Saturday 17 December 2011


Labour's Scottish branch has elected Johann Lamont as their leader with 51.77% of the vote. 

Her old job of Deputy Leader has been taken for the first time by an MP based in London, Anas Sarwar, reflecting the fact that their leadership is, as of now, over the entire Scottish branch of Labour (as Iain Gray always wanted it to be) and not just over the group of MSPs in Holyrood. 

Munguin's Republic offers most hearty congratulations to both of them.

In the last few months three of the four opposition parties in Holyrood have changed their leadership. Two chose people entirely new to Holyrood. Now that the new leaders are in place (and having been Deputy Leader, and a member for the parliament since its inception Johann will hit the ground running), we must get to grips with the challenges that the next few years will bring.

Because of the mess that greed has got us into, the UK is in a very serious financial situation. Even Tory MPs like Douglas Carswell are warning against the smugness that Cameron and Osborne are showing in relation to the worsening financial situation. The UK too may soon find itself lamenting its loss of the much prized AAA status.

Scotland is unfortunately in this mess every bit as much as the UK. I've just listened to FMQs and I'm disappointed that even as Iain Gray bowed out of his leadership, it was all about carping and point scoring. 

We all want a better Scotland, although clearly each party has different ideas of how this can be achieved. None is mad; none is bad. We are all just different.

My plea to Johann and to the other party leaders, including the first minister, is this:

It is a time for, in as much as it is possible, working together. 

As leaders you set the tone for debate in parliament. Let's see if the watchword, at least for the duration of the financial crisis, can be "cooperation". 

As Nicola Sturgeon said on election night, the SNP does not have the monopoly on good ideas. Other parties can, if they offer the help constructively, make an impression on the dire straits we find ourselves in.

Let's stop  carping about the independence referendum. It is going to happen towards the end of the parliament. That's a done and dusted fact. In the meantime there is a country out here that sent you people, of all political colours, to parliament, not to point score, but to do your best for us.

If you can't do that, then move the hell over and let someone else do it.


  1. --and a special thank you must be due to Iain Gray for services to the SNP.

    Johan Lamont will fare no better.

  2. Don't hold your breath waiting for a change in Labour policies in Scotland. This idea that those two will be running the Scottish Labour party is just another of their cons; London rules the Labour party and always will. I suspect your pleas will fall on Labour [deaf] ears.

  3. ...reflecting the fact that their leadership is, as of now, over the entire Scottish branch of Labour (as Iain Gray always wanted it to be) and not just over the group of MSPs in Holyrood.

    Are you sure Tris? The Labour party (Scottish Branch) and the media have been very coy about spelling out just what new powers this branch leader will have. In fact they have said exactly nothing about the new powers beyond generalisations about how it's a new dawn for Labour etc, etc.

    Is Johann now Margaret Curran's boss? Is Jim Murphy going to do what Johann tells him to?

  4. Jings Tris, you're profuse with your congratulations. :)

    Mine were 'subtle' as I'm sure you noticed. No point in celebrating mediocrity.

  5. tris

    'working together' The snp And Labour Never! Never in a million years,

    We hate each others guts and that on a good day.
    No we will continue our bitter bitter venomous fight undo the bitter end only one party can Stand for Scotland.

    'there is a country out here'

    No there is two one must die so the other can live which one it will be we will wait and see.

  6. I think that Conan is probably closest to the mark.

  7. Policy will be the same negativity with her new team who are not all going to be MSPs! exciting not.

  8. CH

    talks about 'Negativity' Snigger!

  9. I think Alex was more than generous to Mr Gray Wolfie...

  10. I suspect you might be right Gedguy, but it has to be said. Right now we could do without bickering. The London government is hurting ordinary people, making enemies, and doubtless prepared to go to the most extraordinary lengths to make life in Scotland, under the SNP, hell.

    That lot never wanted devolution and only took to it reluctantly when it was forced on them and they didn't want to be completely left out of the loop.

    God knows what they will do to keep their hands on the oil and avoid being the straw brained government that finally broke the camel's back.

    I'm thinking that the least we could do as Scots is try to work together.

  11. Well Doug, that was kinda how I read it.

    However, it is hard to imagine that mouthy bitch taking orders from anyone, certainly not a woman and absolutely NOT Lamont, I agree. Sometimes, however, that's the way the cards fall. If she wasn't so determined to be in London she might have been the Labour boss now.

    I dunno about Spud. He's so determined to make his mark in English politics, and from thence the international scene, that I doubt he gives a stuff about Scotland. I dunno how he thinks he'd get on against the likes of Merkel or Obama. He loses arguments against callers on phone in shows on radio.

    But as I say Doug, you know more about these party constitutions than I do by a long way, so what do you really think?

  12. Well a success is a success SR.

    I don't really expect Lamont to succeed where Gray failed. As I read it she's got marginally less personality that he has, and I've only ever heard her whine in bitterness about Labour's failures. I expect no real change unless Mr Sarwar is the real brains behind the outfit and I know absolutely nothing of him.

  13. Well Niko... you'd have thought that, in theory, two left-of-centre parties might have got together to try to lessen the effects on Scotland of a right-wing nut-job government run by a man... or rather a group of men.. so incredibly out of touch with ordinary people that I wonder if they have ever met any.

    Dripping with money, wallowing in privilege, educated away from the riff raff, living up long drives, in leafy villages, their only contact with ordinary people when they tell the chauffeur to drive on, or the maid to serve tea in the drawing room.

    But it seems you think that we can't work together for the good of the country.

    Of course Blair was one of their types too. Fettes and Oxford, the bar... loadsamoney and young Miliband the same sort of thing.

    Ho hum. I expect the Scottish working classes can identify with that then?

  14. Are you telling me CH, that some of her shadow team will be in London? How will they hold ministers to account from there?

  15. Rosa Clebb Wolfie?

  16. Tris, the Labour party constitution is the Labour Party Rule Book. I haven't been able to get hold of the latest copy with the changes made to create a new Labour "leader" in Scotland so I don't know what the powers are that Johann Lamont wields within Labour.

    The problem for me is that like the, "Scottish Labour Party", which existed in popular imagination until it was pointed out that there was no documentary evidence to back that belief up, the received wisdom about the new Scottish Labour Leader's powers is based on hearsay rather than on evidence.

    The thing that makes me doubtful about the extent of the new powers given to Johann Lamont is that no-one in the mainly Labour media have listed what they are. If she was the new leader of an almost autonomous Scottish region within Labour I would have expected that fact to be trumpeted to high heaven. It's almost as if they learned their lesson with the "Scottish Labour Party" and they're keeping the definiton of her powers secret. It's difficult to argue that she's not the leader of all Labour in Scotland if no-one outside Labour knows the true limits of the power that the new, "Scottish Labour Leader", actually holds.

  17. Yes, fair comment Doug.

    If you come by any information, will you let us know, please?

  18. Doug the duff

    'new powers given to Johann Lamont'

    She is the Labour Kryptonite to Salmonds snp darkseid.

    The Scottish Labour party constitution is written in the old tongue (Gaelic to you) so you couldn't read it anyway we would have to get you an English translation.

  19. What are you on Niko?

  20. tris

    Fosters needed it had to suffer strictly with her indoors...........

  21. Next battle only going to cost £3.2 billion buying votes.

  22. Ahhh Niko... Strictly... yes, I think I can understand that. Have another one.

    I'm happy to say I have never seen that show.

  23. I thought that Tories didn't believe in poking their noses into people's personal lives as long as they were obeying the law.

    Tax relief for married couples serves no useful purpose. It is just interfering with people's freedoms ...socialism. Dave the Socialist.

    I remember hearing people say, when Cameron originally talked about it long before he won (or sort of won)the election, that they would immediately get married but go on with their lives as before and simply not tell anyone.

    We could all get married to someone and claim the benefit.

    What if you're a widow(er)? You made the effort; you got married; you did all the right things by the Tories and God and then the partner went and died. Are widows to be penalised; do they lose their allowance?

    I wonder if it's all a cunning plan to make more for Dave's legal friends?

    Do you see this coalition falling apart before your eyes?

  24. Niko

    Darkseid isn't vulnerable to kryptonite

    So what you are saying is, she will be totally ineffective?


    Give her a chance!

  25. Talking about Strictly; I see that BBC News 24 devoted a 30 second segment to Ms Lamont’s elevation in which we saw her giving a speech, but muted, while the BBC announcer told us all, that she had been elected. While later in the same hour we were taken to their “on the spot” reporter at the Embassy Ballroom in Blackpool for several minutes showing the set up for the final of Strictly tonight. I suppose we should thank our lucky stars that we got on the “real” news at all.