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In the presence of Balls

Brian Taylor | 12:58 UK time, Thursday, 10 March 2011

Perhaps it was the presence of Ed Balls, watching from the public gallery, but Labour's Iain Gray seemed in a notably combative mood for his weekly contest with the first minister.

Indeed, at one point, Mr Gray appeared to be suggesting that intellectual interrogation might be replaced by a square go as he declared, with menace, that he was ready to "take on" Alex Salmond any time.

Were we about to witness a McCoist and Lennon moment?

But no. On mature reflection, it appeared that Mr Gray was referring to the remaining two sessions of First Minister's Questions and, of course, the encounters which will follow during the Holyrood election campaign.

Each seemed discontented with the other's tone.

Mr Gray noted sardonically that the FM had again adopted his sonorous, governmental "I'm in charge" voice. You know, the one where he turns down the volume and sounds sad.

According to Mr Gray, spin in a quiet voice remained spin.

In response, the FM looked more downcast than ever as if he could scarcely credit that his answers failed to elicit instant admiration.

Health spending

As is customary, he closed with a sting, advising his rival that "appearing every week as Mr Angry" wouldn't make the Labour leader look "tough or effective or respected."

Cue chamber hubbub.

The exchanges were about health spending and staffing.

Mr Gray said that acute beds had been cut. Mr Salmond said that the SNP had ring fenced health spending: would Labour do the same?

Mr Gray said that health staffing had been reduced in the past year.

Police forces

Mr Salmond said that there were more working in the NHS now than when the SNP took power.

Statistics dominated the remainder of the time. Annabel Goldie for the Conservatives asked how many health visitors there were in Scotland.

Tavish Scott for the Liberal Democrats asked for the figures on the presumed cost savings from cutting the number of police forces.

Unaccountably, neither seemed content with the replies which, boiled down, amounted to "loads" and "I'll tell you soon".

Comments

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  • 1. At 1:22pm on 10 Mar 2011, Alba4eva wrote:

    Not watched it yet (I will tonight), but I would predict that Mr Balls left the chamber less than impressed with the Grey man... was Ballsy up to assess the bland one in expectation that he will be sacking him after Labour get smashed by the SNP in May?

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  • 2. At 1:37pm on 10 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

    Iain Gray again sneered and snarled his way through FMQ,s asking the same question three times(as per) in between waving [ANOTHER] piece of paper in the air and hurling childish insults AT Mr Salmond in a very non professional manner.
    A.Salmond will destroy Gray in any TV debate. Gray should be careful what he wishes for.

    As For Balls,who helped Brown destroy the economy, he has no business in Scotland or her parliament.


    If Gray was trying to impress his London Labour superior Mr Balls with his antics I think he failed.
    Gray impresses no one

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  • 3. At 1:38pm on 10 Mar 2011, Colin wrote:

    Iain Gray's best performance by far. He's really upped his game in the last couple of months and is looking more like FM material.

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  • 4. At 1:50pm on 10 Mar 2011, Addicted to Joob-Joobs wrote:

    As often hinted in this blog, Gray, being seriously under-endowed in the intellectual stakes, has a reflexive tendency to gestures that seem to invite a "square go" with the FM.

    I'm sure Alex would be quaking in his boots at that prospect!

    Regardless of the nature of any such encounter - intellectual or physical - the average four-year-old would probably have the measure of Gray!

    Erring on the side of caution, however, please do not print my address, as I would fear for my family's safety.

    Regards

    G.S. Winger,
    :-)
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

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  • 5. At 1:51pm on 10 Mar 2011, handclapping wrote:

    Ah, the humanity of the man. If I was to ask you, Brian, at your tea, how many Blethers you have written or how the latest poll would affect the list seats, would you not be constrained, by being unprepared, to answer "Loads" and "I'll tell you soon".

    I'm sure that it is fitting, in the light of the cybernat attacks upon the unmemorability of anointed one, to remind the public of the Ozidimandiac attributes of the First Minister prior to an election. It must be just this that the ConDem coalition had in mind when deciding to waste their questions.

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  • 6. At 2:02pm on 10 Mar 2011, The_Concept_Of_Mind wrote:

    Testy tone in your (cod) piece Brian; snippy even ... You might get the sack if you're not careful; no more cock - ups please ...

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  • 7. At 2:10pm on 10 Mar 2011, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    It's Gray's negativity that really annoys me but so does Labour's view that despite the appalling economic mess they created they can just go on spending money like it it was water.

    Rather than Gray looking more like FM material every spending promise he gives makes him more and more like a spoilt child.

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  • 8. At 2:13pm on 10 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

    #3 Colin.

    Nice one.
    Bustin ma sides.

    I think I've broken a couple of ribs with laughter.

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  • 9. At 2:18pm on 10 Mar 2011, gavin wrote:

    In my humble opinion,Grey was too intent on playing to the gallery and was "quietly" scutched by the First Minister.Mr Grey appears not to be aware that labour has an all to checkable past in government and that the facts(what Grey regards as "spin"),can easily be used against him.On a wider point,the questions and sometimes the answers are far too long for the parliaments own good.G-d help us if Galloway ever gets in the door,they will never get him to shut up!.

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  • 10. At 2:23pm on 10 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    I'm sure that Mr Balls will have been impressed with Mr Gray.
    Compared to the rest of New Labour's finest North British, Mr Gray is a giant without equal - well I think that is what "Colin at 3 above" meant?
    Did Mr Balls's father teach young Mr Gray at Eton?
    Ah - the benefits of private schooling - laid bare .....
    The Lennon-McCoist aka Grey-Salmond moment?
    I cannot wait!
    What did the illustrious big-brained lady say? "Bring it on!"
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 11. At 2:28pm on 10 Mar 2011, inmykip wrote:

    #3 Colin you forgot to add the punchline, a joke without a punchline isn't much good and Ian Gray as an effecive FM is a joke.

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  • 12. At 2:34pm on 10 Mar 2011, gavin wrote:

    Just wondering how Mr Balls and his group got to the parliament? Is he aware(the beeb dont seem to be)that Frank McAveety is hiring old buses these days, at taxpayers expence,to what purpose no one seems to know.Be nice if someone asked him.

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  • 13. At 2:47pm on 10 Mar 2011, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    brain, iain grey couldn't tie the First Minister's shoe laces.

    You will have noticed that I have used capital letters when refering to the First Minister.

    I am not sure if this is correct to do so, as English was my weakest subject at School. However given that you are a political editor of some standing, I am sure you could advise me.

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  • 14. At 3:01pm on 10 Mar 2011, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    Every now and again a pertinent question does surface from the British Labour benches.
    Some which the FM evades answering directly.


    It is a shame then that Mr Gray is so focused on fuax anger. This anger is equally used to cover the ( predominantly )badly researched questions as well as the better ones.
    Since Gray lacks much of a real personality and his debating prowess is poor to say the least, the Labour PR team have adopted this approach. Except it is already cliché.

    So, Mr Gray angrily insists he can take on Mr Salmond? Who is trying to convince? Himself? His Team? Balls? He is more like a wee yapping dog. More of an annoyance than anything to be worried about. Like the yapping dog, it is more about noise than substance.

    Mr Gray shouldn't have to get angry at all. He should present policies, clearly and concisely and costed. He should pick questions that probe SNP policies and actions. If he could do that then the policies rather than the man could do all the shouting.

    Since there is a major lack of such policies, nevermind costed ones, from British Labour, I guess there will much shouting in the upcoming election from Mr Gray and co.

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  • 15. At 3:05pm on 10 Mar 2011, Alba4eva wrote:

    #3 Colin, ROFL Haha!

    You win best post of the week award... the best comedy is always the simplest :)

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  • 16. At 3:05pm on 10 Mar 2011, AlastairGordon wrote:

    Comment #3

    "Iain Gray's best performance by far."

    Only of on a scale of nil-to-ten you're going to give a one for today's performance.

    As for him being First Minister material.......

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  • 17. At 3:16pm on 10 Mar 2011, akava77 wrote:

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

  • 18. At 3:37pm on 10 Mar 2011, akava77 wrote:

    For the life of me, I cannot understand why my comment at 17 has been referred to the moderators. All I did was made a statement of my personal opinion.

    So now it is not allowed to make the point that all the money Iain Gray has used out of his extra allowance as party leader, which he has spent on media training and public relations consultants, seems to have made very little difference, and he doesnt seem any better than he did in 2008, when he became leader.

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  • 19. At 3:48pm on 10 Mar 2011, peteraberdeenshire wrote:

    The most noticeable thing about FMQ's today was the fact that Grey felt the need to put on a tough guy performance to impress his London masters which says it all really. Grey and Labour answer to and deem themselves subservient to London Westminster. Alex Salmond and his government are answerable to the people of Scotland. Simple.

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  • 20. At 3:56pm on 10 Mar 2011, djmac7 wrote:

    Brian,

    Thankfully, we now have only two more rounds to go in this fiasco that is FM Questions. Can we therefore plead with Beeb Scotland that if the two key protagonists are returned to office in the same positions, then the BBC will simply stop covering this farce every Thursday.

    As has been said before, if this was a boxing match, it would have been stopped in the first round to prevent the weegreyman taking further punishment. Even with a curiously quiet FM on duty today, the poor weegreyman rants and raves to no positive effect whatsoever. If the good voters of Scotland ever decide to put Labour back in power in May, then the lights will have just gone out on our country for the next four years.

    Two other things, if we have to have FMQ covered on this blog, should we not have a very junior trainee journalist on the case?? This dire stuff is surely not worthy of your considerable wordsmithing skills!

    Then, did I make a mistake and notice Auntie Anna land a right hook on the Eckmeister when he was unable to answer her first question??

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  • 21. At 4:05pm on 10 Mar 2011, akava77 wrote:

    I now see my post at 17 has been removed.

    Does this mean that any questioning or criticism of Iain Gray's abilities is not allowed on BBC forums?

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  • 22. At 4:29pm on 10 Mar 2011, Megz wrote:

    not one labour msp is fit to be FM. it would be a travesty if labour get back into power in may.

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  • 23. At 4:34pm on 10 Mar 2011, pabroon74 wrote:

    Ed Balls is an odious man and a fine representative for the economic mess the UK is in at the moment. I cannot see how having him involved in any political campaign being in any way positive, which is just as well since it'll be a labour campaign.

    Sub Rosa noted in her blog, EB commented : "The issue in politics and when it comes to the ballot box is who do voters think will speak up for them and their families, for their town, for their country. In those election tests, Iain Gray has won and Alex Salmond has lost."

    Which goes to show, Iain Gray could flick peanuts during FMQ's and the labour high and mighty would say something entirely unrelated and wholly overly-positive to what actually transpired.

    I'll watch FMQ's tonight, see if I can detect any similarities to what happened there to what has been reported here. Also looking forward to QT tonight, it'll be interesting to see what goes on.

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  • 24. At 4:43pm on 10 Mar 2011, EphemeralDeception wrote:

    #3 Totally agree, but why stop there? With talent like that Westminster surely beckons. Aspirations as Labour PM -- he is almost as good as the last.

    Attributes:
    Statesmanship in spades.
    Charisma - no comment. But back to policy...

    I. Gray Foreign policy - insult your neighbours. Scottish ministerial involvement in UK foreign policy matters impacting Scotland - Dont call us, we won't call you, we will tell you.

    Criminal policy - Say one thing in public while you or your London colleagues are doing the opposite. Then pretend you were unaware and/or free to decide for yourself. Knifes are bad - lock up everyone.

    Scottish Region Constitutional Policy - Agreement that it is a 'process'. A process to give powers back to Westminster, ensure Westminster oversight and to wreck Scottish public finance. Ignore and ridicule any expert advice to the contrary.

    Energy Policy - a) All Scottish Resources Belong to UK b) Nuclear all the way c) All Scottish based Generators must pay for the privilege of producing power for the UK grid. d) Did I say those are UK resources...

    Social policy - Alcohol abuse? Its all about the coffee. ;)

    Public Transport Policy - Trams regardless the cost = Yes. High speed rail for Scotland = no - never.

    Military Policy - War is cheap, equipment is expensive. Trident is more important than jobs, education, infrastructure or anything else....except maybe 2 Aircraft carriers that must be built even though there isnt the aircraft to go on them.

    Monetory policy - If you dont have it - print it.
    Banking Policy - Banks while successful are British and get called names like 'The Royal Bank', when in trouble after a major lack of UK Gevernance the bank must be renamed as a 'Scottish bank' with as many head office functions moving to London as possible.
    Education Policy - Education, Education, Education....for the rich.

    By no means Last and certainly not least - Poverty. State you care, you are the party of the working man and the aspirations of the many. Yet preside over a huge increase in poverty during the years of largess leaving a 1st world country (Sorry , region in Labour speak) with 3rd world poverty levels and life expectancy.

    Is that why he is angry?

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  • 25. At 5:12pm on 10 Mar 2011, rouser wrote:

    thank god for iain gray without him this and many other threads would be
    rather dull. he has become promiment, through his insignificans.even the
    appearance.of the master to study the protegee,did not stop him from stealing the limelight away from balls.who has been sent homeward, to think again!

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  • 26. At 5:15pm on 10 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    Brian,

    I caught dour Iain's part of the session and feel you've missed a trick here. Could you not have waited for Mr Gray to emerge from the chamber and offer him, on live TV, a studio where he could "take on" the FM head-to-head with a live audience?

    Must see TV, I think.

    I'm trying to download the full session now from holyrood.tv and will comment later on the rest of FMQs should anything spring to mind.

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  • 27. At 5:18pm on 10 Mar 2011, Colin wrote:

    The comments on this blog are an interesting reflection on the SNP's term in Government.

    All spin/politicising, personal attacks and no substance. A bit like the 18 year old playground bully who knows his time at school is at an end.

    It amazes me that they have done nothing in 4 years and then in the last month make 100 new announcements, finding money from nowhere to paper over the cracks.

    They are also promising the earth now, whilst postponing the difficult decisions until after the election - something the previous Lab/Lib coalition did not do in 2007 and suffered as a consequence. Sorry Alex, Nicola and John, it appears that the electorate will not be bribed so easily this time - I know, because I am canvasing every day and this is what people are telling me (even in Nationalist heartlands).

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  • 28. At 5:32pm on 10 Mar 2011, paul Hunter wrote:

    Grey should be given an Oscar for his act in front of one of his overlords today. This shambles of a party should pack up and head back to their masters in Westminster. They are Anti-Scotland and the only thing that matters is party politics not the Scottish people. If they ever get back in...Go help us!

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  • 29. At 5:49pm on 10 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #3 Colin & #27 Colin
    "Sorry Alex, Nicola and John, it appears that the electorate will not be bribed so easily this time - I know, because I am canvasing every day and this is what people are telling me (even in Nationalist heartlands)."

    With comedy in your first ever BBC post and bombast in your second, I do hope you're prepared to support your statements with considered argument.

    Please enumerate the bribes you claim were falsely made in 2007 and which you suggest is winning you new friends for dour Iain.

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  • 30. At 5:51pm on 10 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

    Colin says.

    "All spin/politicising, personal attacks and no substance. A bit like the 18 year old playground bully who knows his time at school is at an end."

    That is a very accurate discription of Iain Gray , you missed out the Mr Angry tough guy act though.
    Colin, what was on Gray,s wee bit of paper today?
    Pray tell.

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  • 31. At 5:57pm on 10 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    PS to my previous post:
    It's certainly an interesting admission from an avowed Lab canvasser that only now is dour Iain "looking more like" FM material. When even Brian seems to detect a touch of pique in his performance in front of the junior Mr Ed.

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  • 32. At 6:03pm on 10 Mar 2011, Addicted to Joob-Joobs wrote:

    #27 Colin

    Your curmudgeonly take on the very real achievements of the first modern Scottish Government could only come from a typically Laboured perspective.

    And this purported 'substance' you struggle to link with Iain Gray?
    It's not SNP activists who don't know (or care!) who the guy is - It's the general public, as polled by the mainstream, unionist, media!

    Whereabouts in England are you phone canvassing from??

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  • 33. At 6:16pm on 10 Mar 2011, Patch Bruce wrote:

    Dear moderators, this at first might appear off topic but bear with me it gets there in the end.

    Today yet another person died on the A9 between Perth and inverness. In a former life I was a traffic cop and have put over fifty people in body bags over a 22 year period. Speed was very rarely the main cause of the crashes. The main cause was tiredness with simple everyday driving mistakes that we all make.

    A decreasing number of accidents are caused by the confusion over the change between dual and single carriageway, this is due in part to the substantially increased traffic flow which makes the change in road type obvious.

    The highest risk is for cross over interface crashes. These can happen in a variety of ways.

    i.e
    Driver falls asleep and drifts on to the wrong side of the road.
    Driver swerves to avoid stray or wild animal.
    Driver takes unwell/dies at the wheel and looses control
    U turns
    Emerging from junctions
    Waiting to turn int to junctions.



    These types of accident, which usually involve impacts of between 60 and 140 mph are were the deaths occur. Sadly these are the same types of accident which can be avoided by proper duelling with central crash barriers and grade separated junctions.

    Over the years the death rate has been cut on the A9, but this is mainly to do with ABS -traction control -side impact bars and air bags, which have been an absolute boon to road safety.

    While our Labour MPs' and MSP's bleat about the cancelation of G.A.R.L. and voted for the Edinburgh Trams, simply to get one over on the SNP, preventing them from pushing ahead with real A9 improvements, people are dyeing and families are being torn apart and destroyed on the main arterial route in the highlands. Yes dyeing, not simply missing a plane or stuck in a traffic jam.

    The A9 should have been duelled in the seventies and eighties by the successive Labour and conservative Westminster governments who pussyfooted about and done the bare minimum as there was neither labour or conservative votes to be had north of Perth So to have Mr Angry iain who Grey, stand at F.M's question time and question the spending of the government makes me quite sick. If the SNP government had had mr Grey's support, maybe the two people who have died on the A9 in the last week, may have still been alive.

    So i say to Mr Grey, unless you are willing to be the person who knocks on the door to inform a wife or mother that their loved one is dead, or is prepared to wash the blooded face of a victim before he is identified then start taking what you do in parliament seriously and stop playing games with peoples lives, in some vain attempt to embarrass the government. Grow up Mr Grey, Grow up.


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  • 34. At 6:19pm on 10 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    "Colin" may actually be Ed Balls?
    I see that New Labour now want to remove the pension rights of all public sector employees.
    Or next they will be telling us that Mr Sir Lord Hutton was actually a Tory all along.
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 35. At 6:21pm on 10 Mar 2011, Colin wrote:

    #32 - so you assume everyone who is volunteering for parties other than SNP are English! Are you not aware that 70% of Scots do not support the Nats - hence why you are in minority Government and about to be in opposition.

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  • 36. At 6:35pm on 10 Mar 2011, Colin wrote:

    I can now understand why no-one but nationalists post on your blog these days Brian. My first post, and the more seasoned Cybernats are already having a go at me.

    Well, I have pretty thick skin so I'll continue to contribute to the debate and not be intimidated. I stand by my original post #3 that Gray is actually getting better at this (I think even a neutral would agree). Whereas Salmond is not getting any better (despite his recent attempts to stop the Soprano in him from singing too loudly) - I guess practice makes perfect.

    BTW #29 - I don't see any student grants - it appears school class numbers haven't been reduced and I believe the target on police numbers has been missed. And that stat on NHS numbers - ask about FTE posts (the rise is in part-timers) and I wouldn't go there with the nursing numbers.

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  • 37. At 6:36pm on 10 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

    34. At 6:19pm on 10 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    "Colin" may actually be Ed Balls?

    I think you are correct in your assumption.

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  • 38. At 6:53pm on 10 Mar 2011, Wee-Scamp wrote:

    #36 Colin

    Firstly, your comments are all very well but you have to tell us what exactly Gray's policies are because I've no idea.

    Secondly, you have to bear in mind that it was Labour's economic incompetence that got us into the mess we're in and that it seems that Gray and Kerr really haven't learnt any lessons from this. From what they have told us about their policies it would seem they are based on the classic Labour tax and spend approach. Nothing I've heard about real economic development, creating and growing businesses. Labour still seem to be of the opinion that it's only the public sector that counts.

    But I'd be interested to hear what you have to say about this.

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  • 39. At 7:04pm on 10 Mar 2011, djmac7 wrote:

    Regarding 36 and 37 especially,

    C O L I N;

    Confirming

    Old

    Labour's

    Ineptitude

    Nationally.

    The presence and antics of Ed Balls(up) and the weegreyman today at Holyrood says it all!!

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  • 40. At 7:05pm on 10 Mar 2011, rouser wrote:

    collin may actualy be iain gray.god help him?

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  • 41. At 7:06pm on 10 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    36. Colin
    "Well, I have pretty thick skin so I'll continue to contribute to the debate and not be intimidated"

    That's good. (Though from my time in the Labour Party, the internecine bitterness there was worse than anything on here!)

    While all parties posture as elections approach, the fundamental problem with Labour's position is the pretence that you would somehow be able to magic more money out of Westminster. It would be really good if you could enlighten us as to how you will enlarge the budget, if you win.

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  • 42. At 7:10pm on 10 Mar 2011, macmeldrew wrote:

    Brian,
    this blog is named 'Blether with Brian' but to date I have never seen any reply or response from you to any of the questions put to you. This in my opinion diminishes the value of the blog since it makes no sense to have a blether with someone who doesn't (or won't)respond.
    Any comment?

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  • 43. At 7:19pm on 10 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

    On your opinion of Iain Gray Colin, you seem to be in a minority of one.

    Labour are bad for Scotland, Gray ,Kerr., Baillie and the rest of the labour rabble at Holyrood are BAD FOR SCOTLAND.

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  • 44. At 7:22pm on 10 Mar 2011, z900 wrote:

    Colin Is Ian Grey ROFL!

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  • 45. At 7:35pm on 10 Mar 2011, Patch Bruce wrote:

    Remember folks, a labour victory, may just lead to such cross border turmoil that it may hasten independence. Can you imagine a world where Cameron would allow Labour to be successful in Scotland and risk their (perceived) popularity spreading south. If Labour get in, the Tories will crucify Scotland. Just to make Labour look bad. (just in the same sort of way labour tried to spoil the SNP's term in government.)

    The real Colin 8652

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  • 46. At 8:10pm on 10 Mar 2011, Diabloandco wrote:

    Please people leave the pompous to talk to him or herself.

    Meanwhile remind yourself of the BBBC poll which gave an enormous boost to those who wish their country to stand up and be counted , develop its own resources ,never indulge in sabre rattling and illegal wars , rid the Clyde of leaking Trident subs and never again invite a foreign weapon to pollute our waters.
    And speaking of waters ,6,000 square miles nicked from Scotland as part of a devolution settlement should be returned.

    Home rule: Scotland's destiny lies as an independent nation.
    91% in favour of home rule , 6% against, what a lovely poll!

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  • 47. At 8:26pm on 10 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    46. Diabloandco
    "Please people leave the pompous to talk to him or herself.
    "

    OK We won't talk to you then. :-)

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  • 48. At 8:36pm on 10 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

    46. At 8:10pm on 10 Mar 2011, Diabloandco .


    Good post my freind,
    keep up the good work.

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  • 49. At 10:06pm on 10 Mar 2011, AlastairGordon wrote:

    Colin, Welcome.
    I've already said on these pages that I'm not totally convinced that Independence would be the best thing for Scotland. It may interest you to know that in the 39 years I've been entitled to vote I have voted Conservative, Liberal, Labour, SNP, and Scottish Socialist. So here you have someone who is not a committed Nat, or a member of any political party.
    I think that Alex Salmond & the SNP, in minority Government, have performed reasonably well considering the hand they have been dealt. When Salmond said that, taking it that he couldn't get a majority, he would prefer another stint of minority Goverment rather than coalition I think that was pure political posturing.
    When Iain Grey said he could see Alex Salmond as Deputy First Minister in a Labour led coalition I assumed he had forgotten to take his sensible tablet that day.
    If ANY of the unionist parties had a modicum of political savvy they would encourage a referendum on Independence, taking it that only about 1/3 of Scots would vote for that, it would kick Independence into the long grass for the next 10 years at least.
    I know the Unionists say they won't vote for a referendum for something they disagree with, but the AV referendum has been voted through Westminster with the Tories campaining for a 'No' vote. Before the election the LibDems said AV wasn't good enough, while it was in the Labour Manifesto. (Actually they voted against the AV proposal) Meanwhile we can't even get a referendum on Calman, which all the Unionists DO agree with.
    Labour's problem at the moment is that they are still hurting from the 2007 election result, this is what makes them vote against a budget that gave 25,000 apprenticeships when they only asked for 10,000; vote against minimum price of alcohol although Jackie Baillie now says that if Labour win the election they WILL increase the price of alcohol. Generally acted like a 3 year old child who has just lost their sweets. And that is why they are not fit to govern.

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  • 50. At 11:31pm on 10 Mar 2011, Gary Hay wrote:

    #33 Patchbruce

    Absolutely splendidly-put post - might I proffer further that Labour's entire term in opposition has been almost entirely in the same vein as the one you so eloquently put forward?

    Minimum Pricing of Alcohol, L.I.T, Council Tax freezes & more have all been set-upon by Labour - not because they were the Policies that would not benefit Scot's, but because they were the policies that would benefit Scot's and they were not going to allow the SNP to take the credit for it.

    If the SNP had won with a majority in 2007 - most of these would now be a reality :-( Instead - we're faced with another deadlock with a party that is hell-bent on keeping Scotland in the dark ages.

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  • 51. At 00:22am on 11 Mar 2011, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    49

    You are confusing support for the SNP and support for independence.
    They are not the same thing.
    In my constituency we did a survey of 25,000 homes. The results of the large number who responded by posting it back to us were very interesting.
    Over 60% of those identifying themselves as Labour supporters said they would vote "for" in an independence referendum and 54% of those identifying as LibDem did so also. Even 20% of those identifying as Tory opted for "yes"
    It is also worth pointing out that in all polls over the last 12 years only a minority have indicated opposition to Indpendence. You are making the mistake of adding the "don't knows" (or "don't cares") to the NO vote.
    I could just as validly add them to the "YES" vote.
    These are the reasons why we will not get a Referendum

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  • 52. At 01:07am on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    51. sneckedagain
    "These are the reasons why we will not get a Referendum"

    This is an extract from the Wiki article on the Velvet Revolution

    "Many Czechs and Slovaks desired the continued existence of a federal Czechoslovakia. A slight majority of Slovaks, however, advocated a looser form of co-existence or complete independence and sovereignty.[citation needed][Need quotation to verify] In the next years, political parties re-emerged, but Czech parties had little or no presence in Slovakia, and vice versa. In order to have a functional state, the government demanded continued control from Prague, while Slovaks continued to ask for decentralization.
    In 1992, the Czech public elected Václav Klaus and others who demanded either an even tighter federation ("viable federation") or two independent states. Vladimír Mečiar and other leading Slovak politicians of the day wanted a kind of confederation. The two sides opened frequent and intense negotiations in June. On 17 July, the Slovak parliament adopted the Declaration of independence of the Slovak nation. Six days later, Klaus and Meciar agreed to dissolve Czechoslovakia at a meeting in Bratislava. Czechoslovak president Václav Havel resigned rather than oversee the dissolution which he had opposed; in a September 1992 poll, only 37% of Slovaks and 36% of Czechs favored dissolution"

    The idea that Scots Independence (rather uniquely) needs to have the support of 50% of the electorate to attain that goal doesn't reflect the reality of what has happened in other multi-national states that have dissolved.

    All that is needed is a significant demand for autonomy which the Unionists decline to accede to.

    The FFA argument is, essentially, that if most Scots want FFA but London doesn't entertain the concept that they will move towards Independence rather than shrugging their shoulders and saying "Oh, the Brits don't want us to have autonomy, so we'll just forget the idea."

    Gradualism is the mechanism to achieve what we want - not a barrier to it. Hence the SNP voting to support the resolution on the Scotland Bill. Of course, it's inadequate, but if Westminster turns down the demand of the Scottish Parliament .......

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  • 53. At 01:48am on 11 Mar 2011, yourkidding wrote:

    Colin,
    if I want to see a performance ,I'll pay my money and go see a professional actor.What I want is some one who knows the facts and figures,who is able to represent me whether mixing with prince or pauper and most importantly who has a vision for Scotland.Not a return to the status quo where it was 'thats the way it is 'for too many.I don't know about you but I certainly don't conduct by business by inviting people to have a go (and the irony seems to have passed Mr Gray by regarding a certain summit this week discussing violence/aggression etc).This is not a 'personal 'attack on you Colin as you put it,but from where I'm sitting,people are starting to ask bigger questions about what kind of country they live in and more importantly what kind of country they want for their children,change is happening slowly but it is happening.Access to the internet (and other technology)has given ordinary Joe public access and in some cases a voice,the genie is out the bottle and the nepotism,in the right'club'or religion for that matter is hopefully on the wean-as I said slowly but it is happening.New voices who no nothing about past Scottish events whether that be Clydeside or Ravenscraig will vote for who they they think represents them best .

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  • 54. At 05:06am on 11 Mar 2011, AMJHAJ wrote:

    36. At 6:35pm on 10 Mar 2011, Colin wrote:
    "And that stat on NHS numbers - ask about FTE posts (the rise is in part-timers) and I wouldn't go there with the nursing numbers."

    Please direct us to the statistics you base these statements on.

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  • 55. At 05:08am on 11 Mar 2011, AMJHAJ wrote:

    So, Ed Balls visits our Parliament? What great fortune for the poor wee Scots. Did Gray touch the hem of his garment?

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  • 56. At 07:06am on 11 Mar 2011, Tengelman wrote:

    Im sorry Colin

    But Scottish Labour are completely unsuitable as governmental material, theyre "biggest brain" has just quit, we have If you cant do, teach and if you cant teach go into politics Gray as the new supposedly leader who couldnt even lead on the budget vote. I know this is going to sound personal but it isint, however politics is a carear in the public eye and even the choice of Jackie Bailie as health minister was niave.

    You know there is big trouble when a staunch unionist recommends the SNP for another term over Labour. Things have changed in scotland under the Minority government and most people think for the better, its time the Labour party woke up and changed too. Otherwise thez are not even fit for an effective opposition.

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  • 57. At 09:10am on 11 Mar 2011, Addicted to Joob-Joobs wrote:

    #35 Colin again

    No assumption required, Colin.
    Labour, more than any other party, are well known for having their Scottish election campaigns co-ordinated, financed, directed and controlled from South of the Border - encompassing frequent instances of Scottish voters being contacted by (paid?) Labour campaigners phoning from locations like Newcastle - who in many cases have scant knowledge even of Scottish politics, often to the extent that they are completely unaware of the electoral choices or issues - and they expect folk to blindly support Labour, as if voting in some kind of vacuum!

    Add to that the frequent parachuting-in of "big hitters" (sic) like Gordon and Lady Brown, and of course the notorious London control-freakery that characterises every Labour election campaign - and what does all that say about the relevance of Her Majesty's Labour party to the values and aspirations of modern Scotland, or even their capabilities to muster up local support - let alone for Gray's fitness to be a leader in our national Parliament??!!

    Colin, you appear keen enough to be part of the ever dwindling rump of Labour support.
    You figure it out.

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  • 58. At 09:11am on 11 Mar 2011, snowthistle wrote:

    Why no representative from the Scottish branch of the Labour party on QT last night?

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  • 59. At 09:54am on 11 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

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

  • 60. At 09:56am on 11 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

    55. At 05:08am on 11 Mar 2011, AMJHAJ wrote:

    "So, Ed Balls visits our Parliament? What great fortune for the poor wee Scots. Did Gray touch the hem of his garment?"

    ha ha .
    I do beleive Gray did get a signed photograph to hang an his mantle piece.

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  • 61. At 10:04am on 11 Mar 2011, scot1alba wrote:

    Hi Colin,
    May I ask you why you support and canvass for an Imperial Westminster political party who waged an illegal war, sent our armed forces into another 'war' with no hope of outcome, taxed mine and everyone elses pension, resigning me to pension poverty, deregulated the banks to our country's financial detriment, and purchases weapons of mass destruction that can never be used because the Americans hold the launch codes. Are you an Imperialist ?

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  • 62. At 10:12am on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    I missed the by election in the Kilpatrick ward of West Dunbarton last week. Interesting to compare share of the 1st preference votes in 2007 and 2011

    2007, 2011, Change, Party
    56%, 60%, (+4), Labour
    33%, 33%, (nc), SNP
    8%, 7%, (-1), Tory
    3%, —-, (-3), Socialist
    53%, 26%, (-27), Turnout
    So with no Socialist standing, Labour picked up that vote – otherwise virtually no change since 2007.

    Always difficult to judge on a halved turnout, but this result certainly is variant from the opinion polls. Those polls which don't take into account certainty to vote, while they may or not give an accurate picture of current opinion in the population, may be a poor predictor of the May election.

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  • 63. At 10:18am on 11 Mar 2011, somerled_the_younger wrote:

    Ephemeral @24 I hope you don't mind me nicking your post to put up behind my door for when Andy Kerr comes to ask for my vote? :-)

    AlastairGordon: Nice to see some considered analysis on here. When you say "I know the Unionists say they won't vote for a referendum for something they disagree with.." That's something I see quite often but surely a referendum isn't about a single choice, there's always at least two (for or agin') so doesn't a referendum on independence OR status quo give the unionists a chance to have a say on EXACTLY what they do agree with? Why then won't they support a vote on something they DO support?

    It makes no sense to me unless they truly fear the scenario as described by Sneckedagain?

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  • 64. At 10:30am on 11 Mar 2011, somerled_the_younger wrote:

    Scot1alba: Whilst I agree with everything else you say I believe you are wrong about the launch codes. See Wiki (I know, I know)

    "Currently, British Trident commanders are able to launch their missiles without authorisation, whereas their American colleagues cannot. At the end of the Cold War the U.S. Fail Safe Commission recommended installing devices to prevent rogue commanders persuading their crews to launch unauthorised nuclear attacks. This was endorsed by the Nuclear Posture Review and Trident Coded Control Devices were fitted to all U.S. SSBNs by 1997. These devices prevented an attack until a launch code had been sent by the Chiefs of Staff on behalf of the President. The UK took a decision not to install Trident CCDs or their equivalent on the grounds that an aggressor might be able to wipe out the British chain of command before a launch order had been sent.[60][61][62]" Credits to Wiki.

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  • 65. At 10:58am on 11 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #62 reincarnation
    "Always difficult to judge on a halved turnout, but this result certainly is variant from the opinion polls. Those polls which don't take into account certainty to vote, while they may or not give an accurate picture of current opinion in the population, may be a poor predictor of the May election."

    Thanks for that interesting post, and quite so re the polls. Whilst this result may show that "dynastic" Lab support is far from dead, it does at least suggest that if Colin is doing his canvassing in West Dunbarton he may be listening less than carefully to what is said on the doorsteps.

    More directly on topic, recent polling in another Lab fiefdom seems to show that a more conciliatory approach than dour Iain's "notably combative mood" [as Brian aptly describes it] may be more effective. Despite bombast from their last Lab viceroy worthy of their last "Scottish" one, Welsh FM Carwyn Jones seems in substantially less combatative mood if this website's 'Orderly' break-up for Labour and Plaid after coalition is anything to go by, telling us that he "defended his Plaid deputy Ieuan Wyn Jones this week from attacks by shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain". In what will seem strange to observers of "Scottish" Lab, Carwyn Jones also seems concerned to let the people of Wales have the say on constitutional issues, with this website's Voters must decide on devolved tax powers, says Jones, which informs us that "The Welsh assembly should not be handed any powers over taxes without a referendum, First Minister Carwyn Jones has said".

    Reuturning to Brian's "old firm" analogy, I wonder whether a "tranfer market" in regional Lab politicians could be started, in which case Carwyn Jones should be swapped for Mr Gray ASAP.

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  • 66. At 11:03am on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    Good reasons NOT to see Ian Gray as First Minister - "Number 748"
    Condolences to all affected in Japan - BUT - on News 24 we have a "Nuclear Expert" reassuring us that "They should never have lost the ability to pump water to cool the Reactor - But I don't think that there is any reason for the population to be worried."
    .............. Crazy Guy - Crazy reassurances .........
    New Labour for a Nuclear Future???
    Of course the Tories have always been pro-Nuclear.
    The Liberals - have only now become pro-Nuclear - after having become Unionist closet Tories.

    Methinks that Scotland should continue on the SNP's green energy path.
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 67. At 11:18am on 11 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    A sticky S key spoilt my previous post. For "tranfer" read "transfer".

    Off out now, but back tonight should Brian provide us with "something for the week-end".

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  • 68. At 11:41am on 11 Mar 2011, mikiegringo wrote:

    Seems that the cybernats aren't used to facing any opposition on this blog so *mostly* prove themselves unable to take part in a reasoned debate.
    This nicely reflects their party's performance in the chamber which at this stage just consists of evasion and ad hominem attacks when reasonable questions are put to them by their opposition. I had hoped for more from the snp but in the end they have proved themselves to be the political amateurs that they actually are.

    BTW were has the money come from for all these new promises that are coming thick and fast. What is Keith Brown planning to do about the Forth road bridge or are the snp assuming that if by some miracle they get back in to power that there is NO chance of them still being in charge when it gets closed to traffic in 2017.

    The snp have gained some valuable insights into how government works in the last 4 years so it would be good for them to have some time off to reflect on all the mistakes that they have made.

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  • 69. At 12:02pm on 11 Mar 2011, X_Sticks wrote:

    68. At 11:41am on 11 Mar 2011, mikiegringo wrote:
    "The snp have gained some valuable insights into how government works in the last 4 years"
    Pity the same can't be said for labour and their supporters. At least the SNP have Scotland as their priority, not what westminster tells them to do. BTW what job is it you do for the labour party?

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  • 70. At 12:10pm on 11 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #68 mikiegringo

    Welcome to BBC blogging. Good to see two new posters on a single BwB thread. I was just passing by to check my last post "took".

    "Seems that the cybernats aren't used to facing any opposition on this blog so *mostly* prove themselves unable to take part in a reasoned debate."
    I trust that, in contrast to your first, your second post will demonstrate how to conduct a reasoned debate and will be awaiting it with baited breath.

    "This nicely reflects their party's performance in the chamber which at this stage just consists of evasion and ad hominem attacks when reasonable questions are put to them by their opposition. I had hoped for more from the snp but in the end they have proved themselves to be the political amateurs that they actually are."
    Odd that you refer to ad hominem attacks coming from home rulers, when this very thread is reporting an ad hominem attack by Lab's shop steward on the FM. Perhaps you would be so kind as to clarify your thesis.

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  • 71. At 12:16pm on 11 Mar 2011, mikiegringo wrote:

    I don't work for any political organisation however i do wonder how many of the cybernats posting here are SNP staff members. If we looked at the IP addresses posting how many of you would be from Holyrood's?
    -I am guessing you aren't clever enough to go through a proxy.
    Maybe your invective just inspires non-political people to post the truth rather than the spin/frothing hate that we see from the nasty nats every day both on-line and in the chamber.
    Truth is that the SNP in government has been a total failure. Point to one thing that has been an actual success rather than a failure + spin.

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  • 72. At 12:23pm on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    A prize to Gringo or Colin if they can get these historic steps into the correct order!
    Labour Party have a principled stance against the development of New Nuclear Power Stations.
    Ian Gray becomes North British New Labour spokesperson.
    New Labour in the pocket of the Nuclear Industry.
    Gordon Brown's brother looks after Gordon's cleaning bills.
    Gordon Brown reimburses brother for "arranging" cleaning.
    Nuclear Industry starts to sponsor New Labour Events.
    Nuclear Industry starts to recruit New Labour MPs.
    Nuclear Industry employs New Labour ex-Ministers.
    New Labour lose principles.
    New Labour unelectable.
    Population ashamed of New Labour.
    Ian Gray against Nuclear Power - err For - err Maybe - err?.
    New Labour changes name to "Political Hypocrisy Party".

    Slainte Mhor

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  • 73. At 12:28pm on 11 Mar 2011, redrobb wrote:

    In my place of employment we use the letters SSDD to describe our working day, so to was it business as usual at oor GRC(Glorified Regional Cooncil) I'm quite sure the man on the BALL was here to make sure that no-one was indulging in all things life changing worldy / global politiking, and he's went back home to report that SSDD from the bairns at the GRC....snooze

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  • 74. At 12:36pm on 11 Mar 2011, The_Concept_Of_Mind wrote:

    67 Barbazenzero (great name, whatever the etymology, for BwB BTW) … Thank you for this (your ‘Something …’ reference); I should have added it to my #6, but my Ronco ‘Gillian Bowditch’ PunMaker wasn’t working properly at the time …

    Re QT …

    antebellum equus made the most telling point re the Megrahi business; she pointed out, without retort from the Nippy Sweetie, that I M Jolly had a choice – he ‘may’ or ‘might’ choose to release – he did NOT have to …

    This most fundamental point seems to have been lost in the fug that surrounds the issue; even if you completely ignore the palaver over appeals dropped, Lamborghinis, ile, BP, deals in the desert, Strawman letters – and phone calls about slopping out and airguns, ill - timed visits to gaols, grimly ponderous fire – and - brimstone statements, meetings between Libyans and Scottish Ministers in the EU, UK Gov’t form – filling for the Mad Hatter, whoreallydunitsurelyIran, then upcoming Libyan anniversary celebrations, Saif’s pals in high places yadda yadda yadda - this niggling little point remains unaddressed (the efforts made to keep us looking elsewhere, for example into those things listed above, only strengthen the suspicion that the point is sharp) …

    So, the couldn’t be simpler or clearer question is; why was he released at all ??? … Why, at the very time when the Scottish Government was acutely aware of the UK Government’s position (as we know from the published letters from Straw to Jolly), was it not better to say ‘No; we won’t release him, the nature/enormity of the crime (which must be taken into account in cases where compassionate release is an option - another home run from Matron) is such that this is unconscionable’ …

    Would not that have been the ‘brave’ thing to do ??? …

    The Nippy Sweetie was unusually quite; perhaps she’s had enough of the bellicose accusations, perhaps she’s had enough of prison – related matters in general (she has form after all) or perhaps the accusation holds water (so won’t mix with oil) …

    One day, deo volente, we may know the truth; it almost doesn’t matter what that turns out to be, knowing it would somehow be enough …

    Good stuff from the big lass; however, her Party remains almost as toxic as the yellow – liveried crew ...

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  • 75. At 12:36pm on 11 Mar 2011, snowthistle wrote:

    Barbazenzero #65
    Didn't see Colin when I was leafleting in West Dunbartonshire.
    My feelings are that there was a fair amount of disillusion with the Labour party but that didn't transfer into votes for other parties. Folk just didn't turnout.

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  • 76. At 12:39pm on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    71 GringeMike
    SNP achievements are considerable. As a minority administration, more could have been delivered for Scotland's peoples - if New Labour hadn't childishly opposed for the sake of opposing.
    Like many "Cybernats", I have never been employed in any capacity by the SNP. I simply care about Scotland and believe it could be a better place for my kids.

    How about these for starters? (From the CalMerc)

    ■Delivered an extra 1,000 police officers
    ■Crime in Scotland has fallen to 32-year low
    ■Scottish knife crime at a ten-year low
    ■Gun crimes falling to a ten-year low
    ■Keeping open local accident and emergency units as promised
    ■Prescription charges cut dramatically and about to be abolished
    ■Removed the tolls on all of Scotland’s roads and bridges
    ■A record number of modern apprenticeships
    ■Reversed a decade of decline in international educational comparisons
    ■Increased payments for free personal and nursing care
    ■Helped 70,000 small businesses with the small business bonus
    ■Oh and of course frozen the council tax for the last four years.

    Slainte Mhor

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  • 77. At 1:20pm on 11 Mar 2011, Addicted to Joob-Joobs wrote:

    #71

    Apart from that occasionally provided by the Tory group, there is little or no constructive Opposition at Holyrood because the Labour party cannot countenance the loss of power in their hereditary wee fiefdoms that traditionally and so dutifully sent generations of political fodder down Westminster way.

    Having ditched the last of their founding principles in order to regain power in mother England, then visited the unholiest of financial disasters upon the UK economy, in the process of assisting many of their own number to millionaire status - they now seek to use our "Pretendy Wee" Parliament as a mere stepping stone directly back to Westminster power, presumably to resume their "business as usual".

    Fortunately now, even areas traditionally blighted by the blindest of Labour loyalties are, gradually, waking up to the futility and sheer distast of such hubris - assisted in no small way by the ongoing decline of the Holyrood Labour group from a token body led by lukewarm devolutionists, to a leaderless, opportunist rump, entirely without the vision or capability to govern.

    Even if Labour were bizarrely gifted a return to power in May, the resulting directionless, self-serving and fundamentally clueless "executive" would quickly demonstrate by comparison how competent, assured and adept the SNP have actually been in government, taking us yet one more significant step closer to independence.

    The chagrin for Labour and their dwindling followers is that the real "nastiness" they must confront comes from a string of unpalatable truths of their own making.

    Roll on democracy!

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  • 78. At 1:44pm on 11 Mar 2011, Colin wrote:

    Some more SNP records:

    - Most potholes
    - Most people stuck on the M8
    - Most ever Nats - Fewer Nurses
    - Greatest man made impact on the Scottish landscape
    - Record number of operation cancellations
    - Bed blocking numbers up - acute bed numbers down
    - Largest number of administrators in the NHS
    - Largest number of public sector contractors
    - Most ever free canapes for the First Minister
    - Largest debt for a publicly funded party (the Gathering debacle)
    - Longest recorded lifetime for a murderer released on compassionate grounds
    - Quickest ever spend of £2billion contingency fund from last parliament
    etc...

    and that's just off the top of my head....And of course all of the above are the fault of the opposition parties - nothing to do with the SNP - nope not on our watch - it was the last lot wot done it.

    Time for a change of Government - and can we go back to calling it an Executive - that would be a good start.

    Gringo - would be good to know which IPs are from the nationalist offices in parliament. Hardly a good use of public money I fear and we should be told!!!

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  • 79. At 2:04pm on 11 Mar 2011, cwh wrote:

    #76. At 12:39pm on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:
    ""SNP achievements are considerable.

    How about these for starters? (From the CalMerc)

    ■Delivered an extra 1,000 police officers
    ■Crime in Scotland has fallen to 32-year low
    ■Scottish knife crime at a ten-year low
    ■Gun crimes falling to a ten-year low
    ■Keeping open local accident and emergency units as promised
    ■Prescription charges cut dramatically and about to be abolished
    ■Removed the tolls on all of Scotland’s roads and bridges
    ■A record number of modern apprenticeships
    ■Reversed a decade of decline in international educational comparisons
    ■Increased payments for free personal and nursing care
    ■Helped 70,000 small businesses with the small business bonus
    ■Oh and of course frozen the council tax for the last four years.""

    ----------------
    Spagan good list. I would add one more thingto it:
    Council houses - almost 3000 - and the legislation which ended the right to buy so that these new council houses will remain in the control of the local councils and thus available for rent. Or the fact that in providing funding to the Councilsto help to build them the Scottish Government this helped to support thousands of jobs in the construction industry at a difficult time for those who worked in that industry.

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  • 80. At 2:13pm on 11 Mar 2011, Addicted to Joob-Joobs wrote:

    #78

    As the Scottish Government are apparently now responsible for the weather and all its resultant effects, will the Holyrood unionist alliance be big enough to apologise for the abject grief arising from, and the millions in public funds swallowed up by, the derailed Edinburgh tram project - whose very few yards of workmanship to date are already crumbling and accompanied by some of the most unsightly holes on any road in the entire country!

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  • 81. At 2:40pm on 11 Mar 2011, yourkidding wrote:

    Colin ,Colin,Colin,before you get too carried away lets just clarify one or two things.Do you know how many nurses aged between 45-60 were due to retire within the next 15 years ? Did you know not so long ago they actually had a recruitment drive to encourage people into nursing because of the amount due to retire (and the lure of better conditions overseas )and lo and behold somebody messed up big time.The economy stupid!Few retire these days. Are you even aware the drive now in the NHS is to allow access to treatment in the community (have you never noticed the expanding GP surgeries who now do everything from podiatry to removal of whatever ?)-means less admissions to hospital which ultimately should mean a re evaluation of staff /skill mix.Have you seen the one (POLICY)where the aim is for the service to be a partnership?You do realise that under PFI staff who used to come under the NHS,now come under SERCO ( a labour wheeze) oh and by the way,PFI (who design hospitals with less wards )-signed up to by Labour,employment agreements -signed off by labour ,bed blocking -local council funding (free care for the elderly) another well thought out (but certainly not grudged ) policy -signed off by labour.Your other point regarding largest debt for a publicly funded party(initiated by labour ) -do you remember the dome or what exactly is the debt total today for the festival known as the olympics ,that'll be the London Olympics 2012 .

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  • 82. At 3:02pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    68. mikiegringo
    "BTW were has the money come from for all these new promises that are coming thick and fast."

    Strange. That was exactly the question that I asked Colin upthread!

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  • 83. At 3:13pm on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    Strange how the 2 new boys - aka Colin and the Gringe - appeared.
    Did someone lift a rock?
    Must be something to do with Edward Balls up in Northern Britain .....
    Perhaps its actually Jim Divine doing some community service :)
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 84. At 3:53pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    78. Colin
    "and can we go back to calling it an Executive - that would be a good start."

    You are out of date. Have a look at para 15 of the Scotland Bill -

    "The Scottish Executive is renamed the Scottish Government.

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  • 85. At 3:55pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    83. spagan

    It's good to have dissenting views on a blog. Pity we can't get some Tories and LDs as well.

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  • 86. At 4:05pm on 11 Mar 2011, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #78 - Colin:

    "Quickest ever spend of £2billion contingency fund from last parliament"

    Eh?

    What £2 billion contingency fund? I challenge you - either produce one, single official, published Scottish Parliament or Executive document that shows a £2 billion contingency fund available, as part of the Parliament's overall budget, to the incoming administration in 2007 or take your self away and never sully this blog with your lies and slanders again.

    One. Just one.

    I am prepared to bet that what you're referring to is the £1.5 billion underspend (After all - being wrong by £500,000,000 is within the margin of error when it comes to Labour Party arithmentic) that the 03-07 Lib/Lab coalition RETURNED to Westminster.

    Returned. Gave back. Gave up, even. Not kept in contingency against, say, the worst financial crisis since the 1930's (courtesy of Labour financial management) but meekly handed over, as a servant doffs his cap to his master.

    Come on. Prove me wrong. After all, if you're lying or dissembling over something as important as £2 billion (Roughly 6% of the total annual block grant) then it's going to be difficult to believe anything else you have to say.

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  • 87. At 4:18pm on 11 Mar 2011, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #78 - Colin:

    "Can we go back to calling it an Executive - that would be a good start."

    Now, I'm curious. Other than teaching the Nats not to get ideas above their station, what benefit would that serve? Seriously. After all, you'd be talking about a couple of thousand quid (at least) to change the signage, letterhead etc. Aren't there more important things to be budgeting for, just now, than petty squabbling over nomenclature.

    The Welsh Assembly Government is allowed to call itself a Government, even when it has fewer powers - so, give me one good reason why Scotland give its executive (small 'e') the same title? On top of which, don't you think the name "Scottish Executive" is actually a tad confusing - semantically, it's neither one thing nor the other. Like so much else to do with the '99 devolution settlement, it was a fudge, a concession, a muddle.

    And last of all, because I delight in telling my fellow creatures things they're clearly too stupid to find out for themselves - didn't you know that the 2011 Scotland Bill finally enshrines the name "Scottish Government" in law. So, they'll be an end to all of this "Government" in name, "Executive" in law nonsense soon enough.

    And who were the proud progenitors, as typified with such grace and humility by the lovely Wendy "Big Brain" Alexander, of the Scotland Bill. Why, none other than the Labour Party, of course.

    A tad off-message, then, aren't you? What's the matter, lost the charger for your Blackberry or something? Weren't you copied in to that email?

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  • 88. At 4:20pm on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    85 Reinc
    I know that you're correct.
    Just haven't recovered from the sanctimonious wee Alexander Brother on QT last night. He should have stayed as an accordionist.
    Welcome "Colin" "Gringio" "Grahamski" "Ed Balls" et al.
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 89. At 4:44pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    88. spagan

    I may, of course, have been in error in referring to there being more than one LD. :-)

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  • 90. At 4:48pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    88. spagan
    "Welcome ....."Grahamski""

    Now that's going too far!

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  • 91. At 4:56pm on 11 Mar 2011, mikiegringo wrote:

    I think spagan would prefer to keep the comments section as a nat forum specifically used to bash Brian for his anti-nat bias.
    Any dissent is met with childish name callings. I think this is why the more level-headed members of the SNP's web presence sometimes refer to the worse elements of the cybernats as a hindrance rather than a help.
    Anyhoo
    I would also like to know exactly what the forth road bridge contingency fund has been spent on and why so many people in Fife have died waiting for transfer out of hospital &c, &c
    It just seems that the current government have never got up to speed and have just been fire-fighting for the last 4 years.
    I am glad that the local hospitals were saved but the prescription charges and the council tax freeze are just blatant attempts to bribe the electorate and don't make sense against a background of front-line staff cuts in the NHS and the increasing disaster that is Scotland's roads.No amount of PR advisors to Bute House can change the facts.
    Time for a change.
    I believe the line is "send them home to think again"

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  • 92. At 5:15pm on 11 Mar 2011, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    I note that huge nuclear power plant in Japan is now in very serious danger following the earthquake and tsunami

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  • 93. At 5:17pm on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    It does make you think.
    New Labour had 13 years in power.
    With huge majorities.
    What did they achieve?
    Illegal Wars.
    Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis.
    Thousands of dead and injured service personnel.
    A bust economy.
    PFI schemes that leaves debts for the next 30 years.
    Rich that got super-richer.
    More folk in the House of Lords than ever ever before.
    Expenses scandals to make you sick.
    A more economically and socially divided Britain.
    More inequality than Thatcher managed to create.
    Almost no public houses built.
    More poverty.
    More youth unemployement.
    Richer Labour MPs than ever before.
    Richer ex-Ministers than ever before.
    Why on earth would anyone want Ian Gray to be responsible for anything, let alone the Governance of Scotland.
    Scotland deserves better than New labour.
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 94. At 5:20pm on 11 Mar 2011, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    Apropos another issue on some posts I note that Labour sent money back to London in the years in which it had GARL in its manifesto ("to be completed in one term of Parliament")and didn't actualy lift a shovel or lay a brick on it. Abandoned GARL in fact despite having money on hand.

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  • 95. At 5:28pm on 11 Mar 2011, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #91 - mikiegringo:

    "I would also like to know exactly what the forth road bridge contingency fund has been spent on"

    As you'll see from my #86 above, I would like to know what "Contingency Fund" you're talking about. Care to enlighten us?

    "It just seems that the current government have never got up to speed and have just been fire-fighting for the last 4 years."

    Now here, we agree. No, really, we do. I think this administration have had to spend 4 years as a minority government fighting fires. Of course, I also think most of these 'fires' have been wanton political vandalism (e.g. Minimum pricing on alcohol, Tesco tax) by the unionist parties who would rather chuck petrol over perfectly decent SNP policies instead of coming up with any of their own. But still, in essence, we agree.

    "I believe the line is "send them home to think again"

    Now, though, you've lost me completely. Where, exactly, are you suggesting the SNP be repatriated to? Where does a party of Scottish Nationalists call 'home' if not Scotland? And, anyway, "home" doesn't scan - it's "homeWARD", man, "homeward"! Obviously, you've not been at Murrayfield recently.

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  • 96. At 5:29pm on 11 Mar 2011, john wrote:

    #91 Mike
    If the present government have been firefighting for 4 years it is because they were left to govern a raging inferno while someone else has been turning off the taps.

    I would believe your point about prescription charges and council tax freezes if your mob (which ever it is) had not voted against the supermarket levy. Lets get this straight, you would charge people and pensioners more, while keeping a scenario where supermarkets in this country pay less than their equivalents in the rest of the UK.

    We can either have lots of quangos, beaurocracy and inefficient government, paid for with lots of local taxes, or we can charge people less, and try to do things more efficiently. Are you trying to tell us that there was not room for more efficiencies in local government?

    John

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  • 97. At 5:37pm on 11 Mar 2011, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #93 - Spagan

    "Almost no public houses built".

    Worse than that - my local actually closed under Labour. Sorry. I know that's not what you meant.

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  • 98. At 5:39pm on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    94 Snecked Again
    You cannot be serious.
    You mean that New Labour promised to build GARL?
    And they had the money to build GARL?
    And they were in power for 8 years in Scotland and 13 at Westminster?
    And you say that they didn't even manage to do that?
    Were they too busy making chocolate fireguards?
    Why would anyone want Ian Gray to have responnsibility got anything?
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 99. At 5:43pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    91. mikiegringo
    "the forth road bridge contingency fund"

    One of the reasons I like blogs is because there are always people who know about things I don't.

    What fund is that? When was it created?

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  • 100. At 5:49pm on 11 Mar 2011, AMJHAJ wrote:

    "78. At 1:44pm on 11 Mar 2011, Colin wrote:
    Some more SNP records:"

    "- Most potholes"
    how do you know? where is the evidence?

    "- Most ever Nats - Fewer Nurses"
    a lie - check the NHS statistics

    "- Greatest man made impact on the Scottish landscape"
    how do you know? where is the evidence?

    "- Record number of operation cancellations"
    a lie - check the NHS statistics

    "- Bed blocking numbers up"
    a lie - check the NHS statistics

    " - acute bed numbers down"
    not a bad thing and they decreased every year while Labour were in power

    "- Largest number of administrators in the NHS"
    where is the evidence for this?

    "- Largest number of public sector contractors"
    where is the evidence for this?

    "- Most ever free canapes for the First Minister"
    where is the evidence for this?

    "- Largest debt for a publicly funded party (the Gathering debacle)"
    where is the evidence for this?

    "- Longest recorded lifetime for a murderer released on compassionate grounds"
    where is the evidence for this?


    Welcome to the website, but if you are going to spread some Labour party untruths then prepare to be challenged.

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  • 101. At 5:51pm on 11 Mar 2011, Addicted to Joob-Joobs wrote:

    #91 mickeycringe

    Those who appreciate good government (as opposed to jobs-for-yer-labour-pals "government") are virtually united in favouring the continuation of the current Scottish Government: the SNP being the most capable party for the job.

    And, while Sir David Murray and a host of other business leaders are but a few examples, research informs us that a good number of Labour and Lib Dem "supporters" also prefer an SNP government to one run by their own parties!

    The desperate dependency on twisted misrepresentation of the SNP and their track record is exactly what we've come to expect of Labour over many decades: it is exactly Gray's modus operandi, and that of their every staged election campaign in recent memory.

    Much the negative drivel posted here by the two token 'opposition activists' reads as if lifted directly from a Labour propaganda sheet (otherwise euphemistically referred to as 'campaigning literature', but best disposed of as basic household refuse).

    The phrase "time for a change" from such sources can only mean a dismal return to the dead hand of Labour control; a prospect still only too vivid in the minds of those who have already endured it most of our lives.

    Ironically, as acknowledged, the very grimness of such a scenario could only demonstrate further the need to restore our nation's independence, and propel us that vital step nearer to reclaiming our rightful national sovereignty.

    Roll on democracy!

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  • 102. At 6:05pm on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    I think that's the North British Labour Party gone for "Drinks with Purcell".
    Hope to see you back again soon Colin and GringioMikey
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 103. At 6:06pm on 11 Mar 2011, Colin wrote:

    Just heard that 'The Gathering' has been traded with the SNP run Stirling Council for a second hand Ford Fiesta (about £6k).

    That won't pay for Alex's canapes I fear - the big boss will be very displeased.

    Not sure where we could send the Nats when they're out of office in May - answers on a postcard I guess.

    Can anyone beat Spagan's list in post #93 - got to be a record surely?
    I could post the 100 SNP's finest failures but don't want to bore everyone.

    By the way - my take on the Edinburgh Trams - if the Nats wanted it, they would have used their political clout as the Scottish Executive to see the project through and make it work. They didn't want it and now blame everyone else for the mess. I suspect the people of Edinburgh will see similarly. I hope the new Government will try and take this by the scruff of the neck and complete it.

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  • 104. At 6:13pm on 11 Mar 2011, ForteanJo wrote:

    #91 - "I am glad that the local hospitals were saved but the prescription charges and the council tax freeze are just blatant attempts to bribe the electorate and don't make sense against a background of front-line staff cuts in the NHS and the increasing disaster that is Scotland's roads.No amount of PR advisors to Bute House can change the facts."

    Only the supporter of a party that has left us with a virtually unrepayably national debt, seen wages fall well below what is becoming sky rocketing inflation and oversaw the gap between rich and poor in this country become larger than ever, would think that a tax freeze for hard pressed families is a bad thing.

    Yes, we all know that under the grayman, we'll see our council tax double over the lifetime of the parliament to pay for all his uncosted promises (how many hundreds of millions was he promising yesterday? £300 million was it, out of thin air?) but hitting families that are already struggling to pay mortgages (and remember labour is the party that limited state help for jobseeker's mortgages to two years, a legacy that is only now hitting the fan), council tax, food bills, fuel costs is the desperate act of a politician with zero imagination.

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  • 105. At 6:19pm on 11 Mar 2011, ForteanJo wrote:

    #103 - "By the way - my take on the Edinburgh Trams - if the Nats wanted it, they would have used their political clout as the Scottish Executive to see the project through and make it work. They didn't want it and now blame everyone else for the mess. I suspect the people of Edinburgh will see similarly. I hope the new Government will try and take this by the scruff of the neck and complete it."

    Ha, ha. How many times are the labour party going to try to blame the SNP for Joke McConnell's vanity project? This was pushed through out of spite, nothing more and the good people of edinburgh know exactly who's to blame for the disruption and complete waste of HALF A BILLION quid. This spite and childish behaviour and been the hallmark of labour in opposition. Nobody's fooled.

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  • 106. At 6:20pm on 11 Mar 2011, inmykip wrote:

    #103 Let's hope the electorate of Scotland can see what you obviously can't Colin, that your beloved London Labour party are nothing but a bunch of opportunistic freeloaders, while the thought of Ian Gray becoming First Minsiter will hopefully be enough to make people see sense and ditch London Labour, it certainly works for me.

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  • 107. At 6:29pm on 11 Mar 2011, inmykip wrote:

    #103 Can anyone beat Spagan's list in post #93 - got to be a record surely?
    I could post the 100 SNP's finest failures but don't want to bore everyone.

    Sorry Colin, but you already are boring us with the usual London Labour claptrap.

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  • 108. At 6:34pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    103. Colin
    "my take on the Edinburgh Trams - if the Nats wanted it, they would have used their political clout as the Scottish Executive to see the project through"

    The whole point is that the Government didn't want it. They said from the very beginning that the scheme was far too expensive for the limited benefit that would result. They have been proved right in limiting the amount of money that could be spent on it, after the Unionist Alliance used their majority to push it through.

    You clearly have the normal Labour mindset that the public purse is a bottomless pit, and money can be freely thrown at any idea.

    So, here's the critical question for you. What would Labour have cut to fund the spiralling costs of the tram project?

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  • 109. At 6:35pm on 11 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

    Colin reminds me of a cat stuck up a tree.

    A bit like the labour party, no where to run.

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  • 110. At 6:39pm on 11 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #36 Colin

    "I'll continue to contribute to the debate and not be intimidated."
    We're still awaiting your first positive contribution, I see, a trait eerily similar to the wait we have all had for a policy from dour Iain. Just one positive thing that Lab have proposed but that has been thwarted by the evil nats would be a good start.

    And, BTW, I note that your post refers to my #29 when you say:
    "BTW #29 - I don't see any student grants - it appears school class numbers haven't been reduced and I believe the target on police numbers has been missed. And that stat on NHS numbers - ask about FTE posts (the rise is in part-timers) and I wouldn't go there with the nursing numbers."
    My post referenced none of these things, and I wonder whether you have confused it with another's post, although that seems unlikely. As a general rule, quoting both the post number and the name of the poster is a good idea if you expect a response - something your predecessor, Reluctant-Expat, never did seem to cotton on to.


    #103 Colin

    "I could post the 100 SNP's finest failures but don't want to bore everyone."
    Were they supported by reasoned argument explaining why they failed and what steps the SNP should have taken instead, I for one would be most interested to read them. Attesting that 100 exist does not make it so.

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  • 111. At 6:41pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    103. Colin

    You have been asked several questions, but have failed to reply. I had hoped that your presence would bring the opportunity for reasoned debate.

    Alas, thus far your contributions have been limited to (somewhat fatuous) charges cribbed from Labour propaganda.

    That's unfortunate.

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  • 112. At 6:56pm on 11 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #68 mikiegringo
    "Seems that the cybernats aren't used to facing any opposition on this blog so *mostly* prove themselves unable to take part in a reasoned debate."
    We're still waiting for some of that reasoned debate from you, which I politely requested in my #70, and I fear that the quality of argument you have demonstrated so far is truly Pythonesque.

    #71 mikiegringo
    "I don't work for any political organisation however i do wonder how many of the cybernats posting here are SNP staff members. If we looked at the IP addresses posting how many of you would be from Holyrood's?"

    A curious use of the word we there, but an interesting concept. If you feel strongly that IP addresses of all posters on BBC should be published along with their geolocation, then why not start an on-line petition at the Holyrood or perhaps the 10 Downing Street website? I certainly have no objection to my own IP address being public, but BBC house rules prevent me from including here "contact information i.e. phone numbers, postcodes etc", in which category IP addresses fall. I'm sure the mods would allow you to post the URL of the petition here so that others can sign up to it.

    It would indeed be interesting to know the identities of all posters on BBC websites originating from publicly and/or political party owned premises.

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  • 113. At 7:08pm on 11 Mar 2011, snowthistle wrote:

    Barbazenzero #110
    David Whitton has a list of 100 supposed broken SNP promises on his website, maybe they are similar to Colin's list.

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  • 114. At 7:16pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    113. snowthistle

    Is that the list that includes all the manifesto items that would have been implemented had the SNP gained a majority? The ones that the Unionist Alliance voted down?

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  • 115. At 7:21pm on 11 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #113 snowthistle
    "David Whitton has a list of 100 supposed broken SNP promises on his website, maybe they are similar to Colin's list."

    Thank you very much. I am sure Colin will add his thanks for saving him so much work.

    There you go, Colin. David Whitton MSP - http://www.davidwhittonmsp.org.uk/ - has a scrolling thingy on his home page which should give you a head start in listing a few of your favourites.

    Of course, it's the reasoned arguments concerning why they failed and what steps should have been taken instead that we're all looking forward to your sharing with us. Blogging is a collaberative process after all.

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  • 116. At 7:27pm on 11 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

    Im surprised that Whitton has the brassneck to advertise labours failure,s in supporting the policies that would take Scotland forward.

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  • 117. At 7:31pm on 11 Mar 2011, Wee-Scamp wrote:


    Does Whitton apologise for Labour's destruction of the economy?

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  • 118. At 7:36pm on 11 Mar 2011, snowthistle wrote:

    I am at least relieved that Mr Whitton now has some ideas for policies, let's face it, the labour party couldn't dream up 100 original ideas if their lives depended on it.
    I believe Mr Whitton is still in favour of PFI.

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  • 119. At 7:52pm on 11 Mar 2011, cwh wrote:

    To add to Spagans list at 76 and shown below:
    There is:
    -Council Houses ~2500-3000
    -Stopping 'right to buy'to keep council houses in public ownwership
    -Road Transport Equivalent on Ferries e.g. to Western Isles - always promised by LibDems but never enacted when they were part of the Scottish Executive.
    -£168 million pound skills package (£68 million from EU) to fund community based projects accross Scotland to improve the employability of those young people with no formal skills or qualifications.

    From Spagan via Cal Merc
    ■Delivered an extra 1,000 police officers
    ■Crime in Scotland has fallen to 32-year low
    ■Scottish knife crime at a ten-year low
    ■Gun crimes falling to a ten-year low
    ■Keeping open local accident and emergency units as promised
    ■Prescription charges cut dramatically and about to be abolished
    ■Removed the tolls on all of Scotland’s roads and bridges
    ■A record number of modern apprenticeships
    ■Reversed a decade of decline in international educational comparisons
    ■Increased payments for free personal and nursing care
    ■Helped 70,000 small businesses with the small business bonus
    ■Oh and of course frozen the council tax for the last four years.""
    -----

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  • 120. At 8:10pm on 11 Mar 2011, AMJHAJ wrote:

    FAO 'Colin' (or any other Labour supporter).

    At post 78 'Colin' gave a list of supposed 'SNP records'. At post 100 I said that some of these were untrue. The remainder I'd be fascinated to see the evidence.

    Can you admit you are wrong Colin? Or can you come up with evidence to the contrary?

    If you don't respond then I'm afraid I'll consider you yet another poor soul who swallows Labour party untruths.

    I hope that I get a Labour canvasser round our way that starts with some of that garbage - quite looking forward to it!

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  • 121. At 8:23pm on 11 Mar 2011, Episteme wrote:

    You know Brian, it would be quite an achievement if you would challenge this Ian Gray chappie live on TV regarding some of his more outlandish claims against the Scottish Government, although outlandish seems to apply to the majority of his warblings.

    There is a definite pattern emerging from the Labour ranks where they call into doubt every seed of progress that the Scottish Government has managed to squeeze through the serried ranks of the Unionist cohorts at Holyrood.

    Perhaps Gray sees himself as a modern day

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  • 122. At 8:34pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    121. Episteme
    "Perhaps Gray sees himself as a modern day"

    Or a modern knight? Or a peerage?

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  • 123. At 8:35pm on 11 Mar 2011, inmykip wrote:

    #120 I generally tell the Labour canvassers what they want to hear, nothing like giving them a false impression, keeps them smiling and gets shot of them all the quicker.

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  • 124. At 8:40pm on 11 Mar 2011, Episteme wrote:

    #121 cont...

    Perhaps Grey sees himself as a modern day Leonidas (didn't he teach history once?) with his wee jabby finger a substitute for the Spartan spear, delivering wounding blows to a Salmond shaped Xerxes.

    Just such a pity that the thrusts of all his arguments are so poorly scripted, poorly delivered and miss the target completely.

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  • 125. At 8:44pm on 11 Mar 2011, Ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #78 Before even reading the responses to your post I can see you are an amateur blogger. How can you blame the SNP for pot holes and stranded motorists when we have had the worst 3 winters in like a decade ? The SNP cannot control the weather ..this is not Superman 3. Im afraid you will have to come up with more than spin when trying to discredit the SNP ... who is it that ran the country the last 10 years and messed up the UK's finances ? You still want to vote for them .. in denial.

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  • 126. At 8:46pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    124. Episteme

    Please don't insult historians!!!! Grey taught Maths/Physics.

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  • 127. At 9:02pm on 11 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #126 reincarnation
    "Please don't insult historians!!!! Grey taught Maths/Physics."

    Play fair. That does not exclude the possibility that he taught history precisely once - as a sickness relief, perhaps - and might even help to explain why he seems to have so little sense of that subject.

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  • 128. At 9:07pm on 11 Mar 2011, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    As our esteemed Dundonian heidie doesn't come on threads himself, it falls to me, on his behalf to hail the impressive and substantive contributions from Colin and Mikiegringo.

    Lol.

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  • 129. At 9:15pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    127. Barbazenzero
    "and might even help to explain why he seems to have so little sense of that subject."

    True. But we should all be much more concerned that his grasp of Maths is weak. Nothing else can explain his admiration for PFI.

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  • 130. At 9:25pm on 11 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #129 reincarnation
    "But we should all be much more concerned that his grasp of Maths is weak. Nothing else can explain his admiration for PFI."

    There, unlike dour Iain, you're on the money.

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  • 131. At 9:37pm on 11 Mar 2011, paul Hunter wrote:

    During the BBC north Britain news and regarding Alex Salmonds election campaign, Sally Magnuson threw in a 'Even although polls say SNP are lagging behind. If the BBC are going to make accusations like this, then where's the evidence? What polls were done and by whom?
    This is just bad journalism and biased media. Unforgiveable.

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  • 132. At 10:02pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    131. paul Hunter
    "Sally Magnuson threw in a 'Even although polls say SNP are lagging behind."

    These are the BBC's own Guidelines on reporting opinion polls.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-politics-practices-opinion/#reporting-opinion-polls

    'We should not use language which gives greater credibility to the polls than they deserve. For example, we can say polls "suggest" and "indicate", but never "prove" or "show"'

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  • 133. At 10:27pm on 11 Mar 2011, mikiegringo wrote:

    So everyone here is an "activist"!
    What a strange world view.
    1) snp not to blame for the weather but are to blame for spending public money on "fact finding" tours during last summer to countries that experience bad winters. Result - more grit and an unprecedented failure of our country's motorways because of some snow and some excellent footage on TV of the minister in charge praising all and sundry for a job well done.
    2) NHS in a perilous state with a minister seemingly unable to manage her portfolio - infections, bed blocking, unable to ask the questions that matter (but happy to write letters of support for constituents with convictions to influence sherrif's decisions)
    3) a first minister happy to ignore the people of Aberdeenshire to help out Mr Trump with his wee planning problem - site of special scientific interest, so what!
    4) continuous borrowing from the next year's budget to help make ends meet to have more money for crackpot vanity projects
    5) schools in disarray with the "curriculum for excellence" being forced upon teachers without being thought out
    6) Megrahi - that went well
    7) no referendum on independence which you might think would have been a core principle of a nationalist party set up to further the cause of Scottish independence
    8) really looking forward to the commonwealth games starting with the foreign athletes getting onto a bus to go the athletes' village. At least they won't have to sit on the Kingston bridge for an hour or so.

    All in all, no matter what you spout, the last 4 years haven't been a great display of governance by the snp and rather than owning up to their mistakes then it is always either the fault of the previous administration or the bad people in Westminister or the opposition not playing fair. As a previous voter for the snp I had hoped for much better. I wanted a new era and instead I got amateurs. I wanted transparency and honesty and instead I got blind defence of bad "pet" organisations, spin and "under the table" cash deals.

    On a more +ve note i have been impressed by the performance of Fergus Ewing but he seems to be the only member of the current administration not tainted by the stink of failure.

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  • 134. At 10:27pm on 11 Mar 2011, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    132. reincarnation, a quandary for them there. Whether to give Sally a slap on the hand or a pat on the back?

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  • 135. At 10:31pm on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    Sally Magnuson breaking BBC's own guidelines.
    I presume that she "was only obeying orders"?
    Sad.
    I wonder if her Dad believed that Iceland should have been a self-determining wee Nation?
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 136. At 10:32pm on 11 Mar 2011, Grahame wrote:

    Sally was on message just now on 10:30 bulletin - "Polls Suggest"

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  • 137. At 10:32pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    132. reincarnation

    In the 10:30 News she said "suggest" in the opener. I think someone had a word with her!

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  • 138. At 10:33pm on 11 Mar 2011, spagan wrote:

    "Recent polls now - suggest - the SNP are lagging behind Labour"
    No apology from Sally however.
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 139. At 10:49pm on 11 Mar 2011, GrassyKnollington wrote:

    wee Dick Baker. I claim my £5

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  • 140. At 11:01pm on 11 Mar 2011, peteraberdeenshire wrote:

    Mikie gringo at least try to post facts and not Labour spin, the worst winter weather for years and a little problem because people in the central belt got hit with unexpectedly heavy snowfall, something other parts of the country seem able to cope with. Schools in disarray? Did you not hear Baker prattling on about high levels of illiteracy in jails? Unless the jails are full of four year olds then these people were educated under Labour administrations. Megrahi, well almost every opinion poll showed support for his release. Referendum was going to be voted down by the Unionists, Labour and the Tories hand in hand, so what was the point, it would only be headlined as SNP failed etc... Athletes on a bus I take it you mean the GARL which Labour promised but did not deliver, and last couple of times I have been to Glasgow airport it has hardly been bursting at the seams so cant really see the need for GARL. As for Trump, Jack Mconnell was the one who gave trump the helicopter tour, plus I think you will find the majority of people in Aberdeenshire support the proposal.
    I have voted SNP for 25 years, dont agree with everything they do but at least they put Scotland first unlike the unionist parties. But if I was forced to vote for a unionist party, which will never happen as once I decided that independence was the way forward there is no chance of changing back, I would vote Tory, and never ever Labour.
    At least with the Tories you know what you are getting, may not like it but know what it says on the tin is what you get. Labour are rife with corruption , cronyism and incompetence. Why after all their years of dominance in the central belt are so many parts of Glasgow still suffering poverty???

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  • 141. At 11:11pm on 11 Mar 2011, Ubinworryinmasheep wrote:

    #133 'As a previous voter for the snp I had hoped for much better'

    Aye we have heard that one before. No we are not all activists but how you can vote for a party that has obvious failures is beyond me. By the way ..your avoidance of the questions for facts by other posters on here will result in you being labelled a troll in which case you will get nowhere. I think you need to up your game ..most of your 'facts' can be taken apart by even myself and im only a part time poster.

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  • 142. At 11:14pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    133. mikiegringo

    1) SNP "are to blame for spending public money on "fact finding" tours during last summer to countries that experience bad winters."

    So your suggestion is that it would have been better to opeate without good information.

    "some snow"

    So those workers dealing with the situation were incompetent or lazy?

    "2) NHS in a perilous state"

    That's just a silly statement. On many measures the NHS in Scotland is doing better than the NHS in England. Do you want to go down the privatisation model used in England under both Labour ant Tory?

    3) Salmond was acting as the local MP, not as FM. Snide use of language, and inaccuracies, are usually inappropriate.

    "4) continuous borrowing from the next year's budget"

    You really should start to understand what happened. The UK Government allowed a delay in the cuts by a year, due to the different funding cycles. That money was invested in building projects to maximise employment and to keep the economy going. You, presumably, would have preferred the Government to follow the Tory/LD view that massive cuts should be made as soon as possible. Labour and SNP have the same view that the cuts are too deep and too fast. You disagree with both.

    "5) schools in disarray with the "curriculum for excellence" being forced upon teachers without being thought out"

    CfE is thoroughly thought out. It was so under Lab/LD, and under the SNP. It has been operating well in Primary Schools, and wasn't "forced on teachers". In Secondary the change in approach is more difficult, but if you look at the models in Australia, for example, the positive results have been significant. I have been through many changes in curriculum over the years. If you want an example of one that was really "forced on teachers without being thought out" just look at Higher Still, introduced by Labour. That was so botched that it had to be redrawn.

    I'm sure, however, that parents would want Government simply to have the EIS/SSTA deciding the educational structure in the interests of their members rather than the kids. We would never have moved beyond Highers and Lowers!

    "6) Megrahi - that went well"

    It went very badly from Labour's point of view. They wanted to break their promise to the US relatives and ship him back to Libya before he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

    "7) no referendum on independence"

    So a minority Government is supposed to magic a majority? What did you want, Alex to go in and rewire the MSP's voting buttons? Don't be silly.

    "8) really looking forward to the commonwealth games starting with the foreign athletes getting onto a bus to go the athletes' village."

    A GARL reference? You want public money spent to increase the profits of a multinational company? Oh. You do. You don't want to tax out of town supermarkets. Oh, you don't. You don't want to have minimum alcohol pricing because that would increase their profits.

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  • 143. At 11:20pm on 11 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #133 mikiegringo

    Wow! What a change from your post #68, when you were suggesting a need for "reasoned debate" and deploring "ad hominem attacks".

    "So everyone here is an "activist"!"
    It would certainly appear that you are. You have my personal assurance that I am not.

    Your numbered list of 8 moans is entirely without supporting argument, let alone reference sources and reads more like the Daily Record than is usual here.

    If you are indeed a "previous voter for the snp", it should be easy for you to tell us when, where and why as well as explaining to us how you think it might have been possible for the present Scottish Government to fulfil their manifesto pledges in toto without a majority at Holyrood.

    Elucidation of your criticism of SNP "blind defence of bad "pet" organisations, spin and "under the table" cash deals" could only help others to understand why you feel the way you do and, if fully reasoned, help others to avoid the mistake you made of voting for them. Although you do not say so, one can only presume that you regret this past folly. Is it guilt for this that is causing you to be another "Mr Angry"?

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  • 144. At 11:21pm on 11 Mar 2011, A_Scottish_Voice wrote:

    Mikieboy, seriously you sound about fifteen years old. Your trying too hard. Chill out man.

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  • 145. At 11:29pm on 11 Mar 2011, Barbazenzero wrote:

    #135 spagan
    "I wonder if her Dad believed that Iceland should have been a self-determining wee Nation?"

    Could well be, although you'll probably need to read her "Dreaming of Iceland" to find out.

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  • 146. At 11:41pm on 11 Mar 2011, Electric Hermit wrote:

    133. mikiegringo
    "What a strange world view. "

    Indeed it is - when that view is through the distorting lens of British nationalist propaganda. You are to be congratulated on providing such a comprehensive synopsis of their lies.

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  • 147. At 11:42pm on 11 Mar 2011, Bandages_For_Konjic wrote:

    #103 - Colin:

    I can't help but notice that you have, in a somewhat cowardly fashion, shied away from my challenge at #86. Are you content, therefore. for us to assume, in the absence of evidence to the contrary that most of your #78 was, essentially, a lie? That being the case, as a proven and admitted liar - why are you still here? This is a blog for adults who wish to discuss real-world politics - not for fantasists who just want to make things up.

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  • 148. At 11:45pm on 11 Mar 2011, kadok wrote:

    I think Colin is[ And Kerr].

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  • 149. At 11:56pm on 11 Mar 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    One has to have a certain sympathy with Colin and mikiegringo.

    For whatever reason, they support Labour (I presume) and are trying to argue their case.

    The critical difficulty they have, however, is that operating from a set of Labour sound bites, they lack any evidence to support their charges against the SNP. They can't answer questions because they don't know the answers. Once their slogan has been uttered, they can't back it up.

    The thrust of the election is already clear from their comments. A list of unsubstantiated criticisms of the SNP (they should have asked us! Over the years most of us have been critical of the SNP on various things.)

    There is a total lack of positive reasons for voting Labour. Let me supply one - cases of Peroni lager!

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