Tuesday, 14 July 2015


So who, apart from the Tories, could knock this speech?

It was, as custom dictates, respectful in every way to her predecessor, Douglas Alexander, both for the work he did in the constituency, and for the way that he graciously accepted his defeat. 

It talked about her constituency and its attributes including its distinction of being William Wallace's birthplace!... Of course she mentioned its high level of poverty and deprivation. 

It discussed the way that people who have already been dealt a poor hand in life have been driven, by the Tory and Liberal government, to a point where they have lost all dignity and broken down crying with utter frustration and misery.

It pointed out that there is one set of rules for ordinary people and one set for the elite, like MPs. Mhairi is 20. She earns over £40,000 a year. Either of these facts would disqualify her from entitlement to subsidised housing (Housing Benefit), were she not one of the chosen few.

The speech praised one of the Labour Party's (and Mhairi's) heroes, Tony Benn, (incidentally a man violently opposed to Scottish independence), dating from back in the day when Labour was a socialist party. 

Finally it pointed out the indisputable fact that in the UK parliament, the SNP and the Labour party should be working together against the policies of the Tories, and it offered the hand of friendship to the Labour benches. 

Through it all there was sadness and humour and most of all, honesty.  

Can you seriously imagine that a genuine Labour supporter could criticise this speech?


How, you would be entitled to ask, could he be so small?


  1. As the saying goes "Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one and everyone else's stinks" . I think that is all that need be said about Hothersall.

    1. Hum... well, I'd never hear that saying... But of course everyone is entitled to thier own opinion, whether or not it stinks.

      But it does seem to me that more of less everything that Mhairi said was something which would be welcomed by a socialist... or even a slightly left of centre Labour party member.

      If you could find a great deal of fault in it, either you are a right winger, or you are being small minded and spiteful, because... well, who knows, but maybe because she said what you SHOULD have said.

    2. Tris,
      I respect your opinion about me but can I point out that the quote was meant to express my opinion about Hothersall and not Miss Black. I did not find any fault in the speech!
      I agree with her, thought it was excellent and find no fault with it. However, I think you have misinterpreted the quote and me as I am most definitely not right wing in my political beliefs, small minded nor spiteful and I applaud Miss Black for expressing so eloquently what I feel and agree with.
      I apologise for being so obtuse but I made no comment about Miss Black but thought that the saying summarised the comment made by Hothersall and that he expresses his opinions but rejects those by others.

    3. I'm know Tris just misread your comment, I don't there are many who'd agree with Duncan's POV - he has a very specific way of thinking. Its very peculiar but also required in order to be an active Labour supporter.

      As for Mhairi Black's speech, it was excellent. Easily comparable to Tommy Sheppard's maiden speech. Her's could be more admired because Tommy is an experienced orator with years of experience.

      For me, the cognitive dissonance stems from listening to what Black, Sheppard etc say then having it rubbished and replaced by uncaring swivel-eyed nonsense. Not just stuff that is stupid and ill-considered - but stuff that is plainly morally & ethically wrong.

      The idea that you 'encourage' a person off benefits by starving them and their kids is something we're all supposed to agree with and allow past. But hell mend the person who suggests we do the decent thing and take these people with us instead of leaving them behind to rot.

      It really annoys me that they (WM/Unionists/Tories/Lab/etc) expect us swallow all that crap - their regard for us is so low, it cannot be measured.

      They take moral vacuity to new levels.

    4. Anon: I think I should have said ..."if ONE can find too much fault in it, ONE is either.... blah." I just thought ONE sounded too Princess Anne!!!

      I didn't mean I thought that YOU had found fault in it, just YOU as in people in general...or in other European languages One!.

      I understood that the arsehole comment was not about Mhairi. I wanted to say Anyone who found her fault with her speech (I meant Duncan) to must be a right winger (he is supposedly Labour, but we all know they have some fearful right wingers) or anyone (one; he) was being spiteful.

      So I apologise for expressing myself badly. I had no intention to call you small minded or right wing. Duncan...altogether different.

      Hope that clears it up.

    5. Pa... thanks for coming to my rescue there. You've known me long enough to know that I'd never say that to anyone contributing on the blog. I expressed myself badly (and you've known me long enough to know I'm good at that too!!!!).

      It's weird how the combination of the bulk of the printed press, the BBC and STV have managed to get it into our heads that it is good to denigrate people who are going through a rotten patch in their lives; to assume that a person who is ill is trying to cheat the least generous welfare system in the developed world; that someone unemployed WANTS to be unemployed... that foreigners are bad, wars with foreigners are good, and that its fine for one human being to get a helicopter to get him home to his bairns of an evening, and its just as good for a dad to be told to get on his bike and look for work anywhere in the UK, and get back to see his bairns every three months.

      People just believe it because it was on the news.

      I wish that IDS could sit in on some of the interviews I've had to do with people who are desperate, but who can't get work because of one reason or another...sometimes something as stupid as their address in a seedy area.

      Although I'd find his presence daily an huge strain on my normal 'politesse écossaise' it would be worth it to open his ears to the plight of people his department kills off every week.

  2. Once upon a time oor wee Dunky would have looked at the future, and looked at himself:

    A constituency awaits,

    I have a career

    I will be well respected

    I will be a hero

    Not just for one day.

    None of that came to pass, the death of Labour meant that young Duncan had, as was his want, backed the wrong ideas, the wrong sentiments and fell apart.

    That is what young Duncan has become. I suspect.

    1. Well, I'd say that the constituency still awaits, but I think he'll wait a while before he has any chance of winning it... then who knows. Still, he's a young man. He has time on his side.

    2. Och Wee Dunky can always join the Tory Party, it is where they all belong. Disgusting but not the worst. Time that the University that has connections to that Jill Stephenson ditched her. Now if there is a disgusting person on Twitter I would say she is. Several others who if their remarks had come from the Nat side would have been pilloried.

    3. Poor old Jill... I think she's lost the plot. No academic should come out with unfounded nonsense like that. Either that or she's on the bottle or wacky backy!

  3. Sorry, just to say I agree. It was a very good maiden speech.

    1. Yes... thanks. It was one of the best.

  4. Meanwhile our Labour controlled state broadcaster reported on the temerity of the clapping!

    It was a cracker of a speech and has opened a lot of peoples eyes onwards and upwards.

    1. Every week, while the prime minister answers questions, MPs roar like bairns in a posh school playground, often meaning that the prime minister or his questioners have to stop and repeat or wait til the speaker manages to persuade then to behave like 14 year olds instead of 6 year olds. All of this at huge costs as somewhere around 500 people on enormous salaries (by the standards of us plebs), wait for a bit of quiet. And that is fine.

      But after a 20 year old makes a bloody good maiden speech, her comrades give a polite clap. Not like a football match, just a wee clap, and the speaker gets himself into a froth.

      Of course you can clap war criminals, but not a wee lass on her first outing making a cracking speech. No wonder we want out of this awful union.

  5. yes Mhairi's speech was a barn stormer. Unfortunately I've heard she's since attracted abuse on twitter which she should take as a sign that she did good!

    She's not the only new SNP to have made a cracking speech e.g. Tommy Shepherd, John Nicolson I've found a website where you can access all of them and see what a formidable bunch they are, even if they clap sometimes ;-)


    1. Thanks for the link PP.

      Abuse on Twitter is one of the bugbears that they all have to tolerate now. I heard that some English people were saying that they couldn't understand anything she said because of her working class Scottish accent.

      As I say, if you can understand fairly plain, well pronounced, clearly annunciated prose, then I can't see that anyone could have much to complain about in that speech. If you are indifferent to the fate of the less fortunate you might want to shrug your shoulders at it, but most decent people would think it was good.

      As for clapping... I'm speechless. According to the video that CH put up, you can show approval, but you cannot clap, unless you are clapping for the speaker or a war criminal.


      And how go you show appreciation? And would that do at the Royal Opera House too?

    2. I've got some Shepherds whistles, I can let the MPs have them. The could show their appreciation with a wee blaw. That'd waken the buggers up!

    3. He he... sell them to them Aucheorn. They got pots of money. About the only people in the islands who are getting pay rises...except bankers.

  6. tris

    Yep it was a god speech from a young person who in my experience have
    a more sensitive and caring view on how society should be. Perhaps the older
    ones amongst us should in politics be stand aside..can but hope.

    She quite rightly pointed out the rise in foodbanks is due to widespread poverty
    created by the UK Government policys . But for the snp supporters to praise her
    and yet attack John Beattie for asking the snp Government for more help to feed
    poor Scots.Is a tad inconsistent if not hypocritical .


    “In giving advice seek to help, not to please, your friend.”
    ― Solon

    1. I condemn people having a go at a man who was trying to raise awareness of the foodbanks.

      Hunger is above politics.

      I'm surprised that there isn't a single example of this shown in the article though. It does sound a wee bit like the terrible campaign against JK Rowling which, upon investigation, turned up no more than a few tweets, or that against Susan Calman which turned up exactly none.

      All that said, the Scottish government, which is already doing a lot to mitigate the damaging effects of the Tory administration, must continue to make every effort it can with its ever reducing resources. More needs to be done, and in my opinion feeding hungry bairns comes well up the list of priorities.

    2. Niko, I cannot remember when one person in Labour has offered assistance to the SNP, all SNP bad stuff. I doubt you will remember the Speech that Alex Salmond gave when accepting winning in 2007, he said that the SNP did not have all of the wisdom to govern and would ask for help. Well Labour then went into petted kid mode and all they have done since then is criticize, not one word of advice has been tendered, even when they asked for something like the Apprenticeships they abstained when the SNP actually offered them more than they asked for. So please do not expect hearts and flowers over a Puff Piece from someone in the Scotsman (hootsman) is a tad hippocritical, may I suggest that John Beattie does what most people do, and put his money where his mouth is. I think the SNP have done a great deal, more requires the ability to set one's own budget and that takes, now wait for it Niko. INDEPENDENCE, oh I forgot, neither you nor he wanted that.

  7. Hothersall is a man thrown out into the wilderness by the events of the last months. Everything he assumed and expected didn't happen.
    But instead of rising to the new situation a shrivelled bitter soul emerged instead. Sums up the Labour we saw emerge during the referendum.

    1. Yeah, I thought better of him.

  8. We all handle bereavement in different ways.
    Some people lash out in anger and this appears to be the case with many British Labour supporters who have witnessed the death of their party in Scotland.
    Of course,along with this is the end of the gravy train and future prospects.
    Get over it.
    Mhairi's speech was excellent and we have an amazing bunch of representatives now at Westminster (not for too long I hope!).

    1. LOL no. Hopefully they will short lived representatives there!

      As they say: We didn't come here to settle down. We came to settle up.

  9. Tris

    She did well and the abuse is sadly just part of social media, and we all get it and we all have to live with it now. Hothersall is just a bitter nasty piece of work, he banned me a while ago when he couldn't win an argument and did me a favour as the man is just not worth the effort. SNP MPs do need to exercise care with some areas though as the current issue with the Ferry service demonstrates. There is a suspicion that an agenda of privatisation is on the cards through the back door with a 12 year contract, so when MPs are talking about public services they will need to be seen to be doing the right thing. Scotrail being an example for myself where we could have brought this into public hands and didn't .

    However, I hope that Mhairi, who is being seen as a future leader of the SNP, doesn't become a career politician. I really feel that that is huge part of the problem we face in our democracy. There are far too many MPs with no life experience outside of politics and it's not healthy. When I look at Dugdale, and previously Swinson, I just cringe. Bad decisions are being made by people who have rarely been out of the bubble, the current labour leadership battle shows this with Kendal, Cooper and Burnham, who thinks any of them are good enough to lead the country. None of them are electable and won't win a GE.

    So while I welcome different voices and different ages in parliament I will continue to hold the opinion that we still need more people with life experience in parliament and to be honest I would love to see more so called ordinary people in parliament if the parties would just select them.


    1. I think that we shouldn't expect miracles from any administration. What we personally want is not always what others want and in any case sometimes not practical. I don;t know anything about the ferry contract... except that there was the Labour party criticising it, when they had done exactly the same thing.

      Maybe John will have more hands on views on it, as it affects communities like his.

      Of course we need some career politicians. We criticise the likes of Kezia for lacking in experience and yet wanting to be the leader of labour in the branch office in Glasgow.

      But the only way you get experience is by being elected and re-elected and serving in junior then more senior capacity. But I do think that people would have some experience outside politics before they go into it.

      In the case of Mhairi, I suspect that she was given the seat in the fairly certain assumption that it was a training exercise for her. Every party does it. And I can;t imagine that the SNP seriously thought that they could overturn the shadow foreign secretary, an MP of some 17 years standing.

      Mhairi pointed out though in the speech that she was experience of working in voluntary positions with people who are in need of help... that will stand her in some stead.

    2. Details about the ferry tendering process can be seen at http://www.hebrides-news.com/labour-set-ferry-tendering-12715.html. As in so many other areas the SG have to work with what they inherited.

    3. Thanks Anon.

      There are confines set by the London/English/UK government I imagine, just as there were with the trains.

      I imagine that the Scottish government would prefer to have trains completely as a public service, but the practicalities are rather different with a fixed and reducing income, and legal constrains put upon them by Westminster.

  10. I see that one of the SNP MP's blocked immediately the Labour troll when he tried to follow the MP. He must spend all his waking hours on twitter.

    I see that Mhairi's speech on Facebook has now been seen by nearly 2.5 million viewers.

    1. Wow. 2.5 million. That's more than the likes of One Direction gets!

    2. I read somewhere on Twitter (so maybe not 100% true) that on all the different media they reckon that now 8 million have seen the speech!

    3. P & J reporting at 21:30hrs 6 1/2 million!

      But its a newspaper. They are good for keeping the vinegar on your chips warm, but I wouldn't believe anything printed in one.

      Saor Alba

    4. I knew there was something these newspapers were good for....


      Thanks Anon.

      Saor Alba

  11. Great speech, only a rampant fantasist would disagree, eh Mr Hothersall.