Sunday, 21 February 2010


I recently received a newsletter from Newsnet Scotland, and was interested in an article on the Secretary of State for Scotland using his position to promote himself and Labour. The following quote is from the minutes of the Joint Management Board at Dover House:

"The Secretary of State is still working hard to raise and maintain his public profile and has been doing well in the media so far. He continues to look for opportunities to promote his own position and the role of the UK Government in Scotland."

I didn’t know that the Scotland Office was funded from the Scottish block grant, assuming that as it is part of the “federal” government, it would be the UK that paid for it. Surely, given that, we need to ask if these funds have been used by Murphy for the “promotion” alluded to in the minutes. This would undoubtedly violate the ministerial code which states: 'ministers must not use government resources for party political purposes'.

Newsnet also revealed that the running costs for the Scotland Office increased by 27% in 2007-2008 with staff levels increasing by over 9.5% on the previous year.

This seems an odd situation given that the role of the Scotland Office has not increased and overall the UK government has expressed a desire to downsize its staffing. It couldn’t be, could it, that Labour prefers to spend the Scottish Block Grant on staffing in its Dover House Offices in London, than have the money spent in Scotland?

Staffing levels, as reported by Newsnet and shown here in the first line, are showing a strange trend, as are costs (shown in line 2):

• 2005-6 -9.6%; 2006-7 -3.70%; 2007-8 +9.50%

• 2004-5 -10.3%; 2005-6 -0.9%; 2006-7 +1.5%; 2007-8 +27.3%

It seems that since the SNP government was elected, the cost of running Labour's Scotland Office has increased.

The SNP's Angus MacNeil said: "Since devolution the remit of the Scotland Office has shrunk but its staffing levels have mushroomed. The £7m spent on the Scotland Office annually would be much better invested in services the Scottish people actually need - not in a New Labour anti-Scotland spin machine that specialises in doing Scotland down."

However, it is the decrease in staff and costs in the Labour years in Scotland, and the increase since the SNP took over that I find difficult to understand, unless Labour's idea is to waste as much of our budget as possible.

The role of the Secretary of State, a very small one since devolution, is to promote the devolution settlement and to act as guardian of it and to promote partnership between the UK Government and the Scottish Government. Well, there’s a laugh!

It is an interesting thought that £7 million is coming out of our budget in any case, but very worrying that some of it may be used to do down our own government. In any case it needs investigation.

You can get a copy of Newsnet delivered to your mailbox here.


  1. This time in correct thread, see one below for explanation

    "No Taxation without Representation"

    This would do nicely as an SNP slogan agin The Murphy Clique of 40 thieves

  2. When asked by Angus Robertson on 25 November 2009 why the postage stamp findings of the Calman Commission where being put off until after the election given the cross party agreement of the Unionists and the agreement of the Scottish Government Mr Murphy replied:

    “The problem for the hon. Gentleman and the SNP is that he always behaves like a nationalist and never behaves like a patriot. A nationalist puts the SNP first, but a patriot puts Scotland first. That is the difference between my party and his, and why Scotland is increasingly turning its back on the SNP.”

    And now we suspect from information contained in Dover House minutes that Jim has been using the Scotland Office budget to promote himself, his party and unionism. How exactly is that putting Scotland first? Such a shame that Jim is not able to fall into his own definition of a patriot. Turning their back on the SNP Jim, what are you basing that on? The view out of the windows of Dover House in London?

  3. You have a parliament, you really don't need a Scottish office, it's just another Labour junket and should have been abolished when devolution came along.

  4. If it wasn't for the band ne'er-do-wells who are determined on Breaking up Our Sacred Union..

    The numbers in the Scottish office could be much reduced but in these most dangerous of times for the Union the loyalists within the Scottish office are a necessity..


    listening to the shenanigans of the Nationalists and the referendum question is just once example

  5. Aye Buggar... we all mke mistakes... I'll take the other one out for you.

    I don't now why our taxes are being used to fund this nonsense.

  6. Aye Jim just opens his big mouth and says whatever Mr Manleson and Mr Campbell have told him to say Munguin.

    It doesn't have to make sense, and frequently it doesn't... but the sheeple love it.

    Labour put Labour first. The only party to put Scotland first is the SNP. It stands to reason that they would. Their political ends and our good are the same thing.

  7. QM: Abolutely correct. We don't want one either. It's another part of the Scotland blockl grant being spent in England.

    I doubt the Tories will do away with it though, although they may have yet to appoint an Englishman to run it!

  8. Soooooo Niko....

    Why don't you guys just let us have a referendum? You say we spend too much money on it, but now you are saying that it's worth increasing the Scottish Office budget by 27% pa to avoid us having a referedum.

    Jeez... not that much logic there matey.....

  9. The Scottish office is important, however it could, ought to be and surely must be scaled down in size, expense and is there to keep a flag raised for Scottish interests in all reserved matters...I somehow feel that Murphy is using it instead as a vehicle to keep himself in parliamment.

  10. Dean: Murphy promotes Murphy, and the Labour Party.

    Frankly I can't for the life of me see any Scottish Secretary sitting around the Cabinet table saying that Scots don't want a war in Iran or Somalia or are angry about the tax increases for to pay for this or that. Has one of them ever asked for the specaisl oil fuind like Alaska gets out of the American Governmnet. No.

    None of them has ever done anything much for Scotland that we wouldn't have got without them, Tory or Labour. They are a waste of space and money, and are redolent of the Colonial Office or the Board of Control.

    We don't want them, we don't need them, but if we have to have them we don't want to pay for them.

    Interesting post on your site btw, which I will comment on later....

  11. Well I wouldn't want to generalise and say the Scottish office has never done anything for Scotland.

    That said, the quality of secretaries of state for Scotland have been shocking in recent years. But then this Labour government has viewed the SOS for Scotland, and the SOS for Defence as non-jobs, when they ought to be anything but.

    All the more need to vote Tory in East Renfrew...the only Party that can get Murphy out of parliament! Tactical voting...we need oyu NOW!

  12. Tris

    We should have referendum on the basis of a honest and clear question the snp have been shown to be duplicitous liars and unfit to organize any referendum.

    As proven by the electoral commission

  13. Ww must have it debated in parliament Niko. You unionist guys have the means whereby, if it is discussed, you can override anything we co-alition with the Tories and the Liberals.

  14. Tris

    But not when some of the facts are hidden by the snp Government

  15. Niko....

    If you have the debate in parliament and a decision is made there, that is what will happen.

    It will be organised by London anyway.

    Which means the squeeky clean Mr Murphy (well, squeeky anyway) will be in chanrge of it.

    Elections are not devolved. Remember the complete mess up when Mr Alexander was in charge of them?

  16. Well, I'm with you there Dean. He has to go, but of course if he does, he'll probably get on the top of the "list" for the Scottish parliament. He will get in of course, and shortly after replace that doorstop that is Iain Green... and then, if Labour wins the next election he will be first minister, and the country will be a laughing stock.

  17. Ah you're speedy today Tris. Haven't managed to get round to this yet but I may just put a link.

  18. Thanks SR... I thought it was a good subject to get some discussion going....

    Incidentally besides Spud there is another minister in the Scottish Office, the one they brought in to replace wee McChattering when he did a bunk on the night of the long knives....

    Can you, or anyone else remember her name, or what she does, or why she is there...?

  19. The average man in the street can run rings around Smurfetor

  20. Yes I agree Anon. I've heard him twice on phone-ins, once with the Scotsman (a Labour paper) and once with the BBC (a Labour broadcaster), and on both occasions he was ripped apart by callers.

    Even the BBC was unable to find one caller who was prepared to ask a friendly question which he could answer. He was ripped apart by ordinary working class men and women. He had no answers for them, and sounded even less at home than George Osborne being asked something about finances!!!

    However, Labour seems to think highly of him. I think Jackie Baillie would make a more coherent leader for Labour, but I don’t know enough about her to really judge.

  21. tris

    Any info on the Aberdeen case where there's a total shutdown of info ?
    Allegations of abuse by police, social workers, nurses, sheriffs, Procurator fiscal, lord advocate, first minister, deputy first minister, Kenny MacAskill.
    Links to NATO, Lockerbie, Dunblane, Nicky Fairbairn, Forsyth, Maddie etc......

    Basically the biggest case in Scottish history and the SNP have managed to silence Robert Green with a breach of the peace.

  22. "Can you, or anyone else remember her name, or what she does, or why she is there...?"

    This one.

  23. Any more info on the pop star ' Sting' who got paid £2m for a concert in Uzbekistan ? The monthly wage there is $1. The ambassador Craig Murray has pics of local anti government activists being boiled alive eerrkkk !

  24. I didn’t know that the Scotland Office was funded from the Scottish block grant, assuming that as it is part of the “federal” government, it would be the UK that paid for it.

    I didn't know this either, but if it is true then surely the Scottish Parliament should be appointing the Scottish secretary, like an ambassador to London.

  25. Anon 1: Sorry, I've no idea what that's all about.

    Anon 2: Pardon my ignorance but that one escaped me too.

    Anon 3: Very good idea.

  26. CH: Thanks. Of course I should have thought to look there. Duh.

    Pretty girl.... I wonder what she gets to do...

  27. The Scottish block grant is based on the barnet formula, if England spends £100m on primary schools, Scotland gets £10m for its primary schools etc.

    What is the English equivalent of the Scotland office with a £70m budget?

    Or is it the case that there is no equivalent and we must take a little from the allocation for education, health and transport to keep Murphy in a job?

  28. Anon: Spending millions upkeeping their palaces for their royals?