SPEAKERS CORNER...by Alex Porter and Dave Taylor

The SNP Government has suffered yet another legislative defeat in the Scottish Parliament. A bill was introduced on minimum pricing of alcohol sales which was defeated by opposition parties yesterday.

All opposition parties agree that some kind of minimum pricing is desirable. On that basis the SNP Government’s legislative bill was world-class and backed by health authorities around the world. Indeed, some described the legislation as world-leading. Opposition to the legislation has been marked by partisan bickering and blocking tactics. Labour’s focus on the single product of ‘Buckfast’ was bizarre and Jackie Baillie’s pursuing of the issue in terms of caffeine being the problem was derisory and ridiculed by one senior police spokesman Superintendent Bob Hamilton, of Strathclyde Police, who said: “We don't attend many violent disturbances outside coffee shops".

Although an important issue in itself – alcohol related problems in Scotland are of major concern to the police, health officials and the general public alike – but the real significance of this parliamentary defeat is a crisis of Scottish democracy itself.
Scotland’s nationalist SNP Government has seen various attempts to scupper its legislative bills and impede its process procedurally, not out of productive opposition to legislation but owing to an oppositional strategy of trying to paralyse the SNP Government and by extension the nation’s Parliament.

Unionist parties were in shock when the SNP won the Holyrood elections in 2007 and in the case of Labour – who see Scotland as an issue of hegemony – denial. This was clearly demonstrated to the world when, immediately after the Holyrood result came in, the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown refused to make the customary congratulatory phone-call to the First Minister in waiting, Alex Salmond.

From the outset Labour have attempted to kibosh all major Scottish Government attempts to legislate for the nation. The strategy is clearly designed to show that the SNP government is a failure. The very real and serious problem with this strategy though is that Labour and their unionist allies have reached the point where party advantage is more important than the country’s governance and so the Scottish parliament’s vital legislative function is now critically compromised.

One of the first matters of business when the SNP took office was the new government’s desire to scrap the Edinburgh trams project. Senior SNP policy makers calculated that the trams would be far more expensive than originally planned and would not represent value for money.

This was the opposition’s first opportunity to establish a narrative that the SNP government would not be a successful one. The trams project continued and is now an expensive fiasco with parties threatening law suits and the management team admitting that the final costs are unknown except for the forecast that they will cost a lot more than originally planned. There have recently been a series of resignations from the tram firm TIE including the finance director, Stewart McGarrity and chairman David Mackay who branded the project “hell on wheels”. Mr Mackay stated publicly that the German contractor Billfinger Berger, who are at the centre of the controversy, was a “delinquent contractor”. A threat of legal action ensued and then withdrawn. The TIE company is refusing to release the current costs of the project.

In response to the new Government’s move to scrap the plans, Labour’s then strategy was to attack the SNP in terms of “party prejudice” and  “geographic grudge”. On 27 June 2007 Wendy Alexander in Parliament said:

"The motion oozes party prejudice and geographic grudge. The cabinet secretary has told us that the costs are out of control. However, encouragingly for Scottish public life, Audit Scotland simply would not be cowed into validating that untrue claim. The Auditor General concluded that the trams projects show clear corporate governance; well-defined project management; sound financial management in reporting; good risk management procedures; and a procurement strategy aimed at minimising risk. Yet, prejudice still prevails. The minister still wants to cancel the projects, washing more than £100 million down the drain to satisfy party prejudice and geographic grudge. So much for the protestations of prudence that we have heard."

Having forced the Tram project on Scotland against the newly democratically elected government’s wishes Labour sought to then exonerate themselves from blame when it all went wrong as the SNP government predicted. The trams fiasco is now the SNP’s fault apparently.

Scottish Parliament Budgets
Then there is the vital matter of passing Scottish parliament budgets. The minority executive have been happy to negotiate with opposition parties but Labour have voted against SNP budgets even though they had amendments accepted in the legislation.

Local Income Tax
Then there was the issue of the SNP’s election manifesto pledge on local government finance. The Local Income Tax was a policy which was very popular with an electorate clearly disgruntled with the current Council Tax system. Ordinary people would have been the big financial beneficiaries of a system of tax based on income and ability to pay but Labour rallied their allies such as the STUC against it despite offering no alternative. Labour now plan to bring in a property-based tax but with only months before the next Holyrood elections they have no concrete plans of their own. Big business and related organizations were also mobilised to help defeat the Local Income Tax. It could still have been passed with the support of the LibDems who have had a local income tax manifesto pledge for decades, but even they refused to back it. Another part of the Scottish Government’s programme was destroyed.

Parliamentary Investigations
Labour and other parties, using their majority in parliament and committees, have called for various enquiries into alleged ministerial misconduct. This has wasted a lot of taxpayers money, bogged the parliamentary system down and nothing has come of the enquiries except for exoneration of the SNP Ministers in question including Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond.

One such example was the ‘Trump Affair’. Donald Trumps’ golf course project may not be to everyone’s taste but accusing Alex Salmond of Ministerial misconduct in respect of the Scottish government approving his planning application was a serious allegation.

The Scottish Parliament’s committees tend to have a majority of MSPs who are not members of the SNP government; these committees are being abused. The committee which investigated the ‘Trump Affair’ was the Local Government Committee and they made the following findings in relation to the First Minister’s involvement:

Committee Report
242. Given a) the controversy already surrounding the proposal, b) the fact the First Minister had never acted in this way on any development in his public life before, c) the fact that the First Minister had no detailed knowledge of the planning process, d) the First Minister maintains he understood he was constrained in what he could he could discuss with the developer, it seems astonishing to accept that the First Minister did not perceive there might be a risk in his actions, that his actions might be open to question and that as a consequence the decision might be open to legal action. The Committee believes that, far from taking a precautionary approach, the First Minister was cavalier in his actions and displayed, at best, exceptionally poor judgement and a worrying lack of awareness about the consequence of his actions.

243. The Committee believes that the Code of Conduct for Members gave Alex Salmond discretion whether or not to meet with the representatives of the Trump Organisation but did not require him to do so.

244. It is the view of the Committee that, far from distancing himself from the proposal, the First Minister's overriding concern - as First Minister - was the charge that Scotland was not open for business. As a result he risked the accusation of Ministerial interference to meet Trump representatives to refute that charge.

245. The issue of perception and the capacity of Alex Salmond to secure access for the developer to the Chief Planner are critical. Mr Salmond reports that he always acted as a constituency member. Despite Mr Mackinnon’s reputation for being willing to meet with MSPs, it stretches credibility to breaking point to suggest that any MSP sitting in a room with any developer could make direct personal contact with the Chief Planner and set up a meeting at 24 hours notice.

246. If that explanation is not credible, then it does expose the First Minister to the charge of behaving in an unwise and inappropriate way.

Any objective analysis of these findings would conclude that this parliamentary committee’s time was being used to concoct media stories based on nothing more than innuendo, and at taxpayers expense. Indeed, the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body, which is ultimately charged with investigating such matters found that no improper ministerial conduct took place. Other such investigations have been instigated using up a considerable public resources and parliamentary time, all coming to nothing. It is clear that the parliamentary process is being abused to lend credibility to allegations which are at base, glorified smear campaigns.

Constitutional Crisis
Scotland’s devolved parliament seems to have arrived at a crisis. As minority government seems like the only option for Scotland’s largest party, the SNP, Scotland now faces the real prospect of having a parliament incapable of legislating or functioning in any meaningful way. The wrecking tactics of Labour and to a lesser extent the other opposition parties are causing democratic paralysis.

The unionist parties at Holyrood have shown that they are incapable of being a proper opposition to government. With effective governance hamstrung by this constitutional crisis, the Scottish electorate will wonder what the benefits of having a devolved parliament are. Many will now ask if devolution has failed. However, after so many decades of a home rule struggle, going back to a pre-devolution type arrangement is a non-starter.

The SNP therefore now have the ideal platform to ask the electorate at the forthcoming Holyrood elections for the right to hold an independence referendum in order to unlock this crisis of a dysfunctional parliament. Scotland needs and deserves a functioning government and so this constitutional paralysis must not be allowed to continue any longer.

(1)    http://scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/lgc/reports-08/lgr08-05.htm

[The second part of Scotland versus Britain has been held over until tomorrow]


# cadgers 2010-11-11 07:49
Disgust, sheer disgust! Oh and lots of frustration, will Scotland ever wake up?
# birnie 2010-11-11 11:34
May this please be quoted at every labour politician and supporter whenever the occasion arises:
"EVERY DAY IN HOLYROOD YOUR MSPs ARE WORKING TO EXPOSE THE FAILINGS OF THE SNP. IN THE CHAMBER AND COMMITTEES THE LABOUR GROUP HAS HARRIED, HOUNDED AND HAMSTRUNG SNP MINISTERS. I WANT TO THANK EVERY ONE OF OUR LABOUR MSPs FOR THEIR WORK OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS" - Iain Gray addressing the Oban conference. This totally negative and destructive impetus is the whole raison d'etre for the obscenely mis-named "Scottish" labour party. Every letter-box in Scotland should have a card with this message pushed through it.
# jennylee 2010-11-14 19:44
Why do we treat Smoking as though it's the most dangerous drug on our shores? Drink and heroin cause this country so much more money and heartache than smoking will ever do...you never hear of someone at casualty having being, beat up, stabbed or worse because someone had more than 20 fags that day and attacked them. Smoking doesn't tear families apart the way the others do, yet we have turned smoking and smokers into the lepers we should be labelling to drink and drugs!!! Wake up
# robbie 2010-11-11 07:51
Well ,labour have done it again.
A no vote out of pure spite and hatred for the SNP.
Jackie Baillie is a digrace
Richard Simpson (alleged Doctor)is a disgrace.
Elmer is a useless Fudd and a disgrace.

Shame on the unionist plebs who have let Scotland down again with their pig ignorant attitude, SHAME ON YOU.
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-11 07:56
Would readers be so helpful as to make sure this story gets out? Facebook, twitter, blogs, emails to MSPs etc..

# Marian 2010-11-11 08:11
Put quite simply, Labour see the SNP as a political threat to them because the SNP are what Labour in Scotland should be i.e. a left of centre progressive political party that is not afraid to stand up for what is right no matter what.

The founding fathers of Labour must be turning in their graves when they see the way that Labour has gone to the dogs because of Blair and Brown.
# Moone 2010-11-11 17:33
Indeed, if ground scanning radar were used I believe the first evidence of perpetual motion may be discovered within Keir Hardie's grave.
# springy 2010-11-11 08:35
First, if you want to get the message out then register with sites like the daily Record and post tinyurl links to articles here. Do them on any and all articles including the football articles with a clear message that it is off topic. You can register using a gmail account.

Second, this is a very good article and the highlighting of something that is long overdue. It's been clear for some time that the Unionists at Holyrood are sabotaging governance, they could not get away with this without the help of the media who are all but collaborating.

Richard Simpson was, over the last two days, given more time on the BBC to promote Labour's misinformation than I can ever recall any MSP on any matter. Yet on each and every occasion he was rarely questioned on Labour's own alternatives that would have fallen foul of the reasons they gave for opposing the SNP plans. Jackie Baillie was allowed to openly lie yesterday in the chamber. She was challenged on one occassion by Shona Robison after a visibly shocked Nicola Sturgeon could not believe what the Labour MSP had just said. The deputy presiding officer refused to allow the challenge because Robison had used the word "untruth".

The question now is what are the health professionals, police chiefs and all the other bodies going to do about this de-facto coup, for that is what it is. Unionists have contrived a kind of stalemate that has left Scotland, as the authors of the article say, in paralysis.

Next year's elections won't be democratic, the media will see to that. They will be a sham and we may see a London puppet leader installed as First Minister. With some of the most dishonourable and unprincipled riff-raff any nation has ever seen serving as cabinet ministers. I fear Unionists are (unwittingly?)creating a powder keg that will become apparent after the elections next year. My hope is that the frustration and anger can be chanelled positively and that a referendum on Scotland's future results.
# Robabody 2010-11-11 16:40
"Jackie Baillie was allowed to openly lie yesterday in the chamber. She was challenged on one occassion by Shona Robison after a visibly shocked Nicola Sturgeon could not believe what the Labour MSP had just said. The deputy presiding officer refused to allow the challenge because Robison had used the word "untruth"". So how is an effective challenge made> Clearly we can't have people lying to Parliament as it brings it into disrepute (well Ok more so than it is already). So what's the mechanism, what can be done post event and how can these lies get demolished?. Finally, what is the office of the presiding officer doing about it (three guesses - a word starting with N)?
# chiefy1724 2010-11-11 08:39
I maintain my view that the Parliament and the Welsh Assembly were set up in such a way as to ensure perpetual Lib-Dem/NuLab coalition, and, in the event of Tory Government, retreat to the Celtic Fringes and snipe from the sidelines. The “constitution”, such as it is, was never designed to cope with a minority administration.

It has been clear from Day 1 of this parliament that the Labour Party would sooner gargle with battery acid that work with the SNP towards addressing Scotland’s many problems.

It is clear that Labour in Scotland work only towards their own interests and the interests of the stub remnants of the Stalinist, one-party states of the West of Scotland Councils.

It is clear that there is no depth they will not stoop to, no untruth that they will not tell, no dirty trick that they will not pull, in order to maintain themselves.

The Labour Party in the Scottish parliament is a party of the inept and the inane. A party of the talentless, of people who have never on the whole worked in the Real World, who have made their way through patronage and nepotism and who on the whole would have difficulty running a section in a store, never mind the country. A party who believes in their divine right to govern in much the same way that the Tories believe in England.

A curse as well on the Liberals. Hamstrung now eternally by their coalition with the Tories in Hung Westminster, they have spent three years sulking that they lost their Ministerial Mondeos and have done little to work with the Government for the benefit of this Scotland.

However, there is a brighter side. The refusal of Labour and the Liberal Democrats to work with the Government may be viewed as “brilliant” political tactics. However, it shows the lack of ideas, the paucity of talent, the “opposition for the sake of opposing”, “we don’t know what we want but its not what they want”.

Its starting to be noticed. The people who want to do something, the SNP (and to a certain extent the Greens and Margo) are being hamstrung by the “Opposition”. We are trying to move Scotland forward but we are being held back by the politics of grievance – the grievance being that Labour and the Liberal Democrats are not “in power”.

Let them play their games. Let them try and vote down the Budget. Let them whine and whinny and “demand immediate inquiries”.

They show themselves for what they are. Opposed not “only” to the SNP but opposed to the People of this Scotland.
# brh206 2010-11-11 08:45
Sadly I was not surprised by the oppostition parties refusing to block minimum pricing. The worst part is that this will again be portraid as another SNP blunder by the MSM.

I hope that one day the Scottish public will wake up to what is allegedly being done in their name by Labour and the Condems. Whatever your political view we have got to look at the arrangements for how we are governed, Scotland as a nation is moving away from the tired status quo of the current system. But the problem is the people we need to reach are ones who read the DR and similar whose interests are served by keeping Scotland part of a system that neither promotes the best is us all or wishes to see a Scotland amerge as an a part of the wider world.

Goldie, Scott and Gray should hang their heads in shame today, they have shown themselves to be opportunists of the worst kind. The least about Baillie the better.

What a sad day for Scotland.
# flying haggis 2010-11-11 08:51

Absolute childish, sefish scum!

I cannot wait for the election in May when Labour candidates come knocking at the door. And best of all Iain Grey represents this region.

I will be making sure whoever it is gets a faceful of the most foul abuse ever so that they will very clearly understand exactly how angry I am today!

That has to be the most worthless, arrogant, useless party in Scotland. Absolutely no good whatsoever!
# sid 2010-11-11 09:11
morning ,flying haggis,I agree raging doesn't even cover it.but please don't lower yourself to their standards.
maintain the moral high ground there is none of the rest of them can now touch us it would be more useful to explain to them the error of their ways.
# Hugo 2010-11-11 09:49
Sid's approach is nthe more effective in the long term although I can understand how Flying Haggis feels.
# DJ 2010-11-11 12:22
Should the Labour Party come calling on my door during the election campaign, I will give them hope as a possible voter, hopefully encouraging follow up calls.

Every minute engaging with me is a minute not spent with someone who may actually be considering voting for them.
# Roll_On_2011 2010-11-11 08:55
The problems Scotland has always faced are not from her enemies without, but primarily from her enemies within. Those fifth columnists who would sell Scotland short for 30 pieces of silver, a green seat at Westmidden or a piece of ermine. Until that cycle has been broken Scotland will always remain subjugated by another nation.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-11 09:39
Quoting Roll_On_2011:
The problems Scotland has always faced are not from her enemies without, but primarily from her enemies within. Those fifth columnists who would sell Scotland short for 30 pieces of silver, a green seat at Westmidden or a piece of ermine. Until that cycle has been broken Scotland will always remain subjugated by another nation.

I agree completely with you.

We are all familiar with the fact that Robert Burns in response to the act of union, himself summed it up quite elouently with;

"We're bought and sold for English gold,
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation."

Some in Scotland will do anything including betray their own country, so they can join the massed ranks of 'vermin in ermine'.
# hektorsmum 2010-11-11 11:05
I am totally in agreement with you,300 + years and they are still with us. Stupid, stupid people. What can you say about the Numpties that were hand picked by an arrogant Donald (Father of the Nation)Dewar. They rose to the occasion and sold their country short, again.
# heraldnomore 2010-11-11 09:11
Do I detect an embarrassed silence on the news bulletins this morning? There seems to an attitude of not mentioning this debacle, presumably for fear of public debate damaging those that voted it down.
It was undoubtedly a black day in Scottish politics and the only hope is that those responsible will reap what they have sown come May.
# Jimmy The Pict 2010-11-11 12:47
Noticed it myself too
# Drew1314 2010-11-11 14:38
Nope, the BBC ran it as a positive, the Bill was passed (omitting, conveniently that the major progressive clause was voted down) wheras Border T/V ran the opposite way.
# robbie 2010-11-11 09:28
flying haggis.

At election time I put my (Vote SNP) poster on the window for all to see, the labour mob pass by grunting and snarling, foaming at the mouth ,they sneer and look up with utter disbelief that in a labour braindead stronghold someone has a brain that works.

They dont like it up em.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-11 10:46
Quoting robbie:
flying haggis.

At election time I put my (Vote SNP) poster on the window for all to see, the labour mob pass by grunting and snarling, foaming at the mouth ,they sneer and look up with utter disbelief that in a labour braindead stronghold someone has a brain that works.

They dont like it up em.

Hello Robbie,

I do the same as you, but this time instead of listening to them snarling, I am going to adopt the stance that they are my fellow countrymen who are simply misguided. I didn't always vote SNP and it was simply by living next door to a chap who later became an SNP Councilor that I was able to hear the arguement in another light, other than that projected by Labour. I also voted Labour because my parents voted Labour. I am not an idiot because of this and I won't call anyone else an idiot who is in a similar position. They just need the facts put to them and they'll do the rest. Start engaging with the Labour voters and get them talking. You can't force someone to vote SNP - that's not how it works. A good start would be to ask why they vote Labour in the first place (in a diplomatic way). The rest will follow. It is better to lay a foundation of ideas (gently) so that the person comes to the decision to vote SNP and is convinced that it was their own analytical mind, sifting through the facts that gave them that great idea in the first place.

I like people and people like people that like people. Sorry for that, but it's a saying that I've lived with for years and it works. The people that I like includes the majority of Labour voters - they are still Scotsmen and Scotswomen bless their hearts.

It's easy to adopt an "us and them" stance but it only leads to a hardening of the Labour vote which is what we want to change. They are my mates, my neighbours and my loved ones and I only want to change their minds when they get to the ballot box because I know it'll do them good in the long run.

Good luck Robbie - get us a few new SNP voters and get them to get a few as well.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-11 09:29
This article raises an important point, and it is something which has perhaps been on the minds of others, who peaceably support the restoration of Scottish Independence.

If a substantial part of a population have a legitimate viewpoint, but which is thwarted by clear and blatant media manipulation and interference. Where 'democracy' is not genuine, but a media manipulated sham. Where legitimate Government is thwarted through undemocratic and unconstitutiona l collusion. In such an environment, history across Europe shows us all what the potential consequences can be.

Springy above mentions the possibility of a powder keg being formed by the unconstitutiona l and irresponsible behaviour of the self serving unionist parties, and I think he has a point. Perhaps the point that ALL the unionist parties are missing is that what they do in the Scottish Parliament is NOT a game. They may believe there are no consequences, but gradually over time, REAL societal divisions may form.

That would be a sad day for ALL of Scotland, and something that any right minded person, unionist (are there any?) or nationalist, would not want.

History in Europe has shown us the destructive dead-end where that leads.

We are already seeing something similar with Westminster. Where the LibDems in particular, are perceived as being plain old vanilla flavoured liars regarding tuition fees.

The unionists AND importantly the Scottish media need to quite literally sniff the caffeine and wake up. They are day by day destroying the very country they fraudulently claim to represent and protect.

Let us be clear, there was NO reason whatsoever for Labour, the Libdems or Tories to vote down minimum pricing. None at all.

Indeed Labour could have worked to make some changes, and thereby partly claimed credit for what they had done. But no, destruction was the name of the day.

Those who voted this measure down serve themselves, NOT Scotland.

[In order to avoid any misinterpretati on of the above by conspiracy theorists and distorters of the truth, let me be very clear. I am a democrat and pacifist, and would abhor any deterioration in the fabric of Scottish society. I feel the point I make needs to be aired. I trust nobody will mis-appropriate the point I am making].
# Hugo 2010-11-11 09:58
Quoting Robert Louis:
I trust nobody will mis-appropriate the point I am making.

I hope your trust is not misplaced but I am not optimistic about that.
# GrassyKnollington 2010-11-11 10:07
Now how many days can decently pass before Elmer Fudd feels he can berate the SNP for their "broken promise" on introducing minimum alcohol pricing?

Before you guffaw, remember that's the tactic they adopt with everything they obstruct at Holyrood.

The presentation of this as "another SNP failure" by the dimwitted clowns purporting to be the Scottish media is already underway.
# chiefy1724 2010-11-11 10:34
Its already happening. "Wakey Wakey Jocks" this morning described it as "another failure of an SNP Flagship Policy".

Quite disappointing as Aileen had been showing a bit of backbone in Giving Some to Douglas Alexander and the boy from the NUS.
# Alx1 2010-11-11 12:01
Quoting chiefy1724:
Its already happening. "Wakey Wakey Jocks" this morning described it as "another failure of an SNP Flagship Policy".

Quite disappointing as Aileen had been showing a bit of backbone in Giving Some to Douglas Alexander and the boy from the NUS.

The daily Retard has basically the same headline. Many misguided people who are ignorant of the facts commenting in the comments section, but why does that not surprise me when they read their news from this comic.
On another story in the Retard, regarding the expenses scandal. Jim Devine and his comrades are no longer ‘former Labour MPs’ they are simply described as ‘former Scots MP’ or ‘the former Bury MP’ in fact I don’t think Labour is even mentioned in any part of the whole story!
Disgusting, the way the Retard manipulate the facts.

As for the article above; another excellent analyst of Scotland political scene.
Keep up the good work Alex and Dave.


Well done.

Footnote; could the newsnet team not do an article on Jim Devine & Co on their latest court decision, when you have time, so we can spread the word relentlessly!
# Holebender 2010-11-12 12:33
Please stop using the prejudicial term "retard" to describe that newspaper. The term is generally a derogatory term for people with learning difficulties and has no place in adult discourse.

Try calling it the "Rectum", you'll feel so much better.
# Old Smokey 2010-11-11 10:27
Will be interesting to see what rubbish Gray comes out with on today's FMQ's
# pictishbeastie 2010-11-11 10:27
I've been sober for over 21 years now and feel that this is an absolute act of betrayal of the Scottish people by the Unionists! Those responsible should be held to account when we do achieve independence!
# Robabody 2010-11-11 16:49
"Those responsible should be held to account when we do achieve independence!"

Indeed PB - root and branch
# Barontorc 2010-11-11 10:28
So it has come to pass that what we already knew would happen has punctured the devo dream. Let's take lessons from all of this.

The goodie-bag of devolution was ONLY intended to deflate the independence surge and never to give real power to Scotland - hence the reserved items by Westminster.

I am only one vote - I cannot be more than that - but I can tell others about this charade of democracy, which without being unduly sensationalist, will cause people to die over the coming years.

I have absolutely no respect for the MSM or BBC, nor any respect whatsoever for Labour. I expect the Tories to be as they are - so there is no surprise in that and I cannot for the life of me see any value in a LIbDem vote - it is meaningless and will produce nothing.

I am left to consider a new future with the full panoply of political interests always involved - but and it is a very big BUT - the current political thinking of Labour ,Tory and Libs will not be a part of that future. This is the result of their democratic wrecking - each of them, collectively and singularly are redundant, in a democratic sense finished and with no moral mandate whatsoever.

So, my friends of Scotland, there is a future but the watershed has arrived and the flotsam and jetsam of hopeless wrecking in the name of Scotland is now a morally spent force - their last card has been played in front of the whole world - no matter how poorly it is reported.

Your vote is as important as mine - let's get recruiting for Scotland's future.
# pictishbeastie 2010-11-11 10:45
Let's be honest though,it hardly comes as a surprise! When did the Unionists in general and the Labour Party in particular ever really give a toss about the future of the young people in our schemes! Keep them drunk and keep them malleable and they'll all trot out like good little automatons and put their X in the box they're told to!
# pictishbeastie 2010-11-11 10:47
Or not vote at all,which serves them equally as well!
# hektorsmum 2010-11-11 11:11
Well they were dragging them to the Poll in the GE, I know I had the enervating sight of a youngish woman who had no idea how to vote having to be helped. Lets say she was beyond the age of 18 but had been frightened to the Polls with stories that she would lose her benefit. God help her now, cause the Labour Party will not.
# hektorsmum 2010-11-11 11:09
I am just waiting on, if this rotten bunch actually persuade the Scottish People to vote for them, and I do hope not. I imagine that the Labour Party think that they will bring their version, the new improved one, (yeugh) and they know that the SNP would have to vote it in. Nothing that bunch does will surprise me.
# Richardmci 2010-11-11 11:12
I see another 70 true and proud Scottish patriots have signed this B.B.C. POLL...

# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-11 12:12
Quoting Richardmci:
I see another 70 true and proud Scottish patriots have signed this B.B.C. POLL...


Hello Richardmci,

I know it looks good but how does the poll actually help us? You see I know that 90% of Scots don't want independence yet and in my mind that doesn't make it very useful. The BBC aren't goint to use it either and I signed it as a patriotic act knowing that it was skewed at the time.

You see, the majority of my older family are staunch unionists living in the East end of Glasgow and it would take nothing short of the instant resignation of all the major players in the Labour party to get them to vote any other way. I still love them, they are, after all, my flesh and blood. I keep laying the facts (subtly) in front of them and hope that one day they'll start to see a different path. If I thought that pointing them towards the BBC Poll would help convince them, I would ensure that they all saw it, one way or another but I know that they would say "The only people taking part in that poll are people wanting independence".

So, as you can see, I need real strong arguments with real flesh on the bones. The BBC Poll may not be helpful in winning our or my cause bcause it is so obviously skewed towards the independence end. I would however, dearly love it to be right.
# Richardmci 2010-11-11 14:22
The reason I post that link is because it's illustrative of the feelings of the Scottish people and it shows a Scotland wide support for Independence.

I know it's not a scientific poll but it is a survey of valid Scottish opinion none the less.

In fact it's better than a regular poll because it allows contributers to give their reasons at how they arrived at their dicision.
# macscot 2010-11-11 11:16
as a previously long term labour voter i have assisted nine people to vote snp including one giving up their membership after yesterdays debacle i forsee many more coming on board
# mudfries 2010-11-11 17:55
well done macscot! lots of people are starting to wake up to the fact that scotland doesnt have a labour party, british nu labour - not nu lab anymore (I cant even keep up with what their branding themselves now!) are just red tories, but a lot of people in scotland are STILL being fooled into thinking they are the party of the working class, but it will all unravel for the red torys as more and more people see them for what they are. my own politics are left wing, I want an independant socialist republic, In that order! I dont know of any political system that will save the world and and have no faults but I believe that socialism is the one with the most humanity in it, lets look after our people in need and share the profits of our nation for the nations good, I've been an snp member for years now and have heard a broad range of opinion within the party but all agree scotland and its people come first, remember when you vote snp macscot you are doing more than just voting for a political party, you are stating a belief, you are saying you believe in the people of scotland. The unionist partys dont believe in the people and constantly tell them it would be a disaster if they ran their own affairs, they have a really low opinion of the people of scotland! I had a guy from the labour party at my door last week, I said "if england gets its independance before us, what other nation will you ask to run our affairs as your party believes we cant? then I said "I cant vote labour, my politics are to the left". I can still see his face! all the very best to you and yours macscot and keep up the good work, talk to as many people as you can my friend.
# Drew1314 2010-11-11 19:39
To “Mudfries”

Yep, all are welcome into the fold even a wee ex tory like me!
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-11 11:19
The only way to get what we want is to ensure that SNP get voted back into power in the next election.

Have SNP lost any ground? Or have they shown that even in the most impossible situation of working as a minority government, they can still govern effectively. I think that this speaks volumes when it comes to the high credentials of the SNP government.

My main worry is that even though SNP have not lost any ground, we constantly need new blood and fresh enthusiasm for Scottish Independence. I fear that this isn't happening fast enough. Young people are very quick to put Scotland down when challenged and they need a change of mind in order to "back" the country that the majority of them will live in for the rest of their lives.

Perhaps what we should adopt is a degree of transformationa l leadership in our own homes. Start talking "up" Scotland, our great nation and talk about how much better it could be if we had independence.

The alcohol pricing thing was always going to fail because Labour set it up as an "us and them" argument. Why are we surprised? The really laughable thing about it is that if Labour form the next Scottish government, they'll probably adopt minimum pricing anyway, saying that they weren't entirely against the idea in the first place.

We need to get the message out to everyone who can help get SNP elected in May - time is running out. Do you want "The London Labour Party" to run Scottish affairs in tune with Westminster and to the detriment of Scotland?

Time to spread the word......
# pictishbeastie 2010-11-11 11:25
Absolutely,and we need to get the likes of Frankie Boyle to shut up!
# RandomScot 2010-11-11 11:38
Quoting pictishbeastie:
Absolutely,and we need to get the likes of Frankie Boyle to shut up!

Hell yeah. Taking cheap shots at Scots for an English audience is a long standing tradition we could well do without.
# clachangowk 2010-11-11 14:11
This doesn't bother me. If it encourages middle England to think that they are better off without Scotland, then roll on independent England
# Holebender 2010-11-12 12:55
Can't agree. We need Scotland to become independent because Scotland's population wants it.

I've had enough of everything happening in Scotland because of decisions made in England so what does it say about us if even our independence happens because of a decision made in England?
# oldnat 2010-11-11 11:34
The Herald is quite unbelievable.

"The Scottish Parliament has been condemned for missing a “historic opportunity” to tackle the nation’s problem with alcohol after MSPs rejected Government plans to set a minimum price.

Health groups criticised ministers for failing to take a decision to make Scotland a world leader in tackling alcohol problems."

# RandomScot 2010-11-11 11:43
The Herald Article IS open for comments
# RandomScot 2010-11-11 12:40
Odd, this statement on the BWB site has been referred.

Decidely strange
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-11 11:40
This is one of the best posts that I have read so far.....

Well done Macscot, you are a wonderful inspirational Scot!!!

" # macscot 2010-11-11 11:16
as a previously long term labour voter i have assisted nine people to vote snp including one giving up their membership after yesterdays debacle i forsee many more coming on board "
Now if those nine people could assist another nine people each and so on - Macscot would be personally responsible for starting a voting avalanche.

Macscot, I salute you. You are doing what we all should be doing. Posting and protesting is right and proper but it doesn't get SNP elected next May. Lets all take a leaf out of Macscot's book.
# Moridura 2010-11-11 11:41
Congratulations to Alex Porter and Dave Taylor for this - it alone would make visiting Newsnet Scotland worthwhile.
# oldnat 2010-11-11 11:44
"The Scottish media, with their vital role of scrutinising the activities of the powerful, still seem too close to the powerful themselves." (Kenneth Roy)

# RandomScot 2010-11-11 11:45

if one were to attempt to maintain doubt about ones identity, one should NOT make the same identical post to two sites, under different names when one is persona non grata at the other ;)
# oldnat 2010-11-11 12:05
I've noticed that I've occasionally had my posts plagiarised by that person before! :-)
# RandomScot 2010-11-11 12:13
Of course, silly me.

Never fear, I will hot foot it to the other place and report them for breaking House Rules as a vile plagiarist!
Maybe not
# oldnat 2010-11-11 12:53
I see that the Beeb referred your comment that simply read "The Herald Article is open for comments."
# Roll_On_2011 2010-11-11 13:05
Quoting oldnat:
I've noticed that I've occasionally had my posts plagiarised by that person before! :-)

Aye I have noticed that too. That person appears to be nearly as good as you. Note I said nearly!

But there again - We don't all agree on everything. I don't agree with myself on everything.
# oldnat 2010-11-11 13:12
# oldnat 2010-11-11 12:06
The text of Nicola's speech re opposition tactics is worth re-reading.

However, inside the Parliament, we have an obstinate refusal to listen. Opposition members have the mentality that they are right and everyone else is wrong, even though each and every single argument that they have made against the policy has been answered. First, they said that the policy would not be legal—that was until we laid out in detail why it is legal. Then they said that it would hit low-income and responsible drinkers, until we produced research that showed that it would not and that the policy is a targeted policy that would hit low-price, high-strength products and those who drink harmfully.

Next, they said that it would increase supermarket profits. They were knowingly misrepresenting the figures but, even so, we suggested that we work together to use the social responsibility levy to claw back increased revenue for reinvestment in our services. Then they said, “Well, there are better ways of doing it,” but they failed completely to come up with a single credible alternative to minimum pricing that we have the power to do or that the United Kingdom Government has shown any inclination to do. In many ways, that last argument is the worst, because it says, “Yes, we know there’s a problem and yes we have the power to act, but we’d rather leave it to someone else to sort out.” That is a complete abdication of responsibility and not what the Parliament was set up to do.

One by one, the arguments fell away, which took us to the last and most despairing of all: no one has ever tried it before. Frankly, that is an argument for doing nothing new about anything, ever. Even faced with that, we offered compromise. We said that we would introduce a sunset clause and allow the policy to be tested. If we are right, it can continue; if the Opposition is right, it will not. That is a sensible compromise suggestion, but there was still a refusal to budge.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2010-11-11 12:23
Nicola herself is a shrewd operator and should be commended for her statesmanship when dealing with the London Labour Party. She has shown, in graphic detail that they are totally intransigent even when it comes to voting with SNP on matters that may instantly benefit their own families.

The only way to win for everybody's sake is to win the May election with a good majority. Then the motion can be tabled again with possibly different results.
# Edzell Blue 2010-11-11 12:41
The libdems were right to vote against the LIT as proposed by the SNP because it did not meet their requirements as set out in their manifesto. I do not think that a blanket 3% tax on earnings (savings were to be excluded) was the correct way to go because this would have removed local accountability and just moved money from thrifty councils to the spendthrift ones. The correct way to go is the libdem way where each council sets their own rate and if it is to be a LIT then all INCOME is included. The problem with this way is the lack of power by the Scottish Government to introduce anything other than a fixed rate income tax across the whole country, we need FFA to move forward with this.

I agree with the rest of the article apart from the fact that it was Blair who was the PM who refused to phone Alex Salmond.
# Jimmy The Pict 2010-11-11 13:01
Confusion here as Tony Blair resigned on 10 May 2007, Gordon Brown was appointed PM in June 2007, but as the deputy PM also resigned I believe it would fall to Gordon Brown as acting PM to perform the duties of the PM. in my opinion.
# Jimmy The Pict 2010-11-11 13:05
And the election of the First Minister took place on the 16th May
# oldnat 2010-11-11 13:20
The correction is correct. Blair announced his intention to resign on 10 May. His resignation didn't take place until 27 June. Missed that!

(Dave Taylor)
# velofello 2010-11-11 13:05
Barontorc has hit on an excellent concise expression DEMOCRATIC WRECKERS - who is the poster/sticker maker out there? Possible sale via Mewsnet shop?
# Jimmy The Pict 2010-11-11 13:08
Democracy Wreckers would be better, democratic wreckers sounds like we voted for them to wreck and I know I didn't.
# Jimmy The Pict 2010-11-11 13:11
vote for them, at all, ever.
# rgweir 2010-11-11 13:12
I have said this before and got pelters for it,but i will say it again.
There is a good chance of labour winning in may for the following reasons.
(1)the majority of voters in scotland are ignorant(poliit icaly)
(2)the media will spew out lies and spin to these same people who because of their ignorance(polit icaly)will take it as fact.
I spent many an election knocking on doors so i know what i am talking about.
if i had a pond for every time i heard the words,,BUT I HAVE ALWAYS VOTED LABOUR,,i would be a very wealthy man.
I expect i will see posts saying that i should be talking to the labour voters,giving them the facts,talking them round,been there and done that,IT DOES NOT WORK.
I believe that the biggest obstacle facing the snp govt is the media,they are experts in propaganda.
the people of scotland will never change their voting habits until they are educated(poliic aly)and are given the facts by a media that does not have an agenda.
i will finish with this,i think in years to come the only way that scotland will be able to become an idependent nation again will be to declare UDI.
I will now await the pelters that i am sure will come my way.
# Jimmy The Pict 2010-11-11 13:15
Not going to pelt you cause you could be correct, but I will also not let it daunt me in my pursuit of an independent Scotland.
# rgweir 2010-11-11 13:19
Thank you jimmy.
# Seagetagrip 2010-11-11 13:38
Re Devine and co. Their attempts to avoid justice in a court of law were funded out of the public purse i.e. legal aid. The bill was hundreds of thousands in legal fees. Maybe somebody can find out how much?
# Grenscot 2010-11-11 14:46
Is it just my imagination or has Labour now gone too far and is now losing the support of the mainstream media. Reporting seems to be getting more even handed. When did you last see a headline saying "SNP accused"?

Newsnight Scotland last night gave Nicola the floor to have her say and she clearly had the support of the editor of the Scotsman which is not noted for its support of the SNP
# Old Smokey 2010-11-11 14:54
Yes I did notice the comments by the editor of the Scotsman (nearly fell of my chair)
# Gaavster 2010-11-11 14:59
RE the Scotsman Editor on Newsnicht...

Forbye his opening line where he expressed support for Nicola Sturgeon, he then went on to denigrate the proposal and the SNP... Some support...

As for 'professor' John Curtice...

He is facing up to the fact that his beloved Lib Dems are staring political oblivion in the face in Scotland and as such his 'expert' analysis is best ignored as it is 'tainted'

As for your assertion about Labour losing the support of the MSM, go to a newsagent and pick up any paper of your choice, take it home, turn on the radio and tune in to any radio station and listen to their news bulletin, stick the telly on and tune in to the news on any channel and sit down read, watch and/or listen...

Then come back and tell us that things have changed...
# Training Day 2010-11-11 15:08
There is no change in the MSM support for Labour - vis yesterday's Good morning Scotland.. a vox pop was conducted in Dumfries on the subject of minimum pricing. Those opposed to the idea were uninterrupted in the expression of their views, save for one occasion where the reporter reinforced that opposition by saying 'so you think minimum pricing is wrong?' Those in favour were met on two occasions with 'I suppose the counter argument (to minimum pricing) is.. '. That is how insidious the bias is.
# clachangowk 2010-11-11 15:05
What struck me was a lack of enthusiasm on Brewer's part to go for Nicola. I think he must slowly be getting tired of supporting the unsupportable
# Robabody 2010-11-11 17:37
Or it may be Mike Russell's swift kick to Mr B's proverbials has caused him to be a little more careful
# loveme2times 2010-11-11 15:02
The Super Scottish soaraway Sun Says:

FANCY a two-for-one beer deal to watch the footy with your mates and you can forget it.
But if you're up for beef roulades with a nice bottle of Chardonnay from Marks, you're sorted.

That's the kind of muddled result the Scottish Government's watered-down Alcohol Bill has produced.

No solid plan to tackle the country's booze culture. No crackdown on the out-their-heads yobs who turn our streets into battlegrounds.

Just a half-hearted, slimmed-down curb on cheap booze offers - unless it goes with posh grub, of course - and a levy on landlords.

We have never been convinced by minimum pricing.

Aside from interfering with the free market, it's too much of a catch-all that hits responsible drinkers.

But at least it was a plan. Doing nothing is not an alternative.

Rival parties have done little to convince us their opposition is as much to do with the fact it was the other guy's idea than serious conviction.
In the meantime, Scotland is left with a hangover that won't go away.
# loveme2times 2010-11-11 15:08
Can I just say well done Malcolm Chisholm.

From the Herald - One Labour MSP, former health minister Malcolm Chisholm, broke ranks to support minimum pricing.
# Gaavster 2010-11-11 15:30
Hear hear

Does anyone else think that he is biding his time before 'crossing the floor', perhaps to inflict maximum damage pre-election time?
# Training Day 2010-11-11 15:36
No. Remember the vilification handed out to Dick Douglas by, amongst others, the 'Father of the Nation'. Does Chisholm want/need that?
# Gaavster 2010-11-11 15:46
Compared to the reception that he is probably receiving at the moment for breaking rank?

Chisholm doesnt strike me as someone who is easily intimidated...

The current 'Father (Guardian)of the Nation', is of a different hue and would welcome Chisholm in my opinion, given that he has 'form' and tends to vote on matters of principle, not along party lines...
# Training Day 2010-11-11 16:04
Nowt compared to what Douglas got, Gaavster - I well remember Dewar being allowed free rein on TV (the BBC, natch) to imply that Douglas had suffered some form of mental breakdown in deciding to join the SNP...nasty stuff..
# Gaavster 2010-11-11 17:19
The thought of Iain Gray 'savaging' anybody, well.....

We'll wait'n'see what happens TD :)
# J Wil 2010-11-11 15:24
I wouldn't be surprised if Gordon Brown was pulling Iain Gray's strings on this.

There must be some shame among the opposition ranks about the mischief they are up to. I noticed, not for the first time, that the Labour Party are like a pack of nodding dogs in support of their leader at FMQs. It looks so ridiculous.

It's not surprising that the media are attacking the SNP in the way they do. When independence comes the whole self-serving, cosy edifice of the Scottish media will come down on their heads.
# Richardmci 2010-11-11 15:42

38Degrees have given a status for the "Media Bias" campaign to "under review".
# Drew1314 2010-11-11 15:47
The posturing of Labour, the Conservatives, and the Lib/Dems in Holyrood is quite risible and full of hypocrisy. They say they (the aforementioned parties) put the Scottish people first. Rubbish, they put their own political survival first and foremost. They pander to the vulnerable voters, who, although it may be through circumstances and not of their own making, see the rhetoric spouted By Iain Gray and Jackie Ballie and believe that the SNP are against the less fortunate in society. Yet the opposite is the case. However they (Labour) managed to divert attentions from their own inadequacies by effectively putting most of Scot’s drinking ails essentially down to one “product”.
In my view, there are comparisons with the Megrahi case here, methinks. Against bitter opposition and despite what would be perceived as an outrageous decision by many, K. Macaskill, made a decision which in my view was correct. He was supported by his party. Here again, with the minimum pricing clause, a historic opportunity was missed, where Scotland could have led the world. Short-sightedness and self-interest seems to be the current attitude of the Westminster based parties.

No, the S N P do not hold all the moral cards, however, they speak more for the conscience of the nation than most of the other Holyrood parties do. As for Westminster, well that’s a “busted flush“.


Off topic/ and as an aside.

Not long since I watched today’s F.M.Q’s. and is it me or does Alex Salmond chew up Iain Gray and spit him out in wee bits.
Then Brian Taylor (in my opinion, a disgrace to the journalistic profession) interviewed Robert Dinwoodie of The Herald and the leading questions from Taylor to Dinwoodie were laughable and more pertinently, biased . His opening remark “Good stuff from Iain Gray, wasn’t it , really”. TOSH! There were no bigger users of consultancy firms than Westminster Labour, the last Scottish Labour administration down to the old Labour controlled Dumfries & Galloway Council. The current Local Council is not much better.

To me, F.M.Q’s today proved why Elmer warrants the surname to match. (old meaning applicable).
# mudfries 2010-11-11 18:16
Aye, thats true drew, salmond really shows ian grey up everytime at F.M.Q's, its always great fun to watch wee eck throw him aboot like an empty boiler suite!! maybe thats why the bbc are talking of ending the coverage of the scottish parliament, they dont want people to see "their" party's leader get chewed up and spat out by a better man, but I'm sure the unionist media could spin even this, I can see the headline now! "Salmond to blame as hollyrood cleaners paid off!" - "Salmond admits wiping the floor with ian grey every week!"
# J Wil 2010-11-11 19:12
When are BBC Scotland going to allow us to hear the start of FMQs? They always miss part of the first question. Brian's verbiage and the comments of their man in the chamber are unnecessary?

We could do without the roundup at the end too. It just there to treat the SNP as a political football. I would much rather hear the whole of FMQs. This is what happens when they show Prime Ministers Questions on Andrew Neil's programme. Scotland is being short changed once again.
# Richardmci 2010-11-11 19:30
J Wil,

You could always watch FMQ'S on Holyrood T.V.

# call me dave 2010-11-11 20:49
Thanks Richardmci for the link
Downloaded fire fox and its working fine.
Look forward to my new media option
# Richardmci 2010-11-11 21:07
Nae probs!
# Seagetagrip 2010-11-11 16:26
10/11/10. That is how I will remember the day on which a piece of political vandalism or worse took place.
It was akin to the three opposition party leaders standing on a pier head with a drowning man in the water and arguing about the price of the lifebelt, deciding it was too expensive and walking away.
Yes 10/11/10
# Legerwood 2010-11-11 16:53
Re: Trumpgate.

This was very much Jack McConnel's project and I believe he was investigated over his behaviour with regard to 'helping' Mr Trump. Cannot remember the outcome but suggests that the complaint against Alec Salmond was a tit-for-tat affair.
# exel 2010-11-11 17:38
I have agreed with almost your entire (excellent) article that is until the last paragraph.
The SNP have had a platform to ask the electorate for the right to hold an independence referendum, since the creation of the Scottish Assembly (now the Scottish Parliament) and have not done so. Why? Because they are a devolved arm of the UK parliament, operating under rules of that parliament.

The Problem with the UK Political System, as it presently stands. Is that it is an evolved, unwritten non codified constitution. The system has been hi-jacked by the PARTIES, unionist, nationalist and everything in between. It holds parliament as sovereign, not the people. The present system of party whips forcing MPs to vote along party lines distorts democracy and gives excessive power to the parties. This system is broken and is no longer fit for purpose.

Scottish independence is a political ambition of political parties, advocacy groups and individuals for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom (The Union) and become a sovereign state, separate from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

To achieve a mandate to secede, under the present system, a political party would have to convince a substantial majority of the Scottish electorate, that what they are offering is a fit for purpose system of government for the 21st. century. In other words a written codified Scottish Constitution.
# Seagetagrip 2010-11-11 17:57
To answer my own question, according to the Herald, court costs to date for Devine and his cronies are about £1Million and they are claiming legal aid!
# colin8652 2010-11-11 18:17
been off line due to work over the last few days. just wanted to register my disgust at the self serving attitude of the labour party ( north British branch) they are traitors to Scotland "simples"
# rgweir 2010-11-11 18:35
Thanks mudfries,your last comment had me spilling my coffee,first class.
# wee folding bike 2010-11-11 19:21
You see how dangerous coffee is.

And to think people laughed at Jackie Baillie.
# Drew1314 2010-11-11 19:33
Aye coffee is dangerous, alas so is Jackie Baillie, mind you I had a laugh watching her at F.M.Q’s - she laughed and the dug ran away!
# Richardmci 2010-11-11 18:51
Now 91% support for the proposition with 1377 votes, thats 51 more since I last posted on the subject.

# enneffess 2010-11-11 19:29
I do not agree that this forms the basis of a constitutional crisis. Deomcracy allows for the opposition to vote as they please.


From a very reliable source in Holyrood:

Many Labour MSPs wanted to at least trial minimum pricing, but were stopped from supporting the bill. Orders came from on high that they must support ms Baillie.

Now, while you can rightly argue that these MSPs may be spineless, you also have to consider what would be the consequences to them had they voted with the Scottish Government.

If Labour lose next year, Gray is finished. That might just leave the door open for a more politically mature politician to step in and work for Scotland rather than Big Ed down in London.

While party discipline is important, the good of the country comes first. About time the Labour leadership learned this.
# oldnat 2010-11-11 20:02
There is a valid argument to be made that paralysis isn't a crisis - for the Union. After all the devolved settlement was designed to produce exactly that.

However, for Scotland, every example where the Unionist parties combine to limit the ambitions of Scots is a crisis.

A good analogy would be the abusive partner who never uses violence, but constantly drives down their partner's self-esteem to the point that they actually accept that they are worthless.
# enneffess 2010-11-11 21:22
Fair point. I just get cautious about using the correct descriptives. "Constitutional crisis" normally refers to an extremely serious political issue which can have massive damaging effects to the country. Knocking back policy after policy, however immature and distasteful, doesn't really come to that.

What is becoming apparent to the public is that Labour appears to be against all SNP policies regardless. Thank god Sturgeon made her comments plain about this.

I'd suggest Labour up here have a crisis on their hands. Expect a bloodbath should they lose in May.
# oldnat 2010-11-11 21:30
"an extremely serious political issue which can have massive damaging effects to the country"

That was actually my point. As often, we aren't that far apart, and your description is very accurate of what happened yesterday (and has happened since 2000) if "the country" is Scotland.

Of course, the devolution settlement was only ever concerned with avoiding a constitutional crisis for the UK.
# Robert Louis 2010-11-11 21:18
Sorry enneffess, I know part of what you say is valid, but I take exception to the notion that MSP's who are elected by Scottish voters, cannot be expected to vote in the right way. The poor wee souls.

If ANY of those MSP's who voted with Iain Gray, had even an ounce of integrity they would have voted the correct way.

Malcolm Chisolm did. THERE is a man of integrity. He may have different politics to me, but let's be honest, there is a man who REALLY represents the people of Scotland. He realised the people of Scotland ALWAYS come before Iain Gray, Ed Miliband, Jackie Baillie or even Alex Salmond.

The rest of the labour bunch are a varied assortment of spineless quislings.

MSP's are elected to serve the people of Scotland. They are NOT elected to serve Labour, Libdems, tory OR the SNP.

In fact, let me state this quite clearly, those Labour MSP's who 'really wanted to vote with the SNP, but were feart', are the worst. They KNOW they were doing the wrong thing for Scotland, yet they voted in the wrong way.

They are meant to serve the people of Scotland, yet instead they serve themselves.

So, I'm sorry, but telling people after the event, that really honestly, you would have voted the other way is just b*ll.

Lame excuses from a bunch of spineless, lame, pathetic individuals of the very, very worst cringing kind.

Rant over.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 21:23
A Panda's take on it.

# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 21:25
In fact, let me state this quite clearly, those Labour MSP's who 'really wanted to vote with the SNP, but were feart', are the worst. They KNOW they were doing the wrong thing for Scotland, yet they voted in the wrong way.

They are the ones who could be induced to jump ship?

Wine, women, men even, and video evidence is all we need.
# Gill 2010-11-14 21:05
Well ranted Robert! You are absolutely correct.
# oldnat 2010-11-11 21:42
I know your source, and am in no way surprised by what s/he/they suggest. I have never been one to suggest that all Labour MSPs are cloned Brits (though some clearly are). Others, however, know that the hierarchy would deselect them if they stepped out of line (and don't fancy being unemployed and cleaning graffiti under the new regime in London).

Malcolm Chisholm is interesting, however. At a guess, at the age of 61, he is pretty well bomb proof. Others would be as well, but lack his honesty.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 21:43
They need to form their own party
# oldnat 2010-11-11 21:54
Exactly! The Catalans have the benefit of understanding that politics is multi-dimensional. There are right and left wing parties representing both the Catalan and Spanish positions.
# Legerwood 2010-11-11 22:06
# oldnat 2010-11-11 21:42 wrote:
"... Others, however, know that the hierarchy would deselect them if they stepped out of line (and don't fancy being unemployed and cleaning graffiti under the new regime in London)."

As the Labour hierarchy did to Dennis Canavan but the people of Falkirk would have none of it and voted him back in. So maybe those MSPs should have taken him as an example and voted on principle and trusted the people to vote them in again. But on the otherhand none of them are of the stature or worth of a Dennis Canavan.
# westender 2010-11-11 19:48
I see from Teletext that Trinity Mirror's share price has lost 16p down from £1.04 to 88p.It was not that long ago that the shares were worth £7.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 19:55

When you say that the orders came from on high, would that have been on high downsarf, or on high from Iain Grey.

If it were from Iain Grey for him to be deemed on high, would mean that the rest of the Holyrood Labour Group must be down a bloody deep hole.

It is all relative
# enneffess 2010-11-11 21:18
The orders almost certainly came from dawnsath (!), but of course the whips will be Labour MSPs up here.

From what I gather a number are starting to despair with their "leadership" up here. Perhaps they might welcome Gorgeous George back into their fold. After all, Red Ken got back in.

I'd suggest sealing one or two of them down a deep hole anyway. I believe there is a vacant lot in South America.......
# oldnat 2010-11-11 21:58
"Perhaps they might welcome Gorgeous George back into their fold" - except that the entire basis of BritLab is that only numpties are allowed to represent SLAB in the SP (OK some slipped through their incompetence filter).

Galloway is far too good a debater (whatever his other faults may be) to be allowed to show up how poor Labour are.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 22:01
Independent Scottish Labour Party of 1, to start with and then 6-8 to leave London Labour and take the Independence Labour Whip?
# oldnat 2010-11-11 22:02
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-11 20:02
Great article on Independent Women by the excellent Bella Caledonia team: bellacaledonia.org.uk/.../...

Please email, facebook, twitter and so on..
# rgweir 2010-11-11 21:26
Chisolm is a man i could have a coffee with,my memory is going a bit(bloody old age)but is this not the second time that he has voted against his party?
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 21:44
Sharing caffeine with a Labour man.

I must tell the fragrant Jackie with the ploomy mooth.
# wee folding bike 2010-11-11 21:29
He's better than the rest but don't forget this:


Malcolm Chisholm said: “Once the SNP had accepted the decision of parliament, they should have been managing the project. It seems to me, because they were not keen, they washed their hands of it.
# Legerwood 2010-11-13 14:40
I think there could be something in what Mr Chisolm has said and it would be a point of view that could be used more widely by others to attack the SNP government on this issue. So he has done them a favour in a round about sort of way by alerting them to this and so they had better get their answers in place.

To that end they might do well to read the article on the trams project in the Scottish Review of Books issued with today's Herald. "The route to nowhere" by George Rosie.

One of the interesting bits of information in it was how far along the project was and how much money had actually been spent and contracts signed BEFORE it had finally got the go-ahead from Edinburgh City Council or the Scottish Parliament.

A further important point from the article was to the effect that a lot of people blame the Scottish Government for the debacle not realising that the SNP had voted against it. So the SNP have some work to do to there.
# rgweir 2010-11-11 21:36
If labour lose in may,even by one seat you can expect to see the carpets at labour HQ soaked in blood.
Here is one to ponder,
labour lose in may.
galloway gets in.
would galloway be able to cross the floor so to speak and join the labour group in holyrood and try to topple gray?
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 21:42
Galloway would be the SNP's Trojan Horse.

He could split the Labour vote in WC Scotland if he got in and took 6 or 8 sitting labour members to him, once they see which way the wind is blowing.
# rgweir 2010-11-11 21:46
If you are saying panda that george could take a hanfull from labour to join his party it is one of the options that i had not thought of,mmmmmmm/
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 21:58
Think dirty, think Glasgow
# oldnat 2010-11-11 22:01
But Galloway wouldn't be any better for Scotland. Remember he is a dyed-in-the-wool Brit.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 22:03
He is for himself an could, if the money was right, have a Damascene moment?
# Soloman 2010-11-11 22:03
It's time that any one who can, calls Radio Scotland chat shows e.g Call Kaye.
When you call give the research team the impression that you want to talk about the subject and once live on air let rip about the scandal of mis information and also to report live on air topics that the Scottish media do not report.
# rgweir 2010-11-11 22:04
Another one to ponder.
galloway as labour leader.
Salmond as first minister.
Who would brian taylor be praising in his report after FMQs?
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 22:06
His belt and braces pension fund
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-11 22:08
Luvd your blog name idea: Belt, bootstraps and braces for Britain.

That got the best laugh here in Madrid.
# rgweir 2010-11-11 22:07
I thought george was taning as respect candidate,,not indi-labour.
# oldnat 2010-11-11 22:09
It was Tommy that was "tan[n]ing"! :-)
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-11 22:10
Is Newsnet categorised as a blog? I think that might be important. What should we want to be categorised as. Seriously?
# oldnat 2010-11-11 22:13
Who does the categorisation?

People post on a number of news sites. Some are reputable like the New York Times - then there's the Beeb!

All are, however, news sites primarily, like this one.
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-11 22:15
Someone who is very bright told me it is a blog and that that is a problem..
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-11 22:17
Oldnat, do you fancy writing a wikipedia entry for Newsnet Scotland?
# oldnat 2010-11-11 22:36
I wouldn't know how!
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 22:18

It is not a problem, it is a start.
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-11 22:21
Got you Panda but I think it effects how we get referenced. To go mainstream I think we would have to be firmly in the news category.

We need deeper foundations..
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 22:24
a propos referenced, we don't need to be too concerned; later perhaps.
# ScotlandUnspun 2010-11-11 22:28
here's something to chew over:

# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 22:45
I was one of the very few people to actually hear the broadcast live.

I was listening on my computer in my garret in gascony with the sound lowish.

I actually feel off my seat when Deech said what she did.

If my memory is right, it was towards the end of the programme. There was no run up to her saying it and she just threw it in from nowhere.

It was as if she had to say it. I don't mean from his heart but that she had been primed to do so by someone.

Was it the producer of her handler?

I have also met her once in Oxford and she did say then to me that she was half Scottish but, that was just to patronise me in the College grounds when I was with my daughter.

I think she fancied me.
# cynicalHighlander 2010-11-11 22:57
Quoting Bugger the Panda:
I think she fancied me.

You are rather cute.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 22:59
That is red Panda.

I am the Full Monty
# Albamac 2010-11-11 23:24
Quoting Bugger the Panda:
I am the Full Monty

Is that peely wally pink? :)
# oldnat 2010-11-11 22:29
But what is "a blog"? My understanding is that that meant a site where an individual (perhaps as an employee of an organisation) posted a thread and invites comments (or not).

A news site publishes articles and stories and invites comments (or not).

The ICT revolution has transformed the old terminology.
# oldnat 2010-11-11 23:34
I suggest that you tell them to read beyond the articles appearing on the "Home" section - which is where most of the comments appear.

There are many other articles which I read, but don't comment on. That there so many articles with 0-3 comments demonstrates that it is a news site.
# Roll_On_2011 2010-11-11 22:11
Quoting rgweir:
Chisolm is a man i could have a coffee with,my memory is going a bit(bloody old age)but is this not the second time that he has voted against his party?

Aye he voted for the compassionate release of Al Magrahi last year, against his own party.
# exel 2010-11-11 22:33
No more EMAILS Thank you
# 1scot 2010-11-11 22:52
Watching question time with the racist Douglas Murray, so much for the respect from the EBC.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 22:55
The BBC, QT and Dimbleby are realling just taking the pish now. No semblance of balance or conforming to their Charter.

I Dimbeby looking to get out of his contract with the BBC after they moved his show to Glasgow?
# J Wil 2010-11-11 23:32
Does Question Time have any significance in the great scheme of things?

It ranks with, You've Been Framed, The X factor, or a Disney cartoon. It's only entertainment, no more and no less and pretty poor entertainment at that. Same old faces same old politicians spinning the same old lies and jockeying for the benefit of their own career.
# J Wil 2010-11-12 10:43
People, like Murray, who mock Scotland and the Scots, would not have the guts to do the same with the Irish or Islamists. They are total hypocrits. On the other hand, it doesn't say much for many Scots who just lie back, accept it and say nothing.
# Albamac 2010-11-11 22:52
These articles match and surpass the best that's available from the MSM. At long last, we have a voice! Keep it up, lads!
# Roll_On_2011 2010-11-11 22:54

Finland, the WHO and alcohol: Solid evidence that price DOES matter

# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 22:58
If Douglas Murray is the love child of Simon Scharma, Simon Scharma has been playing with himself.

This is going to get edited out, for sure.

just couldn't resist it.

[Online Editor - This site values comments and exchanges between posters, however we have strived to encourage posters to make considered and informed posts and implored people not to descend to childish insults.]
# oldnat 2010-11-11 23:03
Glad I read it before it does! :-)
# Albamac 2010-11-11 23:17
I've just been edited out of BWB. On my last visit I was greeted by a pop-up, inviting me to take part in a short survey. I did so and urged others to follow suit, so that BBC Scotland would be left in no doubt about what we think they're worth to Scotland.
My post was published, then referred for further consideration and, finally, condemned for breaking the house rules. I can't think why! ;)

Maybe it was this:

Q: Please tell us the main reasons why you are visiting the News Scotland site:

A: To monitor the level of anti-Scottish bias, manipulation, distortion and suppression of news. To gather evidence with which to inform others of BBC Scotland's apparent contempt for Scots and Scotland and to bring an end to the ridiculous law that allows the BBC to demand money with menaces from the general public.

Q: What do you like about the News Scotland site?

A: It condemns itself.

Q: What do you dislike about the News Scotland site?

A: It's existence.
# Roll_On_2011 2010-11-11 23:08
Quoting exel:
No more EMAILS Thank you

Just taking a guess, but I presume you have ticked the box ‘inform me of any responses to this post’ (or words to that effect) when you submitted your comment.

If I am correct then, you can ‘unsubscribe’ in any of the emails you have received.

If I am incorrect can you explain further!
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-11 23:16
Maybe the ghost of Marlene Dietrich?

Just vonts to be alone.
# Holebender 2010-11-12 19:08
That was Greta Garbo!
# J Wil 2010-11-11 23:25
A name to conjure with -
John Caperthwaite

The Scot who brought prosperity to Hong Kong.
# oldnat 2010-11-11 23:42
Don't know the name. Was that back in the years following the First Opium War when the Brits forced China to buy Indian opium because the trade balance was the wrong way round for them - and took Hong Kong in the process?
# J Wil 2010-11-12 10:34
Try looking him up in Wikipedia. He is generally held responsible for setting the conditions that allowed modern day Hong Kong to flourish through low taxes and he is held in reverence in Hong Kong.

Regarding the opium wars. I went recently to an open gardens day at a large estate near Dumfries. I heard later that their money had come from the opium trade and that the Olympic rower Mathew Pinsent was related to the family!!

The Chinese weren't too happy about their people being exploited but they wouldn't give up on the opium trade entirely because the taxes it produced kept the local economy going. The opium smoking dens were closed, but the Chinese could still buy opium from legitimate shops.
# Bugger the Panda 2010-11-12 19:15
Whatever, some Nordic type
# exel 2010-11-11 23:41
I did and the rubbish kept coming
# David Lyon 2010-11-12 08:58
It's difficult to help you without knowing which "rubbish" you're refering to.
# enneffess 2010-11-12 00:01
I mentioned Galloway half jokingly. Now I'm looking at it a bit more seriously.

I cannot stand the man, but as a debater he is probably the best there is in the UK at present. He demolished the Senate.

I doubt he will ever gain enough followers to seriously challenge the SNP, and to be honest I don't think his policies will sit well with most Labour voters anyway. He will probably get his main support from the remains of the SSP, which has self-destructed.

But I would love to see him head to head with Salmond.
# Richardmci 2010-11-12 00:15
Nevermind Question Time did you see this...


Start digging up the garden and plant tatties!!!

Or start following the remedy?
# Robabody 2010-11-12 17:33
Yes Richard - very frightening. A pile of £50 notes six and a half thousand miles high, quite a thought. That's why, on other stories, I keep trying to tell labour it's my money and I don't want to give them any more - ok Mr Gray!.
# Gill 2010-11-12 00:37
newsnet - a sign-in link at the bottom of the page please so I when I find myself here (bottom) I don't have to scroll back up 50 or 80 comments to sign in thanks x
# Alx1 2010-11-12 01:30
Quoting Gill:
newsnet - a sign-in link at the bottom of the page please so I when I find myself here (bottom) I don't have to scroll back up 50 or 80 comments to sign in thanks x

Hi Gill,
This was suggested a long time ago, but I think the Online team are very busy.

In the meantime you can use the keys on your key board.

On the far right hand side of your keyboard (lap top) you will see 4 keys in vertical position; Home, Pg Up, Pg Dn & End. Use these!

The 'Home' key will take you right back to the top.
The 'End' key will take you to the bottom and the Pg Up & Pg Dn does what it says on the tin.
Hope it helps.
# Gill 2010-11-12 00:58
QT like most political debate from bbc, it has no bearing in Scotland, health, education... so why listen?
Because we have no alternative
We are not born political, we are born...? empathetic tribal: what's good for the tribe. Some of the tribe don't want to cause a stir. contd. zzz
# Roll_On_2011 2010-11-12 01:49
Quoting exel:
I did and the rubbish kept coming

I have just experimented with the email ‘unsubscribe’ procedure, on this very thread, and it does work.
# StanLaurelsCat 2010-11-12 02:57
The opposition parties at Hollyrood have just abdicated their responsibility to the people of Scotland yet again. Make no mistake, because of their opposition, people will die, succumb to alcoholism, will become victims of violence (perhaps in their own home)lose their jobs and homes and all so that the Pink Tories can feel better about themselves for opposing for the sake of opposing. I hope they feel proud of themselves for inflicting this on the people of Scotland, but it's my belief that they have been shown to be nothing more than chancers to the electorate.
# rgweir 2010-11-12 10:43
Just to let you know enneffess,the ssp are alive and well.
the party may have as you said pressed the self destruct button.
I was an snp member for many years but for reasons that would take too long to go over,i joined the ssp three years ago.
You can take it from me enneffess,we are slowly starting to rebuild for the future.
# enneffess 2010-11-12 19:52
A relative of my wife is a strong SSP activist - so strong we have wonderful debates on taxation!!

But he is passionate about politics, and that is what is needed. While I disagree with many (not all) of the SSP policies, it is good to see that there are alternatives to the main parties.
# DieKaiser 2010-11-12 14:57
Disgraceful state of affairs!

Labour would do well to remember that is was the people of Scotland who voted twice for the creation of the Scottish Parliament; also they should remember that it was the people of Scotland who voted for an SNP Administration; the very same people of Scotland of voted for the SNP Manifesto to represent the changes that Scotland needs and desires!

Labour have acted, not against the SNP, but against the people of Scotland! And for that, they should never be permitted to hold Office it our fine Nation again!

I say to you all, turn up the heat - reach the extra few people who will make the difference in your neighbourhoods, and open their eyes to Labour's betrayal; added together, the 'few' locally will turn into the majority Nationally, and Independence will be delivered!
# J Wil 2010-11-12 15:24
So that it should not pass unsaid I draw the attention of readers to the ITV News report on the student demonstrations in London.

The reporter said "it went from this to this", first showing students carrying Edinburgh university placards (peacefully, it should be said) then switching immediately to scenes of the riots.

Now ITV wouldn't be deliberately trying to place the idea in it's viewers minds that the trouble was all down to these damn Scots again - would they?
# enneffess 2010-11-12 19:49
I think you are getting paranoid here.
# J Wil 2010-11-12 23:34
Just going on past experience.
# baudron 2010-11-13 23:14
Quoting enneffess:
I think you are getting paranoid here.

Just because your paranoid does'nt mean their not out to get you lol
# colin8652 2010-11-12 18:24
sorry to be off topic but just got this guff emailed to me by the bbc no more than a minute ago

The BBC News Editor, has provided the following response to complaints regarding coverage of the SNP Conference:
“Thank you for your correspondence regarding the coverage of the Scottish National Party Conference in Perth. I am afraid we will have to disagree on this occasion.

BBC Scotland and our network colleagues provided extensive coverage of the Conference across radio, television and online, both before the Conference started, covering the Conference live, and in bulletins and programmes after the Conference ended.

Following discussions with all the parties in Scotland more than three years ago, BBC Scotland decided to transfer some of the live television coverage of Conference to our online platform in an attempt to attain a bigger audience for the broadcasts. That meant replacing a two hour television programme by some six and a half hours of online coverage on BBC Scotland.

On BBC Scotland the coverage began on the morning of the Conference on Thursday 14th October with a Conference preview and interview with Nicola Sturgeon MSP on Good Morning Scotland. The main story that day from Perth, the decision to freeze the Council tax featured on our website throughout the day and was reported on radio and TV bulletins and 'Reporting Scotland' at lunchtime and six thirty. Newsnight Scotland reported from the Conference and conducted a live interview with Mike Russell that night.

On Friday 15th October there was further coverage on 'Good Morning Scotland' which was co-presented from the Conference by Gary Robertson a significant interview with John Swinney, again there was extensive coverage of the Conference on the website, on the lunchtime edition and six thirty 'Reporting Scotland', and on radio bulletins and programmes throughout the day.

On Saturday 16th October there was a live half hour webcast with Brian Taylor interviewing John Swinney in the morning, a two hour live webcast in the afternoon featuring Nicola Sturgeon's speech, and coverage in all radio and TV bulletins and on our website throughout the day.

On Sunday 17th October we broadcast a two hour webcast in the morning, followed by a two hour television programme on BBC Two Scotland, which was also broadcast on the website featuring Alex Salmond's speech. There was also a package and live interview with Nicola Sturgeon on the Scottish opt of the 'Politics Show'. All the radio and television bulletins in Scotland carried coverage that day, as did the BBC Scotland website.

A half hour radio highlights programme presented by Douglas Fraser was transmitted at 1545hours on BBC Radio Scotland and a half hour television highlights programme on BBC Two Scotland presented by Jamie McIvor was broadcast at night.

On Monday 18th October John Swinney appeared live on the Call Kaye programme on BBC Radio Scotland answering calls from viewers.

On the network there was a wide range of items on radio, television and online through the duration of the Conference.
‘Daily Politics’, on Friday 15th, featured SNP MSP Nicola Sturgeon live from Perth.

The 'Today' programme carried a Brian Taylor package and interview with Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon on the Friday, and BBC Radio Five Live and Breakfast television also interview her.

The Six and Ten O'Clock News carried coverage on the Friday, 'Newsnight' had a Glenn Campbell package and live interview with John Swinney on the Friday, also on television that day, the Daily Politics had a live interview with Nicola Sturgeon.

Across the weekend the BBC News Channel and BBC Breakfast had inserts from Perth including broadcasting the whole of Alex Salmond’s speech on Sunday, inserts from Nicola Sturgeons’ speech on Saturday, interviews with MPs and MSPs including among others Angus Robertson MP., Bruce Crawford MSP, and Keith Brown MSP, and interviews with our correspondents Brian Taylor, Glenn Campbell and James Cook. The Leader’s speech was also covered live on BBC Parliament.

Again the Conference featured on news bulletins and programmes, including all the main ones, on radio, television and online across the weekend.
We hope this allays your concerns.”
Thanks for taking the time to contact us.
Kind regards
Lucia Fortucci
BBC Audience Services
# mudfries 2010-11-12 20:05
I see distorting scotland were at it tonight again with their anti SNP biased slant, why dont they just pause at the end of each programme and say " That was a party political broadcast for the scottish labour and unionist party".

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