By a Newsnet reporter

According to sources reported in the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, Lib Dem Scotland Secretary Michael Moore is likely to be a victim of this summer's UK cabinet reshuffle, and will be replaced by Lib Dem colleague Jo Swinson

The Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP has failed to impress in his current role, and has been frozen out of key decision making in the UK government's anti-independence campaign.

The Scotland Secretary, who is seen as "over-cautious" by Downing Street, has also marked his term in the role with a series of unfortunate gaffes resulting in him being sidelined by PM David Cameron.

Moore was not briefed on David Cameron's interjections on the timing of the independence referendum and proposals to give Holyrood the legal powers to hold it.  Both incidents were deeply embarrassing to Mr Moore.

Although the Secretary of State for Scotland is officially "Scotland's voice in the UK Cabinet", the incidents revealed that not only did the Prime Minister's office not consult him about key decisions affecting Scotland, he was not even informed before a public announcement was made.

In another sign of the loss of confidence in Mr Moore, he was almost invisible at the recent launch of the official anti-independence 'Better Together' campaign earlier this week, with prominence being given instead to the Lib Dem's Holyrood leader Willie Rennie.

Some commentators have suggested that if replaced by Ms Swinson, the female MP will be given a more prominent role in order to bolster the 'Better Together' campaign which has identified women as a key target group in the 2014 referendum.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce that Mr Moore is to be transferred to another office, possibly Defence, in the Cabinet reshuffle expected after the end of the Olympics.  Downing St insiders speaking to Scotland on Sunday say that the timing was chosen in order to minimise the political damage that would be caused by a change at the top of the Scotland Office only a few weeks after the uninspiring launch of the No campaign.

East Dunbartonshire MP Swinson is being touted as the most likely replacement for Mr Moore.  She is said to have impressed cabinet colleagues by her willingness to vote in favour of tuition fees for university students despite having made her career on a commitment to abolish them.

Ms Swinson's first speech to the Lib Dem party conference was on the topic of student fees, she later stated it was the party's opposition to student fees which had led her to join them.  Speaking after her decision to vote in favour of annual tuition fees of up to £9000 for students in England, Ms Swinson claimed that the new system was "fairer" and claimed that many students would pay less despite the new higher charges.

Following her party's dismal performance in the Scottish elections, the Lib Dem MP is thought to have been hoping for a move to a safer English constituency seat away from her own marginal Scottish seat, in order to preserve her parliamentary career.  Any 'promotion' to the role of Secretary of State for Scotland may jeopordise such a move.

Ms Swinson also attracted criticism during the MPs expenses scandal in 2009, when it was revealed that had regularly used the additional costs allowance, which MPs use to fund a second home, to claim for low-cost, everyday items like a 29p packet of dusters, a bottle of Mr Sheen cleaner costing 78p, and a £1.19 window cleaner.  It was also claimed that Ms Swinson had used her expenses to claim personal items such as eyeliner, a hairdryer, and an electric toothbrush.

Ms Swinson claimed: "None of these items would have been necessary for me to buy were I not living away from home for half of the week."  

She denied that she had claimed for the eyeliner, saying that it was listed on a receipt that included other items for which she did seek repayment.

The MP opposes positive discrimination to address gender imbalance, and at the Lib Dem conference in 2002 she led the argument against positive discrimination to select candidates, wearing a pink T-shirt with the slogan, "I am not a token woman."


# dunnichen 2012-07-01 09:57
Bring it on! An inexperienced gobby politician, with few principles, in the Scottish Office is one of the best drum beaters for independence we could have.
# tartanfever 2012-07-01 10:19
in order to bolster the 'Better Together' campaign which has identified women as a key target group in the 2014 referendum.

I thought this was lamont's job. As she keeps telling us, as a mother, a teacher for 20 years and so on....

Obviously she's not doing so well in attracting the female vote then, surprise, surprise.
# Siôn Jones 2012-07-01 20:33
She's doing a great job of attracting all those over-sexed men though, isn't she, the little minx!
# call me dave 2012-07-01 10:19
The 'fettered together' team loses a key player. All grist to the mill, and in my opinion he never came across as fully committed to the union cause anyway.

Roll on 2014.
# redcliffe 2012-07-01 10:22
Men are supporting independence far more than women in Scotland so a good idea from the NO idea campaig to try to keep the soft female supporters onside.
The fact she failed on tuition fees, well actually voted for them in another country, (West lothian here we go), shows she has few principles.
No wonder the pollies in Scotland feel they can and do want to vote on English matters despite all claiming it is a bad idea. If the SNP had hypocritically done this can you imagine the feedback?
# rhymer 2012-07-01 10:26
Well... although not a raving beauty she certainly is much easier on the eye than M. Moore. Plus despite the rubbish she spouts she comes across as actually believing what she is saying no matter how silly or untrue. (she actually believes her own press releases)

So we have swapped somebody innefectual who was kept in the dark and finally sidelined by his boss - for Ms Swinson; a lady who will cheerfully dump her ethics and has now also denied her core political beliefs for a chance of advancing her political career.

Vote YES and let us get rid of these useless characters.
# Dougthedug 2012-07-01 10:30
In another sign of the loss of confidence in Mr Moore, he was almost invisible at the recent launch of the official anti-independence 'Better Together' campaign earlier this week, with prominence being given instead to the Lib Dem's Holyrood leader Willie Rennie.

I don't really think that's evidence of loss of confidence in Michael Moore even though it's obvious that he hasn't performed well as Westminster's man in Scotland.

The striking thing about the "Better Together" No campaign launch was the front row representing the three UK parties. Ruth Davidson, a regional nobody in the Conservatives, Alistair Darling a Labour has-been and Willie Rennie, a regional nobody in the Lib-Dems standing in for Lib-Dem has-been Charles Kennedy.

For a campaign to save the UK it was striking that no big-hitters from any of the three parties were prominent there.

It relates to the central problem of the No campaign that the three UK parties have to be form an alliance in Scotland while knocking lumps out of each other in England.

Think for a minute how odd it would have been for the English media to see Cameron, Milliband and Clegg sitting there happy and smiling and forming a united front even though in practical terms they should be the ones fronting up a "Save the UK" campaign.

The No campaign is using Scottish regional nobodies and has-beens in the hope the press in England don't latch onto the fact that we now have a genuine LibLabCon alliance in Scotland.

Even Westminster based Lab MP Margaret Curran forgot. She launched into a ferocious attack on the Tories as a panel member on Brian's big debate before Brian respectfully pointed out that she was sitting beside Annabel Goldie who is a Labour partner in the "Better Together" campaign.
# Dundonian West 2012-07-01 10:37
Bring every one of them home from Westminster by voting YES in 2014.
It's dead easy!
That's why they're ALL opposed to independence---losing their part-time jobs,with full-time salaries.
# Wee-Scamp 2012-07-01 10:42
Bring them home? I'd rather not. Can we not just leave them all down there? :-)
# Barbazenzero 2012-07-01 11:49
Now that would be anti-English!
# J Wil 2012-07-01 10:56
Has anyone else noticed the Lamont smirk at FM questions? She throws in a hand grenade (the same one reconsituted each week) and sits back waiting for the response.
# Wee-Scamp 2012-07-01 11:08
This tells me that the unionists have realised they will lose the referendum and they're now putting in place "fall guys" that are of no political importance and won't be missed.
# dundie 2012-07-01 11:14
"She is said to have impressed cabinet colleagues by her willingness to vote in favour of tuition fees for university students despite having made her career on a commitment to abolish them."

Obviously she'll be someone that Scottish womanhood will instinctively feel is genuine and trustworthy... I think not. Do the unionists really think that people will fall for this? Replacing a no-note nobody with a female of the same calibre is not, I feel, going to have any impact whatsoever.
# Dundonian West 2012-07-01 12:02
She'll get on well with Margaret Curran MP,forever doomed to be her Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.
Both in the NO camp.
# Red Squirrel 2012-07-01 11:15
Principle - A fundamental truth which is the foundation for a system of belief which governs one's behavior.

So we have a man who wanted to abolish the Secretary of State for Scotland post...until he accepted it.
Now we have a women opposed to tuition fees...until it suits her purposes to vote in favour..oh, and because students will pay less??

Surely a conspiracy - are the Yes Scotland campaign secretly putting forward the speakers for the Bitter Together campaign? We have a right to be told...
# jim288 2012-07-01 11:27
Never heard of Jo Swinson before though like most posters on here I take a keen interest in politics. To use a well worn climbing phrase "What has she ever done on grit?"
# mountaincadre 2012-07-01 12:10
I like your style.
# Big Eye 2012-07-01 11:28
A person of doubtful principle, easily able to break previous promises and can manage all this without a single pang of regret or guilt.

Seems like the ideal unionist to head up the No Campaign.

Like the "fettered together" Call me Dave used above.
# lumilumi 2012-07-01 11:37
Westmister reshuffling to bring in a Scotland Secretary even more biddable than Moore?

Appealing to the female vote? What an insult to all the women in Scotland! Do they think Scottish women are stupid?

Slightly O/T, on the governance (civil servant) side of things. What's happening with Sir Peter Housden (the most senior civil servant in Scotland) and other SG civil servants? Didn't Whitehall/Westminster reportedly send Sir Peter to Coventry (figuratively) for 'going native' in Scotland? And instructed Whitehall mandarins not to talk about issues Scottish in the presence of SG civil servants?
# Siôn Jones 2012-07-01 20:56
Sorry to break it to you pal, but on the evidence of Johann Lamont, Margaret Curran and Ruthie the head girl, one would have to conclude that Scottish women are indeed stupid. But then, along come Nicola Sturgeon, Margot McDonal , Joan McAlpine . . . and all the rest of the YES supporting females, to restore one's faith in Scottish womanhood!
# rhymer 2012-07-01 11:38
I always got the impression that M. Moore did not believe the rubbish he was spouting about independence. It seemed to be, "well they told me to sound sincere when I say this nonsense and tell these scary stories to the people but then I don't have believe in it myself".

I think his inability to tell lies in a believeable way was his downfall.
I'm sure Ms. Swinton won't suffer from that problem.
# cadgers 2012-07-01 12:10
"I am not a token woman."
... just a token Scottish secretary?
# bobb4you 2012-07-01 12:13
The search for someone with no principles in the Liberal Democrats would surely have been like trying to find a needle in a giant stack full of needles.
# schawaldowris 2012-07-01 12:48
Personally I think the idea is to give
them all a wee shot at Secretary of State for Scotland before the job falls into disuetude after 2014.
# Dundonian West 2012-07-01 12:56
If my memory serves me correctly,about 2-3 years ago,the post was on the verge of being merged/shared with the Northern Ireland Secretary/Office when someone in Whitehall suddenly realised there may be an Independence Referendum in Scotland!
PANIC,and a frantic look around for 'big hitters' bringing us to the present incumbent--Mr.Moore.
# rhymer 2012-07-01 13:58
Secretary of State for Scotland

Doesn't matter what label you use, it just means
that somebody else is in control of your life.
# proudscot 2012-07-01 14:55
Surely David Cameron must realise that replacing one nonentity with another nonentity in the Scotland Office, only serves to confirm the SNP's criticism of that out-of-date colonial institution?

Its only use now from Wesminster's point of view, is to use up several millions of the Holyrood Block Grant to fund it ... oh wait ... of course ... slaps forehead!
# Edulis 2012-07-01 14:59
Just been looking at Dickie Baker's performance on the Politics Show which again identified their main weakness which is that their funding will come from outside Scotland and is likely to be Tory business men. Lots of digging to be done here as they try to hide it in the form of deriviatives. In answer to the point that all funding for the Yes campaign will come from within Scotland and will be restricted to a maximum of £500, Baker retorted that the rest of Britain wasn't foreign - so that is OK, and the maximum allowed will be £7,500.

Blair Jenkins came accross as a straight forward guy. Baker was his usual wet- behind-the-ears self.
# lumilumi 2012-07-01 17:17
I share your frustration.

Funding for the Scottish referendum campaigns should only come from Scottish sources. The not 'no' not 'unionist' Bitter Together campaign will undoubtedly be mainly financed from doon sooth while the YES Scotland campaign is home-grown, home-financed.

I have faith that Scottish people who are not too wee, too poor or too stupid will see the light before 2014.
# Davy 2012-07-01 16:00
I do believe Richard Baker threw a hissy fit during the politics show and just because Isobel fraser asked him a difficult question, she then had to correct his answer for him regarding policys. He looked a right numpty "as usual".

As for M Moore being chucked out for Jo Swinson so what? its just another libdem nonentity, a temporary mouth-piece for the torys, it means nought.
# brusque 2012-07-01 16:24
Richard Idiot Savant, without the Savant!

Is he ever going to learn that this debate consists of saying what you have on offer, compared to what the other side has on offer - not keeping secret your side of the argument.

People might think they have nothing to offer at all!!
# lumilumi 2012-07-01 17:38
Richard Baker is dire.

He's not even his own person, he just lisps the Liebor party line. A pathetic individual who got on the gravy train too late.
Kezia Dugdale and Jenny Marra - completely brainwashed by UK Labour - are even more pathetic, they thought being 'Labour' would guaratee their political careers, they're nonplussed and aggressive because everybody doesn't recognise their 'entitlement'.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-07-01 17:47
Richard Idiot Savant, without the Savant!

# Barbazenzero 2012-07-01 16:56
Quoting Davy:
I do believe Richard Baker threw a hissy fit during the politics show and just because Isobel fraser asked him a difficult question, she then had to correct his answer for him regarding policys. He looked a right numpty "as usual".

That's certainly how it looked to me. And for once, the resulting article on the BBC website is pretty balanced. See Scottish independence: Clash over non-Scots donations at
# border reiver 2012-07-01 17:15
Moore is a complete waste of time as a constituency MP and a Scottish minister. he has not done anything meaningful in either role I always got the impresion that he wasnt fully commited to the Union, probably as he realises it is a lost cause and that he was positioning himself to lead or play a major role in any post election independent government.
# Macart 2012-07-01 17:50
Must admit to near falling off my chair when Isobel Fraser skewered Baker neatly and cleanly. She wouldn't let go of the question and proceeded to correct him on both the funding and policies questions. By this point Baker was near hysterical in clambering for answers and was neatly coralled into admitting UK wide donations.

By contrast Blair Jenkins looked relaxed, professional, had an answer for every question and looked very comfortable in front of camera. I have a good feeling about Mr Jenkins.

As for Moore's replacement - Jo who?
# Jammingbird 2012-07-01 18:02
To be fair to Jo Swinson, she's very good on local issues and has done a lot of important work while in Parliament in relation to self-image and human rights in Chechnya. Further, she was actually on of the better MPs in relation to the expenses scandal.

However, she does seem to show the signs of a career politician. As far as I'm aware (I could be wrong), she's never voted against the lib dem party lines. Around 2005, I'm sure she wrote to the justice minister at the time asking him to implement the ECHR prisoners' voting rights decision - but when the vote came to the commons under the coalition, she wasn't present for the prisoners votes debate/vote where her previous pro-human rights stance would have gone against the coalition powers that be (truly unfortunate - she's usually an excellent advocate for human rights!).

I really hope she doesn't act as a stooge for Cameron and stands up for Scotland (even if she does do it from a lib-dem pov)but unfortunately, I don't have high hopes. She is a genuinely good politician - I hope the power of the office doesn't corrupt her...
# megz 2012-07-01 18:52
i will say as a member of a women for independence group on facebook there is a need for more women to appeal to other women, (well atleast thats what most of them want, me personally show me a good looking guy that says vote indy and i'm there lol). i dont however think that ms swinson should be put in place just because she is a) female and b) compliant with disposible principles
# freeussoon 2012-07-01 19:35
Yes, it's true the Tories love Scotland!
Enough to raise money to keep us.
# flyingscotsman 2012-07-01 20:10
Parcel of Rogues version 2.0, we should determine our own future but the Tories have other plans. Aye imagine French, Germany and Italy funding campaigns in the UK to keep us in the European Union, thats not far from the same thing.

And now the Tories will now want foreigners coming to live in the UK having the ability to sing the National Anthem and learn about "British" history
# uilleam_beag 2012-07-02 10:17
That's potentially quite disturbing. The article mentions Byron, Duke of Wellington and Trafalgar -- I wonder if there's any chance of Covenanters, Jacobites, the clearances or even (whisper it) the slave trade appearing in the same list.

Nah, ah'm no holding ma breath neither.
# amfraeembro 2012-07-03 08:54
To be fair, Byron's mother was Scots and he spent his childhood in Scotland. Alexander Fleming gets a mention too. Still a bad idea though!
# uilleam_beag 2012-07-03 10:07
True enough -- though he's still an aristocratic establishment figure. I never noticed a mention of Fleming, though I'd expect the section on inventions and discoveries ought to include a decent clutch of Scots.

My main point, though, was that all the examples given seem to have been picked to shower the UK in past glories, indicative of a strange backward-looking romantic vision of a sort of 'Britishness' that never really existed.

I believe you judge a nation's self-image not on how it celebrates its successes but how it owns up to its mistakes and learns from them.

Should the Industrial Revolution, for example, be hailed as the technological leap-forward it undoubtedly was or condemned for the workhouses, slums, environmental degradation and enrichment of the the few on the backs of the poor and powerless that it entailed? I don't think an honest historical appraisal can look at either one without considering the other.

I feel very uneasy about any "citizenship test" that would require applicants to absorb a big chunk of Imperio-British propaganda and parrot a long list of "achievements" unless it was counterbalanced with some of this state's historical shortcomings, both domestic and international.
# Edulis 2012-07-01 20:49
That would be British History as in Magna Carta, Henry VIII, Good Queen Bess and Oliver Cromwell!
# CapnAndy 2012-07-01 21:31
It's going to be interesting. As I've posted before, Ms Swinson is always fun to watch. As soon as the SNP or Independence is mentioned, her eyes glaze over and she starts to rant, losing all coherence. She's going to be discussing this subject a lot more in the future.
Interesting to hear in the article that she knows her coat is on a shaky peg in East Dunbartonshire. Myself and her other constituents will take note that she is already looking for another constituency. I for one will willingly help her on her way.
# RJBH 2012-07-02 06:57
Its not the English that's the problem... its those Scots Unionist such as this... Shameful.
# Desperate Dora 2012-07-02 08:50
I do have some concerns about Jo Swinson possibly being appointed Secretary of State for Scotland. She is the MP for East Dunbartonshire, where I live, and never seems to miss an opportunity to get her picture in the local paper, no matter how trivial the event. What concerns me, is her lack of experience. I looked up her biography and it appears that she's around 32 years old, went to Uni at LSE to study management, then had 2 jobs - one for 4 months or so and the other for 5 years,in marketing, during which time, she stood, unsuccessfully, as a candidate in Hull. Those two jobs seem to be her total working experience - I would not consider politics a normal job. Personally, I would prefer the Secretary of State for Scotland to have a bit more work and life experience than that and would feel a bit insulted if someone so inexperienced was appointed to this post, especially at such a crucial time, given the independence referendum, negotiating of further devolved powers and the state of the economy. Surely this isn't the best they can offer?
# ramstam 2012-07-04 21:03
Yet again it seems Scotland is shown to be little more than an internal England/UK colony. Nobody in Scotland has any say in who becomes the so-called "Scottish" secretary, with the prime minister having the power to appoint a polititian whose career then depends on loyalty to London. It was Michael Forsyth MP who on being made Scottish secretary, blurted out the truth,that the job was akin to a British Empire colonial governor! He now warms his backside making snidey remarks about the independence referendum in the House of Lords - now well rewarded as Lord Forsyth.

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