By a Newsnet reporter
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has launched her party’s local election campaign by immediately conceding defeat to the SNP.  The extraordinary admission came as she attacked the SNP by comparing the party with the owner of Glasgow Rangers Football Club.

Speaking at her party’s campaign launch in Edinburgh, Ms Lamont raised eyebrows by conceding that the SNP’s courage and confidence was likely to see the nationalists move further ahead of her party in next May’s contest.

She said: "They will get more councillors this time because they've had slightly more confidence or courage to put up a bigger number of candidates.

"Last time they were very, very cautious.  So using the last set of elections as a baseline is perhaps slightly false."

The Scottish leader also joked that any councils controlled by the SNP would face the same problems now being faced by Glasgow Rangers, whose owner Craig Whyte took the club into administration.

"Putting the SNP in charge of a council is like putting Craig Whyte in charge of your tax return," she said.

Ms Lamont insisted that Labour were focused on creating new jobs and training opportunities, spending more on schools and providing greater support for childcare.

She also said she wanted proper support for carers and better social care for pensioners as part of a list of "ambitious, realistic pledge, the length and breadth of the country".

"We are in the midst of a Scottish unemployment crisis," she said and added: "Behind every statistic is the tragedy of a family losing an income and a person suffering the indignity of being out of work."

Ms Lamont has faced calls to clarify her party’s position on the council tax freeze after several Labour regional groups adopted contradictory stances.  Glasgow Labour has now adopted the SNP’s five year freeze on the council tax whilst their Highland colleagues attacked the freeze claiming it will lead to budget cuts.

However, at today’s launch, which promoted Labour’s local manifesto launches across Scotland, there was no mention of the party’s national policy on the council tax freeze which Ms Lamont herself and her deputy Anas Sarwar have both condemned.

Commenting on this morning’s launch, the SNP’s Local Government Campaign Director Derek Mackay said that Lamont’s lack of ambition for her party sums up her lack of ambition for Scotland.

Mr Mackay said that by fielding 24 fewer candidates than in 2007, and the SNP standing 176 more, it was clear that Labour members had no faith in their new leader’s ability to turn around the fortunes of their party.

Mr Mackay said:

“Johann Lamont’s blunder shows that – for all her talk about changing Labour following their drubbing last year – she has no confidence in her own party.  If Johann Lamont thought that she had a strong message to sell, she would be willing to give the voters a chance to vote for it, but Labour are actually standing fewer candidates than in 2007.

“Her weak leadership is summed up by the fact that – across the country – Labour have countless different positions on the council tax freeze.  This is one of the most high-profile policies affecting Local Government, and the fact she can’t get her party to form a coherent position on it is very telling.

“Labour are all over the place on the Council Tax freeze – and given half a chance they would put the Council Tax up, just like they did in the past.”

“But Labour have already shown what happens when they are in charge of councils. Under Gordon Matheson’s hopeless leadership, Labour have managed to go from having a comfortable majority in Glasgow to being a minority – without a single vote being cast.

“And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – all across the country they’ve got disaffected former Labour councillors, and former parliamentary candidates – standing against them.”

The SNP also highlighted some of Labour’s long list of defectors and disillusioned councillors, who, claim the nationalists, indicate the level of general dissatisfaction within Labour about their own performance since 2007.

Labour defections include:

Eddie Carrick (Clackmannanshire Lab-Ind) – who had been in the Party for 36 years – left Labour, and has claimed that the SNP has been a ‘revelation’ since taking control in January 2012, and “it would be a crying shame if Labour got back in because they made a mess of it in the years they were there.”

Eddie Phillips (East Renfrewshire Lab-Ind) - "Labour is not lazy. Complacent, yes, indifferent to people’s needs, looks like it, divided, unquestionably. Lazy, no, because they are so panic-stricken that they are frenetically thrashing about seeing how to stop the tide of SNP and Glasgow Labour/Independents."

Douglas Campbell (South Ayrshire Lab-SNP – George Foulkes’ former election agent) - praised “the dedication of the local SNP group and SNP Government in delivering positive measures for the communities of north Ayr”

Irfan Rabanni (Glasgow Lab-SNP) "The simple fact is that Labour has been in power for too long in Glasgow and has become complacent. There is too little transparency in the way Labour is run and that can also be true of the administration in Glasgow. It can also seem that they think picking fights with the SNP government is more important than standing up for the city.”

In Dumfries and Galloway, two well-known Labour councillors Wille Scobie (2011 Labour SP candidate for Galloway & West Dumfries) and Grahame Forster abandoned Labour in the last few weeks and are standing as ‘no description’, after refusing to sign Labour’s controversial ‘candidates’ code of conduct’.

Labour also have two former Scottish Parliamentary candidates in the Western Isles standing as independents – Donald Crichton and Donald John McSween.


# oldnat 2012-04-17 19:02
It's always interesting to note how these things are seen by those outwith Scotland.

The Guardian takes a very similar view of her statement.

"This is already Scottish Labour's gambit: to manage party, public and media interpretations of the likely result by playing down its significance, by using nerdy analyses of each elections candidates lists. One can imagine this message has already been sent south to Ed Miliband and Labour's UK HQ in London.

The key point here is that the SNP are already – purely based on the number of seats they hold – the largest party in Scottish local government, with 363 seats compared to Scottish Labour's 348."
# Davy 2012-04-17 19:33
Frankly I have to agree with Johann Lamont about labour spending more on schools. But it will be by introducing more PFI schemes that our grandchildren maybe even their children will still be paying for.

I knew labour would put their foot in it at some point, but not this quick.

Well done labour keep it up.
# Vincent McDee 2012-04-17 19:38
What I really doubt is the 89% figure (of Westminster government cuts passed to councils), given the lady's previous show of arithmetic skills.
# Peter A Bell 2012-04-17 19:39
I have to confess to being rather perplexed by all these communication blunders by politicians and party activists. We supposedly live in an age of spin. If a certain breed of Daily Mail whinger is to be believed, our education system is churning out media studies graduates by the battalion. And technology offers ways of polishing communications such as couldn't even be imagined only a few years ago. And yet it seems that not a day goes by without somebody dropping a big fat clanger.

What are we to make of this? What, if anything, does it tell us about the political class?

Could it simply be that there is a greater volume and reach of communication and that, proportionately , the blunder-rate is broadly unchanged? Plausible?

Alternatively, it could be that our politicians really are more gaffe-prone because they are less respectful of the people they are addressing and less aware of their own fallibility. They don't admit their errors and nobody around them is prepared to burst their boss's bubble. Their job is to present him/her as a superstar and any admission of a flaw is an admission of their own failure. Group-think?

There is another possibility, of course. It may be that I have turned into a grumpy, pedantic old fart who finds fault with everything because it was never like that in my day. Nah! Couldn't be that!
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 19:43
I have to confess to being perplexed by all these attempts to spin innocuous statements into 'communication blunders'. She didn't concede defeat in any way. She simply acknowledged that the SNP are likely to have more councillors this time than last time, because they've fielded more candidates. In a PR system, that's an observation not an admission.
# Peter A Bell 2012-04-17 19:52
Even if what you say is true, the fact that she spoke words which were so easy to spin is in itself a blunder.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 20:11
Any words are easy to spin if you're prepared to ignore what they actually say and substitute what you want them to say. She said "They will get more councillors this time", not "They will get more councillors than us this time".
# Peter A Bell 2012-04-17 20:16
So she built a trap for herself and then walked into it. She's supposed to be a professional politician. She gets no sympathy from me.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 20:25
She 'built a trap for herself'?! She said something, quite clearly, and someone else added some words to her words and pretended she'd said that instead. If that's 'building a trap', no politician should ever say anything. If you expect every politician to consider "What if someone ignored the clear meaning of my words and substituted what they wanted to hear" before speaking, they'd get nothing done at all.
# Peter A Bell 2012-04-17 21:43
You've probably heard it said that good courtroom lawyers never ask a question unless they know the answer they're going to get. Likewise, politicians need to be aware of how the form of words that they use is going to be turned back on them by their political opponents. Lamont gave her political opponents a gift. They took it. Her fault entirely.

And being circumspect does not mean being bland, far less keeping silent. The English language is a rich resource. With a little effort one can find a form of words that will convey the desired message without offering up an open goal.

I simply don't understand why politicians with access to the kind of resources that Ed Miliband's Scottish underling must surely enjoy can nonetheless make such mistakes. Let's bear in mind that this was a prepared speech. All that was required was for somebody to read her script critically. To play Devil's advocate.

It seems that this was just too much trouble. Which speaks of a profound contempt for the electorate. Or it tells me that she wasn't even speaking to the electorate but preaching to the choir. Which is also disrespectful to the people she was supposed to be addressing.

I'm not picking on Lamont here. Hers is merely the example of presentational incompetence that we happen to be discussing on this occasion. All parties are guilty. Although I suspect even Poor Old Cockers at The Torygraph would allow that the SNP are less gaffe-prone than the others. It's partly explains their success.
# Jenny2603 2012-04-17 20:30
It's an odd thing to say at a time when a party leader would normally be expected to rally the troops. I think Jiggsbro's interpretation of what she said is probably about right. However it would have been far more inspiring to acknowledge that defeating the SNP will be tough and go on to say something like 'but I am confident that if we work hard we will rise to the challenge' or something along those lines.

However there does seem to be a widespread downplaying of Labour's chances, even from otherwise pro-Labour media outlets. I wonder if they're trying to scare their core vote into getting out and maximising turnout.
# Edna Caine 2012-04-17 20:18
"They" already have more councillors than "us". So an even greater defeat faces Ms Lamont's party.

Must be inspiring for their activists.
# doonhamer 2012-04-17 21:13
Quoting Jiggsbro:
Any words are easy to spin if you're prepared to ignore what they actually say and substitute what you want them to say. She said "They will get more councillors this time", not "They will get more councillors than us this time".

Having re-read the story a number of times, I cannot find either quote. What Lamont said was "They will get more councillors this time because they've had slightly more confidence or courage to put up a bigger number of candidates.

"Last time they were very, very cautious. So using the last set of elections as a baseline is perhaps slightly false."

It is clearly an attempt to explain both the last results and the potential for worse results in the upcoming.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 21:15
You can't find either quote, but you managed to find the first one (the one she actually said)?
# oldnat 2012-04-17 20:24
But it was an observation that she didn't have to make. This wasn't a casual throw away remark, but the launch of the SLab campaign.

Competent politicians with competent advisers use "expectation management" as a matter of course. Incompetent ones try to do the same but get it wrong.

Lamont's "They [SNP} will get more councillors this time because they've had slightly more confidence or courage to put up a bigger number of candidates" might have worked had the SNP gained fewer councillors than Labour in 2007. However, the SNP got more than Labour despite their lack of "confidence or courage".

Consequently, Lamont is saying that the SNP will get even more in May (and Labour fewer). To make such an admission at the launch of the campaign is a massive blunder. Media commentators picked it up immediately, and the effect on the morale of Labour candidates and their reduced cadre of workers makes her prediction a self-fulfilling prophecy.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 21:17
Quoting oldnat:
But it was an observation that she didn't have to make.

It's likely that the SNP will have more councillors because they have more candidates. It's also likely that they'll have more councillors because they're more popular. Lamont is poisoning the well by pre-emptively establishing the first reason as the cause of Labour's failure rather than the second.
# oldnat 2012-04-17 21:56
And we could also add "the SNP are putting up more candidates, because they are more popular". As you pointed out upthread, that's how an STV election works.

We now agree that Lamont's words were the kind of political spin, that every politician of every party practices.

It's just that Lamont isnae very good at it!
# rhymer 2012-04-17 20:09
Not exactly a confidence booster for any labour activists.
As a launch of Labour's council election plans it seems to
concede defeat in advance.

Maybe that is one of the " lessons" labour has learned.
# J Wil 2012-04-17 20:22
It really is a feeble line of attack for Lamont to compare the SNP with the Rangers situation. It lacks any intellectual approach or fresh thinking to Labour's problem of how to match the SNP and merely scrapes the bottom of the ideas barrel.

Take Labour's support from the Scottish media away and they would be in an even worse situation than they appear to be in now.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 20:27
She didn't compare the SNP with the Rangers situation. Is anyone actually reading what she said?
# oldnat 2012-04-17 20:38
Actually, lots of us are looking at both the words she used, and considering the reason why she used them.

"Putting the SNP in charge of councils is like getting Rangers owner Craig Whyte to do your tax return" is an interesting thing for her to say.

Of course, it doesn't directly compare SNP administrations with Craig Whyte's brief tenure at Rangers, but that implication seems fairly clear, don't you think?

What alternative reason would you produce to explain the choice of words that she used?
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 21:11
Quoting oldnat:
Actually, lots of us are looking at both the words she used, and considering the reason why she used them.

And therein lies the problem. That consideration of why she used them seems to be mostly wishful thinking, turning the words she used into words she didn't use.

Quoting oldnat:
Of course, it doesn't directly compare SNP administrations with Craig Whyte's brief tenure at Rangers, but that implication seems fairly clear, don't you think?

No. She used an analogy but that analogy was not between the SNP and Rangers' situation. It was between putting the SNP in charge of a council and putting Whyte in charge of your tax return. There was no reference to Ranger's situation, not least because their tax problems pre-date Whyte.
# oldnat 2012-04-17 21:59
I think you are splitting hairs here. Can we agree that her comment was designed to plant the concept that the SNP in charge of a council, and a businessman who is popularly seen to have brought down an institution that many Glaswegians support, wasn't exactly accidental!
# J Wil 2012-04-17 22:34
I think most people would read into the article what I read into it.

Also you say:

"...not least because their tax problems pre-date Whyte..."

To be more accurate, if it is accuracy you are looking for, it would be more accurate to say the start of the tax problems pre-dated Whyte, and continued after he came on the scene.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 22:42
Yes. That would be the meaning of "Their tax problems pre-date Whyte": the problem existed before he arrived. That's why I didn't say "Their tax problems began and ended before Whyte arrived". It is accuracy I'm looking for and I achieved it. Other people seem to be finding whatever they go looking for.
# Exile 2012-04-18 07:40
As long as you know what you mean.
# J Wil 2012-04-18 08:53
If any more proof were needed the tactic of Lamont is exposed in this Scotsman headline:

Council elections: ‘Alex Salmond is Craig Whyte of politics’ - Labour video
# Wee-Scamp 2012-04-17 20:29
I'm intrigued by this idea that councils can create more jobs. It throws economics on its head.
# oldnat 2012-04-17 20:45
Council can (and do) provide Modern Apprenticeships . In 2009-12, Glasgow council received £2 million a year to provide 1,000 extra modern apprenticeships .

Of course, that money came from the SNP Government.
# spagan 2012-04-17 20:43
Poor Johann just cannot say what she means or what she believes in.
If it is not on the Westminster-approved script, then she is simply lost.
She comes across as having less coherence, confidence and competence than Iain Gray.
New Labour must rue their rejection of the wee Ken boy.
Have they ever said how many actual Party members voted for each candidate?
I heard that 7 people voted for Lamont and 6 for MacKintosh and 2 for Harris. But do Labour really have 15 members left in Scotland?
# rhymer 2012-04-17 20:49
Labour Hame hasn't bothered to put
J. Lamont 's council election speech on it's site.

Maybe it was but now has been " modded out".
# oldnat 2012-04-17 20:55
It's not even on the official Scottish Labour site (unless it's hidden away somewhere).

Are they embarrassed by it, I wonder? It's very unusual for any party not to highlight their campaign launch on their site.
# A_Scottish_Voice 2012-04-17 20:57
I know that the Labour party are not considered to be blessed with the smartest politicians in the world by many, and that may well be true. However I do not believe this was a blunder by Labour, but more an attempt to wrong foot the SNP into taking their foot off the gas, the closer we get to the 3rd of May.

It is the classic Mancini mind game. Will it work?

Not if the SNP play to the final whistle.
# millie 2012-04-17 22:08
Nail on head. A_S_V

Don’t underestimate the deviousness of Labour and the compliant MSM.

With the above headline Newsnet is falling into their trap.

No blunder by Ms Lamont .. all part of their strategy to ‘encourage’ overconfidence from the SNP.
# oldnat 2012-04-17 22:17
In STV elections, overconfidence is only really a problem at the stage when the parties are doing their calculations as to how many candidates to put up in each ward.

Labour were overconfident in 2007, and put up too many candidates in many wards, and split their vote as a result.

While any party may get their calculations wrong, the SNP is more popular now than it was in 2007, and having more candidates then would have stretched their lead over Labour. Fielding more candidates this time round does make sense, based on the polling evidence.

No one is questioning that Lamont's statement was correct. What is being questioned is whether she was wise to make it.
# Embra 2012-04-17 21:05
Just take a look at the caliber of the people that inhabit Labour in Scotland.

To say that they are not up to the job is a gross understatement.

The people of Scotland would have seen this years ago if it was not for the mafia style protection the Scottish media afford them.

I am a regular viewer of FMQ's and I can tell you it is frightening to think that these people, who can barely string a (scripted) sentence together, are in positions of authority. It is no wonder that the Scottish media never question these people, cause the game would be up.
# Displaced Patriot 2012-04-17 21:07
Her quip re the Rangers will do her no favours with the Ibrox faithful.
They are down and do not a politician to stick the boot in and make a bad taste joke at their expense.
Is she so far removed form reality that she does not realise these Rangers fans have votes too.
It goes to show how arrogant and unprofessional Labour in AScotland have become.
HO in London will not be best pleased if this turns out to be naother rout.
# doonhamer 2012-04-17 21:10
Let me understand what Jiggsbro is trying to peddle. Lamont states, "Putting the SNP in charge of a council is like putting Craig Whyte in charge of your tax return" but this was not an attempt to compare the SNP to the Rangers situation. Perhaps Jiggsbro can offer an alternate explanation for the statement.

I am all ears, ( or eyes as this is a website).
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 21:19
Why would I need an alternative, when what she said doesn't compare the SNP to Ranger's situation? The 'alternative explanation' is to give her words their normal English meaning, without inserting your own spin. I'm not trying to 'peddle' anything. I'm asking people to read what she said, not what we might like her to have said.
# Davy 2012-04-17 22:20
Quoting Jiggsbro:
Why would I need an alternative, when what she said doesn't compare the SNP to Ranger's situation? The 'alternative explanation' is to give her words their normal English meaning, without inserting your own spin. I'm not trying to 'peddle' anything. I'm asking people to read what she said, not what we might like her to have said.

Look its very simple "Jiggsbro" she is saying you cannot trust the SNP with your finances just like rangers cannot trust Craig Whyte with their tax money.

You can spin it in any direction you want but that is what your leader has said. SIMPLELS.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 22:31
She's not my leader. I'm an SNP member. And she's not saying you cannot trust the SNP with your finances just like rangers cannot trust Craig Whyte with their tax money. She's saying you can't trust the SNP with your council just like you wouldn't trust Whyte with your accounting. Ranger's tax problems, of course, pre-date Whyte. It really is very simple; it simply requires you to give simple words and simple sentences their simple meaning.
# Davy 2012-04-18 08:01
Quoting Jiggsbro:
She's not my leader. I'm an SNP member. And she's not saying you cannot trust the SNP with your finances just like rangers cannot trust Craig Whyte with their tax money. She's saying you can't trust the SNP with your council just like you wouldn't trust Whyte with your accounting. Ranger's tax problems, of course, pre-date Whyte. It really is very simple; it simply requires you to give simple words and simple sentences their simple meaning.

Ok she is not your leader 'sorry', but Craig Whyte did not pay any of rangers taxes since he took over "9 million".

Sometimes, if it looks like a duck,sounds like a duck and swims like a duck, guess what its a DUCK. quack
# Exile 2012-04-18 07:44
No, admittedly, it compares the SNP to Craig Whyte. And the significant difference to what doonhamer said is....?
# Mr Rational 2012-04-17 21:11
I am truly trying to figure this one out as she has raised a white flag at the starting gun. God knows what the labour activists think, it must be 'why bother?'...

eyes on the prize everyone, not that anyone needs reminding.
# J Wil 2012-04-17 22:41
Maybe she is trying to appeal to the sympathy vote by acting not very bright.
# Exile 2012-04-18 07:45
J Wil, I don't think it's an act.
# alicmurray 2012-04-17 21:31
This article fair cheered me up.
# oldnat 2012-04-17 22:34
It's interesting that Unionist commentators regularly suggest that, in independence negotiations, that rUK would play "hardball".

The SNP are simply showing that they can play equally hard, and the outraged splutterings from Westminster are evidene that it's a successful strategy.

If they want to see how hardball is played - they should really watch the Cammanachd Cup!
# Diabloandco 2012-04-17 22:34
Try reading his pals latest effort - that could depress you ,spin ,lies and spite all in a oney!
# peter,aberdeenshire 2012-04-17 21:36
Almost every other party mentions the SNP in their election launches and resort to negativity. We need to focus on the positive side of voting independence, share the belief we have in Scotland and her people.
I have to agree with Embra about the calibre of the average Labour politician but what do you expect when promotion is through patronage, cronyism and nepotism and not talent and hard work.
# alicmurray 2012-04-17 21:36
And surely this one will help us get independence.
# Legerwood 2012-04-17 23:05
I know there are a lot more pensioners and we are living longer but a very sizeable proportion of them - the post WWII bulge babies - are in their early sixties so not yet at an age when they need care.

Furthermore we are always being told we are the lucky generation because we have occupational pensions etc over and above the state pension. So financially we are not - yet - a drain on the state. We may be able to go for longer before we need state funded care - healthy living - but not if the powers that be keep raiding our pension funds.

So how do they arrive at those costs?
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 23:09
Quoting Legerwood:
So how do they arrive at those costs?

It's the IMF. They start with a political goal and work backward to a 'problem'. The goal then becomes the only solution (there is no alternative). Actual numbers don't really come into it.
# Exile 2012-04-18 07:55
Yes, and often the political goal is given to them by the government of the country they're 'investigating'. So it's all just circular. The Tories want to cut, so the IMF says "You have to cut."
# Celtic Mama 2012-04-17 21:37
Strange.....just watched BBC Scotland news and they never mentioned any of the above.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 22:19
I'm guessing that they don't consider the wishful thinking of anonymous cybernats to be news.
# Legerwood 2012-04-17 21:41
I think a few words have been given more importance and prominence than they deserve resulting in over-interpretation of what was not of particularly great moment.

Spin was the BBC NEWS (at 6 and on Reporting Scotland) stating that Labour had said that the SNP was using the local elections as a dry run for the independence referendum in short turning them into a quasi referendum.

Yet the BBC Reporting Scotland did not any such statement/sound bite from Labour as far as I remember.

Did anyone else notice that?

Some news paper reports have also made the assertion that it is SNP strategy to use the local elections as a quasi-referendum.

If that is the case then it is a seriously flawed strategy on the part of the SNP. These are local elections and the voters will not take kindly to them being hikjacked for any other purpose. Just remember how Labour were ridiculed by commentators in the Holyrood elections for trying to turn them into a re-run of the Westminster General Election. And that attempt contributed to labour's rout because the voters knew that the May 2011 elections were a completely different ball game.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 21:50
It sounds more like an attempt to pre-spin the result. It's likely that the SNP will be the one party with a good result from the election, but it seems unlikely that they'll achieve 50+% of the vote. By claiming in advance that the SNP want to turn the local elections into a quasi-referendum, even a good result can be spun as a bad result, because it won't achieve a goal that was never set. If the SNP gets a big swing, but short of 50%, it will be easy to spin that as a rejection of independence.
# balbeggie 2012-04-17 22:42
The voters are getting the election literature through their letterboxes (far more than read newspapers) and they can see that the election is being fought on local issues.
# Legerwood 2012-04-17 22:57
I know. I have had stuff through the door already from the SNP. These stories started to appear in the newspapers and now on BBC but I had not heard anything to that effect from the SNP therefore my take was that it was an attempt at mischieve making to scare off voters who would not want their vote for the SNP interpreted in any way as a vote for anything other than local issues.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 23:04
Quoting balbeggie:
The voters...can see that the election is being fought on local issues.

This sort of spin is insidious in that it doesn't try to persuade anyone to believe anything directly. It only tries to convince them that other people believe something. Each individual voter will know whether or not they personally treated the election as a quasi-referendum. What this seems designed to do is to convince people that other voters treated it as a referendum.
# Legerwood 2012-04-17 23:07
maybe the SNP should stamp on this before it gains any more traction by making it clear that they are fighting the election on local issues.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-17 23:12
With the media happy to promote the Labour spin, I don't think the SNP can do much more than they are doing. Any result, no matter how good, will be compared with a hypothetical better result and the SNP declared to have 'failed'. Anything short of an SNP landslide will be spun as a rejection of independence, because that suits the media narrative.
# Exile 2012-04-18 08:00
Accurate analysis, Jiggsbro.
# Exile 2012-04-18 07:58
So, because the BBC and some newspapers say it's SNP strategy, you believe it???

This thread's getting complicated. this was intended as a response to Legerwood.
# mealer 2012-04-17 22:45
I think Lamont is hoping to repeat what happened at Glenrothes.Take the role of underdog,and hope that the SNP become too cocky for the tastes of the average Scot.Salmond recognised his failure at Glenrothes,and wont fall into that trap again.Using a slogan pertaining to the US elections,follo wed mainly by anoraks,was a big vote loser."YES WE CAN" brought to mind Bob The Builder for the average punter.John Mason being carried aloft by jubilant supporters,befo re the result was even announced,was another exhibition of the kind that irritates voters.Lamont is hoping we'll go from being confident and courageous to being too cocky by half.
# J Wil 2012-04-18 15:43
"I think Lamont is hoping to repeat what happened at Glenrothes."

Ahh! The strange case of the disappearing election returns springs to mind.
# Independista 2012-04-17 23:13
Slightly off topic, but over at the Drum magazine, the BBC are denying bias. Join the debate. Its worth keeping it going.
# Marga B 2012-04-17 23:31

Lies may let politicians seem more human.

Hm. May explain why Scots have a soft spot for certain parties. Talking of which, there's a very up-beat report of Lamont's launching in the Scotsman. One can only presume they went to the same event as the Guardian.
# oldnat 2012-04-17 23:34
The quality of their journalism is really poor though.

While they later quote Lamont's words, in an earlier section they are paraphrased as "Handing Alex Salmond control of town halls around Scotland would be like leaving ex-Rangers chief Craig Whyte – who led the club into administration – in charge of public finances, said Ms Lamont."

Jiggsbro will be incensed!
# oldnat 2012-04-18 00:28
Talking of poor journalism .....

I'd missed this snippet in the Herald.

"ALEX Salmond has held secret talks with the Spanish Government ... during a 'business' trip to the country last week.

Why the inverted commas round "business"?

The trip to Spain was a well publicised meeting with ScottishPower and Iberdrola chairman in Madrid.

That the meeting was requested by Spain's Foreign Minister who "gave a commitment that the newly-elected government of Mariano Rajoy would not veto Scotland joining the EU if there is a Yes vote in the 2014 independence referendum" might, of course embarrass the Spanish government in their dealings with the UK and/or with their subject nationalities (Marga B will know better), but my understanding of international matters was that such meetings are quite common, and that a communique is only issued if it suits both parties.
# Jiggsbro 2012-04-18 09:18
Quoting oldnat:
Jiggsbro will be incensed!

Jiggsbro couldn't give a toss. That journalists are equally creative in their interpretation of quotes neither surprises nor bothers me.
# tartanpigsy 2012-04-18 01:20
Oh well, at least we know she's still alive, i was beginning to worry... O/T Anyone read the letters in the Economist,

Nice to see them eat humble pie ;)
# Roll_On_2011 2012-04-18 05:48

Nice Steve Bell cartoon in the Guardian. The Tory party and the super rich…..
# Suomi 2012-04-18 06:48
Jiggsbro does well to remind us not to read into things,words that are not there.However,my impression is that Johanne Lamont chose the wrong words to encourage her troops.To state that your opponents (who have more seats now than labour) will come out of the election with even more seats,is likely to demoralise activists,rathe r than inspire them.Since I cannot read Johanne Lamon ts mind,I don't know whether she was being clever by thinking that if the SNP did not do as well as the polls predict,she could claim some sort of victory.However,that is a risky strategy.As an SNP member who used to be very active in elections,I would not have been inspired if an SNP leader had said what Mrs Lamont said.What she should have said is that the situation is fluid ,so lets fight for every vote.

As a SNP veteren,I remember the days when we had no chance of winning,but what motivated us was to try and get as many votes as possible to build a base for future elections.In Inverness that hard work payed off in 1999 when Fergus Ewing (SNP) was elected by a narrow majority to the Scottish Parliament.That success came after years of failure in elections.Now Fergus has a majority of around 10,000.Thus the message is,always talk positive.
# gus1940 2012-04-18 09:45
What Polls?

Although it is barely a fortnight until the elections I have yet to see an opinion poll.

The lack of same is surely an indicator that the MSM know that the Unionist parties are going to be slaughtered and are terrified that if they show voting intentions it could result in a snowball effect by polling day.
# Suomi 2012-04-18 15:00
Gus 1940,take a look at the lead article in the opinion section of Newsnet Scotland today.It reveals that three different pols indicate an SNP lead over Labour between 14 to 19%.I guess that is what Johanne Lamont is worried about
# gus1940 2012-04-18 15:16
I saw these but they were UK wide polls with tiny Scotland samples.

What I didn't make clear above was that I was questioning the absence of Scotland only polls regarding voting intentions in the local government elections.
# Shaggy 2012-04-18 08:29
Blunders do seem more obvious and prevelant these days. I think that it is a result of more media coverage, the quickness of it, the ease of responses and an ability to whip up incredulity from anything. I also think that although politics is less appealing to the masses as it once was, the people still ingrossed are as insatiable as ever to promote any weaknesses to be exploited for political gain. There is very little room for error as a politician. Let's face it, everyone says things they don't always 100% mean. We test waters, we play devil's advocate, we jest, we exaggerate, we are honest. However, we expect our politicians to have higher standards. That is the world we live.

This is the launch. It is not a throwaway line at a party. To say what she did say only gives ammunition to the opposition; whether appropriate or not.

My question is this; the SNP should not be taking Glasgow or even thinking about taking Glasgow. The SNP are banging the drum incessantly about a topic as polarising in Scotland as Celtic and Rangers, the toxic Tories are in power, and the Lib Dems are freefalling. Labour shouldn't be fearful in these circumstances. This should be the revival. They have a new leader nationally too.

I feel that Labour are getting away with it in the media. All the attention is on whether the SNP will do well. It is accepted Labour won't. I think we should be asking the questions why this is the case. With a new Leader they could, and should, be taking the fight to the SNP. They are merely moulding a line accepting a poor performance.
# Mad Jock McMad 2012-04-18 08:30
I am currently deputy convenor of my SNP Branch and I can assure everyone out there that the main line, for the council campaign, from SNP HQ to CA's and Branches is to concentrate on local issues and only talk about the referendum if the person on the doorstep brings it up.

Local issues around here are the fact the PFI primary school built by the Labour controlled council is already overcrowded and children are being bused out to village schools around Kirkcudbright. The parents are also dismayed that two years after opening the new building is already failing.

More annoyance comes from the Conservative and Labour councillors pushing through a new housing scheme on a 'brown site' given the problems with the 'new primary school' and the lack of jobs in the area.

The SNP boots on the ground are focussed on meeting the needs of our communities, doing our bit to improve our communities and influencing SNP policies through our feedback from folk on the doorstep.

This is why the SNP will exceed our own expectations, we are not telling people what they want, we are listening to what they need. Then there was the £115,000 spent landscaping a 20m by 20m area that would have been better used as a car park.
# J Wil 2012-04-18 08:57
When it comes to canvassing for the South Lanarkshire Council election the SNP should be ready to speak to the claim that Labour makes of building many primary schools in East Kilbride and say how they were financed and how much of a hand the SNP government had in it.
# Triangular Ears 2012-04-18 09:36
OT, but can anyone comment on the 'legality' of Glasgow City Council putting up "Investing in Glasgow's Roads" signs on the very few roads they've resurfaced recently?

Is this clearly political statement allowed so near the council elections? The signs don't mention Labour but they have the council logo/crest on them and I think the implication is clear.

I am appalled by the state of the roads, and appalled that the council seem to be trying to hoodwink the electorate into believing that they are 'investing' in them. It's their duty to maintain the roads and they have ignored that obligation for years.

I take great care to avoid pot holes yet still all 4 of my wheels looked like 50p pieces and had to be hammered back into shape when I got new tyres recently. I have had to report a local road over half a dozen times before they came out and only filled SOME of the 4 inch deep holes (I measured them). There are still several on the same road just feet away from the few they did fill.
# Thee Forsaken One 2012-04-18 09:46
If they included the marketing in their budget then it's perfectly legal as long as there is no mention of which party is in control of the council. I know it might annoy you and you may not feel that it's completely honest, but it's impossible to prove false advertising which is the closest you could get to doing them for it.

All councils pull stuff like that, to be honest.
# alasdairmac 2012-04-18 10:02
Several commentators (above) mention "Labour activists". These two words nowadays are surely a contradiction in terms.

Here in West Lothian where the SNP presently form a minority council one would think that they would be very active in trying to re-take control. But no, there isn't one to be seen anywhere. They appear to have given up before they've even started and their Great Leader's speech yesterday certainly isn't likely to inspire them to greater effort.

But, as others have cautioned, the SNP must not get complacent and I can assure readers here that in my branch we reminded ourselves of this at our regular meeting earlier this week. Even although our canvas returns are encouraging there will be no let up in our efforts to return a majority SNP council in West Lothian.
# Thee Forsaken One 2012-04-18 10:05
In North Lanarkshire they haven't bothered campaigning since the council was created. They just have a war with SNP activists to see who can get their posters up the highest on lamp posts.

The SNP activists do do more than that at least.
# J Wil 2012-04-18 10:26
"The SNP activists do do more than that at least."

and also got their posters higher, in East Kilbride at least.
# Thee Forsaken One 2012-04-18 10:31
They get them higher in Cumbernauld and Moodiesburn too. Clearly the Nat issue step-ladders are superior to the Labour issued!
# tartanfever 2012-04-18 11:27
Nothing to do with stepladders.

' voting SNP gives you wings '

to coin a well known advertising slogan :-)
# Thee Forsaken One 2012-04-18 11:31
I think it's because Labour activists all have their heads down and just can't reach up as high as the upbeat SNP activists.
# chicmac 2012-04-18 14:42
Quoting tartanfever:
Nothing to do with stepladders.

' voting SNP gives you wings '

to coin a well known advertising slogan :-)

Hopefully it will be a case of the electorate's 'ignoring Red Bull gives us wins.'
# J Wil 2012-04-18 12:45
Hold on! EK is 600ft above sea level.
# Arraniki 2012-04-18 11:29
Always up first on the island and removed by the stroke of midnight after the poll. After all it's only 60 miles round.

Brodick a 'host of golden daffodils'.
No sign of other parties'yet.
# Dundonian West 2012-04-18 15:07
Lamont.Caught the last few seconds of her on Call Kaye this morning.
----better together than apart.
She's no been looking at the UK figures her pals Brown and Darling have left us.

A trillion pounds debt and rising.
More savage cuts coming.
Labour caused it,and left their fellow Unionists to do their worst.
Labour would be doing the same,but just a wee bit,"Slower and not so deep".
What you mean is you'll still be cut,cut and cutting.
Forget the Common Man stuff.
You forgot about them 30 years ago,and Glasgow.
"I'm alright Jack" springs to mind.
Independence,is the only,and best way forward.
# proudscot 2012-04-18 18:07
I also tuned in to Call Kay(e) this morning to hear first hand what Johann Lamont had to say. The answer was "nothing new", just a series of soundbites in her non-replies to most of those who phoned in.

I was however quite impressed by Graham Stewart, who was standing in for Kay(e). He was quite impartial, and didn't try to cut off or interrupt those callers who claimed to be disaffected former Labour voters, and went on to put some awkward questions to La Lamont.

Thank goodness the producers didn't opt for the arrogant, McConnell-worshipping Wark to replace the absent Kay(e).
# rhymer 2012-04-21 21:09
Being a devout aethist I believe you should be burned at the stake
for McConnell-worship.

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