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Turning it down from 11

Brian Taylor | 15:28 UK time, Thursday, 3 June 2010

Have you noticed a change in tone from Alex Salmond at first minister's questions?

More precisely, a change in volume.

No more skelping his opponents all over the shop with bombast and barbed insults. No more finger jabbing: the digits stay down by his side.

To be frank, I had wondered whether he was a bit below par, a mite weary: which would be understandable given the point in the Parliamentary calendar.

By common consent, the recess cannot come soon enough.

But no. I am assured by insiders that the switch is a deliberate strategy and follows an internal discussion as to what attracts and what repels the voting public.

It is felt that an understated note of concern better matches the mood, post the UK general election and pre the next round of cuts.

SNP Swear box

The public, it is thought, don't want political anger, they want pragmatic action.

In a sense, it is back to the approach which Alex Salmond adopted in the run-up to the 2007 Holyrood elections.

Then, you may recall, the SNP team had the equivalent of a swear box: transgressors had to chip in a coin every time they delivered a negative statement, a comment which departed from the party's avowedly positive approach.

In normal circumstances, Mr Salmond would have had to take out a standing order to meet his fines. But he exercised self-restraint.

Now, he and his team have seemingly calculated once more that the voters are weary of raucous political argument.

Turn down the volume, the theory goes, and the people may listen more carefully and consequently may absorb the Scottish Government's message more thoroughly.

Certainly, the change was evident at Holyrood today. Labour's Iain Gray vigorously pursued the FM over the impact of public spending constraint.

Well-worded attack

One might question why Mr Gray majored on teacher training, consigning NHS jobs - the issue of the day - to a secondary point.

Presumably, it was felt this would wrong-foot Mr Salmond.

However, the pursuit was effective. Yet, either way, Mr Salmond declined to rise to what was a well-worded attack.

Even when Mr Gray personalised the issue with a neat touch of satire about the Education Secretary Mike Russell, Mr Salmond kept the decibels down.

In general, Labour will seek to pin the blame for particular cuts upon decisions taken by Scottish Ministers.

Mr Salmond's objective, it seems, will be to repeat a series of key points: that the cuts now and to come can be traced to Labour's overall handling of the UK economy; that SNP Ministers will seek to minimise the damage to public services; and, thirdly, that Labour walked away from the prospect of forming an alternative UK coalition government.

I do not believe that "yah" and indeed "boo" are now to be expunged for ever from the Holyrood lexicon.

But, it seems, the tone may have changed.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:48pm on 03 Jun 2010, handclapping wrote:

    So the SNP can change; can Labour, or are they consigned to the dust heap like the dinosaurs they are? Watch this space.

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  • 2. At 3:53pm on 03 Jun 2010, fairforfochen wrote:

    The difference the F.M does not need to shout is because many of us emailed parliament ie P.O and Iain Gray at our disgust at the behaviour coming from the labour side of the chamber.and it has obviously had an effect The F.M should not have to roar like a bull to make himself heard over the rabble.The P.O did not have a grip on proceedings but has upped his game the last couple of weeks

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  • 3. At 3:54pm on 03 Jun 2010, Iain wrote:

    Can we believe anything Iain Gray says after the phantom document about name changing last week?

    Personally, I'm in favour of a less bombastic style of debate. It might actually lead to some sensible discussion instead of the pantomime that we have seen recently.

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  • 4. At 4:00pm on 03 Jun 2010, NConway wrote:

    The answer to Ian Gray is "when you decide to bring something useful to this chamber I will answer him " and give him the same answer to all his questions but when the leaders of the other partys ask questions answer them in the usual manner ,eventualy Ian will get the point that he is irelavant,

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  • 5. At 4:02pm on 03 Jun 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    A reasonably fair analysis, Brian, and by BBC Scotland standards an astonishingly fair one. But that being so why on earth did you allow Cochrane to drivel on so without challenging him on today's programme?

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  • 6. At 4:11pm on 03 Jun 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    I should have added to my previous post [#5] that what was very disappointing was that in the post-match analysis you drew nobody's attention to the increased budgets given to the Labour councils who are actually making the cuts - presumably in the secure knowledge that dour Iain has no authority in his party to stop them.

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  • 7. At 4:20pm on 03 Jun 2010, Vakov2000 wrote:

    Typical Labour we're all up the creak without a paddle because of their bungling and mismanagment at every level. They hypocritically attack and blame whoever has to try and deal with their mess. They really are a vile, undemocratic lot!

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  • 8. At 4:31pm on 03 Jun 2010, Vakov2000 wrote:

    Gray is irrelevant Brown is basically going over his head running the election campaign and treating Scotland as his personal fiefdom.

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  • 9. At 4:33pm on 03 Jun 2010, Vakov2000 wrote:

    We had the same in Fife when the SNP/Lib Dems took over from Labour they discovered years of Labour finicial mismanagement and bungling which had practically bankrupt the council. When the new administration took over and have been having to wield cuts to sort out the mess. Who is banging on about all the cuts - Labour!

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  • 10. At 4:46pm on 03 Jun 2010, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    There is no doubt, the cuts now and to come can be traced to Labour's disastrous handling of the UK economy. Gray simply doesn't have a leg to stand on.

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  • 11. At 4:55pm on 03 Jun 2010, minuend wrote:

    Found that SDS document yet Brian? You know the one you claimed supported Iain Gray's allegations last week.

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  • 12. At 4:56pm on 03 Jun 2010, George Gardiner wrote:

    Gray did not have a good line of attack, it was his usual illogical assertion that Scotland got more money so everything is the SNPs fault, however local councils get more money from SNP Government - it's still the SNPs fault?! Liked Cochranes view that MSPs should not have an opinion on foreign policy because that's for (real) British politicians. Mere attendance at the palace of Westminster is enough to change a nonentity MSP into a political heavy-weight MP? (Margaret Curran?????) Is there not at least a course to attend to increase your grading?
    Please - just be a little enquiring and constructively question the labour position occasionally as it appears to me (as a non-expert) that it changes according to who is speaking and what way the wind is blowing.

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  • 13. At 4:58pm on 03 Jun 2010, wilddog wrote:

    Brian why are we still waiting for an update on Gray's Namegate surely as the BBC political Editor you should be interested if any Leader was misleading Parliament and expose such leaders if I remember BBC Scotland hammered away at Salmond over Trump many,many times.

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  • 14. At 5:02pm on 03 Jun 2010, perthski wrote:

    "Labour's Iain Gray vigorously pursued the FM over the impact of public spending constraint."......Answer: Labour's 13 years in power.

    "Labour's Iain Gray vigorously pursued the FM over the impact of public spending constraint."......Answer: Labour's 13 years in power.


    "Labour's Iain Gray vigorously pursued the FM over the impact of public spending constraint."......Answer: Labour's 13 years in power.


    Cuts,cuts,cuts anyone?

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  • 15. At 5:05pm on 03 Jun 2010, kenstor wrote:

    of course, the usual stuff here. its not our fault, its everybody else's. 3 years in office and its still "a big laddie did it, and run awa".

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  • 16. At 5:19pm on 03 Jun 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    Turning it down from 11.

    It seems Iain Gray is taking the lead from Joseph Goebbels.


    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”



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  • 17. At 5:30pm on 03 Jun 2010, Florence wrote:

    I suspect Mr. Salmond's more understated performance today would no doubt be due, in part, to the horrific situation in Cumbria. Full-on fistycuffs would have been quite inappropriate and our F.M. would be aware of that unlike some of the braying opposition members to his left. However, I sincerely hope we are not to be deprived of witnessing Mr. Salmond giving the Gray man a good slap-down at FMQs. It is one of life's little pleasures and something I look forward to on Thursdays. Please, Eck, not too much self-restraint. The F.M. in full flood is truly a joy to behold! Could it be, perhaps, that the Pr. Officer had properly exerted his authority and brought the Labour MSPs to heel, whereby Salmond didn't have to bellow to hear himself above the rabble?

    Another great critique by Brian on Gray's performance - "vigorously pursued the F.M.", "the pursuit was effective", "a neat touch of satire". Who would need a P.R. officer or spin doctor when they have Brian batting for them? Lucky Mr. Gray!

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  • 18. At 5:39pm on 03 Jun 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

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

  • 19. At 5:41pm on 03 Jun 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    kenstor wrote:

    ''of course, the usual stuff here. its not our fault, its everybody else's. 3 years in office and its still "a big laddie did it, and run awa".


    Nothing more than the antithesis of truth.

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  • 20. At 5:41pm on 03 Jun 2010, brigadierjohn wrote:

    Fair play to Salmond if he has moderated his style and caught the public mood that these are not times for vituperation, slogans, put-downs and insults in the political arena. Will the posters here take the hint, or continue to lash out wildly at anyone and everyone who questions their superiority?

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  • 21. At 5:46pm on 03 Jun 2010, frankly francophone wrote:

    As was apparent at FMQs today, the Labour group in the Scottish Parliament is not interested in accepting that the late unlamented UK Labour government's chronic mismanagement of the public finances means that serious spending cuts are having to be prepared for not only by the Scottish Government but by all public authorities in Scotland, even though this year's Scottish budget remains intact. Next year's Scottish budget is going to be substantially reduced by Westminster, and the public sector in Scotland will consequently contract, because the Labour Party, as the First Minister pointed out, in his new tone of voice, has comprehensively wrecked the public finances.

    The state of affairs that the Labour Party left when it demitted office in England is breathtakingly catastrophic: a record UK deficit of £153 billion; net debt of £890 billion, which is 62 per cent of GDP compared with 52.9 per cent the previous year. Not content with this, the Brown government was budgeting for public debt of 78 per cent of GDP by 2014-15, preferring to put off necessary budget cuts.

    Mr Gray was singing from the same hymn sheet today: spend, spend, spend. Unfortunately, as his party's Chief Secretary to the Treasury noted in his departing letter to his ConDem successor, there is no money left, Labour having spent it all. Carrying on spending at the same level is simply not possible, the UK having been living well beyond its means, and now it is payback time if the AAA credit rating is to be maintained. If that is not maintained, the cost of servicing the UK's public debt goes up and becomes the main item of UK government expenditure, a result of which would be that there would have to be even deeper public spending cuts.

    The UK public finances having reached the point at which public borrowing and spending simply have to come down, the Labour Party was, not surprisingly, content to leave office to complain from opposition about the cuts that it has caused, which is what Mr Gray was doing at Holyrood today.

    Even a dispassionate observer would have to conclude that this is not a respectable position to adopt and that it presents a distastefully unprepossessing spectacle.

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  • 22. At 5:52pm on 03 Jun 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    So the Labour baboons were'nt shouting ,ergo the FM did'nt have to raise his voice our collective complaints may have made a difference after all.

    Iain Gray documents Brian??
    Seen 'em have you??
    Useless are they??
    Prove nothing do they???

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  • 23. At 6:23pm on 03 Jun 2010, Astonished wrote:

    Still nothing about mr grey's imaginary papers from last thursday. I can only hope that a house built on deceit will eventually fall.



    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

    Martin Luther King in Birmingham Jail on 16 April 1963.




    Funnily enough Reverend King was there partly because of false documents and inaccurate reporting.

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  • 24. At 6:26pm on 03 Jun 2010, Astonished wrote:



    "You can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps, but much more by the company he dishonestly defends" - Anonymous.( Although I believe it was Robert Kennedy)

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  • 25. At 6:29pm on 03 Jun 2010, romeplebian wrote:

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

  • 26. At 6:34pm on 03 Jun 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #15 kenstor
    "of course, the usual stuff here. its not our fault, its everybody else's. 3 years in office and its still "a big laddie did it, and run awa"."

    As my previous effort to respond to your peerless analysis has been referred, I must first apologise if offence was caused by my comparing your analytical style favourably to that of a well-known journalist. I withdraw the slur unreservedly.

    But do please explain in simple terms for us proles quite what powers the Scottish Government have which could have prevented the UK Labour government reducing Scotland's block grant in real terms this year, and/or what powers they have to influence how Labour councils choose to spend their increased allocations.

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  • 27. At 6:34pm on 03 Jun 2010, Gary Hay wrote:

    #20 brigadierjohn

    'Will the posters here take the hint, or continue to lash out wildly at anyone and everyone who questions their superiority? '

    I don't know john, will you?

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  • 28. At 6:45pm on 03 Jun 2010, Secret Civil Servant wrote:

    '9. At 4:33pm on 03 Jun 2010, Vakov2000 wrote:

    We had the same in Fife when the SNP/Lib Dems took over from Labour they discovered years of Labour finicial mismanagement and bungling which had practically bankrupt the council. When the new administration took over and have been having to wield cuts to sort out the mess. Who is banging on about all the cuts - Labour!'

    Spoken like a true Tory! No one mention the fact that the SNP have been elected on a manifesto of promises that they actually can't afford to pay for? Just as well they haven't got fiscal autonomy or else they will put us in a much worse state than the country is already in.

    SNP tactic seems to be to promise us things they can't pay for but criticise Labour for overspending and delivering the things they did actually deliver.

    1000 extra police (a success of the SNP!) but 3000 less NHS workers (the fault of Labour of course!) How many more public sector workers will ose their jobs?

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  • 29. At 6:47pm on 03 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    20. brigadierjohn
    "Will the posters here take the hint, or continue to lash out wildly at anyone and everyone who questions their superiority? "\

    That's a good question. I'll watch your behavior to see.

    I rather doubt you're capable of change but I'm willing to be proved wrong on it.

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  • 30. At 6:49pm on 03 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    22. Diabloandco
    "So the Labour baboons were'nt shouting ,ergo the FM did'nt have to raise his voice our collective complaints may have made a difference after all.

    Iain Gray documents Brian??
    Seen 'em have you??
    Useless are they??
    Prove nothing do they???

    "

    I hope so on the Labour behavior. I've made my opinion known to the PO and to a number of Labour MSPs that Scotland is being shamed by their behavior in parliament.

    That leads to the question of the documents that supposedly exist but are so suddenly no longer mentioned. Where are they, Brian? Exactly what is it that they do NOT prove?

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  • 31. At 6:50pm on 03 Jun 2010, Teri wrote:

    Yes, Alex Salmond has turned down the volume;the Labour benches are behaving much better; the presiding officer is beginning once more to bring some semblance of order to the house. The reason, I suspect, is the number of emails that have been sent to all of them re behaviour. Certainly we can now hear both the questions and the answers.

    Ian Gray may have caught the First Minister off guard with his questions re new teachers not getting jobs, but what's new there? I retired from the profession a few years ago and would say that throughout the entire life of the Scottish Parliament, probationer teachers have had difficulty getting permanent posts. Some that I know did supply teaching for 10 years before getting a permanent post; others changed careers, many to the Housing, where they found they could rise much more quickly through their promotion structure.

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  • 32. At 7:01pm on 03 Jun 2010, BenisBored wrote:

    Is there any chance Alex Salmond could reduce the volume to 0db and quietly remove himself from politics? Now that would be something.

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  • 33. At 7:44pm on 03 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    32. BenisBored
    "Is there any chance Alex Salmond could reduce the volume to 0db and quietly remove himself from politics? Now that would be something."

    No, the voters of Scotland could remove him if they so wished.

    Obviously, they do NOT so wish.

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  • 34. At 7:55pm on 03 Jun 2010, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #29 GrannieAnne: (or take your pick) What a brass neck! You referred my posts (earlier thread) that questioned your bona fides, and then have the nerve to say you'll watch my behaviour. What exactly is it that frightens you so much that you need to shout down or silence questioners?

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  • 35. At 8:16pm on 03 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    34. brigadierjohn
    "#29 GrannieAnne: (or take your pick) What a brass neck! You referred my posts (earlier thread) that questioned your bona fides, and then have the nerve to say you'll watch my behaviour. What exactly is it that frightens you so much that you need to shout down or silence questioners?"

    It's hard to shout on a blog. Anyone who reads my comments will give them whatever weight they want.

    As for referring your comment, don't give yourself airs. I didn't and won't. I prefer that people judge you by your behavior.

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  • 36. At 8:23pm on 03 Jun 2010, spagan wrote:

    34 Briggy
    Careful old boy.
    Calm down and take a couple of the wee blue tablets the nice man with the white coat have you.
    Shhhh.
    Go to sleep
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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  • 37. At 8:36pm on 03 Jun 2010, Calum McKay wrote:

    Brian wrote:

    "In general, Labour will seek to pin the blame for particular cuts upon decisions taken by Scottish Ministers."

    Even the thickest of the thick, could see through this strategy - or maybe not.

    P.S. how are Jim and the other labour lads getting on with their court case. Perhaps Jim can reinvent himself as a Glasgow councillor - or may be not.

    C McK

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  • 38. At 8:52pm on 03 Jun 2010, brigadierjohn wrote:

    #35: Oh thou, whatever title suit thee: So which of your other titles made the referral? You're rumbled, so go the way of Electric Hermit/Bighullabaloo and the others. Not so much a poster as an imposter, I'd say. Take a tip from Salmond and stop the self-harming.

    #36: If you're going to attempt humour, try the grown-up version, eh?


    Goodnight folks, it's clearly a full moon.

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  • 39. At 8:56pm on 03 Jun 2010, Flora d Lithe wrote:

    #34, brigadierjohn spluttered:

    "#29 GrannieAnne: (or take your pick) What a brass neck! You referred my posts (earlier thread) that questioned your bona fides, and then have the nerve to say you'll watch my behaviour. What exactly is it that frightens you so much that you need to shout down or silence questioners?"


    Calm down, dear.


    Take a deep breath, count to ten, turn around and start again.

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  • 40. At 9:05pm on 03 Jun 2010, spagan wrote:

    38 Briggy
    Just concerned that you were going to blow another bloodvessel.
    'Grown up' aka 'Adult' Humour is verboten on BwB.
    Oidhche mhath

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  • 41. At 9:05pm on 03 Jun 2010, Online Ed wrote:

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

  • 42. At 10:12pm on 03 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

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

  • 43. At 10:19pm on 03 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    Interesting article from the Guardian:

    Government to publish entire spending database.

    The government will tomorrow give the public free access to its accounting books for the first time, publishing the entire contents of its spending database – a total of 24m individual entries documenting where public money comes from, what it is spent on and whose pocket it ends up in.

    Well this should eventually shine a bright light into some murky areas of government spending, even at local authority level. This I feel sure would not go amiss in aiding public scrutiny of how and where our money is spent in areas such as Glasgow, for example.

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  • 44. At 11:02pm on 03 Jun 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    43. Roll_On_2011
    "Government to publish entire spending database."

    I wonder if the BBC will do likewise.

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  • 45. At 11:40pm on 03 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    Ah, now who do you suppose might have referred my #42? Just a small poke at a certain poster though.

    Of some actual import, no one seems to have pointed the way to where the happenings at the FMQ are actually discussed, so I'll be the first.

    floccinaucinihilipilification follies

    Meanwhile, in the Hall of Embarrassments, or Parliament debating chamber, we waited for Fudd’s latest offering. Really, he has only two choices: more of these truth-free “scoops” (anyone remember Balmoralgate?); or blaming the Eck for minor earthquakes in the Andes, adolescents with skin complaints and the fact that a lavatory in a Glasgow hospital was blocked for 15 minutes.

    He began: “Presiding orifice, this week no surprises, no leaked documents” – no apologies – “just the Scottish Government’s own official figures on how many new teachers have found jobs.” Very few, according to Elmer, and that was “a disgrace”. It’s certainly odd that, at a time of UK-wide fiscal crisis and harsh cutbacks in spending, someone can’t get a job in the public sector. It’s mystifying.


    An enjoyable read.

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  • 46. At 00:05am on 04 Jun 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Heard something about Purcell on the news, unclear.

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  • 47. At 00:09am on 04 Jun 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Wake up mods your paid by us to do a job if its beyond your capabilities time to move on and get a firm that does what its paid for.

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  • 48. At 00:13am on 04 Jun 2010, wilddog wrote:

    With so many posts on here asking about Namegate why do you not give us an answer Brian or has your bosses told you to drop the whole thing,only asking

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  • 49. At 03:01am on 04 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/2999434/Steven-Purcell-quizzed-by-cops-on-return.html

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  • 50. At 06:45am on 04 Jun 2010, ForteanJo wrote:

    #45 - "floccinaucinihilipilification follies"

    So refreshing to read a journalist who admits that blindly accepting the grayman's word last week was folly.

    But wait a minute, though. Rab says that this infamous document that proved the grayman right may not actually exist (Scottish labour refused to make it public because "it might have identified the mole"). So Brian's claim that labour had published the document could be a downright lie? Certainly, one of these journalists has got the wrong end of the stick (much like the grayman last week). One things for certain, BT's reputation continues to drop like a stone whilst he slavishly buys into the grayman's every utterence.

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  • 51. At 06:55am on 04 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    50. ForteanJo
    "So Brian's claim that labour had published the document could be a downright lie?"

    I have yet to see where any such document was published.

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  • 52. At 06:59am on 04 Jun 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    28 Secret Civil Servant.

    ''SNP tactic seems to be to promise us things they can't pay for but criticise Labour for overspending and delivering the things they did actually deliver.''

    Quotes On Police recruitment:

    August 29th 2008, The Times – Iain Gray said; “at this rate it will take the SNP 13 years to keep their promise.”

    March 4th 2009 The Herald - Richard Baker said: "Kenny MacAskill needs to come clean now and say if there will be 17,236 or more officers by May 2011 or not?"

    March 4th 2009, The Express- Labour's justice spokesman Richard Baker said, "Until there are 17,236 officers in Scotland, the SNP manifesto promise remains unmet"

    From your post we can safely assume you want money spent on both police recruitment and the National Health Service. Given that Labour has left us near bankrupt where are these funds to come from ?

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  • 53. At 07:06am on 04 Jun 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

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

  • 54. At 07:59am on 04 Jun 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    I have just read a piece on PFI and our wondrous Labour built ( took the credit at the time!)hospitals.
    Over charged by millions, someone should be investigating contracts awarded and to whom.
    You'll find it all on the only dedicated Scottish news and information gatherer NewsnetScotland.
    Thanks granny , I had forgotten to read Rab !
    The man has a way with words!

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  • 55. At 09:26am on 04 Jun 2010, minuend wrote:

    After 3 months on the run Scotland's Councillor of the Year (oh yes), Steven Purcell finally returns to face questions over his use of illegal drugs whilst leader of Glasgow City council.

    Is that how long it takes to uncover and bring forward the truth concerning the actions of Labour politicians in Scotland.

    If it does then we can look forward to Brian Taylor coming forth with that infamous SDS document sometime in September.

    Labour's dog, BBC Scotland, have a lot of questions to answer.

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  • 56. At 10:34am on 04 Jun 2010, X_Sticks wrote:

    45. At 11:40pm on 03 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:
    "It’s certainly odd that, at a time of UK-wide fiscal crisis and harsh cutbacks in spending, someone can’t get a job in the public sector."
    Obviously not a card carrying Labour member then?

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  • 57. At 11:02am on 04 Jun 2010, dubbieside wrote:

    GrannieAnne re 45

    Many thanks for the link to Rab. I have not read his column for a few weeks.

    I was particularly struck by his line "At any rate, in future, rest assured I’ll preface any backing for Mr Fudd with the words “Assuming he’s got his facts right" maybe that is advise that more of the main stream media should take on board.

    Check the facts first then report, is that not how real reporters do it?

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  • 58. At 11:09am on 04 Jun 2010, dubbieside wrote:

    If Calman is not already "dead" it is certainly getting the "last rites"

    Scottish business heavyweights are lining up behind more powers for Scotland.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article7143882.ece

    Full Fiscal Autonomy is on its way, next step independence.

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  • 59. At 11:17am on 04 Jun 2010, enneffess wrote:

    On topic, I see someone has finally got through to Alex and told him to calm down. His previous confrontational approach was costing the SNP votes. People want calm leadership. It gives them confidence. And staying calm in the face of the opposition yapping makes them look even more silly (if that's possible).


    On Glasgow CC, BT is not going to make any comments while there are investigations by the police ongoing. Journalists who do such things tend to end up in court themselves.


    49. GrannieAnne:
    Glad to see you are reading such an informative publication.


    On PFI and hospitals, all Sturgeon needs to do is hold up/publish documents that were signed off by Kerr to show where the problem stems from.


    On Gray's "documents". Why is everyone asking Brian? Why not try writing to your local Labour MSP/MP for an answer instead?

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  • 60. At 11:46am on 04 Jun 2010, minuend wrote:

    Steven Purcell has already admitted that he has broken the criminal law in using illegal drugs.

    All the Glasgow polis have to do is to interview him and then charge with that offence. Purcell's admission of guilt means that any prosecution is straight forward. His sentence would be up to the courts.

    That can all be reported because it is process ......... but this is not the real story.

    Who else, apart from the police, already knew that Steven Purcell was taking illegal drugs?

    Who benefitted from that knowledge?

    Why did Steven Purcell flee the country only then to make statements to a particular newspaper?

    Why did the police not make contact with Steven Purcell when he was located abroad?

    Why role did a certain newspaper have in this whole affair?

    It is not only Steven Purcell who finds himself in the court of public opinion. The Scottish media has again found wanting in dealing with another Labour party scandal.

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  • 61. At 12:07pm on 04 Jun 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    59. At 11:17am on 04 Jun 2010, enneffess wrote:

    ''On Gray's "documents". Why is everyone asking Brian? Why not try writing to your local Labour MSP/MP for an answer instead?''


    Because Brian Taylor claimed the following:

    ''UPDATE AT 1644: Still more. Labour at Holyrood has now produced documentary evidence to back up its claim.

    It has published a document dated 27 April this year which appears to be a detailed plan by Skills Development Scotland to phase in the use of The Works in signage, letterheads and the like.

    In an earlier statement, SDS says that an internal proposal to use The Works as a corporate brand was rejected by their directors on the 30th of March.''


    Can you find any published documentary evidence?

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  • 62. At 12:19pm on 04 Jun 2010, Flora d Lithe wrote:

    #60, minuend

    The prosecution has to PROVE that a criminal offence has been committed.

    A confession might help the process, but an individual suffering from a mental health condition (allied to stress, perhaps?) might place in doubt the degree of reliance which could be placed upon such an admission of wrongdoing.

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  • 63. At 12:38pm on 04 Jun 2010, redrobb wrote:

    Business as usual @ our Glorified Regional Council then!

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  • 64. At 12:52pm on 04 Jun 2010, andrew wrote:

    With no official backing for SNP from ANY of the dead tree press is it honest, fair and impartial to have a long list of tory/labour hacks trundled out after FMQ's - charter breach bbc methinks!

    or maybe this.

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  • 65. At 12:55pm on 04 Jun 2010, Secret Civil Servant wrote:

    Comments abour Purcell taking illegal drugs well so did Barack Obama and yes, many times and he did inhale.'

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  • 66. At 12:59pm on 04 Jun 2010, Secret Civil Servant wrote:

    '52. At 06:59am on 04 Jun 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    28 Secret Civil Servant.

    ''SNP tactic seems to be to promise us things they can't pay for but criticise Labour for overspending and delivering the things they did actually deliver.''

    Quotes On Police recruitment:

    August 29th 2008, The Times – Iain Gray said; “at this rate it will take the SNP 13 years to keep their promise.”

    March 4th 2009 The Herald - Richard Baker said: "Kenny MacAskill needs to come clean now and say if there will be 17,236 or more officers by May 2011 or not?"

    March 4th 2009, The Express- Labour's justice spokesman Richard Baker said, "Until there are 17,236 officers in Scotland, the SNP manifesto promise remains unmet"

    From your post we can safely assume you want money spent on both police recruitment and the National Health Service. Given that Labour has left us near bankrupt where are these funds to come from ?'

    I'll restate my comments. The SNP seem to promise more than Labour delivered, but the consensus here is that Labour bankrupt the country delivering less? So how will the SNP deliver without bankrupting us further? Don't tell me - the magic oil beans that will pay for every promise ten times over?

    4000 less NHS posts! That means waiting lists will rise but on the bright side we will have plenty of police for Old Firm games and to police all the Free Gaza marches.

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  • 67. At 1:03pm on 04 Jun 2010, NorthernSole wrote:

    28. Secret Civil Servant

    The real problem here is the debate needs to move on. Arguing about who is to blame is tedious, however true it is. The facts are plain, public spending needs to come down, we have to find ways of doing this that delivers good quality public services.

    Herein lies the big prize for the SNP. What is needed is radical Scottish solutions to the delivery of public services, in a direction that is different to the rest of the UK.

    A bold vision for education that will not create ghetto schools as the lib-cons are proposing in England, but will improve standards and local control would be a good place to start. Another would be to solve teacher unemployment by firing the useless teachers that go untouched.

    What the electorate want is a government that looks forward, one that solves the problems. The new Westminster government is really re-hashing old ideas, the opportunity here is immense for the SNP.

    This is the opportunity to show the electorate that on our own we can do better, much better. What has been missing is what we can achieve, what we can improve. We need to develop that agenda ASAP.

    The new softer Salmond is a good step forward we now need the fresh thinking to reinvigorate the debate and move it on.

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  • 68. At 1:39pm on 04 Jun 2010, loveme2times wrote:

    I was enjoying reading all comments until enneffess appeared.

    It seems that one of your favourite phrases is

    "costing the SNP votes"

    If it's not posters on here, on other blogs or the first minister himself, it seems to me that you think you could do a better job than the FM, why don't you try standing to become an MSP???????????

    You always come across as you know best and you always know what the electorate wants and needs as with your comment "People want calm leadership. It gives them confidence"

    How many times will you be told you do not speak for the country you only speak for yourself.

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  • 69. At 1:40pm on 04 Jun 2010, loveme2times wrote:

    BRIAN,

    WHERE IS THIS LETTER YOU SAID HAD BEEN PUT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN??????

    Hope you were not just passing this message on as news without checking the facts first.

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  • 70. At 1:47pm on 04 Jun 2010, bmc875 wrote:

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

  • 71. At 1:51pm on 04 Jun 2010, Patch Bruce wrote:

    Looking at the latest support for fiscal autonomy from academia and business, I firmly believe that time has come. We should all be making our voices heard to gain this status within the UK at the very minimum. Nationalist or Unionist we should all be in agreement that Scotland should raise and spend its own tax revenues and pay a levy to Westminster for defence and foreign office. I can see no valid argument to the contrary that can hold up against this.

    For the unionist it may persuade people to stay in the union and allow all those power hungry labour MPS a free train ride to westminster. Or it may give the population the self belief that is needed to drive forward for independence.

    (unless of course you are MR Gray and would argue black is white just for the sake of it)

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  • 72. At 2:25pm on 04 Jun 2010, euan0709 wrote:

    #65 Secret Civil Servant................So that makes it OK then ?????

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  • 73. At 2:53pm on 04 Jun 2010, Wansanshoo wrote:

    66. Secret Civil Servant.

    ''The SNP seem to promise more than Labour delivered, but the consensus here is that Labour bankrupt the country delivering less?''

    And the SNP have delivered on a great many of those promises, including in conjunction with the Tories, an extra 1000 police officers.

    No one is denying Labour have put record investment in health for example, and should be congratulated for the principal, however, as forecasted PFI (Perfidious Financial Idiocy) has broken the camels back.

    e.g. To fit a standard lock on a wooden door on a PFI building costs as much as £ 500-00

    I'm not sure that the consensus here is that Labour party bankrupt the country delivering less, we got no value for money. The PFI system is designed for profit and on that basis cannot public service value.

    We can disagree on value for money, surely not on the fact that the Labour party have bankrupt this entire island ?

    So,the question remains, where is the extra funding to come from ?


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  • 74. At 3:47pm on 04 Jun 2010, clammylegg wrote:

    Labour economics!

    It’s a slow day in a little English town. The sun is beating down, and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich tourist from down south is driving through town. He stops at the motel and lays a £50 note on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

    As soon as the man walks upstairs, the owner grabs the note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

    The butcher takes the £50 and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

    The pig farmer takes the £50 and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

    The guy at the Farmer’s Co-op takes the £50 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit.

    The prozza rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.

    The hotel proprietor then places the £50 back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything.

    At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the £50 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

    No one produced anything. No one earned anything.

    However, the whole town is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the British Government was conducting business.

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  • 75. At 3:54pm on 04 Jun 2010, John_frae_Paisley wrote:

    I think that Iain Gray is terribly misunderstood. He's only trying his best and so what if he get's his facts wrong once in a while? Does it really matter if he makes claims that he cannot possibly hope to back up? Do we really mind him whining that everything is the government's fault?

    Mr Gray adds a touch of colour, a vibrancy to what could otherwise be dull proceedings. He's making other people look good and do they mind? No. Why? Because whatever and whoever makes you look good can get you re-elected.

    Mr Gray is fullfilling a vital function in our modern restored parliament. And what better testimony to our new sense of inclusiveness and democracy can we have, than having a parliament where a man who would normally be invisible in the real world can shine in the full gaze of public attention?

    I may be sweltering under the heatwave here in Paisley but,I'm thinking clearly and can see the big picture; everyone else is toning themselves down, Mr Gray is gearing up because the campaign for the next parliamentary election is well underway.

    So I say; "God bless our Parliament,God bless our democracy and God bless that little man. May he go from strength to strength"

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  • 76. At 4:03pm on 04 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    65. Secret Civil Servant
    "Comments abour Purcell taking illegal drugs well so did Barack Obama and yes, many times and he did inhale.'"

    So that made it all right? WHILE in office? With Purcell (according to the POLICE) opening himself up to blackmail??!

    Or is it just that if it was done by someone in Labour it had to be all right?

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  • 77. At 4:08pm on 04 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    59. enneffess
    "49. GrannieAnne:
    Glad to see you are reading such an informative publication.
    "

    Since the BBC North-Britain branch press tends to limit themselves to pubishing Labour press releases, one finds news where one can.

    You are certainly welcome to declare yourself to fine and elite to read news there and stick to the rarified atmosphere in these parts.

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  • 78. At 4:09pm on 04 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    69. loveme2times
    "WHERE IS THIS LETTER YOU SAID HAD BEEN PUT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN??????

    Hope you were not just passing this message on as news without checking the facts first.
    "

    Check the facts? It was from Labour and certainly doesn't need to be checked. One might need to hold one's nose though from the stench of terminal inexactitude.

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  • 79. At 4:13pm on 04 Jun 2010, enneffess wrote:

    68. loveme2times:

    It may surprise you to know that this is a PUBLIC blog, where people are entitled to voice their opinions, regardless to whether someone agrees with them or not.

    I suggest you get off your high horse, look up the words "arrogant" & "patronising" and at least debate a point without resorting to a personal attack.


    "How many times will you be told you do not speak for the country you only speak for yourself."

    Since when did YOU speak for the country? Perhaps grannie will help you.

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  • 80. At 4:15pm on 04 Jun 2010, enneffess wrote:

    67. At 1:03pm on 04 Jun 2010, NorthernSole wrote:

    Good post, but poster no68 might have a go at you for your last sentence.

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  • 81. At 4:32pm on 04 Jun 2010, bmc875 wrote:

    70. bmc875
    This referred blog contained the e-mail address of Mr Iain Gray MSP (in the public domain many places) which the BBC has taken exception to.

    I contacted Mr Gray by e-mail and requested a copy of the SDS document he produced in Holyrood, under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act. He has replied to me and declined my request. He cited reasons why he did not come under the Act. In essence, individual MSPs are not covered by freedom of information legislation.

    He will not be sending me a copy.

    Shame!

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  • 82. At 4:45pm on 04 Jun 2010, sid_ts63 wrote:

    afternoon all , the consensus on this blog seems to be that we as a nation need some blue sky thinking or thinking out of the box or some radical changes to the way our public services are delivered.
    We have reached the stage where we can no longer afford the system we have in place. Having 14 health boards , umpteen district councils ,umpteen police and fire & rescue forces is no longer affordable, nice to have , but unaffordable.

    we need people on the ground actually delivering world class services,
    we do not need ,and indeed cannot afford, the total overkill of chief executives, directors ,managers and quango appointee's

    As my granny used to say we are suffering from too many chiefs and not enough Indians !!

    Sid

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  • 83. At 4:54pm on 04 Jun 2010, john wrote:

    #76
    Further to that, Prcell admitted to taking a class A drug, not class B or C (or whatever Cannabis is these days). Slight difference

    John

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  • 84. At 5:26pm on 04 Jun 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    75. John frae Paisley, way too subtle for Labour John. I bet Elmer Fudd's already copied it to his blog under the heading "nice things people have said about me" :O)

    p.s just how hot is it in Paisley today?

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  • 85. At 5:30pm on 04 Jun 2010, wilddog wrote:

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

  • 86. At 6:06pm on 04 Jun 2010, John_frae_Paisley wrote:

    "84. At 5:26pm on 04 Jun 2010, GrassyKnollington wrote: ...just how hot is it in Paisley today?"

    Ma choc ices are melting straight from the fridge...

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  • 87. At 6:06pm on 04 Jun 2010, loveme2times wrote:

    79,

    "It may surprise you to know that this is a PUBLIC blog, where people are entitled to voice their opinions, regardless to whether someone agrees with them or not."

    Your opinions are fine with me as is everyone elses and I am well aware we all dont have to agree thats what makes it interesting I am just trying to point out that you write things as statement of facts a lot. 59(People want)(His previous confrontational approach was costing the SNP votes) you never write I feel that.... or in my opinion..... it is always statement of fact sentences.

    Since when did YOU speak for the country? Perhaps grannie will help you.

    Show me where I have spoke for the country please???

    On topic,
    "I see someone has finally got through to Alex and told him to calm down"

    I think during FM questions this is maybe more down to the fact that the Labour benches are behaving themselves the last few weeks much better, we all know they will revert to type very soon.

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  • 88. At 6:36pm on 04 Jun 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    85. wildjackamo
    "This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain"

    Is this a new term?

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  • 89. At 6:50pm on 04 Jun 2010, GeneralMalaise wrote:

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

  • 90. At 6:52pm on 04 Jun 2010, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    Iain Gray brings to life the old story about the senior naval officer who in a report on a junior officer wrote "this officer has set himself exceedingly low standards which he generally fails to achieve".

    Frankly, Gray questions and most of his points simply reflect his Labour roots and the extent to which Labour politicians are indoctrinated. Not an independent thinker amongst them.

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  • 91. At 7:04pm on 04 Jun 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Coins Data Explorer

    Bound to be some interesting numbers in there somewhere.

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  • 92. At 7:09pm on 04 Jun 2010, ambi wrote:

    #59. At 11:17am on 04 Jun 2010, enneffess wrote:
    "On Gray's "documents". Why is everyone asking Brian? Why not try writing to your local Labour MSP/MP for an answer instead?"


    Good idea, let us know how you get on (I presume you've already written?).

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  • 93. At 7:24pm on 04 Jun 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #91 cynicalHighlander
    "Bound to be some interesting numbers in there somewhere."

    Lots of it, I'm certain, but at first glance it's not easy to access and the old adage when all else fails try reading the instructions may need to be applied, as HM Treasury clearly are not happy bunnies about having to provide it.

    The BBC FOI blog thread Coins data now published: Please help us analyse it could well prove useful. I'll have another look at it tomorrow and publish anything I can access there.

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  • 94. At 8:24pm on 04 Jun 2010, Denno wrote:

    Just a thought, but if Labour is to blame for the economic mess we're in, and resultant cuts that have to be made (which they are), why was Alexander Salmond so keen to keep them in power with a 'progressive' alliance?

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  • 95. At 8:51pm on 04 Jun 2010, Wee Folding Bike wrote:

    Denno

    By offering a progressive alliance Mr Salmond undermined any jibes of "Tartan Tories".

    Far from helping the Tories into power the SNP could have helped to keep them out but Labour turned him down. They didn't even do it politely.

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  • 96. At 9:04pm on 04 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:

    #94 Denno

    If you don’t know the answer to that now, you never will!

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  • 97. At 9:35pm on 04 Jun 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    Brian a job for Glenn since he's big on American reaction to releases!

    I am sure he could make it out to be the SNP's fault.

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  • 98. At 10:10pm on 04 Jun 2010, enneffess wrote:

    92. ambi:

    bmc beat me to it, and Gray ain't playing.

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

    87. loveme2times:

    I write the way I do with some statements because I have genuine contacts with reliable information. Problem is, people like poster 89 decide on personal attacks, one reason why I spend most of my time on pro-SNP blogs where a real debate can be had.

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

    82. sid_ts63:

    A lot of the various senior management will complain about lack of "local knowledge". But that is easy to circumvent by having a sort of "regional specialist" who reports back to a single, central HQ. This can be a team or individual. It is already used by some areas of government and certainly by a lot of the private sector.

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  • 99. At 10:33pm on 04 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    The key to the COINS data base lies in the link to the original article I posted at #43, as follows:

    Government to publish entire spending database.

    The government will today give the public free access to its accounting books for the first time, publishing the entire contents of its spending database – a total of 24m individual entries documenting where public money comes from, what it is spent on and whose pocket it ends up in.

    The complex, 120GB Combined Online Information System (Coins) database won't, however, be accessible to the public until an industry has emerged to analyse and digest the information. The data is being released in raw format, without the sophisticated software needed to access it. In opposition, the Tories had suggested that such a release could stimulate an industry to analyse and create online services from it, worth up to £6bn a year.



    24 million individual ‘raw data’ entries in the database. Were/how does one start to analyse such data, especially if the data you require is contained in any number of separate data entries. Obviously dedicated software will need to be written to extract the data required.

    You can bet your shirt that most of the dead tree press will have already commissioned software houses to write just such software and will then appoint specialised individuals to analyse the database using that software when completed. They ‘collectively’ have no option but to, data is power, it boosts reader circulation.

    One recent, illustrative, example was the Telegraphs release of data regarding the ‘expenses scandal’, by luck or otherwise it was they who obtained the data, albeit from another type of source.

    Another example group that will use this database to assist them in their economic growth will be the industry that feeds of bidding for lucrative Government contacts. They will use analysis of the data base to give them an edge to refine and structure their future bids, given the analysed data. A major spin off from this is that analysis could be used to provide evidence of malpractice or cronyism in awards of government contracts.

    I believe that the Tories are correct in their suggestion that a large industry will be built around this initiative.

    There will be a plethora of companies and individuals who will have their own separate motives to have this database analysed to fulfil their own end requirements.

    In time, I believe, this will percolate down to other individuals/groups of software writers/coders. For example, in recent years ‘Open Source’ ‘Freeware’ software has seen a massive increase across the internet.

    Let’s not forget that this database is not encrypted, its drawbacks to the user is that it is complex and massive and the key will be in writing software that will unlock the access to this database to provide the information that the user requires.

    In time, I believe, this software will be available to a growing group of people who will be able to use it.

    My one regret is that the current Government do not appear to be moving towards making the FOI more accountable and inclusive, as it was initially intended. There are too many opt-outs in its delivery or shallow excuses for none-delivery.

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  • 100. At 11:13pm on 04 Jun 2010, GeneralMalaise wrote:

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

  • 101. At 11:55pm on 04 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    Tony Blair our very special adviser by dictator Gaddafi's son.

    Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said the former prime minister has secured a consultancy role with a state fund that manages the country's £65billion of oil wealth.
    In an exclusive interview, Saif described Mr Blair as a 'personal family friend' of the Libyan leader and said he had visited the country 'many, many times' since leaving Downing Street three years ago.


    I could say “gee…. what a surprise” but with regards to Teflon Tony nothing would surprise me.

    My only surprise is that they did not pick Jimmy Brown instead; after all he is the one with the economic wherewithal.

    Yeah right on.

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  • 102. At 00:05am on 05 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    Labour ministers spent £1.8bn on consultants in one year, public spending records reveal.

    COINS database in action.

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  • 103. At 00:08am on 05 Jun 2010, martin wrote:

    Now we will see whether Labour follow suit and calm down and start behaving themselves again or if they will keep on banging and rioting and nodding all their heads (synchronised, as if practised) to everything Ian Gray says. I find their shows of emotion quite entertaining so I hope they stick with it.

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  • 104. At 00:20am on 05 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    Interesting article from the Guardian:

    Scots: an auld dug with plenty of bite

    This great expressive language is a distillation of a country's history. To let Scots die would be a tragedy.

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  • 105. At 02:19am on 05 Jun 2010, rog_rocks wrote:

    Brian,

    Are you changing the subject?

    Although you may be finding this boring by now I have to agree and so add my voice with the many others;

    In the interest of fairness and impartiality, as you and BBC Scotland made news headlines from "Brand Migration Plan" backed with your "Labour at Holyrood has now produced documentary evidence to back up its claim."

    Bashing the SNP!

    If Mr Gray for any reason cannot provide you with the evidence for publication, which you claim he has, then you owe your public the truth;

    In the form of news headlines;

    Bashing Labour!

    ...and let’s face it; your public would love it :)

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  • 106. At 08:46am on 05 Jun 2010, Denno wrote:

    To Wee Folding Bike -

    Surely though, if Labour has been so bad for the UK as a whole and for Scotland (which again, I believe they have been), why would the SNP want them in power still? Was it better the devil you know than the one you don't? After all, didn't he say that both Labour or the Tories would mean a "decade of despair"?

    Roll_on_2011 -

    Thanks for that insightful reply.

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  • 107. At 09:51am on 05 Jun 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    And with thanks to another blogger at the Guardian ,in the Daily Mail one can read how Saint Tony ,that martyr to wealth, has been "helping" Libya and general Gaddafi and son.
    A snippet,

    Tony Blair has become an adviser to Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator's son has sensationally claimed.
    Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said the former prime minister has secured a consultancy role with a state fund that manages the country's £65billion of oil wealth.
    In an exclusive interview, Saif described Mr Blair as a 'personal family friend' of the Libyan leader and said he had visited the country 'many, many times' since leaving Downing Street three years ago.

    I find the whole thing vomit inducing.

    I look back at articles and programmes attacking the decision by the Scottish Government and I wonder just who the BBBC serve.

    So where is "Scoop" Campbell now?

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  • 108. At 09:55am on 05 Jun 2010, ForteanJo wrote:

    #106 - "Surely though, if Labour has been so bad for the UK as a whole and for Scotland (which again, I believe they have been), why would the SNP want them in power still?"

    The tory party is still the boogie man in many parts of Scotland, certainly in Glasgow/Lanarkshire, the labour heart lands and where the SNP needs to consistenty win seats if it ever wishes to become the main party in Scotland, the natural recipient of the majority of people's votes.

    With the tories in power at Westminster, there is always the danger that people, especially former labour voters, will change or revert back to labour. The last GE seems to have shown this is a real possibility.

    The other reason, of course, is it lets the grayman completely off the hook. He can make any accusation he likes, even untruthful ones, and they will be promoted and broadcast by the MSM. Lazy and incompetent journalists don't investigate his claims so he can get away with it. He can lay what every blame he likes at the feet of the tories at Westminster and (his words) the tartan tories at Holyrood. The role of BT and his ilk should be to serve as a safe guard against this type of lies and propaganda but we all know how well that's working out.

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  • 109. At 10:44am on 05 Jun 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    Erm - " bogie " man Fortean - "boogie" kind of suggests geting down and dirty with the yoof!

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  • 110. At 11:13am on 05 Jun 2010, andrew wrote:

    When will Brain (sic) publish the sds document so we can all see this...

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  • 111. At 11:52am on 05 Jun 2010, ForteanJo wrote:

    #109 - Hey, I've heard the greyman's a right disco diva in the right company and that "I will Survive" is his party piece.

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  • 112. At 12:39pm on 05 Jun 2010, rog_rocks wrote:

    Whereas a booger comes from your own nose and so is more like the Labour party.

    Although it is not desirable, it is easier to deal with than a scary bogeyman.

    You could always have it for lunch and then forget it :)

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  • 113. At 12:52pm on 05 Jun 2010, rog_rocks wrote:

    Being SNP we all know about that :)

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  • 114. At 1:12pm on 05 Jun 2010, heraldnomore wrote:

    Have we signs of grown up politics at last beginning to appear? What with Scottish ministers being allowed into European discussions, and being allowed to meet with Westminster in joint discussions, and a growing move for fiscal autonomy even getting coverage in the written press, are we finally beginning to put behind us those dog days of labour, the ones when Jack had to ask Tony what his opinion should be? Goodness, even when red-rosetted monkeys controlled both parliaments there wouldn't have been anything remotely joint.

    Is grown up now replacing groan-on? Maybe the next sign will be the silencing of the screeching Fuddites on Thursdays. Dreams, dreams, dreams

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  • 115. At 2:33pm on 05 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    Tories ready to reopen Dr David Kelly suicide inquiry.

    The case has 'concerned' Attorney General Dominic Grieve and - as the highest ranking law officer in England - he is considering an inquiry to review the suicide finding, Whitehall sources say.

    At the same time, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is considering a request from campaigning doctors to release medical files relating to the death.


    As far as I am concerned this is good news.

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  • 116. At 3:09pm on 05 Jun 2010, Wee Folding Bike wrote:

    Denno,

    Labour were never going to accept the offer. Partly because I suspect they are glad to be out of there and not having to fix the economy but mostly because they can't even pick up the phone to the SNP so they were never going to accept being propped up by them.

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  • 117. At 3:13pm on 05 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    MSP allowed into EU climate talks.

    The UK Government is to allow Scottish Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson to take part in European talks, it has been announced.

    Chris Huhne, the new UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, has written to the Holyrood politician, agreeing to his request to take part in the EU Environment Council meeting in Luxembourg next week.


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  • 118. At 3:36pm on 05 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:

    #117 Roll_On_2011

    Sorry about my previous post, I made a Copy & Paste screw up. The corrected link is below:

    MSP allowed into EU climate talks.

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  • 119. At 3:43pm on 05 Jun 2010, Online Ed wrote:

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

  • 120. At 4:46pm on 05 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    115. Roll_On_2011
    "Tories ready to reopen Dr David Kelly suicide inquiry.

    The case has 'concerned' Attorney General Dominic Grieve and - as the highest ranking law officer in England - he is considering an inquiry to review the suicide finding, Whitehall sources say.
    "

    Good news indeed.

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  • 121. At 4:47pm on 05 Jun 2010, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #118 Roll_On_2011
    "MSP allowed into EU climate talks."

    Thanks for that link, which does rather indicate that three out of Scotland's four main parties are trying to behave like grown-ups, which can only be good news. One oddity in the text, though, as the Herald refer to "Scotland Office Minister Michael Moore".

    Did I miss another resignation or are the Herald being somewhat disrespectful to the new viceroy, I wonder?

    .... OTOH ....

    #119 Online Ed
    "Calman overtaken as drive for fiscal autonomy gains momentum"

    Thanks for that, Ed, something the MSM are gradually catching on to, but that doesn't mean that Labour dinosaurs are not at large roaming them! Prof. Anton Muscatelli, convenor of Calman's "Independent Expert Group" which was largely responsible for the wee, pretendy nature of the fiscal powers proposed [see their November 2008 - First Evidence] is a case in point with his ghosted Calman tax plans ‘are not flawed’ in the Thunderer.

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  • 122. At 5:18pm on 05 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    104. Roll_On_2011
    "Interesting article from the Guardian:

    Scots: an auld dug with plenty of bite

    This great expressive language is a distillation of a country's history. To let Scots die would be a tragedy.
    "

    I want to point out a serious inaccuraceyin the a article you linked to. I don't know the source of that quote from the National Theatre of Scotland but that they do not do Scots language plays is NOT true. They do so I suspect that quote may be out of context.

    I happen to know that last year they toured the Scots-language version of Liz Lochhead's Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off. I am told on good authority that they plan another Scots language production this fall.

    Scots is spoken at least at times by most Scots. It is alive and well.

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  • 123. At 5:26pm on 05 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

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

  • 124. At 10:11pm on 05 Jun 2010, enneffess wrote:

    120. At 4:46pm on 05 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:
    115. Roll_On_2011
    "Tories ready to reopen Dr David Kelly suicide inquiry.

    The case has 'concerned' Attorney General Dominic Grieve and - as the highest ranking law officer in England - he is considering an inquiry to review the suicide finding, Whitehall sources say."

    Good news indeed.

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

    Excellent news I'd agree (try not to fall off your chair!). That case should have toppled Blair. Remember his reaction when he was told about it?

    But will there be any of the "30 year" rule caveats in the original enquiry?

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  • 125. At 10:15pm on 05 Jun 2010, John_frae_Paisley wrote:

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

  • 126. At 11:36pm on 05 Jun 2010, cynicalHighlander wrote:

    125. John_frae_Paisley

    That's interesting as I have just googled 'WHOIS' and according to the links I am in the Netherlands in 1 and in London in another with the same IP address. Weird.

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  • 127. At 11:46pm on 05 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    125. John_frae_Paisley
    ""123. At 5:26pm on 05 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote: http://www.cffr.co.uk/how-to-help.html"

    Don't be to sure.... What's their angle on this?
    "

    So which of the signatories are you objecting to?

    Signatories

    This is a list of those who have signed up to the Declaration as at:-

    12 noon, Friday, June 4, 2010

    Jim McColl, Chairman of Clyde Blowers
    Ben Thomson, Chair Reform Scotland
    Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management
    Dr Campbell Christie OBE is former General Secretary of the STUC and
    Chairman of the Raploch Urban Regeneration Company in Stirling
    Dan Macdonald, CEO Macdonald Estates
    Peter de Vink, Managing Director EFGH Corporate Finance
    Alex Hammond Chambers, Chairman Alex Hammond-Chambers & Co
    Stephen Maxwell, Charity Director
    Professor Andrew Hughes Hallett, St Andrews University
    Professor Drew Scott, University of Edinburgh
    Joan McAlpine, journalist
    Michael Fry, journalist and historian
    George Kerevan, journalist and economic commentator
    Mark Shaw, Chief Executive Hazledene Group
    Hugh Andrew, Managing Director of Birlinn Ltd
    Graeme Blackett, economist and co-author of Reform Scotland's fiscal powers papers
    James Aitken, Reform Scotland trusteeand co-author Reform Scotland fiscal powers papers
    Professor Rod Cross, Emeritus Professor of Economics University of Strathclyde
    Malcolm Fraser, Architect
    Malcolm Scott of Dunalastair Estates
    Gerry Hassan, Commentator
    Oliver Chapman, Oliver Chapman Architects
    William Frame, Managing Director Braemore Estates
    Dr David Milne, founder and NED of Wolfson Microelectronics plc
    Andy Wightman, writer and land campaigner
    Angus MacDonald, Chief Executive of SWR Limited
    Keith Falconer, Chairman of Impax plc and Adelphi Whisky Company
    Toby Henderson, Henderson Rowe Investment Management
    Angus Tulloch, investment manager.

    http://www.cffr.co.uk/signatories.html

    Vistaprint amongst other things acts as an online marketing representative as well as a VERY large scale printer. Registering websites is one of the things do. You can't tell a thing by who shows on WHOIS. A large portion of the ISPs in the world are registered by 3rd parties.

    You might bother also to read:

    http://www.cffr.co.uk

    and

    http://www.cffr.co.uk/guide-to-fr.html

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  • 128. At 00:43am on 06 Jun 2010, AlastairGordon wrote:

    Although I didn’t go to the lengths of John_frae_Paisley, I too thought that the ‘GrannieAnne” link was a wee bit too intrusive and left the site without registering my vote.

    I do, however, welcome the new UK Governments seeming willingness to re-examine the circumstances of the death of Dr. Kelly. Coupled with the acceptance of Scottish Ministers to attend EU meetings maybe, just maybe, this coalition thingy might not be such a bad idea. In the early days it seems to being respectful, but time will tell if there’s a steel hand within the velvet glove.

    I’m afraid however, that Elmer Grey’s attitude of ‘oppose ANYTHING the SNP think is a good idea’ can only harm the Scottish Parliament.

    Democracies NEED a healthy opposition, but that’s no the same as saying ‘oppose anything the Government proposes’

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  • 129. At 00:47am on 06 Jun 2010, AlastairGordon wrote:

    You've already posted an comment from me, so how do you describe me as new menber? I only changed my password, not my username or email address.

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  • 130. At 01:18am on 06 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    124. enneffess
    "Excellent news I'd agree (try not to fall off your chair!)."

    That required smelling salts from the shock!

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  • 131. At 01:55am on 06 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    125. John_frae_Paisley
    "Don't sign anything until you really know who's behind it and why!"


    And there is no secret as to who is "behind it".

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article7142174.ece

    It is the campaign that was announced well in advance in the above article in The Times:

    ...co-ordinated by Ben Thomson, the former chairman of the Noble Group, a corporate finance company, and chairman of Reform Scotland...

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  • 132. At 01:57am on 06 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    128. AlastairGordon
    "Although I didn’t go to the lengths of John_frae_Paisley, I too thought that the ‘GrannieAnne” link was a wee bit too intrusive and left the site without registering my vote."

    What was "intrusive" about it? It doesn't ask for a "vote" by the way and ample information is available on the site for anyone who is interested. Up to you.

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  • 133. At 02:00am on 06 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    128. AlastairGordon
    "‘GrannieAnne” link"

    And it certainly is not MY link. It is pretty easy to check out who these people are. It is a campaign that was announced well in advance by Jim McColl, chairman of Clyde Blowers and Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management.

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  • 134. At 06:27am on 06 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    02.06.2010: Calman tax powers not enough say business leaders.

    The ‘Campaign For Fiscal Responsibility’ comes after a pledge by Michael Moore, the new Scottish Secretary that he is willing to consider legislation to increase Holyrood’s powers beyond that set out by Calman.

    Mr Moore has called for a “Calman Plus” package and intends to hold talks with Alex Salmond over what powers might to be added to strengthen devolution. The Scots Secretary is understood to also want the SNP to join the Calman steering group - so far made up of the three Unionist parties - formed to oversee the implementation of Calman.


    06.06.2010: Michael Moore defies Holyrood cash calls.

    Asked whether there was any chance of major changes to the proposals towards full fiscal autonomy, Moore replied: "Absolutely not."

    Moore said he had already spoken to Chancellor George Osborne and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander about the Calman proposals.

    Scotland on Sunday understands that the Treasury is fiercely opposed to any extension of the Calman proposals on tax powers.



    It now appears that the ConDemNation have gone from ‘Calman Plus’ to ‘Pocket Money Minus’ within the space of 4 days.

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  • 135. At 06:56am on 06 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    A sensible, well laid out, article from Joan McAlpine:

    Let’s use our skills to build a big future

    The Scottish government, with the very limited powers it has available (they don’t include energy, of course), has given funding and support to renewable projects such as the Saltire Prize for marine power and, last week, a £290,000 scheme to explore carbon storage in the sandstone rocks under the Moray Firth. If the Campaign for Fiscal Responsibility, launched this week and fronted by the engineering tycoon Jim McColl, is successful, such projects could get tax incentives from a Scottish chancellor as well.

    But there again you would not expect anything less from Joan McAlpine, a level headed and progressive Scottish thinker, whom lays out a clear vision for Scotland’s future in down to earth layman’s terms.

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  • 136. At 07:09am on 06 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    Brian you state:

    I do not believe that "yah" and indeed "boo" are now to be expunged for ever from the Holyrood lexicon.

    Is that because you feel that NuLabour will carry on with their ‘yahboo’ opposition. From current observations it certainly appears that way.

    After all the public, it is thought, don’t want political ‘navel gazing’ from the opposition, they want positive and constructive counter arguments. That is, after all, one of the prime tasks of opposition parties.

    A task that Elmer Fudd repeatedly fails to deliver.

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  • 137. At 07:22am on 06 Jun 2010, GrannieAnne wrote:

    134. Roll_On_2011

    That may or may not be the end of the matter though.

    Even The Herald has a thing or two to say about it.

    Scotland’s richest man rounds on CBI chief over tax powers

    If they can't come up with better than Calman, this issue is not going to go away.

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  • 138. At 07:45am on 06 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:


    Brian, in your musings above, you state:

    SNP Swear box

    The public, it is thought, don't want political anger, they want pragmatic action.

    In a sense, it is back to the approach which Alex Salmond adopted in the run-up to the 2007 Holyrood elections.

    Then, you may recall, the SNP team had the equivalent of a swear box: transgressors had to chip in a coin every time they delivered a negative statement, a comment which departed from the party's avowedly positive approach.



    Brian may I suggest a similar ‘box’ at Pacific Quay.

    BBC FNF box

    A ‘Fact Not Fiction’ Box and any transgressors had to chip in a coin every time they delivered a fictitious statement, a comment which departed from the service providers avowedly impartial approach.

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  • 139. At 08:05am on 06 Jun 2010, Roll_On_2011 wrote:

    #137 GrannieAnne

    I agree.

    The ConDems in Scotland have allowed the ‘fiscal snowball’ to start rolling and have indeed added to its impetus over recent weeks.

    If the LibDems in Scotland fail to live up to the expectations they helped create then come next May they will (excuse the pun) pay the price at the ballot box.

    But in positive terms it does put some clear blue-water between the Unionist cabal and the SNP in the run up to next years elections.

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  • 140. At 10:48am on 06 Jun 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    I see Mr Cameron is to address the MSPs.

    Will the Labour benches - with some honourable exceptions - require that he raises his voice a few decibels to be heard?

    Or will the PO manage to bang the gavel and remonstrate with those who behave like badly behaved baboons?

    I suppose the latter as it is , after all ,his boss.

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