Thursday 12 March 2015


We’re a bit confused here at Munguin Towers.

We've been led to believe that there is to be a debate, in the run up to the UK election, shown on STV, between the Scottish Party Leaders.

Fair enough. 

We know that the Scottish branches of each of the London parties are just that, and that their "leaders" take their orders from London, so there is no reason that they wouldn't have the debate in Scotland on behalf of their Westminster bosses. It may seem a little pointless, given that the big bosses are going to debate, but for all that it's harmless.

Except for Labour.

Jim Murphy has been at great pains, since Johann Lamont resigned with the poisoned words “branch office”, to point out that he is his own man, and no one tells him what to do. 

His policies are designed only to help Scotland, for he is a patriot and a proud Scot and he will happily take money from the rich of the South East of England to provide an indefinite number of nurses in Scotland.

So we can see that the other Scottish leaders, who accept their branch status, and thus accept Nick or Cameron as their overall leaders, can speak on behalf of their parties on UK policy. It's also clear that Nicola Sturgeon can speak on behalf of the SNP on UK policy, what with her being the leader.

We are not so sure that Jim can speak for a very separate and independent Labour Party run on different principles, by Ed Miliband in the rest of the UK.

For example on Education policy, Jim will have to stick to the £6,000 a year fees that the English Labour Party want to charge, as opposed to the so-called "something for nothing" fees that the Scottish Labour party want to charge. Isn't he likely to become confused?

It’s just a thought.

Another thought is that there is a glaring omission in the line up. There were, the last time we looked, five parties in the Scottish parliament (and therefore representing Scottish public opinion) . 

SNP, Labour, Conservatives, Liberals and Greens.

Why has STV decided to exclude him?  

Do they remember what happened when they tried that game in England?

Are they just anti-Green?

Or is there another reason?

The other party leaders should demand Patrick’s involvement in the interests of democracy.


  1. And more bizarre, this election is about Westminster. Only Murphy might be standing for election to that body - his constituents will know first. I know Labour is peddling a line about what it can do on matters exclusively devolved to Holyrood - nothing really. But by even entertaining this hokum is it not just a ploy to deliberately confuse voters - conflating both parliaments - and further the lies?

    Only Westminster candidates should appear - albeit Scottish representatives.

    1. I believe that Murphy has announced that he will be sanding for his current seat at Westminster, but he hasn't said whether or not he will leave after a year to stand for the Scottish Parliament and rescue his hapless assistant from teh weekly pounding she gets at FMQs.

      It's true, Labour are fighting this Westminster election on the NHS and Education, which have nothing to do with Westminster in Scotland. Either they are too stupid to know what is devolved and what is not, or they think we are.

    2. So, the elected leader of the SNP can't be in a debate, with the "leaders" of the other parties in Scotland; pish. Though the SNP's leader at Westminster, would hold his own, against the assembled debaters.

      I do think that Mr Harvie, should be included.

      I also think the three stooges, will gang up against the first minister, talking over her and generally doing the same old bluster and obfuscation.

    3. I think that it would be a good idea for Stewart to do this one rather than Nicola. He'd be superb.

      Nicola should keep her powder dry for the UK one against whoever is turning up. You can't be sure!

      Yes, they will gang up, but if they talk over her they'll make fools of themselves.

    4. @Jimnarlene

      I think this kind of thing is a trap. Labour are trying to fight on nurses and education fees. No MP can influence those, but Nicola can. I can see this dissolving into a Unionist gang up on the FM, with the fact that Labour cannot influence the number of nurses being "confused". How is it going to be written up? Stand Stewart Hosie against Murphy, and let the Cons send their MP and the Libdems one of their condemned men.

      That the narrative should be about the NHS when it is nothing to do with this election, is allowing the Unionists to seize the high ground.

      Its defence and foreign affairs, and how soon Scotland gets the promised federal status that are the issues. Hospitals and tertiary education charges are for next year's Holyrood campaign.

    5. I think we need to demand that the moderator makes them stick to things that this election is about.

      Good point. Taxation; welfare/social security, warmongering, foreign affairs, Middle East, Europe, Cost of Parliament, Who will fight for Scotland in the HofC, broadcasting.

      Anything else?

    6. Can you imagine the media circus, if Nicola did not enter the debate, the spin those shysters would put on it, would be ramped up to 11.

    7. Yes, I suppose they would, but they will spin it now that she is the only leader who will appear bother for the UK and Scotland... and isn't there anyone else in the SNP capable of debating.

      We know there are many...Stewart, Alex, Humza, Pete, Angus... loads of them, but that is how they may play it.

    8. Yes, I suppose they would, but they will spin it now that she is the only leader who will appear bother for the UK and Scotland... and isn't there anyone else in the SNP capable of debating.

      We know there are many...Stewart, Alex, Humza, Pete, Angus... loads of them, but that is how they may play it.

  2. Tris

    I agree, the others should refuse to take part unless Patrick Harvie is involved. The Greens will increase their vote in the GE, don't know if thaat will result in seats, probably not, but to exclude them is not correct and I actually will not watch it if he is not included.


    1. Agreed. I'd like the other party "leaders" to demand their inclusion.

  3. Duly signed the petition the media is still in the 19th century.

    1. Cheers CH. They don't seem to learn from their mistakes.

  4. My understanding is that the Green party in Scotland is funded entirely separately from the Green party in England.
    Unlike the pretendy "Scottish" Labour party,this gives them a legitimate right to be included in a Scottish debate along with the other Scottish parties.
    As always,the British parties have a crisis of identity where they have to pretend to have Scotland's interests at heart without actually doing so.
    At least Nicola will get double exposure as the leader of one of the Scottish parties within Scotland and also within the UK state.
    Unlike the representatives of the London based parties,she is not a branch manager.

    1. Yes, I think that's right bringiton.

      The Scottish Greens are a separate party from the greens. As leader Mr Harvie is his own man, more than Jim will ever be.

  5. I can't get worked up about the exclusion of Patrick Harvie from a debate, even though it would have been better if he had been included. In 2010, a total of 14 parties put up candidates in at least one Scottish constituency, including UKIP (who actually got more votes in total than the Greens), the BNP and the Christian Party. There have to be sensible criteria as to which parties are included in a debate, and 3 obvious ones are
    (1) having at least one MP,
    (2) contesting all (or almost all) the Scottish constituencies,
    (3) having a reasonable chance of winning at least one seat.

    The SNP, Labour, the Tories and the LibDems all meet these criteria; the Greens, however regrettable this may be, do not. It could be difficult to make a case for including the Greens in a debate, while excluding UKIP, as having MSPs is not really relevant to a Westminster election.

    1. I can see what you're saying Les.

      I just think that as this is a Scotland only debate, the inclusion of green politics might be a good idea as the fairer and more representative Scottish electoral system shows that there is some support out there for Greens and might be more if their voice were heard a little more.

      I suspect, though, that the organisers were happy to exclude a party that was likely to be calling for proper full powers for Scotland.

      Three against one is more the kind of odds that they like.

  6. Well I have signed the petition for Patrick Harvie to be included. I would also be happy for all the rest of those having candidates standing to put forward a nominated person. Good heavens we are supposed to be living in a democracy and to accept this there is no way out. I did not watch the previous ones because I considered them to be anti democratic, and so they proved with Nick Clegg producing one good speech and we all know what happened there. Alex Salmond was not included in those nor whether you like it or not was Nigel Farage It is time for the Big Three as they like to think of themselves to join the world they have actually created.

    1. Well said. Join the real world? Fat chance, but yeah, they may be made to.

      As they are on tv, I shan't watch them, but I'll follow them on Twitter. Always preferable to having to listen to them direct

  7. tris and others zzzzzzzzzzz

    Debate debate debate yawn ZZZZZZ

    Anyway listen on the wireless to Jacob William Rees-Mogg explaining
    how he used a filibuster in parliament (the real one ) to thwart an attemp
    to undermine a key part of the Torys welfare reform.the bedroom tax
    er wot ???

    Later reads Gove call for the Conservatives to be
    'warriors for the dispossessed'
    People need to know what’s in our hearts before they are prepared to consider our arguments in their heads.”

    well well well ya gotta laff we know what is in the Tory hearts .Pain hate and
    cruelty towards the most vulnerable. They see dickens novels on
    Victorian society not as works of fiction but as the master plan / Blueprint
    on how society should be organised.
    and I must add they are step by brutal step getting there.

    1. Ah yeah Niko, the real parliament where, because of the antiquated rules, you can filibuster for as long as you like, using words like floccinaucinihilipilification, which seems, from what I can see, to mean, quite literally "nothing". Like the rest of Rees Mogg's speeches.

      When Labour forced a vote not so long ago, Theresa May managed to make a 90 minute speech putting off time so that Tory MPs could be summoned to parliament from all over London where they were dining. Eton Boy was dining at the Mansion House and had to turn up with his white tie and tails on. A proper prat he looked.

      Still, it's a wonderful old place. Fortunately it's falling down.

      Anyway, the second part of what you say is perfectly true. Even Ken Clarke on radio tonight said that the first reason for the "welfare" reform, was to save money.

      Maybe it would be best if the whole thing fell down while they were in it, and they all floated out to sea, particularly that idiot Rees Mogg , the MP for the 18th century

  8. How the high and mighty live by different rules than working class
    Oxford and Cambridge Unions avoid terror ban on extremist speakers

    Lobbying by Tory peers has helped the two historic student societies escape from the home secretary’s crackdown on extremism in higher education

    1. That page won't load for me, but... yes, I can see that ordinary law about terrorism wouldn't apply to those who go to Oxford and Cambridge. I mean they are above all that. Clearly!

      Extremist speakers are extremists. If they are dangerous for the kind of pleb that goes to an ordinary university, why are they not dangerous for people who went to the best public schools in England or independent schools in Scotland (not that many of them get into the hallowed halls).

      The House of Lords pulled strings.

      I'd like to pull ropes on the house of lords and it can join the commons floating out into the North Sea.

  9. OT: Your readers might like to know that the planned demo outside BBC Labour on Sunday 15th has been cancelled.

    1. ch

      I will be there wid me club waiting just in case some nats need swatting

    2. Club biscuit, Niko?

      Good. Munguin is partial to them.

      Any reason given CH?