Sunday 29 March 2015






  1. Tris

    It is remarkable, the losers are in the long term possibly the winners. I will be interested to see how the SNP use their good fortune. I saw they passed the all women short list policy, need to see the detail but I am very uncomfortable with it.

    I think as far as the conferences go I suspect some people have had enough of the bad three. They just plod along ignoring their members and the voters, their sense of entitlement is sickening.
    However, there are still many who will vote for them irrespective as we saw in the referendum.


    1. I'm uncomfortable with positive discrimination too, Bruce.

      First of all I wonder if any self respecting woman would want to be seen to be in her job simply because she was a woman, and not because she was good at what she does. I don't claim to be an expert, but I'd say that there is plenty of proof in Scotland that women can progress to the top without any help like this.

      The trouble with positive discrimination is that it is only positive in one way. It is negative in other ways.

      And why stop at women? Why not minority ethnic, or religious, or LGBT, or disabled candidates only.

      Again Scotland seems to have done well enough with this so far.

      Clearly very few activists could be bothered with the English based parties' conferences. But there is a lot of enthusiasm for the SNP one.

    2. I'm guessing you're both white men? Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm more comfortable with positive discrimination than with centuries worth of institutionalised discrimination against women and minority groups. We have a female FM, the leaders of three parities in Scotland are women and another is jointly led by a woman and a bisexual man. Brilliant! We've still a long way to go though and mustn't rest on our laurels. All-female shortlists mean more elected women and more role models for girls to show them that such positions are possibly for women as a matter of course, not just for the select few.

    3. There are only 2 ethnic minority MSPs. The % of female MSPs is 34.9% (woman are over 50% of population. In Westminster 22% of the MPs are female. Now either women and ethnic minorities are inferior or perhaps just maybe white males are privileged in society.

    4. OK. First let me say that I'm very happy with balancing the genders.

      But I worry about all women short lists for several reasons.

      1. They are patronising to women. You're right I'm a man. My colour is of no import to this question. If I were a woman I'd run a mile from an all woman shortlist, on the basis that I'd not want anyone to think I had to get there by positive discrimination.

      2. They can backfire in the community. I seem to recall that somewhere in Wales, Labour put up an all woman shortlist candidate. A man who had wanted to stand for Labour but who was rejected because he was only a man, stood as Independent Labour and won the seat. Labour lost an MP.

      3. If we have all women short lists becasue women are indeed under-represented in parliament, should we not have also all Ethnic Minority candidates lists, all gay lists and all disabled lists to mention but three sets of people who are under-represented.

      4. For the governance of our country we need the very best people. Best regardless of gender, sexuality, disability, ethnic origin... etc.

      5. If we do this in parliament, should we not also do it for any public service job... council employees, civil servants, royals, judges, established church people?

      I don;t mean to be obstructive but, I can see endless possibilities if we want to get a balance based on the % of any group in society.

      It is possible that there are other reasons for women, ethnic minorities or disabled people being under-represented in parliament, the High Court, etc etc. Just as there are more lorry drivers who are working class men.

      ANon. You raise an interesting point. There is a massive imbalance of extremely rich, public school educated people in the English parliament. Maybe we should introduce Middle Class only, or Working class only lists, because for sure, representation by toffs is hardly good for us.

      Once it might have been because only toffs could afford to be MPs. With wages going up to 4 times the national average and 10 times minimum wage, and expenses still to dies for, that can hardly be true any more.

    5. D

      Yes white and male. But married to a black woman who doesn't agree with all female short list,s and work in a mostly female staff team managed by female seniors and managers and those whom I have spoken to don't want all female short lists. As I said you do not end discrimination against women by discriminating against men.


    6. I am a white 53 year old male. We had a choice of candidates for our parliamentary candidate of which 25% were female.

      I attended hustings, and selected my list on the basis of a number of things. Top of the list was that they lived in my constituency. Beyond that their ability as a public speaker, the relevance of their career to date, and their demonstrable loyalty to the party were factors. Gender was of absolutely no importance at all to me. Although I suppose I could have been slightly sexist as I have a notion that some members of the electorate don't like beards - so that perhaps positively discriminated in favour of women. We selected a woman, and I campaign for her.

      I feel uneasy at quotas. As the generations pass all manner of outdated thinking passes too. Discrimination is anathema to increasing numbers of people. Indeed it is to our credit that the bitter religious discrimination which blighted our country for years is being married out. We are more than we have been for generations, one people here.

      So I think its really only time, not rules which will see equal representation in all levels of society. I honestly don't think its worth the downside of being thought "there because of a quota" rather than ability.

      Oh, our MSP is a formidable woman. Selected and elected on her ability.

    7. Yes, I agree with that. My own MSP is a woman and a brilliant constituency member, who despite ministerial duties is always at the disposal of her constituents and works hard for our area. I wouldn't change her for the world, but she's there, and I vote for her because she is bloody good. Not because she's a woman.

      I understand that it is not going to be the norm, but something that could be used in exceptional circumstances.

      I just don't think they had to do it.

      It backfires sometimes. There's an interesting article over at Wings about it.

  2. tris
    Its remarkable the losers at the referendum are still the losers now and
    all the reliable uncontaminated by nationalist jiggery pokery stilll show
    a larger majority to remain within the union.....thank you very much.

    Labour need in my opinion to lead from the fair side of politics which
    is on the Left and nail the lid on Thatchers neo liberal crusade and if the
    snp aid that goal......thank you very much

    The snp are showing day by day and speech by speech how in
    every way how to gain political changes pursue progressive policys
    while remaining safe and sound within the union, and still be able to rid
    ourselves of the Conservatives being in power.
    Contrary to the nats wild imaginings there will be no march towards
    Independence only a determination to keep the United Kingdom

    Along the Paris streets, the death-carts rumble, hollow and harsh. Six tumbrels carry the day’s wine to La Guillotine. All the devouring and insatiate Monsters imagined since imagination could record itself, are fused in one realization, Guillotine. And yet there is not in France, with its rich variety of soil and climate, a blade, a leaf, a root, a sprig, a peppercorn, which will grow to maturity under conditions more certain than those that have produced this horror. Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.

    1. Well, Niko, at the moment we don't know who are losers and who are winners. We'll maybe know in May.

      Whilst the SNP will never give up on their dream of an independent country permanently removed from the Tories and their evils, that's not their aim at this election.

      Nicola has made it very clear that it is to get the voice of Scotland heard in Westminster and to prise from London that which we were promised in the vow and specifically by Gordon Brown on behalf of David Cameron.

      Let's be honest, the vow and Gordon's promises were a joke. The Smith Commission had so short a time to read submissions that someone worked out that they might have had up to 10 seconds for each one. Then instead of reporting to the public, it reported, in private, to the Tory/Liberal Cabinet, which refused to allow certain things to go forward. (Mainly the particularly unpleasant Theresa May and IDS holding on to powers.)

      Now what was left of it is being torn to shreds by an unelected House of Aristos and English Churchmen, none of whom are, of course, from the SNP, and most of whom are not Scottish.

      Many of the promises made are falling apart. And Labour is hardly supportive of it, possibly due to EVEL which would mean that Labour would lose control of the House of Commons for most of the week while they debate English only matters.

      More power over income tax is useless. Unless you can balance income tax rises with reductions in other taxes (like VAT) you simply can't use them in a unitary state.

      Now the permanence of the Edinburgh parliament, promised absolutely by Gordon Brown, has been rubbished by the "Liberal" Alistair Carmichael and we are told that it is impossible. Of course, in this case he is right as some of us already knew. You cannot take away the power of future governments in the sovereign state, to do what they want to.

      The northern English will not allow Airport taxes to be devolved becasue Edinburgh and Glasgow would compete with their airports. The right to make up our own road signs is so pathetic as to be laughable, as most of them are governed for obvious reasons, by international agreements.

      The SNP would push for a better settlement, along the lines of that promised by Brown and the Vow (which seems to have been written by the Daily Record's Mr Foote but not contested by any of the three supposed signatories).

      In the doing of that they would hopefully sway the Labour party away from some of their more appalling right wing, please the Tory shires policies. That would be good for poorer people all over the UK.

      Some Labour MPs have said that they will not vote with the SNP. The left wingers have said that they will.

      Is Labour falling apart?

    2. Isn't Dickens a little low brow for you?

    3. tris

      There will be blood.............its the nature of the beast

    4. tris

      Dickens low brow never one of my favs him and Wilkie Collins one of
      the first rock stars who

      He lived an unconventional, Bohemian lifestyle, loved good food and wine to excess, wore flamboyant clothes, travelled abroad frequently, formed long-term relationships with two women but married neither, and took vast quantities of opium over many years

      wots not to like

    5. Nico, why is it unionists talk of blood, turmoil and fighting in the streets? No one is advocating violence, on the independence supporting side, only a X in a box.

    6. A bit like your good self then?

    7. jimminy

      I said it is in the nature of the beast


      If only ..............still when i was young and life was gay (in the old sense )

  3. I may be wrong here Tris but do the BBC operate on a policy of showing the MORE hours of party conferences in inverse proportion to the number of party members?

    I'm only asking cause from the pictures it would appear that this is indeed the case. The FEWER numbers of party members then the LONGER the party gets on BBC during conference season. LOL

    Still it is nice to see around 5 times more people at the S.N.P. conference than there were at the Three Amigo's COMBINED party conferences. Still what can you expect whern the Three Amigo's hold their party conferences in phone boxes? ;-)

    1. Well, you can never tell with the BBC. I suspect given that almost everyone in the top management of the BBC is married to, or the son of , or the sister of, or the lover of, someone in the Labour Party, we can never expect them to be fair to us.

      Their hatred simply knows no bounds.

    2. tris

      and you should love your enemies who ony wish for your
      destruction ?????

    3. Probably not, but if you're funded by (nearly) all the people, you do have a duty not to be the press office for one particular party, no matter how married you are with them.

    4. Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many - not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

    5. Someone helpfully put this together last year:
      "The BBC and the Labour Party in Scotland.
      Ken MacQuarrie top of the tree in BBC Scoltand,
      Head of News is John Boothman, married to Susan Deacon, former Labour MSP and health Minster at Holyrood.
      Head of online news, Tom Conner, he plus John offered media training to Labour Party prospective politicians. He bans all comments on BBC blogs.
      Lorraine Davidson, used to be a spin doctor and was frequently on commenting on BBC programmes and is married to David Martin, a Labour MEP.
      David is friends with Catriona Martin, who si a BBC reporter, formerly a Labour Councillor and friend of Jackie Baillie, Labour Health spokesperson in Holyrood, also Alan Clements, husband of Kirstie Wark. Kirsty and family went on holiday with Jack McConnell and family.
      Then there is Raymond Buchanan, BBC reporter, famous for misrepresenting statement from the Irish Minister for the EU, on Scotland in the EU.
      Raymond is is brother-in-law to Brian Wilson, who was a Labour MP, and headed the Labour for No in the 1979 devolution referendum.
      Brian promotes nuclear power and is a non executive director of Amec Nuclear Holdings.
      Then we have some returnees.
      Laura Kunenssburgh, reporter, whose dad was a donor for Wendy Alexander campaign, who once lead Scottish Labour in Holyrood and is sister to Dougie Alexander, Labour MP.
      Wendy is married to Brian Ashcroft, Director of freer of Allander institute, oft quoted on the BBC as an independent think-tank, which issues many warnings at us.
      Then there is the newish BBC flagship prog, on Scottish politics, fronted by Sarah Smith and friend of Wendy.
      Sarah’ sister is the daughter-in-law of Lord George Robertson, of ‘cataclysm’ fame and former Labour MP and Cabinet Minster."

    6. Ah excellent, Brian.

      It's almost as convoluted and inbred as the Saxe Coburgh Gotha lot. :)

    7. I thought Jim Sillars knew Sarah Smith's father when her dad was leader of the Liebour party?

    8. I would imagine they did know each other, but then Jim blotted his copybook...

  4. "And so farewell from your little droog. And to all others in this story profound shooms of lip-music brrrrr. And they can kiss my sharries. But you, O my brothers, remember sometimes thy little Alex that was. Amen. And all that cal."

    1. Might have known you'd raise the tone of the discussion...


  5. Replies
    1. conan

      u Been at the Oranges just like clockwork..
      i hear they wont give him a blue plaque not important enough
      totally wrong .

    2. LOL. I think they should give Conan a Blue Plaque.

  6. I had that Nattalie McGarry in my house for five minutes or so, once upon a time. Charming and interesting lady.

    When she left, she had my vote.

    I find it difficult to see the point of women only lists when we have such good women candidates.

    In the future we may well need men only lists....

    1. It was a good job that women only lists weren't around when AS was first elected.

      Education and in the home is were the root of the problem lies sort that first.

    2. Yes, I thin that's a really good point. I seriously don;t think that the women need artificial help. The ones that come forward are so damned good.

      Just look at the list of fantastic MSPs we have...

  7. Replies
    1. That was plain awesome...


      How did Cameron's reception go compared to that?

      How was Jim's reception?

  8. We should spread that far and wide?

    It is 'interesting' that the BBC stopped before that.

    1. Yes, the BBC didn't want to see how enthused the crowd was, I guess.

  9. The Unionists are the majority. 55%.

    People will see through SNP propaganda.

    1. Tory grandee, Mr Ashcroft, did a poll just after the referendum.

      He found that number of people who voted NO, only because they were promised devo-super-max by Gordon Brown, was sufficient to have won the referendum.

      We know that the private polls done for both sides, in the last 2 weeks showed YES ahead (as Alex said last night, a little too early). We know it for a fact because as well as Alex telling us about it, David Cameron told us that he (and his children dressed in tartan pyjamas) thought all was lost.

      So they came up with the vow, adn because all three of them were roundly disliked in Scotland, they got the Clunking Fist to come and deliver their scheme.

      Let's be honest, the way he sold it, it was really devo-super-max. Even I was impressed.

      But it turns out to have been diluted time and time again, The Smith commission, given only a few seconds to read each submission. The Tory/Liberal Cabinet changing the findings to suit Iain Duncan Smith and Tessy May. The House of Lords throwing out parts.
      The Secretary of State for Scotland telling us that Gordon's promise of a permanent Scottish Parliament is rubbish, and couldn't legally be delivered...

      Limited tax powers that will be almost impossible to use...

      Well, the people are speaking.

      Labour lied to them. The Tories lied to them, The liberals...well, who cares?

      They don't want more Tories with Nigel Farage holding sway.

      But we'll see on May 8.

      One thing's for sure, Jim Murphy managed 300 for his speech. Nicola Sturgeon managed 3,000. I'm not even sure that anyone turned up for Wee Willie.

  10. Meant for Mr MacKinnon-Thomson.

    1. I think that that may a figure that is out of date by now.

      Who can tell?

      Let's see how things work out. After all what we want is a better life for our people. We may be able to manage that within the UK with the left-wing of the Labour party...

      But yet, the Liberals may do well enough to save the Tories; then we'll get nothing.

  11. Party conferences only interest me when there is real debate. Unfortunately the SNP is falling into the trap of everyone agreeing with everything. I don't like stage-managed events.

    I want real debate from the party. Let's have some honest and open criticism - constructive of course.

  12. Anonymous,

    Which part of Nicola Sturgeons speech did you take exception to? It seems to me that it would take a black hearted pirate to find a flaw therein.

    Admittedly, I found Barak Obama to be nearly that good, and look how that turned out......