Monday, 5 January 2015


Following on from the Tory's "Road to... (erm, well probably the road to Weimar actually)" fiasco of a poster to kick off their general election campaign, I was saying to a friend this afternoon that I was surprised that it had been selected for use. 

When reviewing this kind of campaign surely one of the first things that the campaign manager would do was ask "What could go wrong?" 

Well, having to admit to not being able to find one road in all of Britain that stretched into a glorious and happy future... or portrayed the concept... seems to me to be something that could be described as "going wrong". Someone was sure to ask..."where is the road?"...and answering ... "it's a composite of various roads" would have been bad enough if they had at least all been in Britain. 

That the road in question was in Germany was nothing short of hilarious mind blowing incompetence.

We reflected that this was not the first time that a recent political campaign had been found rather naive. We'd all be incredulous when Better Together came up with the "cereal" lady.  Did no one stop to wonder how it would play in the 21st century to make a woman look as if she, a mindless adjunct to her husband, was not to worry her pretty little head about politics... but instead to concentrate on the bairns, the cereal, and the nice cup of coffee in the kitchen... 1950s or what?

So this afternoon when we were talking we hadn't seen Labour's first poster of the campaign. 

Now we have. We'll we've seen "Scottish" Labour's poster, despite there being no such party. James Kelly parodies it rather nicely here, and for once the Rev Stuart is left speechless (which we suspect doesn't happen that often).

And so for the second time in a few days we are left wondering why did no one ask... "what could go wrong?"

Really, did no one at Jim's HQ ask why they were spending their limited resources proposing a "policy" (he flattered it) on a service over which they would have no control whatsoever in the parliament into which they were hoping to be elected? 

This is a campaign for a general election in London, Westminster, the UK, call it what you will. The Scottish Health Service is funded and overseen from Holyrood by an entirely separate parliament and government which will be come up for election in 16 months' time. (Heaven help us if it's Jim whose the FM then. He'll be assuming it's being taken care of from London!)

So, for the purpose of this election campaign, the one that is going on here and now, surely the SNP will be making no promises whatsoever about funding nurses in NHS Scotland. Being in government in Scotland they know perfectly well where NHS Scotland is run from.

But even if it were a matter for the UK parliament, it appears to be the most ridiculous statement of intent. What they seem to be promising is that whatever the SNP proposes, they will add 1000 to it.

So, if the SNP, having researched it with NHS Scotland's management, promises the optimum number of nurses, regardless that an extra 1000 would just really be in the way, Labour will supply them anyway.  

I wonder if they intend to spend the entire campaign promising whatever the SNP says, plus 1000.

Schools: (also not under consideration in the UK election)... whatever the SNP say + 1000. Trains (also Holyrood): whatever the SNP promises, + 1000. Nuclear warheads (ah, Westminster): Whatever the SNP promises +1000. Oh, that'll be 1000 exactly then.

It brings back memories of days when my brother and I would argue about something, by proposing, each in his turn, an ever bigger number, until of course one of us remember infinity.. and then we did infinity plus 1!

We were aged 8 and 4 at the time though, so we had an excuse.

Sorry guys... must try to do better than under 10s! 

Serious suggestions:

1) Find out what Westminster is responsible for (you should be good at that, Jim, being as you are supposed to be working there) and propose policies for which that parliament has responsibility. There are plenty, unfortunately.

2) Try to come up with policies which aren't the same as, but bigger than, those of the SNP. It might make people think that you had given it some intellectual consideration, and that's always a reassuring thing for a potential government (flatters them again). 

3) Before you put out your next poster, ask yourself... what will the public be laughing at tonight? If the answer is "us"... ditch it and start again.


  1. The SNP don't have to pledge, they already delivered 1,700 extra nurses during their tenure in government.
    What did "Scottish" labour do, when it had extra cash? That's right, the unimaginative party drones gave it to Westminster. Idiots.
    I see they are now attacking, universal free school meals....
    Only sheep with an Alex Salmond is bad fixation, could vote for these scumbags.....

    1. I was laughing the other day about the Liberals complaining that the SNP had done nothing for the NorthEast and all the money was spent in the Central Belt. Of course they made no mention of the fact that they had voted from trams in Edinburgh rather than improvements to the A9, and that they had sent money back on a regular basis to London becasue of course under their regime Scotland was just awash with money. Clearly nothing was needed, even in the north East. They were, of course, in coalition with Labour at that point... before their coalition with the Tories that is...

      You just have to try not to laugh too loudly in their faces. For the sake of good manners, you know!

  2. Vote SNP, get Ed Miliband. Vote Labour, get Alex Salmond 'kingmaker'.

    Either way it's enough to make all of Scotland boak.

    1. Vote liberal, get who ever they whore themselves to.

    2. Indeed, this GE is a nightmare. There is nobody I feel really strongly like voting for. It's a first for me.

    3. Dean, can you explain your theory of vote SNP get Miliband etc?

    4. Right now I think Ed Miliband's worst enemy is Jim Murphy, Nicola must have the popcorn in watching the show.
      So far, we have Kezia saying she would work with her worst enemy forgetting to ask Ed what he thought of those Dastardly Scots helping his government, well the English who love us so much really did not care for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown who they both were tarred as Scots, running their country. You can see that being a vote winner dawn south. The we have Jim the Smurph promising to use Ed's Mansion Tax money for his own dastardly ends.
      I think I will be getting the popcorn in myself it this is the way it is going.

    5. Why does an SNP government make you boak Dean?

      What have they done that is so terrible?

      Is it helping the poor with bedroom tax, or the free prescriptions, bus passes for the elderly, or what?

      Nicola has said quite clearly that she accepts the result of the referendum but that it is her job to try to get the best possible deal for the Scots out of the UK government. You remember we were promised as near as it gets to federalism, and so far that hasn't really happened.

      Of course Nicola's dream is independence, and its something that she will continue to hope for, and yes every time that she gets a chance, I'm sure she will remind Westminster of what a mess they are making.

      I really see very little to boak about there.

    6. If I were Miliband I'd be happy enough to get rid of Murphy to the colonies, but I'd be worried that he was going to try to prove his independence by promising to take money for S.E England and spend it in Scotland.

      Even if he's conflating the two elections which are about terribly different things, the people in England will hear about this and be angry!

      The only winner from this is the Tories. But as Murphy is effectively a Tory, that doesn't surprise me.

    7. I don't think they understand what is happening CH.

      It's without their ability to compute that they are now seen as a bunch of right wingers out for themselves, b y a vast number of people who used to vote for them... or at least not against them.

      Get ready for NASTY>

    8. John,

      The SNP have swore not to do any deals with the Tories under any circumstances. And all signs are, they'll start voting on English only issues.

      If they won't do deals with the Tories at any point, under any circumstances...and they are planning to vote on English only issues --- that only leaves Labour.

      The SNP, if they hold the balance of power in a hung parliament will prop up a weak Labour gov't extracting demands just like the Irish Party did with the Liberals.

      That arrangement led to Ireland leaving the union, and the SNP will probably cause the collapse of my country as Scotland separates off.

      It's all heartbreaking.

      Vote SNP, end up with Labour. And lose the UK in the bargain.

      And all because the SNP cannot respect the Scottish electorate enough to accept that 55% rejected their plans to tear up the country.

    9. Dean, the UK will only be broken up if the electorate decide on it. As for the SNP propping up Labour they will only do so if it benefits Scotland. If Labour reject that then it could lead to another election but that is democracy, is it not?

    10. Additionally the SNP has said that any serious co-operation (I don;t mean voting with whatever party on things you already agree with and are in your manifesto) will be dependent on scrapping nuclear weapons.

      Despite Tony Blair admitting that they serve no other purpose than allowing the UK a seat at the big boys' table, Labour will NEVER allow that to happen.

  3. In order for Murphy's plan regarding additional nurse to come to fruition there have to be three obvious essentials. Firstly, Labour have to win the General Election. Secondly, "Scottish" Labour have to win the Scottish Election and thirdly, if these two unlikely scenarios occur, that the UK Labour Governement will allocate a disproportionate percentage of the Mansion Tax to Scotland. Still, the Nikos of this world will swallow this nonsense hook, line and sinker as they have done for decades.

    1. I'm mystified at him making promises that depend upon him winning an election that is a year away.

      I'm puzzled that he thinks the number of nurses has gone down since Labour in Scotland lost power, since the figures seem to show an increase of 1,700.

      "He accused the SNP government of “starving” the health service of resources to a greater extent than the Tories south of the Border, in a keynote speech in Edinburgh."

      I'm not surprised at that, though. The Tories really can do no wrong for Murphy, except maybe be a bit too left wing!

    2. I reckon Murphy made that claim knowing full well that it will not be implemented but some will believe it. Whilst not being anywhere near the front of the good-looking queue myself it strikes me that there is something reptilian about his appearance.

    3. My mum thinks you're as fit as a fiddle, John....

      Then again she's never seen you, so I suppose that explains it!

      :) :) :)

      I think Murphy must have known that there are people who don't have a clue about whoich government does what.

      There are many people who aren't that engaged. I remember this lad at the gym saying that he liked the SNP but why did they have to go and put up the VAT!

      Whatever else Jim is he's not entirely thick. He knows that Health is devolved and presumably he knows that this is a Westminster election. He's just counting on his potential followers being too detached to realise it.

      And I wonder if this is him trying to make it seem that he is defying Ed. The mansion tax will bring in some serious money in the south east of England and in some of the other rich city areas throughout the UK. A tiny bit will come from the seriously rich in Scotland. Minuscule amount... but the English, whose heath service is being sold off to the Tories mates, will happily pool and share their mansion taxes with Scotland...who still have a health service. Yeah right.

      Once again I just can't imagine why they don't ask... what could go wrong... It seems like a not bad plan when they know that there are some pretty clever people out there who are waiting for them (all, of them, of all parties) to make a silly mistake.

      I see they don't seem to know whether or not they voted for free lunches for all young children or not. They don't seem to know whether they support it or not. Iain Gray doesn't, and Murphy appears to.

      Gray rabbiting on about Nicola Sturgeon gaining from it... when she and Peter don't have any children. It's a give away to people on more than £200,000 a year, he says. Hmmm, yeah, there's a lot of people in Scotland with kids under 8 earning that kind of money.

      Let's get rid of the horrible discrimination there has always been for kids who get free meals... and let's remember that a lot of voters are on minimum wage. They won't get free meals, but they also won;t be able to afford to buy them.

      Everyone forgets that the vast majority of people aren't either destitute of stinking rich. Most are just poor. This will help them.

  4. In the paper shop buying my National when I caught sight of the huge headline on the front page of the Scotsman. Are the Scotsman taking this vow at face value or do they pour cold water on Murphy's pledge?
    If the latter, why the big headline?

    1. Article in the Scotsman which may surprise you, certainly did me.

    2. Anon. It's over a year away. As John said, they have to win an election in London; then they have to win an election in Scotland a year later.

      But if they keep saying that they will use London's mansion tax to pay for Scotland's nurses, whether we need them or not, then they haven't a hope in hell of getting past the first hurdle.

      This is the problem with having one party for two very different countries, and why Ms Lamont was kept firmly on a lead.

    3. Indeed Helena. It is a good article. I'll need to read it more carefully later!

  5. Tris

    Long may Labour Northern Branch maintain their standards of electioneering, although the on-going problem will be that no one in the media will question the poster, and like last night on the news etc even if they do Murphy still gets off the hook. Dugdale wasn't even asked on Scotnight how the English might feel that Scotland will get a share of their taxes to pay for something that Westminster and definately Jim Murphy has any control over, a great start by Murphy and more to follow no doubt.

    The big issue in this election will continue to be the media. We have seen it for years in all elections and the referendum that alternative parties or alternative views just will not get a fair hearing, unless your name happens to be Farage and the media have decided to like him and create some michief about Europe and are happy to show case his lies.

    The media is an issue that needs to be addressed but of course won't given that the main parties will be happy for them to promote the status quo, not matter how broken, how corrupt, how self serving, the electorate will be short changed as normal and a great deal of this will be down to poor journalism and poor journalistic integrity. I am both looking forward to and dreading the election.


    1. Nothing much we can do about the media, Bruce, except support the National and the Sunday Herald and not support the rest.

      As for the BBC, the management and most of the presenters all seem to be signed up Labour members, or married to Labour party people or thier relatives.

      The BBC's attitude to interviewing Labour seems to be.... would you like to say anything at all? Thanks you very much.

      The more people who refuse to pay for the BBC (legally) the more they will get the message that we don't care for them, their massive salaries, or their slavish devotion to Jim Murphy.

  6. How would it go down in England if Labour are proposing to give more to Scotland from English taxpayers, when the polls show that the English etc already believe Scotland gets to much?
    It would be a gift to the Conservatives in the campaigning for GE.

    1. I think it must be Jim showing that he hasn't consulted with Ed, Brian, and doesn't care what they think in England. Of course he does have to remember that he will have to prize that money out of Ed Balls. He can say whatever he likes, but it's London that holds the purse strings.

      Of course he never will get the money. He knows that. It's just something they said. It will never happen, even in they were to get in.

      What could go wrong....? Well, more or less everything!

  7. Tris

    Most English people will be very happy to see the greedy rich
    being taxed and paying a fair share. The idea the English are going
    to die fighting to save the greedy rich is risible if Scotlland gets a corner
    the ordinary English will not mind . Its just the wealthys minions
    putting up a smokescreen to try to obscure that fact.

    1. But Niko, Jim has said that Scotland will get more than its share. Of course he can;t say how much that will be because he has made this silly statement that he will provide 1000 more nurses than the SNP.

      As he has no idea how many the SNP will provide, I'm not sure he has costed it out.

      Boris, whose area will provide the bulk of the income from the tax, has already kicked off.

      (I'm not 100% against the mansion tax, although I tend to think that income is a fairer way to judge someone's ability to pay than property. I just don't know why they don't say that they will increase the tax bands higher and higher the more that you earn, and in consequence be able to reduce the amount that people earning £15,000 pay.

      Taxes based on value of property can be unpayable for some. You can have very little income but a big house in what has become a posh area...

      I think they maybe need to think it out a bit more.

      I think that there are many in the south who already resent the fact (emphasised over and over during the referendum) that Scotland already gets more than its fair share. Giving them more to pay for a health service, which is falling apart in England, is not going to go down well, I fear.

  8. This Mansion Tax thingy. Surly its main effect will be to force ordinary people out of London property they bought back before Oligarchs and Sheiks started buying the place up for crazy money. It sounds great superficially, but I can see it being a real vote loser. Still, if you are on housing benefit or get MP's expenses and live in some millionaire's rented house in Kensington I expect the taxpayers will subsidise your landlord. So it looks like another ill thought out broadside on the "squeezed middle". Its lucky Ed's a millionaire himself or it would be enough to give him sleepless nights.

  9. Or you could have a local income tax whereby the sheiks pay oodels of cash
    the local sounds mad to me who would do that and when ?

    1. There's no doubt in my mind that income tax is a fairer tax than a tax on property.

      Given that no tax is perfect, of course, it has its flaws, but if you protect those at the bottom, by having a threshold above that of the living wage, which would probably be about £15,000, and you don't allow the excesses of 80% taxes on millionaires, but keep it at 50%, then I reckon it is fairer than a property tax.

      I know one person for example, whose income is enough that he pays about £10 a month in income tax. Not very much, you'll agree, but that's because he is on a very low salary. However he doesn't qualify for council tax relief and so pays over £1000 a year...

      That's gotta be wrong.

      Mansion tax will remove some people from London and the stockbroker belt, there's no doubt about that. It will lose Labour some votes in that area too. It will have little effect on Scotland.

      Some of the Labour lovies from show biz have already said they will leave, not that that's any loss. They are the kind that are all for decent social policies until it costs them money, and at that point they become rabid Tories.

      It's not an easy one to solve. How do you take more money off the stinking rich without it hurting the people who can only just afford to live in an area they have liven in all their lives... ?

      I keep on coming back to income tax.

      Of course, in London the Russians and the Saudis wouldn't pay any income tax at all, because they don't actually live in England, so that would mean a big loss of income to the local authorises.

      I was going to say that that's London's problem, but of course as it's going to be paying for our health service I suspect it is our problem too!

    2. Niko, thats the rub. Islington reckons 30% of their recently built homes have no registered voters. Foreign residents, trust funds and companies dont pay income tax. Many rich individuals can deploy advisers to keep their tax bill down. So sure, they will have to pay the mansion tax. But private individuals of regular means will be taxed on the assumption they are rich solely because they bought a home before the monopoly game began in earnest. It is a cheap thing to propose such a tax, but like so much Ed comes up with, there are pitfalls.

      It might be better if they declared their intention to start from scratch with a much simpler tax and benefits system. One designed so that it cannot be avoided by the rich. One that is transparently fair to everyone and that is not a disincentive to aspiration of all people, rich and poor alike.

      And instead of seeing the high house prices - caused in a market where demand exceeds supply - as a way of clobbering perceived rich people, actions are taken to try to damp the speculation down. Like rent controls, taxes on unoccupancy, or rules that require owners to be domiciled for tax purposes.

      I personally detest Labour, but my political motivation is driven by a love of my country. I see in Labour an old sitcom that should have been cancelled years ago, but for some god knows why reason the BBC make a new series every year. The actors are trying to relive their past glories, but the best series were shown a very long time ago.

    3. LOL Good one Anon.

      I like the idea of coming up with a far less complicated and far fairer tax/benefit system.

      That would take real guts and imagination to propose... and frankly I doubt there is the vision to do it.

      IDS's supposedly simple Universal benefits isn't designed with fairness in mind. It's cheapness that motivates him.

      But Labour has nothing of interest to add...

      As you say, the really rich can avoid taxes...ask Gary Barlow.

      On the subject of house prices, I remember about 10 years ago, a colleague bragging that his house, which he had purchased for around £25,000 was now worth £150,000.

      I pointed out to him that this wasn't of any great value to him unless he died and the house could be sold for cash instead of swapping it for another over valued house.

      None-the-less, on a salary of only about £14,000 a year, he owned a house which was worth well over 10 times his income. Not of course in teh mansion tax bracket, but well above what his financial situation suggested he should have.

      My point is that house value may not in any way reflect wealth. My colleague sitting on £150,000 worth of house, struggled to pay his gas bills.

      That is even more starkly true in London and the South East, where property values are out of all proportion to the actual REAL value of the property.

  10. If you live in a big house you probaly have big money so you should pay
    a fair share. now the snp sniveling over rich people paying a fair share all due
    too an utter hatred of the labour party is bizarre but not unexpected.
    People do get rebates etc based on proven income I mean they been
    doing that for donkeys years.............

    still when all you are about is hate hate hate of the labour party there
    aint much you can do for you except go away and die you'd all love that.

    1. Not really true. There are a lot of people who have really modest incomes live in family homes they have outgrown, but they love because that's where they lived all their years.

      The property has grown in value.

      I know quite a few people who are property rich and cash poor

      I'm not sure what that last sentence is about. Is it me or you who should go away and die? .

  11. The whole issue is a manufactured media storm to enable big headlines.
    "Brave Scot, Jim the patriotic Scot, from Scotland, will fight for Scotland, in Scotland, against those nasty SE Englanders."
    Did I mention he is Scottish?

    1. Yeah. I'm independent of Ed. I can make his life difficult... and do what's right for Scotland, at the same time as show Scotland that it needs to be subsidised by the rich English. Win Win for me, huh?

      Oh wait, if Ed doesn't get in in England there won't be a mansion tax, so even if I got in in Scotland I wouldn't get the bulk of it to pay for 1000 more of whatever the SNP promises for everything.

      What's that you say, Jutie? Is Jim Scottish?

      Oh. Not a very good advert for Scottish Education then, is he?

    2. Didn't our Jim live some of his formative years furth of Scotland, therefore I think Scottish Education is safe for now. I am with Juteman I reckon that that is a very good scenario with him. I also think Jim's lords and masters are furth of this country in the good old US of A, and they do not want Miliband as PM which is another one. I could go on and on but one thing we can be more or less certain of is that I doubt they will get in, but then stranger things have happened, Look at a certain Mr Kinnock who nearly made it, was on track and then he wasn't.

    3. Ah yes. The country where although Jim is quite keen on wars, he didn't actually want to join the army, and so left to embark on a l-o-n-g career in academe. :)