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Parties work for job vote

Brian Taylor | 12:33 UK time, Wednesday, 13 April 2011

What is it that can be described simultaneously as "progress" and "grim reading"?

What apparently exemplifies both "robust action" on the part of government - and "a damning indictment of their complacency", according to taste?

The answer, as you have undoubtedly twigged by now, is the monthly statistical exercise listing the numbers in and out of work, here in Scotland.

To be clear, the preponderance of views in the political field lies in the direction of a qualified welcome.

Even Labour - authors of the "grim" diagnosis - note at the outset of their statement that "any signs of improvement are welcome".

The difference in interpretation rests largely upon time frame.

The SNP (and indeed the UK government in the shape of the Scotland Office) stress the present trend which is a positive one of declining unemployment and rising employment.

Labour looks further back, noting that there are more out of work in Scotland than at this time last year - and that the Scottish unemployment percentage is currently higher than that for the UK by contrast, they say, with the situation which prevailed when the SNP took power.

The views of voters are likely to be less arithmetical. They can be defined as the feel-good factor. Am I in work? Are my family in work - or with the prospect of work? Do I see rising employment in my community, my city, my peer group?

For these devolved elections, the political impact is also harder to gauge. If there is a relative feel-good factor as a consequence of current trends, does that attach itself to the incumbent party at Holyrood even though macro-economic policy is reserved to Westminster?

Equally, if folk still feel apprehensive despite seeming encouragement in the current trends, is there a political aftermath - and where would that apply?

To recap the basics, Scottish unemployment is down by 7,000 over the last quarter - although the percentage rate, at 8.1, remains higher than the comparable UK level.

The Scottish employment rate is better than the UK average - and has improved again this month. The claimant count in Scotland fell slightly.

Understandably, each of the parties interprets these results in terms of their own offer to the voters at these forthcoming Holyrood elections.

The SNP notes that this is the fifth consecutive monthly fall in unemployment together with the ninth monthly rise in employment.

They say this reflects the "robust actions" taken by their party in devolved power - while arguing that Scotland requires the full panoply of economic tools in order to avoid slipping back.

Labour stresses the extent of youth unemployment and, as billed above, highlights the longer term trends.

The Conservatives welcome the fall in unemployment - but argue that the focus now should be on entrepreneurial efforts to enhance the private sector rather than relying, as in the past, on public sector employment.

The Liberal Democrats also welcome these figures and the recent trend as "good news" - while offering their policies of regional development banks, a home insulation programme and superfast broadband as the route to future growth.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Sounds quite good.
    What was the fall across the whole of the UK?
    Probably about 70,000 on a pro-rata basis???
    Nope - even with London booming (doesn't it always?) - the TOTAL fall across the UK is 17,000 - and Scotland accounts for more than 1/3 of that figure.
    New Labour - they have difficulty "talking the talk" - and they have never been able to "walk the walk".
    Running away from a handful of noisy old people at Central Station - for goodness sake. Perhaps it was just shell-shock after the Killing Fields?
    Where is Wally?
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 2.

    Well said spagan

  • Comment number 3.

    7000...This must be seen as good news?
    No.. Wait ..Here comes Mr Happy Face Ian Gray!!!
    "Scotland is rubbish!!! ,bring out your dead!!!, snp are a curse!!!"
    Doom, Gloom, Negative, Dull.
    The BBC had an article on Happiness last night. Lets send Ian on a course.

  • Comment number 4.

    Brian - I would just close the blog now - You have been found out.

    Lots of blogging - Are labour in trouble ?

  • Comment number 5.

    Spagan - I wouldn't start show-boating just yet - as Brian has pointed out, the norm is for (pre-SNP) Scottish unemployment figures to be well below that of England.

    This is why the SNP's Local Income Tax figures just don't add up and will unfairly penalise working families (and thank goodness those lucky few with jobs aren't being burdoned with this).

  • Comment number 6.

    7000 out of a total of 17000, now who could argue that Scotland under the SNP are doing rather well and will I have no doubt continue to do well if returned to Parliament, however I have great fears that we will go down the plughole if Scotland votes to ?send a message to Westminster Wonder what the message would be Kick us harder there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves Oh I forgot our secret weapon that man who has walked the killing fields ect

  • Comment number 7.

    Given the Westminster imposed cuts to the Scottish budget and the poor international economic conditions the SNP Government in Holyrood has done well on the jobs front but nobody in the SNP is being complacent.

    The Lib Dems and Conservatives will choose to 'big up' their role in the ConDem alliance and say that their austerity measures are working. ( Contrast this to the LibDem stance over the threat to RAF Leuchars or imposing massive fees on English students which of course has nothing to do with them ! )

    Labour will scare monger themselves into a frenzy of anti-Thatcher nostalgia in their attempt to fool voters into thinking that voting Labour can save us all from the London Tories. ( Just like it did in the last UK General Election !?! )

    Alex Salmond was in Dundee yesterday pledging an investment of £50 million in a Scottish Futures Transport Fund ( with money saved from the new Forth Bridge project). Mike Russell was on Radio Scotland indicating guaranteed jobs for new teachers. These is the kind of inventive and direct investments in Scotland's future we need.

  • Comment number 8.

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

    I'm sure you're astonished.


  • Comment number 9.

    Just how many of these jobs are fixed term contracts? So when the season changes will we see a reverse? But by then the election will be over, its all smoke & mirrors from all sides, the truth is what little manufacturing we have left in our little corner of the UK, there are certainly no major employers queing up to locate their HQ's or anything else sorry the best parts of the joint are still south of that roman wa' For the meagre amount that do materialise for sure, just check how many indigenous SCOTS get a full-time contract!

  • Comment number 10.

    # 5. At 14:30pm 13th Apr 2011, Colin wrote:
    "Spagan - I wouldn't start show-boating just yet - as Brian has pointed out, the norm is for (pre-SNP) Scottish unemployment figures to be well below that of England."

    I think you'll find what you actually mean is Scottish unemployment figures pre-Labour nurtured recession .

  • Comment number 11.

    Colin #5

    That is the difference between the SNP and others .They explore and cost their ideas before they release them.Only fools release uncosted and fully thought out proposals. Can you think of anyone this could be applied to? I know I can

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    5. Colin. Why are all you Liebour supporters soooo negative. Scotland has lower unemployment than a lot of English regions e.g. the North East 10.4, Yorkshire and the Humber 9.2, West Midlands 9.7, London 9.2 and Wales 8.6. Also Scotlands employment rate is 71.0% compared to the UK figure of 70.7%. So more people are employed in Scotland, not the lucky few as you put it. Source - Office for National Statistics page 18 (1) Regional summary of labour market headline indicators.

  • Comment number 14.

    #5. 13th Apr 2011, Colin

    BTW it would be most enlightening if you could give us some evidence from the last couple of weeks to support your several-times-repeated description of Iain Gray as a First Minister in waiting.

  • Comment number 15.

    5 Colin
    No showboating.
    Just good news to talk about on the doorsteps.
    May is forecast to be great "showboating weather".
    Will you be walking around the Central Station Killing Fields at that time?
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 16.

    Not one of your more interesting threads, Brian, albeit commendably unbiased. However, I must congratulate you on the improvement in your mathematical abilities - something your English colleagues seem to have a problem with in the new UK unemployment falls by 17,000 to 2.48m with "Within the overall unemployment figures there were wide regional variations, with the North East generating 11,000 extra jobs but the East of England seeing 15,000 job losses" and similar terminological inexactitudes if your post and the table on that page are to be believed:

    Region Change
    North East 11,000
    North West 6,000
    Yorkshire and Humber 2,000
    East Midlands -4,000
    West Midlands -4,000
    East of England -15,000
    London 1,000
    South East -10,000
    South West 4,000
    Wales 3,000
    Scotland -7,000
    Northern Ireland -4,000

    UK -17,000

    The truth is apparently the exact opposite of the commentary, with unemployment in the North East rising and in the East of England falling.

    What is most noticeable is that those devolved nations where Labour is not in government are doing better than poor Wales, which is lagging behind even England under the Con-L-D coalition.

    A message for the Scottish electorate, perhaps?
  • Comment number 17.

    #5 Colin
    "Spagan - I wouldn't start show-boating just yet"

    Nor should you, Colin.

    You wouldn't have an explanation for why, after 12 years in power nationally and 13 of the last 14 years in power state-wide, Labour are getting it so wrong in Wales, would you?

  • Comment number 18.

    #9 redrob...
    The Scottish Government has announced plans by energy engineering giant Doosan Power Systems to locate its renewables research and development base - and potentially offshore wind turbine manufacturing - in Scotland, creating hundreds of new jobs with investments worth up to £170 million over the next ten years.

    Amazon confirms details of Scottish jobs boost:
    950 new jobs with new centre in Dunfermline and increased staffing at Gourock facility.

    Gamesa wind turbine investment to provide hundreds of jobs
    Dundee was given a major jobs boost today when it was confirmed that Spanish firm Gamesa intends to begin manufacturing wind turbines in the city.

    Sainsbury's today announces the creation of over 2,200 new jobs across Scotland and the north of England, all of which will be in place by summer 2010.

    Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe (MPSE) announced today that it will invest up to £100 million in a Scottish offshore wind research and development centre with the goal of commercialising efficient renewable technology.

    ...and the list goes on and on...

    Aye, Redrobb... All smoke and mirrors from the SNP right enough! -rolls eyes-

  • Comment number 19.

    Colin claims that the " norm " is for unemployment in Scotland to be well below that in England.That is simply wrong.Over the last 100 years( or longer ), Scotland has been at the mercy of fiscal policy ( much as the weaker economies in the eurozone) as set by London.We have suffered serious economic problems as a result of our lack of fiscal levers to allow our indiginous companies to compete.That is also compounded by our poor share of defence spending or the 9 billion Olympic budget .The last Labour Government tried to help maintain the economy by boosting the car industry, a very important job creator for England. Can anyone suggest one thing Jim Murphy did for Scotlands economy?

  • Comment number 20.

    i see my lucky mascot colin is back. you were sadly missed. the posters have went to pot, since you went away. have you been coaching edd balls prodigee, rambo
    "grr ay" ? i have noticed a marked his modesty.

    excuse me colin if i drift away from devolved matters, as i noticed their has been a 99% vote of no confidence in andrew lansly and the governments controvercial NHS
    reforms by the nhs delagates at the royal college of nursing. if they dont drop the dead donkey after that it will show an already knowing public that they are persuing
    pure tory dogma, and another vote of no confidence will be imminenent!

  • Comment number 21.

    Has the weegreychickencarcrash happened today??

    Loved yesterday's photo with edballs-up standing under what looked like an eagle (pepsi symbol??) ready to pick his napper off!!

    Given the Glasgow Central debacle, just what are the Liebor PR people actually employed to do!!

    Brian, you are now well overdue for a sensible post on the leadership qualities which this country needs post-Election. Aside from a dozen other reasons, the weegreychichcarcrash displayed zero leadership abilities with what will become a defining moment, in trying to equate being ambushed by some noisy pensioners with the horrific devastation that real people endured in Mozambique, Chile and Cambodia.

    weegreychieckencar crash will never recover from these completely outrageous comparisons.

    This morning I watched the Brewmaster take on notmactavishscott and I actually felt sorry for Scott as the programme (no, sorry, that was a demolition) progressed. Being interviewed by the Brewmaster, you tend to get no hiding place and you could just feel the poor 'leader' (not a word that really applies) lose heart as the persistent questioning never let up.

    Then the Brewmaster hit the knock-out with his challenges to Scott on the question of the A&E's at Monklands, etc, and the position of the FibDems in the Liebor/FibDem coalition in the previous Government.

    Brewmaster ran rings around him and the exhausted Scott slumped on his chair and threw in the towel.

    Not a pretty sight.

    Brian, leadership qualities, given these debacles, suggest this is a two horse race between Auntie Bella and the Eckmeister!! What's your take??

  • Comment number 22.

    Wow 1551 and still open for comments!

  • Comment number 23.

    #21 - djmac7:

    "Just what are the Liebor PR people actually employed to do!!"

    Apparently they're employed to come on here and claim that Iain Gray is a 'First Minister in waiting".

    Aye, waiting for a 6" meatball marinara sub, with olives but no jalapenos.

  • Comment number 24.

    21. At 15:51pm 13th Apr 2011, djmac7

    Poor Tavish heading into the lions den tomorrow.

  • Comment number 25.

  • Comment number 26.

    "This is why the SNP's Local Income Tax figures just don't add up".

    There's no semantic link between this sentence and the one before it.

    What relationship are you implying between local government funding and unemployment?

    Are you saying people will lose their jobs if council tax bills go up? In which case, it's a good job Labour haven't been in power for the last four years - Iain Gray admitted on the STV leaders debate that, had he been in charge Council Tax bills would have risen year on year.

    And, isn't it lucky for you that the SNP came to power in 2007 - around the time that the grim implications of Labour's hopeless mismanagement of the entire UK economy really started to come home - driving down employment across the whole of Britain.

    Of course, it's just dumb luck that you can conflate the ill omens of Labour's grievously incompetent fiscal policy with an SNP victory but then, let's face it, that's about all the luck you're going to get with Iain Gray as a leader.

  • Comment number 27.

    Does anybody know how Iain Gray got on in his webchat with the Daily Record?

    Colin, presumably you were there to hold his hand and make sure no-one waved a [virtual] placard at him.

  • Comment number 28.

    15. At 15:25pm 13th Apr 2011, spagan wrote:

    5 Colin

    "Will you be walking around the Central Station Killing Fields at that time?"

    Those Central Station Killing Fields are scary, man. There might be a sign carrying granny there!

  • Comment number 29.

    #25 cheesed_off

    How nice of the old Darling to come up and tell the Scots what they [the Scots] want. (Well, at least he is Scots, unlike Mr Balls.)

    So, people of Scotland, you want "serious" Mr Iain "Sandwich shop" Gray to run your country. Westminster Labour has spoken, take heed and vote Labour!

  • Comment number 30.

    Wow - loads of abuse from the CyberNats. I can't believe this scary lot have been in charge for the last 4 years......

    I am pleased though that independence has been dropped as an SNP policy. About time :)

  • Comment number 31.

    30. At 17:32pm 13th Apr 2011, Colin wrote:

    "I am pleased though that independence has been dropped as an SNP policy. About time :)"


  • Comment number 32.

    #27 Bandages_For_Konjic
    "Does anybody know how Iain Gray got on in his webchat with the Daily Record?
    Colin, presumably you were there to hold his hand and make sure no-one waved a [virtual] placard at him.

    It wasn't Colin but Magnus Gardham who was holding Iain's hand while making no pretence at impartiality. Something the BBC should note next time they employ Gardham.

    Sadly, the Record's webchat with Iain Gray started more than 15 minutes late and was cut short because Iain the unready was late for another appointment, so the discussion never moved on to the good news on unemployment. Let's hope he gives Brian time to be properly quizzed on it.

    However, there was one interesting Q&A, viz:

    Allan: Do you regret not discussing the concerns of the electorate at Glasgow Central station, opting instead to run away from them?

    Iain Gray: I regret that Mr Clerkin would not talk about his concerns. i did say to him I was happy to speak to him, but I am afraid he just wanted to keep on shouting. It was a pity because I was in central station to talk about a cut - the cutting of the GARL project by the SNP - which cost Glasgow 1300 jobs. Labour would bring that project - and the jobs - back.

    I'll leave it for others to judge the veracity of Gray's answer. STV's video report at Iain Gray seeks refuge in Subway sandwich shop after being confronted by protesters covered the whole story pretty well, so unless STV had a microphone malfunction, I fear that Gray is suffering from memory loss to add to his other woes. Or perhaps the STV reporter had memory loss in his report back to the studio.

  • Comment number 33.

    #30. At 17:32pm 13th Apr 2011, Colin wrote:

    "Wow - loads of abuse from the CyberNats."

    Poor abused baby! Do please point out all this abuse so we can report it!

    Tsk. Why, it's like having to escape the killing fields of Central Station. Terrible!

  • Comment number 34.

    30 Colin,

    'Wow - loads of abuse from the CyberNats. I can't believe this scary lot have been in charge for the last 4 years......

    I am pleased though that independence has been dropped as an SNP policy. About time :)'

    Do you make your living as a fortune-teller??

    The SNP manifesto has not been published yet!!

  • Comment number 35.

    Our great leader in waiting does it again Retreat men retreat To the killing fields of Bannockburn we must go

    Labour’s Iain Gray has hit on a bold approach to tricky situations: not turning up. He pulled out of an event in Stirling after a party scout reported supporters of SNP candidate Bruce Crawford flooding the area. Mr Gray’s entourage was diverted to Bannockburn. As one observer noted: “It must be the first time a leader has led his troops to Bannockburn to avoid a battle.”

  • Comment number 36.

    #30 Colin
    "Wow - loads of abuse from the CyberNats."

    And your positive contributions to the debate have been what, exactly?

    If you pose sensible questions and respond with sensible answers to others' sensible questions you'll get no abuse. Pity, perhaps, but not abuse.

  • Comment number 37.

    "5. At 14:30pm 13th Apr 2011, Colin wrote:

    Spagan - I wouldn't start show-boating just yet - as Brian has pointed out, the norm is for (pre-SNP) Scottish unemployment figures to be well below that of England."

    The DWP statistics show that from 1971-2006 Scotland enjoyed less unemployment for just one period between 1992-1993. And again just before the start of the SNP administration.

    So the 'norm' is for Scotland to have higher unemployment than the UK

    I am surprised you would believe such a wide and wrong assertion, you
    obviously missed the 70s and 80s and most of the 90s in Scotland.

  • Comment number 38.

    "30. At 17:32pm 13th Apr 2011, Colin wrote:

    Wow - loads of abuse from the CyberNats. I can't believe this scary lot have been in charge for the last 4 years...... "

    Wow loads of factually wrong stuff from Colin... and oh people just feel the
    need to correct, must be the strong focus on education North of the border.

  • Comment number 39.

    5. At 14:30pm 13th Apr 2011, Colin wrote:
    "This is why the SNP's Local Income Tax figures just don't add up and will unfairly penalise working families"

    Hi Colin,

    Would you please explain how LIT will 'penalise working families'

    Are you of the opinion that the present system whereby the less well off, (excepting those on benefits), pay a far greater percentage of their income than the better off and the rich is fair?

    Are you saying that people who earn, (no matter what their income), should not pay their fair share for services we all use.

    Are you saying that it is fair that those in a household with more than one earner should be subsidised by single earners?

    I look forward to your reply

  • Comment number 40.

    Interesting news on Mr Clerkin of Citizens United Against Cuts to Public Services which the BBC website doesn't seem to have had chance to cover, but which STV do with their Alex Salmond meets cuts protesters.

    Regular readers of these threads won't be surprised that the meeting seemed to be amicable enough, but we also hear more from Mr Clerkin, with "Mr Clerkin said they had been portrayed as "rabble rousers" so decided to seek a meeting with Mr Salmond, rather than disrupt an event. Asked if similar attempts were made to contact other parties, Mr Clerkin said he phoned Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie's office and approached the party's deputy leader Johann Lamont."

    I suppose there's always the possibility that neither Ms Baillie nor Ms Lamont mentioned the calls to their boss.

  • Comment number 41.

    #40, the Labour response in the article Is shocking!

    It highlights their absolute contempt for the ordinary man on the street.

  • Comment number 42.

    40. At 18:13pm 13th Apr 2011, Barbazenzero

    Gray doesn't/can't do unscripted confrontations that takes knowledge lacking in the party he leads.

  • Comment number 43.

    #35. 35. At 17:47pm 13th Apr 2011, fairforfochen wrote:

    "As one observer noted: “It must be the first time a leader has led his troops to Bannockburn to avoid a battle.”

    LOLOL Great line! OMG! That was a very scary old lady who was chasing him though. I don't blame him a BIT for taking to his heels and running away.

    Weegie grannies are SCARY!

  • Comment number 44.


    See my post at 35 He seems to be making a habit of running off rather than meet people who may ask tough questions of him Not what you would expect from one who wants to be FM

  • Comment number 45.

    41. At 18:36pm 13th Apr 2011, Alba4eva wrote:

    #40, the Labour response in the article Is shocking!

    Labour's election campaign co-ordinator, John Park, later said: "It is is funny that Alex Salmond is willing to be at the beck and call of a loudmouth rent-a-mob who was an SNP candidate but refused point blank to meet angry parents in Paisley when his own SNP councillors were scrapping primary school teachers and replacing them with unqualified staff.

    "Given the extraordinary lengths Alex Salmond has gone to it is clear he is terrified of having a bad photocall and wants everything to be stage-managed.

    "I think most people will just laugh at this obvious stunt because it is clear these so-called protests are a set-up by the SNP and their fringe supporters."

    Sums up the Scottish branch of the Labour party's contempt of the voter.

  • Comment number 46.

    Anent those Killing Fields; I presume Mr Gray isn't suggesting that in a Hilary Clinton at Tuzla moment he narrowly avoided a worse fate than leadership of SLAB - or is he? If so can I point out that I've walked the killing fields of Culloden more times than I can remember - does this mean I get to be FM?

  • Comment number 47.

    Jobs, all i can remember under labour is loads of cooncil jobs with no purpose other than to lower the jobless figures. In the last few months the SNP have successfully managed to bring the jobless figures down for the last five months by creating REAL jobs that actually produce things, novel eh. While labour promise apprenticeships they don't tell us what field they will be in. Or do they hope to employ 250 000 Scots in Glasgow's ship yards. Labour is out of touch with the modern world, including the jobs market, we need engineering, finance, construction and manufacturing jobs, not labours jobs for the boys council jobs a message to labour.
    A country that tries to tax [and spend] its way to prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by pulling on the handle. ( Winston Churchill)

  • Comment number 48.

  • Comment number 49.

    PS to my #16

    It really is the national figures which should be widely reported - the English regional figures may be sad for the North but they're a matter for England to resolve.

    The table which should be published on each of the BBC's three national political websites plus the main UK one for England is:

    Nation Change
    England -9,000
    Northern Ireland -4,000
    Scotland -7,000
    Wales 3,000

    UK -17,000

    Given the population differences between the nations, this should be a real wake-up call to all and a warning that even the Westminster coalition seem to be doing a better job for England than Labour are for poor Wales.

    To be fair to Labour in Wales, the Westminster government of England have benefitted from the previous UK Labour government's refusal to concede Barnett consequentials re the 2012 Olympics, which has no doubt helped to keep the job losses in London down to "only" 1,000.
  • Comment number 50.

    48. At 19:07pm 13th Apr 2011, djmac7 wrote:
    How can it be???

    its because all polls are LOADED to tell the story who ever commissioned them want to hear!!!!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    Its a poll of past polls which in my my uninformed eyes makes it meaningless more like mischief making.

    The results were worked out by public affairs agency Weber Shandwick, using an average of the five most recent Scottish election opinion polls.

  • Comment number 52.

    #48 djmac7
    "How can it be???"

    As the PA say, it's a "so-called poll of polls" on a Weber Shandwick blog, which makes the utterly meaningless statement: "Weber Shandwick Public Affairs calculated the poll using an average of the five most recent opinion polls".

    Which polls? When conducted? How weighted? By "average" do they mean mode, mean, median? What other questions were asked and in which order? Some recent ones have been conducted by organisations not in the BPC and thus with no obligation to expose their detail or weightings.

    Most such aggregations are pretty meaningless. Some trend lines might be interesting but PA are just being polite - it's not even a "voodoo poll".

  • Comment number 53.

    #42 cheesed_off
    "Gray doesn't/can't do unscripted confrontations that takes knowledge lacking in the party he leads." &
    #44 fairforfochen
    "See my post at 35 He seems to be making a habit of running off rather than meet people who may ask tough questions of him"

    Quite so, but wasn't there something a while ago about public money being used to fund his communications training? If so, it doesn't appear to have been money well spent.

  • Comment number 54.

    Really interesting piece of on channel 4 news, on how SNP moving away from independence and Labour aligning to some SNP policies and they are pretty much indistinguishable. The kind thing that they are doing the same is ignoring a expected £5B reduction in public services whilst focusing on trinkets like bus passes and bridge tolls.

    Pretty much in line with Brian's post of yesterday.

  • Comment number 55.

    #48. At 19:07pm 13th Apr 2011, djmac7:
    "How can it be???

    Because it's a poll of the last 5 polls rather than a poll in itself. If you examine the momentum of these polls it's all the SNP's way. Since even SLAB fluffers like Colin are unable to come up with evidence of what Iain 'fade to' Gray has done to halt this momentum I don't think this means much.

  • Comment number 56.

    #54 ggg
    "Really interesting piece of on channel 4 news, on how SNP moving away from independence and Labour aligning to some SNP policies and they are pretty much indistinguishable."

    The C4 article is bylined Gary Gibbon but could have been written by almost any of the BBC's "London Scottish" team. See Scottish parliamentary elections: Labour's to lose?

    Somewhat outdated, perhaps, although some amusing words re Subway.

  • Comment number 57.

    Reporting Scotland this evening ...

    Story number 3 or 4 was about the employment figures. Good news surely for Scotland? Well, maybe not says the BBC.

    And, what's this ... the 'good news' linked to a lengthy piece on 200 building jobs going in Dumfries & Galloway? Bad, bad news for that part of the world, no question (but not a surprise to anyone there, and news from last week).

    But interesting decision, isn't it, for the BBC to go on a 'jobs loss' story when the big, new, story, is 'jobs gain' for Scotland?

  • Comment number 58.

    53. At 19:41pm 13th Apr 2011, Barbazenzero

    Quite so, but wasn't there something a while ago about public money being used to fund his communications training? If so, it doesn't appear to have been money well spent.

    Labour excel in wasting taxpayers money in fact they come top of the class in that subject.

  • Comment number 59.

    Just been reading the blogs and one of the contributors has come up with a brilliant name for Iain Gray. I always thought of him as "The Grey Man" but that was taken by John Major. "Iain The Unready" is perfect.
    He can join the ranks of the other rejects such as King Canute etc., etc

  • Comment number 60.

    Someone mentioned Jackie Baillie in their post. Anyone seen her recently?

  • Comment number 61.

    60. At 20:47pm 13th Apr 2011, AMJHAJ

    Try the Gym!

  • Comment number 62.

    Out of 17,000 there is a 7,000 drop in unemployment Scotland alone, can anyone doubt that if unemployment was going up the snp would be getting the blame for it, yet the mean spirited unionists of the bbc news channel along with reporting scotland, one is not even letting its viewer know how the numbers split between Scotland and the rest of the uk well their people in scotland can't even bring them self's to relate this trend of month after month as a good news story. What a sorry lot they are

  • Comment number 63.

    #20 rouser
    in the interest acuracy my figure of 99% on the no confidence vote on andrew lansley has been reduced to 96% on the newscasts, probably after a moment to pause listen and reflect. but andrew your bill is still a load a mince!

  • Comment number 64.

    63 you know that andrew lansley and his reforms have nothing to do with scotland

  • Comment number 65.

    i do tamO. again i will refer you to my post #20 where all will be revealed . i was speaking on behalf of my scottish relatives who live in england and as we in scotland are linked fiscaly, through what westminster call scotlands beging bowl the block grant. the name of it at the moment eludes me, idare say someone i hope will reminds me i think it begins with a b?!

  • Comment number 66.

    evening all , bumped into the FM yesterday in St Andrews where he was out canvassing. out on the street where you meet real people with real questions he looked and sounded like a man at the top of his game, treated everyone with respect and looked as though he was genuinely interested in what any one had to say, no question was ignored and he had time for everyone.bit of a differenece from central station.

  • Comment number 67. get a grip BBC Scotland

  • Comment number 68.

    Out and about I have never met such across the board support for the SNP and so many first time SNP voters. I would not be surprised if the SNP won all the Highland seats and , as someone has suggested, even Orkney. It is not only the LibDem vote that is crumbling but the Labour vote seems very soft so I don't know where these polls are coming from. Bookies have SNP to win Argyll and Bute at 1/20 for instance though they only sneaked home there by a few hundred last time.
    Where the second vote goes is going to be very interesting in the Highlands. If it goes largely to the SNP the SNP could put in 12 or 13 Highland MSPs or more and a similar surprisng number in the south. How does anybody find the urban seats?

  • Comment number 69.

    #64 tamO i hope my post answered your question on my post #63 which has since dissapeared ive forgot what it was about. ihope it wasnothing personal!

  • Comment number 70.

    Interesting performance by Goldie on Newsnicht - admitting that she isn't the Tory leader in Scotland, just the MSP Group leader.

    Worth while for Brewer to ask Gray what his pretensions to leadership are.

  • Comment number 71.

    Gosh things seem to have been moving rather quickly today, just shows what can happen when one is oot drinkin in the pub.

    This "First Minister in Waiting" thingie in relation to poor Ian Gray, well I had heard the rumours and yes he does look rather pious from time to time....but surely he is not about to take up the Monastic cloth and abandon politics..???....Now I know he was filmed fleet of foot at Central station the other day and seemed to be practising a vow of silence...but to cut short a promising public career because of .... "The horror... the horror..." ...... the Scottish political scene will be like "Burn" without Brando, if Ian disappears into the silence of Monastic discipline....

    What about our horrific unemployment, our streets unsafe to walk with knife wielding thugs at every twist and turn at all times of day, what about all the waste ground in the east end where extra prisons could be built on, and eventually police all over Scotland not knowing where headquarters are, and MSP`s sharing luxury hotel bedrooms in Edinburgh, and the Pandas, and our brilliant nuclear power stations..thurs nane like thame left...........Ian dont quit..only gamblers quit when they are ahead...we need you to keep that quixotic sense of humour of yours permeating through the Scottish Parliament...yes you are right.....Politics can be fun as well as serious..don't wipe the smile off of Scotland's face by disappearing into the mist again.

    What about to days Manifesto will be able to huff and puff and huff and puff and blaw it awe doon.........hooray fur Ian..Hip Hip Hooray

    Oh come on Ian ..chin up, four sails to the wind and dont forget that old chestnut "When the going gets tough....the tough get going"

  • Comment number 72.

    I'm thinking that "The Battle of Glasgow Station" would make a fine ditty. I can almost hear the tune:

    In 2011 we took a little trip down to Glasgow Station....

    da da da la da da.

    Yep. Great song in the making. I think Labour might want to use it as an election campaign song, don't you think?

  • Comment number 73.

    #30, Wrote "Wow - loads of abuse from the CyberNats. I can't believe this scary lot have been in charge for the last 4 years......

    I am pleased though that independence has been dropped as an SNP policy. About time :)"

    Have a read of this Colin...

    The party also wants to stage an independence referendum, for which it did not have enough support in the last parliament.

    Not like you Unionists to peddle dis-information now is it... I liked your wee smiley at the end of your post... I hope your still smiling :)

    Ps. I'm liking what I hear so far. The investment in the young is the key to turning our fortunes round. Free education and the Football Academy is a really worthwhile venture, as the savings it will make on youth crime will probably pay for it alone.

    Give the young generation hope and a possitive future and we will all benefit.

  • Comment number 74.

    Annabelle Goldie last night on Newsnight Scotland - talking rubbish, as usual, trying to make out that it was the Tories who thought up and wrote the SNP manifesto for the last 4 years. Let's get it right, Annabelle, you only VOTED for the SNP Policies and Proposals.
    Is Iain the Unready not on Newsnight Scotland tonight, or did I miss his ranting and his support of SNP Policies? I really hope that I have not missed it.
    Should really be good if it is tonight. I trust the BBC have "pushed the boat out" and purchased a plate of "Subway" sandwiches just in case he clams up and tries to beat a hasty retreat.

  • Comment number 75.

  • Comment number 76.

    Anyone got a link to actual poll results since the election campaign started? Thanks!

    I am aware that polls are skewed by the rationale applied by individual pollsters. What I'd like to see is a set of numbers which can identify the trend since the campaign started. It's the trend, or momentum, which is important. However, the media and public are used to the concept of a 'poll of polls' and are likely to be taken in by something which does not address progress through the campaign.

    I suspect such a trend analysis may not favour Liebor!

  • Comment number 77.

    #70 reincarnation

    "Interesting performance by Goldie on Newsnicht - admitting that she isn't the Tory leader in Scotland, just the MSP Group leader."
    Agreed, and very effective in dealing with the awkward questions. Bella could afford to tell the truth because she knows there is no chance of her becoming FM. Having had some effective performances lately, it also put Brewer off his stride and one felt he wasn't quite sure how to deal with her response.

    It poses yet again the question of how much more effective she might be as the leader of a separate, Scottish, CSU on Bavarian lines. But that is clearly for a future election.

    "Worth while for Brewer to ask Gray what his pretensions to leadership are."
    It will certainly be a test for Brewer. It's going to be difficult enough test of Brewer's impartiality for him to quiz Iain the unready properly on the issues. If he can bring himself to enquire quite what Mr Gray's responsibilities are within the Labour party.

    Searching the Electoral Commission informs us that Regulated entity PP53 - the Labour Party - has a London SW1 address, a leader called Ed Miliband and 12 other "officers", none of them Iain Gray. Two of its registered Descriptions for use on ballot papers are "Scottish Labour Party Candidate" and "Scottish Labour Party".

    That said, surely one of Mr Gray's minders will have seen Bella's admission and formed a cunning plan for dealing with similar questions, won't they? If not, the sobriquet Iain the unready will be well earned.

  • Comment number 78.

    I don't understand the relevance of "polls of polls", unless the polls that constitute the "average" (however defined) were conducted only a couple of days apart, which I doubt they were. It's much more meaningful to look at trends in polls over several weeks or months. For instance, in Scotland Labour seems to be going down, the SNP up.

    We have our general election this coming Sunday. Since last summer a populist protest party (anti-immigration, anti-EU, pro-nuclear power etc.) has been making huge gains in the polls, probably due to general disillusionment with the traditional "big 3" (conservative, centre and social democrat parties - party funding scandals etc.). However, the latest poll suggested a drop in the support for the populist protest party - and you would not believe the hue and cry of their supporters in cyberspace, about how polls are rigged/biased/unreliable/nothing but a conspiracy - none of which they said when their party was doing well in the polls. :)

    At the end of the day, the only poll that matters is the one on polling day. Which party can best mobilise their voters? Should be interesting. I'm expecting a significant change in the composition of our Parliament, and Scotland seems a tight race between Labour and the SNP.

  • Comment number 79.

    #71 Joe

    "MSP`s sharing luxury hotel bedrooms in Edinburgh, and the Pandas"?

    Wow! that makes the suggestions about Aberdeen supporters pale into insignificance. What will these Labour chaps and chapesses get up to next?

  • Comment number 80.

    colin. i think you should run as first minister for slab i.m sure you would get more votes!

  • Comment number 81.

    As Scotland’s political parties work for the Job vote, things happen in the background that I feel are being ignored and I wonder if the outcome could affect the results of the Scottish general election.

    I would like to ask a political correspondent what the result of the interview was with Mussa Kussa, the Libyan foreign minister, by Scottish police regarding the Lockerbie incident were.

    As he has now left the country I can only guess that no evidence was found that implicates him in any involvement with this crime. Is this the case?

    If so, then where does this leave the case against the convicted Libyan and how would that affect the parties’ election campaigns for the forthcoming Scottish General Election?

  • Comment number 82.

    30. At 17:32pm 13th Apr 2011, Colin wrote:

    "I can't believe this scary lot have been in charge for the last 4 years...... "

    The Central Station hide and seek champion scares me witless.

  • Comment number 83.

    #81, Valid point.

    I strongly suspect that the evidence to clear Magrahi is well known by the UK government and that the pre-briefing they [UK authorities in London] gave Moussa Koussa before he met with the Scottish Prosecutors ensured that nothing was said which could rock the boat.

    If the boat was to rock over this, it would have ended up with the tethering of Scotland to the English border being strained (possibly to breaking point).

    in the name of the victims of PanAm 103, we should demand that the UK Government come clean on this.

  • Comment number 84.

    Government statistics haven't been reliable since Maggie took charge in the 1980s, there's far too much interference and manipulation to rely on them.
    As far as Scotland is concerned there are far too many people on government workfare, at least 30% of the population are in the zero wealth creation sectors and until people get incentivised no-one is going anywhere.
    30% are on the brew/retired and 30-40% are in the private sector.

    If they REALLY want to get things going then they need to push the tax system towards rewarding self employed people.

    At the moment a highly educated person is far better off sitting on their buns for life in a government sponsored job compared to getting out into the real world and creating some wealth for themselves and their country.

    Until getting off your buns and getting out there makes you a better off person, no-one is going anywhere.

  • Comment number 85.

    #83 Indeed; I think I'd like to give that boat a wee push.

    As the release of the convicted Libyan has been used as a stick to beat up the SNP ever since the event, temporarily denting their popularity, I think it is important that the truth is revealed before and not after this election.

  • Comment number 86.

    #78 lumilumi
    "I don't understand the relevance of "polls of polls", unless the polls that constitute the "average" (however defined) were conducted only a couple of days apart, which I doubt they were. It's much more meaningful to look at trends in polls over several weeks or months. For instance, in Scotland Labour seems to be going down, the SNP up."

    You're absolutely right. It's the trend, particularly during an election campaign, which has some relevance. You're also correct that in the more recent polls show Labour support falling and SNP rising.

    When - as in a UK general election - multiple companies do daily or almost daily polls, a "poll of polls" encompassing say a week's polling might just give some useful information.

    In a Scottish general election, where we're lucky to get as many as three polls in a month, the primary use of a "poll of polls" is to understate the trend and to allow journalists who dislike the party "going up" to pretend that it isn't so, in the hope of winning waverers to the "falling" party.

    That's the case here, as reported scurrilously both by STV, the Herald and without doubt others in the MSM.

  • Comment number 87.

    Colin, ref your #5.
    Which Planet do you live on man? All of my adult life I’ve heard Labour Party politicians saying that it was a disgrace that Scotland’s percentage unemployment figures were higher than the U.K.’s When the Tories were in power they (Labour) politicians promised to sort this out, and when they were in power (Labour) they promised to address the matter – pointing out that it was difficult and it proved the Scotland could never go-it-alone!

    Now unlike others on this blog I would never say these ‘good’ figures are because of the SNP, but I won’t twist the truth as you seem to be doing either.

    As far as Mr. Gray being the First Minister is concerned, if he can’t stand up for himself when people shout, “No to Tory Cuts” how do you expect him to perform when he’s supposed to be standing up for Scotland (as any First Minister should surely do)

    Note to Mr. Gray’s advisors: When I was in the Army we were taught that if you need to make a tactical withdrawal, you never retired into a dead-end. That was a sure-fire way of making sure you would be slaughtered.

    Iain Gray’s figures on knife crime don’t stack up either. Firstly, according to Andy Kerr the sentence would be a discretionary mandatory penalty. (If you’re getting lost here don’t worry, you’re in good company, I am too. So are Messrs Gray and Kerr, but they won’t admit it) There were roughly 3,000 people convicted of knife crime in Scotland last year. Mr. Gray says that only 30% (900) were sent to jail. That means 2,100 MORE would be sent to jail if he had his way. But he only envisages 500 more people being sent to jail. Accepting that the harsher sentencing regime would have a deterrent effect, would it really mean more than 75% of people who now carry knives would stop doing so? I’m lead to believe that it costs about £30,000 per year to keep a prisoner in jail. So if 500 people each get a six month sentence, that will work out at 250 x £30,000 = £7.5M Why has he therefore set aside £20M? (And I’m not even going into where he’s going to get the money)

    If there were to be a referendum I’d possibly vote AGAINST Independence – it would be up to the SNP to change my mind on that. But I know that in three weeks time I will not be giving my vote to a spineless party puppet who because of his degree in Physics has to have Maths powers greater than

  • Comment number 88.

    my thoughts, presicely. in these time,s of conspiracy theory, and who can blame us the way, things are hidden from the public. the outright lies told to us, in a condesending manner by civil servants, by news. to goverment, spokesmen.
    my take on it, is the moussa coussa interviews will be filed under the official secrets act ,as having no public interest!

  • Comment number 89.

    #81 & #83

    Conspiracy theory nascence?

    Even if it was a miscarriage if justice, it would not excuse MacAskill's error of judgement.

    Surely two wrongs do not make a right?

  • Comment number 90.

    The effect of taxes on economic activity can be truly astonishing.

    I used to wonder how on earth house prices in Dublin rocketed past house prices in London during the housing's not like they're short of a bob or two in 'Wundon'.

    When I visited the Republic I found the reason by accident.
    No-one pays council tax in the Republic so there's no additional cooncil-mortgage-for-life to take into account if you buy a property over there.

  • Comment number 91.

    My #87 should also have said:

    mine, but because of his predilection to snipe mindlessly at a democratically elected Government has abandoned basic rules of Arithmetic. He’s either stupid or a liar – either way he has no business being First Minister.

    I've no idea what happened for this to go wrong.

  • Comment number 92.

    #89 ggg; Conspiracy theory nascence?

    Can you explain Mussa Kussa's walk from these shores then?

  • Comment number 93.

    # 87
    leave colin our SNP lucky mascot alone, have you not been watching thr recent polls!

  • Comment number 94.


    yes he is away to suport some arms deal!

  • Comment number 95.

    #92 - I have no knowledge of the reasons whatsoever, but I doubt it was driven by a desire to influence the outcome of this election.

  • Comment number 96.


    The powers to wreck the Scottish economy are reserved to Westminster.

  • Comment number 97.

    What is wrong with the following?

    "The main parties are campaigning in Scotland's biggest cities exactly three weeks before the Holyrood election.

    Labour leader Iain Gray is focusing on sport, and will visit Lochend Youth football club in Edinburgh to launch his party's sport manifesto.

    The Tories are also in the capital to outline details of their pledge to create two cabinet-level ministerial positions to help grow the economy.

    And Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott laid out his energy action plan in Glasgow."

    It's from a report on this website, and despite the article having a paragraph tacked on to the end about the SNP, its opening suggests that there are only three main parties.

    The attempt to sideline the SNP is either sloppy or sinister. Someone may attempt to justify this by saying that the SNP are launching their manifesto and that is covered in another article, but then the wording should be changed at the top of this article to "three of the main parties".

    Very poor.


  • Comment number 98.


    Kenny MacAskill had a hard call to make.
    1. I’m not saying I would have come to the same conclusion as he did, but he had access to reports that I, and presumably you, didn’t and don’t have access to. (The Americans have asked the Scottish Government not to release communications they sent.)
    2. Compassion in its purest form does not look back at what transgressions someone committed in the past. Compassion is assessed on the needs of the person now and in the future.
    3. MacAskill may have committed an error of judgement (see 1) but you make that sound like a criminal offence.
    4. “Two wrongs never make a right.” True, but there is a phenomenon known as ‘compensating errors’. When considering Magrahi’s release MacAskill could not look at the surety of conviction. I for one, and there are many others, am not sure that his conviction showed Scottish Justice in its best light.

  • Comment number 99.

    #18 albaforeva....

    I 1st started work for a company that had 2 sites (Glasgow / East Kilbride) combined they had a highly skilled workforce >6k. Your little list does not come close especially when you discount service industry #'s and that is my point, little....As for referencing S1JOB LOL, been there got the T shirt x dozens, I'd certainly really like to see where these real jobs are, like most agency types the word economical with the truth springs to mind....EYES WIND OPEN!!

  • Comment number 100.

    launch of SNP manifesto, looking very very good


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