Monday 5 September 2016


By Panda Paws

There is a well-known PR aphorism. If you tell people not to think about pink elephants, under no circumstances think about pink elephants, then guess what is the one thing they can’t stop thinking about?
No matter how much you try NOT to think about pink elephants and how much effort you expend, pink elephants are all that you can think of.
(I so pinched that from Soppy Sunday – just the cutest little orang ever)

That’s why media trainers get their clients to focus on what issues they want to get across, don’t mention anything they want to avoid talking about and ignore any attempts by interviewers to derail them. Which makes the Ruth Davidson aka Conservative and Unionist Party’s constant banging on about a second independence referendum all the more puzzling. Granted the SNP have just launched their “listening exercise” but the Ruth Davidson party have been banging on about independence for much longer than that.

Still, it makes you wonder who their comms person is and what they are playing at. Maybe they think they can scunner us by mentioning it so often we are sick of the sound of the phrase “indyref2”.

But solid Nos will never vote Yes, solid Yessers can never hear the phrase often enough and that just leaves the devo-maxers for whom never have so many been promised so much for so long with no sight of it ever happening (to misquote Churchhill who was once the MP for Dundee. I can only assume it was once a very different place. Perhaps Munguin can advise?)*

Gordon Broon has been back saying we need devo-max despite him telling us previously it had already been delivered. We’d ask him to clarify if we cared what he thought. Except we would not be allowed to – his pronouncements are delivered at invitation only events and the only way to get an invite is to be the type of person who’d never ask him why he did nothing about it when he had the power.

Speaking of comms types, Kezia has a new comms director, Alan Roden (the t is silent). He comes straight from the Daily Mail. So if you ever thought BLiS press release were incoherent ramblings, it least now you can amuse yourself looking for Daily Mail influences. Leggy pins, ample assets, washboard abs and bikini ready body being several of the more erudite phrases associated with that newspaper (sic).

It’s been said he’s not as right wing as his former employers but is very anti-SNP and ultra-unionist which suggests Kezia is trying to get the loyalist vote back from the Ruth Davidson party. The problem is that like or loathe her Ruth is better at what she does than Kezia, at least at the moment.

That said Kezia did speak well when attacking the Tories for their part in Brexit and EVEL (watch from about 5.45 in).

That was a very interesting debate as one by one EVERY leader stood up and gave the Tories pelters. And Ruth had no option but to just sit and take it. Now if only they could all, but particularly Labour who have been played like a fiddle by the Tories, realise that the Tories are the real enemy and attacked their policies (In Wales they talk about Tory cuts in the Senedd which may not be unconnected to the fact they have a Labour led administration. But in Scotland it’s SNP cuts obviously!) more often then we might have an opposition that is a damn sight more credible.

Yes, when the SNP does wrong, point that out, heck even suggest how they might get it right. Thing is the SNP might even adopt the suggestion. Which is great. Until the Bain principle means you don’t support your own suggestions and spout SNP bad instead and another couple of voters leave for the SNP or the Tories depending on their inclinations. That’s why you came third in seats if not votes. Still I suppose it is asking too much for Labour to fight the Tories, they have to conserve their energies for fighting each other and their membership.

It won’t be long now until the Labour leadership results are out (probably sooner than we think given the number of folk that have been banned from voting). It appears likely Corbyn will win again. If the membership has any sense the CLPs will then start deselecting the Blairities. Because if a house divided can’t stand, then a party where the MPs don’t represent the members view’s or support their leader is one that will never get elected. And until independence, that means more Tory governments we don’t want. And that is the elephant in the room for soft Nos – pink or otherwise.

*Ed note: Winston Churchill was indeed MP in Dundee from 1908-1922 in a multi-member constituency he shared with a Labour member; Churchill himself found it convenient to be a Liberal at that point.

He was replaced, ironically, by a Temperance supporting MP (Edwin Scrymgeour of the Scottish Prohibition Party) in 1922. I understand that as an MP he was not particularly useful, spending his rare visits to the area visiting relations, the Earl and Countess of Airlie at their nearby castle.

Interestingly he was daft enough to blank the owner of the local press, D C Thomson, when they met in the town one day. Mr Thomson was accustomed to greater respect and returned forthwith to his office to declare that Churchill should not again be referred to by name in any of his newspapers, as indeed he was not until he became prime minister and won the war single handed.


  1. After the war, Churchill was being offered the freedom of nearly every city in the UK. When offered the honour by Dundee, he was reputed to have said that he would see grass growing on the streets of Dundee before he returned to that damned city. GIRUY Churchill. :-)

    1. Speaking of loss, two of the buds on one of my blue hibiscus have just opened, and a bud on the yellow one will be next. :-)

    2. Have I missed something here ... looks awfully like Gardening our on here. LOL

    3. Just a small wager between myself and Tris from earlier in the year.
      He actually doubted my green fingers. Photo sent, Tris. :-)

    4. Ah...

      Well I must away and have a look.

      Arbroath: We had a wee wager that Jutie could/couldn't get a hibiscus to flower in Dundee. It appears that I lost and i owe him!

      Ho hum...It's for charity, as I recall!

      Anyways our dear PP has written a good post here...

      What thinkest thou?

  2. Dundee had a much better idea of having a statue of Desperate Dan than one of Churchill.
    Despite his efforts,Churchill that is,he didn't bring much cheer into people's lives.
    After the fiasco in Gallipoli,my grandfather absolutely despised him (the malaria he contracted there may have had something to do with that).
    I have thought for some time that Glasgow City chambers should have a statue of Marx (Groucho that is) outside inscribed with the famous quote about his shifty principles.

    1. I think, come the war, he was a good PR man.

      It wouldn't work today, but his plumy upper class voice brought comfort to the people who were in fear, along, I'd have to admit, with that of the King, whom they seemed to adore.

      Different times.

      As a soldier he was hopeless; as a commander, a nightmare, as a PR man, for the times he seems to have been splendid!

  3. Pa

    Interesting article and I was thinking a similar thing the other day about why the unionists can't stop banging on about Indy Ref 2 and the only thing I can come up with is they believe they would win. I think they are right to feel that way. Rushing too quickly into indy2 I think plays straight into their hands as right now we would lose.

    While Scotland may have voted to remain in the EU, and this is being seen as a material change, which it is, many YES supporters voted leave, myself included. Any rush into another referendum on the back of brexit before the details are clear will result in defeat and kill off the independence movement for a long long time, maybe forever in any meaningful way.

    I have blogged that we need to take a deep breath and let the dust settle, esp on brexit. That doesn;t mean we don't hold another referendum, nothing could be further from my mind, but if we lose 2 back to back then it's finished in my lifetime. The SNP are correct to play this slow and easy right now, no matter what the members and Craig Murray say, timing is going to be vital. The unionists know this and they are trying to force our hand, their polling was better than the YES movement the last time and I do not believe for one minute that Better Together is not working away in the background. On a smaller scale yes but it has not gone away, remember they have virtually all of the msm on their side.

    It's also important to remember that the British wrote the book on this sort of thing. I think I read somewhere that after the Catholic Church the British Empire were the next best thing to information gathering, maybe not know but we wrote the book so the unionists have been here before and we had better keep that in mind. They are playing a game and right now are playing us, it's all very sutble. Like the Daily Mail front page last week on the GERS figures with a huge picture of William Windsor as the side story, you are not telling me that this is not deliberate mind games, of course it is. We need to be careful.

    Churchill didn't accept the freedom of Dundee because he thought it would split the City, while the councillors as usual wanted to do it and have all the pomp, the people of Dundee were very split so he declined. A previous Lord Provost explained it to me a while back and I think that makes sense.

    Good blog, thanks.


    1. I think the Tories bang on about it becasue they have nothing else.

      What policies do you actually have Ruth?

      All you really did was say that no one else could be trusted with the union, because Kez at one point said that she wouldn't force her MSPs to be unionists. Clearly Ruth DOES force her MSPs to be unionist.

      I guess that a lot of Labour minded voters are pro independence, and far fewer Ruthies (or Tories, as they used to be called).

      I truly am torn. The SNP can't go on forever being as popular as they are (the latest opinion polls show that if they went again to the polls they'd have 72 seat). So maybe this is peak. But until we can be certain we will win, it's not a risk I'm sure we should take.

      There's no doubt in my mind that we must work hard to try to gt the best possible deal regarding the EU. The single market means more to Scotland and Northern Ireland than it does to England. The loss of income from social grants, farm subsidies, university research, etc will hit us far harder.

      I have a feeling that with the incredible incompetence of the London government, totally unprepared for this result and without a clue what they want (split by it) and with expectation WAY beyond what is even vaguely reasonable, and led by Johnson, Davies and Werrity-Fox, all born or adopted South-Easterners, we are unlikely to get any kind of deal.

      Scotland may demand a seat at the table, but Johnson is the senior man, and frankly everything he has ever said about our country has indicated that he loathes it.

      We can't expect to have much sway. We have 8% of the population.

      When things start to fall apart, maybe that will be the right time for another referendum.

      As for now, we have to listen to Tompkins making an ass of himself over how the people have spoken, to which he seems wedded, except when he comes WAY down the list in the constituency voting... then it's a case of turning a VERY deaf ear.

      For a professor he ain't half dim!

    2. Tris

      The single market does mean more to Scotland but the UK market is 10 times that and you can bet that the UK market will be their main fear tactic in an indy2 so our arguments have to be bloody good to convince the soft no's and I just don't believe we are anywhere near that. When I talk to soft no voters they still fear losing what little they have, that is a powerful argument.

      I appreciate the SNP's popularity can't last forever but it will for the next 5 years so time to a degree is on our side. labour sadly will play a part and what happens in their civil war is important. If Labour came out for independence it would be important, they don't have a lot of members but psychologically it would be huge to the debate.

      We have too much to lose to rush.


    3. The ramifications of Brexit are not confined to these islands. American policy has been to bind all the Europeans - and Turkey - into an economic block. That is why the Brits were so keen on East European members. Now America's number one poodle is going to leave ( maybe ), the influence of France - more independent thinking - will be ascendant. Not good for Washington I'd have thought.

      There is a risk that the whole thing will collapse if too much is seen to be given to the Brits. The German economy has flourished in the single currency. No longer is their currency hard as nails. Increases in efficiency lead to greater profits for their companies, not just a necessity to survive. It is not in German mercantile interest for this project to fail.

      The Eastern nations genuinely fear Russia. Anyone who visits Finland will actually begin to think a single army is worth considering. And the Baltic republics fear the bear more than that. It is not in their interest for the project to collapse.

      Nicola's reported comments do concern me. I don't think the deal which will be offered will suit Scotland. I hope the other 27 hold out for the 4 freedoms. I would note that at hustings, all the Depute candidates speak not of if, but of when we are holding Indy2. It is definitely on the agenda. It is down to the timing now.

      So instead of us all being introspective, can we instead all just get signed up to Yes chapters again. Over 80% of the SNP membership came from there. We are all Spartacus. Nicola will take us where we want to go, but we need to show her where that is. And we need to go out and win the argument.

      Irreplaceable people get replaced all the time. Scotland is not Nicola Sturgeon. If we want this it is up to us to get it.

      Alba Gu Brath!


    4. Spartacus how did that end but with him and all his
      followers crucified along the appian way

    5. Both good points, Bruce & SA.

      I think that if we wish to be credible.. ie that we accepted the result in 2014, we must at least try to give the Scottish people what they voted for... membership of the UK and of Europe.

      To that end Nicola is prepared to break sweat trying to influence the EU and UK to take on board Scottish views.

      If it fails then Scots have to make up their minds. You can't have both, which one do you want?

      I seriously think that Nicola is the best we have. It's a talented team, but undoubtedly Nicola is a great leader.

      Maybe not the only one... there are some fantastic people in the wings waiting... but a real star. Just my opinion.

    6. Niko.

      Take more water with it

  4. oh goody I thought - 11 comments only to find out half were about flowers!

    I agree with Tris and Bruce - fools rush in, but when the brexit deal is finalised there will be little time to start from scratch so the ground work has to start now. The arguments laid out after some heavy duty devil's advocating. MSM will be as hostile as before if onto more so.

    I agree we'd lose again if the poll was soon though by a smaller margin. However, I've spoken with a hard No who is now a definite yes so not all dire.

    Now no thinking of pink elephants...

  5. anti-SNP and ultra-unionist....ticks my boxes
    That what you need to defend yourself from
    Uber nationalists.who are intend on imposing
    themselves and their wicked ideology in peoples
    private homes..

    1. Ah Niko. I wondered where you'd been all day. I thought maybe Taz wouldn't let you out of the cupboard.

  6. I read somewhere that Labour constituency candidates must undergo a selection process after boundary changes. There is an ongoing review of constituency boundaries right now that is expected to be complete before the next election. That being true, it sort of explains the current acts of desperation from most of the PLP. There's no need for Corbyn to be aggressive in his dealings with his colleagues and certainly no need to threaten deselection of expulsion. All he has to do is wait. I'd say he is pretty good at that.

  7. I've not heard that, bu I guess as everything will change... or much of it will, then reselection seems sensible. In my opinion it should always happen.

    I suspect that many of them should start looking around now for all the people that owe them... merchant banks, etc.

    Mind that might mean moving to Dublin or Luxembourg.

    1. I was kind of 25% right and 75% wrong about selection after boundary changes. I found some blog posts about this and the rules are more complex than you might imagine. It will all end up in court, I assume, like everything else in the Labour Party. Basically, the greater the decrease in the number of constituencies the greater the contention for constituency nominations. If it is just a slight redrawing of boundaries then all sitting MPs just shuffle to the constituency most like the old one.

    2. Thanks Terry. It wouldn't be the Labour Party if it weren't complicated. The plans get rid of 50 seats (presumably to be made up by lords). Most of the seats, as far as I can tell are Labourish and a few are SNP.

      Clearly some will have to go. (Awwwwwwww)

      It will be interesting to see how it works out figures wise.

      Hopefully some people will be made to realise that if they stand, they are on their own.

      I know that if I were Labour and lived in a constituency where they had plotted against Corbyn, I'd be incredibly unlikely to pound the streets so that they could get another five years of the big money.

      By the same token, if Corbyn wins decisively then you'd ask yourself how could they possibly stay in a party with which they are so fundamentally at odds?

      It's like asking Farage to stay in a party that welcomed refugees.

  8. Who shot the elephant in the room - the Chilcott enquiry?

    1. Blair, or possibly he slit its wrists or induced a heart attack in it at the top of the hill...

      Not that I would want to suggest that he would do that to any person.

      Goodness no.

      Only an elephant.