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Brothers and sisters

Brian Taylor | 10:59 UK time, Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Isn't it wholly refreshing to witness a politician disdaining the customary euphemisms when announcing a decision about his future?

Jon Cruddas doesn't say the time is not right for him to contest the leadership of the Labour Party.

He doesn's say he intends to spend more time with his family or his constituency or his dog.

Rather, he says that the challenge requires certain qualities which he does not possess.

Hang on just a second, though, before awarding him the Order of Merit (Second Class) for collegiate self-deprecation.

The influential backbench MP also indicates that he has neither the time nor the inclination to spend half the week preparing to knock lumps out of his opponent (or, in these coalesced days, opponents) in the Commons.

In other words, the job is wrong for him - rather than perhaps the other way round.

Right to rule

Mr Cruddas, a thoughtful figure, says two further things. He wants to contribute in some way to reshaping the Labour Party. Secondly, he wants the leadership contest to be prolonged: a "battle of ideas."

What impact might all this have upon the Scottish Labour Party - or, more precisely, the semi-devolved Labour Party in Scotland?

Despite Wendy Alexander's past insolence, I am not convinced that the Labour Party in Scotland is entirely an idea-free zone.

Certainly, there is a substantial segment of the party which has not completely liberated itself from the concept that it has a natural right to rule.

But the hustings for the Holyrood leader were lively and combative without being confrontational.

No, it's not the "ideas" bit which would trouble Scottish Labour overmuch. Rather it's the suggestion of a "battle".

Labour in Scotland cannot afford a leadership contest which is too prolonged or too bloody. It does not have the breathing space - with Holyrood elections due next May.

On the other hand, the party in Scotland may be hoping that a sensible, well-argued debate might help energise the comrades.

A discussion among sisters and brothers. Brothers being particularly apposite.

Comments

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  • 1. At 11:18am on 18 May 2010, andrew wrote:

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

  • 2. At 11:19am on 18 May 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    "What impact might all this have upon the Scottish Labour Party - or, more precisely, the semi-devolved Labour Party in Scotland?"

    A bit of refreshing honesty there. Which is always welcome.

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  • 3. At 11:20am on 18 May 2010, Shoogly Peg wrote:

    Brian

    Finally you have recognised that there is no such thing as the Scottish Labour Party. As it happens, the Scottish Labour Pary was dissolved in 1895.

    Now if only you and other Labour pressmen had correctly called the Labour Party in Scotland during various elections......

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  • 4. At 11:27am on 18 May 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    "...I am not convinced that the Labour Party in Scotland is entirely an idea-free zone."

    Is this a triumph of hope over experience, I wonder. Or is it just that Gray, Foulkes and the rest of "Scottish" Labour's high-profile figures give such a strong impression of being devoid of ideas?

    If we are not to judge the party by them, then who?

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  • 5. At 11:31am on 18 May 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    "On the other hand, the party in Scotland may be hoping that a sensible, well-argued debate might help energise the comrades."

    Is the term "comrades" still permitted within what used to be the Labour Party? I thought Blair, Mandelson et al had expunged all traces of overt socialism in their desperate effort to woe the middle-Englander vote.

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  • 6. At 11:40am on 18 May 2010, andrew craik wrote:

    The Labour party in Scotland, if it is to be a party of IDEAS requires a leader for the present one appears to have his basic training in debating from "The Widow Twanky School of Performing Arts".
    Some times I feel that it is acutely embarrassing to watch the Leader and some of his "led" in action.
    All the public are short of in the debating at Holyrood are cries of "Watch your back" or "Oh no it isn't"

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  • 7. At 12:09pm on 18 May 2010, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    Dont you mean 'BIG Brother' and Sisters?

    Interesting Brian chose to refer to Wendys attempted stint of self determinism of Labour in Scotland as 'insolence' prior to her being slapped down by London rule.

    Since then the Grey man has toed the London line without failure nor question. The swivel eyed desperation of the man is possibly in part due to having to keep one eye on the SNP and another on his masters approval.

    This makes 'the party in Scotland may be hoping that a sensible, well-argued debate' statement nothing but hope. The debate, such as there is, lacks ideas, policy and pretty much anything positive.

    Even if there were debate, ideas and hope. It will get slapped down to whatever London Labour wants. Do you truly believe in Scottish Labour Brian?



    There were some posts about doublethink lately. Brian the media and Labour in Scotland all seem to suffer from George Orwells doublethink. The 'Blackwhite' party thinking is the same for 'Scottish Labour'and in several ways. 'Scottish Labour' 2 mutually exclusive terms if ever there was, the grand lie perpetuated by the establishment until they seem to believe it actually exists themselves. My god they can even have debates, set policy and are a self governing entity and even become 'energised' according to Brian. Not bad for vapour.


    So for the believers Brian how about a blog on English Labour. You know their comrades, their policies and debates? Just to compare and contrast to Scottish Labour? I mean Scottish Labours counterpart South of the border must be English Labour? Why are they so quiet? Do they have even less ideas than their Northern comrades?

    We should be told Brian.

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  • 8. At 12:29pm on 18 May 2010, Harry Stottle wrote:

    The labour party in Scotland was deliberately stuffed with B rate poodles who would be totally subservient to their masters down south.
    As for the media. One of the greatest travesties in Scotlands history happened in 1997 when labour came to office.
    They immediately embarked on an economic scorched earth policy in Scotland, wiping out entire industries and throwing hundreds of thousands out of work, yet our London controlled media was silent.
    The London establishment was quite happy to turn Scotland into an economic basket case in order to keep control of Scotlands oil wealth and who better to do their bidding than the feeble fifty.
    There were some journalists who stuck their heads above the parapet and told us what was really going on but they were swiftly removed from the scene.
    Another absurdity was that this scorched earth policy was going on with the backing and blessing of Trades Unions movement who accepted the Judas bribe of taxpayers money in place of members contributions whos jobs they were complicit in destroying.
    The labour party keep harping on about the job losses during the thatcher years but they were nothing compared to the damage done by themselves.

    We sorely need a media in Scotland who will put Scotlands interests first instead of regurgitating press releases from a party who is determind to drive Scotland into the dirt.

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  • 9. At 12:31pm on 18 May 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    As I have said elsewhere, I would very much like to see a genuine Scottish Labour Party contesting elections in Scotland. A party that would earn the support and, hopefully, the active participation of people such as John McAllion. But I do not believe that this can be achieved by even the most comprehensive reformation of the Scottish section of the British Labour Party. I think it would require a fresh start with a new party untainted by close association with the BLP.

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  • 10. At 12:36pm on 18 May 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Brothers & Sisters.

    '' I am not convinced that the Labour Party in Scotland is entirely an idea-free zone.''

    Add the word 'original' and it becomes easy.

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  • 11. At 12:53pm on 18 May 2010, spagan wrote:

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

  • 12. At 1:01pm on 18 May 2010, minuend wrote:

    The Milliband brothers in a prolonged battle of ideas?????????

    These two couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag.

    Labour with a Milliband as leader will surely depress further Labour activists in Scotland who already have to contend with the Gray-man of Scottish politics.

    Labour will not win the coming Scottish elections because voters will view the party's leadership as being weak and insipid.


    Old Labour > New Labour > Next Labour > Not Labour

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  • 13. At 1:18pm on 18 May 2010, Online Ed wrote:

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

  • 14. At 1:33pm on 18 May 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    I am not convinced that the Labour Party in Scotland is entirely an idea-free zone.

    List one of them then.

    Here's a list to get you going:

    Labour are:
    Against co-operating with the SNP to keep the Tories out (still a no-man's land subject as far as the Scottish media are concerned)

    Against Minimum pricing
    Against LIT
    Against a constitutional referendum for Scotland
    Against Olympic consequentials
    Against Scotland receiving the fossil fuel levy
    Against Fiscal Autonomy
    Against Beauly to Denny upgrade ... or are they for?
    Against Trump ... or are they for?
    Against capital acceleration ... or are they for?
    Against modernising the NHS and re-deploying staff ... or are they for?
    Against The Homecoming ... or were they for?
    Against dual mandates ... or are they for?

    For nuclear weapons
    For council tax
    For more nuclear power stations
    For Edinburgh trams
    For withholding the council tax grant should LIT be introduced
    For the Iraq war

    Whilst you're at it, any word on the Downing Street investigation into what Labour knew of Purcell over two years ago?

    The Scottish media seem to have forgotten this uncomfortable promise by Brown.

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  • 15. At 1:33pm on 18 May 2010, calmac12000 wrote:

    If ever a party needed a radical re-think on it's policies and principles then the Scottish Labour Part is one. The days when it ruled many parts of Scotland as a petty fiefdom are thankfully, gone forever. The Party like Labour in the UK, has broken with the past and replaced it's idealogical foundations with glib soundbites and facile posturing. Their current leader is frankly an embaressment, who as he can't seem to convince himself is unlikely to gather many sceptical followers to the Labour banner.The challenge for the Labour Party is to show voters that they are relevant to the 21st century and that they are willing to engage in a serious and practical manner with the realpolitik in 2010.

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  • 16. At 1:37pm on 18 May 2010, McPhail wrote:

    'I am not convinced that the Labour Party in Scotland is entirely an idea-free zone.'

    I am.

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  • 17. At 1:55pm on 18 May 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Brothers & Sisters.

    '' I am not convinced that the Labour Party in Scotland is entirely an idea-free zone.''

    I am not convinced that the Labour Party in Scotland is entirely an original idea-free zone.

    Problem solved ?

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  • 18. At 2:01pm on 18 May 2010, jaejee wrote:

    ' No, it's not the "ideas" bit which would trouble Scottish Labour overmuch. Rather it's the suggestion of a "battle".'

    Very true Brian. With the support of the media in Scotland which includes the state breadcaster, Labour in Scotland do not have to think at all. Why do they need 'ideas' when the party that does the thinking i.e. the SNP is attacked and marginalised to such an extent never seen in any other democratic nation. From an ousider looking in I can honestly say in my own opinion that no free press or media exists in Scotland, at least not among the major players who count.

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  • 19. At 2:09pm on 18 May 2010, CiceroToday wrote:

    Ref the use of comrade. I am sorry to say for all those who vouchsafe that modernism is the only route for politics, "Comrade" is still use by the Labour Party today, even Hilary Benn just used the word "Fraternal" on the Daily Politics this afternoon. Interestingly I am reliably informed that Tony himself often used the term of address during his Sofa cabinets !

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  • 20. At 2:12pm on 18 May 2010, InfrequentAllele2 wrote:

    there is no such thing as the Scottish Labour Party.

    Yes there is. The c is silent.

    The Labour party is a broad church. In order to give full representation to the range of views and experiences within the party, members will have a choice in the leadership campaign between an upper middle class graduate of Oxford University whose father was a professor of politics and who lives in an exclusive district of North London and has never had a job outside politics, and an upper middle class graduate of Oxford University whose father was a professor of politics and who lives in an exclusive district of North London and has never had a job outside politics.

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  • 21. At 2:19pm on 18 May 2010, jaejee wrote:

    No, it's not the "ideas" bit which would trouble Scottish Labour overmuch. Rather it's the suggestion of a "battle".

    You're totally right Brian. Who need ideas when you have a compliant media attacking the Scottish National Party at every turn in a way that makes a farce out of the term Free Press and democracy. Without a free and impartial press you cannot have a true democratic choice as your opinions are formed with lies and half truths among other things. That is Scotland today.

    Now is this post going to be deleted like my previous two without any expalnation as to why?

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  • 22. At 2:23pm on 18 May 2010, Ron McArthur wrote:

    Just a thought, why don't labour allow the Milliband brothers to share the leadership, now that would be progressive.

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  • 23. At 2:28pm on 18 May 2010, Cash Hughes wrote:

    14. Online Ed

    • "Against dual mandates ... For nuclear weapons"
      etc.

    Pretty telling list!

    Slainte!

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  • 24. At 2:30pm on 18 May 2010, Cash Hughes wrote:

    15. calmac12000

    • "Their current leader is frankly an embaressment,"

    So true as to be actually sad.

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  • 25. At 2:47pm on 18 May 2010, Eudemus wrote:

    Very strange comments on here so far.
    Didn't 40% of Scots vote Labour?

    But certainly, one significant problem both North and South of the border is of a Labour party run by a political elite, somewhat out of touch with the concerns of ordinary folk.

    Aloof, out-of-touch politicians will always lack credibility.

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  • 26. At 2:50pm on 18 May 2010, enneffess wrote:

    14. Online Ed:

    You forgot that they are against the cancellation of GARL.

    They are also for blaming everyone else for their mistakes.



    What the Labour Party is missing is honesty, passion and personality. Milliband 1 and 2 have the charisma of a wet paper bag sitting in the gutter of a street in Saltcoats on a rainy November morning.

    What they need is a Robin Cook.

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  • 27. At 2:52pm on 18 May 2010, Patrick Kirkwood wrote:

    'battle of ideas' within the Labour Party ... HIlarious.

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  • 28. At 3:08pm on 18 May 2010, Perfection Personified wrote:

    Reshaping the Labour Party?

    It should go back to its roots, recreate the Scottish Labour Party, let Llafur Cymru have its head, and let The Labour Party be England-only.

    Collectively, they could then call themselves "Labour" and campaign at UK-level as "The Labour candidate" whilst retaining national autonomy for devolved elections and developing, say, Scottish policies for Scottish politicians to deliver to the Scottish people.


    Then again, as per my username, I have no doubt that 5 years of Tory Mis-rule will be sufficient to give Wee Eck the necessary support to lead us to the Promised Lane - which is, thankfully, right where we are now (no unnecessary exercise involved, thank goodness).

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  • 29. At 3:09pm on 18 May 2010, Perfection Personified wrote:

    Re my #28,,

    The Promised Lane leads, of course, to the Promised Land!

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  • 30. At 3:23pm on 18 May 2010, spagan wrote:

    Ideas?? From New Labour Brian?
    Don't be a silly Billy as one Lord Healey might have said
    Both of the young Millibands have has their priority to "reconnect" with Middle England - and - err - that's about it folks.
    So, we are fortunate to have 41 MPs up here in "Northern Britain" who see their prime responsibility as being to "reconnect" with "White Van Man" - and seek profound answers to the "very difficult Foreigner" questions that they were faced with in ........ err "Middle England".
    Nice to know what New and "very much improved" Labour has as its vision!
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 31. At 3:44pm on 18 May 2010, ArabLoon wrote:

    Hi Brian

    I just wanted to congratulate you on your last blog post. What a day! I was also in the North Stand and I couldn't believe how electric the atmosphere was. I was sitting two rows in front of you at the 2008 CIS cup final. So many disapointments, we really have to savour the successes when they come!

    Europe here we come! Shed rule!!!

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  • 32. At 3:58pm on 18 May 2010, john wrote:

    Well Brian,
    This blog has set the heather on fire. 31 posts in 4.5 hours. Must be a record for you.

    To tell you the truth, the labour leadership contest is just not interesting. It is going to be won by the person who looks and sounds most like tony Blair (and is not Scottish). The closest there will be to an actual policy debate is a contest to see who can spurt out the most invective towards the SNP/Tories (depending on where the invective is being spurted from). It is sad that what should be a realistic alternative to the Tories has sunk to this.

    John

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  • 33. At 3:59pm on 18 May 2010, Online Ed wrote:

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

  • 34. At 4:04pm on 18 May 2010, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    26 Enneffess

    "What they need is a Robin Cook."

    Whereas what they have are robin crooks. ;)

    The article on this site on youngest Brit MP shows how bad things are.
    In her own words Pamela Nash: (vomit alert)

    "I have lived through a New Labour government...but I am also a product of New Labour. I will fight to bring Labour back into government"
    ... "we now have to reach out to middle England,...It is time for the next stage of the Labour project and I believe that David Miliband is the best person to move us forward."


    To really understand her perspective replace 'lived' with 'benefited' in her speech. New Labour the me, myself and I party (coming to you soon with special guest: middle England).

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  • 35. At 4:17pm on 18 May 2010, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Such concern for the future of Labour would be touching if it came from those whose own house was in order. Having no party loyalty, I can report with complete impartiality that I have no faith and no trust in any member of the Holyrood parliament. I speak only for myself, but anecdotal evidence and sheer gut instinct leads me to believe that my jaundiced view is widely shared.
    All the parties waffle endlessly about "putting Scotland first." They don't. It's party first, power second, and popularity - via any soundbite dreamed up by the spinners - third. Free thinkers have no chance of progress in any party.
    Voters? If we exclude the 2 or 3 per cent who take a close interest in politics, the average man or woman in the street would struggle to name their own MSP or any political figure at Holyrood. Salmond would have the best chance, although those who could name him might not be admirers.
    How can we blame voters for such ignorance when our politicians, in the main, have no local visibility, carry no credibility to the parliament, and vote on demand at the whim of the two or three "leaders" in each party?
    I have no answers, only questions. But the wider questions need some sort of answers before we go picking over the bones of individual parties.
    Westminster? Plenty of politicians, some bright, sharp individuals, but mainly infected by the same party-power-popularity disease. Not a statesman, or woman, in sight.

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  • 36. At 4:20pm on 18 May 2010, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #29 Call Me etc: The Promised Lane to the Promised Land... right up the Garden Path. :o)

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  • 37. At 4:20pm on 18 May 2010, Online Ed wrote:

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

  • 38. At 4:23pm on 18 May 2010, Perfection Personified wrote:

    #31, ArabLonn wrote:

    "I was sitting two rows in front of you at the 2008 CIS cup final."

    It must have been an exciting game indeed, if you were more interested in looking away from the pitch to see who was behind you!

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  • 39. At 4:25pm on 18 May 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    #25 eudemus -If you say 40% then I will need to take your word for it.

    "didn't 40% of Scots vote labour" now are you celebrating that fact or are you concerned by it.

    Personally ,I am concerned by that figure as the labour party achieved that high number thru blatant and indeed open use of fear and scaremongering which when push came to shove turned out to be 100% untrue again,
    but hey they got away with it again.

    It's all they have left but how do you counter it when every media outlet in the country joins in?
    Sid

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  • 40. At 4:59pm on 18 May 2010, oldnat wrote:

    7. EphemeralDeception
    "I mean Scottish Labours counterpart South of the border must be English Labour?"

    South of the Border, the exact equivalents to Scottish Labour are South East Region Labour, East Midlands Labour, West Midlands Labour etc etc (you get the idea).

    I'm sure that the pretendy wee Scottish region of Labour will be as exercised as Yorkshire Labour to decide which of two brothers will link best with their voters.

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  • 41. At 5:02pm on 18 May 2010, oldnat wrote:

    14. Online Ed
    "Whilst you're at it, any word on the Downing Street investigation into what Labour knew of Purcell over two years ago?

    The Scottish media seem to have forgotten this uncomfortable promise by Brown.
    "

    Good point!

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  • 42. At 5:03pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

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

  • 43. At 5:07pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    26. enneffess
    "What the Labour Party is missing is honesty, passion and personality. Milliband 1 and 2 have the charisma of a wet paper bag sitting in the gutter of a street in Saltcoats on a rainy November morning.

    What they need is a Robin Cook.
    "

    Enneffess, it's a pleasure to agree with you for a change--except that we could all use a Robin Cook or two in politics. Whatever their party, we need honest, passionate politicians.

    While, as I said yesterday, I think we have some in the SNP (and I do think specifically of Kenny MacAskill) we need many more.


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  • 44. At 5:08pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    35. brigadierjohn
    "Having no party loyalty"

    Yeah, sure. *snort*

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  • 45. At 5:09pm on 18 May 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

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

  • 46. At 5:09pm on 18 May 2010, wilddog wrote:

    Online Ed,
    When will someone hold an enquiry into the Purcell affair and the whole goings on at the Glasgow council,maybe you at Newsnet could instigate something it could be Channel4 as someone suggest they do about the Scottish media.I wonder if this comment will be blocked for mention Newsnet won't be surprised."Gray was great at the last First Ministers questions"says our Brian.

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  • 47. At 5:13pm on 18 May 2010, Online Ed wrote:

    41. At 5:02pm on 18 May 2010, oldnat wrote:
    14. Online Ed
    "Whilst you're at it, any word on the Downing Street investigation into what Labour knew of Purcell over two years ago?

    The Scottish media seem to have forgotten this uncomfortable promise by Brown."

    Good point!


    I'm surprised it got through. The mods seem a bit reluctant to let a link to a Kenneth Roy article through.

    The automatic emails the send say that it is off topic.

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  • 48. At 5:14pm on 18 May 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    35. brigadierjohn
    "I speak only for myself, but anecdotal evidence and sheer gut instinct leads me to believe that my jaundiced view is widely shared."

    Mealy-mouthed euphemisms for hearsay and blind prejudice.

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  • 49. At 5:15pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    25. Eudemus
    "Didn't 40% of Scots vote Labour?"

    No, they didn't, actually. 40% of the Scots who bothered to vote voted Labour--rather a different thing.

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  • 50. At 5:19pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

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

  • 51. At 5:21pm on 18 May 2010, euan0709 wrote:

    I dont know if this has been mentioned before, but I thought that the Elections for local govt the Scottish Parliament etc were supposed to be secret............So how come The Gray Man is writing to Lib Dem voters asking them to vote for the Labour Party...How did he find out who voted and for what party ??????

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  • 52. At 5:25pm on 18 May 2010, inmykip wrote:

    From the BBC website http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8690312.stm

    "Prime Minister David Cameron has said his ministers have found examples of "crazy" spending, including paying out bonuses to three-quarters of all senior civil servants.

    In response, former Chancellor Alistair Darling accused the new coalition government of "playing the oldest trick on the book" by blaming its predecessor for the state of the economy."

    Who would have guessed that Alistair 'Mogadon' Darling was in fact a comedian, yes of course Alistair you and Gordon were innocent bystanders.


    "On Monday, it emerged that Liam Byrne, Mr Laws' predecessor, had left him a one-sentence letter, saying: "I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left."

    Mr Byrne later told the BBC that this "a phrase that chief secretaries have to get used to using"".

    I have a phrase for Mr Byrne, but I can't possibly print it here.


    #35 "I speak only for myself, but anecdotal evidence and sheer gut instinct leads me to believe that my jaundiced view is widely shared."

    You are beginning to sound like a politician.


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  • 53. At 5:39pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

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

  • 54. At 5:46pm on 18 May 2010, Dunroamin wrote:

    49. Around 15% of Scots who bothered to vote, voted for the SNP.

    Actually make that around 5%.

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  • 55. At 5:51pm on 18 May 2010, eye_write wrote:

    44. GrannieAnne
    "35. brigadierjohn
    "Having no party loyalty"

    Yeah, sure. *snort*


    48. Electric Hermit
    "35. brigadierjohn
    "I speak only for myself, but anecdotal evidence and sheer gut instinct leads me to believe that my jaundiced view is widely shared."

    Mealy-mouthed euphemisms for hearsay and blind prejudice.


    52. InMyKip
    "#35 "I speak only for myself, but anecdotal evidence and sheer gut instinct leads me to believe that my jaundiced view is widely shared."

    You are beginning to sound like a politician.


    Seems you can't make a comment on here nowadays, without this reaction.
    What sort of impression does it give? (Lurkers?)

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  • 56. At 5:54pm on 18 May 2010, JohnConstable wrote:

    This Englishman think that Brian has made a profound point re: semi-devolved Labour Party in Scotland.

    You can see what is going to happen, the Labour Party in Scotland is gradually decoupling from the 'British Labour Party'.

    A chi-chi North London champagne socialist Milliband (either of) is just not going to resonate in Scotland although Ed Balls, might, but in my opinion, he isn't going to become British Labour leader.

    So devolution does not just mean countries taking independent paths but also, in some cases, political parties too.

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  • 57. At 6:04pm on 18 May 2010, handclapping wrote:

    #35 brigadierjohn
    You know you mustn't use unverified phrases like sheer gut instinct without qualification or in this case quantification.

    Is yours an impressive gut like those I see in the diabetic clinic such that your sheer gut instinct is worthy of consideration, if not reverence?

    Or is it trim and virtually non-existent as befits a military man of high rank and dainty habits, so making your sheer gut instinct a measely thing of little worth to be disregarded by your readership?

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  • 58. At 6:11pm on 18 May 2010, Robin wrote:

    35. At 4:17pm on 18 May 2010, brigadierjohn wrote:
    "Having no party loyalty, I can report with complete impartiality that I have no faith and no trust in any member of the Holyrood parliament. I speak only for myself, but anecdotal evidence and sheer gut instinct leads me to believe that my jaundiced view is widely shared."

    Yes, I think it is widely shared but I don't think it's entirely justified. I've met a few politicians over the years and there are certainly a lot of them who can be only trusted to do what they know will further their own interests - smiling plausible types who convince people that they're their new best pal but disappear faster than snaw off a dyke when those same people are of no further use. You can trust them as far as your objectives coincide with theirs, but no further and, even then, you have to be damned sure you know what their objectives really are.

    It can an education, even an entertainment, to watch them at work manipulating people and situations to their advantage - as long as you watch out for the calculating look when they think no-one's watching and the "politician-on" smile disappears for a few seconds to remind you what's really going on. It's not the only place you encounter them, I came across a few management types with the same "people skills" - but politics is always going to be rife with them, in Scotland as with anywhere else in the world. And when you know what to look for, they're not so hard to spot.

    On the other hand, I've also met those who have genuinely impressed me (all in the SNP but that was the party I was active in and I'm sure they exist everywhere), as completely dedicated, principled and incredibly hard working people who really do not deserve the cynical, jaundiced view of politicians that is so widespread.

    That view actually reminds me of something my son talks about - people who think they have everything sussed purely because they don't automatically believe the first thing they hear. Unfortunately, far too often, they just believe the second thing they hear instead, or the directly opposite view, and it's rarely that simple.

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  • 59. At 6:27pm on 18 May 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    26. enneffess
    "What they need is a Robin Cook."

    A man of passion and honesty indeed, but would he get the votes - I doubt it - look who got the votes in England this time - two plastic people - I don't think Robin Cook would have gone down any better than Gordon Brown did in the TV debates - either of the Milliband brothers might be the perfect opposition for future TV debates, where passion is frowned upon and honesty doesn't matter.

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  • 60. At 6:30pm on 18 May 2010, oldnat wrote:

    51. euan0709
    "I dont know if this has been mentioned before"

    Labour are writing to those voters who told Lab canvassers that they might vote LD - rather a different thing.

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  • 61. At 6:53pm on 18 May 2010, oldnat wrote:

    Ed Balls appears to be announcing tomorrow that he intends to stand.

    However, his seat of Morley and Outwood is marginal - only 1,101 votes more than the Tories, with a squeezable LD vote of 8,186.

    The UK parties like their leaders to be in rock solid safe seats.

    How times change. In a former incarnation, this seat was Leeds South - the safe seat of Hugh Gaitskell.

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  • 62. At 6:56pm on 18 May 2010, oldnat wrote:

    52. InMyKip

    I think the biggest part of that story you linked to was

    "Civil service chiefs lodged formal protests at spending decisions by Labour ministers in the dying months of their rule, the BBC has been told.

    It culminated in the "nuclear option" of demanding written instructions from their political masters, union leader Jonathan Baume said.

    There was dismay at Labour's use of public finances, he added."


    If the Milibands or Balls were required to write a number of "letters of direction" to their senior civil servants, that could be very damaging.

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  • 63. At 7:03pm on 18 May 2010, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #44 and 48: What a bizarre experience, to be adressed within six minutes by the tail and back end of a pantomime horse. Oh yes I was!

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  • 64. At 7:12pm on 18 May 2010, inmykip wrote:

    #35, #52, I withdraw that unfair comparison I made of the Brigadire to a politician, I really meant to say journalist.

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  • 65. At 7:12pm on 18 May 2010, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #57: It it a full moon, or something?

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  • 66. At 7:14pm on 18 May 2010, govanite wrote:

    #34 Ephemeral Deception

    Yeah, I heard the vomit inducing interview of someone who can only be descibed as out of her depth and a party apparatchik. Backing Milliband and reaching out to middle-England again ! Incredible. I thought she was reading her answers.

    But what is really incredible is that they can leave their core vote to stew for 18 years under the Tories, get re-elected and carry on patronising the core vote while paying middle-England to stay on side, then get kicked out and call out to middle-England again.

    I don't think the SNP campaign hard enough on this fact that traditional Labour voters are disenfranchised. The party they support cannot represent them as to do so leads to election defeat. It is a paradox that needs to be highlighted, as it was 20 years ago. It is not negative campaigning to highlight genuine deficiencies in your opponents. Since the media are not interested in asking Labour to explain their policies and claims, nationalists must do so.

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  • 67. At 7:17pm on 18 May 2010, peteraberdeenshire wrote:

    Heard Margaret Curran on the news speaking about the coalition government, her comment that having experienced it her comment she could she almost said exploit it says it all about Labour, having left the country on it's knees they are there not to help but to score political and petty part points.
    As for the leadership challengers, the brothers Milliband, what a depressing pair of Labour clones, if they really are the best Labour have to offer then i forsee a long spell in opposition.

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  • 68. At 7:25pm on 18 May 2010, inmykip wrote:

    #actually maybe we should listen to the Brig's gut instinct.....phffffffffffffffaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrttttttt. Can the the expat back that up with a poll?

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  • 69. At 7:27pm on 18 May 2010, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #58 Robin: Good post. You've convinced me that I should concede a few, very few, exceptions to my general condemnation of politicians. I've been face-to-face with politicians for more than 40 years. Some were very likeable - but they had a vested interest in making me feel that. I can now spot a con man at 100 paces. (That's not meant to be taken literally by, well, you know who you are).

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  • 70. At 7:30pm on 18 May 2010, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Civil service chiefs lodged formal protests at spending decisions by Labour ministers in the dying months of their rule, the BBC has been told.

    This raises real questions about Labour's honesty and integrity and suggests to me that if it is proven that Ministers embarked on a scorched earth policy in the knowledge they would lose the election then none of those that were Ministers in the Labour Govt should be eligible to stand as Labour's new leader.

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  • 71. At 7:54pm on 18 May 2010, inmykip wrote:

    #62 my question would be was it incompetence, desperation or malice that they acted in such a way?

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  • 72. At 7:55pm on 18 May 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    67. peteraberdeenshire
    "Heard Margaret Curran on the news speaking..."

    Speaking? Are you sure it was Maggie Curran?

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  • 73. At 8:32pm on 18 May 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    69. brigadierjohn
    "You've convinced me that I should concede a few, very few, exceptions to my general condemnation of politicians. I've been face-to-face with politicians for more than 40 years. Some were very likeable - but they had a vested interest in making me feel that."

    Just like journalists then!

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  • 74. At 8:43pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    59. Sheneval
    "A man of passion and honesty indeed, but would he get the votes - I doubt it - look who got the votes in England this time - two plastic people - I don't think Robin Cook would have gone down any better than Gordon Brown did in the TV debates - either of the Milliband brothers might be the perfect opposition for future TV debates, where passion is frowned upon and honesty doesn't matter."

    A good point.

    Unfortunately, plastic seems to be the trend in politicians as in many other things.

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  • 75. At 8:44pm on 18 May 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    Gordon's New Job

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  • 76. At 8:45pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    64. InMyKip
    "#35, #52, I withdraw that unfair comparison I made of the Brigadire to a politician, I really meant to say journalist."

    They can be difficult to tell apart these days so I think you can be excused for your confusion.

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  • 77. At 9:12pm on 18 May 2010, BOAB wrote:

    Why is it that there is malaise over the land?

    Could it be that everyone secretly knows the script but won't admit it?
    What script? ............."Next Labour"

    Reason: We will not have the same budget to spend for 15 years so they say......

    No hope of a coaltion in Scotland thank to Labour as they want to be electable again and that means more of te same Blair or Brown policies whilst we all go to the wall up here.

    BBC Scotland would not see over a wall if it meant taking responsibility.
    I listen to Lord Foulkes last night on Scotland at Ten on the radio and the interviewer could have been his granny. Se let him off with a load of irrelavent rubbish.

    Ideas.............Foukle's said the SNP were in coalition with the Tories over cut and te BNP was a treat in England......if thats original ideas bot he and the BBC ave truly lost it


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  • 78. At 9:14pm on 18 May 2010, tullibardine wrote:

    It appears some Tory hierarchy outwith Holyrood want to restrict their MSPs to two terms only in parliament.

    David McLetchie is none too pleased and says so.
    “. . . . . when, member for member, we have the most effective group in the Scottish Parliament.” Eh?

    and

    He also argued that it would prevent MSPs from gaining the valuable experience they need to become ministers. I’ll give him the benefit of doubt on this one and assume he meant church ministers.
    http://tinyurl.com/39gxlnx

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  • 79. At 9:24pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    57. handclapping
    "Or is it trim and virtually non-existent as befits a military man of high rank and dainty habits, so making your sheer gut instinct a measely thing of little worth to be disregarded by your readership?"

    Hmmm... I know some men whose sheer gut instinct is a tendency to fart.

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  • 80. At 9:47pm on 18 May 2010, BOAB wrote:

    My computer is struggling to print the letter "h"
    Apologising for my last blog on here....... That being so the idea the George Foukles said on Scotland at Ten last night that the BNP were a "treat" instead of threat.......my computer made the mistake but in truth it is nearer the truth.
    Maybe is what Labour's secret idea is........Let then suffer the cuts and extreme politics and they'll "FLOCKING" come to us?
    Meanwhile pile on pressure on fairly reasonable political parties like the SNP with media accomplices (aka the BBC)

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  • 81. At 9:55pm on 18 May 2010, eye_write wrote:

    79. GrannieAnne
    "Hmmm... I know some men whose sheer gut instinct is a tendency to fart. "

    ....in your general direction? ;-)

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  • 82. At 10:20pm on 18 May 2010, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Is there anyone out there brave enough to confess to referring my utterly harmless #36, and explaining why? I'm expecting some experienced posters to log-in tomorrow and apologise for letting the baby - or the dog - play with the computer.
    Night, night.

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  • 83. At 10:22pm on 18 May 2010, BOAB wrote:

    If it is going to be so bad why don't Labour and the SNP form a coalition in Scotland over the next few years to protect us against the cuts?

    I know it is a silly question but I would like to know what Murphy and Salmond would say..............

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  • 84. At 10:31pm on 18 May 2010, BOAB wrote:

    Once you get personal as in life and on a blog........... its over

    I wish all you seasoned bloggers would remember that and stick to the theme of the blog.

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  • 85. At 10:50pm on 18 May 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    74. At 8:43pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:
    59. Sheneval
    "A good point.
    Unfortunately, plastic seems to be the trend in politicians as in many other things."

    Unfortunately, the requirement to look good on TV is not new - I remember some 15 years ago a conversation taking place as to why the late Norman Buchan, another man of passion and honesty,who my father knew from his youth and who had been our MP, never seemed to appear on Question Time, and the sad truth we arrived at back then was that he didn't fit the desired profile.

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  • 86. At 11:12pm on 18 May 2010, BOAB wrote:

    Norman Buchan would now have been long deselected in this Labour party.

    The Iraq War ...the delving into pension funds... Clause 4 .....et al

    When its like that and the BBC never dig deep into the principal arguments Labour put forward in Scotland, surely something has to happen at some point because real ideas come from men like that....and Labour have no one like that left.

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  • 87. At 11:13pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    78. tullibardine
    "It appears some Tory hierarchy outwith Holyrood want to restrict their MSPs to two terms only in parliament.

    David McLetchie is none too pleased and says so.
    “. . . . . when, member for member, we have the most effective group in the Scottish Parliament.” Eh?

    and

    He also argued that it would prevent MSPs from gaining the valuable experience they need to become ministers. I’ll give him the benefit of doubt on this one and assume he meant church ministers.
    "

    The concept that maybe it would be a good thing for there to be a conservative party not run by London never appears to have occurred to them.

    Very interesting link. Thanks.

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  • 88. At 11:17pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    82. brigadierjohn
    "Is there anyone out there brave enough to confess to referring my utterly harmless #36, and explaining why? I'm expecting some experienced posters to log-in tomorrow and apologise for letting the baby - or the dog - play with the computer."

    *shrug* I never bother referring your comments or anyone else's. I prefer for you and a few others to be seen for what you are.

    I don't recall the comment as being worthy of notice anyway.

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  • 89. At 11:18pm on 18 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    85. Sheneval
    "Unfortunately, the requirement to look good on TV is not new - I remember some 15 years ago a conversation taking place as to why the late Norman Buchan, another man of passion and honesty,who my father knew from his youth and who had been our MP, never seemed to appear on Question Time, and the sad truth we arrived at back then was that he didn't fit the desired profile.
    "

    That has been true for quite some time, but I do think it's getting worse. I suspect that today there is no way Churchill would become prime minister.

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  • 90. At 11:53pm on 18 May 2010, kered wrote:

    81. At 9:55pm on 18 May 2010, eye_write wrote:
    79. GrannieAnne
    "Hmmm... I know some men whose sheer gut instinct is a tendency to fart. "

    Flatulence will get you nowhere! LoL

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  • 91. At 11:54pm on 18 May 2010, BOAB wrote:

    Everything is glowing down south........
    Ideas are flowing
    "The Coalition" is not now about the Iraq grouping but of the Westminster cabal.
    England have won the 20 20
    They just might be reconsidered for the World Cup in 2014 2018
    They could win this one coming.........
    Clegg is the New Lord Grey

    And up here............ same auld claes and porridge
    Wake up BBC Scotland!!!
    Glasgow Health Board made the cuts......... Labour are on the board and its the same board that gave the taxis contract for the hospitals to known gangsters.
    Read the Police Report!!
    Where is the Purcel Enquiry?

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  • 92. At 00:30am on 19 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    Dave cultivates his legacy; Nick discovers he agreed with him all along – he was just using the wrong words

    Sorry, I was thinking of something totally different. Now I get it. Yeah! Great! Nick is now completely on board for as big a society as Dave wants. “What I’m discovering is we’ve been using different words for a long time – it actually means the same thing.”

    Can't say I agree with Mr. Warner on a lot of points but it and the comments are still interesting reading . One in particular I noticed:

    "A coalition? Isn’t that what you do when you throw away all your principles to grab the trappings of power?"

    Poor Nick. I suspect he may get a few trappings but darn little in the way of actual power.

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  • 93. At 00:59am on 19 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    90. kered
    "Flatulence will get you nowhere! LoL"

    Maybe or maybe not. You might not want to light a match to find out. ;-)

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  • 94. At 03:19am on 19 May 2010, Robin wrote:

    Is it significant that, for all the comments complaining about the previous blog being on football, it attracted more comments than this one...

    ...even if you subtract comments that were merely complaining about the choice of topic from yesterday's total...

    ...and even if you eliminate all but the strictly on-topic comments from both totals?

    (OK, the last bit was a guess. I didn't actually count. I'm bored, but I'm not quite that bored...)

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  • 95. At 05:46am on 19 May 2010, AusScot wrote:

    Brian,

    Is the next Labour Party Leader really that interesting?

    Come one, look at the choices, some of them make Gordon Brown look dynamic…

    You will agree that whatever the choice there will be little impact felt in Scotland.
    The Labour party in Scotland is devoid of any independence and will therefore jump at their master’s request.

    Healthy debate, surely you’re having a laugh.

    There will be no debate. Only a collective nod of heads and acceptance that he or she is the leader, closely followed by delightful singing of ‘self appreciation society’ and mutual backslapping.

    Here’s a question(s) for you and I would expect that it is something you will ask…

    Who are potential collation partners for the largest party after next years Scottish elections?

    Will anyone want to approach the Libs now that they are aligned to the Conservatives at a UK level?

    Surely after recent comments Labour (should they win most seats) will not go anywhere near the Libs, or will they follow their true to mould hypocrisy? If morality sways then surely we may see a Labour minority government?

    If the SNP are the largest party then undoubtedly we will be looking at another minority government. Surely they wouldn’t want to now align with the Lib Dems?

    Have the Libs effectively ruled themselves out as coalition partners at a Scottish level by siding with the Conservatives?

    Can the Scottish people handle another minority government?

    Can the SNP handle another minority government, after all minority governments means no referendum on independence?

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  • 96. At 06:27am on 19 May 2010, Calum McKay wrote:

    Pamela Nash - north britush labour MP, her viw of the world / priorities:


    "She thinks her party must now concentrate on winning back confidence and votes south of the border."


    Rater than serve her own constituents, help to resolve the mess her party made of the economy or erradiacating poverty in Scotland, Pamela thinks wooing back voters in another country is her priority as a new MP - sums up nb labour priorities.


    C McK


    Never

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  • 97. At 06:38am on 19 May 2010, ForteanJo wrote:

    #96 - " Pamela thinks wooing back voters in another country is her priority as a new MP - sums up nb labour priorities."

    Why would she need to do her job as a constituency MP, Scotland is in the bag? Or, at least, it is if you believe the grayman. If the MSM wasn't so complicit, Labour would really need to up their game in Scotland. As it is, they can say any old rubbish and get away with it. That's why we're left with labour MPs who are so pathetic.

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  • 98. At 06:42am on 19 May 2010, ForteanJo wrote:

    #95 - "Surely after recent comments Labour (should they win most seats) will not go anywhere near the Libs, or will they follow their true to mould hypocrisy? If morality sways then surely we may see a Labour minority government?"

    Well, the labour party don't do morality any more than they do religion. What would be the deciding factor would be how it would play out in the MSM if a lib-lab coalition was to go ahead at holyrood while we had a ConDem one at Westminster.

    Of course, it doesn't come natural to the MSM in Scotland to criticise the labour party so that probably wouldn't be a problem.

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  • 99. At 08:15am on 19 May 2010, eye_write wrote:

    88. GrannieAnne
    "*shrug* I never bother referring your comments or anyone else's. I prefer for you and a few others to be seen for what you are."

    "Englanders"? ;-)

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  • 100. At 08:15am on 19 May 2010, eye_write wrote:

    90. kered

    LOL

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  • 101. At 08:19am on 19 May 2010, eye_write wrote:

    94. Robin

    Yes, I suspect after the election folk will just have had a 'gutfull' of the politics.
    They'll come back around.

    Maybe Labour should have a football match to decide the 'leadership'?
    Thus, more comments ;-)

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  • 102. At 09:29am on 19 May 2010, Ron McArthur wrote:

    51. At 5:21pm on 18 May 2010, euan0709 wrote:
    I dont know if this has been mentioned before, but I thought that the Elections for local govt the Scottish Parliament etc were supposed to be secret............So how come The Gray Man is writing to Lib Dem voters asking them to vote for the Labour Party...How did he find out who voted and for what party ??????

    Authority says it has found the biggest ever "suckers" list of potential targets for share fraudsters.
    Perhaps Labour are into new investments?

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  • 103. At 09:52am on 19 May 2010, Dunroamin wrote:

    96. Calum McKay: "Pamela Nash: "She thinks her party must now concentrate on winning back confidence and votes south of the border."

    Rather than serve her own constituents, help to resolve the mess her party made of the economy or erradiacating poverty in Scotland, Pamela thinks wooing back voters in another country is her priority as a new MP - sums up nb labour priorities"


    Or....

    She quite clearly stated it should be the Labour party's priority to win back votes south of the border, having maintained the party's dominance in Scotland.

    Not her priority.

    Although, I can see how you so badly misinterpreted her comments.

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  • 104. At 10:16am on 19 May 2010, Ron McArthur wrote:

    92. At 00:30am on 19 May 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:
    "A coalition? Isn’t that what you do when you throw away all your principles to grab the trappings of power?"
    Naw thats called Minority Government, minority government means you can blab on about wanting a referendum, blab blab blab and thats as far as it gets. Minority is about having to work with other parties to get the basics through parliament. The please can we have your support to put this bill through type of government. No great effort required there. Certainly no chance of getting a referendum through. I think Yosser Hughies in "Boys from the Black stuff" summed it up "Gees a job, I can do that" Try anything once to see how it feels. Well you have had your chance, time to step aside and let real politicians run the Country.
    If it is true about the state Labour party has left the UK in. A coalition government, a government of 2 different parties, joining together, putting their political differences aside to try and pull the UK out of the mess, does not seem to me, to be parties throwing away their principles for the trappings of power. Only a fool or closed minded individual would have the cheek to say that. These 2 parties have shown a great deal of courage and should be at least given the chance to show what they can do. If they fail, then tear them to pieces, in the mean time, save your cheap jokes for something nearer home.

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  • 105. At 10:34am on 19 May 2010, eye_write wrote:

    103. Reluctant-Expat

    She's IN the Labour party! 8-)

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