The highly policed forums are about as busy as a hermit's housewarming.
Friday, 31 October 2008
Thursday, 30 October 2008
The article "Salmond Slapped down by Norway Minister" in the Daily Mail on 29 October contained several incorrect and misleading statements attributed to Norway's Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre.
Firstly, there is no "growing anger in Norway" over comparisons made between Scotland and Norway during the debate in the United Kingdom against the backdrop of the current global financial crisis.
Secondly, no accusations have been made by Mr Støre against Mr Salmond, as alleged in the article. In the interview, the Foreign Minister merely pointed out factual similarities and differences between the challenges presently faced by Scotland and Norway. Inferring from this that Mr Støre is of the view that Mr Salmond has in any way lied or mislead the public, is simply incorrect.
In short, the Norwegian Foreign Minister did not intend to criticise either side in this debate, which is a domestic political discussion. What he strongly emphasised in the interview with the Daily Mail and which, sadly, was simply omitted from the article, was his sincere appreciation of the warm ongoing relationship between Scotland and Norway.
Ambassador of Norway
I do hope that all of those who rushed to hold up yesterday's Daily Mail in triumph will now be decent enough to apologise to Norway for suggesting that the Norwegian Government would have broken the convention that Governments do not interfere in the domestic politics of other nations.
Indeed, anyone who took the trouble to read the comments attributed to Jonas Gahr Støre would have been surprised that the Daily Mail could come to such conclusions from his quotes.
Mind how you go.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
"OK," the voice said, "but what about those Lib Dems in Glenrothes, eh? They've admitted they're losing their deposit."
Apparently, there was an email from their campaign manager asking for donations because they are about to lose their deposit in Glenrothes. The full email reads:
Full story here, I've taken screen grabs, of course ...
I was sat in the by-election HQ in Markinch, Glenrothes on Saturday afternoon with Tavish Scott MSP, the new Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats looking at the article in the Guardian, where they have said “even the Tory and the Lib Dem could lose their deposits.”
We have had this happen once this year, in the Glasgow East by-election, let us ensure it does not happen again! This constituency is bordered by Willie Rennie MP and Ming Campbell MP, so the result will be important for the Liberal Democrats.
Nick Clegg is about to make his second visit to the constituency, Ming Campbell has been many times, Charles Kennedy was here last week, Simon Hughes and Vince Cable are due here as well in the coming days. Tavish Scott has just done his tenth visit, the MSPs and local Councillors are holding their weekly group meetings here after campaigning in the local area.
Willie Rennie MP and Iain Smith MSP have been here near enough every day helping us shift the thousands of leaflets we have produced. We have had a good response so far, we now need to escalate to the next level for the final push, the plan we need to execute is fairly extensive.
Now I am asking you to help us in the final twelve days;
Make a donation via our website www.fightingforfife.org.uk - all money raised will go
towards extra target letters
Visit the constituency, details on our website - and help us deliver the remaining leaflets
Help us telephone canvass (postal votes start going out today).
Every pound raised through these online donations will be used for additional target letters, ensuring we continue to push our positive campaign and messages to the good voters in the Kingdom of Fife.
Told you they were out of it.
"Well, in a case where, for example, the parties could have settled earlier using the protocol but they can't reach agreement and the settlement later leaves one of the parties in a less advantageous state than they would have been had they accepted the workings of the protocol then it has been known for the bench to 'give them a slap' as it were with the expenses, but the bench has the power to do that in any case and doesn't need the protocols. It does give the old buffer something to bolster his reasoning with, though."
He can't find prices for it yet...
People who made it over in the last couple of days (lucky devils) are saying that they're feeling those tectonic plates starting to move.
I'm being told that everywhere you go there's the buzz, that winning feeling. They're saying that only two parties will keep their deposits - and they're neck and neck, but we're starting to move on up.
They keep telling me that there's only one word to describe it - phenomenal. At least, I think that's what they said:
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
GORDON BROWN: To be fair to be me, I've been arguing that we have to have these global financial institutions that deal with global financial flows ever since what was called the Asian crisis in 1998 and I said then that we had to have the co-ordination that's necessary. You see you've got these big banks that are operating across frontiers and they're being regulated in one country, but they're not being supervised across continents.
The Chancellor emphasised that problems in the banking systems of foreign countries could have serious "contagion" effects that could threaten banks in the UK.
"Nicolas and I will be talking about the global fund that the International Monetary Fund will have now to create to build on its own resources to help economies that are in difficulty to prevent contagion coming from their countries into our countries,"
In 2003, just at the time of a previous Mansion House speech, the Worldcom accounting scandal broke. And I will be honest with you, many who advised me including not a few newspapers, favoured a regulatory crackdown.
I believe that we were right not to go down that road which in the United States led to Sarbannes-Oxley, and we were right to build upon our light touch system through the leadership of Sir Callum McCarthy - fair, proportionate, predictable and increasingly risk based. I know Sir Callum is committed to reducing regulatory administrative burdens and the National Audit Office will now look at the efficiency and value for money of our system.
Let me say I see no case for a European single regulator and will continue to reject such a proposal, just as we will resist the new and unnecessary proposals to harmonisation corporate taxation in Europe.
the things that we must do - and, just as important, things we should not do -
to maintain our competitiveness:
enhancing a risk based regulatory approach, as we did in resisting pressure for a British Sarbannes-Oxley after Enron and Worldcom,
resolute in my determination that we need fewer rather than more international bureaucracies
we should work for a concerted global strengthening of law enforcement, financial supervision and policing and intelligence cooperation
Financial disruption in one country can now affect all countries. The IMF should be transformed with a renewed mandate that goes far beyond crisis management to crisis prevention - not only responsible in the manner of an independent central bank for the independent surveillance of the world economy but becoming its early warning system.
Monday, 27 October 2008
I thought the case was simple, but here it is laid out in an easy-to-read format, just to help -
Gordon Brown told the House of Commons that "I can announce today new guidance —[ Interruption. ] New guidance will be given to the judiciary to halt or adjourn court action on repossessions unless alternative options that help the home owner, including extending the terms of the mortgage, changing the mortgage type and deferring payment, have first been fully examined."
This was expanded upon by the Prime Minister's Spokesman who said that it referred to the Treasury news release earlier that day.
The Treasury news release was about the Civil Justice Council's new protocol.
Brown's answer to the patsy question was carefully worded, but his intention was clearly to lead the House of Commons, and therefore the public, to understand that Brown had taken action on mortgages since the bite had come. He quite clearly had not. The Civil Justice Council began consulting on it in February and had sent the new protocol for approval - it had nothing to do with the Government. Further, it doesn't guide the judiciary and it's not new, considering that it is already part of the regulations of the FSA.
Brown deliberately misled the House of Commons and lied to the public. Behaviour of that nature cheapens the high office he holds and he should resign.
For further reading, you might want to have a look at:
Nearly legal - housing law blog
Guardian's Money Blog
For the sake of clarity, let me point out that the FSA regulations apply to Scotland, Scotland is already covered by the advice that will be given to litigant parties in England - just as England already is. Scotland's protections here are as good as England's - better when you consider the Mortgage Rights Act.
You may recall that Cathy Jamieson called for Scots to be given the same protection as people in England. We already have it. I don't expect any better of Labour MSPs - they just follow London Labour's lead without questioning whether it's right.
You'll also remember that Nicola Sturgeon said that Scots borrowers were already protected and Mike Dailly saying that she was dangerously wrong. I like Mike - he went to a very good school - and I know he is a man of principle, so I'll look forward to him admitting that the Scottish Government is right.
In the meantime, Gordon Brown should resign.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
It is designed to encourage parties to exchange information at an early stage, to encourage early settlement of cases or where that cannot be avoided, more efficient case management. It does not alter parties existing rights and obligations.
There has been extensive consultation since February this year
5.1 Where the borrower falls into arrears the lender should provide the borrower with—
(1) where appropriate, the required regulatory information sheet or the National Homelessness Advice Service booklet on mortgage arrears; and
(2) information concerning the amount of arrears which should include—
(a) the total amount of the arrears;
(b) the total outstanding of the mortgage or the home purchase plan; and
(c) whether interest or charges will be added, and if so and where appropriate, details or an estimate of the interest or charges that may be payable.
5.6 the borrower should be given a reasonable period of time to consider a payment proposal.
5.7 borrower to get a warning of any moves to repossess
(1) A firm should ensure that its written policy and procedures include:The bang-whizz new protocol will merely repeat as advice part of what is already there as regulation. Can someone tell Gordon Brown he can change out of the Superman pyjamas now?
(a) using reasonable efforts to reach an agreement with a customer over the method of repaying any payment shortfall or1 sale shortfall1 , in the case of the former having regard to the desirability of agreeing with the customer an alternative to taking possession of the property;
(b) liaising, if the customer makes arrangements for this, with a third party source of advice regarding the payment shortfall or1 sale shortfall1 ;
(c) adopting a reasonable approach to the time over which the payment shortfall or 1 sale shortfall1 should be repaid, having particular regard to the need to establish, where feasible, a payment plan which is practical in terms of the circumstances of the customer;
(d) granting, unless it has good reason not to do so, a customer's request for a change to:
(i) the date on which the payment is due (providing it is within the same payment period); or
(ii) the method by which payment is made; and giving the customer a written explanation of its reasons if it refuses the request;
(e) giving consideration, where no reasonable payment arrangement can be made, to the customer being allowed to remain in possession to effect a sale; and
(f) repossessing the property only where all other reasonable attempts to resolve the position have failed.
(2) Contravention of 1(1) may be relied on as tending to show contravention of MCOB 13.3.1 R(2).
Saturday, 25 October 2008
3. Since Lloyds TSB appears to be in no better state than HBoS in the current mess and is smaller than HBoS does it still make sense for the deal to proceed?
Thursday, 23 October 2008
A summary Lindsay’s Action Plan for Fife
Crack down on anti-social behaviour
· visible policing, zero tolerance to drugs, action on underage drinking
· a citizens’ panel to decide where new CCTV should go
Fight for more opportunities for young people
· More sports and recreation facilities for Fife , including public consultation with young people to decide where new pitches should go
· campaign against Fife Council privatising golf courses and convene an urgent meeting with top cinema chiefs to start bringing a new cinema to central Fife
How come he thinks that sports and recreation facilities are only for young people? Why is it that he thinks that young people are only interested in sports and recreation? Surely a job or two wouldn't go amiss?
Anyway, Mr Roy must be delighted that Kenny MacAskill is taking money from criminals and using the Cashback for Communities scheme to channel that money into building more sports and recreation facilities across the country, ploughing resources into the arts and creativity as well.
Then again, if Mr Roy thinks that the SNP is a party of privatisation I guess he's not been paying any attention at all - to his own party or to politics in general.
Sort out the roads and buses
· support dualling and upgrading the A92
· demand a clear timetable and funding plan for the Forth Road Bridge that the SNP have delayed
· give powers back to Fifers so local people can make decisions about their buses
Forth Bridge announced by John Swinney after 8 years of Labour and Lib Dem Transport Ministers doing nothing very much. It's started - readallaboutit!
What are the powers he's intending to give back to Fifers to allow local people to make decisions about their buses? Does he mean reregulation - giving the powers back to the council rather than the people? If so, why does he not advocate that?
I don't know what the status of the A92 is. I might even go to the trouble of asking if I get bored.
Another thing - it should be "the SNP has", not "the SNP have". My grammar's not that bad.
Help Fife families through tough times
· benefit “check-ups” to ensure pensioners get the benefits they deserve – including the new, free insulation
· outlaw overcharging people on pre-pay meters and fight the SNP local income tax
· oppose greedy oil bosses who keep petrol costs high
Those'll be the tough times caused by the failure of the Labour Government then, inflation over 5%, unemployment on the rise, banks failing, economy in crisis, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera ...
I see he wants to keep the Council Tax - bizarre. How can anyone who wants to pretend to be on the side of the less affluent want to keep frying them with Council Tax?
Why just pensioners getting benefit checks? What about low income families trying to work out what's what? What about those families struggling to repay Gordon Brown's tax credits? How about the people who got - what's the polite word? Shafted? - by the abolition of the 10p tax rate?
See this outlawing overcharging on prepayment meters? Why has Labour not done that in the 11 years they've been in power?
These greedy oil bosses he's going to fight who keep petrol costs high - is Lindsay Roy taking on OPEC? Would that be an opec struggle? Why not just support the SNP's fuel duty regulator that would do the same thing?
Action plan for Fife?
Boom, boom Mr Roy!
Mind how you go.
Anyway, here's some fascination:
The result in Scotland against the 2005 result:
SNP - 37% (up 19%)
Lab - 32% (down 7%)
Con - 26% (up 10%)
LibD - 6% (down 17%)
I await the howls of derision.
You'll see that the Lib Dems are on 6% - you lose your deposit if you get less than 5% in a seat - see my predictions coming true?
The Lib Dems actually get pretty horsed everywhere. In true Lib Dem tradition, here's a graph:
Scotland is on the left, then Midlands/Wales (blame yougov), Rest of South (of England, I assume), North (again, of England), London. I've used party colours - Gold for SNP, red for Labour, Blue for Conservatives and dirty orange for Lib Dems. Outside of Scotland the Gold colour represents 'others'.
There we go, those figures should be wobbly enough.
Mind how you go!
Which party would you like to see win the Glenrothes by-election?
Scottish National Party 77.6%
Labour Party 11.5%
Liberal Democrat Party 5.5%
Conservative Party 2.4%
Scottish Socialist Party 0.3%
UK Independence Party 0.9%
Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party 1.2%
I feel a Lib-Dem style graph coming on ...
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
I wonder if he has the same polling figures as I do and reckons he'd rather not face those 67% who blame him for the economic mess and the 42% who think he's been at it on the banks merger issue.
His wife came, though, a very public declaration of coming to campaign for Labour allied to a refusal to speak to the press because "she's a very private person". Oh, yes, that's the kite they tried to fly. Sarah Brown spoke to nine people (exactly nine, hand-picked - Bambi's back!), each of whom had a Labour poster in the window and (I'm guessing here) a Labour party card in their purse/wallet/pocket-book/as a bookmark.
She's getting the photies in the paper, though, are our journalists feart? Will I regret asking? Will any of them ask why she's frightened of them? Does she agree with Tony Blair's assessment of them? Is this an episode of SOAP?
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the SNP campaign has stepped up a gear and the people of Glenrothes are moving towards us again. It's there for the taking, friends. Anyone out there with SNP leanings (or even supporters who can stand up straight) - meddle in Methil, be royal in Kinglassie, dance in Cardenden, mark it in Markinch, think up terrible puns for other parts of the constituency. Get on the phones - activate yourself, man; knock on some doors, deliver some letters, make some sandwiches, paint your dog black and gold.
Make the effort, make the difference, make history in Glenrothes.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
These days it's work, work, work - I hardly stopped from dawn till dusk. I was there at the staff reception, kindly sponsored by BAA Scotland (the airport people) where the heid bummer of BAA Scotland was very nice about us and the heid bummers of the SNP were nice in return, I was there when the world was put to rights (seventeen different times - very, very busy), I was there when the YSI pitched its case and there when the Party nodded sagely, I met old friends and made some new ones, I told old jokes and heard some new ones - a thoroughly exhausting process.
I did, though, fall in with a Lib Dem type (ach, we let all sorts into conference except dodgy bloggers) who was busy telling me about the illegal automated phone calls that the Lib Dems made. The tale goes that the information generated was used to redraw Lib Dem target seats maps before it was destroyed. She said there were going to be some disappointed candidates as well as some pleasantly surprised candidates and one or two sitting MPs who will suddenly find themselves sorely in need of a pair of brown trousers as their supposedly safe seat is no longer regarded as such.
In spite of the application of all my charm, she wouldn't tell me a flaming thing about which seats were which - so here goes soaring speculation on the back of a dodgy lead that came from someone who might not know a cheesing thing and might not tell me even if she did. It could all be disinformation, it could all be just a barrel-full of crackers, but here's the speculation anyway:
Seats the Lib Dems will lose:
Gordon - Malcolm Bruce in Gordon was always far too high a concentration of forenames but the relentless SNP campaigning there over the last couple of years will see Richard Thomson elected as the new MP.
Danny Alexander - smooth, suave and sophisticated Fergus Ewing has measured the chappie up for dispatch and it will be an SNP seat with a brand new shiny MP. I'm not telling you who.
Michael Moore - looks like a Conservative gain. Fishtishlle it!
Alan Reid - After Jim Mather's stunning victory over the Lyon one, Mike MacKenzie will bring it home for Scotland's party.
Robert Smith - very poor performer about to be horsed out by some fermer chap.
Jo Swinson - never quite cut it, oot on her ear.
Lib Dems hingin on:
Charlie Kennedy - in spite of the nastiness aimed at him, he's determined to stand again and try to save them from themselves. It has to be admitted that he has a wee bit of a chance.
Lib Dems sweatin it oot:
John Barrett - with both the SNP and the Conservatives taking bit bites out of his vote, the question is really about who'll catch him first.
John Thurso - anybody with a moustache that ridiculous has got to be in trouble.
Lib Dem seats off the target list:
Well, all the work in Edinburgh will go towards trying to save John Barrett, so there will be no Lib Dem challenge in Edinburgh South, making that a straight Labour/Conservative fight.
Lib Dems lost deposits:
Edinburgh North and Leith - classic squeeze as the battle will be between the Labour Government down south and the SNP Government here.
Both Dundee seats - again the Lib Dems will be battling for relevance as the real battle goes on.
Aberdeen North - massive slide being reported in Lib Dem vote up there.
Angus - even Labour's doing better than the Lib Dems there these days.
Ochil and South Perthshire; Perth and North Perthshire; Livingston; Linlithgow and East Falkirk; Edinburgh East; Stirling; and most of the Central Belt all fall into the same category - Lib Dems losing votes as the electors complete the transition and start looking for a real political party to support.
So where might the Lib Dems pick up votes?
Tunbridge Wells, maybe...
Time for a bun, I think!
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Good! Let's keep the Lloyds TSB asset-strippers away from Scotland's banks.
Commentators are starting to say the same things I've been saying (yeah, I thought about saying I'd persuaded them) about how the deal done sends banks back to the bad practices that got them into difficulty and how HBoS doesn't need taken over.
By the way, well done to the Scotsman for starting to ask the questions and demanding answers, for campaigning to keep HBoS independent, for bringing evidence to the table and asking for the facts to be revealed.
Moody's is upgrading the HBoS rating, the Bank may be coming out of the woods.
Allen & Overy - advisors to HBoS on the Lloyds TSB merger is advising HBoS on selling its Australian assets - a conflict of interests, surely? Or is it all part of the same deal because Lloyds TSB doesn't have the resources to complete the deal and Victor Blank's mate, who happens to be the Prime Minister, has smoothed the path for this struggling organisation?
We still don't know why Blank & co were the only management organisation allowed to remain in place under the deal, but I'm coming down on the side of mate's rates on a grand scale.
The deal being done isn't anti-nationalist nor anti-Scottish. Not a thought is being given to Scotland, either to protect Scotland's institutions or to damn them, it's just a business deal where neither Victor Blank nor Gordon Brown has given a thought to what happens in Scotland - that's just incidental. Victor Blank has already made it clear that he has privileged access to the Prime Minister and that he can get special consideration from him.
Buying up HBoS, stripping it clean until Mr Blank can suck the last juices out of the bones, and propping up Lloyds TSB is the agenda.
I've just re-read what I've written before posting and it seems, even to me, disjointed and akin to conspiracy-spotting, but reviewing the evidence does not seem to lead anywhere else. This seems to be an asset-stripping exercise aided and abetted (as it were) by a politician. Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders.
I hear that there is a campaign beginning - I don't know whether it's really happening but I hope it is - people are buying shares in HBoS and intend to keep HBoS free from Lloyds TSB and to move HQ operations back to Scotland. I fully endorse that, I'm out to buy a few shares myself, and I'll go further.
When we've saved HBoS from this merger, when we have a banker back in charge, when the situation is stabilised, when HBoS is operating properly, let's buy Lloyds TSB. Surely if the deal was acceptable the other way round it will be acceptable this way round? If HBoS needs the deal from the Government then it can buy out the preference shares by disposing of overseas assets - not at the knock-down prices that are currently being considered, but at proper market rates -and then HBoS can get back to being a bank.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
My first phone call of the day was with the Chancellor, Alistair Darling – I took the call sitting in the Scotland Office in Edinburgh, coincidentally in his constituencyWe can let him off, can't we? The Scotland Office is in Melville Crescent - in Edinburgh North and Leith not Edinburgh South West.
- Ireland's debt to GDP ratio is only 25% - the second best in the European union
- Recapitalising Ireland's banks would make it about the fourth best
- Euro membership protects Ireland from exchange rate pressures, and limits government debt risk
- Tax regime and EU membership brings foreign investment
- Booming indigenous services sector.
But even if Iceland faces problems, which independent nation doesn't from time to time? Isn't it better for a nation to make and correct its own mistakes, rather than remain in a state of permanent policy dependency on others?
Monday, 13 October 2008
"I was with a business delegation that went to Israel and Palestine with the prime minister. On the plane back we were talking about the economy, the banking sector and so on, and I put to him that if there was a need for consolidation or a major rescue ... that we couldn't have a bank like Northern Rock that was sitting becalmed for nine months while the competition investigation went on,"
"The next one people were talking about was HBOS,"
Does he think short-sellers are to blame for the demise of HBOS? "I don't know
if it was a victim of short-selling but it does seem to have been the victim of
the most extraordinary market speculation, which didn't help them."
Quite. Gordon Brown's ponderous hand also weighed heavily upon the Scottish bank:
Blank attended a dinner where Brown was also a guest. The PM brought up the subject. "He said, 'if you think you want to advance on this, we will deal with the competition issues'," Blank recalls.
We now know that Lloyds TSB was not in any better position than HBoS, so the questions about who was behind the rumours that forced down HBoS shares and why become very pointed.
We need to be hearing from Mr Blank just exactly how much he used his position to murmur the bank which was his opposition and which, he freely admits, he would like to take over if only those pesky regulators weren't in the way. It would be interesting to know, as well, whether dealers working to or for Lloyds TSB were involved in the short-selling (or, indeed, whether any HBoS dealers were involved).
Before any merger gets the "I'm not looking" treatment from the regulators, we have to have a look at the real machinations behind the farce.
We currently have the quite extraordinary position where the Government has offered a deal to the two banks - but only if the merger goes through. Is this because the investors had looked at the 'merger' and thought it to be less than a good deal? Is this the UK Government blackmailing institutional shareholders into giving HBoS over to Lloyds TSB after those shareholders have said 'that will be chocolate, mate'?
Part of the deal includes the removal of senior management - except Victor Blank, why would that be?
Another part of the deal is that the banks must return to the dodgy lending practices that got them into this trouble in the first place. Who's the genius who thought that that was a good idea?
Rather than us having to wait 30 years to get the records out of the vaults and then condemn a Government that will seem to have been photographed in sepia (or use Freedom of Information legislation just to bang our collective heads against the wall of the poor UK legislation), let's get all the details out in the open now, before this dodgy deal goes through, and let's make sure that the deal is properly scrutinised by the regulators.
Most important of all, let's have a guarantee from the Chancellor that HBoS will receive the same considerations as other banks if the deal is not approved by its shareholders - if Government is to involve itself in business deals then it must do so with an equitable hand.
Friday, 10 October 2008
I give you the Daily Politics show suggesting that it is Gordon Brown self-harming.
When you have scratched your poor wee head and wondered who's the one with psychological flaws, you might want to turn to Andrew Rawnsley and his theory of former intense intimacy.
Here's my completely uninformed guesswork (as good as anyone else's in my opinion):
The Blair/Brown partnership worked stunningly well because the public narrative had sod all to do with politics. The soap opera they presented to us was of an intense rivalry at the top of Government. Instead of examining what the executive was up to and keeping an eye on all the dodgy activity, the media, and therefore the rest of us, were largely watching (delete as applicable) Yes Minister / The West Wing / The New Statesman / The Thick of It.
The public narrative was about tensions within the Government and when Brown would finally force Blair out and who was on what side, whose Ministers were being promoted, whose apparatchiks were on the wane, a 'battle of the Titans' fought without Titans. Charlie Whelan and Alasdair Campbell made more news than the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Nobody else could get a chink of the light that was reflecting from the gladiatorial breastplates.
Then Tony left and the odd couple was incomplete. Without that internal battle, the public narrative became about politics and people were becoming readily aware of the incredible shambles that these two eejits had brought upon us. Brown suffered the consequences although Blair was as much to blame.
After attempting politics for a while, el Gordo realises that he isn't very good at it and requires his own blinding narrative. He needs someone who is believable in the Dick Dastardly role and that brings him to (insert manic laughter) Peter Mandelson.
Can't have Bambi appearing to covet the top job, though, it's not credible for a number of reasons including the fact that his party wouldn't have him, he'd be in the Lords (easiest way to bring him back - he'd lose in Glenrothes), he doesn't have the networks anymore, etc., so the internal tension is required from another angle.
Step forward Ed Balls to deny the carefully leaked story that he opposed Mandelson's return to the big hoose.
I'll bet I'm right.
Fiona Grant SNP 1807John Beare SNP 1613William Kay Lab 1354
Kay Morrison Lab 787
David Mole Con 504Harry Wills LD 411Alex Lawson Ind 164
Morag Balfour SSP 114
Paul Smith UKIP 90
19/06/07 Lunch, £35, Lothian Buses plc - 13 June 2007
11/11/07 Dinner and Hotel Accommodation, £160, tie Ltd - 29 October 2007
21/01/08 Travel and Lunch, £150, Lothian Buses plc, 7 November 2007
05/02/08 Tickets for Match and Hospitality, £200, tie Ltd, 3 February 2008
20/02/08 Lunch, £30, Transport Edinburgh Ltd, 13 February 2008
18/03/08 Dinner for two, £60, Lothian Buses plc, 15 March 2008
10/04/08 Dinner, £30, tie Ltd, 8 April 2008
11/06/08 Lunch and Book, £40, Lothian Buses plc, 10 June 2008
28/08/08 Dinner, £45, Lothian Buses plc, 27 August 2008
02/06/08 Dinner, £30, ASH GUPTA, 29 May 2008
20/05/08 Travel and Subsistance costs, £400, Optimum Conference Organisers, 15/17 April 2008
Thursday, 9 October 2008
You'll note that it's from a different constituency and from two years ago (when the Liberal Democrats were still in coalition with the Labour Party in the Scottish Executive). Here's the Glenrothes result from 2005 shamelessly nicked from the excellent Scottish Politics site:
Caveats, of course, include the fact that this was now more than three years ago and that there was an election in the meantime, a new Government in Scotland, and a new sense of Scotland being able to acheive. In fact, here's the result from last year for the Central Fife Holyrood seat which makes up a fair chunk of the Glenrothes Westminster seat (again shamelessly pilfered):
Then there's Harry Wills, candidate extraordinaire. Why, do you think, has his party changed the news release about his selection on its campaign website and deleted his biography from that release? Why does the Lib Dem Scottish website version of his biography not mention his 'business career'? If you want to see the biography released earlier, you can have a wee keek on the Scottish release - the Lib Dem national release differed from the local release but the same biography was on both, now both sites have the same release but there's a biography missing. The way-back machine will upload the archive about six months after it was first published and I'll lay all of the webpages out then.
Then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, up pops Andrew Reeves with a straightforward lie. Who's Andrew Reeves? Well, you wouldn't be able to tell from his blog, but he's the Deputy Director of Campaigns for the Lib Dems in their Edinburgh outpost.
Let's take a look at Mr Reeves' allegation:
Last night in the Members lobby the Scottish parliamentary leaders for the SNP and the Conservatives - Angus Robertson MP and David Mundell MP respectively - were overheard discussing how they are going to work together to ensure a Labour defeat in the forthcoming Glenrothes by-election!
His hearing must be heck of a good - imagine overhearing a discussion in Westminster from an office in Edinburgh!
Firstly, David Mundell is not his party's Scottish Parliamentary leader - he is the Shadow Scottish Secretary, and I would have thought that a senior member of staff in a unionist (or even, perhaps particularly, federalist) party would know the difference.
Secondly, how exactly could the Conservative party help anyone to win Glenrothes? I refer you to the results laid out above.
Thirdly, how would a discussion with David Mundell deliver any action or inaction on the part of the Scottish Conservatives? I'm no expert on the internal workings of the Conservatives in Scotland, but I imagine that David Mundell, for all his qualities, is not in a position to play dictator to his party.
Fourthly, I had a chat with Tavish Scott a wee while ago - does that mean that the Lib Dems will be pulling out all the stops to make sure that an SNP MP is elected for Glenrothes?
Glenrothes is toe-to-toe between the SNP and Labour, Peter Grant or Lindsay Roy. It's not an easy one to win for either candidate or either party, but you can rest assured that the Lib Dems won't figure in the contest. In fact, I'll lay you a wee bet - the Lib Dems will lose another deposit in Glenrothes to go with the one lost in Glasgow East.
With voters now having a choice to make in elections, their votes will increasingly disregard the Lib Dems. It's sad, really, that a once-great party saw itself dismembered in order to join with an ineffectual rump which had been horsed out of the Labour party.
The grand traditions of the Liberal Party are lost now - although the remains of the party itself still continues - and the "me too" mockery of the Liberal Democrats is no substitute.
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
I'm not publishing any of the comments because I'd have to sort out what was worth publishing from the stuff that was simply vitriolic.
I'll just say that if I think Kezia Dugdale should be criticised on my blog then I'm quite capable of doing it myself.
I'll also say that Ms Dugdale has retracted the allegation that Nicola Sturgeon was removed from a shopping centre in Glasgow:
The Sturgeon Affair during the Glasgow East by-election. My source is still absolutely adamant that it happened but I don't believe for a second that Nicola Sturgeon would take the trouble to email me if her side of events wasn't the truth.
I have a huge admiration for Nicola Sturgeon - take the politics out of it - she's a cracking role model for young women in Scotland.
If Kezia has been courageous enough to admit that she was wrong and that the Deputy First Minister is a better politician than Kezia alluded to then that admission and segued apology should be welcomed as the positive contributions they are.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Cllr Rust told the BBC Scotland news website he sometimes came across the problem during his lunch break while walking from his west end office to buy a sandwich.
He said: "Now and again I am in a hurry and get stuck behind people who are walking along at snail's pace, stopping every few seconds, and it is a minor irritation.
"This would be a practical measure to see if it works.
Phil Wheeler, Edinburgh City Council's transport convener, said: "The results of this survey are interesting.
"More interesting, perhaps, will be to see what serious proposals can be put forward to try to deal with the problem."