Thursday 31 March 2011
Wednesday 30 March 2011
Tuesday 29 March 2011
Monday 28 March 2011
Blog member, reader, friend (and Englishman) Mr_TMG suggested that this would be a perfect video for Munguin’s Republic. I’d never heard the song, but I thought it was bang, smack right for 2011 and hilarious!! Thanks Mr_TMG
Sunday 27 March 2011
Friday 25 March 2011
I was reading an excellent article yesterday on Newsnet Scotland about the state of the Scottish branch of Labour (or is it still New Labour?). It’s well worth the read for the warning that it gives about how the media can shield Labour from the worst excesses of its incompetence, and how the SNP’s faults are highlighted and its achievements ignored or belittled.
However, I digress.
In the comments beneath the article a contributor highlights an article on universities, their financial problems and the Vice Chancellors’ snouts in trough situation from the Daily Mail...(yes, I know, and the writer, “Spagen” describes the article’s style as the Mail’s “usual shock and awe” style). However, he in his turn, sites a reader’s response to THAT article:
"I teach at a small Swedish university, similar in size to Gloucestershire University. Here, everyone's pay is a matter of public record, and I know that our very eminent "rektor" (vice chancellor) is paid roughly £80,000 a year. Conversely, our neighbour's teenage daughter works as a waitress in a coffee bar and her basic pay is a respectable £18,500 a year. Pay differentials in the UK are verging on the obscene and I can only conclude that the British establishment is intent upon reverting to some kind of feudal society in which the vast majority have to live on the edge of poverty with minimum wage levels, terrible pensions, massive student debts, unaffordable housing etc, while ruled by a tiny, and very affluent and all-powerful elite. Are you prepared to accept this?"- Stu, Laholm, Sweden, 25/3/2011 07:
I hope that neither “Spagen” nor “Stu” will object to my using their contributions. I have long said that the differential in pay from bottom to top in this country is one of the reasons that we are so desperately far behind our competitors.
It produces a widely divided society, one which got markedly worse during 13 years of Labour rule and which is not going to do much narrowing under the Tories.
Our wage differentials say a great deal about us. We appear to value bankers, whom we all detest, about 100 times more favourably than we value our surgeons, who save our lives. We have no problem with the likes of Wayne Rooney or bruce Forsyth earning telephone directory wages while workers in shops and offices subsist.
Stu asks: are you prepared to accept this? I don’t think that what we are prepared to do counts. The people at the top are wont give up anything easily and the people at the bottom have no power. If the unions try to take action, they have been warned that new laws will be brought in to stop them. I'm not sure what else we can reasonably, or at least peacefully, do.
But it almost certainly is our problem, and for sure, no matter what the politicians promise us at election time, life in this country won’t get better until we tackle it.
You’ve all seen these offers in shops, right?
“If you can get you shopping any cheaper anywhere else, we’ll not only give you the difference, we’ll, blah, blah, blah...”
So the latest to try this out is Tesco who claimed in their “Double the Difference” (nice bit of alliteration there guys) that they would do just that...pay twice the difference if you could buy items more cheaply elsewhere.
Clearly the idea is to inspire confidence in shoppers. There surely aren't that many people with the time and energy to find the cheaper item and make the claim. Nope, its all the old ‘they wouldn’t make that kind of offer if they thought they would have to actually pay out on it’ ploy.
Now it’s plain daft of Tesco to try that lark, because you’d have to be all kinds of dumbass if you couldn’t find things cheaper than in Tesco. I’ll grant you if you’d only ever shopped in Waitrose you’d probably think Tesco prices weren’t bad, but they hardly rank in the “cheap” stakes. So it’s not really surprising that people have been taking the daft eejits up on their offer with such regularity that they have been forced to modify it.
One man bought £126 worth of shopping in Tesco that would have cost £91 in ASDA and claimed a £90 voucher. Another claimed to have made £600. Some were even going online to use price comparison sites to find the cheapest supermarket for a range of good, buy them up and presenting Tesco with the bill for twice the difference.
As a result Tesco have had to limit the deal to a £20 limit per person.
ASDA are actually running a similar scheme at present (I noticed it the other night and started to read the details, but lost the will to live half way through). I thought what their spokesman had to say was hilarious: ''If you claim to be the cheapest, call me old-fashioned, but it helps to really be the cheapest.''
Don’t you just love it when a plan falls off the rails and you get to watch smart boys trying to find a way out of it, with enough egg on their faces to keep the Army in omelet’s for a month.
And so it is with our Westminster MPs. It’s good that we can always count on them to be generous. Unfortunately, the pity is that we can only count on them to be generous to themselves.
So it was with sadness but little surprise that I heard of the decision, after months of whining and moaning and gnashing of teeth, along with horror stories about the £66,000 salary not being enough, and these poor people forced to travel second class on public transport and not have their children up to London (it’s always “up” to London, Oxford and Cambridge, have you noticed?), that it has been announced that the rules on MPs’ expenses are to be relaxed. (Didn't take that long, did it?)
The subject was little mentioned in the run up to the election, except by the party leaders who, to a man, were adamant that the end to greed had come upon Westminster. But within weeks of MPs securing their almost triple average national wage salaries for a job that largely involves being rowdy and nodding their heads, they were back to demanding a better deal for themselves.
And so the day after they announced that despite the fact that last winter 9 elderly people died every hour in the UK due to cold related illness, they were going to reduce the allowance given to the old for heating, it was announced that MP would receive more generous expenses. Well, thank goodness none of them will die of the cold next winter, for what would we do without them? Hmm
Under the reforms, MPs with families will be able to claim up to £2,500 extra for each child under 18 to cover the additional costs of a larger second home to accommodate them. I wonder what an extra £2,500 would mean to a pensioner on £6,000 a year... 1/11 of an MP’s salary!
Also MPs who live within what would normally be considered reasonable commuting distance for "ordinary people" (a woman on the Richard Wilson documentary on British trains commuted from Reading at a cost of £4,000 a year), will now be allowed to have second homes in Westminster. So back to how it was before, because we can’t have VIPs standing around on stations waiting for 2nd class carriages on trains that are regularly late, cancelled or at best either overcrowded or dangerous.
Everyone is tightening their belts; everyone is hurting, apart from the royals, the lords and the bankers, everyone is feeling the pain of the financial sector’s excesses. We are all in this together, but at the same time, to make MPs' precious wee lives easier, and so an unspecified amount of what we have saved by making it more difficult for MPs to thieve from us, is to be given back to them.
One of these days the worm will turn. We just can’t go on and on getting slapped in the face...
In fairness to Dundee MPs, when the pay rise was announced last year Jim McGovern said that we would refuse it and Stewart Hosie said that he would take it and give the money he received to a local charity. Both were commendable (although the latter meant that the money came to Dundee, whereas the former left the money in the UK exchequer to be spent 9/10 in England). I trust they will continue to take a decent attitude and won’t be claiming a penny more in expenses because the party leaders and that ridiculous little fop of a speaker have folded their tents to demands by MPs for more more more. For certain I’ll vote for no one who shows greed in this matter while “ordinary people” are going without.
Thursday 24 March 2011
In the run up to last year’s election he was asked about the benefits given to pensioners; bus passes, winter fuel allowance, free tv licence.
Labour had been putting out leaflets suggesting that these benefits would be cut and David Cameron, saying that he felt very strongly about this said that these Labour leaflets were COMPLETE AND UTTER LIES.
He said that he didn’t use the word “lie” very often, but he would on this occasion. Perhaps he shouldn’t have been quite so vociferous, because yesterday pensioners were told that their winter fuel allowance of £400 for over 80s, and £250 for over 65s, would be reduced to £300 and £200 respectively. This despite double inflation rate rises in gas and electricity and who knows how much more before the winter. After all the government seems disinclined to take the steps that the French government took over their power suppliers and insist on inflation only rises.
So now, I don’t use the word liar very often either, but I’m afraid I’m going to use it about Mr Cameron. In the clip linked here, he repeats this over and over again in a way that makes one think that it REALLY matters to him. That was electioneering of the worst sort, because it doesn't.
So he’s a liar and he has no moral compass to dig out at all. His mother won’t be cold this winter though, so that’s alright. The rest of you can freeze.
Iain Duncan Smith has given notice that he will be looking at other benefit like free bus passes and tv licences in an effort to save money. Just when you thought they couldn’t get any lower, along comes Iain Duncan Smith
I know we’re in a mess, but we have enough money to go to war in Libya, so why don’t we have enough money for at least our poorer pensioners.
This is an inexcusable and despicable attack on some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the country. It would have been a low thing to do in any case, but after that denial, which I have would say was repeated over and over again in interviews... it’s plumbed new depths.
Pics:(1) Fortunately not every pensioner is cold and uncomfortable all winter. (2) This man is visiting an old lady who most certainly won’t be cold. (3) Clearly this lady is not so fortunate; and will be even less fortunate this winter. Sickeningly over 20,000 old people die from cold related illness every winter.
Wednesday 23 March 2011
The programme contains far too many facts and examples to record here, but the title sums up my overall impression.
We have the most expensive rail fares in Europe, and, despite having a largely private railway, we also have the biggest government subsidies in Europe.
Rail travel has become far more popular over the last decade with passenger numbers increasing by some 40%, but with seats increasing by only 10%, giving rise to overcrowding of the kind seen in Mumbai.
The pricing system is described as Kafkaesque.
It’s certainly expensive. A season ticket between London and Reading cost £4000!! When “Which” surveyed fares its was given the wrong fare in 50% of enquiries. Despite this the companies adopt “zero tolerance” to passengers with wrong tickets with on the spot fines.
Complex details of when and how to use various tickets leave tourists and irregular users lost. Amazingly if you get out of the train at an earlier stop than you bought the ticket for, you will be charged the full fare at the ticket barriers! Wilson himself had the right ticket, but not his Pensioners’ Railcard. As a result he was charged £273 full fare (Manchester to London). He could have gone to New York for that! Fortunately he wasn’t going from Manchester to Kyle of Lochalsh (£500+).
There is no logic to the fares. Bath-London is £159; Bath-Paris is £120. Go figure. And the wondrous deals that are advertised are often almost impossible to get. As an example Wilson picks a deal of £8 single Portsmouth-London. In fact the only fare he can find is £30.
Network Rail cost has spiralled within the last decade from £1billion-£5 billion and the company is £24 billion in debt, so £1 billion of the £5 billion goes to the banks (where else!). But no wonder the subsidy has grown. Repair costs are between 30% and 50% more expensive here than in mainland Europe.
Ticket bookings by phone are run by an automated voice recognition system. Now Richard Wilson has a very clear speaking voice, albeit with a Scottish accent, but his attempt to use the service was more of a comedy than “One foot in the grave”.
The bulk of the money is being spent in the South East of England with £800 million each on St Pancras and Kings Cross. Stations in England’s poorer North, are left falling down.
The overall situation is nothing less than a farce. If the government needed just one reason to keep its nose out of foreign affairs and concentrate on domestic ones, the forth world rail service could well be it.
Fur coat and no knickers Britain.
Pics: (1)Over funded, under performing, overcrowded, most expensive in Europe, dirty, late... some adjectives to describe British trains, many of which date to the mid 1970s. (2) SNCF, French Railways by comparison are cheaper and faster and a joy to travel on. (3) The St Pancras Station and Hotel had an £800 million face lift at our expense. No such finding for Edinburgh Waverley or Haymarket though. (4) Theresa Villiers, the minister responsible for trains in England, has had a positive experience of the railway system. Probably she was in Japan at the time. A little of this smug woman would go a long way.
You might also want to have a look at this.... and this
Sunday 20 March 2011
In a survey of 1,982 people conducted by Student Currency Exchange, more than half of 18 to 25-year-olds said they were seriously considering emigrating to Australia, Canada or even China. And nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said that they had given it some thought.
Job prospects in the UK are at their worst for 17 years. Youth unemployment at its highest-ever levels, with around a million 16-24 year olds looking for work. The trend is upward and with no real prospects of an improvement in the foreseeable future, and ready availability of information on prospects elsewhere, young people with good qualifications can, more easily than at any time in the past, get work abroad.
It makes sense to go where there are jobs, and both Canada and Australia seem to have been little touched by the banking madness of the last few years which has so bankrupted our economies. China and India, of course, are booming and their industries are looking for clever and well educated people.
A lack of language skills has always held Brits back from taking opportunities anywhere but the English speaking countries, but now that the real money will be made in countries with other languages, Brits seem prepared to make the effort to learn.
South America is an economic growth area and people with knowledge of Spanish or, more particularly, Portuguese, have excellent opportunities to earn good money and enjoy a much better quality of life than they could expect here.
We must be aware of the fact that we have an ageing population (within a few years we will have more over 65s than under 15s), and that if our intelligent young people are emigrating for want of work in the UK, then we will have little hope of affecting a real and long lasting recovery. We simply won’t have the people to man it (or person it, if you want to be politically correct!)
Live fire was used to clear the demonstrators calling for the resignation of the president. But it’s not working. Incredibly brave young men are taking off their jackets and walking towards the troops, pointing towards their chests as if to say.... go on then, shoot.
If President Saleh thought that his killing spree, using weaponry supplied by the West, purchased with military aid from the USA, would end the rebellious behavior of the country’s youth, his guess has fallen rather wide of the mark.
More and more young people are coming to the capital to join in the protests. I suppose the trouble is that like the leaders of many other of the Middle East countries, Saleh is an old man, and he is dealing with a people that he simply does not comprehend. Over 60% of the population is under 25. They are equipped with cell phones and they have access to internet. Many of them are highly educated, but there are no jobs, and the regime so far hasn’t made anything much in the way of an effort to make the country a place that anyone would want to invest in. These men are not like the people of Saleh’s generation. They refuse to be poor, ragged and hungry while he and his like salt away vast fortunes. The days of quiet subservience to brutal, greedy, self serving old men, is over.
But how many more will he kill before he understands this.
Now I know that Libya supplies oil to Europe, and that Yemen does not. I also understand that it is the government’s duty to look after the interests of the British people, and that that includes making sure that we have a steady supply of oil.
But if British airmen are fighting tonight in Libya because they have oil, and not fighting tonight in Yemen because they do not, why cannot Mr Cameron just come out and say that?
If he meant what he said yesterday, however, can I just take this opportunity to remind him that the dictator Saleh has killed well over 50 of his own people this weekend so far, because they have rejected him. Can I further point out that to let him away with it simply sends a chilling message to all the other brutal dictators of the area (and there are many, some of them our dear friends and allies).
Pics: A bloodied, but still alive boy is carried away from the protest having been shot by his own army snipers. The president of Yemen, Mr Saleh, a man we could all do perfectly well without, and Yemen citizens are literally dying to get rid of. The capital of Yemen (map), the beautiful and mysterious city of Sana'a
Saturday 19 March 2011
And, before we even start, the Tory press are hailing David Cameron as the great leader, while apparently Obama vacillated and the French (whom I thought were taking a very gung ho stance) were, I am reliably informed, albeit by the Daily Telegraph, were only posturing. This, says Nile Gardiner, is David Cameron’s war. Erm, maybe a little premature there Nile old chap. At the time of writing it’s not actually started yet.
Of course the truth is rather different. Yes, Mr Obama has been quite quiet on the subject and it is, allegedly, 8 days since he spoke to the “junior partner”. However, quite appropriately Mr Cameron has been dealing with Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton, whilst all the negotiations have been progressing. That is, after all, the job of the de facto foreign minister, and if we had one worth his pay, it would have been our foreign minister that would have been involved. But as the headlines this week have been saying that he couldn’t run a bath, it’s perhaps best for all that the prime minister has been doing his job for him.
The Telegraph reports that Mr Cameron was doing a diplomatic shuffle last week: The King of Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and the prime ministers of Qatar and Canada, then the King of Jordan, the president of South Africa, the German chancellor, Denmark's prime minister and the president of Nigeria.
So just like Blair, Cameron is doing the work. Still, I expect in fairness to the man, that charm is one of the things you learn at good English schools, so he’s probably better at it than the rest of them. Come to think of it, Blair went to a good Scottish school, and he was first rate at it.
So the resolution has been passed according to the Telegraph due to Cameron's “deft handing”.
Now all this is massively impressive, but there are a million questions left to be answered (and clearly not sufficient space here to ask them all).
But taking just a few lines from Cameron’s polished and impressive delivery to the House of Commons today, thus:
“We simply cannot stand back and let a dictator whose people have rejected him, kill his people indiscriminately. To do so would send a chilling signal to others striving for democracy across the region.”
I feel immediately compelled to ask about the 30 people who were killed by Yemen troops when they were protesting yesterday. What of them? Can we just stand by and watch this happen? What of the relatively few, I’ll grant, Bahrainis who have died, what about the possibility of trouble in Saudi Arabia itself? King Abdullah is hardly a democrat, and all demonstrations have been banned, but what if the young Saudis decide to ignore this, safe in the knowledge that a precedent has been set? What if they expect Mr Cameron to rise in the Commons and phone endless leaders around the world on THEIR behalves? And wider afield what about the Côte D’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Tibet, Chechnya, Dagestan? What about their downtrodden people?
I’m sure that our latest great war leader has answers to those and many other mysteries, like what is the end game here. Mrs Clinton has said (and of course she’s right) that Gaddafi will have to go. Who or what will replace him? And how can we afford this when we are cutting essential services? I’m sure all this and much more will become clear in the next few days.
In the meantime, I wish the guys leaving this morning from RAF Lossiemouth much luck and safety in their mission. It’s as well that this happened now and not in a few years when the base has been closed.
Come back safe.
Pics: (1) The hero of the hour, the consummate diplomat, at least according to the Telegraph. (2) Mr Fiasco. Everything he touches turns to dust, from planes that can’t take off to botched SAS jobs, from papers that are not ready for aid workers in Japan, to rescue planes that are costing more than people can afford and run empty! Some lad is the Vague one. (Must have been those 14 pints a day when ‘e were nubbut a lad.) (3) Libya bang in the middle of North Africa. (4) Clinton decided that he should go...she also thinks that Gaddafi should go.
Thursday 17 March 2011
Alex announced that during the afternoon he would be meeting with the MD of the company responsible for the new tidal power project off the coast Islay, the biggest project of its kind in Europe. Gray snidely put it down, of course, and then asked a series of badly researched questions about unemployment. Really this man would make the most incredibly stupid First minister. He had no understanding of the figures, and Salmond wiped the floor with him. And, while we’re on Gray, what is it with the hand gestures. A more charitable mind than mine might find a word to go with that!
And so without wasting any more time on this fool, on to Annabel...
She highlighted a case of sexual assault which was not only horrific in itself but made all the more so because two children had been made to observe and participate. She was concerned about the fact that the guilty would be released, possibly after 3 year, but certainly after 4 years because of the early release scheme. She wanted to know why the FM had gone back on his commitment to end early releases, a fair question. I don’t mind early releases (a policy introduced to Scotland by a Conservative government); there are some good reasons for this policy. But we must start off with proper sentences. These people were sentenced to 6 years. Why not much more? Disappointing answers for the FM who returned once more to the fact that the streets are safer in Scotland because of the 1000 extra police?
And so to Tav... no, wait Mike Rumbles. Goodness, where’s the big man?
Well old Mike was so excited about getting to be standy–in Liberal leader for the afternoon that he forgot to ask the obligatory first question... but never mind, Eck, not being particularly excited, answered it for him anyway. Mike was incensed that Ballater Business Association had been snubbed by the FM when they asked him to come and talk to them about Business Rate rises. Alex replied that he had asked the Enterprise Minister, Jim Mather, to see them on his behalf (there’s only so much First Minister ...well, OK, quite a lot... and many calls on his time). Mr Rumbles said that he had been at the meeting with the association and Mr Mather and that it had been a disaster. Mr Mather had done nothing to help. Of course Alex thought that was strange, as Mr Mather had received a letter from the association thanking him for his constructive input. Message to Tavish: Hurry Back. Message to Mike Rumbles: Don’t give up the day job.
There were members’ questions on Blindcraft (Edinburgh), funding thereof; Child trafficking, laws pertaining to; End year flexibility, double dealing from Danny Alexander and Nick Clegg, with reference to; Scottish Fuel Poverty, and the excellent work that they have been doing.
Then, unfortunately old Tubby had to have his say, and that was that for another week... indeed for parliament. Next Tuesday the rotund one will be back with what, if I remember rightly, he called 'a little extra' before the Chamber is suspended until after the election.
One wee plea to Iain Gray. Please, please, could you move the members who sit directly behind you. It’s bad enough having to listen to your whiney voice and daft questions, without having to look at two of the most unappealing nodding dogs it has ever been my misfortune to clap eyes upon. Thank you kindly.
The company's website says that it is : "A beautiful cup to commemorate the most beautiful occasion. Crafted in the finest bone china, it features an exquisite design of the happy couple with ornate gold detailing to honour this great moment in history. Please be our guests to own this esteemed, limited edition heirloom to celebrate with your work associates, friends, family and loved ones."
Ye gads... and that was produced in a Communist state!
But from what I can see, it’s more a fairy story than a fairy tale, because the pictures on the mug are Kate Middleton and Harry Wales.
Now I realise that there is a certain amount of passing around of suitable breeding stock in the upper crust of English society. Indeed when the prince that May of Teck came to Britain to marry in the early part of the 20th century, died, she was simply allocated the next one down. Either they were determined to have her as queen, or she was determined to be queen, no matter what!
But I can’t help but wonder if Kate just looked at Willie’s balding pate and though to herself that, although when she chummed up with him at first he seemed to have a lot of his mother’s looks, as time goes on he looks less and less like her and more and more like his father. And that has to be bad news. However Harry looks nothing at all like any of the Windsors!! As such he would probably be a far better bet.
Or maybe it just that, when it comes to westerners, we all look the same to them...
Tuesday 15 March 2011
...And the countdown clock, which started at midnight (pictured--tasteful, isn’t it?), broke down.
The Omega (official partners of the Olympics*) time piece stopped at with only 499 of the 500 days left to go. The company were clearly mortified by the fault which happened as aristocrats (well Seb Coe) and other dignitaries (well Boris anyway) launched the countdown to London 2012. The said they couldn’t explain what had gone wrong (worrying) and that their experts had developed, installed and tested the clock (also worrying). It might have inspired confidence if the failure had not been the work of their experts!!
I imagine that as partners in the games, Omega will be responsible for the instruments which will be used to record the athletes’ performances. So let’s hope they can do a bit better with that. ("Ah sorry, we think that was a record, but the clock stopped. You wouldn't just like to go again?")
As Visa are also partners in the Games, the only means of reserving tickets is with one of their cards, which is a tad unfortunate for the millions of people in Britain who have Mastercards, or indeed no cards at all (there is a link to Visa on the site, so you can apply for one...hmmm cunning).
The Games which we have repeatedly been told are for the good of all of Britain, not just England, or specifically London (I’m still trying to work this out), appear only to be good for Britons who have a Visa card. So that will be me stuffed then.
Of course there was a glitch with that too. The only Visa cards to be accepted were those with an end date of August 2011, which meant that thousands of people whose cards have an end date before that cannot complete their transactions.
So now the London Games appear to be for all Britons who have Visa cards that do not expire before August. The numbers of Britons who are likely to be able to profit from the Games just gets smaller by the day.
Not only that, but the “hard pressed British taxpayer” and the “hard working British family” (which has a Visa card) “in these straitened times” has to compete with foreigners (I wonder how many of them have Visa cards) for ticketing. The tickets will not be sold exclusively, or first, to Britons (with Visa cards). The damned cheek is that, having paid for the damned carry on out of our taxes that Brits should have to pay for damned seats too.
It’s going to be interesting watching the faux pas over the next 499 days (although we may lose count, especially if they can’t get the clock going)...probably more interesting than the £9 billion plus Games! And certainly better value for money (with your Visa card, of course).
* They should get themselves proof readers for the page. Tacky!
Friday 11 March 2011
The idea was of course that the Lib Dem candidate would hoover up the Tory votes and thus overtake their SNP or Labour rivals (or in England possibly UKIP) and that the Tories would do the same. Like a lot of the coalition it sounds great on paper, but as Nick Clegg and his party are finding it does not transfer so easily into practice .
Well the whole thing was roundly poo-pooed by the great and good in both parties. Cleggums and “Call me” were apparently horrified at the idea. After all we assumed that the Lib Dems would simply be subsumed by the larger party and wouldn’t that be bad for democracy as in it would reduce even further the limited choicer offered to British voters?
But it now seems that Tory and Lib Dem MPs will be able to stand as joint Coalition candidates at the next election under plans sneakily put in motion this week.
Ministers are to change the law to allow candidates standing for two parties at the same time to put a joint emblem on the ballot paper. This opens the way for an electoral pact between the Coalition partners at the next election.
It opens the door to Tory and Lib Dems agreeing local peace pacts with one candidate representing them both, perhaps under a logo combining the lesser-spotted yellow-bellied Liberal Democrat bird squatting in the English Oak of the Tories.
At the moment, a candidate standing for more than one party cannot put either party’s logo on the ballot paper, an anomaly that discriminates against coalition pacts.
Earlier this week the Government quietly pushed through a change in the law which allows those who stand for mayor or in local council elections to use a Coalition logo. Constitutional Affairs Minister Mark Harper wants the same rules for the general election.
Of course allowing them to field one candidate on a coalition ticket is one thing but actually getting people to vote for them is another. Do they really think the grass roots of each party are going to be happy to vote for a candidate hitherto opposed to them? So is this that hackneyed phrase trotted out so much of late, "a U-turn", it sure seems like it to me!
I have no objection at all to them having a formal coalition candidate on the polling slip and indeed think it will be to the benefit of the SNP, as they will get disgruntled voters from both sides. What I object to is the way they seem to think we are all so stupid that we wont remember that six months ago they were saying this was a totally outrageous notion, but now they are sneakily laying the groundwork for actually making it happen.