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Labour sounds alarm

Brian Taylor | 15:25 UK time, Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Politicians frequently set alarm bells ringing with their comments. Today Labour managed the same by just turning up for their manifesto launch.

The wicked media and sundry Labour supporters had gathered in the elegant surroundings of Clydebank College to hear Iain Gray set out his plans for the parliament ahead.

Cue ringing bells and flashing lights. We did what all normal citizens do when the alarm sounds. That is, stand around looking bemused, thoughtfully dipping a biscuit into a cup of tea.

What had happened? SNP sabotage? Had someone lit up a fly fag under the smoke alarm? Was it a false alarm? Alas, no. We were efficiently shepherded outside into the gentle but persistent Clydeside rain.

When the event got going again - after a few droll gags from the platform party - we were treated to a form of political alarm-sounding.

But the menace detected by Iain Gray's sensors was not Alex Salmond, the First Minister he hopes to replace.

Rather, it was David Cameron, the Prime Minister he posits as an external threat to Scotland.

Scottish psyche

His biggest applause line (from the supporters, that is, not the wicked m.) came when he declared that the Tories feared a Labour victory in Scotland.

His argument is that the Scottish Parliament can be used as a bulwark to buttress Scotland against "Tory cuts" - that devolution, carefully deployed, can counter the policies being driven by the UK Government.

His words, the very venue, reached out to what he perceives to be an anxiety deep in the Scottish psyche.

He offered images of the evisceration of Scotland under Margaret Thatcher. He glanced out the window to the derelict site of the former John Brown's shipyard.

It was all quite deliberately designed to depict the Tories as an external evil, to summon the malign wraith - only to offer Labour as the party of calm exorcism.

Politically, it is intended to replicate the success which Scottish Labour enjoyed at the UK election last year - in contradistinction to their decline elsewhere in the UK.

As to policies, the emphasis is upon economic renewal and job creation - a target of 250,000 new posts over a decade with an early emphasis on eradicating youth unemployment in the next parliament.

More teachers

Paid for, says Labour, by public sector reform (including a single police force), by other savings such as in the NHS drugs bill and by a continuing drive for efficiencies: a "conservative" two per cent a year, according to Mr Gray.

Other policies include training for more teachers, an emphasis on early years education, a National Care Service - plus, as billed in advance, free university education and a two year council tax freeze.

The sums - which, of course, rivals contest - are primarily set out by Andy Kerr. The manifesto objectives themselves appear to be something of a personal programme for Iain Gray - including the stress on education from this former teacher.

Likewise, the justice programme seems derived from his own personal perspective - allied, Labour believes, to popular proclivities.

So they would impose an automatic six month jail sentence on those found guilty of carrying a knife - despite claims, including from some senior police officers, that this might tend to criminalise rather than deter; and claims from others that the prison system couldn't cope.

Mr Gray says there would be a deterrent - but that they have set aside funds to provide more prison places. Again, his approach is populist (he would say "in tune".) Chastened, frightened communites, he argues, want and need this.

Attack on independence

And what of the SNP? In keeping with the strategy outlined earlier, there was relatively little mention of them. They had failed on key promises, he alleged. (They, of course, contest that.)

And they were "distracted" by independence from addressing the real challenges facing Scotland.

Again, intriguing phrasing there. Distracted? It is a mile away from the previous Labour strategy which was to major with an attack on independence.

Now, they seek to depict the SNP as an irrelevance. Alex Salmond, I suspect, may have more than a word to say on that topic when the SNP launch their manifesto next week.


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  • Comment number 1.

    The current SNP Government in Scotland is an Irrelevance? The SNP surging in the polls an Irrelevance? The party [SNP] who Liebour are stealing all their (sensible) policies from is an irrelevance?

    Is it still April Fools day? If that is the best Liebour can come up with, then it is no wonder that THEY [Liebour] are indeed the irrelevance in this election!

    Saor Alba!

  • Comment number 2.

    So what is their proposed replacement for the Council Tax, wasn't that supposed to be one of the key commitments to be detailed in the manifesto?

  • Comment number 3.

    I think we can take from this he realises he has no chance against A.Salmond so it's into fall back mode scare the people with the bad Tories,the only fault with this strategy is simple the voters now know this is not the case There is absolutely nothing Labour could or would do against the Tories/LibDems as they have shown.Why would they sit on their hands at Westminster otherwise

  • Comment number 4.

    Nice to see that the first comment is already some fervent nationalists with their blue paint on!

    Labour's strategy here of "we're better than the Tories down South" is a bit weak... If Labour hadn't broken the country than the Torydems wouldn't be having to fix it in the first place. Is he really that foolish to think people don't realise this?

  • Comment number 5.

    What has New Labour ever done for us?
    Well, they gave us -
    Lots of extra Lords in the House of Lords.
    An Illegal War.
    A busted economy.
    Doubling of Council Tax.
    30 years of PFI Debt.
    Student Fees (Graduate Tax).
    The Trams.
    Cheap Alcohol.
    A more divided Britain.
    Millionaire ex-Ministers.
    Nuclear Missiles - Galore!
    Nuclear Power Stations.
    Westminster sleaze.
    Expenses scandals.
    Labour MPs "For Hire".
    Labour MPs in Gaol.
    Knighthoods for Bankers.
    Peerages for Arms Dealers.
    Jim Devine, Tony Blair, Wendy, Murphy, Lord Ffoulkes, Stephen Purcell and Ian Grey.
    That's what New Labour have given us.
    For a Better Scotland - do what John Farquhar Munro and Brian Cox recommend.
    For a Better Scotland - Alex Salmond and the SNP will do the business.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 6.

    Apart from the misprint (or was it?) on p68 of the print edition that

    "Scottish Labour will abolish the failed Scottish Labour", most of it consists of weasel words. These are examples (with the number of occurrences in brackets)
    We will look (5)
    We will continue (5)
    We will consider (4)
    We will investigate (3)
    We will ask (3)
    We will review (2)
    We will seek (2)
    We will incentivise (1)
    We will explore (1)

    Or to summarise

    We hivnae a scooby (26)

  • Comment number 7.

    It appears that postal vote application forms have been sent out with a return address of 145 west regent street (Labour party Scottish branch offices). Do you know if these are official postal vote application forms? If you send it back, do you get a chance to vote? or is your vote already made?


  • Comment number 8.

    "the wicked media and sundry labour supporters had gathered in the elegant surroundings" It's not like you to use more words than you require Brian. why did you feel the need to add the "AND"?
    The labour party used the fear factor at the last GE with some great electoral success BUT unfortunately as usual they have not kept the promise.only by voting labour will you stop the tory's we were told the feeble 40 have delivered he haw just like they did the last time the tory's were in at westminster
    the labour party have a long list of broken promises over the decades , eradicating boom and bust, eradicating poverty,eradicating child poverty,stopping the tory's in the 70's and 80's and stopping the tory's NOW. so why should we believe them this time ?

  • Comment number 9.

    #4 DrK

    "Is he really that foolish"


  • Comment number 10.

    @alba4eva - firstly, the SNP are not surging ahead in the polls, what a ridiculous thing to say - are you are referring to the one poll the SNP are ahead by 1 seat? I would hardly take that to the bookies with.

    And Labour stealing ideas? Are you 5? What is your evidence for such a ridiculous claim? This petty cybernat stream is so predictable and cliched, why not get out on the door steps, speak to normal folk who dont live and breathe for politics and find out what they want? Are they obsessed with your "liebour" chat and your obsession scottish labour is ruled by westminster? No, they're obsessed with the economy, jobs, caring for their families, friends and worrying about the increased living costs. Instead of being childish, why not look at ways to make things better? Come up with some practical solutions rather than living in a fantasy Braveheart world that going it alone will somehow make everything magically better and we'll all skip and dance around a rainbow holding hands and swimming in oil?

  • Comment number 11.

    #4. At 16:33pm on 6th Apr 2011, DrK wrote:
    'Nice to see that the first comment is already some fervent nationalists with their blue paint on!'

    It's usually some puce-faced unionist. Lately they seem to have been a bit thin on the ground at the beginning, middle and end of recent blethers.

  • Comment number 12.

    One very basic point.It is all very well to train apprentices but without being able to grow the economy there will be no jobs for these young people to gain employment in (unless they shunt older workers onto the dole ). Iain Gray and the New Labour Party are totally opposed to Scotland having the fiscal levers to be able to favourably improve our economic situation here. And the 13 wasted years of Labour rule at Westminster suggest they have no interest in Scotlands economy.

  • Comment number 13.

    Aren't boundary changes wonderful?

    For the first time since Margo fought Hamilton back in the 70s I have the real prospect of having an elected member (from a variety of past constituences, all in the west) who does not wear a red rosette. I'm getting quite excited.

    Even better is the realisation that the LibDems failed to get a candidate registered, leaving only three at the starting gate, of which the one with the blue rosette is not really competing.

    The red tories have a notional lead of 900 or so from 2007, which in the current woes afflicting them must be a real target. Add in to the mix around 2500 LibDem votes with nowhere to go, and possibly reluctant to favour their coalition partners north or south, and I'm getting confident.

    Those LibDems could follow the lead of JF Munro, heed the advice of Cox, Hayman, Murray, Souter, Cumming etc and start to vote for Scotland's benefit.

    Isn't constituency profile wonderful - you won't find it here yet, but Ponsonby has it. Clydesdale - it allows me to escape the PFI clutches of Andy Kerr, and regionally gives a chance of getting Joan mcAlpine to the table. Check out your own constituency profile now.

  • Comment number 14.

    Dr Potassium
    Are you "fervent"?
    What about?
    Some of believe that Scotland has a distinctive value base compared to SE Britain.
    We believe that Scotland could be a better place for its families and children.
    Does that make us "fervent"?
    Are you suggesting "fervence" is a bad thing?
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 15.

    Its a sequel to the Febble Fifty of the Thatcher years... with Ian Grey
    staring as Donald Dewar in an all new Labour party production.

    After all they were so successful the first time round who
    could resist a sequel.

    Labour are as likely to agree with the Tories cuts as find
    anything effect to reduce them, student charges anyone ?.

  • Comment number 16.

    7 John
    You cannot be right!
    Surely no reputable political party would be soliciting the return of postal votes to their Party HQ instead of to the Returning Officer.
    Is that not criminal?
    Is that not something that the BBC and the Police would investigate with urgency?
    I know that Labour have been prosecuted for this kind of thing in the past.
    I know that Labour were accused of this in Glenrothes (but unfortunately the Ballot Papers were lost).
    I have every confidence that Ian Grey would resign if his Party Branch had been up to such malicious mischief.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 17.

    Mr Taylor,
    You wrote: "He offered images of the evisceration of Scotland under Margaret Thatcher. He glanced out the window to the derelict site of the former John Brown's shipyard."

    And if Labour had won the General Election they would have brought in cuts worse than anything Mrs Thatcher did whether real or imagined. Who said that: Mr A Darling Labour MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer. Really NOT a good idea to invoke Mrs Thatcher.

    As to 'using Scotland' to attack the Coalition in Westminster. No, NO, NO. Scotland does not want to be used by anyone. Scotland wants to be led by a party who will lok after the best interests of Scotland and the people of Scotland and Mr Gray and his party do not fit that description by any measure.

    As to his job creation - really! Details? Does this plan take into account the jobs that are in danger of being lost in the North Sea because of the Coalition's windfall

  • Comment number 18.

    #10 allanscot

    Interesting rant. Nice to see that you're not so bound up in political correctness that you don't use stereotypes.

    I think you'll find that the people you are trying to stereotype are the ordinary people of Scotland, people who have certainly seen more real life than most of the wasters who have occupied the labour side of the chamber at holyrood for the last 4 years.


  • Comment number 19.

    1955 was the last time(in both senses of the term)that the Tories had a majority in Scotland.Which means that Labour,with their devotion to the Union,has legitimized Tory rule over Scotland after the elections of 1959,1970,1979,1983,1987,1992 and 2010.

    Not to mention Blair and New Labour adopting Tory style policies to get themselves elected by middle England in 1997,2001 and 2005.

    Ask not for whom the alarm rings Mr. Gray.

  • Comment number 20.

    #12. At 16:53pm on 6th Apr 2011, gavin wrote:

    ""One very basic point.It is all very well to train apprentices but without being able to grow the economy there will be no jobs for these young people to gain employment in (unless they shunt older workers onto the dole ).""

    Good point which made me realise that if Labour is going to create 100,000 new jobs and the same number of aprenticeships then they have to create 200,000 jobs in total otherwise the apprentices will go straight into unemployment.

  • Comment number 21.

    Just a couple of points Brian.

    "And they were "distracted" by independence from addressing the real challenges facing Scotland."

    Obviously unlike Labour who are "distracted" by unionism from addressing the real challenges facing Scotland. I would say the 2nd one is the bigger problem because the thrust of any Scottish based thoughts and actions (SNP or other Scottish based parties) has to be more about Scotland than any UK conglomerate thoughts and actions which are for obvious reasons diluted to only worrying about Scotland for 9% of the time.

    "His biggest applause line (from the supporters, that is, not the wicked m.) came when he declared that the Tories feared a Labour victory in Scotland."

    I wondered when I had become a Tory, because I am just a bit worried myself about Labour being in control. I don't know which is worst now, being a Tory or Labour winning. I think professional psychiatric help may be necessary. Hope it's pills - the prescription is free now.

    You also missed quite a lot Brian - or maybe My Gray missed it and I am just blaming you. If that is the case I am trully sorry for the slur. Anyway, nothing about funding trams, Paisley trains, banning caffeine, releasing medical records without the patients permission, raising alcohol taxes for the whole of the UK, or even some of the essential things like A9 upgrades, A82 upgrades, A96 upgrades, more salt for winter roads, getting rid of asbestos in Highland schools, stamping down on corruption in the form of rent free tarpaulins etc, fuel tax duty, rte ferry finances being finalised instead of just a pilot scheme ......

    Sorry Brian, but he is soul destroyingly boring and I need someone like yourself to paraphrase his utterings so that I have a clue about what is going on in his mind. If he covered these bits, then they obviously weren't deemed important enough to tell us about so I am quite happy to conclude that I should ignore them as well and plum placing my vote for a party that will cater for my own concerns.

  • Comment number 22.

    #6. reincarnation wrote:

    "We hivnae a scooby (26)"

    Hey, wow wow wow haud on a minute there. Keep me oot o' this. Eh hud nothin' tae day wi it. Eh wiz buzy ah day. A big boy done it and telt Elmer whut tae say. It wisnae me. :-)

  • Comment number 23.

    #13. heraldnomore wrote:

    "Even better is the realisation that the LibDems failed to get a candidate registered, ...."

    Just wondering if this make any difference to the 'leaders' debates. The UK rule was that if you didn't have a candidate in all seats then you could not be in the televised programme. Does this mean that the LibDems are debarred from the rest of the national debates?

  • Comment number 24.

    @ 7


    "It appears that postal vote application forms have been sent out with a return address of 145 west regent street (Labour party Scottish branch offices)."

    I think that most certainly would be illegal, not to mention extremely disturbing.

    If you have copies of such information, I would suggest taking copies to the police, the press and at least one other political party, probably the SNP, in this case.

  • Comment number 25.

    "He offered images of the evisceration of Scotland under Margaret Thatcher. He glanced out the window to the derelict site of the former John Brown's shipyard."

    So why exactly did Labour agree to the huge crane being used to assemble the new aircraft carriers being built in Shanghai?

    Crocodile tears Mr Gray. Labour were even more industrially treacherous than the Tories!

  • Comment number 26.

    #10 allanscot

    Really, you shouldn't make yourself such an obvious target for nasty things like the truth.

    Labour stealing SNP ideas - you want some examples? These are from your manifesto

    "Freeze council tax for the next two years"
    "we will continue the Small Business Bonus Scheme"
    "we will establish Scotland as a world leader in the renewable energy sector"
    "we will work to improve grid connections between Scotland and the rest of the UK and the UK and Europe"
    "No up-front or back-end tuition fees for Scottish students"

    As to "practical solutions"

    How about Labour's

    "We will put literacy teachers in classrooms to provide one-to-one teaching and specialist programmes to improve pupils’ numeracy and literacy skills"

    One-to one teaching? Like to suggest a cost for that (or is it simply relabelling the Learning Support staff who already do that for some).

    specialist programmes? I know Gray hasn't taught for a helluva long time - but such programmes have been in place for even longer, and are being constantly improved by teachers - not flatulent politicians.

  • Comment number 27.

    #22 skoubhie_dubh

    You could have taken it as a compliment. Labour are so bereft of ideas precisely because they don't have a skoubhie_dubh.


  • Comment number 28.


    There's an old adage about Generals usually fighting the wrong war, but Lab's Lance-Corporal in Scotland seems to have plunged below even the "lions led by donkeys" Generals of WWI in fighting the wrong opponent.

  • Comment number 29.

    I see there's a BBC Scotland website survey seeking opinions of all likes and dislikes about the website. I've mentioned political views, moderation, and even another impartial website - I think I got away with it. Join in everyone.

  • Comment number 30.

    This manifesto is one for Glasgow, not Scotland. poor effort. If Grey was to look outsde Glasgow he would see his policies have NO relevance. There is of course no accident in this, as Labour are only interested in those forty westMonster labour seats in Glasgow.

  • Comment number 31.

    And what of the SNP? In keeping with the strategy outlined earlier, there was relatively little mention of them. They had failed on key promises, he alleged. (They, of course, contest that.)

    Poor poor poor wee man.

    He claims that the SNP had failed on key promised. OH YEAH!

    Oh how quickly they, who spread disinformation, forget. It was only YESTERDAY, during his Face to Face interview with Bernard Ponsonby (you know him Brian, he works on STV) that he ADMITTED the SNP government have been unable to implement many of their manifesto pledges because they were outnumbered by Holyrood’s opposition parties.

    I think you will find THAT is a slightly different reason to the pathetic misinformation spouted by Elmer. I notice you make no mention either of the Labour leaflets being distributed with inherent printing AND spelling errors. Perhaps BEFORE they spout any more fantasy stories about introducing more teachers etc Labour better find some one who CAN spell and can PROOF READ their literature. From what I have seen so far, I have seen better efforts coming from P1 in the local primary school.

    In reply to John @ 7. I can confirm that these postal voting forms have been sent out by Labour. I received mine this morning. Before I filed it in the round filing cabinet I contacted the local electoral registration office and passed on my SERIOUS concerns regarding this matter. I have also raised this issue with my local candidate. I have VERY SERIOUS CONCERNS regarding this episode. In particular when I live in Dumfries and Galloway yet the return address is in GLASGOW. VERY VERY VERY SUSPICIOUS in my view.

    What say you Brian?

  • Comment number 32.

    6. reincarnation

    "We will look"
    "We will continue"
    "We will consider" etc,etc

    Given that Queen guitarist Brian May,that well known enthusiast for all things Caledonian,is the only celeb to endorse ScotLab so far,they should have included
    'We will,we will rock you'.

  • Comment number 33.

    Iain Grey is the only irrelevance in the Scottish Parliament - it's just a shame that the rest of his party has declined to tell him that.

    I concur with #2 - Where is their alternative? A freeze is an interim measure - as it had been under the SNP's time in power. Had the the onionist party's not colluded to scupper the LIT we would already be enjoying a fairer form of local taxation that was based on the ability to pay and not the size of the property you own, rent or sublet.

    Labour once described themselves as the party of the working man. Now, they only represent the hollow husk of a movement that squandered Scotland's wealth, talent and voice multicultural claptrap, endless bureaucracy and perpetual poverty.

    13 years of missed opportunities, let-downs, broken promises and empty gestures.

    No amount of posturing or spin can erase those salient facts.

  • Comment number 34.

    Poorweegreyman - his car crash has been unleashed - 25,000 apprentice jobs opposed in the Scottish budget; credibility below zero; former MSP and other former supporters departing in droves; even the location today doing him in.

  • Comment number 35.

    Looks like there a slow but sure shift in the way The Sun is reporting Scottish politics. Today The Sun has a big article about Brian Cox moving to endorse the SNP. I wonder if Daily Record readers will notice the Record has not covered this story? Will they wonder why?

    Brian Cox did the voice over for Labours 2007 election broadcast, the one with the £5000 tax bill for every household if the SNP were elected. What a difference 4 years makes.

    Looks like Labour are finally waking up to reality. They are not going to beat the SNP at the Holyrood election so they are trying for a re-run of the 2010 Westminster election. They must think the electorate are daft.

  • Comment number 36.


    I think Ian Gray has a real problem in that the disenchanted Labour voters of yesteryear, who stopped voting for them when they had nothing real left to offer, will not trust them to deliver anything worthwhile in the face of the Tory cuts.

    We will remember that he proposed that Council tax be increased as part of the solution and has only signed up to the 2 year freeze because he became aware that his previous policy was a vote loser. He would have had far more credibility if he had stood up and admitted 'I got it wrong'

    His proposal to put knife carriers in Jail sound great but will cost money and people are sick fed up to the teeth of paying good money so that the criminal element can spend their days watching TV etc. etc.

    We need a solution to these and all the other violent criminals, drug dealers, paedophiles, serial offenders etc. We need Politicians who will send out a clear message that we have had enough and that decent people will not be forced to live alongside these people.

    The Thatcher scaremongering will work with some people, especially those who feel the present lot are just as ruthless, with their plans to attack public services and the NHS, but Labour in Scotland have been feeble in opposition and I see little prospect of them forming a credible Government.

  • Comment number 37.

    I feel the practice of political parties of any colour, sending out postal/proxy voter forms with return addresses linked to their parties must be ceased forthwith. It is a practice which is far too easy to be manipulated or corrupted.

  • Comment number 38.

    Brian Re fire alarms.

    You did not mention in your blog if a certain Lord from this manor was in attendance today.

    A certain curtaingate springs to mind. Just a thought.

  • Comment number 39.

    After the interrogation of Alex Salmond by Gary Robertson I contacted the BBC about the tone of the interview, I am no lover of the Lib Dems but they too were given a rougher time than. The response from the BBC was predictable and like Greys statements factually incorrect:

    Thank you for your email regarding Good Morning Scotland broadcast on 28 March 2011. Your comments were passed to the Editor of the programme who asked me to forward his response as follows;

    "Thank you for your note and I'm sorry to hear that you felt the interview with Alex Salmond was unprofessional and showed bias . Although I concede there was rather more heat than light than we intended in this interview, our presenters and correspondents are rigorous in their adherence to impartiality, whoever we are interviewing. They are also asked to put challenging questions to all our political leaders, but in no way take any position which favours any party.

    I hope our continuing coverage will give you the answers you need from the politicians before the poll on May 5th."

    Details of the BBC complaints process are available online at

    Thank you, once again, for taking the time to contact us.

  • Comment number 40.

    I've just watched the Labour election broadcast.

    I say watched, in reality I think I fell asleep after 15 seconds! :)

    I have seen some extremely boring election broadcasts in my time but the Labour broadcast tonight was absolute garbage!

    I have a sneaky suspicion that this is Labour's PATHETIC attempt to personalise the campaign. Well folks keep personalising in this fashion all you want, it was DIRE, DIRE, DIRE!

  • Comment number 41.


    There is a gulf of difference between reneging on an election pledge and being outvoted by conceited unionist cretins.

    Example: EU Constitution - Promised a referendum by Blair & Brown - LIES
    Example: Lisbon Treaty - Promised a referendum by Cameron - LIES
    Example: We will not vote to increase tuition fees - Promised By Nick Clegg - LIES

    Support For Small Businesses - Delivered
    Free Prescriptions - Delivered
    End to Bridge Tolls - Delivered
    1000 Extra Police - Delivered
    Council Tax Freeze - Delivered
    Free University Education - Delivered
    Abolition of the Council Tax & Introduction of LIT - Thwarted by Lib Dem, Tory & Labour
    Edinburgh Tram Cancellation - Thwarted by Lib Dem, Tory & Labour
    Bargain Booze Culture Ended - Thwarted by Lib Dem, Tory & Labour

    The hypocrisy of the onionists is nauseating.

  • Comment number 42.

    #40 - "I have a sneaky suspicion that this is Labour's PATHETIC attempt to personalise the campaign. Well folks keep personalising in this fashion all you want, it was DIRE, DIRE, DIRE!"

    Listened to it on BBC Scotland. The grayman had ZERO enthusiasm for what he was saying. Does he really want to win this election?

  • Comment number 43.

    OMG how bad was that Party Political Broadcast. Thank you Labour, that'll be a few more votes to the SNP then......

  • Comment number 44.

    Allegedly it is ILLEGAL to send out postal vote forms that have not been requested by the recipient. Is labour or any other party breaking the law? Who is responsible? Will it be investigated? will their be a prosecution?

  • Comment number 45.


    How exactly did he get away with saying the SNP copied the Labours policies? That's either misinformation, blatant propaganda or sheer idiocy.

  • Comment number 46.

    Is this what the Scottish people need or want; a Labour party willing to, if not eager to, use the offices of the Government of Scotland to use as a stick to beat the Tory/lib Government of the UK? I was under the impression that these elections were for the people of Scotland to vote for a party which will look after their interests. Instead we have the second largest party in Scotland willing to sacrifice the interests of the Scots just so that they can wield a voting stick against the UK coalition. It just shows you the priorities of the Labour party; party first and state second.

  • Comment number 47.

    Oh, and while we're at it the idea that the Tories are feart of a Labour Party victory (god forbid please no) is utter nonsense. Watch Cameron and he'll have Iain Gray slapped down within a fortnight if he is elected First Minister.

  • Comment number 48.

    Seriously, I'm going to be pretty peeved if labour are at this postal nonsense again.

  • Comment number 49.


    I was about to comment on that. I came away from it feeling like I had learned more about Lucy Gray and the Gray family than Iain (Ian?) Gray himself. Not sure whether the message was about families, him being a family man or what but I am a bit confused by it all.

  • Comment number 50.

    #40 Stirling_Brig_1297

    The next Labour PPB will be based on their manifesto. Here's a preview.

  • Comment number 51.

    Whats with all the cyber nat smear stuff on postal votes? If some posters on here spent less time getting all hot and bothered attacking others on here and more time reading up on the rules on these things they would know that all political parties including the SNP are signed up to a code of conduct saying that if postal vote applications are sent to them direct (or people give them to canvassers on the doorstep such as the SNP canvasser asking voters in my street last week if they want to have a postal vote) they will pass them on to the elections office within two days of receipt. Mind u, why would the SNP let the facts get in the way of a nice distorted smear campaign!

  • Comment number 52.

    In relation to the Labour Party's "guarantee" of an Apprenticeship, on the 16th Feb I wrote the following in my blog:-

    "The thing is this, the Labour Party may say “We will guarantee every suitably qualified young person an Apprenticeship”. The problem is, young people, their parents, carers and teachers only tend to hear the “guarantee” and “every young person” parts of these types of statements and don’t read the small print, the disclaimers and the get out clauses.

    In my opinion this so called guarantee is not deliverable. To make this type of promise to school leavers is an act of political infantilism. It is crass, politically opportunistic and grossly irresponsible.
    However, I am the first to admit that I may be wrong, so here is my challenge to the Labour Party. You have already had a dry run of this type of “guarantee” in Glasgow through the Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative. Isn’t it time that you told the electorate of Scotland exactly how that panned out? How many kids applied, how many were interviewed, how many were deemed suitable and how many then progressed on to Apprenticeship programmes. Only once you have actually published these figures in full can the veracity of your “guarantee” be examined."

    Now that they've commited to that in their Manifesto can we have some more details of how Steven Purcell's Glasgow Commitment panned out? Also, can we have a run down of how much it cost, given that Glasgow City Council were offering several thousand pounds to companies to take an Apprentice on. Do the Labour Party plan to make a similar offer Scotland wide?

  • Comment number 53.

    #51. At 20:28pm on 6th Apr 2011, The Borderer

    I can see you feel strongly about this since you've chosen this moment to pop your cherry on the blether.

  • Comment number 54.

    Can any one trust labour, over postal votes, or anything else? Brian Cox obviously does not trust labour to do anything, despite being the voice of labour only a few years ago.

  • Comment number 55.

    51 Borderer
    I think at this stage it would be called an "allegation".
    It may be that your allegation is a "smear".
    If people are receiving completely unsolicited postal vote request forms directly from New Labour, asking them to return them to "New Labour House" - is that a good thing or a worrying thing?
    Doesn't New Labour have a track record for electoral fraud?
    I could be wrong - just asking.
    PS - Have you "abolished Scottish Labour" yet? Or is that target for 4 weeks time?
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 56.

    #55 spagan

    Really, you must not misquote Labour like that and give the wrong impression.

    Their plan is "Scottish Labour will abolish the failed Scottish Labour"

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ #51


    There's a huge difference between one party (SNP) providing forms for individuals to apply to directly to the Electoral Office, and the Labour party (as is claimed above) instructing voters to send their forms directly to an address that just happens to be Labour HQ.

  • Comment number 60.

    Nice to see you back Kered #4 !!!

    ...Aye, paint me blue and give me a Saltire in one hand and an SNP badge on my chest... I hold my hands up and admit that I am proud to be from this fantastic no-so-wee country :o)

    SNP for Government is the only sensible choice!

  • Comment number 61.

    #10 allanscot... I refer to Reincarnation's answer at #26

    Haha, you have been Rumbled :o9

  • Comment number 62.

    #30 patchbruce...

    ...Hey mate, I'm from Glasgow... I don't see anything possitive for this great city in Labours manifesto!

    ...other than a pittiful attempt to fear-monger and frighten the poorest sections of the Glasgow population into voting Labour that is!

    Absolutely Shocking from Labour!

  • Comment number 63.

    #45... neither. It was.... LIES!

  • Comment number 64.

    #53. At 21:03pm on 6th Apr 2011, ambi

    Now that's what I call funny.

  • Comment number 65.

    I've tried to post 3 times and keep being told there's a problem. Would someone from the BBC like to tell me what that problem is?

  • Comment number 66.

    My God, just when I thought things couldn’t get worse for Labour in Scotland – they’ve released a manifesto that has sunk them for sure.
    These ‘pledges’ are taken from the BBC Scotland Politics website, so it’s easy to check I haven’t made them up!

    1.Create 250,000 new jobs. I think unemployment in Scotland is around 220,000, so that’s 30,000 new immigrants we’ll need.
    2.Double the value of exports. Well Government’s can create an environment which will enhance the ability of businesses to increase exports, but no Government can guarantee that they will increase exports at all. And there’s no explanation as to how they will carry out their claim.
    3.They will have an economic cabinet at the heart of Government. If that’s an unelected cabinet it’s undemocratic, and if it’s a cabinet of elected representatives please name TWO of the present Scottish Labour Party who have ANY business expertise.
    4.“Guarantee to subject finance legislation and regulation to impact assessment” Iain, you’re a Maths teacher, but the first rule of a sentence is it must make sense. It’s just failed that cardinal rule.
    5.“80% of energy to come from renewables by 2020” For a man who said last night that nuclear played an important role in the future energy security for the foreseeable future because it delivered 30% of our requirements, to make that statement is beyond belief. Iain, you’re a Maths teacher – surely you realise. 100% - 30% is less than 80%.
    Frankly, I couldn’t be bothered to read the rest of this rubbish. Please note, I am NOT sure independence would be the best thing for Scotland, but after reading this tripe I’m reasonably sure Labour would be a total disaster for the country.

  • Comment number 67.


  • Comment number 68.

    Another kicking for the Greyman and New Liebour though I see the BBC isnae publishing it on here. According to BBC Radio Scotland earlier (but no mention later) - Dennis Canavan is backing Alex Salmond for FM and is encouraging Falkirk West voters to support SNP. Another ex Labour man who saw the light!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Well done AlistairGordon - you finally got there!

  • Comment number 70.

    66. At 22:39pm on 6th Apr 2011, AlastairGordon

    Iain Gray thinks that nuclear is renewable and that the moon is made of green cheese.

  • Comment number 71.

    So Andy Kerr says he'd rather have a Tory government [as now] than Independence. Very revealing as to Labour's true loyalties.

  • Comment number 72.

    It seems the Local Income Tax issue seems to have faded from the spotlight recently. Iain Gray had been suggesting that this was going to be the defining issue of the campaign.

    It seems that Kevin Dunion, the Information Commissioner had urged the Government to release a particular memo, from an economic advisor, but that Government had disagreed and went to court to have the patter resolved.

    There had been lots of talk about a so-capped "cover-up", and it seemed that Labour were pretty confident about what was in this particular memo, even though it had not been released.

    What didn't seem to be mentioned anywhere in the press was the close relationship between Iain Gray and Kevin Dunion. I discovered yesterday that Dunion is married to Gray's ex-wife, with whom he shares a child, and before that Gray and Dunion were best friends.

    "In the small world of left-wing politics it all sounds quite incestuous. 'I only see Linda or Kevin occasionally. We get on fine now. It was all a long time ago', he says."

    It's very odd that these kind of details are not mentioned when there is a potential conflict of interest.

  • Comment number 73.

    Just watched Newsnight Scotland where Brewer gave Andy Kerr a real hard time, Brewer was at his usual dismissive rude self and pinned Kerr on a number of occasions. Kerr was reduced to claiming that the SNP was about independence !!!! I kid you not. I do not think I have ever seen Brewer give a Labour politician such a hard time he accused Kerr of pinching SNP policies, dismi9ssed his claims that they had always supported Council Tax freeze, free prescriptions and No tuition fees. Kerr was woeful and surprisingly Brewer did not let him away with it. I almost felt sorry for Kerr but he got what he deserved. Hardly a rousing launch of the Labour manifesto

  • Comment number 74.

    It was also very obvious from andy kerrs facial expressions and dismissiveness of Gordon, that he was expecting an easier ride.

    I think labour might be starting to worry.

  • Comment number 75.

    How come everybody on this site supports the SNP but in real life they don't?

    What gets me about these people and their small minded attitudes, is if they actually got their ambition realised of an independent Scotland, who would they find to run it?
    Can you name five MSPs of any party who would have had the talent to make it to high office in Westminster? The ones who did won't want to come back and sit in a parliment that won't be on any map!

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    #73 Soosider

    That was quite a disclosure from Kerr. And on the very day that Iain Gray tried to use the fear of a Tory government as the main reason for voting for Labour.

    I wonder how many of Kerr's constituants share this extreme view. And could this statement, posted across East Kilbride, potentially lose him his seat?

  • Comment number 78.

    75. At 23:32pm on 6th Apr 2011, letzbucher wrote:

    "Can you name five MSPs of any party who would have had the talent to make it to high office in Westminster? The ones who did won't want to come back and sit in a parliment that won't be on any map!"

    I can't stop laughing cheered me up no end.

  • Comment number 79.

    "His biggest applause line came when he declared that the Tories feared a Labour victory in Scotland."

    Really? Does anyone seriously believe that Cameron would be afraid of Gray? The only people who should be afraid of Gray are the voters of Scotland.

    Cameron is praying that Labour win. Scotland doesn't matter to the Tories in Westminster. You just have to look at the last UK election results to understand why.

    Cameron's worst nightmare would be a SNP majority government. If Labour win in Scotland, the Tories know that they have absolutely nothing to fear, and they can do what they like for the rest of their term and beyond.

  • Comment number 80.

    #70 Cheesed_off
    Em, Mr. Gray is an alumna of Edinburgh University, he graduated in PHYSICS I'm sure they never taught him such nonsense, so where does he get his ideas from?

    Maybe Andy, whaterever-his-name is perhaps.

    He was totally appaling tonight on Newsnight Scotland against Gordon Brewer, God only knows how much worse he would have seemed against Isobel Fraser.

  • Comment number 81.

    #75 Letzbucher

    "Can you name five MSPs of any party who would have had the talent to make it to high office in Westminster?"

    That's easy.

    Salmond, Sturgeon, Swinney, MacAskill, and Lochhead

  • Comment number 82.

    #75 letsbucher
    That post does not make much sense, it starts in a confused manner, then basis its rationale on a false premise. What is high office in Westminster and why would anyone want to achieve it? Thats the whole point of independence, that we leave these outdated modes of doing politics. It does not have to be like that. Me I have more than enough confidence in the ability of my fellow Scots to run there own affairs

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    #75 letzbutcher

    If Scotland had independence we wouldn't be sending representitives to Westminster!

    But here's SEVEN that could run Scotland; Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon,
    Kenny McAskill, Patrick Harvey, Malcolm Chisholm, Margo MacDonald, and Liz Smith.
    Note that this is not the thoughts of a 'dyed-in-the-wool' nationalist, it's the thoughts of a person who wants the best for Scotland and appreciates INTEGRITY.

  • Comment number 85.

    So now we have The Labour Manifesto, some of which says they will continue with policies first introduced by the SNP in the past 4 years (and in many cases opposed by Labour when first brought in) council tax freeze and extra police officers being just 2 examples.

    The rest largely consists of an uncosted and undeliverable wish list for which Iain Gray himself cannot even come up with figures for. The promise to completely wipe out youth unemployment which on the face of it is an admirable thing to aim for just seems like complete pie in the sky and there is no indication to suggest how he will achieve this. Anyone in doubt of this should watch Gray's rather embarrassing performance when interviewed by Bernard Ponsonby during a webcast for the other TV channel.

    Gray says he's a serious man for serious times, but can anyone possibly take him seriously?

    Also have to say I thought it was a totally cynical ploy of Gray to use his family in such an obvious way during his party election broadcast, and I'm sure the voters of Scotland will see through this attempt.

  • Comment number 86.

    83 - Reincarnation

    Maybe a piskie, or a trowie - - -

  • Comment number 87.

    #79, That's the problem with Labour. They are obsessed with playing somebodyelse's game at somebodyelse's stadium. Scotland comes way down their list of priorities.

  • Comment number 88.

    82 soosider

    It makes perfect sense. Name five who would have the talent or the acumen to make it to UK Ministerial level. 81 - You're wrong none of those listed would. Salmond showed how small minded and insular he was when he went on "Desert Island Discs" with 5 out of his 8 musical choices being Scottish. He's no depth, he's no world leader.

  • Comment number 89.

    "...emphasis on eradicating youth unemployment in the next parliament."

    lol. They do make you smile sometimes.
    Our politicians can't even organise things to eradicate something as simple and basic as potholes.

    There's some real crackers out there noo, even the buses are starting to struggle.

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    Watched the Andy Kerr show tonight.

    He DID know that he was on NEWSNIGHT and not COMEDY HOUR.

    I say I watched him, truth be told I was rolling about on the floor most of the time. My ribs were killing me and tears were flooding down my cheeks from laughing so much. :)

  • Comment number 92.

    Some fantastic comments are posted on this site by people who obviously know their politics and can back up their claims by facts. Keep up the good work. Even i, as an ordinary joe public, can see that labour have ruled Scotland for 50 years or longer and yet they say they will protect us from the tories. Absolute nonsense.
    Thank god for the internet and sites like this.

  • Comment number 93.

    Dear Beeb

    Are you sure that some Unionist has less intellectual rigour than Letzbucher?

    I only ask, because s/he seems to think that the political leader of Scotland should be a "world leader". Most Unionists understand that the British Empire disappeared a long time ago.

  • Comment number 94.

    #88. letzbucher

    " 81 - You're wrong none of those listed would. Salmond showed how small minded and insular he was when he went on "Desert Island Discs" with 5 out of his 8 musical choices being Scottish. He's no depth, he's no world leader."

    Firstly, you asked which MSP could make it to "high office" at Westminster. I took that to mean cabinet level. As a standard, I used the post of Secretary of State for Scotland, and the individual in question was Jim Murphy. Yet, it could have been almost any of the current Cabinet, or the last one.

    Any of the 5 I mentioned meet this standard without any difficulty. I could have named more, but you only asked for five.

    Secondly, and much more interestingly. You say that Alex Salmond is not of high enough standard ... because "was when he went on "Desert Island Discs" with 5 out of his 8 musical choices being Scottish".

    You claim that Salmond is small minded as a result. Not only have you have betrayed a great deal about your own prejudices in relation to Scotland, it's culture, and Salmond himself, but these statements of yours can, ironically, only be described as .... small minded ?

  • Comment number 95.

    Andy Kerr said on Newsnicht (where was Iain Gray) that their manifesto was fully costed and that the costings had been published along with the Manifesto.

    The costings aren't on the SLAB website, and don't appear in any Google search.

    The Labour candidate for Finance Secretary couldn't possibly be guilty of a terminological inexactitude, so it must have been a tiny wee error on his part.

    Anyone finding a copy of the costings should send them to

    Mr A Kerr
    John Smith House

  • Comment number 96.

    Brian you state:

    “He offered images of the evisceration of Scotland under Margaret Thatcher. He glanced out the window to the derelict site of the former John Brown's shipyard.”

    Correct me if I am wrong:

    The yard was bailed out by Ted Heath's government after the Clyde shipyards work-in. It closed for business in 2001, under Labour.

  • Comment number 97.

    #95 Reincar-nation (Good name, btw)

    I'm just about to watch the interview.

    But if he claimed that it was fully costed, that is quite different from what Iain Gray said the other day, that they still have to find some of the costs, particularly on university funding and finding the prison space for the "several hundred", and more, young people caught with knives.

    He said it was also based on 2% efficiency savings every year, for 10 years (?).

    Government tend to find it difficult to find efficiency savings of 2%, or thereabouts, and as a reult only conduct the exercise one in a while. To expect to find these savings in 10 consequetive years is going to be exponentially more difficult from the second year onwards.

    They also seem to be using the same costings as the SNP for all of the policies that they've copied in the last few weeks. Which would suggest that they may have headline figures, but no idea how to achieve them.

    I don't know about Iain Gray, but MY old maths teacher used to say:

    "If you don't show me your "working out", I'll think you've copied someone else."

  • Comment number 98.

    # 75. letzbucher wrote: ...some folk answered your first question above... "Can you name five MSPs of any party who would have had the talent to make it to high office in Westminster?" ;)

    I just wanted to answer this one... "How come everybody on this site supports the SNP but in real life they don't?"

    ...I joined the SNP in 2008 IN REAL LIFE because the SNP proved to me that they were a real and competent alternative to the unionist party's and the SNP also convinced me that Scotland is big enough, ambitious enough and full of the ability to run her/our own affairs.

    I have seen nothing in this election campaign to dispell my thoughts on this... Indeed, all that I have heard and seen so far has confirmed and strengthened these ideas.

  • Comment number 99.

    #89, Potholes in the roads are the responsibility of Councils... If you are looking for who is to blame for this issue, then the continually inefficient Glasgow City Council (Labour Controlled) should be high on your radar. ;o)

  • Comment number 100.

    #97 DMac

    According to the Grauniad (who seem to have been given a copy of SLAB's costings - unlike us voters)

    SLAB intend to save £2.2bn by shrinking the public sector. If that had ever been a realistic option then they wouldn't have had to saddle us with 40% of the UK's PFI schemes. They could have been paid for in cash.


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