Tuesday, 21 February 2012


The Daily Record has a none too flattering thumbnail of Michael Forsyth which goes as follows:

"MICHAEL Forsyth was the Tory government’s enforcer at the Scotland Office during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
"The MP for Stirling was Thatcher’s under-secretary of state before being made secretary of state by John Major.
"During his reign, the right-winger grabbed every chance to offend the natural instincts of Scots by bashing the public sector and attacking the most vulnerable in society.
"He left the Scottish Office in 1992 – and when he returned three years later, the Record portrayed him as Freddy Krueger in a nightmare comeback.
"He campaigned against the Scottish Parliament and lost every single Tory seat north of the border in 1997. He was knighted in 1997 and appointed to the Lords in 1999."
Just when people were managing to erase his image from their memories, Forsyth has recently re-emerged from the dusty recesses of the upper chamber in London, to do his inadequate best to frustrate discussions on further devolution or independence, despite the penultimate sentence in the profile, and against all the trends shown in opinion polls, including the Scottish general election.
And now, just to show how good for the independence cause Cameron's visit to Scotland last week was, he has come out with all guns blazing at his leader. Mr Cameron has "lit the touch paper for devolution-max". He says, probably quite rightly (Tris shakes head and pinches self...did I use 'Forsyth' and 'quite rightly' in the same article?), that he has given the First Minister the opportunity to push for more clarity about what he means.
It struck me, as soon as Cameron said it, that it was what all his followers must have dreaded. Unionists have been demanding that the SNP explain more about a wide range of situations after independence, not least defence, division of the horrific debt that the UK has stoked up, embassies, currency... Fair enough too. People need to know what they are voting FOR. 
Until now, they knew what they would get if they voted "no". Simply, more of the unpalatable same. Now, having said something along the lines of "If you vote no, we'll give you a little something extra; we're not going to tell you what. It could be fiscal independence, or it could be the right to increase the fines for late-back library books", Cameron has put the boot on the other foot. 
Forsyth also pointed out that Cameron's "promise" of some jam tomorrow (even without the indication of how much jam) had left their Scottish leader on the back foot. She campaigned for the leadership of the Tory's Scottish branch, and won, on a ticket that after the passage of the Scotland Bill, there was to be a line in the sand. No more devolution, ever. Cameron in his Flashman at his best way, has driven a coach and six through her leadership pledge. She either has to go back on that, or disagree with her London boss.
But why would Cameron care?
Incidentally, it's a thought that, if Scotland became independent, Forsyth would lose his seat in the House of lords. He might or might not be able to retain his many titles "RT Hon", "Sir", "Lord", but how utterly meaningless would they be if he was unable to take part in his beloved London debates? And a further though, having backed all the wrong horses, failed at being Scottish Secretary, lost every single Scottish Tory seat, why in the name of goodness was this man knighted and then ennobled? 
And politicians object to industry rewarding failure?!?!?
I'm obliged (as I so often am) to CH bringing Murdoch's tweet to my attention. It seems the Dirty Digger (as Private Eye calls him) says that  Scotland and England would be better off apart. He also thinks that Salmond is the best politician in the UK. Now in the normal run of things no one would be in the least interested what an octogenarian Aussi-American thinks about this, but the fact that he owns and controls (even more now) the best selling Scottish newspaper, makes for an altogether different box of chocolates. 
Willie Rennie is wrong to say that an endorsement from Murdoch is the last thing a politician wants right now. The Scottish Sun still sells more copies than any other newspaper (314,000 to the Record's 275,000) and the Times, (another 20,000). Only a fool would think that The Scottish Sun had ceased to have huge influence, whatever its problems with phone hacking. And with a new Sunday Sun, that influence is set to stretch itself over 7 days.  I suspect that if Rupert Murdoch had come out for the Scottish Liberals, Mr Rennie would have been Waltzing Matilda!


  1. Mr Murdoch also seems to be backing Argentina's claim to Las Malvinas

    So I supect his beef is with the British Empire which is causing him so much hassle at the moment, even though against the wishes of HM Government

  2. Or it could be that he thinks, as he's said before, that Alex Salmond is the best politician in the UK.

    Actually I back Argentina's claim to the Malvinas. It's nowhere near the UK, and it is near them. It costs Britain a FORTUNE to keep and they only want to keep it because it probably has oil.

    It's not that they give a damn about a couple of thousand islanders now, is it?

  3. Tris

    I still have a soft spot for Mental Micky Forsyth. Anyone who can single-handedly destroy the torys in Scotland cannot be all bad.

    Let him keep wittering on every time he speaks the independence vote goes up.

    It looks like Labour and the torys have finally concluded that their respective leaders in Scotland are second rate. Cameron totally overruling Davidson, and Lamont being shut away somewhere, presumably so she cannot speak.

    The Lib Dems of course realise that their leaders in both Scotland and England are second rate.

    Murdochs intervention is interesting, since for a political party there is no such thing as bad publicity. All the people who courted Murdoch (remember Blair and Campbell flew to Aus to grovel) will now be condemning him.

    Endorsement from the Sun could be priceless not just in the referendum but in the run up to the council elections as well.

    It could be "The Sun what won it" but as long as its won "who cares" Happy days are here again. Sing along now Niko.

  4. Tris

    Interesting comment in the Guardian re Murdoch.


    One piece I found really interesting about the Daily Record and the Sunday Mail.

    "The Sun's main competitor, the Record, is an avowedly pro-Labour paper, but both it and its stable mate, the Sunday Mail, are said to be nervous that their anti-nationalist stance could be alienating some readers."

    The way the polls are going that could be the majority of readers.

  5. Aye Dubs... I suppose I'm a bitty hard on him at times, seeing as he managed to rid the country of Tories for 4 years, and the spectre of him has kept them pretty much where they are apart from Old Muddle down in the Borders... and that despite the cheery face of my mate Annabel.

    So yeah, good on you Michael. You're not such a bad old stick after all.

    There's a lesson though in the circumventing of Scottish leaders. OK, I accept that neither is very good...well both are pretty crap really.

    But then neither Miliband nor Cameron could be said to be first class either... In fact, they are pretty crap too actually.

  6. I note that the Record has poached Joan MacAlpine from the Hootsman (with its 38,000 readers!!!)

    Cameron should have kept out of it for a bit longer. It's all starting to happen.

    And for all that Cameron wants to distance himself from the Dirty Digger, he'll have been upset about Murdoch's impression that he got a slap in the face on Thursday last from the FM.

    Oh yeah, I forgot about Rennie and Clegg. Easy done.

  7. Empire Days eh, my goodness those from the [British] ruling class did make a lot of enemies back then.

    My West Country ancestors were scratching the earth for pennies but we get the 'Empire Guilt' shoved our way just the same.

    Want to know about the North Atlantic slave trade, why ask any farm labourer in Dorset, he'll put you right.

    Truth is the first slaves sent to The New World were Scots, not negroes. So, from tabacco plantation to Poll Tax experimentation the Scots were there first.

    Ditch the Westminster mafia and restore your dignity.

    Steve (a friend of the Scotti)

  8. Yep Steve, we're working on it.

    You know, they called Glasgow the Second City of the Empire.

    The Empire that made Britain rich. But yet, in the second city of this rich empire they had people living in filthy, damp two-roomed houses with outside toilets, 5 sleeping in a room, with tuberculosis, whooping cough, polio, diphtheria... and so on.

    Aye, we did well out of the Empire.

  9. I suspect that Murdoch's intervention will force the other MSM to up their game in the childrens fairy tales they tell.


    Ihauteriak 2012 Free Euskotland!

  10. Eskerrik asko. Zorte on

  11. Forsyth isn't freddie kruger, he won every election when he was the scottish first minister/junior minister.

    Respect the voters of Stirling please.

  12. I love seeing fetid old never has beens like Forsyth nudged awake from their slumbers and brought into the fray.
    Their vigorous campaigns against devolution, minimum wage et al failed miserably so hopefully they will fail again with their campaign against independence. Although just watch their twitching snouts run around Scotland carpetbagging a seat ( MaryScanlonesque) if we ever got independence.
    Forsyth seems to be the champion of lost causes. A bit like Dean wiping Rumpey Pumpey's brow as the baying mob are hammering at the EU gates wanting their revenge for his destruction of their countries.

  13. Dean, he may well have been a good constituency MP, but as SoS he managed to do such a good job for Scotland that they rewarded his party by kicking out every single Tory.

  14. What I object to, Monty, is people who may (as Dean suggests)have been relatively successful constituency MPs, but certainly were no statesmen as ministers, being rewarded with knighthoods and seats in the "other place", for nothing, from where they can lead campaigns and introduce legislation without ever having to stand up and let the people speak.

    I wouldn't mind so much if, as is the excuse, they are experts, elder statesmen. In long gone days it was ex PMs and Foreign Secretaries that went to the Lords.

    But now it's every Tom, Mick and Ffoulkes, and they have only very limited experience of power and nothing much to offer.

    SoS for Scotland is now the very lowest Cabinet job; when Forsyth had it it was probably higher than Wales, but still right at the bottom. And yet this guy is like Coe. He has every title going.

    You have to wonder when they are going to co-opt both of them into the royal family!

  15. Dean

    Micky boy was turfed out by the voters in Stirling in the 1997 general election. (see Wikipedia ministers who lost their seat)

    Of course we respect the voters of Stirling they had the sense to get rid of him and they will never elect a tory again.

    Do torys still hold on to their deposits in Stirling Dean?

  16. Tris

    My favourite Micky memory when he was SOS against Scotland and thought that the great wheeze of giving us back the Stone of Destiny would save his seat.

    He arranged for TV coverage of him welcoming the stone back at Coldstream. Unfortunately the stone was delayed. The look on his face when he saw his TV coverage going down the swannie was priceless.

  17. Dubbie,

    Forsyth actually held up the Tory vote better in Stirling than any other lost Tory seat in 1997.

    His local reputation as a 'good' constituency MP helped keep labour in check.

    Of course his good work locally has been totally squandered since...

  18. Dean...
    "Forsyth actually held up the Tory vote better in Stirling than any other lost Tory seat in 1997."

    Wow that's a brilliant claim to fame lol.

    A 17% swing from Tory to Labour was a good result in your book ?
    And to Ms McGuire who was on an illegal 'all women shortlist' and whose only claim to fame is introducing a bill on homeopathy ?
    But it was pretty irrelevant. You couldn't get a cigarette paper between the two of them ( strong supporters of the Iraq war, EU, Union etc). And both happy to move to the other troughers house if the chance became available.

  19. Oh Dubs, I thought he'd stood down.

    That makes his situation even more ridiculous. The voters throw him out, but Mr Blair and the Queen know better than the voters and they put him into the house of parliament that us ordinary people have no vote for...


  20. LOL I love it when the publicity hungry politician's plans go belly up... don't you? :)

  21. Tris

    Particularly when it is Michael Forsyth.

    I wish I could find that clip of Micky on UTube.

    Is comparing Micky with Freddy Kruger not very unfair on Freddy.

  22. There seems to be nothing of Forsyth on Youtube Dubs.

    Maybe once you reach nobleness you can get them taken down.

    LOL...very unfair indeed!

  23. Dubbieside,

    "I still have a soft spot for Mental Micky Forsyth"

    Me too. It's called quicksand.

  24. Not a well loved man then, Ged?

  25. I stayed up for 1997. A bit past Portillo getting dumped

    Even with two hours sleep I went to work happy and full of joys

    Dean. You might want to reflect on why people felt that way. It wasn't something in the soup that turned us all anti-Tory

  26. LOL "Something in the soup".

    Steve, I assume, yeah I vaguely remember that night from the dim and distant past.

    I remember thinking... new beginning, away from the misery of the past...

    Of course, I was largely wrong.

    But we must remember that no matter how cack-handed it was, and no matter how devious his motives, Blair did give us our first steps to independence.

    Something in the soup indeed... :)

  27. Tris

    Blair should have been aware of unintended consequences. Remember the Labour mantra "devolution would kill nationalism stone dead" They truly believed that.

    Labour in Scotland now truly believe that standing shoulder to shoulder with the torys, opposing independence, supporting David Camerons right to be Prime Minister and impose all his right wing policies on Scotland even though we as a nation reject these policies, will have no electoral consequences for their party.

    This could make "devolution would kill nationalism stone dead" look like a minor mistake by comparison.