Friday, 9 September 2011


Anyone watching the early parts of First Minister's Questions this week would have been entitled to wonder that it wasn't some spoof cleverly recreating the weekly opportunity to question Alex Salmond, dreamed up and executed by Rory Bremner in a series of guises.

Iain Gray, the outgoing, or maybe not outgoing leader of the Labour group was at his comedy best. (I say may not be outgoing because he may have to stay on. You see, the only 2 people who appear to want the poison chalice of leading this group are (a) someone who can't really have it, on the basis that you can't be leader of the Labour group IN the Scottish parliament if you are, erm, not actually a member of, and therefore IN the Scottish parliament, and (b) Johann Lamont... who erm.. is ...erm, Johann Lamont!

Anyway, Iain, bless him, decided to go on the referendum on independence. He'd probably have done better sticking to the subject of the first question: What are the FM's engagements for the rest of the day?

But no, independence referendum it was. So Alex explained to him three or was it four times... I lost the will to live after the first couple of times... The manifesto said that it would take place sometime in the second half of a five year parliament. This is the first year, or put another way, year 1. There is year 2 to go, and half of year 3 before we will be into the second part of the parliament. From then on it might be reasonable to ask. Right now it is not. More seriously he pointed out that jobs were the priority for the moment.

Now all of that was just pathetic Iain Gray stuff, pretty much par for the course, but for his last question; the pièce de resistance if you will, Iain produced a photograph of a lady he announced was "Gypsy Amalia" in conversation with the First Minister. Maybe we should ask her about the date for the referendum... quipped the funny man. And, as her prices for a reading range from £5 - £30 wasn't she a bit like the plan for "separation" [sic]. You didn't know the cost till the deed was done. How we laughed!

Looking pleased with himself (as well he might) Iain Gray sat down, secure in the knowledge that this one must have, at long last, hit home.

Silly Iain. Alex said he remembered the occasion. The lady always had a stall at the Turrif show in Alex's constituency, and on that occasion she had read his palm and predicted that the SNP would win the election, and it hadn't cost a bean. Maybe, suggested the FM, we could ask her who would be the next Labour leader. Ouch!

Strangely my friend Annabel seemed stricken with the same inability to understand the answer at the first answering. She asked what currency Scotland would use after independence. (Why not borrow a Liberal question, Annabel; after all your mate Cameron is in hock to them according to the fragrant Nadine.) Alex referred her to the answer in a written report dated some time ago, including the page and paragraph numbers. She said he hadn't answered the question, so he read out the aforementioned paragraphs. Annabel still hadn't understood so she must have requested and been granted a further question. All in good humour, mixed with jokes about the forthcoming demise of the Tory party in Scotland, Alex told her that, in the period after the granting of independence, the pound sterling would continue to be the currency until the Scottish people had the chance to decide for themselves which currency they would use.

At long last, Bella seemed to grasp "THE POUND".

Although the second part of FMQs got under way, with sensible questions from MSPs about such matters as blood donations from gay men and the NHS, and Libya, Lockerby and Al Megrahi, it was a relief when the wretched thing was over.

Pic: Johann Lamont. What is it about Labour that they always need to bring in props. It's like "show and tell" that we had at primary school.


  1. tris

    Independence dead then I mean the First Fat man of Scotland wouldn't answer.
    If jobs are the priority seems to me having a definitive answer may give some stability to the long term plans of company's in Scotland and elsewhere.
    The fact is Alex is unsure if the snp would at the present time win a yes vote and no doubt if the evidence shows the snp would win easily.
    Then fatso would immediately call for a vote and fair enough but the truth is Alex is behaving as George Osborne would say like a proper wanker.

  2. The 'props' have more charisma and intelligence than the majority of Labour MSPs, Iain will maybe bring his teddy in one day.

  3. "The manifesto said that it would take place sometime in the second half of a five year parliament."

    Erm, no it didn't. In fact this line was peddled only about a week before the election, in a Telegraph story. The manifesto doesn't say anything about timing.

    Odd that the idea that the timing was in the manifesto has gained such currency, isn't it.

  4. Erm... He did answer. He said it was in the second half of the parliament. Are you all bloody deaf in the Labour Party?

    If we had gone straight into a referendum on the constitutional situation we would have been roundly (and rightly)criticised for taking advantage of the huge win at the election... and for wasting time on our referendum while the country was in such a mess, thanks to the "world-wide (it came from America, went round the world twice and landed in Britain) recession, from which, if you remember, that idiot Brown had saved the world with his least twice! Yeah, right.

    Hmmm Manifesto said second half of the parliament. Live with it, Niko. But I suppose it is difficult for Iain Gray to find anything to criticise, after all he stole all our policies for his manifesto, ones he had hitherto criticised. Even Gray couldn't manage to do a 360 degree turn...?

    And as for his pathetic story about Wendy Alexander's window of opportunity for holding a referendum with Labour's blessing? She said "Bring it on"; Iain Gray went on Newsnight and tried to explain it in Portuguese, then the next day Gordon Brown sent a flying Nokia (More like a "Knock Ya Oot") to Scotland and the whole thing was over...

    Here is it simply put:

    O refrerendum ocorrerá ao segundo meio do parliament. E não um minuto antes.

    OK? Got it now?

  5. Hey CH... That would be really cool. He could tell us stories about porridge and then ask what an independent Scotland would do about children who go around eating bears' food and sleeping in bears' beds...

  6. Duncan: Hello and welcome to Munguin's Republic. This is your first visit, I think. I hope it won't be your last.

    Well, I don't have a copy of the manifesto to hand, but I'll look it up tomorrow. I was sure that it did say that, but I won't swear to it, lest I make a prat of myself!!


    If it wasn't in the manifesto, then I agree that it is odd that we all think that it was.

    I'm sure too that Alex answered that in one of the leaders' debates.

    However, what do you think is more important, Duncan: A referendum on the constitutional position of Scotland in this moribund union of unequals, or the creation of jobs, and the obtaining of the means with which to do that?

    For me it's a no brainer.

    In fact just after the election, with polling figures still going up, the Scottish Tories imploding with the deputy leader ashamed to be a member of the party and the lovely Annabel insisting that she's off... and Labour desperately scraping round to find someone who wants to take the reigns...

    ...Not to mention Eton Boy slashing and burning as he goes, breaking all his promises and leaving the poor homeless and the old fereezing to death...and Gideon wanting to reduce the tax on his flithy rich mates...

    ... it would be a good time to get out there and sell our marvellous country as an independent nation, instead of keeping a dead union afloat.

    Oh yes. But Eck says jobs come first.

    As for companies being frightened off at the prospect... hardly!

    27,000 jobs created in Scotland in the last 3 months. Businessmen know perfectly well that there won't be border posts. They know that they will be able to go see their granny in Carlisle and sell her stuff. (There aren't border posts in from Ulster into Eire. There aren't border posts for Luxembourg into Belgium. Why would there be between England and Scotland?)

    They are flocking here in their droves from England in many cases.

  7. I was hoping for a pic of Jackie Bailey in tight leather trousers. Fairs fair.

    The bloke in that pic has Thatchers overcoat on. Is it for effect ?

    Ruth Davidson ( Ed. who she ? - The prospective tory leader. ) was saying she had 'no knowledge' of Thatcher. Heck my pet hamster has knowledge of Thatch ( I kick it when thatch is mentioned).
    The Daily Record helpfully reminded her who thatch was...

    250,000 people thrown on the scrapheap and scottish industry decimated and essential utilities sold abroad. Devastation.

  8. What's wee Jimmy Krankie doing at Holyrood - should 'he' not be in rehearsals for the Christmas panto season?

  9. Bloody Hell, Monty!

    She is mad is wee Ruthie.

    And she thinks that people don't remember Thatcher? Like your hamster, people in Scotland have that name and evil face etched into their entire being. The woman was plain evil, and although not exactly stupid, she was horrifically naive. Naivity and evilness make an horrific combination.

    And this silly woman thinks that she will be in government within ten years? The world has gone mad. They have 16 members of parliament here and send Fluffy from the borders to that place in London.

    I suspect that if she becomes leader, there will be a split, because Murdo and his followers really can't stay in a party they are ashamed of.

    There will be ordinary members who will leave too. And as for funders... who knows. At the moment they rely on England for their funding (although England doesn't like having to fund them because they bring in nothing...except Fluffy... and what the hell good is that?)

    If Murdo sets up another party anyway, how many members will she have... about the same as wee Willie?

    I say, old chap, a bit more respect for Ms Lamont from you. Even if she did get that jaiket in Oxfam, and it has a label that says "If found please return to Margaret Hilda".

  10. He is Anon...

    "Little Blue Riding Hood's Mad Capers at Holyrood" (a comedy in three acts)


    Annabel Goldie as the Fairy God Mother;

    Alex Salmond as the child eating giant;

    Murdo as the handsome prince;

    Jackie Baillie as the scullery maid;

    Tom Harris as a magic toad searching for Scot Goes Pop, so that he can kiss him! (ew err);

    And a mystery guest flown in specially from London on a broomstick, as the evil witch....

    Special Appearance of Lard Ffoulkes as the drunken old lord. (but not for long as he grabs random old ladies from the audience and falls over with them into the gutter)...

  11. Show and tell ... lol ... nice touch there Tris :)

    But in all seriousness, Labour are in a serious mess if they can't find someone both wanting to be leader and capable of being one.

    Iain Gray may have to live the worst life of them all, and stay on as a defeated (and lame duck) leader for many more months.

    It is equally bad news for Scotland however. Why? Because good governance depends on good opposition parties. And at the moment we have got two real opposition parties;

    i] Labour
    Leaderless, disjointed, confused and lacking many 'old hands' and experience

    ii] Scottish Tories
    Who may be about to disband ...

    So ... lets not worry, there are always that minibus of LibDem MSPs...

  12. Tris

    All this crap about Scotland needing good opposition parties, is just that crap. There are no Scottish opposition parties apart from the Greens, just Westminster yes men and women.

    What Scotland needs are people who will stand up for Scotland, first, last and always. The so called good opposition, Alexander/Grey, Scott/whats his name and antie Bella, let Scotland down by their constant opposition for oppositions sake (BTW Labour how is your commission on that curse of Scottish society caffeine going?) they paid the correct price in May.

    What is never mentioned by the MSM (what a surprise!) is that on the SNP share of the vote in May if held under Westminster rules the SNP would have won 92 seats out of the 129.

    Scotland has plenty who will hold the government to account if they are seen not trying everything possible to further the cause of the country, they are called the Scottish electorate.

    P.s. Murdos plan has disintegrated, you can call it Sellafield or Windscale, but it is still as toxic as the torys no matter what they are called.

    P.P.S. The Daily Retard has the latest on rearranging the deck chairs on the SS Titanic AKA Labour North British branch.

  13. The "second half of the Parliament" was first mooted by Alex at the leaders' debate in Perth on May 1st 2011. That is where, I think, it comes from. A timetable is not actually mentioned on page 28 of the manifesto, just that an Independence Bill will be brought forward during the Parliament.

  14. Personally, I hope that when the referendum is held they have multichoice.

    I'd vote for full fiscal autonomy any day - and this referendum is the best way of achieving that.

    Mind you, that is Salmonds plan I bet, if full independence fails, at least he secures full fiscal autonomy; the next best thing!

    ...Murdo Fraser seems to think that full fiscal autonomy is coming ... he is trying to prepare the ground for us in the new political scene.

  15. Deano

    Not sure how a party created on the proposition
    Scotland should again becoming a sovereign state
    Could survive as a meaningful Scottish party under any other political settlement.

    I spose the refrain would be


    Its just some are more unionist that others

  16. Mungy

    Alex lied as you have proven

  17. Dean: Would you want the job.

    Labour has been left in a situation where it has lost much of its talent. One of its problems is that it choses its best people to represent it in what it thinks of as THE parliament... and that's not Edinburgh.

    Holyrood was seem by Blair as not much more than a parish Council, which he believed he would always control. And all the auto/biographies of the time are at one about that. Blair wanted his placement in what he thought of as the Parish Councils.

    They are left, at the best of times with few real talents in Holyrood. Malcolm Chisholm seems to me to be a clever man, but too much of a loose canon for Labour; Wendy Alexander is supposed to be clever, but she was too impetuous and lacked the common touch, that is to say that people disliked her.

    I rate Jackie Bailey a bit, but she is unwilling. I also rated that sour faced woman Margaret Curren and to a lesser extent the fragrant Cathie, but they went south (literally). Jack McConnell was OK but gone to the Lords ...

    I never rated Iain Gray, and Johann Lamont even less so.

    So, what's left? if you take a leader out of there, what is he or she going to lead... ?

    I agree we need an opposition. The present government is good (I would say that, I know), but no one stays good forever, and people get careless if no one ever gets near to holding them to account.

    labour has been useless at it so far, and are only likely to get worse; the Liberals were pretty useless under Tavish, but now, well, apart from Willie, does anyone know any Liberals?

    And your lot used to do a bit of a job. Annabel knew how to use a minority government to her best interests and, to be fair for the interests of Scotland... but London kept interfering.

    Now of course, it seems to me that, there just has to be a slip. I know potential leaders fall out and pull it together again, but this time surely it's too big for that.

    Who will take Murdo seriously now as a deputy leader, or even an MSP of a party which he is ashamed to be in?

  18. Dubs...

    We agree and disagree on that.

    I think, for reasons I mentioned above that we need good opposition. 5 years is a long time for a strong FM to never be challenged.

    Of course I agree, again, as I said above, that the unionist parties send their best to London, because it goes for the Tories too (maybe to a slightly lesser extent than Labour) and, although it's hard to believe that Michael Moore represents the best of anything, so do the Libdums.

    It's also true that they take instruction about what is important from London. Goldie was always at her best when she made her own line of questioning.

    As for that fact... I had no idea that the total would have been so spectacular, if we'd had FPTP in Scotland.

    It's an awesome total...

  19. PS: Must go have a look at the retard before they change the pages...

  20. Munguin: Thanks for doing that research.

    I THEREFORE OFFER HUMBLE APOLOGIES TO DUNCAN and indeed to the rest of you for misleading you. It was, I hardly need say, completely unintentional.

    However, it is still true to say that Iain Gray was told, in front of whatever tv audience there was that night, that this was the state of play.

    The electorate, or those of them who watched or read about it in the papers, or on the net, or heard about it on the radio, also knew. Why did Iain Gray not take it in? I'd have thought, given his opposition to it, he'd have been all ears.

  21. Dean:

    I'd be perfectly happy with the three choice referendum. Personally I'd see it as another positive step for the future, although not the final one for me.

    The trouble is that Dave knows perfectly well, that if that question was on the paper then the status quo, which he loves so much, would be gone forever.

    He'll block it, or, if he can't he will refuse to accept it, by having it ruled out of order.

    Because there is no constitution he will be able to do that!

    (Unless you have a word him next time you see him!!)

  22. Niko:

    Why? It's another step on the way to full independence. God Nigeria had less trouble throwing off the English than we are having, but it we have to take it one step at a time, so be it.

    Alex didn't lie 'Nikkio': Tris did, but out of ignorance rather than with malice aforethought.

  23. Funny how some people have short term memories, must be lack of ram installed, didn't Iain wave a none existent SDA document about some spurious name change. They must be still looking I suppose like they are for a new/used branch manager a vet would be more humane.

  24. Nah, ch, it's just that they are unplugged from reality.

    A vet... ? Now there's an idea.

  25. Tris

    What the manifesto DOES say is the Scotland Bill will be dealt with before the Referendum Bill

    So although the second half thing was an election made outside the manifesto, the manifesto makes clear it is not going to be Bill 1 Day 1, they have to get the idiot child of Calman out of the wt first

  26. Yes, that's true Anon.

    And Iain Gray knows that as he knows that he was told, as was the nation, on television, before the election, that there was no way it was going to be in the first year's plan of action.

    It's actually a compliment in a way that Gray can't find anything much to challenge the government on, so he plasters around with that old chestnut.

    What a prat.