Thursday 3 January 2013


Here's a little laugh from the Scotsman (printed in England) courtesy of Michael Kelly:
THE Labour Party in Scotland goes into 2013 in buoyant mood and filled with a commitment to make this phase of the anti-independence campaign a positive one. Alistair Darling has already gone on record with this sentiment closely backed up by Johann Lamont. The party has recovered its confidence, and not before time. Because it is Labour that will win or lose the referendum campaign for Scotland.

Why Labour has recovered is easy to define. After the last UK and Scottish elections the party was at such a low ebb that it simply had to make changes. And it did. The most significant of these has turned out to be the election of Johann Lamont as leader of Scottish Labour.
Her performances at First Minister’s Questions have destroyed the God-like way Alex Salmond formerly bestrode the chamber. That has raised morale throughout the whole of the Labour party, not just among MSPs but down to the grass roots that were in despair not long ago. The other significant factor was the retention of control of Glasgow City Council – not just by the skin of its teeth but by a comfortable margin.


  1. Mmm...

    Johann Lamont certainly 'performs' at FMQ's, I'm just not sure its in the way Kelly describes.

    One hopes the wider labour party has a better grasp of reality than does Michael Kelly.

    Something tells me they probably don't though.

  2. Tris

    Comments like this in the main stream media are great for the independence movement.

    You would think that they would have learned after their attempt to present Iain Gray (who) as a cross between Nelson Mandela and George Washington, but the Scottish public saw through the spin, and saw the lack of substance and voted accordingly.

    By any measure Gray was more electable than Lamont, and with her new? Westminster policies she is even more unelectable. Remember Lamont wants to stop poorer students going to university, she would like to increase everybodys council tax (up 60% under the Lab/Lib Dems) and she wants to shove your granny off the bus. Everyone of these policies could have come from the torys, oh I forgot Labour are the new torys, remember APTO.

  3. to all the pathetic Nats which is rather a lot

    Shame is our winning leader doesn't
    need your votes now does she .yet you
    losers need ours that is those who vote Labour.And acting like a load of pr'cks aint the way to get them.

  4. Niko

    Glad to see you still supporting the party that employed APTO.

    I suppose you must agree that all these skivers should be working, after all a little illness is no excuse is it? At lest not in the eyes of all you torys.

  5. Niko

    You may be able to answer something that has puzzled me for a long time.

    I presume that you support/or joined the Labour party because of its socialist policies. Can you tell me which socialist policies that caused you to join/support Labour initially, and which socialist policies the present Labour party still retain?

  6. Tris, graphics like this mean nothing to the Labour party.

    Their motto is, "Better Tory than independent".

    Even under Tory rule the dream Labour career path to the House of Lords which ends with a touch of ermine round the throat, a nice big attendance allowance, good lunches, a title and a flunkey serving tea remains open.

    The HoL daily allowance is £300 (No tax payable.) and all Travel expenses between home and Westminster.

    If the noble Labour Lord attends the 147 working days the HoL is open then he gets £44,100 in his hand.

    To get that in your hand from a working wage after tax you'd need to get a job which earns £65,000 p.a. with 21 weeks paid holiday a year.

    You can see why Labour politicians are desperate to keep the Union.

  7. Doug

    Some mistake surely! I mean are all Labour politicians not socialists and the only reason they joined the Labour party was to protect the working man and woman.

    Do they not intend to protect the NHS with their last breaths and resist any attempt to privatise that great service?

    Were they not brought up to protect universal services so that the poor the sick and the disabled were looked after in any caring society?

    Were they not members of CND and totally opposed to nuclear weapons and would rather the obscene sums of money spent on them were spent instead on the poor the sick and the disabled?

    Next you will be telling us that Labour MPs and MSPs were never socialists, just self serving opportunists. Keir Hardie would be turning in his grave if that were the case.

  8. Hi Pa. I wondered if he was talking about the same Johann Lamont. She is an embarrassment with her script reading and spluttering, not to mention wearing curtains to parliament.

  9. Dubs

    The snp are a trojan horse for unending and eternal(Scottish) Conservative rule.
    Every policy every bribe every lie and with Alex thats a lot a bloody lot.

    Would lead the Scottish people into
    a tyranny of maketised privatised free(for those with cash obviously Alex)market hell.

    No nhs no free schooling no pensions no social security at all.

    No the Scottish peoples see Alex and the snp for what they are chancers on the make.

    A flawed westminster Democracy within the EU is much more preferable.
    than the death of freedom and Democracy under snp misrule and there mad dog followers..

  10. Yeah, you're right Dubs. I mean you can over egg the pudding... and trying to make out that Lamont is some sort of saviour of Labour isn't only doing that, it's putting her in a massive gigantic country sized omelette!

    The leadership has indeed got much worse. Jack was a reasonable leader, Wendy was at least quite clever although she was so accident prone it was unreal, Iain was a joke and Johann .... Jeez, they might as well have had Richard Baker or Bugs Bunny...

  11. Niko. I'm really happy that you guys think she's doing a good job. The Tories certainly do.

  12. Dubs: Niko doesn't answer embarrassing questions like that.

  13. Hi Doug... Absolutely bang on. Maggie Beckett!!!!!! WHAT????

    Well known for her hanging gardens of Derby South, constructed at our expense. Also well known for making a hash of everything they ever gave her to do, and trying to be Speaker (and failing) on 2 occasions.

    Surely some mistake. I think someone said 'Damn Margaret Beckett', and someone misread it as Dame!!

  14. Yes, of course they did, Dubs. You go and have a wee lie down and we ask the nice doctor to look in on you later... :)

  15. Niko. All you need is a mystical train which leaves from Waverley Platform 17 3/4, to a school hidden far in the country, invisible to human eyes, and with an assortment of magical creature, and you might have yourself a follow up to Harry Potter there.

  16. Tris

    I ask two of my friends who still support Labour the same questions. Funny like Niko they cannot give an answer.

    Does anyone know why they vote Labour these days.

  17. Tris

    Are you telling me Labour MPs and MSPs are no longer socialists?

    You will be telling me there is no Santa Claus next.

  18. ha CH. Brilliant as ever...

  19. You have TWO friends who support Labour, Dubs? Wow... That is impressive.

    I once knew someone who kind of knew someone who once met a Tory!!!

  20. Oh yeah, and as for the Santa Clause thing...well, you see, it's like this.... he's not a socialist either, and very soon he's going to start charging per visit. If you're poor, you'll be humiliatingly means tested and given a plain package wrapped in brown paper...

  21. We should just lay off Labour now before they wake up and realise how useless and devoid of decency everyone knows they are.

  22. You have a point, Bruce. They think they are doing a grand job, criticising everything the SNP does, playing the man not the ball... why should we stop them, as it is surely not working .

    I note that Wings has a great article on the good news that an American broadcaster has put Scotland at the top of its "must visit" places.

    The Rev looks at all the negativity that the London parties thought they could generate about Alex Salmond taking a delegation to the States for the end of the Ryder Cup, to promote Scotland as the next Ryder holder... A total waste of money, they said, shaking their miserable old heads and pursing their already wrinkled lips...

    But the tourist income which can derive from this is enormous. And that is very important to Scotland's economy... which was again why the FM wanted the BBC to make it very clear 2 summers ago, that there were no riots in Scotland.

    Of course the unionists said that he was blowing off about Scotland, but what he was trying to do was protect the thousands and thousands of jobs that rely on tourism in our country, and which could have been hit, had foreigners expected water cannon and blazing town centres being looted by hoodies... as was happening in parts of England...

    So they were wrong again the onionists, and they continue to be wrong, and more and more people are seeing through them now.

    Only real knuckleheads think they are doing a good job or telling the truth. I wonder if this Kelly fellow really believes the crap he writes, or if he does it for the money.

    Johann Lamont is doing a good job... yeah sure, but for the Nationalists.

    OK, Bruce, I'll try to stop letting on... promise :)

  23. The lottery of life

    Isn't the UK great! only fallen 20 places in 25 years. Vote no if you want to keep falling.

  24. "Small economies dominate the top ten. Half of these are European, but only one, the Netherlands, is from the euro zone. The Nordic countries shine..."

    Yep, vote NO to stay at Number 27 or YES join the other small Northern independent nations in the top 10.

    Hard choice... after all, we wouldn't have nuclear weapons or 213 embassies any more.... Nope I'll need to go away and think about it, CH. I'll get back to you.

  25. Tris.....I looked at the Economist article that CH linked. I need to say a few things about it.

    First: HERRUMPH!!!!!
    Just another one of those European/UK magazines which love to make up rankings of various sorts that consistently place the great nations of Europe and the world FAR FAR FAR below a bunch of small countries that you've mostly never heard of. And of course they love to place the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave" (which SHOULD always be Number One) down at about.....oh say.... 16th place.

    Second: Now what is this ranking REALLY about? (The article actually admits it.) It's about BOREDOM. Switzerland is ranked at number one, and as everyone knows, is irretrievably boring. But the next 14 are boring too. New Zealand for example is so boring that it almost (but not quite) makes neighboring Australia seem exciting. And I've seen another one of these boring nations up close and personal. CANADA! A big country of mostly uninhabitable arctic waste with a population 1/10 that of the United States, living in a narrow strip along their southern border with the US, trying to get warm. Finally, in 16th place we arrive at a non-boring country which should be number one in every aspect EXCEPT boredom. (And I'm not talking about Germany.)

    Third: There is a supreme irony in this article which almost no one in the UK or Europe would recognize. The inspiration for this is a man named Warren Buffet and his feelings about his American birth in 1930. Buffet is one of the wealthiest men on earth, with something like $60 Billion net worth. He's one of the wealthiest men who ever lived. He can live anywhere in the world he wants to. Guess where he lives! Really.....guess! He lives in....wait for it......OMAHA, NEBRASKA. Really! I'm not kidding about this! He's called the "Oracle of Omaha." And if you know anything about Omaha, you'll understand why this ranking which he inspired is REALLY about BOREDOM.

  26. At last! Some serious print media competition for 'Scotlandshire'!

  27. Danny.

    I get what you're saying, I think. but I'd rather be bored and comfortable than uncomfortably bored.

    There is a line in a book I read some time ago, I'm buggered if I can remember the book in which I read it, I know it wasn't Dickens or Chaucer...

    It basically said; while the humble thrive, those always hungry for more struggle, (or words to that effect.) I think it encapsulates the difference between UK aspirations (some might call it desparately grasping aspiration) and the age-old idea (not a uniquely Scottish one either) of knowing when to wind your neck in.


  28. Hi Pa,

    I do take your very reasonable point. I suspect that you also recognized the ironic intent of my diatribe. I was sure that Tris would.

    It was prompted by some good natured irritation at academics, futurists, and media pundits of various stripes who love to apply their oh-so-rational algorithms to arrive at a “score” which ranks the nations of the world in matters of this case called “Lottery of Life.”

    The one thing you can be sure of in these ridiculous exercises, is that nations like the UK, France, Germany, and the USA, will be ranked by the academics FAR behind the Switzerlands, Norways, New Zealands, Finlands, and Irelands of the world. As I laughed at this list, I did wonder how on earth Luxembourg failed to appear in first or second place.

    And of course Canada must ALWAYS rank above the United States. It’s so “clean” and “orderly” we’re always told. Well most of its area is “clean” ice and snow in the almost unpopulated arctic, and it has about 30 million people in its populated southern strip along the US border. And these are people who, compared with the US, lack very much ethnic and cultural diversity (leaving aside those annoying French.) The USA on the other hand has over three hundred million racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse people in 50 states, spanning the arctic to the tropics, and with different constitutions, legal codes, educational systems, and histories. But you can bet your bottom dollar that Canada will be first on any list drawn up by liberal academics, even as lots more Canadians come to the US to live and work than the other way around. (I didn’t immediately find numbers on this, but I’m sure it’s true.)

    But mostly I just wanted to make a point about old Warren Buffet, one of the wealthiest men in the world, and among the wealthiest who ever lived. He lives in OMAHA, NEBRASKA – the unchallenged world capital of BORING. The irony of this cannot have been lost on the people who made up this ridiculous list and themselves specifically acknowledged that the countries at the top are supremely boring places.

  29. Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy

    "This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America."

    Not much of a free society when financiers can buy state protection!

  30. Perhaps fans of Naomi Wolf will wish to read further into her stories about the American police state. Notably an article which points out that vast fleets of the dreaded drones (so beloved by the blood drenched warmonger Obama) will soon take to the domestic skies of the US....and in time will likely be "weaponized."

    I suggest that puts the "police-statism" and "federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America" rhetoric in a somewhat sharper and more rational focus. I'm sure that some of the stuff put out by the PCJF is true. But these people are civil liberties ideologues with a lot of skin in the game. I take their semi-hysterical press releases with a grain of salt.

    I have no doubt that surveillance activities go on. But I don't see that much more than that is even charged here about the FBI. Local police authorities knocked around some people in Oakland, but that's mostly a matter of the Oakland police. A single park was physically cleared in New York City if memory serves.

    But the Occupy Movement was all over the national news, and what I mostly remember about them was that their spokespersons could barely form a coherent sentence when interviewed. BUT, their mission to publicize a message of American economic inequality was very well served, and was the centerpiece of the 2012 presidential election campaign.

    So if the FBI is functioning as a "tool of Wall Street and Corporate America," then if I were Wall Street and Corporate America, I would fire them. They're doing a really poor job of it.

    As for "not much of a free society," when referring to America -- When Britain has a Constitution and Bill of Rights with as robust guarantees of freedom of expression, press, and religion,......and when the London police don't knock around protesters in the streets from time to time......then came back and maybe we'll seriously discuss that ridiculous assertion.

  31. PS: I do hope that Naomi and the Guardian will let us know when the predator drone strikes begin against the Occupy Wall Street positions. I suppose that the news will be hushed up by the FBI on this side of the pond. ;)

  32. That is why we are 27th against your 16th in the list because our democracy is worse than yours but that 16th place is nothing to crow about.

    The MSM on both sides of the Atlantic attacked the Occupy movement because they couldn't identify a specific leader to denigrate as that goes against the general order of our corrupt financial ruled democracies.

  33. Well CH, I take your point about the relative robustness of our democracies, although, for the reasons I mentioned, I don't take anything about those touchy feely quality-of-life rankings at all seriously.

    It's true that the Occupy people did indeed lack any real organization or spokespersons, but nevertheless,their message of economic inequality was, and is now, the absolute centerpiece of political debate here in the states.

    It's true that the FBI has historically had a bad record when it comes to improper domestic surveillance. Particularly in the J. Edgar Hoover era! But I suggest that its current activities involving the Occupy movement served mostly to simply animate the left-leaning rights groups. I didn't really read much more here than some paranoia about "surveillance." Doesn't seem to me that the FBI even seriously inconvenienced these people. But if you take to the streets in Oakland, you're going to get batted around by the local police. That's just Oakland! It has nothing to do with the robustness of civil liberties in the USA.

    I would point out that federal US government does not have the sovereign police authority of a nation state. The FBI is after all a bureau of INVESTIGATION, not a federal police force. While there is a US Code, the police power of a sovereign state resides with the 50 states and, through the states, with local municipalities. It's always surprising to an American when we see police action in London, for example, become a matter for debate in Parliament. Banging heads in Oakland is simply a California matter, and has nothing to do with the Washington government.

    I tend to be sympathetic to left wing rights groups, even as I somewhat discount their hyperbolic rhetoric. And it WOULD help if if they could find a way to actually become somewhat organized, and have some spokespersons with a coherent message for the media.

  34. LOL Yea... I saw the irony Danny... LOL... Pa is strong on irony too!!

    I'm inclined to think that these things are a bit of a laugh... after all one man's meat is...

    So for some life in Norway (dull) or Sweden (dull) or Iceland (dull) would be hell.

    For a dull person, like me, it would be the very heaven.

    Loads of equality and not much reward for being a money grubbing Tory type (or Labour type), low crime rate, good public services that all can use.

    Yeah... dull as ditch water, but oh sooooo nice compared with this miserable place where unless you are prepared to clamber your way to the top of the greasy pole, you are left to drown in the mediocrity of everything that isn't designed for the top echelon.

    I guess i have a bee in my bonnet about all this warmongering we do. It's at the behest of America, but I don't blame America for this. The likes of that murdering bastard Blair didn't have to authorise the UK's involvement in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens. He could have said, as M Chirac did, "NON, NON, NON".

    But he saw personal advantage in being on the side of DubYa. And indeed, he got his congressional medal and Bush got him a job as a peace envoy in the middle east. (Who said that Bush didn't do irony). And he made loads of money.

    So, yeah, next to all that, I'd rather live in what some would call a boring country.

  35. Yep you man's meat.....

    There was a further irony in the countries at the top of the list. They give the example of Mr. Buffet who points out his good fortune at having been born in the US in 1930. The 1930!!! Think about that! And yet today that choice would be SWITZERLAND???? Oh Lord, surely the guys at the Economist have a bridge in Brooklyn that they'd like to try to sell me.....LOL.

    (Not to mention New Zealand, where I guess you go to Australia for the high life.) GEEEEZE!!!!

  36. PS: And as for that one man's meat thingy....

    I know a woman who was born in Norway. She absolutely rhapsoidizes over the wonders of Norway, from its natural beauty, to its health care system, to its people and culture. Even its awesome internet service! But she's a naturalized American citizen who splits her time between New York City and the Tennessee Mountains.

    She visits family in Norway for a few weeks every couple of years. So as far as I can tell, Norway for her is a paradise on earth. Well, sort theory. ;-)

  37. Icelandic Air:

    First class accommodations I believe.

    Sorry Tris, I couldn't resist this. ;)

  38. Someone needs to explain to Niko that his party lost in 2007 & again in 2011. Someone needs to explain to him what happens to Disraeli when he tried to sell one nation conservatisim here in the 19th century. What happened to the Scottish unionists when they decided to become conservatives and indeed what happened to the SNP when they sided with the tories in 1979. Someone needs to explain to him the anger that finally saw the tories sent packing in 1997 and has kept them out of power here ever since. They need to tell him the beating the Libdems took in 2011. This needs to be done because it will perhaps help him realise what an utter idiot his precious party is being by trying to attack Salmond from the far right of the tories. To try and triangulate a tory vote, you not only have to sound like one but you also need to act like one.

    But then, He would rather have a flawed westminster government beacuse there is the faint hope that it would one day be a labour Government. He hopes that a labour government would at least not be as nasty as the tories. He remembers a time perhaps when Labour stood for something, rather than try to adopt the language and habits of what it one professed to hate. Despite this, He would rather risk a labour government being nothing more than tories with red ties, because at least it would still be a the Union...and thats got to count for something right? The problem is that there is nothing left of the Union. It's been destroyed. One nation labour is an old idea about equality and trying to avoid a two teir system of gvernence, but here with New Labout, its being corrupted into an embracing of ineqaulity and the development of two teir nation.
    All thats left of the Union now is it's flag and it's past, and it's the past that people like Niko embrace when they say why they will vote no.

    We can call this phenomenon Old Unionist blues - It refers to those so obsessed with the past, they can’t see the present - much less the future - for what it is. They stare in to the what was, eyes fixed on the past, as the realities of their world continue on beyond them. Incapable of expressing anger at the destruction what they love, but clinging on because of what it used to be.

  39. Ha ha Danny.

    Yes. It is true that almost everyone who leaves their homeland rhapsodises about it, and you think... why the hell did you come here?

    Of course rose coloured spectacles have much to do with the perfection of life back home, but often in fairness, Danny, living abroad may not be one's first choice... family commitments, partner's work or one's own work can be the reason for not living where you would like to.

    I too rhapsodise about Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and France, but for personal reasons, I can't even think about moving to any of these places at the moment, although I have the right to live and work in all of them, and would prefer to be in any of them than here.

    LOL I have to admit I've never travelled first class on Icelandair, so I'm no idea what sexual tastes they cater for...

    I have to say though, that if I'd been sitting next to a drunk who tried to strangle me, I'd be glad enough that he was being duck taped!!


  40. Hey James... That was well put.

    It's like a sort of rose coloured spectacles.... la vie en rose, as the French say, isn't it?

    The good old days of Britannia when Harold Wilson was the prime minister and the trades unions put the fear of god into the cruel and greedy bosses and stopped them putting little boys up chimneys.

    The trouble is that the cruel and greedy bosses paid Mrs Thatcher to reverse that situation, and despite 13 years of Labour government, not a single piece of the anti trades union legislation was reversed.

    Not a tiny bit of it.

    In fact they made it easier for the rich to get richer and they doubled the bottom rate of income tax.

    And now, unashamedly, they have buried every single decent policy they ever had and adopted what I suppose they imagine will impress their potential voters in SE England. There they are up against the likes of Ukip and the Tories, and the deal is who can be most right wing.

    So, every one who has been thrown out of work by the greed of the bankers and the stupidity of Brown/Blair is now a scrounger. Anyone who has cancer is a chancer, and if you are diabetic then you aren't getting benefits because it serves you right for being fat...

    Something for nothing is what all of these people seem to be trying to lay their hands on, and Mrs Lamont on instructions from London is having none of it. Oh no.

    And because they are in opposition they feel obliged to object to the benefit cuts, but just in case anyone should think that they actually feel any sympathy with the greedy scrounging chancers, they are going to have a forced labour scheme to make sure that they aren't lying in bed where one of the lucky ones who still has a job gets up at 4 am and struggles into work.

    Just they way to win the hearts of the more left leaning amongst us.

    I don't feel any differently about Lamont from the way I feel about Davidson.

    Except perhaps that Lamont once had principles and is old enough to know what she is saying. Davidson on the other hand is just a silly lassie who (for just that reason) is the puppet of Eton Boy in Scotland.

    Working well too, according to the latest figures.

  41. Yeah like this is in any way a credible argument for separation.

    Does it discuss possible benefits to our Scottish...

    Economy? Nah.
    Civic Society? Nah.
    Tax rates? Nah.
    EU membership security? Nah.
    Anything of substance at all? Nah.

    Just says if you don't like 'the Tories' then vote to destroy the most successful partnership of comrades in history.

    Absurd, puerile. FAILED GRADE.

  42. It wasn't offered as a reason for independence, Dean.

    It was a bit of a laugh that Kelly seems to have over imbibed at the festive season, and looked at some tapes of Johann, sweeping the floor with the first minister.

    It also says that, if you want to stay in the union, your choice is Tory or Tory lite.

    You yourself were until last year a card carrying Tory, dining with such luminaries as Mental Mickey...

    Now you are a Labour man. I assume that although your politics may have changed but, this is largely due to Labour's policies having come in line with your own aspirations.

    I seem to recall you left the Tories after they elected Ruth instead of taking the sensible step of making a new start with a new right of centre party.

    Absurd? No, I don't think so; Puerile? Perhaps a little, but we all need a little puerile de temps en temps.

    Failed? Well, if I submitted it as a politics essay at Masters, yes I suppose so.

  43. I see One World governance promoter has surfaced to get involved in something which the Scottish education system has failed to address individual thinking.