Labour Party

Jim The Unionist Murphy – Politics and Religion – Conflicting Views – Election Strategy 2010 and 2015 – A Summary of Posts to Date


January 2015; Jim Murphy plays the class warrior card

a. If Murphy were a bibulous carnivore, I’m sure he’d happily stand Boris Johnson a beer and a burger for the huge boost the Mayor of London has given his hopes of reigniting Labour’s flame in Scotland. By attacking so vehemently Murphy’s plans to use the taxes on home owners in Chelsea and Kensington to fund an extra 1000 nurses in Scotland, Boris has earned the new Scottish Labour leader’s eternal gratitude. Mind you, I suppose a glass of beetroot juice and a nut cutlet would be a more appropriate reward from Mr Murphy – a teetotal vegan – but the response from Boris, in describing the plan as “vindictive”, has been like manna from heaven for Scottish Labour.

b. It may well have been a wholly cynical and desperately short-term and short-sighted ploy, but these are desperate times, and the one thing that Murphy needs to prove to a one-time Labour congregation in West Central Scotland is that he’s no Blairite Right-winger; rather, that he’s an in-your-face class warrior ready to hammer the toffs. And if someone like Boris Johnson, who’s seen by many as the epitome of an Eton-educated posh boy, takes Jim to task in such terms, then that can only be to Labour’s advantage on the doorsteps of places like Glasgow, Dundee, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire, which all ignored their former party’s advice and voted Yes in September’s referendum.

c. Murphy’s unashamed, and frankly provocative, plan to equate what is essentially a tax on the English to boost Scotland will increase the pressure to scrap Barnett. The truth, of course, is that there is absolutely no need to use English taxes to pay for the extra Scottish nurses – that was little more than a cheap trick which, thanks to Mr Johnson’s ill-judged intervention, achieved the desired result.

d. Murphy was determined to make an impact with his first major speech as Scottish leader. It wasn’t much of an effort but with a little help from an unlikely friend, he’s succeeded in proving he’s a genuine class warrior who’s not scared of taking on the English, so no doubt he and his cheerleaders will be well satisfied.


January 2015; Jim Murphy woos voters by insisting ‘I’m no Unionist’

a. Murphy’s campaign to persuade independence supporters to back Labour in the general election has attracted derision after he insisted he had “never been a Unionist”. The Scottish Labour leader said his family’s Irish Catholic background meant that belief in the 308-year-old Union between England and Scotland was not part of his “political tradition”. He said the Better Together referendum campaign had seen a “temporary” alliance between the dogmatic Unionism of the Tories and Labour’s principle of “socialist solidarity” between the people of Britain. The tour hit the headlines after Yes campaigners pelted him with eggs and vitriolic abuse, but since becoming Scottish Labour leader he has attempted to woo those who backed separation on September 18.

b. With opinion polls suggesting the SNP is on course to make major gains in May’s general election at Labour’s expense, he has explicitly appealed to 190,000 people who backed his party at the 2010 general election but voted Yes in the referendum.

c. Murphy emphasised that he was not a nationalist, saying there was no such thing as scottish identity or culture, and questioned whether “the party of Keir Hardie” has to prove how Scottish it is to beat the SNP.

d. Sandra White, an SNP MSP, said the Scottish Labour leader was trying to “rewrite history” to “distance himself from the Tories”. She added: “Does Jim Murphy really expect people to believe that despite having spent the entire referendum campaign arguing for a No vote, he does not believe in the union? It is utter nonsense and a sign of desperation that he would even attempt to claim otherwise.”

e. A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “It’s a great pity that, for short-term political reasons, Murphy now feels the need to distance himself from that great cross-party effort last year. But with Scottish Labour now trying to ape the Nationalists in Scotland, it is perhaps not that unexpected.”


January 2015; Murphy: the Scottish Nationalists are ‘sluggish, lethargic and off the pace’

a. Murphy, the new Scottish Labour leader, has described the Scottish Nationalists as “sluggish, lethargic and off the pace,” saying he has been “amazed” at how easy it has been to take them on. Since being elected last month, the former Scotland secretary said he had found the Nationalists far less formidable than he had been warned, despite recent polls which suggest the SNP could be on course to take dozens of seats from Labour at the general election.

b. Murphy said that despite the dire predictions of the opinion pollsters, Scottish Labour was “avowedly more confident” under his leadership, and has a target of not losing a single seat to the SNP. “I’m confident we’ll get there by the general election,” he said. “What you have to do is stand for something, and you say to those people who voted Yes that that was last year’s disagreement, and whether you keep [David] Cameron in power in May is this year’s decision. “The SNP aren’t going to be the biggest party, and the biggest party gets to decide who’s in government.

c. “I’d like to see Scotland lead the UK rather than leave it, and in May we have the chance to lead the UK away from a Tory government. “We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.” He refused to be drawn on whether he would quit his Westminster seat in order to fulfil his pledge to serve as a Member of the Scottish Parliament, even raising the suggestion that he could remain Scottish leader while not being either an MP or MSP.


January 2015; Will the real Jim Murphy please stand up?

a. Labour supports the British nuclear deterrent and even if a costly replacement for Trident was shelved and something cheaper – like a Cruise-based system – was decided upon, the missiles would still be submarine-launched. And as all of the Royal Navy’s submarines are due to be based on the Clyde within five years, Britain’s independent deterrent would still be situated in Scotland – a fact that the SNP would, presumably, oppose.

b. So what’s Labour to do? Clearly, it’s best option would be to halt that Nat tide and hang onto all those Westminster seats and, thus, help Mr Miliband get that overall majority that the polls are currently saying is beyond his reach. Charged with that uphill task since the beginning of December is Jim Murphy, one of the heroes of the successful defeat of the Nats in the referendum.

c. Whether he goes from champ to chump is now Scotland’s hottest political topic. Murphy is a talented politician – even his Nat opponents concede that – but his main problem at present appears to be that he can’t make up his mind what manner of politician he is.

d. Tagged from the start as an avowed Blairite, he’s been treated as such by those once termed the Brownies in Labour’s ranks and it was unfortunate for Jim that the ‘wrong’ brother won the Labour leadership. The victory for Ed quickly saw Murphy demoted from the defence portfolio to that of international development in the Shadow Cabinet.

e. Although he’s denied the Blairite label, he didn’t help his cause by appointing John McTernan, his former special advisor and also Tony Blair’s one-time political secretary, as his chief of staff when he assumed the Scottish leadership.

f. But in an attempt both to bury that image and also to recapture those Labour voters who voted Yes against their party in the referendum and who now appear to have deserted it in droves, Murphy is brandishing his left-wing credentials.

g. He deliberately picked a fight with Tories like Boris Johnson by saying that he’d use the mansion tax in London to pay for Scottish nurses. He tried to outbid the SNP by saying he’d ban fracking until all the environmental issues connected with it were resolved. He claimed the SNP’s council tax freeze and new property taxes as benefitting the better off and he pledged that a future Labour-controlled Scottish government would re-nationalise the country’s rail services.

h. Bizarrely, at least in light of his sterling service for the No campaign last year, he assured those Labour supporters in West Central Scotland, who associate the term with the sectarian politics of Northern Ireland, by insisting he wasn’t a “Unionist”.

i. Whilst all of this will be seen as pure political posturing to regain that traditional Labour vote, it’s doing nothing for those other Unionists – Tories and Lib Dems – who may be prepared to vote tactically for Labour to stop the Nats. “ Murphy used to say that you can’t win from the Left. But that’s where he is just now and he won’t get many Centre-Right votes from there,” said one senior Tory yesterday.

j. Adding to the confusion is the fact that he won’t tell us if he’s standing for election in his Renfrewshire seat in May’s general election. All of which leads to one obvious question: Will the real Jim Murphy please stand up?

ed and jim

The Roman Catholic vote – Murphy’s Strategy, (to date) in the 2015 General Election

a. December 2014: Murphy voted morally correct on only 4 out of 36 important moral issues.

i. The Christian Institute maintains a record of each MP’s voting record on moral issues. Murphy’s record is appalling. On the occasion of 36 votes in parliament he voted only 4 times in a morally correct manner.


b. December 2014; Roman Catholic Canon Law & Jim Murphy

i. One of our bloggers wrote to Bishop John Keenan (Paisley) to draw his attention to the public statements of Jim Murphy MP, affirming his support for abortion. Jim Murphy is a Catholic of the Diocese of Paisley who is currently seeking to win the Labour leadership in Scotland. Click here to read more. Under Church law, manifest public sinners – and that includes those who support abortion – cannot receive Holy Communion. This is not a matter left to the discretion of any priest or bishop – Canon # 915 prohibits Communion to public sinners and it is a grave sin for any priest or bishop to flout this law. We’ve had this discussion more than once – click here to reach one of our previous conversations on the topic.

ii. Bishop Keenan declined to reply to our blogger, electing instead to delegate the matter to his Vicar General. Now, Paisley is not New York. You can go for a walk round Paisley and meet yourself on the way back. So, one might fairly expect the Bishop to answer his own mail, especially correspondence on a matter as serious as that under discussion here.

iii. The upshot of the responses from the Vicar General is that the Bishop takes pro-life issues seriously and is dealing with the matter of the “pro-choice” [i.e. pro-murder] MP privately and anyway “neither you nor I are entitled to know what transpires between a bishop and another’s soul.” What the heck does that mean? Nobody is asking what is going on in Jim Murphy’s soul but we have every right to know whether or not the Bishop is doing his duty to protect the MP himself from continuing on his – literally – damnable route by receiving Holy Communion in a manifestly unworthy state, and also whether he is doing his duty to protect the rest of the faithful from being scandalised. If Jim Murphy had publicly admitted to (let’s use a euphemism) “harming” children, the Bishop would have been in front of the TV cameras in jig time to express his shock horror and to discourage Catholics from voting for him. Surely unborn children deserve similarly robust protection from Catholic priests and prelates?

iv. The upshot of our blogger’s response to the Vicar General’s correspondence is that for the bishop to deal with this matter “privately” is not good enough since the scandal is very public and requires the enforcement of Canon 915.


c. Comments;

i. Faith of Our Fathers; Jim Murphy should heed the words – What does it profit a Labour Leader if he gains the Whole Party but suffers the loss of his Soul. Or read St Thomas More,s last words – I am Gods good servant, but the Labour Parties Leader with all the trappings first.

ii. Petrus says: I agree with everything said so far. Bishop Keenan would rather take the easy option. I certainly question his commitment to prolife issues if he is unwilling to take a public stance on this. Mr Murphy didn’t hesitate to outline his support for abortion in public. The bishop’s failure to speak out is a cause of scandal to the faithful.

iii. How many Catholic members of the Labour Party will have voted for Mr Murphy not knowing his views on abortion or thinking that the Church really doesn’t have a problem with politicians being pro abortion. I’m afraid Bishop Keenan has the blood of unborn babies on his hands through his silence. We should also remember that the Bishop has also failed to protect the dignity of the Blessed Sacrament by allowing a public sinner to receive Holy Communion.


d. Dec 2014; My fellow Catholics are the lapsed unionists behind SNP surge in the polls

i. The Catholicism of the Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has attracted some attention this week against a backdrop of fascinating political developments in Scotland. For there is plenty of evidence that people of Irish descent have been to the fore in the near – quadrupling of SNP membership to 92,000 since the referendum, which threatens to undo Labour at the 2015 UK general election.

ii. Within weeks of the referendum, Glasgow had a near five – fold rise in SNP membership and nearby Motherwell and Coatbridge had six-fold increases. These are the heartlands of a community once defined by deep Catholic loyalties. Their neighbourhoods are shared with people who adhere to a Protestant culture, but they are less likely to have been at the crest of the SNP wave. According to one poll, just 31% of non Catholics backed independence compared with no less than 57% of Catholics.

Mansion tax to fund nurses: Murphy

e. December 2014; Scottish Secular Society Founder Gary Otton accuses Murphy of being “a catholic fanatic”, “a Pope Benedict fan” and “a religious fanatic”.

i. Otton posted four different Facebook threads about Murphy in the space of two days, all making reference to Murphy’s religion and support for denominational schools. Robertson described some of the comments as “disturbing”. He said, “the Scottish Secular Society have posted several stories about ‘Catholic fanatic/extremist/Pope Benedict fan’ Jim Murphy over the past few days. I find it particularly disturbing this constant referral to Jim Murphy as Roman Catholic – what does that have to do with anything? It comes worryingly close to the kind of anti-Catholic sectarianism that plagued the West of Scotland – perhaps it still does. It is of no relevance or interest to me that a particular political candidate is Roman Catholic or not. Mr Murphy should be judged on his political views and abilities, not what church he belongs to. It is ironic that of all groups the Scottish Secular Society continues to highlight religious affiliation as though this were somehow a disqualifying factor.”

ii.Otton defended his remarks. saying, “The Scottish Secular Society have no problem with Mr Murphy’s beliefs, but a very great problem with the way in which we fear they will influence his political decisions. In particular, we don’t approve of support for the idea that bishops can be put in charge of sex education in Catholic schools. We are also concerned that he will defend privileges for organised religion, segregating children on the basis of their parents’ religion in denominational schools with separate staff rooms and entrances. We are utterly opposed to sectarianism in any shape or form. There is also general agreement amongst secularists that unelected religious representatives, both Catholic and Church of Scotland, voting on how Councils should deploy their limited education budgets is absurd. Murphy has been reported in the press praising the US because religion has a bigger role in politics. That is not a scenario the Scottish Secular Society would welcome in Scotland. Opinions on Facebook’s Secular Scotland are personal and social media is the appropriate place to express them. The Scottish Secular Society is the appropriate organisation to challenge the religious privileges.”

jim murphy roars at old lady

f. December 2014; Jim Murphy Fury at Secular Society chief’s ‘sectarian, anti-Catholic’ slur

i. Scottish Labour leadership hopeful Jim Murphy has hit back at remarks from a leading secular society figure accusing him of being “a catholic fanatic”, “a Pope Benedict fan” and “a religious fanatic”. The comments, made by Scottish Secular Society Founder Gary Otton on Facebook, have been dubbed “disturbing” and are “worryingly close to anti-Catholic sectarianism”, according to one of Scotland’s leading religious figures. The next Free Church of Scotland Moderator, Rev David Robertson, said the East Renfrewshire MP has been targeted by opponents because of his catholic faith.

jim murphy mormons

Murphy’s Strategy in the 2010 General Election – Lovebomb the Catholic voter

a. January 2010; Murphy Makes His Play For the Catholic Vote

i. Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “Jim Murphy is taking the Labour Party into dangerous territory when he calls on it to make a special play for the religious vote. “His personal religious enthusiasm may be blinding him to the facts. It is no longer the case that clerics can dictate the way their congregations vote. People are too independent-minded now to be herded into the voting booth by religious considerations alone.”

Puppet on a string

b. February 2010; Jim Murphy – risks alienating voters by over-playing religion

i. Labour’s Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy, risks alienating the Party’s core vote if he continues to insist that it embrace a religious agenda, says the National Secular Society. Reacting to Mr Murphy’s speech in Westminster today to Labour think tank, “Progress”, Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said, “Murphy is taking the Labour Party into dangerous territory when he calls on it to make a special play for the religious vote.

ii. His personal religious enthusiasm may be blinding him to the facts. It is no longer the case that clerics can dictate the way their congregations vote. People are too independent-minded now to be herded into the voting booth by religious considerations alone. The society that we live in today is very different to the one that existed fifty years ago, and we want our politicians to reflect that change. Even in the last twenty years Scottish mass attendance has almost halved.

c. The Labour Party should rein in Mr Murphy before he does it permanent damage. A poll by ComRes published last week showed that half of those who define themselves as Christian say that religion is of “little importance” to them.”

i. He went on to say, “If the Labour Party starts favouring religious voters by promising socially regressive legislation, dictated by out-of-touch and dogmatic religious leaders, it risks alienating huge numbers of people. Other polls have shown that ordinary Catholics are completely out of sympathy with the teachings of the Catholic Church on issues such as contraception, euthanasia, homosexuality and abortion. A 2007 YouGov poll showed that only a quarter of Catholics (and only a seventh of the population) agreed with Catholic dogma on abortion. This suggests allying a political party to religion is electorally very dangerous. This is why the electoral results of the Christian Party are pitiful.”

ii. He added, ” The British Social Attitudes Survey, published last month about religious leaders trying to influence how people vote in an election, showed that 75% of respondents thought that they shouldn’t, while 67% think religious leaders should stay out of Government decision-making. When asked: “If many of our elected officials were deeply religious, do you think that the laws and policy decisions they make would probably be better or probably be worse?” Nearly half of respondents thought they would be worse, whereas only 26% thought they would be better.”

d. February 2010; Murphy’s faith card unlikely to win votes

i.. It is interesting to note the Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy, intends playing, “the religion card to win votes” This is the same Mr Murphy who, last month, was reported as aiming to counteract the threatened opposition of the BNP in his East Renfrewshire Westminster constituency, by uniting, “Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups to battle the party, which he described as ‘abhorrent’”.

ii. However, it should be noted that this is also the same Mr Murphy who was apparently happy to support the present government in its attempts to add further restrictions to the Equality Bill – thankfully blocked by the House of Lords – that would have removed the right of churches and other Christian organisations to refuse to employ persons who do not share their core beliefs, in particular those whose sexual conduct is contrary to the teachings of the Bible.

e. Comment:

i. Calton jock: at interview Roman Catholic candidates seeking a job as housekeeper to the parish priest might be asked, Do you wear a condom during sex? An affirmative answer would be sufficient grounds to reject the candidate. Bonkers Spud.

ii. Rev C Brian Ross, Motherwell: I think it would be more accurate to say that, instead of “Labour trying to reposition itself as the natural party of religious voters” it is trying once more to get the endorsement of the Roman Catholic Church in particular which used to be taken for granted. Labour knows that a candidate being given the Church’s blessing is worth a lot more than thousands of pounds spent on leaflets through doors. Unless the SNP candidate is called John Paul, I suppose.

iii. Barry Lees, Greenock: You describe MP Jim Murphy as being a “devout” Catholic, that is: he subscribes to all the tenets, beliefs and instructions of that faith. That being so, he cannot speak to other faiths in the way he does because one of his beliefs and prayers he will offer is for the conversion of England, and so the United Kingdom, to the Pre – Reformation beliefs and practices. Others can fill in the many fault lines in his attempt to win votes.

iv. Tom Reilly, Edinburgh: Jim Murphy’s religion, or lack of it, is of no concern to me, nor I imagine to most in Scotland. His use of religion, and his “devout” Catholicism, to further his, and Labour’s, ambitions is disgraceful. To quote Keir Hardie, it is an insult to the founders of the real Labour party. Today’s Labour is no inheritor of those principled, decent men and women, who strove to improve the lot of those at the lower reaches of society.

v. Bill McLean, Dunfermline: Jim Murphy is taking Labour into dangerous territory when he calls on it to make a special play for the religious vote A poll by ComRes published last week showed that those who define themselves as “non-religious” are equal in number to those who say they have a religion. If Labour starts favouring religious voters by promising regressive legislation, dictated by out-of-touch and dogmatic religious leaders, it risks alienating that half of the population who say religion has “little importance” in their lives. Other polls have shown that most ordinary Catholics are completely out of sympathy with the teachings of the Church on issues such as contraception, euthanasia, homosexuality and abortion. Why, then, would they want such issues on the agenda of a political party? His personal religious enthusiasm may be blinding Mr Murphy to the facts. One of those facts is that it is no longer the case that clerics can dictate the way their congregations vote. People are too independent-minded now to be herded into the voting booth by religious considerations alone.

murphy nuc

f. February 2010; Church launches attack on Labour government

i. The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has accused the Labour government of conducting a “systematic and unrelenting attack on family values”. The attack came as Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy, a practising Catholic, claimed religious faith had a role in British politics. Mr Murphy said in a lecture that Labour best represented people of faith. But Scotland’s most senior Roman Catholic accused the government of “undermining religious freedom”. And a spokesman for the Scottish National Party said Mr Murphy was guilty of “crude electioneering” by trying to “corner the market regarding people’s faith”. A tangible example by the government over the last decade that it acknowledged or endorsed religious values would also have been welcomed Cardinal Keith O’Brien

ii. Mr Murphy focused on the key part “values voters” can play in the election when he delivered the Progress lecture in London on Tuesday evening. He argued that faith values have always been “at the very foundations of the Labour Party”. In his lecture, the Scottish secretary said: “In the US, faith has long played a central part in politics. Not surprising for a country where 60% of people say that God plays an important part in their lives. “But it’s wrong to think that it plays no role in British politics.” The MP for East Renfrewshire added: “Faith voters massively outweigh ‘Motorway Men’ or ‘Worcester Woman’ or any other trendy demographic group identified by marketeers.”

iii. He also told the audience that like faith, the family was “another force for good” and “the most important thing in our country”. The minister added: “As well as providing a supportive intellectual environment, it’s a potential source of financial support in difficult days.” His comments were in contrast to the stated attitude of former Labour communications chief Alastair Campbell. Despite former prime minister Tony Blair’s strong religious faith, Campbell famously said: “We don’t do God”. Mr Blair himself said he had avoided talking about his religious views while in office for fear of being labelled “a nutter”. Jim Murphy said religion was at the “very foundations” of the Labour party

iv. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Roman Catholic church in Scotland, welcomed Mr Murphy’s “recognition of the role played by faith and religion in society”. But he added: “A tangible example by the government over the last decade that it acknowledged or endorsed religious values would also have been welcomed. “Instead we have witnessed this government undertake a systematic and unrelenting attack on family values. This is a charge I personally put to Gordon Brown when we met in 2008 and I have seen no evidence since then to suggest anything has changed.” Ironically, Mr Murphy had been due to mention the Cardinal by name in his speech by saying: “When the Cardinal speaks, people listen.”


January 2015 A summary of all posts on my blog about Murphy

a. But those same figures argue that his personality, ideology and Westminster background make him ill-equipped for the task at hand. “He’s the Marmite-plus candidate,” one Labour MP told me, noting that his, “fraught relationship” with Douglas Alexander had, “got worse” during the referendum campaign. “Jim Murphy’s the last person you would want to heal the wounds of a divided party.”


b. Murphy’ great idea – the Employment Support Alllowance (EMA) opens the door to George Iain Duncan Smith and the Tories

Murphy was Welfare minister in the last Government and oversaw the introduction of the Employment Support Allowance (ESA), etc, no mention by the faux anti-imperialists about that. He has simply never met a blairite policy or a party-line in his entire electoral life he didn’t agree with.

c. Murphy the Quisling

Jim Spud Murphy: I find it difficult to express my disgust for Quisling Murphy. In every situation he takes the smarmy anti Scottish line. Have people like this no pride? Do they ever tell the truth? Is their personal career all that matters? How exactly do they differ from the bankers?

vision murphy

d. Miliband Pulls the strings

So, the argument advanced by Murphy that only Labour can ensure removal of a Conservative government is a misnomer since the influence of the Scottish Labour membership over the mainstream Labour party is restricted and very much neutered by the fact that Miliband calls the shots over national policy which Scottish Labour will need to bend the knee.

spud murphy

e. The Student Years

In 1995, the leadership of the National Union of Students forced through their policy dropping support for free education and living student grants, in order to smooth the way for the next Labour government to introduce fees.

fear murphy

f. Give him the rope and he’ll do the rest

The unionist London parties at Holyrood are trying to kid us on that they are leading the way with the direction that Scotland is taking… but they’re not. Everything they are doing is being dictated by the popularity of the SNP. Issues are being seriously talked about now that unionists laughed at us about just a couple of years ago. A prime example is the the ‘Scottish Six’ and the fact that 8.6% of the licence fee is raised in Scotland but only 2.6% of it is spent here.

Middle East

March 2003 The Iraq debate Alex Salmond’s finest hour at Westminster exposed the sanctimonious arguments of Blair who ignored three million marchers and went ahead with the Invasion anyway


Mar 2003; Alex Salmond’s contribution to the debate

Fundamentally, the debate is not about Iraq, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction or even oil, though oil is certainly a factor. The debate is about a new world order, with an unrivalled superpower adopting a doctrine of pre-emptive strike, and how we accommodate that and come to terms with that new world order. Eighteen months ago the United States had an atrocity committed against it and it is still in a trauma. The point was made a few minutes ago, and it is undoubtedly correct.

On 12 September 2001, the day after the attack on the twin towers, the United States was at its most powerful. In its moment of greatest extremity, the United States was at its zenith. In addition to its unrivalled military might, it carried total moral authority throughout the world. A hundred or more nations signed messages of sympathy, support or solidarity with the extremity that the United States had suffered.

Now, 18 months later, that enormous world coalition has been dissipated. I do not take the position that it was only a gang of four who gathered in the Azores. I accept that there are more countries—or at least countries’ Governments who are signed up, but the coalition of the willing for the campaign against Iraq is very narrowly based. Anyone who wants confirmation of that should just count the troops: 300,000 United States and British troops, and I understand that 1,000 Australians have been asked for, and 100 Poles have been offered. That is a very narrowly based coalition indeed.

The Prime Minister believes that the way to accommodate the situation is to accept that the United States will be predominant and that the rest must fall into line. They can try to restrain it, but they will have to fall into line with the views of the United States Administration. That is a wrong-headed policy, and it is taking people into ridiculous positions.

In his undoubtedly powerful speech today, the Prime Minister argued that the weapons inspection process had never worked. He came close to saying that it had all been a waste of time. I remember a speech in October last year at the Labour conference in which another powerful speaker went into enormous detail to show how successful the weapons inspection process had been in the 1990s and how it had led to the destruction of chemical weapons, the chemicals used to make weapons, the armed warheads and the biological weapons facility. He concluded that, “the inspections were working even when he(Saddam Hussein) was trying to thwart them.”

I watched that speech on television as did many others. The speaker was President Bill Clinton. The television was doing cutaways to Ministers, including the Prime Minister who all nodded vigorously when President Clinton said that through the 1990s that policy worked and destroyed far more weapons of mass destruction than were destroyed, for example, in the Gulf war. The Prime Minister is now denying what he accepted only last October.

We are told that the majority of the Security Council would have voted for the second resolution, if it had not been for the nasty French coming in at the last minute and scuppering the whole process. Let us get real. Have we listened to what other countries were saying? The Chileans proposed an extension of three weeks, but they were told by the United States that that was not on. In the debate in the General Assembly, country after country expressed their anxieties about not letting the weapons inspectors have a chance to do their work. They were told that the nasty French—I am not sure whether the Conservative party dislikes the French more than the Liberals, or vice versa were being extremely unreasonable, but the French position, and the Chinese position in order to become acceptable, resolution 1441 had to be amended. Everything has been consistent in the opposition of countries that are against a rush to military action.

Somebody should speak up for the French, because their position has been consistent, as has that of the Russians and the Chinese. The Chinese, the French and the Russians issued a declaration on the passage of resolution 1441. It sets out exactly how the British and the United States ambassadors agreed that it was not a trigger for war. The reason that those countries did not want a second resolution was not that it would be a pathway to peace I wonder who dreamed that up in Downing street. The reason was that they saw it as a passport to war, so obviously they opposed a resolution drawn in those terms. The majority of smaller countries in the Security Council and the General Assembly countries did not want to rush to war because they saw that there remained an alternative to taking military action at this stage of the inspection process.


We are told that the Attorney General has described the war as legal. We could go into the legalities and quote professor after professor who has said the opposite, but one thing is certain: when the Secretary General of the United Nations doubts the authorisation of military action without a second resolution, people can say many things about that action, but they cannot say that it is being taken in the name of the United Nations. (1)

The argument is that it will be a salutary lesson, that a dictator will be taught a lesson and that that will help us in dealing with other dictators. I suspect that the cost of the action — I do not doubt the military outcome for a second will be so high in a number of ways that it will not provide a platform for an assault on North Korea or Iran, which form the rest of the “axis of evil”. I do not think that the policy of teaching one dictator a lesson and then moving on to other dictators can work. Most of us know that it will be a breeding ground for a future generation of terrorists. That is not the case because people like Saddam Hussein. The images that will be shown throughout the Muslim world will not feature him, although, without any question, he will be more attractive as a martyr when he is dead than he has ever been while alive. The images that will be shown are those of the innocents who will undoubtedly die in a conflict that will be a breeding ground for terrorism.

Will the nation building work? The record of the United States on nation building has not been impressive. Let me say something about one of the other countries that is being reviled at present Germany, which commits far more troops as a percentage of its armed forces to helping to secure the peace in the various trouble spots of the world for the United Nations.

We are told that the Prime Minister, (this is the essence of his case) will try to restrain some elements in the United States Administration and make them take a multilateral approach, but that, if that does not happen, when push comes to shove he has to go along with their policy. I say that there is a broader United States of America than the United States Government. I believe that many sections of opinion in America would welcome a vote from this Parliament today that says “Not in our name”, because the real America wants to see a stand for peace, not a rush for war.

(1) The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan said that if the US and GB went ahead with an invasion of Iraq it would be in breach of the United Nations charter.


Extracts from other contributions to the debate

Dr. el-Baradei and his teams of inspectors inspectors reported to the UN that Iraq did not  possess nuclear weapons and its biological and chemical weapons stocks and productivity wa severely diminished. This being the case from where is the immediate intent to attack the United Kingdom, the United States, neighbouring states or other states to come from?

It has been suggested that Iraq might not intend to attack anyone but that it could pass them to terrorist organisations. But George Tennet, on behalf of the CIA said: “it is important when talking about what connections countries have with terrorism to distinguish between unconditional terrorist organisations, which would be liable to wish to use weapons of mass destruction, and political terrorist organisations, such as the Mujaheddin-e Khalq Organisation and Hamas, of which there is evidence that Iraq has had connections, would not have a purpose in doing so. And  there is no verifiable evidence of any connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.”

Blair said the question is how Britain and the world face security threats of the 21st century which is a weird statement since in the context of the debate he was referring to weapons of mass destruction and the political belief of UK parties is that such matters should be resolved through non-proliferation and multilateral disarmament.

The Bush Administration have adopted a strategy of counter-proliferation. Saying; “It is okay if our friends develop nuclear weapons, but not if our enemies do,” and they choose who are the friends and who are the enemies. In this context it needs to be remembered that Iraq was regarded as a friend and was supplied with weapons and munitions by the US and the UK during the 1980s.

Of more concern is that the policy of the Bush Administration says; “We can develop new nuclear weapons or try to make nuclear weapons more usable, and we can decide to breach the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and the security assurance that we gave under that treaty.” That is a serious aspect of the overall problem of weapons of mass destruction, especially when it is added to the doctrine of pre-emptive war.

Blair made the point that war on Iraq was not on his agenda when he became Prime Minister in 1997, and he said that George W. Bush had told him that two days before 11 September it was not on his agenda. It was on other people’s agenda namely, that of the hawks that George Bush appointed to his Administration.


Blair said that the UK needed to view the US as a major power and partner. But there are major misgivings if it means that the United States takes the decision and the UK is expected to follow suit. That is not a partnership. 

If the House of Commons votes for a pre-emptive war against Iraq, the question of precedence needs to be first discussed and resolved because the hawks of the Bush administration have already said that there are plans for other pre-emptive divisive wars.  The US plan of the world of the future identifies closely with the vision set out by Blair in Brighton in 2001, when he spoke of, “the moral power of a world acting as a community”.


President Clinton’s Powerful Speech to the labour party Conference in Blackpool October 2002, (6 months before the invasion of Iraq

His advice, readily embraced at the time by Tony Blair and all of his ministers was ignored in the rush to war. Bush and Blair ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the terrible consequences of this have been visited upon many nations of the World, (in particular Afghanistan and the middle East).

Blair and Bush are now retired and very wealthy earning financial fortunes from speeches, advisory activities in support of many governments around the world and other business.

But many thousands of our armed forces were killed or returned home maimed through physical and or mental injury. The remaining years of their lives will be spent in pain and poverty as will the many thousands of families who lost their sons and daughters.

But Blair get his reward from the Queen. Now Lord Blair he is readying himself for a return to government should the Labour Party displace the Tories at the next General Election.



The War Game – The Reality Of A Nuclear War – The Harrowing Film Produced By The BBC But Never Shown


The War Game – The Reality Of A Nuclear War – The Harrowing Film Produced By The BBC But Never Shown

This award winning film was produced by the BBC but never shown on national television due to the messages it carried.

The recent vote in Westminster to retain and further develop Trident nuclear weapons at an astronomical cost expected to exceed £200 billion reminded me of the film I first viewed some 35 years ago. I am fervently against the retention of nuclear weapons which, as sure as night follows day will bring about the scenario enacted in the film.


We present the US television premiere of Peter Watkins’ film “The War Game,” a graphic portrayal of what would happen in the event of a nuclear attack on Great Britain. The movie was so powerful and realistic that the BBC banned it from TV despite the fact that the film had been commissioned by the BBC and had won an Academy Award in l966 for best documentary. Although it has been shown in a few movie theatres in the US, it has not been presented on TV. “The War Game” is shocking, but is not sensationalized. It was carefully researched and based on actual events which occurred in World War II during and after the mass Allied raids on Germany and the atomic bombings of Japan. Recorded February, 1983 “The War Game” Copyright 1965 Copyright February, 1983



Labour Party

Labour’s Legacy to Glasgow – Decay, Failure, Crime, Substance Abuse, Bitterness and Misery.


Labour’s Legacy to Glasgow – Decay, Failure, Crime, Substance Abuse, Bitterness and Misery.

David lives in the gang-infested inner-city sprawl of Calton – the place with the lowest life expectancy in EUROPE. It is a drizzly Monday morning in Glasgow and the Triple Two Lounge in the shadow of Celtic Park is already doing a roaring trade. Out-of-work bouncer David McCabe stubs out his roll-up and takes a gutsy slurp on the first of his eight daily £2.20 pints of Fosters. Pasty-faced David’s epic, taxpayer-funded booze-ups end with an artery-clogging fry-up washed down with a four-pack of Tennent’s at his subsidised flat nearby. Looking a decade older than his 26 years, David says: “My grandad is 71 and still likes a drink. It doesn’t seem to have done him too much harm.”


A boy living in Calton today can expect to live to just 54. Locals living among the graffiti-scarred council blocks of Calton drily observe: “If the booze doesn’t get you here, the blade will.” Calton, along with Easterhouse and Castlemilk in Glasgow, are the only places in Britain where murder – usually by stabbing – is the most common cause of death among the young. Someone is admitted to a Glasgow hospital with knife wounds every six hours. Medics expect as many as three Glasgow smiles – where victims are slashed from mouth to ear – every weekend.


The city’s smartest restaurants, designer boutiques and museums are a short stroll away from Calton, in Merchant City. Yet here down-and-outs swill cider outside homeless hostel the decrepit Belgrove hotel and a “baggie” of heroin is a tenner. The area’s grinding poverty – where 30 per cent are unemployed – would be recognised by Charles Dickens and pioneers of the Labour movement.


Today’s Labour Party, after 50 years in power, have failed many of the people of Glasgow’s East End. Last year a World Health Organisation study citing Calton said a “toxic combination” of bad policies, economics and politics creates social injustice that is “killing people on a grand scale”. Local GP Dr Robert Jamieson, 54, has spent the past 22 years working in the heart of Calton. “Drinking has got worse and so has the violence,” he explained wearily. “The healthy and wealthy got healthier and wealthier compared to the poor.


Back at the bar, unmarried David, like his father before him, has been on benefits for most of his adult life. He pays for his lager from his £66-a-week incapacity benefit and whatever he can scrounge from family and friends. Overweight and pale, he explained: “I’m on the sick because of my drinking. I’ve got an enlarged liver. “I’ve done a few days work as a bouncer and a cleaner but not recently. My dad has been out of work most of his life.

Full report:



Japan Follows Scotland and Germany Abandoning Nuclear Power In Favour Of Clean Energy

japan nuclear plant2

1. Japan – Follows the lead of Germany. Scotland and other european countries abandoning nuclear energy

a. TOKYO — Japan said that it would seek to phase out nuclear power by 2040 — a historic shift for a country that has long staked its future on such energy, but one that falls far short of the decisive steps the government had promised in the wake of the world’s second-largest nuclear plant disaster last year. By comparison, Germany, which in 2010 relied on reactors for 26 percent of its electricity, was rattled enough by the Fukushima disaster to announce a move away from nuclear power by 2022.

b. With the long-term energy plan set, the political battle is set to refocus on the struggle by the government to build consensus for reopening the vast majority of the country’s reactors, which were idled after the nuclear catastrophe, amid public opposition to restarts until better safety regulations were in place.

c. With only two reactors operating, Japan struggled through a sweltering summer after parts of the country were asked to conserve electricity use by as much as 15 percent, the second year such requests were made. Power companies fired up old gas- and oil-powered stations and scrambled to secure imported fossil fuels. Despite fears of widespread blackouts, however, none materialized, strengthening nuclear critics’ argument that Japan could do without nuclear energy.


d. Japan is set to significantly increase its investment in clean energy sources. In previous government estimates through 2030, eliminating nuclear power would require investment of $548 billion in solar, wind and other types of renewable energy and $66 billion on power grid technology.

e. Under the new goal, Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 would be between 5 percent and 9 percent less than levels in 1990, the documents said. Environmentalists say that a more aggressive push to develop clean energy can further reduce Japanese emissions. “The government must use its new energy strategy as a starting point for a far more ambitious renewable policy, greater energy efficiency measures, and increasingly bold strides toward the sustainable green economy that will secure Japan’s future prosperity,” Greenpeace said in a statement. “A nuclear-free future is not a choice, it’s an inevitability,” it said.



2. Contrast the forward looking plans of Germany, Scotland, most european countries and Japan against the Nuclear energy policy of the Westminster government

a. Development plans are to build at least 8 new nuclear power plants in England, which it is projected will provide around 16 gigawatts of power. The plants are to be built at:

i. EDF Energy intends to build 4 new EPRs (6.4GW) at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk.

ii. Hitachi Ltd has confirmed plans to build 2 or 3 new nuclear reactors at Wylfa on Anglesey and the same at Oldbury in South Gloucestershire.

iii. NuGeneration plans to build up to 3.6GW of new nuclear capacity at Moorside, near Sellafield.


3. Scotland is a world leader in the production of clean energy

At 2015 clean energy produces more power in Scotland than nuclear, coal or gas and this is set to increase significantly. The expertise of Scottish industry is being exported to other countries worldwide and the decision of Japan to embrace renewables over nuclear vastly increases opportunities for Scottish outward looking firms. Recent developments have brought forward the use of wave power and Scotland is in the vanguard in the development of this new technology which the island country of Japan will embrace.

Scotland is getting it right but we need Westminster to provide funds allowing an extension of the national grid to our islands. Lack of grid capacity is delaying clean energy development and power production which in turn is preventing the country from meeting emission targets




The Rollercoaster That Is The Oil Business -Ups And Downs But Always At The Top

2008/2009 was a year of turmoil for finance and oil. The price of oil was extremely volatile and in a rollercoaster year oil prices ranged from $45 to over $146.

The year 2014/2015 will reveal a pattern similar to 2008/2009 and the utterings of negative Labour politicians, (such as Jackie Baillie, Dugdale and Murphy) seeking to score points over more forward looking members of the Scottish government, should be given consideration using for guidance previous performances of the Oil companies.

Labour Party politicians are well versed in the politics of envy and the immediate but forward planning is a stranger to their thinking. Conversely the SNP government are planning ahead and gearing laid off staff for the future pick-up of the industry by protecting the on-going training of younger persons.

In 2008/2009, (a year of turmoil) the top 10 performing Companies in the WORLD were:


1. Royal Dutch Shell

Up two spots from last year’s global list, Royal Dutch Shell raked in $15 billion more in sales than Exxon Mobil. And as Europe’s largest oil producer, it doesn’t look to be slowing down: Shell has made a bold move by investing up to $18 billion in a plant in Qatar that would turn natural gas into cleaner-burning diesel fuel. It hopes to bring the Pearl GTL, as the facility is called, online by 2010 and expects it to produce enough fuel to fill more than 160,000 cars per day.

Revenues: USD 458,361.0 millions Rank: 1 (Previous rank: 3) Employees: 102,000 Country: Netherlands. Website:


2. Exxon Mobil

Exxon pulled in $443 billion in revenues and $45 billion in earnings last year. Its investors reaped some of the rewards, with $40 billion in shareholder distributions, up $4.4 billion from 2007. Exxon is investing heavily in the growing demand for liquefied natural gas, adding four new gas liquefaction facilities in 2009 at a total price tag of more than $20 billion. Each facility will produce 7.8 million tons of liquefied natural gas per year.

Revenues: USD 442,851.0 millions Rank: 2 (Previous rank: 2) Employees: 104,700 Country: U.S. Website:


4. BP

After a stellar start to the year — profits for BP’s first and second quarters combined for an impressive $17 billion — the London-based oil company was hit hard, like others in the industry, by tumbling oil prices, causing a fourth quarter loss of $3.3 billion.

Revenues: USD 367,053.0 millions Rank: 4 (Previous rank: 4) Employees: 92,000 Address: London Country: Britain Website:


5. Chevron Caltex

The perennial No. 2 U.S. oil company — behind Exxon — boosted profits by 28% in 2008, more than any other super major on this list. Sophisticated refineries helped Chevron blunt losses from crude’s price drop in the second half of the year. In previous years, Chevron has been able to mask production declines at its oil fields with acquisitions, rising oil prices and its refining business.

But with production rates still lower than five years before, Chevron is spending $23 billion this year to bolster overseas fields and expand refineries. That will take a while to pay off if oil prices remain depressed. The upside of low oil prices for Chevron is that the giant can buy small competitors on the cheap.

Revenues: USD 263,159.0 millions Rank: 5 (Previous rank: 6) Employees: 66,716 Address: California Country: U.S. Website:

Middle East

The Chilcott Inquiry – Failures Of The Military Elite – Promotion Or Death??

lord boyce

1. The Chilcott Inquiry – The Role Of the Military Elite

a. Top Brass who failed to stand up to politicians over the rush to war in Iraq are likely to face criticism in the long-awaited report

b. Senior military officers advised the inquiry that they were concerned about the pressure of fighting wars simultaneously in Iraq and Afghanistan, shortages of equipment, and an inability to prepare British troops properly for war because Tony Blair did not want the plans to become public.

c. In a democracy, it is the politicians’ job to give orders to the military and expect them to be carried out, but the report is likely to raise questions over whether the Generals could have highlighted more forcefully, warnings about the army’s shortcomings in terms of it’s readiness for war.

d. Admiral Lord Michael Boyce, the then Chief of the Defence Staff, told the Iraq Inquiry he had been slapped down by ministers for complaining in the run-up to the invasion. He said then Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, who had never served in the Armed Forces, told him to make his military assessments ‘more of a glass half-full rather than half-empty’.

e. He also said he was banned from buying equipment for troops until four months before the invasion – contributing to shortages of body armour and other kit in the early days of the conflict. Some units, including the 7th Armoured Brigade – the historic and war-hardened Desert Rats – were only battle-ready the day before the invasion.

f. Asked by the inquiry if he had confidence Lord Boyce and Mr Hoon had passed the concerns of the time to the Prime Minister, a sceptical-sounding General Lord Richard Dannatt, then the Assistant Chief of the General Staff, said: ‘They told me they were.’ Lord Boyce said he raised his concerns with Mr Blair – but was given short shrift.

g. It was not until November, just four months before the war, that defence chiefs were able to make ‘overt’ preparations.


h. General Lord Michael Walker, promoted from head of the Army to Chief of the Defence Staff in May 2003 – two months after the invasion – admitted to the inquiry the military was ‘overstretched’. But he has stood accused of pushing politicians to include more ground troops to boost ‘morale’ among soldiers – a claim he vehemently denied. A year later, he said, Britain’s entire military top brass threatened to quit in protest at Gordon Brown’s proposals for savage defence cuts while the UK was fighting on two fronts.


i. Lord Dannatt, who was involved in planning for the invasion, told the inquiry the ‘desire’ of the Army to send a large force to the war zone was ‘not huge’. But he added: ‘From a professional point of view… there was a bit of a feeling that if the US was going to go in and conduct an operation… there may have been a little bit of a professional feeling, “We should be doing this.”

j. Sir Michael Graydon, a former head of the RAF, said yesterday any criticism in the report would probably look at the advice of the military advisers in drafting the discredited dossiers which made the so-called case for war.


2. I previously wrote to many aspects of Tony Blairs rush to war and the many failures of military heirachy and politicians. A number are listed below.



Chilcott Inquiry Delays – The Cover Up – The Machiavellian Influence Of Sir Jeremy Heywood


1. It is likely Sir Jeremey Heywood, in his management persona follows the teachings of Machiavelli, in particular the edicts contained in , “The Prince”:

a. “The Prince who rises to power through his own skill and resource (his “virtue”) rather than luck tends to have a hard time rising to the top, but once he reaches the top he is very secure in his position. This is because he effectively crushes his opponents and earns great respect from everyone else. Because he is strong and more self-sufficient, he has to make fewer compromises with his allies.”

2. There is no doubt Sir Jeremey Heywood is the most powerful man in the United Kingdom. I have reported more on him than any other person. Is he above the law? It would appear this is the case. He is scheduled to appear before a parliamentary committee next week to answer questions about the Chilcott Inquiry delay and relatd matters. But will he provide answers. I doubt it. At his last appearance before a Commons Select Committe he stonewalled on each and every question. His role in the Referendum campaign was pivotal in ensuring a victory for, “The Establishment” which he and those reporting to him abandoned the “Civil Service Code” in pursuit of their own agenda.


3. January 21 2015; Sir Jeremy Heywood a key Tony Blair aide for four years is under fire for his delaying tactics: Heywood is accused of defying vow to release all documents

a. The role played by the country’s top civil servant in delaying the Iraq Inquiry was in the spotlight last night. Sir Jeremy Heywood, who was responsible for negotiating which documents the panel can publish, will be grilled next week by a Commons committee.

b. Sir John Chilcot complained his inquiry was being stalled because the cabinet secretary was seeking to block the release of correspondence between Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and George W Bush. Sir John had requested the declassification of 130 records of conversations, around 30 notes and papers from 200 Cabinet-level discussions.


c. An agreement was finally struck last year but some of the content of the communications will be edited out when the report is published. Critics question whether Sir Jeremy was the right arbiter since he was principal private secretary to Mr Blair in Downing Street from 1999 to 2003, at the time when decisions to go to war were taken.

d. Sir Jeremy’s pivotal role was underlined in a letter from Sir John to David Cameron yesterday explaining the reasons for the further delay. ‘I am pleased to record that since I last wrote the inquiry has reached agreement with Sir Jeremy on the publication of 29 of Mr Blair’s notes to President Bush, subject to a very small number of essential redactions, alongside the inquiry’s final report. Agreement has also been reached on the detail of what material the inquiry will publish in relation to records of conversations between Mr Blair and President Bush, consistent with the principles agreed last year.’

e. Lord Owen, a Labour former foreign secretary, said: ‘When the inquiry was set up, the then prime minister made it quite clear that all British documents should be available. It’s not in my view the job of the cabinet secretary to defy the decision of the prime minister who set it up. I have never known a cabinet secretary to have such a veto. ‘We have in the past had cabinet secretaries who have not had anywhere near as much political engagement as Jeremy Heywood has had. ‘It seems to me that the cabinet secretary hasn’t had that independence of mind that is necessary. I can only say I am worried about it.’

f. Former Tory front bencher David Davis said: ‘The Prime Minister is absolutely right to say the inquiry should be impartial. We have to ask why it has taken so long, and particularly know more about the role of Sir Jeremy Heywood in the delays. ‘He was the principal private secretary of Tony Blair in the run-up to and through the start of the Iraq War. ‘Sir Jeremy was right in the middle of all these decisions. He should be summoned by Parliament to explain what his role was.’

g. Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the public administration committee, said he expected Sir Jeremy would be asked about the delays to the Chilcot report when he appears before MPs next week. ‘We have him coming in front of us and I have no doubt we will ask him one or two questions about it,’ said the Tory MP. ‘He is the conduit between the Government and the inquiry and has brokered the agreement about how the sensitive intelligence and US/UK correspondence would be dealt with. ‘However, he’s not accountable for the conduct of the inquiry itself any more than the Prime Minister. That’s down to Chilcot himself. If Chilcot had felt there was any agenda in dealing with Jeremy Heywood, then he would have absolutely hit the roof.’


h. A Cabinet Office spokesman said: ‘The inquiry and Government agreed in the inquiry’s documents protocol that the cabinet secretary should be the final arbiter of declassification – that remains unchanged and has the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister’s full support. ‘At the outset the Government assured the inquiry of its full cooperation and it continues to do so.’

i. In the Hutton Inquiry, which was held into the death of David Kelly, it emerged that in a breach of Whitehall procedures, Sir Jeremy had not had minutes taken of four meetings involving ministers and senior officials that had taken place in the 48 hours before the weapons expert’s name was released. Nicknamed Sir Cover-up for preventing the inquiry from seeing the Blair-Bush material, Sir Jeremy’s influence is such that Mr Cameron is said to have once joked: ‘Remind me, Jeremy, do you work for me or do I work for you?’


4. The men in the dock… and how they flourished – While Iraq remains in a state of tumult – with the murderous Islamic State in control of large swathes of the country – the British elite responsible for toppling Saddam Hussein are leading very comfortable lives indeed.

a. TONY BLAIR Prime Minister 1997-2007

The charge: Wildly exaggerated evidence that Saddam posed a deadly threat to Britain, while suppressing advice that war might be illegal. Duped the Cabinet, Parliament and public into backing an invasion he had already agreed privately with George Bush, having assured the president in 2002 that, if Saddam was to be toppled militarily, Britain would ‘be there’.

Where now? Has amassed vast personal wealth – estimated at between £20million and £100million – through speeches and the consultancy firm Tony Blair Associates, whose clients include some of the world’s most notorious despots.


b. ALASTAIR CAMPBELL Blair’s spin doctor and director of communications 1997-2003

Charge: Pivotal role in making the case for war, including the production of the so-called ‘dodgy dossier’ in February 2003. The gravest charge is that he influenced Parliament’s joint intelligence committee and ‘beefed up’ unfounded claims that Saddam could fire weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes.

Where now? He has enjoyed a lucrative career as an author and TV pundit. Now advising Ed Miliband on the 2015 election campaign.

c. SIR JOHN SCARLETT Chairman: Cabinet Office joint intelligence committee 2001-04

Charge: Described by Campbell as a ‘mate’, he is accused of allowing the PM and his spin doctor to influence the content of the key intelligence reports that led to war.

Where now? Blair named Sir John head of MI6 in 2004 – seen by many as a reward for his role in the buildup to the Iraq invasion. He was knighted in 2007. After stepping down from MI6 in 2009, he joined the board of Times Newspapers.

d. JACK STRAW Foreign Secretary from 2001-2006

Charge: Helped negotiate the November 2002 UN resolution giving Saddam a ‘final opportunity to disarm’ that Blair ultimately used to justify the invasion. Failed to secure a second resolution explicitly backing military action. He sent notes to the prime minister in March 2003, the month of the invasion, offering alternative courses, suggesting that Britain might back the US attack but not participate. Straw admitted to Chilcot that he could have brought the military juggernaut to a halt by resigning.

Where now? Remained in Cabinet until 2010. After retiring from frontbench politics he remained an MP and became a £30,000-a-year consultant to ED&F Man Holdings, a British commodities company.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace

e. LORD GOLDSMITH Attorney General 2001-2007

Charge: Provided the legal advice Blair relied upon to invade. His original memo to the PM on January 30, 2003, stated that UN Resolution 1441 did not sanction use of force and that a further resolution was needed. He then ‘materially’ changed his mind in March, only days before the war began, to state military action would be legal after all. He insisted it was ‘complete nonsense’ to claim he did so because of political pressure.

Where now? Quit on the day Blair left Number 10 and became head of European litigation at London office of Debevoise & Plimpton on a reported salary of £1million a year.

f. SIR JEREMY GREENSTOCK UK permanent representative to the UN 1998-2003

Charge: He was a key figure as the UK and US tried unsuccessfully to push for a second UN resolution explicitly authorising military action. Later told Chilcot the war was of ‘questionable legitimacy’ because of this failure but, crucially, he did not resign in protest.

Where now? In September 2003 he was made the UK’s special representative for Iraq as the ultimately disastrous reconstruction effort got under way. Later held a string of well-remunerated advisory roles, including at the oil giant BP.

g. SIR DAVID MANNING Blair’s chief foreign policy adviser

Charge: Attended meetings in June 2002 and January 2003 in which President Bush and the Labour prime minister drew up secret plans for the invasion. In July 2002, he hand-delivered to Condoleezza Rice, then US secretary of state, a personal letter from Mr Blair to Mr Bush described by critics as a ‘blank cheque’. Sir David also wrote a notorious secret memo after the January meeting which showed the US invasion of Iraq would go ahead with or without UN support.

Where now? Currently an aide to Prince William, he was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the new year honours list. Also served as ambassador to the US.

h. SIR JEREMY HEYWOOD Blair’s principal private secretary 1999-2003

Charge: His arrival in Downing Street coincided with the advent of so-called Blairite ‘sofa government,’ in which key decisions were taken by a small group of insiders. One of a handful of figures at Downing Street meeting at which it was decided to publicly name Dr Kelly.

Where now? After Iraq he took a senior post at the investment bank Morgan Stanley. Now the most powerful civil servant in Britain. Dubbed Sir Cover-up, he has been partly blamed for the Chilcot delays amid an interminable row over the release of crucial private letters between Blair and Bush.


i. GORDON BROWN Chancellor 1997-2007

Charge: Played little role in making the case for invasion, but angered military top brass by chopping £1billion from the defence budget at the height of the war. Families of dead soldiers say they were sent into battle in 2003 with inadequate equipment. Brown told Chilcot he had never turned down a request for military equipment.

Where now? Set up Chilcot after becoming PM in 2007. Since 2010 election he has been paid tens of thousands in speaking fees but is adamant none of the money goes to him personally.

j. GEOFF HOON Defence Secretary 1999-2005

Charge: His job was to ensure the men he was sending into battle were properly equipped but admitted to Chilcot that troops lacked body armour because Blair ordered him and the head of the Armed Forces to avoid any visible preparations for war.

Where now? Left Parliament in disgrace in 2010 after being caught in a lobbying sting. The following year he landed a lucrative role with AgustaWestland, a defence firm given a £1.7billion MoD contract.


5. The Heywood reports:


Scottish Referendum

Senior Civil Servant – Sir Nicholas Macpherson – Snubs The Civil Service Code And The Scottish Electorate


1. Senior civil servant snubs the Civil Service Code

a. Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury breached the “Civil Service Code” at the time he released to the public his personal views and political advice in regard to the sharing of sterling in the event the Scottish Referendum returned a Yes vote.

b. His uninvited “advice” to the Chancellor of the Exchequer also conflicted with the stated position of the Governor of the Bank of England who had previously advised that an effective union of currencies was feasible, subject to agreement to a number of conditions.

c. When asked to clarify his actions he said “Throughout the debate on economic issues the Scottish Government has sought to cast doubt on the British Government’s position,” It has claimed we’re blustering, bluffing – in effect casting aspersions on the UK Government’s integrity. My view in this case – and it’s a very exceptional case – is that if publishing advice could strengthen the credibility of the Government’s position, then it was my duty to do it. It was important in this specific case, which goes to the heart of the currency issues, that the arguments were exposed before a referendum than after it.”

d. It was later revealed his intervention, together with senior members of the government and members of the “Better Together” campaign formed part of a carefully choreographed exercise in political destabilisation, allegedly called “the Dambusters strategy” by insiders.

e. Noteworthy is his use of the word “we’re” which indicates his actions were politically driven, which he did not deny. Quite disgraceful conduct for a senior civil servant. He should be intructed to resign his position.


f. The Civil Service Code: Political Impartiality:

i. You must: Carry out your responsibilities in a way that is fair, just and equitable and reflects the Civil Service commitment to equality and diversity. You must not act in a way that unjustifiably favours or discriminates against particular individuals or interests.

ii. You must not: Act in a way that is determined by party political considerations, or use official resources for party political purposes; or allow your personal political views to determine any advice you give or your action.


2. Sequence of Events

a. January 29 2014; Carney: sharing sterling between iScotland and rUK could lead to Eurozone-style crises

Sharing sterling between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK could lead to eurozone-style crises unless firm foundations are put in place, Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said. An effective union would also force a newly-independent Scotland to hand over some national sovereignty, he said in a speech at a business lunch in Edinburgh. He intervened on the technicalities for negotiations less than eight months before people in Scotland decide whether to leave the UK.


b. February 13 2014; Gun for hire

After the lovebombing of Scots last week by David Cameron, his chancellor travelled North to revel in his role as bad cop. The venue for George Osborne’s declaration was a dramatic penthouse with a panorama of Edinburgh Castle in the appropriately named Bread Street. He carried a very large gun to shoot down Alex Salmond’s plan to continue sharing the pound with the rest of the UK after independence, but the bullets were crafted by the longstanding Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Nicholas Macpherson.

c. February 13 2014; Treasury advice behind currency row

The Chancellor ruled out a currency union with an independent Scotland after “strong” advice from the Treasury’s leading official, which was published today. Sir Nicholas Macpherson told George Osborne that unions are “fraught with difficulty” and raised serious concerns about the Scottish Government’s commitment to making it work. Scotland’s banking sector is too big in relation to national income, the UK could end up bailing the country out and fiscal policy shows sign of diverging, he said.


d. March 7 2014; Danny Alexander: currency union decision is final

Calls for a monetary union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK are akin to “embarking on a damaging divorce” but insisting on still sharing a credit card, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has said. Mr Alexander set out his reasons for rejecting the Scottish Government’s preferred currency solution, as he insisted that the cross-party decision to rule it out was final. He used his speech in Edinburgh to the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) to dismiss suggestions that the rejection of a monetary union, which would see an independent Scotland keep the pound, was a politically-motivated and tactical move.


e. March 19 2014; Scare tactic was bang on the money

On February 13th, in a flying visit to Edinburgh, the UK Chancellor, George Osborne, declared that Scotland would be denied use of the pound, if it voted Yes in the referendum.
What followed was a carefully choreographed exercise in political destabilisation, allegedly called “the Dambusters strategy” by Unionist insiders, which shook the Yes campaign to its foundations. It also shook the Union to its foundations.

f. March 23 2014; Osborne’s case against currency union ripped apart by top economist

The Treasury case against a post-independence currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK has been dismantled as “misleading”, “unsubstantiated” and “the reverse of the truth” by one of the world’s leading economists. Professor Leslie Young, of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, accused the UK Government of relying on a “lurid collage of fact, conjecture and fantasy” in making its argument.


g. April 5 2014; Currency furore over mystery of missing memos – No paper trail means Treasury’s position engineered, say SNP

The Treasury was last night at the centre of a growing row over political bias, after admitting it had no record of when its most senior civil servant first advised the Chancellor against a currency union with an independent Scotland. The inability of permanent secretary Sir Nicholas Macpherson to give a precise date is fuelling claims that Westminster’s bombshell rejection of a currency union was cooked up to help the No campaign in the referendum.

h. April 9 2014; Sir Nicholas Macpherson: ‘I was not ordered to rule out sharing pound with Scotland’

i. The Treasury’s top civil servant has rejected SNP claims that he advised against sharing the pound after independence because of political pressure, saying publishing his analysis was “vital to the national interest”. Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the permanent secretary to the Treasury, said the Scottish Government had been “casting aspersions” on Westminster’s integrity and it needed to be made “absolutely crystal clear” that a monetary union was not on the table. He said that George Osborne, the chancellor, had neither told him to write a letter rebuffing SNP proposals for sharing sterling or ordered the advice to be published. The comments came during Sir Nicholas’s appearance before MPs at the Public Administration committee to discuss civil service impartiality and referendums.

ii. A letter written by Sir Nicholas to Mr Osborne warned that a post-independence currency union would be “fraught with difficulty” and became a central part of the Chancellor’s justification for ruling out sharing the pound. Mr Osborne said the “exceptional step” of publishing Sir Nicholas’ internal advice was taken to prove why a currency union wouldn’t work, but Alex Salmond accused the civil servant of being beholden to his “political masters”. Sir Nicholas told MPs that the decision to publish his advice was “not something I entered into lightly” but insisted he remained “unapologetic”.

iii. “Throughout the debate on economic issues the Scottish Government has sought to cast doubt on the British Government’s position,” Sir Nicholas said. “It has claimed we’re blustering, bluffing – in effect casting aspersions on the UK Government’s integrity. “My view in this case – and it’s a very exceptional case – is that if publishing advice could strengthen the credibility of the Government’s position, then it was my duty to do it. “It was important in this specific case, which goes to the heart of the currency issues, that the arguments were exposed before a referendum than after it.”

iv. Sir Nicholas denied that revealing his private advice showed civil service politicisation, saying it was comparable to clarifying the UK Government’s position if questioned by a fellow European Union member state. He also dismissed the suggestion that Mr Osborne strong-armed him into airing views in public. “Ultimately this was my call – the Chancellor is a traditionalist in his approach to the Civil Service,” Sir Nicholas said. “I am quite certain that if I had said that I did not want to publish this advice he would not have pressed me. I thought it was the right thing to do in exceptional circumstances.”

v. Sir Nicholas’s comments will add weight to Westminster’s claim that an unnamed UK minister who controversially said a currency union would be agreed after independence is out of the loop from current Government thinking. The SNP has consistently claimed the UK Government will backtrack on sharing the pound after a Yes vote in the Sept 18 referendum.

vi. Kenneth Gibson, an SNP MSP and convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, said that Westminster’s “currency bluff” had “completely crumbled”. “Regardless of the Treasury’s actions we know the real position of the UK Government as an unnamed Government Minister admitted last week is that ‘there will be a currency union…everything would change in the negotiations if there were a Yes vote’,” Mr Gibson said. “Even Alistair Darling himself has said that a shared sterling area is ‘desirable’ and ‘logical’. It’s time for the No campaign to stop the foolish bluffing, put its money where its mouth is and back sharing the pound.”


i. April 9 2014; Treasury’s top civil servant: publishing advice to UK Govt on currency union was vital to national interest

Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the permanent secretary to the Treasury, said he is “confident” he did the right thing in taking the unusual step of making public his advice to Chancellor George Osborne. All headlines were extracted from The Herald providing continuity of reporting.



IT Projects – The Last Labour Government – The Failures – The Cost of Writes Off To The Taxpayer – We Must Not Get Stung Again


The last Labour government embarked on the introduction of many weird and wonderful IT systems all with the purpose of establishing centralised control of information about each and every person in the UK. Just about every scheme failed resulting in the writes off of about £100 million. Be assured Labour politicians are centralisers by nature and in the event the Party is elected to office in May 2015 many more daft projects and subsequent writes off will occur. The largesse of a Labour government can be effectively neutered by a large number of SNP MP’s who with influence on government will be able to ensure proper accountability so that developments are thought through and implemented efficiently.

waste of money

1. December 8 2003; Reid Announces £2.7 billion of NHS IT contracts

a. Health Secretary John Reid today announced the award of contracts, which he promised would lead to every NHS patient having their own individual electronic NHS Care Record by 2010. The pledge came on the day the Department of Health announced the award of three crucial contracts, worth a total of £2.7 billion, to deliver key components of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) in England. He added: “Patient records will be available 24-hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that vital information about an individual’s health and care history can be available instantly to health professionals who have authorised access.”

b. Under the contract BT is to provide basic NHS Care Records by late 2004. The national record system is to be fully available by 2010. By then individual patients will be able to securely access their electronic records online. NHS IT director-general Richard Granger, said he anticipated patients should start to be able to access their records online long before 2010. “We anticipate that getting internet access to records will happen far before that… We’re still working out the detail but at the moment we predict Q4, 2004.”

E3 gaming conference

2. April 1 2005; NHS Connecting for Health (CFH) Agency (part of the UK Department of Health) formed Replacing the NHS Information Authority

a. Part of the Department of Health Informatics Directorate, with the role to maintain and develop the NHS national IT infrastructure. It adopted the responsibility of delivering the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), an initiative by the Department of Health in England to move the National Health Service (NHS) in England towards a single, centrally-mandated electronic care record for patients and to connect 30,000 General practitioners to 300 hospitals, providing secure and audited access to these records by authorised health professionals.


3. September 4 2006; New inquiry into Troubled NHS IT upgrade – Auditors to launch yet another inquiry into the NHS IT upgrade project.

a. The National Audit Office only reported in June on the scheme to link 30,000 GPs with 300 hospitals in England. The programme, run by a government agency called Connecting for Health, has proved controversial, with a cost over-run of £4.1 billion. The original NAO report criticised delays in the project and said it was facing a challenging future, but was not as hard-hitting as expected.

b. Last month, the BBC revealed that a number of alterations had been made to the original draft after it was circulated to officials involved in the 10-year project. The NAO insisted the overall findings had not been changed amid criticism from opposition MPs. The project has also been dogged by criticisms from doctors, who say they were not consulted properly and that the new systems are a risk to patient confidentiality. These systems include an online booking system, a centralised medical records system for 50m patients, e-prescriptions and fast computer network links between NHS organisations. The NAO said the exact remit and timescale of the new investigation had not been decided yet. “When we published the report we said we may revisit it and that is what we are doing,” said a spokesperson.

c. MPs said the announcement was welcome after the controversy over the last report. Greg Clark, of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “We felt the original report raised more questions than it answered. “We will be following this with interest.”

d. A spokeswoman for Connecting for Health said the agency had always expected another inquiry and it would “co-operate fully”. Shadow Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said: “Ministers are taking an utterly complacent view when the IT programme is running two years late and there are major question marks over the delivery of software and effective user involvement.”


4. September 29 2006; Little delay’ to NHS IT upgrade

a. The upgrading of NHS computers will not see “significant” delays despite a firm pulling out of most of its work on the project, the government has said. Accenture has handed over £1.9bn of its contracts to the US company Computer Sciences Corporation. It is the latest hitch for the £6.2bn Connecting for Health programme which saw delays following problems at another contractor, iSoft. But Health Minister Lord Warner denied the scheme had suffered a “huge blow”. Connecting for Health aims to link more than 30,000 GPs with nearly 300 hospitals by 2014. Lord Warner told BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight: “We cannot expect a 10-year programme on this scale… a massive civilian project, to actually never have any hiccups along the way.” But he stressed: “I don’t believe this will mean any significant delay. CSC have got a good track record…”I would expect there to be a smooth transfer of responsibilities.”

b. Accenture had responsibility for the roll-out in the North East and East of England but is making big losses on the work and faced fines for late delivery. However, the firm will keep responsibility for other parts of the NHS programme.

c. The Conservatives have called for the project to be reconsidered. Shadow health minister Stephen O’Brien said Accenture’s withdrawal poses “embarrassing questions” for Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt. “With Accenture – the most experienced of the primary contractors saying they are going to cut their losses – that seriously undermines confidence in the whole programme,” he said.

d. Last week, the magazine Computer Weekly reported there had been 110 major technical glitches to the project in last four months. Connecting for Health said the performance compared “favourably” with the IT provisions of other large-scale organisations.


5. November 12 2006; Health service IT boss ‘failed computer studies’- His Mum reveals all

a. The expert in charge of the government’s ailing £12bn computer modernisation programme for the NHS might expect to face criticism from IT experts, disgruntled doctors and even political opponents. But this weekend, it was his own mother who revealed he failed his university computer studies course.

b. Richard Granger, the tough 42-year-old management consultant who runs the government’s Connecting for Health project, initially failed his computer studies course at Bristol University – and took a year off as a result. He was only allowed to resit the exam after she appealed on his behalf, and he went on to gain a 2:2 in geology.

c. His mother, Mary Granger, spoke to The Observer about her surprise at her son’s role in the ambitious initiative that was supposed to transform the NHS’s computers and allow patient records to be kept electronically. She hasn’t spoken to her son for 10 years after a family row, but she is now campaigning to save the local hospital in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, which is losing some services to another local trust, and believes the computer modernisation plans are a gross waste of money. ‘I can’t believe that my son is running the IT modernisation programme for the whole of the NHS,’ she said.


6. January 27 2009 Public Accounts Committee Investigation – Project over-run £9.7 billion

a. The National Health Service (NHS) needs modern Information Technology (IT) to help it to provide high quality services to patients. The National Programme for IT in the NHS (“the Programme” or NPfIT) was set up to provide such services, using centrally managed procurement to provide impetus to the uptake of IT and to secure economies of scale. It constitutes the largest single IT investment in the UK to date, with expenditure on the Programme revised upwards to £12.4 billion over ten years to 2013–14. In summary, we draw four overall conclusions:

i. The piloting and deployment of the shared electronic patient clinical record is already running two years behind schedule. In the meantime the Department has been deploying patient administration systems to help Trusts urgently requiring new systems, but these systems are not a substitute for the vision of a shared electronic patient clinical record and no firm plans have been published for deploying software to achieve this vision.

ii. The suppliers to the Programme are clearly struggling to deliver, and one of the largest, Accenture, has now withdrawn. The Department is unlikely to complete the Programme anywhere near its original schedule.

iii. The Department has much still to do to win hearts and minds in the NHS, especially among clinicians. It needs to show that it can deliver on its promises, supply solutions that are fit for purpose, learn from its mistakes, respond constructively to feedback from users in the NHS, and win the respect of a highly skilled and independently minded workforce.

iv. Four years after the start of the Programme, there is still much uncertainty about the costs of the Programme for the local NHS and the value of the benefits it should achieve.


7. September 22 2011; £12bn NHS computer system is scrapped… and it’s all YOUR money that Labour poured down the drain

a. Ministers are to axe Labour’s disastrous £12billion NHS computer scheme. The Coalition will today announce it is putting a halt to years of scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money on a system that never worked. It will cut its losses and ‘urgently’ dismantle the National Programme for IT – a monument to Whitehall folly during Labour’s 13 years in power. The biggest civilian IT project of its kind in the world, it has already squandered at least £12.7billion. Some estimates put the cost far higher. Analysts say the sum would have paid the salaries of more than 60,000 nurses for a decade.

b. The decision to accelerate the dismantling of the scheme has been made by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office. It follows new advice produced by the Major Projects Authority, set up by the Coalition to review Labour’s big financial commitments to see if they provide value for money. The authority said the IT scheme, set up in 2002, is not fit to provide services to the NHS – which as part of austerity measures has to make savings of £20billion by 2014/15. It concluded: ‘There can be no confidence that the programme has delivered or can be delivered as originally conceived.’ The report, seen by the Mail, recommends the Government should ‘dismember the programme and reconstitute it under new management and organisation arrangements’. The NHS computer scheme will go down as one of the most egregious examples of Labour’s incompetence and waste

c. Earlier this year, the powerful Commons public accounts committee slammed Labour’s NHS IT programme as ‘unworkable’. Its report said that despite the huge cost, it had ‘proved beyond the capacity of the Department to deliver, and the Department is no longer delivering a universal system’. And in May, the National Audit Office criticised the project for being poor value for money, patchy and long overdue.

ed and jim