Monday, 31 March 2008
He's Donald Dewar's old spinner - left under a bit of a cloud in January 2000 when he was caught drunk in charge of a motor vehicle and then drink driving - one of the offences committed with a prostitute in his car.
Mr Chalmers had been the spinner in charge of the drink-driving campaign ...
He hasn't been idle, though
Labour brought him in to run the Visit Scotland website under PFI - which promptly lost a couple of million quid. We should make clear, of course, that he was actually being employed by Schlumberger - a company that donates to Labour coffers.
He then scooted off to work for ATOS - selling IT systems to the London Government like that for the 2012 Olympics - including the system for ID cards - is this Wendy's new-found socialism in action?
Is he back on the advice of David "howlin mad" Whitton?
Brian Lironi, Matthew Marr, Kerron Cross, Tony McIlroy, Gavin Yates, Simon Pia, and now the return of Chalmers - Wendy doesn't have a good track record with advisors.
Wonder if John Rafferty will be bombing back any time soon?
Politicians should not bring their children into their speeches - like all other children they should be allowed to grow and develop their own politics whether those politics suit the parents or not. I will not comment on nor refer to Wendy's repeated references to her twins, except to say they are not a prize to be displayed and their mother should think to protect them rather than use them - as most political parents do. That sounds pompous, but it's as accurate a comment on protecting politician's children as I'm likely to be able to make.
Rara temporum felicitas, ubi sentire quae velis; et quae sentias, dicere licet
Let's look at the speech. I'm ignoring her praise for the outgoing General Secretary - that's an ecumenical matter ...
Some people will remember that her pet scribe advised her to adopt the style of JFK or Martin Luther King. Whether she emulated Dr King is a matter of opinion, but her attempts at doing JFK came early in her speech:
Conference, I was born on the 27th June 1963.Harold Wilson was leader of theIt was just the beginning of a ramble through her memories which you can read in the full text. I'm delighted she has these memories - I'm just not sure what the relevance is.
Labour Party. John F. Kennedy was President of the USA.And in a Manchester hotel room, those rather more famous pop stars, John Lennon and Paul McCartney had just finished writing She Loves You - a song that would herald a whole new age of popular music.
If you carry on through the reverie you come to this chat about the demolition of Gorbals tenements:
Of course as a small child, I did not really understand what was going on – but looking back - what stayed with me was the knowledge that things never stay the same – that this is a world of constant change.
Now, as a youngster I wandered through demolition sites in Dundee - some were huge expanses created by dead jute mills, some were tenements coming down, but nothing gave me the impression of constant change. If anything, clearing buildings and rebuilding gives you a sense of immediate change and no constancy.
Since Spence was commissioned in 1959, the tenants started moving in in 1965 and Wendy was born in 1963 - can she remember the demolition as she claimed? Is she suffering a "Tony Blair" "St James' Park" "Jackie Milburn" moment? Oh, ask a Geordie, I did...
Back to Wendy:
As the Prime Minister said yesterday Labour’s cause is not only the cause of ordinary working people everywhere but the cause of -
Supporting the vulnerable
And speaking up for the voice.
Labour is the cause of fighting poverty? Does that mean they caused the poverty families across Scotland have been suffering? I would accuse them of that - I never thought they'd have the honesty to accuse themselves.
Then there's "speaking up for the voice" - what in the name of all is that? What voice is she talking about? Most people who claim a voice of this nature claim more than one ...
“Scotland” is not a political philosophy.
“Scotland” can just as easily be Adam Smith as it can be John Smith.
Maybe I've missed the point here, but surely Scotland is neither one nor the other nor, indeed, a combination of both. Scotland deserves more respect than being reduced to individuals - especially just after you've claimed that Scotland isn't a political philosophy. It's more likely to be me than John Smith - and more likely to be any of my compatriots than Adam Smith - because we're alive and living here and contributing to Scotland's current and therefore future being - I know Wendy doesn't like looking at the future but it will come to her as surely as it will come to anyone else - and I'm not a predeterminist.
But of course this wasn’t what we were promised last May. The SNP promised to be more Labour than Labour itself.
No we didn't - we put forward our policy proposals which were most unlike Labour's and we won the election. A party trying to claim a policy area as their's is an indication of a party that has ceased to think and is looking to rest on past glories - all about the past, nothing about the future.
Who could not be moved this week by the brave youngsters in Aberdeen - many once homeless themselves – sleeping rough all week in sub zero temperatures - to stop the next generation of Aberdeen’s vulnerable youngsters having nowhere to go – because the SNP and Liberal led council is slashing funding to the Cyrenians.
You know - that's a real tear-jerker. So I looked for someone who might have reported it. Not the local newspaper, the Press and Journal: not the local Cyrenians although they're organising a protest starting 27th May, ending 5th April: not even the local Labour party. I think she's a liar.
It is no longer enough that everyone is guaranteed a decent education to sixteen. In future every school leaver, with the qualifications, should have the right to a place at university, or at college or a modern apprenticeship.I'm delighted she has realised that a decent education has only started to become a reality with the SNP. That will take some time to have an effect though. University or college will now be without tuition fees, but tradesman (craftsmen as I would have said in my younger days) tell me that the Modern Apprenticeship isn't worth the candle - in spite of the money they get from Government. We really must look at that anew.
We will give the new Literacy Commission an ambitious target. How to make Scotland the first country in the world to eradicate illiteracy.
Leaving aside the fact that she had eight years to try- has she not missed the boat by a few years?
I recently visited Carnegie College’s School of Engineering and Technology at Rosyth. They told me about CR Smith who advertised for one apprentice joiner and had 300 applications.Maybe I have this wrong - 1 place at CR Smith with 300 applications and rather than looking to make sure that these people have an apprenticeship with the possibility of a job (like the one place offered by CR Smith), she thinks we should force every passing punter to take on an apprentice.
So Scottish Labour will provide a guaranteed modern apprenticeship for every qualified 16-18 year old who wants one. Skills are Scotland’s future.
I remember the good old days when you got congratulated for becoming an apprentice - happy days.
We are today in the Highlands – a part of Scotland where over the last decade Labour has built stronger communities and created better chances in life for everyone who lives in them.
We achieved it by handing back the land to the people. Gigha, Uist, Knoydart, Colonsay.
Here's a funny thing - I'm pleased that the SNP played a part in this, but I've never thought that party politics was ever very strong in it. I've had the privilege of having a wee holiday on Gigha. They're delighted to own their island at last and acknowledge that the legislation was Scottish Parliament law, but they don't thank any particular political party for it. I imagine the same applies elsewhere in Scotland
She then goes on to talk about dead people again.
Far be it from me to offer advice, but may I say to Labour members - you know your grip on Scotland has gone, but you still have a chance to make a valid contribution to Scotland before Labour goes entirely - get rid of Wendy Alexander and give us a Labour leader who will do something worthwhile.
Sunday, 30 March 2008
Saturday, 29 March 2008
"Wendy Alexander is very much part of the presiding influences in Labour politics over the past 20 years in Scotland who have decided that politics is really about constitutions and commissions and the more we set up the better life must be."
Friday, 28 March 2008
How good does she think her performance is?
"Rising all the time, I think is the answer," said Ms Alexander, adding: "Ten
out of 10, 10 out of 10."
Fantastic - Wendy's so good she's leaving the earth's gravity behind and heading for the stars. You'll note I said nothing about the moon and wiring.
Bow down, bow down and grovel in abject obsecration before this self-proclaimed genius.
No good vibrations coming her way from Brian Wilson, though, he's accused her of 'prattling' and said:
"Wendy Alexander is very much part of the presiding influences in Labour politics over the past 20 years in Scotland who have decided that politics is really about constitutions and commissions and the more we set up the better life must be."
Yup, he's right - she's useless. He also seems to agree with a couple of Labour MSPs:
"To be honest I would rather have a referendum than this sort of incremental nonsense of fiddling about with powers. I fail to understand why the people who have created Labour's difficulties in Scotland seem to learn nothing and keep on making the same mistakes."
Never thought I'd agree with Brian Wilson - have the referendum, you know you want to! Labour MEP David Martin agrees with me:
"I said we should call Alex Salmond's bluff, have a referendum – yes or no on independence – a short sharp debate and get it out of the way."
Excellent! Bring on the referendum!
Related news comes from the minutes of Labour's South/Pentlands branch where Iain Gray was the guest speaker on the 6th March 2008 in the Braid Centre. The Gray man did not hold back.
He told them that Labour had lost the trust of the people, that the Westminster allocation to Scotland was short of what had been expected, that the SNP was showing how to manage Government well, and that he didn't like the coalition with the Libdems.
He criticised the SNP for "cutting taxes to stimulate growth" (does he not think that Scotland's economy should grow?) and seems to have missed the bit in the budget that pays for 1,000 new police officers.
By and large, though, he admitted Labour was finished.
Sad to see that "The election of Richard Gardner to the Constituency Executive was disputed". Can Labour party members not get on with each other at all?
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
On December 6th 2007, Parliament agreed - against the will of the SNP - to have the Scottish Parliament Coporate Body run a commission on the powers of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government. Today, the three little unionists and the big bad London Government scorned the will of Parliament and moved to set up their own review of devolution - tsk tsk tsk!
Not only have they not had the grace to wait for Parliament to act, they held a news conference in Parliament and never had the decency to even inform Parliament's press officers. Terribly rude. You know, the Corporate Body hasn't yet even discussed any report on this commission and will have to do so in advance of setting up the commission which Parliament ordered because the unionist review doesn't satisfy the terms of the Parliamentary vote. So that will be a commission to add to the review which is in itself superfluous thanks to the National Conversation run by the Scottish Government. It's like an episode of Soap.
So the chair of this review was announced today - I asked yesterday whether they'd be bright enough to appoint the respected legal chap but they didn't - they appointed the crusty old mandarin placeman Kenneth Calman. Apparently he's an expert on sundials - just what we need. Mind you, he did lead the BSE enquiry - that could be terribly handy.
The background briefing on the review makes it clear that the review group will consist only of unionists - so no room there for representatives of Scotland's most successful Government, the SNP, and no room for those who are not committed to either side but who care about the future of their country. Still, maybe Parliament's Commission will address those glaring deficiencies.
On the brighter side, though, there's a promise that "It will listen to all voices in Scotland" and "will consider all submissions, and will welcome representations on issues which might be devolved to the Scottish Parliament."
No address is given for sending submissions in, but I'm sure that the Presiding Officer is the kind of chap who would make sure they got to him, so I suggest we all send him our representations. Here's the address -
c/o the Presiding Officer
That should cause trouble!
Today's sweepie - how long till it turns into the Independence Commission?
Monday, 24 March 2008
That was the Commission which was ordered by a vote in Parliament in December -
That the Parliament, recognising mainstream public opinion in Scotland, supports the establishment of an independently chaired commission to review devolution in Scotland; encourages UK Parliamentarians and parties to support this commission also and proposes that the remit of this commission should be:
"To review the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 in the light of experience and to recommend any changes to the present constitutional arrangements that would enable the Scottish Parliament to better serve the people of Scotland, that would improve the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament and that would continue to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom",
and further instructs the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to allocate appropriate resources and funding for this review.
You see how that's a Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB) deal? How this Commission (which will recommend Independence, of course) belongs to the SPCB, not to any political party nor to any government department? That's quite important.
The Scotland Office, you see, issued a call notice for a news conference in Parliament:
Why would the Scotland Office be involved in this news conference? Surely it's the SPCB who would progress this issue and it would be the Presiding Officer's responsibility to call the news conference - the Scotland Office has no locus.The SPCB has considered the issue in principle - at its December meeting where the Chief Executive reported:
Subject: Op Note: Scottish Parliament Review - 11.30am, Tuesday 25March, 11.30am
Grateful for inclusion in diaries etc.
THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT REVIEW
An announcement on the progress of the Scottish Parliament Review will be made at a press conference on Tuesday, March 25 at 11.30am in the Press Briefing Room at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. It will be attended by the party leaders involved in the Review.
The independent body, which has the support of both the UK Government and Scottish Parliament, will examine devolution's role in Scotland's future.
A press release and further details will be issued at the press briefing.
The briefing will be on-camera and on the record. Interview opportunities will be available post-conference.
You are invited to send a reporter/ crew/ photographer.
Issued on behalf of the Scottish Parliament Review by The Scotland Office
Constitutional changeWonder if he spoke to Salmond? There is no report back noted in the minutes of the SPCB since the New Year, so it's obviously still pending.
5. The Chief Executive advised that he had spoken with Party Leaders and Business Managers and would report further to the Corporate Body in the new year.
Another issue is this -
USE OF MEETING ROOMS – SPCB(2008)Paper 5That's from the SPCB's February minutes, indicating that the Scotland Office isn't allowed to call a news conference in the Scottish Parliament - even if it's sponsored by an MSP (the room for this has been booked by the Libdem's Head of Press).
11. The SPCB agreed that it was not appropriate for Members to ‘sponsor’ third parties to hold press conferences on the Parliament’s premises. Only press conferences being held by Members in pursuit of their parliamentary duties could be held in the Parliament.
So now there's the question - will the Presiding Officer have the courage to rule this out of order and tell them that this news conference cannot go ahead? This is what he should do - make sure that the scarce resources of the Scottish Parliament are used appropriately. Additionally, he should ensure that the Commission demanded by the Scottish Parliament vote should go ahead - and if Labour wants a different commission then Labour can pay for it.
While we're on the subject, though, let's have a sweepie about the chair of the Independence Commission (who should also be chosen by the SPCB) - will it be a very distinguished and very well-respected legal figure or will it be a crusty and hidebound former mandarin who has already written a report that was helpful to Labour?
Sam Galbraith thinks it should be Henry McLeish.
She's not the brightest fairy light on the Christmas tree.
Sunday, 23 March 2008
We in the Labour Party have been fortunate to live in a time when politics in the English-speaking world have been dominated by three of the most gifted politicians of the centre-left – Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown.
We want to change the institutions, the practices, the beliefs that hold our society back. If institutions are not working to make Scotland a better place, our job is to put something better in their place. If there are practices that are holding Scotland back, our task is to sweep them away. And if there are beliefs that are checking progress, our aim is to challenge and defeat them.
What does Scottish Labour stand for? It’s a question people often ask us. Our answer to that has not changed. We stand for the progressive values of justice, equality, and community.
For many people of humble means the best you could hope for was to leave school with minimal qualifications, join a big company or an institution and, if you worked diligently, expect to remain employed with that organisation for the rest of your life and retire with an occupational pension.
Aspirations also change. Home ownership, car ownership, a foreign holiday, labour-saving appliances in the home, were once but distant dreams for most people. Thanks to Labour many have now achieved these dreams. Nowadays, families’ aspirations stretch to second home ownership, two cars in the driveway, a nice garden, two foreign holidays a year, and leisure systems in the home such as sound, cinema, and gym equipment. In short, social conditions change and people’s aspirations constantly rise. We need to be in tune with those changes, for if we are not in tune with them, we will be seen as irrelevant.
We need to lead the debate about how we should and can take responsibility for our diet and our own health, and to embrace radical ideas on how to take that agenda forward.
Scottish Labour must seek out ways to guarantee that all children leave primary education fully equipped for secondary school.
finding real solutions is a tough challenge, but one that Scottish Labour must undertake.
These three examples – in health, education, and communities - show the directions in which Scottish Labour must travel. All of us have a duty to take part in debating and formulating the policies that will renew our connection with the Scottish people.
the Commission should also consider any reasoned arguments for the boundary moving in the opposite direction, for example in national security related matters such as counter terrorism and contingency planning.For a woman who claims to have been at the centre of drafting the Scotland Act, she doesn't know much about it - national security is already reserved.
Other small European countries, which we are often invited to admire, do not have anything approaching that strength in financial services, a key industry of the future.
Labour gave the Scottish Constitutional Convention momentum 20 years ago, led on creating the Scottish Parliament 10 years ago, and is, I believe, will now to lead on the next steps.
I would expect a third-year Modern Studies pupil to have a better grasp of Scottish politics than Labour's leader shows here. There's a dearth of analysis, an absence of original thought and a screaming belief that her saying it makes it true.
What really irritates, though, is the pulpit-laden preaching tone in which it is written, the holier-than-thou and the smug self-satisfaction. To be so poor in thought is sad enough, to not know it is even sadder.
Saturday, 22 March 2008
David Whitton Sep-07 £235.00
Irene Oldfather Oct-07 £235.00
Pauline Mcneill Sep-07 £235.00
Kenneth Macintosh Dec-07 £176.25
Lewis Macdonald Nov-07 £235.00
Andy Kerr Jul-07 £235.00
Cathy Jamieson Sep-07 £235.00
Iain Gray Dec-07 £100.00
Iain Gray Dec-07 £235.00
Trish Godman Apr-07 £235.00
Karen Gillon Apr-07 £235.00
Patricia Ferguson Oct-07 £176.25
Helen Eadie Aug-07 £235.00
Bill Butler Dec-07 £235.00
Rhona Brankin Jul-07 £235.00
Sarah Boyack May-07 £235.00
Jackie Baillie Sep-07 £235.00
Wendy Alexander Oct-07 £235.00
Lib Dems pay for EARS (no, I don't know either)
I let down my friends. I let down the country. I let down our system of government and the dreams of all those young people that ought to get into government, but think that it's all too corrupt. New York Times May 5th, 1977
"I was not lying. I said things that later on seemed to be untrue." discussing Watergate in 1978 (no intentional wrongdoing defence)
This would be an easy job if you didn't have to deal with people. Alone In the White House Pg 326
"It is necessary for me to establish a winner image.Therefore, I have to beat somebody."
He reminds me of someone. I just can't remember who, godammit.
Thursday, 20 March 2008
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika
Maluphakanyisw' uphondo lwayo,
Yizwa imithandazo yethu,
Nkosi sikelela, thina lusapho lwayo.
Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso,
O fedise dintwa la matshwenyeho,
O se boloke, O se boloke setjhaba sa heso,
Setjhaba sa South Afrika - South Afrika.
Monday, 17 March 2008
Sunday, 16 March 2008
Here's the numbers:
3% Green (others)
Holyrood Additional Member
5% Green (others)
That wasn't all, though. There was another Wendy Alexander breaking the rules story covered.
She used Parliamentary expenses (our money, in other words) to fly to London for some meetings in the House of Lords - just before eight Members of that House gave her £2,900 for her leadership campaign.
Then she claimed taxi fares to attend a "town centre regeneration dinner" at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow. It's becoming clear today that this was actually a meeting with Tesco about a development Tesco is planning and Wendy has been campaigning for. Tesco was kind enough to give her money for calendars.
She also took £110 to book a lunch at Reid Kerr College for herself, Jackie Baillie and Pauline McNeill and a staff member each to discuss how to run their offices. Quite apart from the fact that they've all been MSPs for nine years now and should know how to run an office, they meet each other at least twice a week in Parliament and could just have the discussion then. Of course then they would have to buy their own lunch ...
The other question which occurs to me is if this was a valid parliamentary duty why did none of the MSPs and none of their staff claim travel expenses to or from this meeting?
I'm indebted to the Secretary who sent me additional information for this.
Saturday, 15 March 2008
Have a look at wee Wendy's website - the one paid for at great expense by us (£987.37 this year). Quite importantly, a website paid for from Parliamentary allowances can't be party political (like annual reports and anything else that we pay for).
Down at the bottom of her publicly-funded website you'll find four weblinks -
Asking for donations or seeking new members through your Parliament website? Not allowed! Tsk tsk tsk. She also used her publicly-funded website to lay out her leadership 'vision', and as part of her campaign for the Labour leadership. Shameful, isn't it?
I think I'll buy the Sunday Times tomorrow, I hear there's a couple of excellent stories in it, and I understand that the Scottish part of its poll will bring a wee smile to SNP faces.
Friday, 14 March 2008
COMPLETED WORK SITES
Area Start Date Completion Date
Tower Street to Commercial Wharf (Leith) 9 July 2007 12 October 2007 Russell Road to Balgreen Road 20 August 2007 24 September 2007 McDonald Road to Balfour Street (Northside) 6 August 2007 21 December 2007
Jane Street Junction 15 October 2007 14 January 2008 Princes Street initial works 7 January 2008 8 February 2008
CURRENT WORK SITES
Area Start Date Estimated Duration
Jameson Pl to Brunswick St (Leith Walk) 7 January 2008 25 weeks (approx)Balfour Street to Foot of the Walk 14 January 2008 25 weeks (approx)
Shandwick Place Closure 1 March 2008 19 weeks (approx)
PLANNED WORK SITES
Area Start Date Estimated Duration
Constitution Street Late March 26 weeks (approx)
City Centre Area
Enabling work in the St. Andrew Square area is ongoing and is scheduled to last until the end of July 2008.
Thursday, 13 March 2008
It smells of ... roses - for Alex Salmond and John Swinney, anyway. In spite of all the kerfuffle, flummery and general ignorance that surrounded Duncan MacNeill trying to be Kenneth Starr the committee, the report exonerated the SNP. Have a look at these paragraphs:
182. The Committee notes that the Chief Planner and the Planning Minister (Cabinet Secretary for Finance and sustainable Growth, John Swinney) acted in accordance with planning laws when issuing the decision to call in the application. The Committee notes the evidence of the Chief Planner that he had decided over the weekend of 1-2 December that call-in would be the simplest solution for all parties. The Committee notes that there are no definitive criteria for call-in and that each case is decided on its own merits (see para 36). The Committee notes the evidence that the planning minister took advice from the Chief Planner in reaching his decision. The Committee further notes that neither the Chief Planner nor the Planning Minister asked Aberdeenshire Council if the decision notice had been issued on 4 December.
242. As noted in above (para 238) the Committee has no power and does not intend to judge whether of not any Minister is in breach of the Ministerial Code or Code of Conduct for MSPs. The Committee notes the efforts made by Mr Salmond to ensure all stakeholders were clear that he was acting as Constituency MSP for Gordon and not as First Minister. The Committee notes that stakeholders have made it clear they were aware that Mr Salmond was acting as Constituency MSP for Gordon and not as First Minister at all times.
For an indication of just how much of your time and money was wasted on an opposition grudge, take a look at the Record of Divisions in Private beginning on page 53.
More later, by gum!
Tuesday, 11 March 2008
Remember Wendy Alexander complaining in October that the £22,000 extra allowance she gets as leader of the Labour party on top of the £247,475 her party gets to mount an effective opposition on top of the £60,700 she gets to run her office just wasn't enough for her to meet the demands of the job?
This has nothing to do with her being poorer than at any time in the last 20 years, this is about the wodge of cash she has to employ staff, buy research, that kind of thing.
So, anyway, she wanted more than £22,000. So now that we're approaching the end of the financial year, let's take a look at the figures and see what she's spent of it so far. Use the search page to search for the Party Leader's Allowance and you'll find that she's spent £10 on a taxi in London from Clapham to Dover House and, er, that's it.
£22,000 wasn't enough but a tenner covers it? No wonder she thinks she's poor.
It's a fantastic tale, read the New Scientist story here and the more in-depth stuff here.
Monday, 10 March 2008
Hmmm - Labour took 2,403 votes in May last year - 50.4% of the vote.
Last week Labour only took 715 votes - 28%.
That's a 22 point drop, an 11% swing to the SNP. A few more excellent results of that nature and Wendy will find herself destitute - that would wipe out most of her Parliamentary group.
That was last week, of course, and it may be that Wendy has thought of some clever words to use:
Sunday, 9 March 2008
That made some comments of Iain Macwhirter's very interesting:
I have been told independently that Jack McConnell was expected to step aside after the election to make way for Wendy Alexander, who would have been installed as leader without a contest on the Monday after the election.Leaving aside the democratic deficit inherent in the plan, the speed with which McConnell was being asked to resign makes it appear that the plan had been made before the election and that Jack McConnell was expected to go no matter what the result of the election turned out to be.
Macwhirter also goes on to say that McConnell's refusal to go immediately is being seen by Labour in London as the cause of Labour's meltdown in Scotland. Those spinning that out are either deliberately sending up smoke or don't have a very good understanding of politics.
Labour's problems come from a number of angles - firstly there's the SNP victory showing that Labour's grip on Scotland's throat can be loosened and Labour can lose and will lose again; then there's the performance of the SNP Government outshining the previous administrations that Scotland suffered; add on Gordon Brown's obvious incompetence since he became Prime Minister; garnish with a succession of stories suggesting Labour indulges in practices which can, at the most charitable, be described as questionable, and you have a recipe for Labour's collapse that has little to do with Jack McConnell staying a few days extra.
Just to keep adding to Labour's woes, apparently, Sepp Blatter has now spiked Gordon Brown's pet project of a GB football team for the Olympics. Let's hope Broon hasn't ordered the strips.
Saturday, 8 March 2008
A cost like that to our business community is, of course, followed by a cost in employment terms and a whole swathe of social costs to follow. Improving our performance in learning and using foreign languages would be a good investment, methinks.
That's why I didn't agree with Jack McConnell when he said "What is the point teaching kids French who can't speak English?", and it's why I welcome the Scottish Government's support for building links with other countries.
It's nothing personal - it's just business.
Friday, 7 March 2008
From: Eadie H (Helen), MSP
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2008 6:53 PM
Subject: Scotsman gets the most money from Scottish Government
Given that The Herald gives the most benefit to the SNP it's interesting to note that it does so much worse than the Scotsman who tops the poll - maybe now that the Scotsman is giving the SNP such a hard time maybe we shall see Gov. expenditure on the Scotsman take a nosedive?
Wednesday, 5 March 2008
From: Yates G (Gavin)
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 2:37 PM
To: DL MSPs LAB; DL Labour Researchers
Subject: BBC request
The BBC are doing some work around Local Income Tax and are exploring the effects that LIT will have on various groups.
As we have maintained dual income families will be particularly hit hard by this unfair tax.
The would like to interview a couple - both earning around£20,000 as a case study.
Obviously they can't be party members.
The BBC would like to film this week.
Any assistance with this would be greatly appreciated.
Head of Communications
Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet and Labour Group
Glasgow - £808.67 Band A, £943.44 Band B
Dundee - Band A £807.33, Band B £941.89
Aberdeen - Band A £820.26, Band B £956.97
Aberdeenshire - Band A £760.67, Band B £887.44
Angus Council benefits from a long history of SNP administration - Band B £833.78
Argyll & Bute - Band B £916.22
Clackmannanshire - Band B £892.89
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - Band C £910.22
Dumfries & Galloway - Band C £932.44
East Ayrshire - Band B £924.77
East Dunbartonshire - Band B £888.11
East Lothian - Band B £869.26
East Renfrewshire - Band B £875.78
Falkirk - Band B £832.22
Fife - Band B £869.56
Highland - Band B £904.56
Inverclyde - Band B £931.78
Midlothian - Band B £941.11
Moray - Band B £882.78
North Ayrshire - Band B £896.00
North Lanarkshire - Band B £854.00
Orkney Islands - Band B £806.56
Perth & Kinross - Band B £900.67
Renfrewshire - Band B £905.87
Scottish Borders - Band B £843.11
Shetland Islands - Band B £819.00
South Ayrshire - Band B £897.52
South Lanarkshire - Band B £856.33
Stirling - Band B £940.33 (even with the reduction)
West Dunbartonshire - Band B £904.56
West Lothian - Band B £877.33
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Monday, 3 March 2008
I bumped into a chap yesterday. He thought I was in the Labour party because we'd been introduced by a Labour member at a political do and he just assumed that I must be a Labourite also. I never said either way. Anyway, he spotted me with SNP leaflets yesterday and I don't think he'll be chatting with me about internal Labour party matters any more.
Ach well, anyway - some snippets:
1. There are some raised eyebrows about the Parliamentary Questions being asked by Baron Foulkes - ones which are likely to result in answers showing the SNP Government being better than the previous lot. Raised eyebrows indeed, but no-one wants him to go - apparently the next on the Labour list isn't regarded as likely to be an asset. I don't know anything about her other than she's Colin Fox's sister, so can't comment, but I don't see how anyone can be worse than the people who currently inhabit the Labour seats.
2. There will be no challenge to Wendy Alexander from within the Labour party - nothing to do with Gordon Brown's stamp of approval, everything to do with the fact that no possible challenger can muster enough support to be reasonably confident of coming out at least unscathed from the bloodbath that is likely to ensue, and no-one has yet reached the Heseltine stage of "it just needs to be done". I expect people will be getting a quiet canvass from unexpected sources though...
3. There is disquiet about Wendy's spin team, especially Gavin Yates. The Gorgie Farm visit was one instance - no-one scouted ahead for photo-ops or pitfalls, no-one spotted what breed the coo was, no-one arranged for children to be there with the animals, and no-one cleared the content with the farm staff - who knew it wasn't true.
4. There was a plan to remove Ewan Aitken as leader of the Labour opposition on Edinburgh Council (or the City of Edinburgh Council as the pedants will insist). This kind of fell apart during the budget meeting when he was unwell and got carted off the field injured. To Labour's great surprise he wasn't the cause of their lack of coherence, he was stopping it being worse. Stand down Donald Wilson, your effort is not yet needed!
5. Ian Perry's branch refused to back him in a vote of confidence. This was either because they thought he wasn't working hard enough or because he can't count, depending on which member of his branch you talk to apparently.
6. Norma Hart and Angela Blacklock are both being touted for Westminster candidature in Edinburgh East by some surprising figures in the Labour party. I guess they'll need to find a way past Paul Nolan though, eh?
There you have it; tittle-tattle box emptied, and nothing of any great value in it at all.
Saturday, 1 March 2008
If you want to know how much of our money an MP is claiming you have to take a Freedom of Information Request to the courts ...
Scotland definitely is better