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Blurring the distinction?

Brian Taylor | 12:01 UK time, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Scottish Labour conference. Glasgow. Single day. Launch of the party's Scottish pledge card for the coming UK General Election.

It is an intriguing document, straddling reserved and devolved issues.

Labour resolves that, it says, by promising action now on the reserved matters such as the broad economy, action from Opposition at Holyrood where possible on the devolved issues and, finally, inclusion of those devolved promises in the party's manifesto for the 2011 Scottish elections.

You may recall that Labour's Scottish manifesto launch for the UK General Election five years ago was somewhat troubled as a consequence of blending together devolved and reserved issues, largely without clarity.

This is not pure pedantry. This is not an academic point. It is about choice and direction.

When people in Scotland choose an MP, they are selecting an individual to make choices in Westminster on their behalf on reserved issues. Not devolved ones.

Now, of course, the good and sensible people of Scotland want to hear what putative MPs think about devolved matters too.

A candidate who says of health or education that they are "nothing to do with me, mate" is unlikely to thrive or even survive.

Talking up investment

So Labour's launch today tries to address that. Yes, the pledge card still features reserved issues - which MPs control - and devolved ones, which they don't.

But the accompanying message from Labour is that they will tackle these issues in the appropriate manner.

On the economy, they say they will seek to halve Britain's huge deficit through growth, "fair taxes" and "cuts to lower priority spending."

In the coming election, they will be challenged on precisely what they mean by "fairness" in taxation - and what, precisely, those "lower priority" programmes might be.

To date, in common with their rivals, they have been rather more eager to talk up the "frontline investment" which they hope to protect.

Overall direction

But the pledge card also features devolved issues such as health and crime. Challenged on whether that is misleading the voters, Labour says no.

The pledges include halving the waiting time for cancer patients and mandatory jail sentences for carrying a knife.

Labour says it will seek to implement these objectives in Holyrood now, from Opposition. If thwarted, these pledges will feature in the 2011 Holyrood manifesto.

It might be said that this is blurring the distinction between the two parliaments.

Labour's argument is that they are setting out the overall direction they intend to pursue in Scotland - and inviting voters to endorse that.

As to strategy, the talk here is of a twin approach. Invite voters to "take a long, hard look at the Tories".

"Brutal" squeeze

In effect, Labour will run this election in an oppositional approach, positing David Cameron as the virtual incumbent, the one to be brought down.

This is, of course, designed to counter the Tories' main message which is: "Ask yourself, do you really want another five years of Gordon Brown?"

Labour wants voters to make a choice between two parties - not to consider that they are participating in a referendum on Mr Brown.

Track two of the strategy is to attempt to narrow the choice in the voters' minds, to cut out the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

A "brutal" squeeze, as one MP described it to me.

Comments

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  • 1. At 1:13pm on 27 Mar 2010, enneffess wrote:

    If Labour had not gone potty with PFI projects we would not have had anywhere near the deficit we have now. Nor can the Tories criticise the policy since they started the whole thing.

    PFI is not about a better, more cost effective service, but rather the abdication of responsibility by the Government.

    The election campaign should not be about personalities - it never should be. It should be about what is best for the country as a whole.

    Fairness? Well, let's highlight the scandal of the national grid charges for starters.

    If the UK was truly run on an equal footing, we would not need these second tiers of government known as devolution, which at present is simply an additional and unnecessary cost to the taxpayer.

    Back to PFI. It cannot disappear overnight, but it needs to stop, and now. We have the ridiculous situation where a photocopier costs fifteen times the actual retail price. If someone can explain how that is cost efficient, I'll arrange for the men in white coats to come round.

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

    Oh and Brian, what is with the recent closing of topics? I thought this was a blog to generate political debate, not stifle it.

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  • 2. At 1:30pm on 27 Mar 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    "Track two of the strategy is to attempt to narrow the choice in the voters' minds, to cut out the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

    A "brutal" squeeze, as one MP described it to me. "


    Wonder who will help them do that??

    Step forward the ridiculous, scheming ,mendacious media of Scotland.

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  • 3. At 1:32pm on 27 Mar 2010, bmc875 wrote:

    Why the change in blogging rules Brian. Why lock us out? Why stoop as low as Nick (where is Scotland?) Robinson! Did the Secretary of State for Scotland (allegedly) have a go at the SNP when you had 'yer wee chat' and you could not stomach a response from your on-line respondents? Did you do a 'wee deal?' Seems to be the in thing these days.

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  • 4. At 1:38pm on 27 Mar 2010, ratzo wrote:


    A fair observation from BT that fails to state the obvious point about the Holyrood/westminster distinction, i.e. that Labour are doing this entirely deliberately.

    They are not actually that interested in the technicalities of the devolved jurisdiction.

    Their political identity assumes a centralised unitary state, and this is reflected even in their own party constitution, where there is not really a separate Scottish Labour Party. They are a British Nationalist party.



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  • 5. At 2:03pm on 27 Mar 2010, handclapping wrote:

    Brian
    The way Labour fulfil their "pledges", surely they should be promising that they'll cure us of cancer before we've even got it and anybody eating their dinner with a knife will be jailed for life? This blurring of the lines between Westminster and Holyrood is dangerous for civic life. They won Glenrothes, Westminster, on care charges, Fife Council, and Glasgow North East, Westminster, on GARL, Holyrood. If they continue this way, they might as well abolish Holyrood, except I think in that case the Scots might abolish them.

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  • 6. At 2:30pm on 27 Mar 2010, Slaintmha wrote:

    Anyone know which telephone box near Parkhead this 'conference' is being held; after last year's Caird Hall farce?

    To the substantive issue - how is Brown and Murphy's big idea of pretending the SNP do not exist a 'squeeze'?

    Currently this ploy is so successful the polls are showing the SNP either 2% behind Labour or in a poll that the Holyrood Magazine said was shelved by the Mail in Scotland - a 7% lead.

    Here in the South West our New Lab Mr Brown is squealing like a stuck pig as he is the one being squeezed between the Tories and SNP.

    In East Lothian - current canvass returns indicate the SNP are being 'squeezed' by their 38% vote share - is this what Brown and Murphy calls squeezing the SNP?

    Go on Brian where's the evidence that this tactic is going to be any more successful than the Labour bull of 2007 Holyrood and 2008 EU elections?

    Ask yourself - just how stupid do the Whelan's, Mandelson's and 'Glencambelly' journalists think we Scots are?

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  • 7. At 2:32pm on 27 Mar 2010, ratzo wrote:


    To illustrate the point at #4:

    Only since 2000 has there been any clarity in the public record about who pays for 'Scottish' Labour.

    From 2000 it became evident that they had come to the 1999 Scottish election with only £180,000. This was all the money they had.

    So the labour party in London added £1,310,602 as a subsidy. And they fought the campaign with the combined total.

    Who pays the money calls the tune. London tells 'Scottish' Labour what to do, when to beg, when to crawl, and when to say 'master'.

    That's why there's actually no blurring in labour pledge card. Brian knows that.

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  • 8. At 2:34pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    1. enneffess
    "we would not have had anywhere near the deficit we have now."

    The deficit is only the money that the government is borrowing to allow it to function c£170 - "£200 billion per annum which is unsustainable at the best of times.

    The real problem which they are purposely ignoring is the national debt which is continually rising, like credit card borrowing and only paying the minimum the every month.

    "The ONS expects to have to add between £1 trillion and £1.5 trillion to the UK's public sector net debt, taking the total national debt to an unprecedented £2.2 trillion – just under 150pc of gross domestic product. This would be the worst debt total since the 1950s, when Britain was in the process of paying back its war debts."

    We wont even have the money to pay our TV licence fees to our gracious host.

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  • 9. At 2:37pm on 27 Mar 2010, gt-cri wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8589717.stm

    "Worcester Woman....Mondeo Man, Holby City Woman, Motorway Man and Basildon Man - near mythical creatures that have each in recent elections, it is said, held the tenancy agreement to Downing Street."

    Worcester woman may not vote, as one does not inspire and the other seems too smug.

    Seems the UK elections are more Presidential than ever! No mention of her local candidates; despite being "fully engaged in what is going on locally"!

    No doubt the more well informed of posters on here can advise if all the near mythical creatures choose not to vote; what may transpire?

    That is, if there's time before the locks engage....

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  • 10. At 3:17pm on 27 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    "fair taxes" eh?

    And what "fair" taxes would that be? The refusal to raise the BOTTOM tax tier to allow for inflation so that people who ALREADY have trouble putting food on the table and paying for heat in the winter really won't be able to?

    Raising the fuel tax 1p to start and another 1p every few months? You know who that will hurt and it won't be the like of either the Mendelsons OR the Camerons. It will be the people who can already barely pay the cost of driving to work. And it will raise the price of all other fuel related costs INCLUDING FOOD.

    If that is the LABOUR idea of fair taxes, I think a heck of a lot of Scots may disagree.



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  • 11. At 3:34pm on 27 Mar 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Brian,

    A fair summary, and one which "Scottish" Labour's opponents should have little difficulty countering, especially re where the money is to come from to fill the jails with knife carriers there solely for possession, where the "fairness" is in the present system of council tax vs the local income tax they voted down or the penalising (yet again) of the poorest taxpayers by freezing personal tax allowances as well as the idiocy of replacing Trident when public expenditure must be reduced.

    But your "brutal" squeeze reminds me to complain at the high-handed action of "the owner of the Brian Taylor blog" as the BBC's Central Communities Team calls you or your boss. This blog was closed to all comment for more than 24 hours from early yesterday morning, a complete reversal of policy which even whoever is the owner of Nick Robinson's blog has drawn back from since the introduction of BBC's DEMOCRACY LIVE initiative.

    Others posting here may care to note that yesterday I complained [using the form here] that all of the other six BBC political blogs featured on this website's DEMOCRACY LIVE Blogs and comment are currently being left open to comment indefinitely and hoped it was not a management decision to discriminate against Scottish politics!

    The reply received was: "The decision as to how long blog posts are left open to comments is decided by the relevant blog team, rather than the moderators or Communities Team. We have passed your email on to the owner of the Brian Taylor blog."

    If the BwB owner plans to continue the closure policy, may I suggest removing BwB from the DEMOCRACY LIVE featured blogs to indicate that the new spirit of openness is indeed "except for Scotland".

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  • 12. At 3:37pm on 27 Mar 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #1 enneffess
    "Oh and Brian, what is with the recent closing of topics? I thought this was a blog to generate political debate, not stifle it."

    Hear, hear! Both on this specific point and PFI/PPP.

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  • 13. At 3:50pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    Twelve comments and not yet closed. What is going on here?

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  • 14. At 3:50pm on 27 Mar 2010, Robabody wrote:

    "fair" taxes - you mean on top of the fair taxes they've already imposed? Like the doubling of income the tax threshold for me as a low paid worker (thought we'd forgotten about it Gordon?) and the no rise in tax allowance at this budget.

    Message to Messrs Broon and Darling. I never caused this crash (as I belonged to the old school that doesn't believe in debt being a good thing) but you and your city pals did. So why should the low paid and poor be penalised for the greed of your wealthy chums and the poison that it has now generated?

    You are right about one thing though, the squeeze, when it comes, will be brutal.

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  • 15. At 4:04pm on 27 Mar 2010, CramondFC17 wrote:

    Taping Iain Gray at the moment. Will view the footage tonight as I'm having trouble sleeping !

    Isn't he so inspiring !?!

    Labour's Pledge Card is so 'woolly', but it certainly doesn't make me feel warm and comfortable.

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  • 16. At 4:08pm on 27 Mar 2010, Auld Bob wrote:

    Brian says,"In effect, Labour will run this election in an oppositional approach, positing David Cameron as the virtual incumbent, the one to be brought down. This is, of course, designed to counter the Tories' main message which is: "Ask yourself, do you really want another five years of Gordon Brown?" Labour wants voters to make a choice between two parties - not to consider that they are participating in a referendum on Mr Brown".

    Now we see the folly of confrontational, "Leaders Debates". Obviously Labour are sucked into becoming,"The opposition". The Conservatives thus cleverly place them at a disadvantage in the eyes of the electorate. We have no such thing as a, "Presidential Candidate", nor a UK, "Presidential Election". I've heard views, "We will vote out that Scotch ******* who rules England", expressed too many times on Usenet Groups and in English Blogs to see it as anything other than an anti-Scottish movement. Labour takes part in these debates at their peril. Trouble is Labour would rather take a swipe at Oor Eck than David Cameron. They are well backed up in that folly by Nick Clegg who has nothing to lose but seats to gain. Labour, though, do have an election to lose.

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  • 17. At 4:16pm on 27 Mar 2010, Auld Bob wrote:

    #9. gt-cri wrote:"That is, if there's time before the locks engage....".
    We can always go to, "Usenet", subscribe to, "scot.politics". On there it is 24/7, no moderation, you pick your own subjects, and free speech rules.

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  • 18. At 4:21pm on 27 Mar 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Brian,

    Your "Track two of the strategy is to attempt to narrow the choice in the voters' minds, to cut out the Liberal Democrats and the SNP" seems to be under threat already with this website's new Salmond branded 'Tories' doorman'. A strategy that might even work if "Scottish" Labour could come up with a more charismatic mouthpiece than dour Iain Gray. But as CramondFC17's #15 gently points out, the Mogadon Grandad's message is, at best, likely to have only a sublimal impact.

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  • 19. At 4:26pm on 27 Mar 2010, were doomed wrote:

    So Mr. gray reckons Alex Salmond is the doorman to a Tory government, the question is though. which tory party is he talking about,David Camerons tory party, or Gordon Brown and the pseudo tory party, whichever is not really important as they both represent the same thing arrogant greed corruption and incompetance.

    for me I will choose either to spoil my ballot paper, or not vote at all. Not because I do not care, not because I have no interest, but because I am interested and care, but all the parties are equally useless. This includes Mr. Gray and his fellow numpties

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  • 20. At 4:39pm on 27 Mar 2010, InfrequentAllele2 wrote:

    I've said it before and will say it again. Labour is not a political party, it's a self-help club for advancing the private interests of Labour politicians. The only sincere pledges they make are private pledges to themselves to improve their careers. How exactly can we expect Labour to draw a distinction between Westminster issues and Holyrood issues when so many of them appear incapable of drawing the simple distinction between personal interest and the public interest?

    How can we believe anything Labour tells us about introducing "progressive" policies when they've had 13 years during which they've stuck to a Tory agenda and increased the gap between the rich few and the poor many? They've given us foreign wars with neo-conservative US presidents. They want to introduce ID cards. And they just tell bare-faced lies when it suits them.

    Most Scots won't be voting Tory anyway, we learned what they were like decades ago. Most Scots are much quicker on the uptake than Jim Murphy et al give us credit for. So never mind taking a long hard look at the Tories. Labour needs to take a long hard look at itself.

    I'd like to look forward to our media putting some "difficult questions" to the Labour party. But I won't be holding my breath.

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  • 21. At 4:49pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    Track two of the strategy is to attempt to narrow the choice in the voters' minds, to cut out the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

    The rigged Party Election Broadcasts being a major part of this strategy.

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  • 22. At 4:52pm on 27 Mar 2010, peteraberdeenshire wrote:

    Gordon Brown speech just showed how far out of touch he is, making promises we cant afford to keep and spreading fear and smear stories about the Tories, is this really all he has to offer?
    Need to be sure to renew my SNP membership, as for Brown he really is unhinged.

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  • 23. At 4:56pm on 27 Mar 2010, gt-cri wrote:

    #17, Auld Bob:

    Thanks for the offer! Having perused it; it's a bit too much free-speech & not quite enough debate...a touch harder on ma een asweel.

    Enjoy,
    gt

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  • 24. At 4:57pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    17. Auld Bob

    There super dooper dyson needs time to cool down from overuse.

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  • 25. At 5:11pm on 27 Mar 2010, gt-cri wrote:

    #19: Weredoomed:

    I took the liberty of looking at your older posts...reminds me of the Frankie Boyle joke:

    When praised about the fantastic new invention; television, J.L.Baird replied, "Aye but there's ****-all on!"

    Your cringe knows no limits. I feel it'd be a waste of time attempting to convince you otherwise. Do whatever you think will be the most effective of your stated preferences and let the rest of us get on with trying to make the situation better for Scotland's People?

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  • 26. At 5:18pm on 27 Mar 2010, Auld Bob wrote:

    #23. At 4:56pm on 27 Mar 2010, gt-cri wrote:"Thanks for the offer! Having perused it; it's a bit too much free-speech & not quite enough debate...a touch harder on ma een asweel. Enjoy, gt
    The loonies can be filtered out. They go away when real debates comes in. As tae the een, ye kin mak the text mair muckle wi the options tab.

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  • 27. At 5:24pm on 27 Mar 2010, Auld Bob wrote:

    #24. At 4:57pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:"There super dooper dyson needs time to cool down from overuse".
    Actually I something more in the line of those Home Enema kits.

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  • 28. At 5:33pm on 27 Mar 2010, Auld Bob wrote:

    Oh! No! Gordon has now really put his foot in it, not only that he has just trailed it across the carpets of Scotland on his foot. It is now official that The Labour Party classes the RBS, HBOS & so on as, "Scottish Banks". I look forward to asking the first Labour person to canvass on my doorstep to explain that one away.

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  • 29. At 5:45pm on 27 Mar 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    Well I'd like to comment but I've decided to arbitrarily close early today.

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  • 30. At 5:50pm on 27 Mar 2010, handclapping wrote:

    Labours real pledges as not spelled out by Gordon:-
    We will
    secure the recovery by spending £20 billion, not in the UK but in the USA, on buying son of Trident
    raise family living standards by spending £50 billion on son of Trident that will never be used while our old and also young families shiver in fuel poverty
    build a high-tech economy by spending the first £20 billion supporting American high-tech industry by buying Trident
    protect front-line services by spending our money on son of Trident and aircraft carriers while our front-line services go into war without flak-jackets
    strengthen fairness in communities by hanging onto our nuclear weapons so we can bully communities that don't have them

    That's what I make of my MP's pledges. I won't be voting for him.

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  • 31. At 5:51pm on 27 Mar 2010, universality of cheese wrote:

    I'm stunned, quite simply stunned, that on the day OUR Prime Minister takes time out from saving the world to address the masses at the Glasgow Rally of Hope, not one supporter of the Messiah himself, or even one supporter of his twelve Scottish apostles can be ersed coming on here to praise the almighty or at least defend his pontifical posturing. Is there one Labour blogger among thee who can come forward and translate the Messiah's laboured syntax into understandable communication?

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  • 32. At 5:52pm on 27 Mar 2010, handclapping wrote:

    #29
    But you're the only shop in the village!

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  • 33. At 6:04pm on 27 Mar 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    32. handclapping, yes but you're not local and this is a local shop for local people.

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  • 34. At 6:07pm on 27 Mar 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Prophetic or what? At the time of writing, this website's Gordon Brown addresses Scottish Labour conference, under "RELATED INTERNET LINKS" there is a link to "Scottish Labour". Clicking on it results in the inspiring message:
    Scottishlabour.org - This domain has expired

    Let's hope so!

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  • 35. At 6:07pm on 27 Mar 2010, ForteanJo wrote:

    If labour are going to fight the SNP by referring to them as the Highland division of the tories, etc., I think the SNP need to repeatedly print that picture of Gordie and Mrs T on the steps of number 10, highlight that it was him who commissioned her portrait for hanging in number 10 (above his bed?) and quote his admiration for her. Remind the voters that it was Labour that cut the 10p tax rate, froze the tax allowance this year, all measures that insure the lowest paid are the hardest hit. It may be negative but that's the way Labour are going to play it, see if they can take it as well as dish it out.

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  • 36. At 6:11pm on 27 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

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

  • 37. At 6:13pm on 27 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    30. handclapping
    "secure the recovery by spending £20 billion, not in the UK but in the USA, on buying son of Trident"

    We can use your hard earned money and oddly enough I haven't heard rumors that our soldier go into battle lacking helicopter support or proper kits.

    Please do continue supporting the US economy. We'll be your bestest friends.

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  • 38. At 6:16pm on 27 Mar 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #32 handclapping & PS to my #34

    The Scottishlabour.org link does offer Labour Ward Scottish cottage as a possibly related entry.

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  • 39. At 6:16pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    33. GrassyKnollington

    But his input is good for the local economy.

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  • 40. At 6:22pm on 27 Mar 2010, ambi wrote:

    Anyone in need of an emetic should turn to page 8&9 of today's Record, a 'pass the sick bag' photo call with Smurphy and the boy Alexander pathetically failing to look statesmanlike. The icing on the cake is a sycophantic editorial that would make a N.Korean editor blush ('The Chancellor, the Silver Darling'). To cap it all they attack the 'panicky' Tories for getting Satchi & Satchi on board to fight Labour; no mention of Jack 'of no trades' McConnell also giving the Cons the benefit of his vast experience.

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  • 41. At 6:34pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Thankfully its short.

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  • 42. At 6:37pm on 27 Mar 2010, hamish42 wrote:

    Brian, it must have fair brightened up your day being at home among your ain folk.

    As for the 'debit card' Brown is flashing about, other commentators say it still gives us no clue as to how they will solve the national debt but still dwells on more spending. Brown is still trying to con the electorate, but you wouldn't expect anything less from him.


    "It might be said that this is blurring the distinction between the two parliaments. "

    Yes this sounds familiar. Confusion, obfuscation and sleight of hand.


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  • 43. At 6:39pm on 27 Mar 2010, Patrick Kirkwood wrote:

    Well the "Scottish" media has its marching orders now.

    When will one serious paper step forward and realize that the people of Scotland deserve a choice - like that in any other country? Otherwise we are not living in a democracy, setting aside for a moment the idiotic voting system that means that 34% for Labour = 39/40 seats, and the same percentage nationally for the SNP = 10 or so.

    Brown's recession has hurt Scotland enough, when Labour attempt to cut and run, the people must see they get what they deserve.

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  • 44. At 6:42pm on 27 Mar 2010, Auld Bob wrote:

    According to Scottish Labour's leader,Mr Salmond is, "David Cameron's doorman". Did this man ever learn to count? In the first place Salmond only gets votes from SNP supporters in only one constituency. So a vote for Salmond in that constituency will have a very small effect upon the outcome of the Westminster election especially SEEING AS SALMOND IS NOT EVEN STANDING IN THE GE. As to votes for the SNP candidates actually standing in the GE the figures are these - English 533, Scottish 59, Welsh 40, N.Irish 18. - There is no way in this World that Scotland would elect a Conservative Government even in the unlikely event that Scotland returned 59 SNP MPs. All that it would manage to ensure is that the Labour Party could not afford to continue to ignore Scotland if they got elected and neither could the Conservatives if they formed the government. The basic truth is that in EVERY GE the English electors choose the government.

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  • 45. At 6:47pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    40. ambi
    "...a 'pass the sick bag' photo call with Smurphy and the boy Alexander pathetically failing to look statesmanlike."

    Both UK politicians of course. You will see a lot more of this kind of thing as the British Labour Party, their Tory allies and a compliant Scottish media desperately try to pretend that the SNP, Scottish government and Scotland itself do not exist.

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  • 46. At 6:59pm on 27 Mar 2010, were doomed wrote:

    To gt-cri 25

    Just who do you suggest I should vote for, as in the constituency I live in the chance of labour losing the seat is about the same chance as dunipace juniors winning the european cup! the election is won or lost on a very few marginal seats, which suit tory and labour. if you think that this country is even remotely democratic then you must be deluded.
    Perhaps you are making Scotland a better place by giving failed politicians an amazingly boosted pension for vey little service, or maybe supporting politicians that successfully avoid paying their fair share of taxes while collecting generous allowances from taxpayers is a great way of serving Scotland or the UK, or perhaps we should allow politicians sway government decisions so they can get large pay packets, oh sorry they were exagerating.

    All this before you look at media bias!

    Feel free to look at my previous posts, unlike many politicians I have nothing to hide. Liberty is a fine thing.

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  • 47. At 7:04pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    The day Gordon Brown settled our fate

    "Laboratories" they are so close together concocting what the next experiment will be.

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  • 48. At 7:05pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    44. Auld Bob
    "The basic truth is that in EVERY GE the English electors choose the government. "

    Surely that should be "electors in England"?

    And to those who would accuse me of being pedantic I say, bear in mind that unionist propagandists are waiting to pounce on anything they can misrepresent as anti-English sentiment.

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  • 49. At 7:07pm on 27 Mar 2010, gedguy2 wrote:

    Here we go again. Another blog perfectly written by our Brian (et tu Brian as per closing comments) with a hint of humour; no substance, mind you, just another article talking up the Labour party in Scotland.
    The blurring of UK politics and Scottish reserved matters seems like a good trick for the beleagured Scottish Labour Party. Promise everything but give nothing. Give nothing to the people who will be voting for them. The ordinary worker, or to bring it up to a more modern perspective, the ordinary dolite, who are hoping that the party that they have always voted for, and their father's before them, will do something to ease their suffering. Not a chance. Labour have ruined the economy and now they are about to ruin the very people that put them into power. While Labour are about to do this they will be stuffing their own pockets with our hard earned cash and laughing all the way to the subsidised banks. Pathetic.

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  • 50. At 7:11pm on 27 Mar 2010, handclapping wrote:

    #46 weredoomed
    You'll have to do as it says on the leaflet I got today in Cowdenbeath, This time, don't just vote for a politician, elect a local champion!

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  • 51. At 7:21pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    46. weredoomed
    "...the chance of labour losing the seat is about the same chance as dunipace juniors winning the european cup!"

    Would you withdraw your support just because they can't win? Too many people treat elections like a horse race in which the object is to pick the winner. For obvious reasons, the "big" parties encourage this attitude.

    Vote according to your conscience and you can never be wrong.

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  • 52. At 7:23pm on 27 Mar 2010, gentlemanheelander wrote:

    These are dark days indeed for Scotland, the STV news is handed to a cabal of Labour supporting media companies, BBC's question time in Glasgow has one Scottish representative, corruption is ignored or briefly reported before huge headlines screech at the SNP's shocking and unholy, honest and competent governance.

    The discovery of one of the largest gas fields in British waters (Tiger field, West of Shetland) is largely ignored while the groundbreaking wave and tidal power initiative is credited to the Crown Estates. A Scottish airline goes bust because of the Inland Revenue's rigidity on debt repayments and we are told the only party who will protect our country is Labour.

    A certain well known and Tory supporting journalist, said that the reason that most industrialists and media acolytes hate the SNP is because "they can't be bought"

    It's time we cleaned up our country, it's time for a new broom to sweep the stinking corruption from our councils and our parliament, it's time we started looking after ourselves.

    Let's all take a deep breath and take the jump to independence from this poisonous marriage that we have been brainwashed into thinking is our only option.

    Vote SNP, then vote for whoever you want once we are standing on our own two feet.

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  • 53. At 7:26pm on 27 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    36. JRMacClure

    I don't understand why this was referred to the moderatorss. Mr. Murphy was criticising the SNP for not raising taxes rather than minimum pricing on alcohol. I have no doubt that Mr. Taylor MEANT to ask if that meant that Labour now supports tax powers for Holyrood.

    I'm quite sure it was merely an oversight. Mr. Taylor absolutely must have meant to ask that very obvious question. I'm sure of it.

    I'm praising BBC not criticising it after all. I'm sure Mr. Taylor has only the best intentions for fair coverage. Any lacks in that regard no doubt are a slip of the memory.

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  • 54. At 7:30pm on 27 Mar 2010, enneffess wrote:

    The public sector will be hammered after the election. However, the governing party should hopefully target non-essential management positions rather than touch front line services.

    To give an example, one senior manager is the equivalent of three administrative staff, sometimes four or five depending on the roles.

    So South Lanarkshire Council, instead of kicking out 11 part-time school crossing patrollers, chop a manger or two and also these stupid "walking supervisor" roles. These were the roles created by the council to ensure that staff who were walking during their lunch - as suggested by the council - would be safe. I kid you not.

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  • 55. At 7:33pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    52. gentlemanheelander
    "Vote SNP..."

    ...because voting SNP always makes a difference. Even if the person you vote for isn't elected you will have put the frighteners on the smugly complacent BLP/Tory alliance.

    Remember! If it was not for people voting SNP we would not have our parliament.

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  • 56. At 7:39pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    53. JRMacClure
    "I don't understand why this was referred to the moderatorss. Mr. Murphy was criticising the SNP for not raising taxes rather than minimum pricing on alcohol. I have no doubt that Mr. Taylor MEANT to ask if that meant that Labour now supports tax powers for Holyrood."

    Of course he did. He is BBC Scotland's political editor, after all. This is not someone who is going to intentionally avoid asking the awkward questions.

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  • 57. At 7:40pm on 27 Mar 2010, Auld Bob wrote:

    #48. At 7:05pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:
    44. Auld Bob
    "The basic truth is that in EVERY GE the English electors choose the government. Surely that should be "electors in England"?
    You want pedantic? I can do pedasntic!
    My statement , "English Electors", meant just that. They are electing MPs to English constituencies. I made no comment on either the candidates or the electors nationality. What is on their passport is neither my business nor of interest to me but I would assume it would be British as is every other British subject.

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  • 58. At 7:46pm on 27 Mar 2010, gt-cri wrote:

    #46: weredoomed

    #50, #51 & #52 beat me to it!

    Like I said, I don't think it'd be worth the effort, as your posts say a lot about your feelings toward all politicians...would you have a larger number of potential voters do as you advocate and reduce democracy further? It wouldn't stop all those things you despise about the current set-up!

    I'll choose to take my deluded path and encourage all to vote. Hopefully for the only party likely to change the situation and give the Scottish People a more direct say in how they wish the country to move forward.

    As gentlemanheelander says: once we are standing on our own two(collective) feet; vote for whoever you think is the best for you & yours.

    If that's deluded; we're not suffering alone!

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  • 59. At 7:49pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    57. Auld Bob
    "You want pedantic? I can do pedasntic!"

    OK! But when the usual suspects arrive and start banging on about your "anti-English" posts, don't say you weren't warned.

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  • 60. At 7:50pm on 27 Mar 2010, oldnat wrote:

    55. Electric Hermit
    "because voting SNP always makes a difference"

    And also because this is a two stage election. England happens to combine its elections for UK matters and their domestic matters. The "devolved" nations decide domestic issues next year - and the constitutional issue will be decided at Scottish, not UK, elections.

    BT is, of course, right that there is a squeeze on any party that can't provide the Government at Westminster. In Scotland, however, it's a one way squeeze. If the polls are at all right then there will be no Tory breakthrough and the LDs have lost significant support.

    Regardless of the result under undemocratic FPTP, every increase in the SNP vote scares Labour and allows Scotland to increase autonomy from Westminster.

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  • 61. At 8:08pm on 27 Mar 2010, Auld Bob wrote:

    #59. At 7:49pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:
    57. Auld Bob
    "You want pedantic? I can do pedasntic!"

    OK! But when the usual suspects arrive and start banging on about your "anti-English" posts, don't say you weren't warned.
    Wheel them on. I've been dealing with them all my life and I'm cracking on a bit now. When I started work in HM Dockyard Rosyth there was between 8,000 & 10,000 direct employees and lots of others, (like Ministry of Works). I cannot recall a single Scot in a supervisory position. This was because the yard reopened by bringing the complete staff from Dan Saff. The situation had continued with the English promoting the English. Why do you think Rosyth village was called, "Little England"? In any case most of them are not really very good on English Grammar.

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  • 62. At 8:09pm on 27 Mar 2010, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Brown has promised that Labour will build a hi-tech economy. For the sake of clarity it's important people understand what he means by that.

    Firstly, he doesn't mean a hi-tech manufacturing economy exporting value added products and other stuff to the world. This won't happen firstly because the Treasury is and has been for decades vehemently opposed to investing anything more than token sums in R&D. It would much prefer others develop all the technology so we can buy what we want from them when we want it using credit provided by the banks and other financial institutions. Secondly, the level of private sector investment in start-ups, spin-outs and early stage companies is pathetically low because the City just doesn't see the point in putting up risk equity in any meaningful quantities. Brown can't change that and doesn't want to try for fear of upsetting the City.

    So Brown's interpretation of a hi-tech economy is not what one thinks. When he talks about investing in super fast broadband he has no option but to deal with overseas companies who can supply the hardware. We can't because we don't make it.

    When he talks about tens of thousands of jobs in offshore wind he's talking about mainly overseas companies. Regardless of which overseas companies might decide to manufacture here having been tempted in with our tax money their presence will be temporary whilst projects are fulfilled. We don't make these things and most likely never will.

    It's the same with Brown's UK industry... He pours taxpayers money into it but it's not ours. He's funding Japanese and German and American companies. He wants electric vehicles so how much has he give Allied Vehicles of Glasgow? Nothing.

    The man is simply economically and industrially illiterate. He's interested only in ticking policy boxes and doesn't care at all how he achieves that.

    Do not imagine for one second he means what you think he does.

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  • 63. At 8:15pm on 27 Mar 2010, kaybraes wrote:

    Vote for Gordie the financial wizard with the limitless credit (pledge) card. His financial acumen will enable the government to survive by only borrowing 11 billion a month instead of 12 billion , and if the wind's in the right airt the deficit of 160+ billion will miraculously vanish along with the 1000 billion debt we might someday have to pay back, providing we can borrow enough to service the interest payments. Skeletor Murphy is going to get the scroungers and workshy off benefits and into work. Doing what ? If there were any jobs out there, the boys from eastern Europe are on the scene first, because they seem to be the only unemployed that want to work, and the only ones the employers want to take on , which is hardly surprising since they couldn't care less what they do as long as somebody pays them. Meanwhile Gordie places the order for the army's new tank with General dynamics at the expence of British companies. But hey what does that matter, it can't be British jobs for British workers,our friends across the channel wouldn't like that.

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  • 64. At 8:26pm on 27 Mar 2010, Gallach wrote:

    Scottishlabour.org expired on the 22nd Feb. It's "Pending Deletion".

    Is that a harbinger of doom?

    And like earlier poster I find it remarkable that no supporter of Labour in Scotland has been on this board (or any others I can find - please correct me if I'm wrong) to support Gordon Browns "strong defence of the Union, saying it played a vital part in fighting the recession."

    Or are they all busy in the one phone box outside the Glasgow Science Centre?

    Even Clr Kelly has not commented so far. In fact his last two posts are titled thus:-

    "IS IT TRUE THAT "GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELR THEMSELVES" (scotland) 26/03/10"

    "THE PILOT, THE TRIAN DRIVER AND THE GAS MAN ARE OUR UNION BROTHERS AND SISTERS - SHOW SOLIDARITY !"

    I leave you to draw your own conclusions on his ability to use a spell checker.



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  • 65. At 8:27pm on 27 Mar 2010, Auld Bob wrote:

    The RBS Group operates in Europe, North America and Asia. In the UK and Republic of Ireland, the main companies are: The Royal Bank of Scotland; National Westminster Bank; Ulster Bank; Drummonds and Coutts & Co. In the United States, it owns Citizens Financial Group. From 2004 to 2009 it was the second largest shareholder in the Bank of China. It includes insurance companies such as Churchill, Direct Line, Privilege, and NIG. Yet Gordon Brown says it is a Scottish bank? Aye! Richt!.

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  • 66. At 8:30pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    60. oldnat
    "And also because this is a two stage election."

    Good point. Voters at the UK general election in Scotland should be thinking in the longer-term. I'm sure part of the reason the Tory/BLP alliance is desperately trying to sideline the SNP is that they are aware people may be beginning to realise that it is in their interests to think in terms of a distinctly Scottish politics.

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  • 67. At 8:34pm on 27 Mar 2010, Auld Bob wrote:

    So who actually owns HBOS?
    Lloyds, TSB, Cheltenham & Gloucester, HBOS, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Birmingham Midshires, Intelligent Finance, the AA and Saga.
    A Scottish Bank according to Gordon Brown? Aye! Richt!

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  • 68. At 8:35pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    61. Auld Bob
    "The situation had continued with the English promoting the English. Why do you think Rosyth village was called, "Little England"?"

    It is a situation I am very familiar with. But I am also aware that some of the most committed supporters of the SNP are of English ethnicity.

    I just think care is needed in choosing our words so as not to provide ammunition for the unionists' amateur propagandists who will seize every opportunity to divert discussion of independence with nonsense about "anti-English" rhetoric.

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  • 69. At 8:37pm on 27 Mar 2010, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Apologies:

    "It's the same with Brown's UK industry"... should read "It's the same with Brown's UK automotive industry"...

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  • 70. At 8:58pm on 27 Mar 2010, were doomed wrote:

    electric hermit wrote:
    Would you withdraw your support just because they can't win? Too many people treat elections like a horse race in which the object is to pick the winner

    If I wanted to pick the winner in the constituency where I reside, I would vote labour, God forbid!

    No, the point is not about picking a winner, the winner if any should be the country, not any individual or party. Surely the point of any election is that the elected member should be the best candidate of good character and willing to fight for their constitients and to improve the country as a whole?

    When voting there should be some realistic chance that the siting MP can be ousted if they are not up to the job, here in the central belt of Scotland Labour has been so entrenched it only gives credence to a bankrupt electorial system to vote for any other. This can be compounded by the fact that many of these so called honourable people are well short of honourable!

    As the numbers voting in elections since the second world war has declined and continues to decline, part of the reason must be that people are sickened by corruption in politics, I do not believe that all those people who do not vote do not care or are disinterested in politics.

    I would whole heartedly agree with you on this:
    Vote according to your conscience and you can never be wrong.

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  • 71. At 9:14pm on 27 Mar 2010, dubbieside wrote:

    weredoomed

    I am sure that there are many more people in your constituency who dislike Labour as much as you do. In fact there may be more people in your constituency, or any other, including the Glasgow constituencies, who think that way than there are Labour voters.

    What we need is not people refusing to vote, but everyone who is desperate for change to make an effort to get to the polling station and try to force that change.

    For the last 100 years Scots have been traveling half way round the world to try to make a better life for their families, this May we need people to travel the few miles to the nearest polling station to vote for the only party interested in Scotland to try and ensure a better future for their families.

    The mantra Labour cannot be beaten here is spin, they can be beaten if we all make the effort.

    Ask yourself this, is Scotland better, worse or the same as twenty years ago. If we continue with Westminster rule how do you think Scotland will be in the next twenty years, better, worse, or the same. If your answer is the same as mine, don't you think it is time for a change?

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  • 72. At 9:36pm on 27 Mar 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    My first thought when reading this website's Gordon Brown warns Tory cuts will hit middle classes reporting the Supreme Leader's speech at the Glasgow Science Centre was that it is not a little odd for there to be no video or audio available. Now that I have seen STV's brief [2 min total including a few seconds of the speech] coverage of Duff Gordon's day here, I suspect it may be more a question of the BBC not wishing to intrude in private grief.

    If anyone actually watched the whole thing, I'd be fascinated to know if Duff was as incoherent throughout as he was in the STV clip. Even if that was just a bad bit of his performance, it doesn't bode well for his demeanour during the "leader debates" should they take place. Could an illness and an understudy be coming on?

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  • 73. At 9:41pm on 27 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    71. dubbieside
    "If your answer is the same as mine, don't you think it is time for a change? "

    The other question, it seems to me, is: Does staying home have ANY chance of bringing about change?

    If you vote--all right. Maybe the chance is small in your area. But at least it's a chance. Without voting is there ANY chance for bringing about change?

    We both know the answer to that.

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  • 74. At 9:42pm on 27 Mar 2010, InfrequentAllele2 wrote:

    Weredoomed

    If you don't vote it means you acquiesce. It means you don't voice any meaningful disagreement with what politicians have done in our name. If you don't vote nothing's ever going to change. Back in the 80s when I was involved in HIV AIDS activism we used to say that Silence = Death. Things aren't quite so dramatic in modern Scotland, here it's more a case of Silence = Having to put up with the George Foulkeses of this world forever. Like being pecked to death by a small and persistent chicken. A thousand wee cuts to the soul, day after day, forever.

    Like you I'm just sick of this farce. I want it to stop. I'm sick of being treated like a fool. I'm sick of being taken for granted. I'm sick of politicians cynically taking advantage of us.

    So I'm going to vote for the only party that promises a new system, the only party that promises to let the people of Scotland decide our priorities for ourselves. I'm going to vote SNP right up until the day that independence is achieved, then because I can be every bit as much an ungrateful sod as any politician - I won't vote for them anymore because they'll have done the job I wanted of them. They'll have given us a new system and new rules that we get to decide for ourselves.

    Voting for a party that promises to take us out of this morally bankrupt and sclerotic Union is the ultimate "up yours" to the swine who depend on Westminster to fill their troughs with pigswill.

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  • 75. At 10:01pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    MPs' expenses to be kept under wraps until after election

    How convenient.

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  • 76. At 10:07pm on 27 Mar 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    I have watched the clip from STV.

    How dare anyone suggest that Labour , who have been in power and proved themselves incompetent , warmongering , mendacious and greedy , could possibly be the best party to lead the country in 2010?

    How can any sane person give them their vote?

    How can the National broadcaster use my money and yours to promote this guff?

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  • 77. At 10:09pm on 27 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    An interesting article about smears against Joanna Lumley by the current government which claimed that it is solely her responsibility to protect the rights of Ghurka veterans who fought for the British. An odd statement it would seem to me.

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  • 78. At 10:12pm on 27 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    74. InfrequentAllele2
    "morally bankrupt and sclerotic Union"

    Sclerotic is an interesting word which I had to look up. (rarely happens so I'm impressed)

    Sclerotic--Hard and insular, often in sclerotic bureaucracy

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  • 79. At 10:24pm on 27 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    Daily Record:
    "The most detailed recent polling north of the border gave Labour a commanding 17 point lead over the Nationalists, boosted by a series of scandals that have engulfed Alex Salmond's adminstration.
    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/2010/03/27/labour-chiefs-unveil-party-s-pledges-for-upcoming-general-election-86908-22141793/"

    Are there still those who only read the Record????

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  • 80. At 10:26pm on 27 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    35. ForteanJo
    "I think the SNP need to repeatedly print that picture of Gordie and Mrs T on the steps of number 10, highlight that it was him who commissioned her portrait for hanging in number 10 (above his bed?) and quote his admiration for her. Remind the voters that it was Labour that cut the 10p tax rate, froze the tax allowance this year, all measures that insure the lowest paid are the hardest hit."

    Did not Mr. Darling just brag that the Labour cuts would be harsher than anything Mrs. T envisioned?

    Perhaps something that needs to be emphasized in the coming election?

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  • 81. At 10:29pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    5 live

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  • 82. At 10:46pm on 27 Mar 2010, oldnat wrote:

    79. Mike
    "Are there still those who only read the Record????"

    If there are (and they don't just look at the Sports pages) then they'll be reassured that they don't have to bother turning up to vote Labour. :-)

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  • 83. At 10:51pm on 27 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    He asks a good question. Would your parents or grandparents recognize the party they supported?

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  • 84. At 11:04pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    75. cynicalHighlander
    "MPs' expenses to be kept under wraps until after election

    How convenient.
    "

    So what? The Angry Villagers have long since decided that every single MP is guilty of criminal fraud. They did so without benefit of facts. Why would facts matter now?

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  • 85. At 11:07pm on 27 Mar 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Just watched Angus Robertson being interviewed by Andrew Neil on Straight Talk. Anyone with access to the BBC News Channel, BBC Parliament or iPlayer video should give it a try. Bodes very well for the forthcoming election campaign, I suspect.

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  • 86. At 11:10pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    79. Mike
    "'...a series of scandals that have engulfed Alex Salmond's adminstration.' [Daily Record]"

    Yeah! There was that business with the SNP leader of Glasgow Council. And the SNP MP facing criminal charges over... Oh! Hang on a minute!

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  • 87. At 11:12pm on 27 Mar 2010, enneffess wrote:

    71. dubbieside:

    Bang on about getting out to vote. There's nothing worse than someone who rants on about whatever party they support, then you find out that they don't bother to vote.

    One incentive to vote - regardless who for - is that every vote that you make requires your opponents to receive two votes to claw back the net loss.

    But to get people out to vote requires the parties to work for the votes. So far in East Kilbride it has only been Labour. Three weeks now since we had our leaflet and absoutely nothing from anyone else. Many people are tired of politics anyway, but assuming that they will vote for you is a big mistake.

    We must be now within 6 weeks of the election. I'm reckoning that GB will make the call by the end of next week. Conference is on and there is no better to motivate the faithful by announcing it at the end of a stirring (spinning?) speech.

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  • 88. At 11:12pm on 27 Mar 2010, MartinOfBothwell wrote:

    Wow. You've just got to laugh at Quagmire Gray. He is funny, I'll give him that.

    I hope he goes up for the East Lothian MPs seat. That would be funny.

    But the absolute highlight I'm hoping for at the General Election will be Viceroy Murphy losing his seat. I'm taking the day off work the next day and everything, just so I can sit up and watch it. :-)

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  • 89. At 11:31pm on 27 Mar 2010, ratzo wrote:

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

  • 90. At 11:32pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    83. JRMacClure

    Like the poster.

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  • 91. At 11:34pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    84. Electric Hermit

    Because it would identify those who wish to grab what they can while the goings good.

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  • 92. At 11:39pm on 27 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    87. enneffess
    "Three weeks now since we had our leaflet and absoutely nothing from anyone else."

    The election hasn't even been called yet.

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  • 93. At 11:41pm on 27 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    AD has confirmed a delay in front line cuts for 2 years yet saviour of Scotland, presume thats what SoS stands for, has on the radio said that they will be protected for 4 years. mmm

    Will the media in Scotland clarify please before May 6th preferably.

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  • 94. At 11:52pm on 27 Mar 2010, ForteanJo wrote:

    #88 - "But the absolute highlight I'm hoping for at the General Election will be Viceroy Murphy losing his seat."

    Oh, that could be up there with Michael Portillo's 1997 defeat that made me laugh for days and days. Fingers crossed!

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  • 95. At 11:54pm on 27 Mar 2010, oldnat wrote:

    85. Brownedov
    "Just watched Angus Robertson being interviewed by Andrew Neil on Straight Talk. Anyone with access to the BBC News Channel, BBC Parliament or iPlayer video should give it a try. Bodes very well for the forthcoming election campaign, I suspect."

    Agreed. I just watched it. I'd happily see Angus Robertson in UK Debates.

    (Also interesting to see Andrew Neill defining himself as part of the "we" who would remain in Britain after Scotland leaves the political bit of the Union).

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  • 96. At 11:58pm on 27 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    82. Oldnat @82
    You have all mentioned media bias here (although the Daily Record seems to be ignored) before but from this side of the World the standard of prejudice journalism in the UK is getting quite unbelievable.

    It was 28th in this 2008 World Ranking Freedom of the Press. http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=442&year=2008

    Surely it must of slipped even further down by now - especially due to Scottish journalists such as Jenny Hjul, Alan Cochrane and David Maddox who seem to believe that journalism means having one aim - seeking to constantly vilify one party no matter if the perform well or not. Did they take the Kremlin’s correspondence course in reporting. Does any other Western country have such a brand of reporters sop against their own nations self- determination? It’s a mystery to me.

    JRMacClure: Here’s what one of your countrymen From Oregon) wrote in a website about our little isolated sovereign nation, which by the way is full of Scots.
    http://www.oregonbusiness.com/ben/3173-jobs-watch-lessons-from-new-zealand

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  • 97. At 00:03am on 28 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    The best desciption I've heard so far re GB manifesto pledges "Like nailing jelly to the wall"

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  • 98. At 00:17am on 28 Mar 2010, oldnat wrote:

    A quite dreadful story in the Scotsman

    http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/politics/Tory-peer-Lang-dragged-into.6186201.jp

    Not that I'm any great admirer of Iain Lang, but the headline "Tory peer Lang dragged into cash-for-access row" is wholly unjustified by the story. He appears to have behaved quite properly.

    Simply the Scotsman proving its Labour credentials, I think.

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  • 99. At 00:18am on 28 Mar 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Sorry

    SoS not Scotsman - as if that were important!

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  • 100. At 00:23am on 28 Mar 2010, oldnat wrote:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7076041.ece

    "TWO more former Labour ministers have been secretly recorded offering to exploit their government contacts and experience to help commercial clients for fees of up to £2,500 a day.

    Adam Ingram, the former armed forces minister, said he could draw on a pool of out-of-work ministers who could be used to harness their government contacts."

    I wonder why SoS didn't mention that?

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  • 101. At 00:25am on 28 Mar 2010, oldnat wrote:

    96. Mike
    "It was 28th in this 2008 World Ranking Freedom of the Press."

    Interesting to see so many smallish independent European countries well above the UK in that list!

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  • 102. At 00:25am on 28 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    95. oldnat
    "(Also interesting to see Andrew Neill defining himself as part of the "we" who would remain in Britain after Scotland leaves the political bit of the Union)."

    Independence becomes an increasingly attractive proposition.

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  • 103. At 00:27am on 28 Mar 2010, cwh wrote:

    At 85 Brownedov said:

    "Just watched Angus Robertson being interviewed by Andrew Neil on Straight Talk. Anyone with access to the BBC News Channel, BBC Parliament or iPlayer video should give it a try. Bodes very well for the forthcoming election campaign, I suspect."

    Seemed a bit cryptic so watched the interview. I thought Angus Robertson held his own very well against some hostile questioning and made some very good points.

    With regard to this blog on Labour Strategy for the election blurring the lines between devolved matters and UK matters. Mr Taylor appears to be suggesting that some of the Labour policies in the General Election will become Labour policies in the Holyrood election in 2011.

    The Labour party in the UK election will have policies relating to health care for the elderly. One option being the so called 'death tax' i.e. payment from their estate after death to cover cost of their care. Will this then become the policy of the Labour group in the Holyrood elections in 2011? Just a thought.

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  • 104. At 00:29am on 28 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    97. cynicalHighlander
    "The best desciption I've heard so far re GB manifesto pledges "Like nailing jelly to the wall""

    Actually, more like nailing jelly to candy floss using a marshmallow hammer and liquorice nails.

    Or have I taken that too far?

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  • 105. At 00:34am on 28 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    Electric Hermit @86
    Exactly! Is what you are experiencing in Scotland by Hjul, Barnes, Cochrane, McLeod, Maddox and now obviously the Daily Record, “Censorship by Omission’? No one should complain at deserve criticism but their constant negative (as far as the SNP or Alex Salmond) articles must surely be seen for what they are, pure prejudice and may hopefully soon, cause a backlash against media reporting?

    Brownedov@85
    As far as BBC IPlayer or in fact most BBC and STV political shows are concerned - we can not receive them on the internet here in NZ. The messages is always, ‘Not Available in You Area’. STV use to allow ‘Politics Now’ but that’s now banned too.
    We can get some on YouTube but at present most are pretty old.
    It would be most appreciative if these programmes were available more regular.

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  • 106. At 00:39am on 28 Mar 2010, enneffess wrote:

    Political parties remind me of films and tv shows:

    Labour - Blackadder Goes Forth, with Captain Darling and General Melchett in command.

    SNP - Shrek (sorry, couldn't resist it!, Alex doesn't really suit a claymore)

    Tories - the Dambusters film. All public schoolboys and jolly good debaggings in the mess.

    Lib Dems - Mr Benn. Try on a different outfit every week.

    UKIP - Muppets come to mind strangely enough.

    Greens. Thunderbirds. They are going to save the planet but no one knows how they do it.



    Enough for one night, especially since I'm losing an hour's sleep.......

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  • 107. At 00:47am on 28 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    98. oldnat
    "Not that I'm any great admirer of Iain Lang, but the headline "Tory peer Lang dragged into cash-for-access row" is wholly unjustified by the story. He appears to have behaved quite properly.
    "

    Appalling "journalism". To think The Scotsman used to be a highly respected newspaper. Very sad!

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  • 108. At 00:52am on 28 Mar 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Scotland on Sunday/YouGov poll (changes since 2005 in brackets)

    Lab 37 (-2) : SNP 24 (+6) : Con 18 (+2) : LD 14 (-9)

    Scotland Votes site gives that as SNP +1 in FPTP seats, otherwise no change.

    Let's wait for other pollsters Scottish polls before trying to predict the election results though! (YouGov's methodology is not weighted by likelihood to vote).

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  • 109. At 00:54am on 28 Mar 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    104. Electric Hermit
    "Or have I taken that too far?"

    An affront to liquorice lovers especially those in Pontefract and me.:)

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  • 110. At 00:55am on 28 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    106. enneffess
    "SNP - Shrek (sorry, couldn't resist it!, Alex doesn't really suit a claymore)
    "

    LOL Strangely enough, I can see it!

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  • 111. At 00:57am on 28 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    103. cwh
    "The Labour party in the UK election will have policies relating to health care for the elderly. One option being the so called 'death tax' i.e. payment from their estate after death to cover cost of their care. Will this then become the policy of the Labour group in the Holyrood elections in 2011? Just a thought.
    "

    How would the Scots react to such a policy. This does seem to be what Labour is advocating although I notice they kept very mum about it at their conference.

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  • 112. At 00:57am on 28 Mar 2010, ratzo wrote:

    Could it be possible the distinction between Labour and the BBC is more blurred in England than in Scotland?

    http://gaiusmarcellus.blogspot.com/2010/03/unacceptable-links-between-labour-and.html

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  • 113. At 00:59am on 28 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    108. oldnat
    "YouGov's methodology is not weighted by likelihood to vote"

    Which makes them pretty much useless imo.

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  • 114. At 02:04am on 28 Mar 2010, oldnat wrote:

    113. JRMacClure
    "Which makes them pretty much useless imo. "

    Not useless - just to be borne in mind. They did get the SNP as the biggest party in 2007 right!

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  • 115. At 02:04am on 28 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    105. Mike
    "No one should complain at deserve criticism but their constant negative (as far as the SNP or Alex Salmond) articles must surely be seen for what they are, pure prejudice and may hopefully soon, cause a backlash against media reporting?"

    As the media bias becomes increasingly blatant so more people become aware of it. Quite what form any "backlash" might take I am not sure. But there will be something. My concern is that people will take it out on the BBC and the licence fee because that is an easy target. This would be a great shame because it is not public service broadcasting and independent funding which are the problem. Far from it.

    But a culture of deference to the British Labour party has developed within BBC Scotland which is unhealthy not only for the corporation but for democracy itself. A number of key posteriors need to be introduced to the cobbles of Pacific Quay.

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  • 116. At 02:14am on 28 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    114. oldnat
    "Not useless - just to be borne in mind. They did get the SNP as the biggest party in 2007 right!"

    I mean useless for predicting a coming election. They may show some extent overall party leanings, but you can't base voting intentions on something that isn't weighted for likelihood to vote!

    I seem to recall that Ipsos MORI weights for likelihood to vote. Didn't they do a poll just last month? One the Daily Mail was none too happy about?

    I wonder when they'll do a new one.

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  • 117. At 06:53am on 28 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    Labour in little local difficulty

    Little? This is Labour’s longest serving whip. *shakes head*

    But at least The Times has what it takes to cover the story so my hat is off to them.

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  • 118. At 07:33am on 28 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    Adam Ingram, the former armed forces minister, said he could draw on a pool of out-of-work ministers who could be used to harness their government contacts.

    Isn't this gentleman the Labour MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow standing down at the coming election?

    A quote from the article: "This weekend a YouGov poll of more than 1,500 people for The Sunday Times shows that by nearly two to one, 49% to 29%, voters agree with Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, that this is the most corrupt parliament in Britain’s history."

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  • 119. At 07:41am on 28 Mar 2010, JTomlin wrote:

    Regrets, Michael Martin has more than a few, but until yesterday, I had no idea just how many. He stood up in the Lords — for the only Speaker to be forced out in 300 years is now Lord Martin of Springburn — and told us how the media had done him wrong.

    Bile, he’s got some of that too.


    Well, dearie me. Who'd a thunk it?

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  • 120. At 09:14am on 28 Mar 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    Published on 28 Mar 2010

    The SNP Government was last night accused of trying to censor the public’s right to know, after an unprecedented attack on Scotland’s information watchdog."

    Found the above in an article in the Sunday Herald.
    Since I do not trust the publication ,nor the writers can anyone throw any light on this?

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  • 121. At 09:26am on 28 Mar 2010, universality of cheese wrote:

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

  • 122. At 09:34am on 28 Mar 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #95 oldnat
    "Also interesting to see Andrew Neill defining himself as part of the "we" who would remain in Britain after Scotland leaves the political bit of the Union"

    Yes, I didn't "push" that aspect of the interview as I think people should make up their own minds, but it's certainly interesting to see Scots like Neil and Marr becoming nervous for their own places in the Westmidden trough. Odd that nobody ever seems to make similar comparisons with citizens of the Irish republic who seem to find little difficulty getting media work in England.

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  • 123. At 09:48am on 28 Mar 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #103 cwh
    "I thought Angus Robertson held his own very well against some hostile questioning and made some very good points."

    Spot on. Sorry for being "a bit cryptic", but people should always make up their own minds rather than being spoon fed. I think it bodes well for the election campaign in demonstrating that the SNP is not the "one-trick pony" it's often accused of being and that individuals like Angus Robertson are as well able to perform well under fire as AS. When most "political" TV interviews are with intellectually challenged politicos apparently incapable of understanding the questions put let alone answering them, I thought it made a refreshing change.

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  • 124. At 10:19am on 28 Mar 2010, enneffess wrote:

    Re Adam Ingram. I'm looking forward to the Labour party workers knocking on the doors, because that will be the first question I will ask them.

    It should be a criminal offence (if not already) for MPs/MSPs to sell influence.

    Disgraceful does not come close to it.

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

    104. At 00:29am on 28 Mar 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    "Actually, more like nailing jelly to candy floss using a marshmallow hammer and liquorice nails."


    While standing on a curlywurly ladder and using a chocolate kettle to make the tea.

    Now I'm going too far.

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  • 125. At 10:26am on 28 Mar 2010, enneffess wrote:

    Re Angus Robertson. I've been saying for ages that he should be the one dealing with the Westminster election issues. You cannot have one personality - no matter how good in a debate - being the main focus for a political party. One reason is that sooner or later the voters can get tired and want a change, and if they are not aware of others who are perfectly capable, it can cost a party votes.

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