 11 Jan 2010, R campbell wrote:

    364. At 6:33pm on 11 Jan 2010, RandomScot wrote:
    " it mentioned it was a Scottish Government event "

    Only Murphy was interviewed and he said he invited the Scottish Government to the event!

    It's like the summing up of First Ministers Questions on radio Scotland on the Thursday shortly after it has happened. They let the listener hear what the leaders of the opposition parties said. But Glen Campbell then sums up Salmonds replies instead of us being allowed to hear what he said.

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  • 373. At 7:44pm on 11 Jan 2010, tullibardine wrote:

    Just had a wee look at Douglas Fraser’s blog. Fraser blogs tirelessly but the blogs just don’t seem to generate much interest – just one comment on the blog today, and they only wished to comment on the lack of comments!

    Did Fraser blot his copybook previously with his biased political mutterings in the Herald? He has fewer comments here for a year’s blogging than BW has in one blog.

    Only David Maddox could achieve less – oops, I forgot, he doesn‘t allow comments in the Hootsmon.

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  • 374. At 8:07pm on 11 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    368. At 7:25pm on 11 Jan 2010, albamac wrote:
    Murphy: Independence vote a distraction from economic recovery

    Again!

    It regurgitates its own vomit, time after time, and the electorate is expected to swallow it and keep it down!


    I can exclusively reveal that this weekends edition of Newsnet Scotland will contain absolutely no press releases from Jim Murphy.

    albamac 342:
    They have no connection whatsoever with the history, traditions or principles upon which that Movement was founded and who can blame them when they are herded to the pens, fed, watered and bled by those who betrayed it, devoured it and wriggled into its skin the better to mingle with the unsuspecting herd?

    One of the best descriptions of what the likes of Jim Murphy have done to the Labour movement in Scotland.

    When Wardog used the 'c' word to describe Murphy it is the man's character he was describing.

    Speak to any working class Scot and they will know instantly the type of individual who attracts such a nomenclature - self serving, untrustowrthy, unchivalrous, a user, spineless, charmless, sleekit, lacking principle, two faced, without shame and of course a known liar.

    Do these traits apply to our friend the SOS for Scotland? That is for others to decide.

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  • 375. At 8:23pm on 11 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    373. At 7:44pm on 11 Jan 2010, tullibardine wrote:
    Just had a wee look at Douglas Fraser’s blog. Fraser blogs tirelessly but the blogs just don’t seem to generate much interest – just one comment on the blog today, and they only wished to comment on the lack of comments!

    Did Fraser blot his copybook previously with his biased political mutterings in the Herald? He has fewer comments here for a year’s blogging than BW has in one blog.


    Yes is the short answer; However the lack of replies to Frasers blog is down to a lack of interest - no one takes any notice of him now. He did do a reasonable piece on Flyglobespan but that was the exception to the rule.

    The only reason that this blog attracts so much by way of comment is that the link is on the main pages and the casual reader is more inclined to visit it.

    It's got nothing to do with Taylors content which is risible [Kennth Roy of Scottish Review questioned why Taylor is given this blog at public expense and I agree] comment should be on the main news articles - directly under, that way the public really do have a say.

    The other reason is that it has become the only place in Scotland where main stream news stories and other can be routinely commented on.

    The Scotsman long since blocked me from commenting [few and far between anyway] and The Herald prevented comment after it became clear that the real stories and intelligent analysis were to be found on its online comments.

    It was a newspaper within a newspaper - Herald letter writers routinely served up far superior comment than that of the journalists.

    Now, if the BBC were actually to allow comment on it's main news stories then that really would be something to behold and would be real interaction.

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  • 376. At 8:33pm on 11 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    342. albamac

    A well written response to a flippant question, more power to your keyboard.

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  • 377. At 8:55pm on 11 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Dept for International Development Funding the TUC

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  • 378. At 9:24pm on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Angus Reid poll details now available on their site.

    GB vote shares unchanged.

    They have a series of questions about forced choice between Cameron and a variety of possible Labour leaders.

    Lab leader, Sco, GB
    Brown, 64%, 42%,
    Straw, 54%, 39%
    Johnston, 56%, 38%
    Harman, 52%, 32%
    D Milliband, 41%, 39%

    Ample evidence, I'd suggest that Brown as leader is worth many votes here, while the most Southern English/New Labour leaders lose them massively in Scotland.

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  • 379. At 9:37pm on 11 Jan 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    #372

    For what it's worth there was one tiny shot on the news showing Murphy and Salmond sitting side by side at the event. If you blinked you would have missed it. They were both looking to the side. No conversation it would seem and no comments allowed from Salmond. This must have been the BBC's nod to impartial reporting.


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  • 380. At 9:41pm on 11 Jan 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    #370 clachangowk

    "For how long will I be considered a new member"


    According to my experience it could be indefinitely.

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  • 381. At 9:52pm on 11 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    370. clachangowk
    "For how long will I be considered a new member"

    Till tomorrow!

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  • 382. At 10:11pm on 11 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 383. At 10:24pm on 11 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    377. At 8:55pm on 11 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander:

    I saw the Times article earlier and it didn't twig.

    Subrosa hit the nail on the head:
    The behaviour of this corrupt labour government to give aid money to a union which in turn hands it to the labour party to fund their political base.

    This is an absolute national scandal - this is marqueegate on a very, very grand scale - you surely cannot do this?

    Here's the Times article

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  • 384. At 10:31pm on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Nice to see what wee Dougie is spending the foreign aid budget on

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6982999.ece

    "The Government is giving the Trades Union Congress millions of pounds from its foreign aid budget to pay for the education of British trade unionists and to support advocacy work in Britain."

    Naturally, I would never suggest that Brown's rhetoric at Gleneagles was cynical garbage, or that Labour would steal money from the world's poorest to give to the TUs to allow them to release cash to give to the Labour Party.

    One would have to be a totally cynical and corrupt person to come up with that idea.

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  • 385. At 10:32pm on 11 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    The Herald must have bought a job lot of Murphy photo's - they even have his phote on what is clearly an article based around Alex Salmond's announcement of European funding and jobs.

    Click Here

    This must be part of the Scottish response to the terrible week that Brown has just had.

    Expect more of Murphy over the next few weeks, now there's a real distraction from serious politics.

    I wonder what Labour and the media up here would do if they weren't both abusing the position of Secretary of State?

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  • 386. At 10:54pm on 11 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    382. cynicalHighlander

    I wait with baited breath for the email to see the objection!

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  • 387. At 10:58pm on 11 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    384. oldnat

    Taking my signature to a low level is not allowed, corrupt and cynical don't mix in the same sentence.

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  • 388. At 11:07pm on 11 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    383. Online Ed

    One just has to look at all foreign aid promised by the UK which is siphoned off before it leaves these shores and the general public accept it at face value. British governance is so corrupt that it treats all its citizens as if they are all part of the empire to be exploited for their benefit.

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  • 389. At 11:15pm on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    Lab leader, Sco, GB
    Brown, 64%, 42%,
    Straw, 54%, 39%
    Johnston, 56%, 38%
    Harman, 52%, 32%
    D Milliband, 41%, 39%

    Oldnats money is on the Cameron boy!. funny thing is the dark horse Ed Miliband seems to be missing or maybe oldnat has that area covered as the opposition favourite.

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  • 390. At 11:16pm on 11 Jan 2010, spinspamspun7 wrote:

    BBC Newnight

    Glen Campbell introduces an item,suggesting the government is responsible for children not attending school since before Christmas !

    His voice is getting rasper,time to switch off from this most
    partial media person and find somewhere where balanced discussion
    takes please !

    Can anyone please where to go ?

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  • 391. At 11:21pm on 11 Jan 2010, Jane Ann Liston wrote:

    Just fluttered in to report that, anent my comment way back at 50, SEPA has given councils permission to use beach sand for winter maintenance. I don't know if any has yet taken advantage of this dispensation.

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  • 392. At 11:22pm on 11 Jan 2010, handclapping wrote:

    #377 cynicalH
    I wondered why Broon was so keen to keep up the British Aid budget. Now we know. Disgraceful, almost as bad as not sending the best man to be head honcho in Malawi.
    #378 oldnat
    The Sun's YouGov is interesting. 9 clear threads to attack Labour on but the SNP won't. It is so frustrating as they are there to be shot at and the SNP don't. I was thinking that they were onto something with their Stand up for Scotland but I see no mention of the feeble fifty. No wonder they are drifting in the polls.

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  • 393. At 11:22pm on 11 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    387. cynicalHighlander

    cynical and pure (like you) is admirable. cynical on its own is OK. cynical and corrupt is Labour.

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  • 394. At 11:25pm on 11 Jan 2010, Harry Stottle wrote:

    Re the articles on the appalling state of Glasgow with its chronic unemployment, deprivation, squallor and health issues.
    The sad part about it is that this situation was brought about deliberately by the so called 'labour' party in their belief that poverty = votes.
    After labours defeat in the Aberdeen south by election in the 90's the then 'Scottish' secretary Helen Liddel said 'people don't tend to vote labour if they're happy'
    The labour party in Scotland is the only political party in the world that tells the voters that they are the only party that a vote for them will safeguard their benefits and keep them unemployed.

    Labour have operated a scorched earth economic policy in Scotland designed to keep the country and it's people down.

    Within hours of labour getting in in 1997 I remember Margaret Beckett saying that a prority for labour in Scotland should be the banning of bagpipes and the demolition of the Forth rail bridge, ie remove from Scotland any vestiges of national identity and make Scotland a backwater relying on crumbs from wasteminsters table.

    Well, they've certainly run Scotland into the dirt, aided and abetted by the press and the BBC, but thankfully their ploy is going to backfire on them big time.

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  • 395. At 11:34pm on 11 Jan 2010, enneffess wrote:

    Had a think about the past year (what I can remember!).

    We've had the Generation Game - Westminster Special - where the idea is to spend taxpayers cash in the most imaginative way possible. The winner by a long shot was the gentleman who obtained enough shelving to hold the contents of the Mitchell Library is a small cupboard.

    Lockerbie bomber freed by Justice Secretary, who takes so long in his statement that by the time he officially announces his freedom, Megrahi is in Libya and has already been interviewed by Matthew Wright. Labour subsequently claim that Megrahi has fully recovered and is living in the Bahamas.

    Good news on the export front - white shell suits and saltires to Libya.


    Free expression with the use of one syllable words.


    Swine flu - or was that a metaphor for MPs expenses?


    President Obama elected and is immediately classed as a Scot.


    Michael Jackson died - a certain female SNP MSP considers him for Scottish martyrdom.


    Willie Bain (who?) destroys the SNP in a nail biting bye-election. Party managers fail to remove the coat hanger from his mouth. Grecian 2010 demands resignation of Alex Salmond and his entire cabinet as the result shows the SNP are finished. Monologue from SOS on live tv sends this viewer to sleep.


    The Homecoming has events all year. Half of Scotland try to figure out what the hell is going on.


    Brian's blog hits a record for one topic with over 1,500 posts. RE breaks the record for the most usernames. Enneffess breaks the world record for sitting on a fence. Online Ed spends so much time reading the biased media that he is actually starting to believe in it. Scotland's only self-confessed Tory voters disappears without a trace. JR amazes everyone for continuous blogging with a staggering 23 days while writing a novel at the same time. The entire board descends into a West-East battle. Oldnat bursts in and gives everyone detention.


    You can tell I'm bored and don't finish my leave until Wednesday......:P

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  • 396. At 11:44pm on 11 Jan 2010, kered wrote:


    Deputy First Minister Nicola "Zira" Sturgeon


    O' the west coast girls are always P.....

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  • 397. At 11:45pm on 11 Jan 2010, spinspamspun7 wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 398. At 11:54pm on 11 Jan 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    393. oldnat

    I knew you'd have an answer.:)

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  • 399. At 00:04am on 12 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    395. enneffess

    Great post! Hey if you're bored, there are worse ways to spend your time! :-)

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  • 400. At 00:16am on 12 Jan 2010, highlandarab wrote:

    #368. Albamac - Murphy: Independence vote a distraction from economic recovery


    And also from adding comments onto his blog from potential voters come the election.

    55 hours now and counting since I added a response to his last comment. I even worked out a few suggestions that he could pass onto the Scottish Governemt so that they could be seen to help out during the bad weather.

    It was so long ago that it was only 1-0 the tangerines at the time and we were clinging on a wee bit I think but it all worked out OK in the end. We even know where we are playing in the next round (sort of depending ont he score in the other game)

    No wonder there are so few comments on the official voice of Scotland website in London - cyber space must be getting fell full of Times New Roman looking for the SOS webpages.

    What is the point of having a blog on the SOS website if you can't be bothered keeping it up to date?

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  • 401. At 02:24am on 12 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    395. enneffess
    "JR amazes everyone for continuous blogging with a staggering 23 days while writing a novel at the same time. "

    Tsk. I wrote two novels during that time. ;)

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  • 402. At 02:30am on 12 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    389. kered
    "Lab leader, Sco, GB
    Brown, 64%, 42%,
    Straw, 54%, 39%
    Johnston, 56%, 38%
    Harman, 52%, 32%
    D Milliband, 41%, 39%

    Oldnats money is on the Cameron boy!. funny thing is the dark horse Ed Miliband seems to be missing or maybe oldnat has that area covered as the opposition favourite.

    "

    Can you explain this to me, please?

    Let me tell you how it looks to me as an American. It LOOKS like Gordon Brown does anything and everything he possibly can to HIDE that he is Scottish. Does he sound Scottish? No. Does the word SCOTLAND ever issue from his mouth? No. Does he show any indication of pride in Scotland? No.

    I would be willing to bet you a fair amount of money that I am a rarity amoung Americans in being aware that he IS a Scot.

    Now maybe at home where Americans can't see him he does something different, but I find that Scots take him to their heart considering all this--just beyond mind boggling. (not the first time this has happened with Scots so that may well be par for the course ;) )

    But if you can explain the Scottish fondness for this man, it would make me feel better.

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  • 403. At 02:55am on 12 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    402. JRMacClure

    I think it stems from 60 years of "Scottish cringe" since Westminster intervened directly in our domestic affairs "for our own good". A constant message of "you aren't good enough" created two simultaneous, though contradictory threads in the Scottish psyche. Firstly, an acceptance that we were somehow inferior, and secondly a resentment of that status.

    I would guess in one of your novels there is a female character that shows that dichotomy. If not, there should be! :-)

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  • 404. At 05:51am on 12 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    403. oldnat
    "I would guess in one of your novels there is a female character that shows that dichotomy. If not, there should be!"

    Indeed, there are several. :)

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  • 405. At 08:30am on 12 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    The RMT Union are handing out leaflets in Glasgow this morning asking people to support a campaign aimed at preserving the direct line between Glasgow and Kings Cross - a laudable aim and one that I fully support.

    This issue featured prominently in the recent Glasgow NE by-election where the SNP attacked Labour over these plans.

    However, the leaflets being handed out this morning begin with the following words:
    The UK and Scottish governments are considering proposals that would axe direct services between London and Glasgow on the East Coast Mainline.

    This is the only reference to the Scottish government on the leaflet, it also urges people to contact Labour's Lord Adonis as well as Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson.

    As far as I am aware the SNP are against this plan, so the wording of the leaflet puzzles me. The casual reader might surely infer from this wording that the Scottish government supports the plans.

    The leaflet suggests that people can help with the campaign by visiting the RMT website. Whilst it does contain a ‘Campaigns’ section I can find no reference to this campaign.

    Can anyone clarify here?

    Oh, I have also noticed BBC Scotland's tablodesque headline on Salmond and MacAskill's appearance before the Scottish Affairs committee on the subject of the Megrahi release, they are not answering questions they are apparently being Grilled.

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  • 406. At 09:55am on 12 Jan 2010, coineach watson wrote:

    I have just read an very interesting article on the English Pravda website titled: "Putin Named Best Ruler of Russia Since Peter the Great"

    Ross Cameron, a former deputy of the Australian Parliament, published an article on The Sydney Morning Herald about Putin’s ten years in Russia’s big politics after the moment when Boris Yeltsin handed the reins of power to him.

    The article highlights one interesting fact:
    “The power of oligarchs diminished under Putin, with the growing counterweight of parliament, the rule of law and a middle class that has exploded from 8 million to 55 million. Those living in poverty fell from 30 per cent to 14 per cent under his watch,” Cameron said.

    One just wonders how a reduction from 30% to 14% of in people living in poverty in Russia compares with our wonderful Labour Party's contribution to reducing child poverty in the UK over the period of their FOUR parliaments - of some TWELVE YEARS?


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  • 407. At 10:17am on 12 Jan 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    morning #406 coineach watson - TWELVE YEARS ? I am pretty sure you will find that reducing poverty and child poverty have been in EVERY labour party manifesto for the past century . just don't expect anyone on the MSM to remind you of it . they will tell you they were going to do it but all these wars keep coming along!
    oh and the SNP are the only party not to keep manifesto promises
    Sid

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  • 408. At 10:23am on 12 Jan 2010, Kingkev wrote:

    405

    Oh, I have also noticed BBC Scotland's tablodesque headline on Salmond and MacAskill's appearance before the Scottish Affairs committee on the subject of the Megrahi release, they are not answering questions they are apparently being Grilled.


    Thought the same myself but thats the media for you , they like tryin to make Salmond and MacAskill or just the SNP in general that the dicisions they make are not worthy and they`re going to be told off like a weeboy by a teacher i`m sure they`ll spin more negativity on this.

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  • 409. At 10:37am on 12 Jan 2010, clachangowk wrote:

    Murphy: Independence vote a distraction from economic recovery

    This was breaking news headline in on-line Herald this morning.

    I guess it is now official that the Herald is part of Labour campaign team

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  • 410. At 11:52am on 12 Jan 2010, kered wrote:

    The likelyhood is, that Murphy is getting the wrong type of message across. It's obviously clear that Murphy is a Blairite and more than frustrated with a Scottish direction that wants too see a clear labour party agenda free of new labour.

    This are extremely interesting times and Murphy should be embracing the notion that devolution is a process and like most processes, it need to grow.In all the key areas Education, Housing, Employment and Transport very few argree with the status quo option.

    Scotlands Geographic position is unique within the UK and there is no doubt our people favour our Northern European neighbours political systems.Murphy must recognise that Sctoland future would be better served by it's free will to embrace the Swedish education system and the Norwegians financial systems.While Camerons possible English rule favours lower tax and less Scottish input, the people of Scotland favour a higher taxation system akin to our European neighbours for a better and brighter state role of education, housing, employment and transport.

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  • 411. At 12:48pm on 12 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    This one slipped under the radar yesterday:

    Scots businesses offered 1000 to recruit an apprentice

    Is a rehashed statement about an independence referendum being a 'distraction' from Jim Murphy really more important than the news above?

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  • 412. At 12:54pm on 12 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    Blog smears hit Lib Dems

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  • 413. At 1:13pm on 12 Jan 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    You have to hand it to them, the Scottish media that is.

    Everyone who has folowed the Megrahi issue will be aware that Westminster have been accused of being less than co-operative in communications with the Scottish government prior to the release.

    It will come as no surprise that the BBC will almost certainly run with the following headline:
    'Salmond denies failure to work with Westminster'

    We may even see 'Salmond accused ....' headlines.

    The item has already allowed the BBC Radio Scotland news to repeat the statements from those who criticised the release - no statemants in support were repeated, there were apparently none.

    The Weather:
    The 'complacency' lie is now being presented as truth by Unionists, with the media apparently not interested in asking them to justify the claim. It would be nice to know if the Scottish authorities were more complacent than their Southern counterparts or less.

    We will see 'SNP deny' headlines over this as well.

    They've found a council [Aberdeen] who did not continue with a lease of 8 (from 16) gritter vehicles due to financial constraints.

    Will we see another campaign suggesting that this was a national occurance?

    Finally:
    What media headline will Gray use in order to attack the SNP this Thursday?

    Will he use the weather again?

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  • 414. At 1:13pm on 12 Jan 2010, oldnat wrote:

    "Iraq invasion 'had no legal mandate', Dutch inquiry finds"

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article6984753.ece

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  • 415. At 1:33pm on 12 Jan 2010, X_Sticks wrote:

    I see the "Salmond grilled" headline and article has completely dissappeared from the BBC website. Alex must have "won" the debate then, I assume.

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  • 416. At 1:38pm on 12 Jan 2010, skint wrote:

    I see the grilling has moved from the front page and now just a headline in the South of Scotland section.

    The header is now

    Lockerbie bomber release rules 'followed'

    Well were they followed or weren't they, the article certainly doesnt indicate any doubts but the headline certainly does.

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  • 417. At 3:47pm on 12 Jan 2010, coineach watson wrote:

    Interestingly I sent in a blog today concerning Brown, Millibrand and Barroness Scotland wishing to change the Universal Judiciary contained in the 4th Geneva Convention to permit and welcome suspected Israeli War Criminals into this country. I note that it has not been posted. Has this something to do with the BBC bias towards pro-government and Israeli propaganda.
    I always understood that Scottish Law permitted "Free Speach" and is a signatory to the European Human Rights Legislation, which permits it, as long as such written statements were factual. This item has already been subject to several newspaper articles and is totally in the Public Domaine, so why the censorship?
    Just goes to prove how bias the BBC reporting is.
    Lord Reith must really be rolling around in his grave!!!!!

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  • 418. At 3:48pm on 12 Jan 2010, coineach watson wrote:

    Lord Reith, please come back and rid us of all thsi bias reporting from the BBC. All is forgiven, we will even offer you a pay rise.

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  • 419. At 3:53pm on 12 Jan 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Time to move on to the new thread, I think, folks, and some of today's posts bear repeating there.

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  • 420. At 4:37pm on 12 Jan 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    409. clachangowk
    "Independence vote a distraction from economic recovery
    "

    Wait! Wait! A few weeks ago is was a distraction from the recession.

    And what, one wonders, will it be a distraction from next week? The local football game?

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