Monday, 17 May 2010

Iain Gray hopes to benefit from “New Politics”®

First Ministerial wannabe Iain Gray is to target Liberal Democrat voters who have been “betrayed” by the coalition with the Conservatives that former leader Charles Kennedy has revealed he cannot bring himself to support.

Gray is writing to Lib Dem supporters across Scotland (although how he knows who they are is a mystery to me), who supported the party at the General Election, urging them to switch their allegiance in the Scottish Parliament elections next May. Vote Labour keep the Lib Dems out?

The move came on the day Deputy Prime Minister and LibDem leader Nick Clegg addressed a gathering of 2,000 LibDem activists in Birmingham who gave overwhelming backing to the coalition. Activists would though wouldn’t they? What do the actual voters think of the “New Politics”®? Well the Lib Dem/Tory alliance appear to have dented the party’s standing. A ComRes survey said about one-third of voters who backed the LibDems at the election felt Clegg had sold out, while an ICM survey has suggested LibDem support is down three points since the election, at 21% (quoted in the Herald). So there you are, “New Politics”® seems to have gone down like an old fashioned lead balloon with Lib Dem voters and it is them that count more than the nodding dog activists. How has the NP revolution gone down with Tory voters I wonder?

Clegg said after the conference: “The stakes are high – for me personally, as well as the party. I came into politics to change things, and that means taking risks. Real, big change never comes easy. So it would simply be wrong for us to let this chance of real change pass us by – the chance to transform politics, the chance to hardwire fairness into our society, the chance to change Britain for good.” Transform politics by forming a coalition with the most stalwart advocates of the status quo? Hardwire fairness in by ditching policy in favour of rhetoric and allowing the Tories to kick PR into the long grass? AV is not PR as all it means is you have to get 50% of the vote. The safest seats like Tom Harris in Glasgow South would not be affected at all as he got 51% of the vote in the first round. And 49% of votes would still be wasted in every constituency.

The LibDem Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander said of Kennedy’s intervention: “It reflects that of course there are some people who have maybe a few misgivings about the direction in which we’re going.”. I saw him on the TV and had to collect my jaw up off the floor. I never thought that anyone could be worse than Jim Murphy.

Clegg was praised by Prime Minister David Cameron, who yesterday called him “clearly part of the inner core” of the new Government. But in his letter Gray writes: “People feel angry, betrayed and, in some cases, bewildered. As a minister in a previous Scottish Government, I worked with Liberal Democrat coalition colleagues, and found it a rewarding experience. But now they have thrown their lot in with David Cameron.” So no chance of another Labour /Lib Dem coalition under you then Iain? I do hope you enjoy minority government. But that might be good for the SNP in a roundabout way, with Labour in harness in Scotland and the Lib Dems and Tories in England there would only be the SNP left, wouldn’t there?

The SNP countered: “Many LibDems will be looking for another party at next May’s Holyrood elections and they will know that they have much in common with the SNP, such as a genuine commitment to a proportional voting system, believing the people should have a say in referenda and local democracy.” Very true: “New Politics”®, old stitch up!


  1. The question of course is if the Lib-Dems vote Labour in the 2011 election how will that stop the Tories in Westminster?

    It won't of course. I can't work out how the Scottish electorate can't see that it doesn't matter how many Labour MP's there are in Scotland or how Labour the Scottish Parliament is the Government we get is the one chosen in England.

    If the SNP fail in the 2011 elections then that means that the threat of Scottish independence can be discounted by Westminster and they will have no restraints on how they deal with Scotland financially.

    When the ConDemNation ditches the Barnett formula and cuts Scotland's block grant to the bone what are the Labour MSP's in Holyrood going to do apart from thcweem and thcweem and throw a tantrum? Threaten independence? It would make you laugh if it wasn't so sad.

  2. We have a year to go, but it seems that the Labour Party are angling to hoover up the disaffected Lib Dem vote in Scotland. But how will the Tories Scottish vote fair? Unless the SNP’s vote collapses, and why should it, Labour can at best expect to form a minority administration in Scotland. And under Iain Gray too?

  3. Excellent post Munguin.

    Firstly Iain Gray talked about the rewarding experience of being in coalition with the Liberals and seems to think that Labour has an inbred right to Liberal support. He thinks its fine and right for them to support his party, they did it twice in Scotland (where we benefited from some Liberal policies), once in Wales and once (loosely) in England, but he has a problem with them supporting the Tories? Bloody cheek if you ask me.

    Maybe Iain has forgotten that you can’t get a cigarette paper between the London Labour and Conservative Parties. I doubt that the Liberals really knew the difference; in some ways Cameron’s Tories probably seemed nearer Liberals that Labour did. On so many subjects Labour and Conservative policies are fundamentally the same, I wonder that THEY didn’t get together to form the government.

    Iain Gray is in the huff I expect. He no longer has “important” people like the phone throwing nut case and Spud the Inhaler to make things work in his favour, and worst of all, in contrast to the Mad North Britisher, who refused to even acknowledge that Mr Salmond, or indeed Scotland existed, Mr Cameron flew to Edinburgh to meet the First Minister, days after his election, and to establish a relationship.

    Now I’m not naive enough to say that that means that everything will be just great for Scotland. It won’t, I know. But suddenly the only party out of power everywhere is the Labour Party and Gray, like his mate Brown is off in the huff.

    There are too many possibilities to work out what the outcome will be in May next year; who will benefit and who will lose.

    But Mr Gray’s electioneering one year early is hardly likely to be effective in all but the smallest minority of cases. Most people are heartily sick of politics and if you’re asking them to remember Gray’s plea until next year... well, it’s a big ask.

    My main worry because I doubt if anyone should really get in a state of nerves over wee Iain Gray (he’s simply not that important), is that he managed to get his hands on the names and addresses of people who voted Liberal at the election..... Now how would he have managed that?

  4. Scotland needs to wake and and grow up. All this nonsense about "keeping the Tories out", where has it left us?

    1/ With a Tory government
    2/ supported with our Liberal friends

    QED- Scotland has less relevance in UK affairs while it continues to vote against the governing Parties. If Scots want more influence, they'd better start voting Tory again sharpish. Lest they will continue to be as irrelevent as Liebour are in the southern counties!

  5. Dean: your liberal friends? Three years ago they were Labour's liberal friends maybe next time they will be the SNP's liberal friends or the SSP's liberal friends or......

  6. Tris: Labour are still in power in Wales.

    I have no idea how he got the names of Lib Dem supporters but Labour seem to be able to get hold of list of names easily enough. Remember that list of cancer patients?

  7. Yes. Scary how they seem to have people's names addresses, how they vote and and details of their medical histories.

    I wonder if they have microphones in people's houses, and tv cameras.

    I wonder too, how many people are called Winston Smith.

    Very very bad stuff.

  8. Dean I am not too sure what you mean by that. Are you suggesting that Scotland ought to vote for whatever parties are in Government in England in order for those in England who collect Scotland’s taxes to listen to her? Is that your idea of democracy in action? Or is it part of the “New Politics”® that I have not heard yet.

  9. Oh yeah, sorry Munguin... they are in partnership with Plaid, and I forgot. No excuses for forgetting that, but Welsh Labour seems to be like another party altogether, polite agreeable, intelligent.

    Remember when that warmongering ba****d Bl**r tried to impose his useless half baked Welsh Secretary, Alun Edward leader, and he lasted only a few months before they chucked him out. He also resigned as a member of the Welsh Assembly, so that's how interested he was in it.

    Bl**r also tried to have a completely useless, underpowered talking shop in Wales and the Welsh saw him off very swiftly and they had to give them more power.

    They are not to be, messed with the Welsh. And they seem to be able to conduct their FMQs in a civilised and agreeable manner in two languages, Carwyn Jones slipping easily between Welsh and English. Oh for a Labour leader like Carwyn Jones in Scotland instead of that unpleasant fat little man we have.

  10. Maybe its just me, but how does Iain Gray go about creating a government in Scotland when he will have no partners.

    Imagine if, and its a very big if,Gray leads the largest party at Holyrood he then gets the first chance to form a government and be elected First Minister. When, again not if, all the other parties vote against Gray and he is unable to get enough votes to become First Minister, it then passes to the next largest party to form a government. Enter Alex Salmond.

    Remember in 2007 Salmond needed votes and some abstentions to become First Minister. Who would the other parties want to see as FM, Gray or Salmond? No contest I would think.


    Scotland has less influence because voters were frightened by the thought of a Tory government, and voted for 41 useless Labour MPs. Scotland voted Labour and got Torys and a few Lib Dems.

    Scotland will never vote Tory in any great numbers for the next generation at least. The best the Torys can hope for is Cameron showing some respect for the people of Scotland and trying to work in a constructive way with the Scottish Government. Full fiscal autonomy would be a good starting point.

    We have had the warm Cameron words on Friday, will any deeds follow? Only time will tell, but call me an old skeptic, I doubt it.

  11. Ye've got tae gie it tae wee Iain Gray, he's guid fer a laugh. When ah look at him, ah aye think he's jist aboot tae say "Ach ah'm nae guid at this an' ah cannae really be bothered"

    Ah wish he wid.

    Sae far as thochts oan the coalition goes, ah'm mair interested in how oor elected LibDems view it than the electorate in general. We hae this government, we hae tae gie it a chance, an' judge it oan its actions. But the politicians arenae fillin' me wi' hope, oan account o' how nane o' them seem willin' tae speak oot oan their concerns.

    Of course they hae concerns, an' rightly so. Ah jist dinnae believe fer a second that Chairlie's the only yin wi' misgivin's, an' the votes oan Tuesday night, an' again yesterday, are an affront tae decent honest politics.

    Even Clegg thocht it wis a bit North Korean. Auspicious start eh?

  12. I really don't think that if the SNP get less seats than Iain Gray and Labour they would have any right to continue their minority government. So I would imagine the SNP would support Gray as FM rather than force another election.

  13. Sophia: I don't either. But there is no need to dree up the same old stuff as new politics. Nothing new as far as I can see!

  14. Munguin,

    What did I mean? I merely meant that if Scotland wants to directly influence the Conservative Party, in terms of which policies it serves, and what demographics it follows- they can vote Tory and compel the Party to view its loyalties.

    If Scotland wants the Tories to worry about Scottish interests more, perhaps they ought to give Scots Tories like me more than bloody Mundell to work with!

    It was the old argument the Tory fellows used in the 1980ss, vote for us in order to limit the worst excesses of Thatcher [and to a point it did work!]

  15. Dubbieside,

    Full fiscal autonomy? I won't say Cameron would deliver that [though I am a fan of it]- but there will be some kind of fiscal devolution under the Cameron-Clegg coalition to be sure.

  16. Munguin

    'SNP would support Gray as FM' Thats what i like to hear the dawn of a 'New Old Politics all been done before'

    You wanna keep an eye on ole Deano he is acting pretty suspicious all that

    'If Scots want more influence, they'd better start voting Tory again sharpish.'

    That kind of talk would lead you to supporting the Nazi party.

    on second thoughts best keep two eyes on Deano
    a right rum one he is turning out to be

  17. Dean: how many Scottish MPs did Thatcher have in 1979? You can’t put the cart before the horse you know.

    If David Cameron wants to be prime minister of the entire UK maybe it is him that ought to listen to and worry about what the Scots want irrespective of if they vote for him and his party.

  18. Mr MixedPickle it does no do to deliberately distort what I meant. I never meant support Gray as first minister just his legitimate claim to be first minister if his party gets a majority of MSP just as Alex was when he had one more than your lot.

  19. Munguin

    You did! you did! say it look

    'the SNP would support Gray as FM'

    its crystal clear what you said no good denying it

    anyway must go Mrs M has choose an hotel for our hols and she wants me to sort out the booking

  20. Dean's logic worries me tae. Wi' the Tories awready haein' near 300 English seats, even if Scotland returned 59 Tory MPs their influence wid be pretty limited. As it is, Scottish Tories are aye gaunnae be pissin' in the English wind, pardon ma french. The idea o' supportin' a party that's done yer country ower in the vain hope that they'll no dae it again jist shows the poverty o' the Tory approach tae Scotland. Even Auntie Bella widnae hae truck wi' a strategy like that, it makes nae sense. Dean, yer party's in power, it has tae dae better.

    Equatin' that wi' supportin' the Nazis is just plain bonkers an' is really only a measure o' Labour's complete loss o' control an' power. Mr Myxter, ye've lost yer sense o' propriety.

    Ah guess we'll aw just hae tae keep oor een on each other. It'll be like that game o' Murder we used tae play at pairties, but withoot the drink.

  21. Dean:

    Two points.

    First one is I agree with Munguin. He should work to get the votes and then he might, just might, get them. Putting the cart before the horse won't work. We should not have to vote for him in the hopes that he will treat us as if we were southern English people... and thus of some inport.

    In 17 years of Tory Government, starting off with a good few Tories in Scotland, Mrs Thatcher ran the country as if the only people who counted were those in South East England. The City and the money markets were all that mattered. Scots will not forget that easily. It may or may not be true any longer but they will need it proved. Perhaps Mr Cameron treating the country as if it mattered at least a little will change that. But he needs to remember that he works for us, not the other way around.

    Secondly Dean, it is Mr Cameron's responsibility to treat everone in this UK equally, not only favour those who voted for him. That was part of the problems of the "old politics"

  22. Niko....

    That's a 5 star hotel. I'm surprised you're not staying at the Ritz. New Labour people are so upper class.

    If Labour win the greatest number of seats in the election to come, all parties will have to accept that they have the first shout at forming a government. It's the law. Can't see them getting a coalition with their faithful friends the Liberals as they have a new boyfriend now, in Mr Cameron, and of course the Tories won't want to do business with them, for the same reason. They wouldn't want to do business with the SNP, so I guess they will have to try to run a minority government. It's not easy, but as the SNP has proved, it is possible.

    We'll see what Mr Gray is made of then.

  23. Munguin

    The fact that the SNP were the largest party after the 2007 election did not stop all the Labour MSPs voting for Jack Macconnell.

    I would be surprised if the SNP MSPs voted for anyone other than Alex Salmond, and I would be astonished if anyone at Holyrood apart from Labour MSPs voted for Gray.

  24. I actually said I imagined it Mr MixedPickle go look again!

  25. I don't see how the SNP would have any mandate to govern if another party was bigger than them, unless they formed a coalition. And that would be with whom?

    I guess I'm mixing up what is right with what is expedient. But I don't see how the SNP can continue to form a minority government if their minority is smaller than another party's.