Gavin Esler – University Of Kent Address – Is It UK Rest In Peace – Jack Straw – You Have Within The UK Three Small Nations Under The Cosh Of The English

 

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Gavin Esler spent much of last year working on a BBC Radio series entitled Brits. In November, he delivered an Open Lecture at the University of Kent on the subject. This article is taken from his lecture:

There are those who believe that Britain has had its day. There are now four significant parliaments or assemblies in the United Kingdom: Edinburgh, Belfast, sometimes Cardiff, and London. The monarchy and those other great British institutions – the Military, the Churches, the National Health Service, the BBC, the nationalised industries – have been eroded or forced to change, or they have gone completely. Now we have a prospect of a common European currency and greater power going to Brussels. But is it really UK RIP?

I spent last year trying to find out. I started in the Scottish Highlands and went via Glasgow, Ibrox Stadium, Edinburgh and the new Parliament down to Canterbury and Tunbridge Wells, then over to the Welsh valleys and Northern Ireland. One thing that really struck me was how lucky we are.

 

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‘Brits’ caused quite a stir when, at the beginning of last year, the Home Secretary, Jack Straw told me that in his view, ‘the English are potentially very aggressive, very violent and of course we have used that propensity to subjugate Ireland, Wales and Scotland and then we used it in Europe and with our Empire. You have within the UK three small nations under the cosh of the English. These small nations have inevitably sought expression by a very explicit idea of nationhood. You have this very dominant other nation England, ten times bigger than the others, which is self confident and therefore has no reason to be explicit about it. I think as we move into this new century,’ Mr Straw went on, ‘people’s sense of Englishness will become more articulated, and that’s partly because of the mirror that devolution provides us and partly because we’re becoming more European’.

 

 

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Why did these remarks cause such a furore? Jack Straw was born in Essex. He represents a Blackburn constituency, and in many ways seems the quintessential Englishman. Yet he was called anti-English by quite a few newspapers. It may have been more politically wise to tone down some of the phrasing, but wasn’t Mr Straw merely pointing out the obvious? – that the English didn’t conquer the world just by playing cricket and having cucumber sandwiches. And the Scots or Welsh or Irish have frequently joined in this great enterprise and profited greatly from it. Complaints about the disproportionate number of Scots in the Cabinet have a history going back 200 years!

 

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While making this radio series I would ask English interviewees to tell me the date of St George’s Day. Most people had no idea; I was even assured by one group in Tunbridge Wells that it was 17 March (St Patrick’s Day.) The only two people I met for the series who did know the date for St George’s day were Jack Straw and a columnist for the Daily Mail called Simon Heffer who then wrote articles about why Jack Straw was an idiot!

In North London I came across a counselling group of intelligent, well-educated, middle-income, left-wing English men and women. They spent some of their time, in this counselling group, discussing problems they had with their English identities. They all found it easy to think of negative stereotypes of England: the lager lout, foreigner-haters, imperialists. I reminded them that whatever their flaws, the English had, for example, started the RSPCA; they were uniquely tolerant of immigrants; and they had an extraordinary cultural history.

Jack Straw told me, ‘we should stop apologising for being English and celebrate the country’s huge achievements – the industrialisation of the world, the development of institutions, the literature, music and poetry we have brought to the world. At the same time we should recognise the downside of being English – this aggressive, jingoistic streak – and try to eliminate it’.

 

 

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Some of those English people I interviewed about their sense of identity, strangely to me anyway, spoke of the United Kingdom in the past tense with a sense of loss. Britain or the United Kingdom was dead, they suggested, thanks to the Scots and the Welsh. This attitude was summed up by Sir Roy Strong who had just completed a book on the cultural history of Britain, ‘In Scotland and Wales’, Sir Roy said ‘you have the National Museum of Scotland, the National Gallery of Scotland, the National Museum of Wales, the National Gallery of Wales, but there is no National Gallery of England. You see the word English attached to very little.’

It is worth reminding ourselves of some of the reasons why the historian Norman Davies and others have concluded that Britain is ‘in a terminal phase’. Britain was an invention after the Union of Crowns in 1603, and has been re-invented repeatedly in the Union of Parliament in 1707, after union with Ireland in 1801, when the Irish Free States seceeded in 1922 and then around the Welfare State in the 1940s.

Historian Linda Colley said that what kept us together were three things that don’t seem relevant to most people now: Protestantism, Empire and War. You could add, in this century, the national industries the Coal Board, British Steel, British Rail and the great Unions. Now the nationalised industries have gone, the Unions have lost much of their power and that other glue, Socialism, which knitted together working class people from Glasgow to the Welsh valleys has also cracked apart.

There is, as we all know, no shared British football team or football league. There is no common legal system, no national British church, no national anthem. Nonetheless, I am unconvinced of the inevitability of the break-up of the United Kingdom.

 

 

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Professor of Government at Oxford University Vernon Bogden told me, ‘Britishness is not an artificial construct, but something deeply organic. It would need more than devolution to undermine the attachment to the British state. We are the most Euro-sceptic country in the EU. That’s a sign of the organic sense of Britishness that still survives.’

What else? There is a certain nostalgia. In a British Legion Club in Cardiff a wonderful World War II veteran, Tony Jones, explained to me why he ripped up his exemption papers to fight Hitler, ‘not because I was Welsh,’ Tony Jones said, ‘but because I was British. We were defending this island – Scots, Welsh, English. We were all the same when it came to the last war.’

Britain is not unique in questioning its continuing status as a nation state. In the case of the former Soviet Union or Indonesia or Yugoslavia, ‘nation state’ means not a lot. But many other nations are re-inventing themselves in ways that do have a parallel for us. A generation ago Spain and Ireland both had appalling images of backwardness with poor, agriculture-based economies. One was a semi-Fascist dictatorship and both were bastions of traditional Catholicism.

Now Ireland, as we all know, has re-invented itself as the ‘Celtic Tiger’ and Spain has obviously thrown off the Franco image. In Barcelona where the Mayor’s office carries three flags; those of the City of Barcelona, the region of Catalonia and the Spanish national flag. The Mayor, educated in Edinburgh, suggested to me that it was a British notion that devolution meant the country would fall apart. He believed that the result would be exactly the opposite.

 

 

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, one of the most prominent and outspoken Unionists in Labour, put it to me this way. ‘A lot of this debate is based on a misapprehension that without an institutional formula the UK could break up. But Britain exists because people want it to exist. Gordon Brown and William Hague believe that all kinds of values – fair play, tolerance, self-reliance, decency, inventiveness, enterprise, a sense of personal privacy, love of the eccentric, a sense of humour – somehow keep Britain together.

As I travelled across the country quite often I’d hear the same complaints. Too many Scots in important positions; it was unfair for Scottish and Welsh politicians to vote on issues affecting them in devolved parliaments but also to vote on issues affecting England. Disproportionate amounts of tax payers’ money was being spent on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

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Let me point to what I think is more important than all this: something which does keep up all together and that’s a shared sense of British culture in its wider sense. This has been reflected, it seems to me, by the Tate Gallery, which in March this year split into two: Tate Modern and Tate Britain. I suggested to Stephen Dukar who is the Director of Tate Britain that to some people Tate Britain might seem a daft idea because if Britain really is dead he has named his gallery after the corpse. He responded that it was a perfect moment to engage in a debate about what British art might mean, whether Britain was any longer a valid concept and how it was changing. He saw Tate Britain as contributing to the new debate in the 21st century about the relationships within these islands.

 

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Modern British culture is so diverse and inventive it stretches from John Le Carré to Bryn Terfyll to Dwight York, from the Royal Opera House to your local Balti house, from Glasgow Rangers to Chelsea. Fans from Northern Ireland travel every week to football games in Glasgow, in Manchester, in Liverpool. TV sets in the Irish Republic will tune in to the BBC. Eastenders and Coronation Street, English soap operas, remain British institutions in Glasgow and Cardiff and Belfast. Even the historian Norman Davies, one of those who said that the British state was on its last legs, concedes that British culture, in its widest sense, will remain robust.

 

 

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What is it that has kept the idea of Scotland as a nation alive for 400 years and does it offer a clue about Britishness? Why do most Scots, including myself (despite the fact I’ve lived outside Scotland for longer than I’ve lived in it), still feel Scottish in one way or another – despite the power of the greatest empire the world has ever known, the British Empire, despite the drift of so many Scots southwards to help run that Empire, and despite the superior cultural power of England. Each of these three smaller nations was never completely overwhelmed by England or by the British State because in some small corner of our hearts most of us retain the belief that we were still Scots too, or Welsh or Irish even when we were British. The question for the future it seems to me, is whether the idea of being British will continue to reside in some small corner of our hearts. If it does, Britain will somehow be reinvented. If it ceases to be important to us, then no matter what constitutional arrangements we make, Britain will die. https://www.kent.ac.uk/alumni/pdf/kent36.pdf

 

 

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Ian (Blinky) Murray – Labour Party MP For Edinburgh South – Shadow Scottish Secretary – A Comic Appointment – But The Joke’s On Him

 

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Ian Murray is a Scottish Labour Party politician

Murray’s political career started in 2003 as an Edinburgh City councillor when he stood for the Council elections in Liberton and won a seat. He later represented the Liberton/Gilmerton ward from 2007 to 2010. He has been the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South since 2010.

At Westminster he has served on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee and the Environmental Audit Committee. In 2011, he was appointed to the Shadow front bench, and currently serves as Shadow Trade and Investment Minister, where his responsibilities include trade and investment, export licencing, postal affairs and employment relations.

He is a member of Amnesty International, USDAW Union, Progress and the Fabian Society.

Brought up in the Wester Hailes area of Edinburgh, he attended Dumbryden primary school, then Wester Hailes Education Centre. He went on to study Social Policy and Law at the University of Edinburgh graduating with an Honours degree.

After University he went on to work at the Royal Blind, then in pensions management. After this he took up employment with an Edinburgh based internet television station. The company went bust and Murray decided to set-up his own event mamagement company, “100 mph Events Ltd.” He retained a major share holding in the company after taking up the duties of MP.

He has a long-term partner Hannah Catherine Woolfson, who is descended from Lithuanian Jews who were emigrating to America but got off the boat in Greenock because the seasickness was unbearable. He employed her, as a Casual Junior Secretary, until May 2012. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem/110124/part2.htm

He owns a half share in a house in Edinburgh, which he shares with his partner Hannah, from which rental income is derived. (Registered 29 June 2011)

 

 

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Ian Murray’s self penned Biography

As an event manager, Ian ran the largest arts festival in Europe for 7 years, during which time he was involved in television production, artistic programming, sponsorship and financial management and all other areas of the business from building scaffolding to presenting artists. Ian’s proudest moment as an event manager was his concert with Billy Bragg, Chrissie Hynde, Steve Earle, Joan Baez and Emmy-Lou Harris, which raised over £100,000 for the Landmine for a Free World Charity in 2004. Ian’s event management experience has included organising live music concerts and broadcasting over the internet, from various of Edinburgh’s large music venues.

Comment: If you voted Labour at the last Westminster election. You need to take a long hard look at this. I’m struggling to work out the truths and what are the not so truths. Murray which large arts festival did you run for 7 years? http://www.ianmurraymp.co.uk/biography.html

 

 

 

February 2010: Murray late nomination for the Edinburgh South constituency – Scandal Hit Nigel Griffiths stands down

Mr Griffiths, who was criticised during the MPs’ expenses scandal when he claimed for a 3,600 plasma television, is eligible for the cash payment to help him “adjust” to life outside Parliament. Half of the payment is tax-free. The Edinburgh MP is also eligible for a winding-up allowance designed to help with the expenses of running down a constituency office. But news of the payment and Mr Griffiths’s new job have been decried as “unacceptable” by campaigners in the wake of simmering public anger surrounding the MPs’ expenses scandal.

Martin Bell, the former MP who has written a book on the expenses saga, said: “It is quite reasonable for an MP who leaves at the behest of an election defeat to get this payment. But I would have thought, if they have already lined up a job before leaving office, they should not be paid the money because it has come from the taxpayer.”

It was widely predicted that Mr Griffiths would have struggled to retain his Edinburgh South seat following a sex scandal in 2008. The former minister allegedly had an intimate encounter with a brunette in his Westminster office. The 54-year-old, who has been married for 30 years, later apologised for engaging in sexual activity in his House of Commons office. He said he was ashamed of his actions, which he said fell below acceptable standards. The Scotsman revealed yesterday that Mr Griffiths told party members in his constituency that he would not be standing for re-election and would instead take up a job with an “international educational institution”.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/shamed-mp-to-collect-163-60-000-for-quitting-1-788222

 

 

 

 

April 2010: Murray Campaign gets nasty early – Sign of things to come?

April 2010: The 2010 General Election campaign was barely four hours old when the first serious spat erupted between Labour and the Conservatives in Edinburgh South. Ian Murray, the Labour candidate, had distributed leaflets claiming that an incoming Tory government would put at risk a whole series of pensioner benefits, including winter fuel payments and free TV licences. The Tories were furious, insisting that they had promised categorically and publicly, on many occasions, that they would not cut these benefits. One senior Tory source said: “These are just wrong. We have made it crystal clear that we are not going to do these things, but Ian Murray has put them out anyway. It is outrageous.” Mr Murray hit back yesterday by insisting he did not trust the Conservatives’ promises anyway so he was right to “pose the question” about what might be at risk if the Tories win the election. Early warning for anyone intending to run for political office against Murray. He gets into the gutter very early on and will broadcast anything to gain advantage regardless 0f truth.

http://caledonianmercury.com/2010/04/07/campaign-gets-nasty-early-sign-of-things-to-come/004982

 

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September 2012: “People want entrepreneurs to earn money through hard work” The Thought’s of Ian Murray MP

Public spending: Other members of the Labour shadow cabinet have put forward ideas, like shadow home office minister Stella Creasy’s suggestion of a “zero budget” spending review. Creasy’s idea would be to put everything “on the table” in order to “reassess every single item of departmental public spending”. In short, everything (even the NHS) would be put under the microscope.

You could wonder if Creasy was speaking out of turn, or at least, not representing Labour’s stance on the economy. As part of Labour’s business team, would Murray agree with her? “Absolutely, if you start from a zero budget spending review, you can always work forward if you have money available. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in saying that you have to look at where your money is best spent.”

I remind Murray that the “zero budget” would mean that even things like the NHS would not be safe from the scalpel. Former chancellor Nigel Lawson once compared the health service to the closest thing Britain has to a national religion. Surely Labour would want to protect it? “It is a very emotive topic, people want more money spent on the NHS and that is absolutely right.” But, does that mean Labour would keep the NHS off the table? “It shouldn’t be exempt, on the basis of the government are spending £2bn on a top-down reorganisation on it. So if you don’t exempt the NHS and say we’re going to look at spending on the NHS, maybe you could spend that £2bn differently.”

Murray is very sharp and well versed in Labour policy, But in trying to ensure equality and “fairness”, how can Labour seriously encourage businesses to succeed? After all, entrepreneurs are the engine of inequality. You can’t have buccaneering tycoons making millions and have greater income equality. After a palpable pause, Murray scoffs “That is a first year university course exam paper question!” Pointing to his experience as small business owner, he goes on to ask “Do you need an unequal society to make that successful”?

Bob Crow and RMT: Would he be so warm about Bob Crow, after the RMT’s repeated tube strikes in London?

“First thing I’d like to say is Bob Crow is not affiliated to the Labour party in any way” he rushes to make clear. But would he condone the RMT’s tendency to threaten strikes in order to get their pay rises? “If you feel as if you’re being done a disservice and you’re asking your staff to go above and beyond the call of duty and the biggest level you’d got is we’d scupper that, you’d use that wouldn’t you?” he replies gnomically.

Murray defends the idea of RMT tube drivers getting bonuses as “we’re talking about a few hundred pounds to some low paid workers, I don’t see what the problem is”. The problem, I remind him, is that the average salary of a tube driver is £45,000. The national average salary is £26,200, while a nurse starts out on £22,000. Even a trainee tube driver starts out on near £40,000. If he can defend tube driver bonuses as “absolutely right”, what about their salaries?

His first answer is to admit “I’m not really aware of how much tube drivers are paid”. After I repeat the figure down the phone, the Labour business minister asks “is that a basic salary without overtime?” I read out quote from a London Underground official in full, saying “Tube drivers earn a fixed salary of around £44,545 per annum plus benefits”.  Finally, Murray answers: “Well, you know, salary levels for any organisation is based on what the market will provide at any time.”

This is odd. Unions exist to buck the market. They use the threat of mass disobedience to ensure pay levels are a premium of what the market would provide. I probe further. Does Murray believe the tube driver pay is about right? “I’m not getting into any discussion on whether they should be paid less or more. If that’s what TfL is paying tube drivers, then that’s what they’re worth,” he replies.

He swerves away from answering if that means Bob Crow has done a good job in getting such a bumper pay package for his members. However, he adds enigmatically: “You’re comparing a £44-45k to £22k. But you’re comparing someone who has worked a long time in the tubes with a newly qualified nurse.”

However, he insists that he was not making the distinction based on experience, adding: “You can create any argument you wish by taking the extremities of both. You can say a junior consultant earns X and should they be paid less a tube driver?” http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/business-news/politics/-people-want-entrepreneurs-to-earn-money-through-hard-work-ian-murray-mp/3455
Comment:

* How can an employment minister not know what the average national salary is? That’s like a Tube driver not knowing when to stop at red signals. Oh, hang on, they don’t know when to stop at red signals – hence all the “signal failures”. Presumably a nurse still knows how to help save lives however. Yet Murray still defends Tube drivers’ salaries and bonus demands? Unforgivable.

* It appears the labour party will subject the NHS to another 5 years of turmoil with a comprehensive zero-based budget approach. How sad.

 

 

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March 2013: The Workfare Bill

The House of Commons passed the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill, which included a clause that retroactively changed the law to prevent back payment of approximately £130 million worth of benefits that had been found by a court decision to have been wrongly withheld.

The undernoted Scottish MP’s voted against the Bill in the belief that monies owed to claimants should be made since to do so would constitute an illegal act. Ian Murray’s name is not on the list. He and many of his Labour party colleagues let the poorest members of society down badly. Note the SNP were 100% in favour of payments being made.

6 of 6 (100%) of SNP MPs: Stewart Hosie (Dundee East), Angus MacNeil (Na h-Eileanan an Iar), Angus Robertson (Moray), Mike Weir (Angus), Eilidh Whiteford (Banff and Buchan), Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire

7 of 40 (18%) Labour MPs: Katy Clark (North Ayrshire and Arran), Michael Connarty (Linlithgow and East Falkirk), Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West), Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North and Leith), Jim McGovern (Dundee West), Sandra Osborne (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock) Jim Sheridan (Paisley and Renfrewshire North) http://blog.scottishelections.org.uk/2013/03/how-scottish-mps-voted-on-workfare-bill.html

 

 

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November 2013: An MP has a duty to find the most cost effective office space available. He rented an office owned by a trust fund controlled by ex MP Nigel Griffiths. Is that best value for the taxpayers, or was he extending the largesse? Labour MP Murray has paid £5,847.74 in office rent to Nigel Griffiths, who used to represent his Edinburgh South seat. Griffiths quit Parliament in shame at the last election admitting cheating on his wife with a mystery brunette in the House of Commons. Murray said that the constituency office was well established and that he had looked around for something that was better value but had not found it

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/new-expenses-scandal-one-three-2792913

 

 

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2012 /13 Expenses Breakdown

In addition to his £66,396 a year salary he claimed the highest amount of any Lothian MP for his energy bill of over £747. Good to see taxpayers paying for an early energy freeze for MPs when many are struggling to heat their homes.

He also claimed an additional £181,840 in expenses, including the third highest amount in the UK for his Constituency Office at £26,593 which is crazy as since devolution Scottish MPs have fewer responsibilities than English MPs.

The Office expenses don’t include his staff salaries amounting to £121,430 which also provides extra household income by employing his partner as a secretary.  http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/ViewAnnualisedTransactionalData.aspx

Total Approximate Cost 1 year – £370,000 x 5 = £1,850,000

 

 

 

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April 2014: Smeargate 2014 Referendum Campaign

In 2014 Murray alleged that supporters of Scottish Independence had vandalised his office. Critics claimed there was no evidence to support the allegation and accused Murray of “smearing” Scottish nationalists. He subsequently said the office had been plastered with pro-independence “Yes” stickers, which had been removed. http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/ian-murray-row-over-pro-independence-stickers-1-3363085
It very soon surfaced that his claims were a load of tosh. See comments submitted by locals.:

* Murray has done himself no favours with this claim. A few stickers, if there were even stickers in the first place, could hardly be described as “completely outrageous”. It is certainly not a police matter.

* Perhaps he should remove his pro Labour propaganda from the windows of his constituency office now he represents all the constituency not just Labour voters? He has contact details for Labour councillors but no other party in the area. Is that even legal Ian?

* You decided to move into a high profile shop on a very busy street for the simple reason to boost your profile. Don’t get too upset if someone puts a sticker on your window. Some of your constituents have to put up with far worse harassment.

* I would encourage people to check out his twitter account and the picture he put up, it is of the graffiti on the doors that has been there for several months not yes stickers.

* Own goal Mr Murray, own goal.

* Typical bluster from a minor politician. Anyone who considers this the sort of thing that needs reported to the police (informally or otherwise) needs a serious reality check.

* I wonder did he report the much more tangible ‘vandalism’ to the front door?

* Once again shoddy journalism reporting this as SNP stickers. There was no suggestion of this and the only picture, of a solitary sticker, says ‘Yes 2014’.

* Really…12 stickers The photos I’ve seen are 1 yes only 1 sticker with YES 2014 on it.

* Mega expenses Murray can’t even get his story right. Yes stickers become Yes flyers or Yes Scotland stickers or even SNP stickers.

* His attempt to smear the Yes campaign with unsubstantiated claims of vandalism and threats to his staff on the basis that some prankster put a couple of stickers on his scruffy graffiti strewn front door has rebounded spectacularly.

* Surely his £181,840 A year expenses claims could have bought a pot of matching paint during the two years his constituency office door has been a mess.

* It’s just not right. Nothing can be funnier than politicians and no-one could be as offensive as the moonlighting MP. Sooner this guy capitulates from public life the better.

* His staff removed the stickers shortly after they were stuck on his office. So now we have more witnesses. What did the staff say? (Might be an idea to remove some of that grass and weeds fae under the windae anaw.)

* Murray was caught out trying to smear the pro independence campaign, by claiming his offices were vandalised. Now that IS a serious claim. One thinks of smashed windows or paint daubed on the walls or graffiti.

* When people heard about the vandalism, they went to look and do you what readers, there wasn’t any evidence of such, in fact NOTHING. All except for a botched up paint job on the door from earlier (as in 2012) piece of actual vandalism committed by kids. You can tell its old as you can see the exact same state from Google street view. Despite all these expenses Murray cant be bothered to get the door properly painted!

* So what was this act of ‘vandalism’ claimed by Murray? Well he later changed his story to one where someone had placed a generic ‘Scotland 2014’ sticker on one of the windows. Yes that’s One single sticker, he even posted a picture of it.

* Sad thing is other Labour politicians have jumped on the bandwagon, such as Curran, to slate the SNP, who have nothing to do with this. This seems a common occurrence from labour, where they roll out the smear, which turns out not to be all quite what it seems

 

 

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April 2014: MP Ian Murray voted in favour of and defended the Con/Dem benefits cap

Critics argued the move to limit what working families, pensioners, and those on disability benefits can receive from the government would plunge hard-up families from some of the most impoverished areas of Scotland further into poverty. http://johnhilley.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/welfare-betrayal-and-labouring-under.html (Another view of the nonsense)

Labour insisted nobody who was entitled to benefits would be left out and added that the new measures would hold the government accountable for their actions. He said: “You can’t stop people getting benefits. you only qualify only if you are entitled. That’s the rules. http://www.clydebankpost.co.uk/news/roundup/articles/2014/04/09/494391-mp-john-robertson-defends-benefits-cap-vote/

Maria Muir was scathing (on her blog) about the conduct of Robertson and his fellow Labour MP’s.

Commenting Eilidh Whiteford (SNP) MP said: “The SNP voted against the welfare cap today because it piles yet more pain onto our poorest pensioners, carers, disabled people and low-income families.

This cap is just a crude, blunt, instrument. It is shocking that so many Scottish Labour MPs have backed the Tories.” https://mariamuir.com/meet-32-scottish-labour-mps-voted-tory-welfare-cap/

Shame on you Scottish Labour: https://crowhousekitchen.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/shame-on-you-scottish-labour/

welfare cap means more childhood poverty: https://snookcocker.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/welfare-cap-means-childhood-poverty/

Labour supports welfare cap: https://kombatbadger.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/labour-supports-welfare-cap/

The word AUSTERITY was introduced to the Scottish public big time as a result of this appalling legislation which brought about great hardship.Foodbanks and other charitable organisations took over the care of the nations poor from the Con/Dem government and the Labour party who had supported them in the attack on the nations sick, poor and needy. Disgracefully the same Scottish labour MP’s will submit their names for re-election in May 2015. Surely the electorate will deny them that privilege.

 

 

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January 2015: Scottish Labour MPs vote to back Tory cuts

It has been revealed 28 Scottish Labour MPs voted with the UK government for £75billion of cuts and tax rises. Commenting, SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:

“Labour have shown their true colours in siding with the Tories, and it shows now even more clearly that only by voting SNP can Westminster’s obsession with imposing austerity cuts – that just don’t work – be changed. George Osborne is committed to continued austerity which will hit Scottish public services- and tonight he has been backed by Scottish Labour.

The Scottish Labour MPs who voted tonight with the Tories represent some of the areas which have been hardest hit by government austerity measures, and it will be ordinary, hard-working people in their constituencies who will continue to suffer.”

Douglas Alexander, Paisley & Renfrewshire N – Willie Bain, Glasgow NE – Gordon Banks, Ochil & S Perthshire – Anne Begg, Aberdeen S – Russell Brown, Dumfries and Galloway

Michael Connarty, Linlithgow & E Falkirk – Margaret Curran, Glasgow E – Iain Davidson, Glasgow SW – Thomas Docherty, Dunfermline & W Fife – Brian Donohoe, Central Ayshire

Frank Doran, Aberdeen N – Gemma Doyle, W Dunbartonshire – Tom Greatrex, Rutherglen & Hamilton W – David Hamilton, Midlothian – Tom Harris, Glasgow S – Anne McGuire, Stirling

Jimmy Hood, Lanark & Hamilton E – Cathy Jamieson, Kilmarnock & Loudoun – Iain MacKenzie, Inverclyde – Michael McCann, E Kilbride Straven & Lesmahagow – Graham Morrice, Livingston

Gregg McClymont, Cumbernauld Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch – Iain Murray, Edinburgh S – Pamela Nash, Airdrie and Shotts – Fiona O’Donnell, East Lothian – John Robertson, Glasgow NW

Frank Roy, Motherwell & Wishaw – Anas Sarwar, Glasgow Central http://www.snp.org/?q=media-centre/news/2015/jan/scottish-labour-mps-vote-back-tory-cuts

 

 

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February 2015: Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee attacked the Labour Party for accepting support from accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

A number of Labour MPs – including Ed Balls, Chuka Umunna – have received more than £540,000 in research assistance from the firm in the past 18 months alone.

Ian Murray has been provided with the services of a PricewaterhouseCoopers research assistant, supporting him in his role at the Independent Export Commission (November 2014 – May 2015.) Total value of secondment is £45,000.  Murray is researching the internal workings of “TTIP”  the much hyped US World trade agreement which PricewaterhouseCoopers is in support of.

Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves currently has a PwC analyst working to support her who is paid at a rate of more than £500 a day. Mrs Hodge said this was arrangement was “inappropriate” and should end.

The committee chaired by Mrs Hodge has accused PWC of “promoting tax avoidance” on an industrial scale.

PwC said it disagreed with the Public Accounts Committee report and denied claims by Mrs Hodge that the firm had misled her committee when its executives gave evidence in January 2013.

The company said in a statement that it had “no political affiliation” and did not make “any cash donations to any political party or other groups with a political agenda”.

But they added: “In the interests of the firm and its clients, we seek to develop and maintain constructive relationships with the main political parties”.

The Barking MP told the World at One: “You have to be very, very careful when you’re in opposition whom you take money from”. She added that there needed to be “greater transparency and tougher rules” regarding secondments.

The Public Accounts Committee report focuses on PwC’s tax avoidance schemes, which are legal, but allow companies to divert profits to tax havens like Luxembourg via a series of loans between different parts of the business. The profits are eventually taxed in that country, but often at tiny rates.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “PwC have provided long standing support to all three major political parties on a non-party basis, as happened for the Conservatives and Lib Dems before the last election. “Given the complexity of government and that opposition parties do not have significant access to civil servants, the support provided by organisations such as these helps ensure that there is better scrutiny of government policy.

“Where organisations provide staff to support research and analysis for opposition parties it is right that these are declared – as currently happens – in the Register of Members’ Interests.” Declarations in the current register show Labour MPs have received more than £540,000 in assistance from the firm since September 2013.

PwC said its staff provided “limited and fully disclosed technical support to the main political parties” but added: “We do not develop policy on their behalf.” Staff on secondment might make “observations on the improvement of legislation or proposed legislation”, the firm added in a statement.

That suggests a conflict of interest, particularly as Margaret Hodge, the chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said it was ‘inappropriate’ to accept unpaid help from the firm accused by MPs of promoting tax avoidance schemes on an ‘industrial scale’.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2943512/Labour-s-500k-help-tax-avoidance-firm-Party-urged-stop-taking-advice-company-accused-controversial-schemes.html#ixzz3RGjQxecJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-31162869

 

 

 

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December 2014:  The UK needs an approach to joining TTIP the the public understand and trust

There are legitimate concerns that TTIP could seriously hamper the UK’s ability to restore fairness in Britain. These need to be formally addressed and resolved and inserted into any draft agreement. Concerns include, insufficient exemptions for the NHS, and other public services whichould lead to serious legal challenges to any future re-nationalisation.

There are also concerns that TTIP could also challenge transparency and accountability, as any Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), even a reformed one, could create the perception of transferring power away from the people.

There are further concerns that public safety could be at risk. There will need to be a deal of hard campaigning to ensure that proper provisions on labour and environmental standards are included to prevent social dumping, pressures on wages and hampering the Country’s  efforts to tackle climate change.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/12/we-need-approach-you-can-trust-ttip

 

 

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Jun 2014:  TTIP – Torturous negotiations but so much at stake for the UK

TTIP negotiations began 12 months ago at the G8 Summit in Enniskillen but have become fragmented in recent months, with the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause causing a significant stumbling block to progress.

The controversial clause would allow investors to sue sovereign governments if they thought local laws were impacting negatively on their investments.

In a rare instance of the clause being activated last year, mining company Lone Pine Resources brought a $250mn lawsuit on the Quebecois government because its moratorium on fracking hit the investment it had made in local shale deposits.

The EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht has since called on ISDS to be dropped from TTIP discussions, but anti-free trade campaigners have been trying to draw attention to its potential inclusion.

Murray drew a parallel with the recent free trade agreements the EU negotiated with Canada and South Korea, which allowed for both the protection of public services and which included a toned-down form of ISDS.

The EU website says the version of ISDS included in the Canadian agreement “has a number of key features designed to ensure that the system is effective and efficient, whilst providing important procedural safeguards which will improve the control of the parties of the interpretation of the agreement and ensure that frivolous cases are discouraged or swiftly dismissed”.

Addressing fears around the US use of genetically-modified organisms (GMO) which are banned in EU food production, Murray said: “They’re banned in Europe already, so they’ll [the US] find that difficult to negotiate away.

He called on negotiators to ensure that the agreement is “beneficial for consumers and jobs”, and said he would support independent, government-funded research into the actual benefits of TTIP.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ttip-labour-will-not-back-eu-us-trade-deal-without-nhs-safeguards-1453082

 

 

 

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March 2015: Wings over Scotland – A Question Answered

Lovers of blood sports enjoyed a very special treat on this morning’s Sunday Politics Scotland, as Gordon Brewer got his teeth firmly around the throat of hapless Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray and shook him like a rag doll for ten toe-curling minutes.   We have the clip for you. Brewer was having so much fun tormenting Murray by repeatedly demanding an answer to the question of whether his party would rule out an electoral deal with the SNP that he didn’t notice when, at about the 15th time of asking, he actually got one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqHcyLIMMj8

 

 

 

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April 2015: Scottish National Party’s electoral chances

Speaking on the Today programme about the potential for the SNP to take seats from Labour in Scotland and how the party could use this to press its policy programme were Labour MP Ian Murray and former SNP Special Adviser Ewan Crawford.

Mr Murray said that it was “academic” whether his party could rule out a coalition with the SNP, as wider polling showed that every seat lost to the SNP put the Conservatives closer to Downing Street.

If Labour lost heavily in Scotland Scotland, the Conservatives would win the election, he suggested. He pointed out that according to precedent, the largest party would form a Government.

He said that Labour was not thinking about a coalition with the SNP as that was not what it wanted. “We don’t want it; we don’t need it”, he said. – See more at: http://www1.dehavillandeurope.eu/news/press-review-6-march-2015-1#sthash.i5zPOudo.dpuf

 

 

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Comment: Murray spouts the Labour Party mantra about the largest party forming the government which is nonsense Kevin Maguire has other ideas: The Daily Mirror, Senior political writer, Monday 27 April 2015. Crisis? What crisis? Tories lose the plot.

Wretched Tories sound like they are plotting a coup. Cameron possesses no god-given right to be Premier, so deluded conservatives should stop threatening parliamentary democracy. The PM will be whoever – Cameron or Miliband commands the Commons with no constitutional requirement for him to be the leader of the largest party.

The Tories have a misplaced sense of entitlement and behave as if they own No10. Cons screaming about a Labour-SNP pact are simply throwing another dead cat onto the table, in order to divert attention away from the Grim Reaper’s scythe that’s swinging Dave’s way.

So there it is. This surely puts the “Largest Party” statement continously advanced by Murphy, Murray et.al in the bin where it belongs.

 

 

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April 2015: If zero hours contracts are so bad, how come these 68 Labour MPs used them?

Ed Miliband blasted David Cameron and big business over zero hours contracts – and pledged to stick up for ordinary workers who are being “exploited.”

Speaking in Yorkshire, the Labour leader raged: “Less than a week ago, you may have heard the Prime Minister say that he couldn’t live on a zero hours contract. Well, I couldn’t live on a zero hours contract either.

I’ve got a simple principle – if it is not good enough for us, it’s not good enough for you and it’s not good enough for Britain.

“That’s the way I will run our country. One rule for all.” Except there’s one small problem for Ed. It has been revealed that a large number of Labour MPs have employed workers on “zero hours” contracts over the past two years .

The damning list of 68 (nearly a quarter of the Labour parliamentary party) includes Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Lucy Powell, Labour’s elections chief and Karen Buck, Ed Miliband’s parliamentary aide.

MPs pay and expenses watchdog IPSA released the figures earlier this year after a Freedom of Information request. Labour insist their MPs use the casual contracts to hire interns or students on flexible deals.

But officials from Labour’s biggest trade union donor insist all MPs should set an example to business. Steve Turner, Unite regional officer, said last year: “Parliament passed the laws that are supposed to protect pay and conditions. “Our MPs ought to be upholding them, setting a high standard for employers.”

Adrian Bailey, Alan Campbell, Alan Meale, Alex Cunningham, Andy Burnham,  Andy Slaughter, Ann Clwyd, Ann McKechin, Barbara Keeley, Barry Sheerman, Ben Bradshaw, Bob Ainsworth, Bridget Phillipson,  Catherine McKinnell, Chinyelu Susan Onwurah, Chris Evans, Clive Efford, Dan Jarvis, Ed Balls, Fiona Mactaggart, Frank Dobson, George Mudie, Glenda Jackson ,Graeme Morrice, Graham Jones, Gregg McClymont, Heidi Alexander, Helen Jones, Huw Irranca Davies, Ian Lucas, Ian Murray, John Woodcock, Jon Trickett, Jonathan Ashworth, Julie Hilling, Karen Buck, Katy Clark, Kerry McCarthy, Kevan Jones, Lilian Greenwood, Louise Ellman, Luciana Berger, Lucy Powell, Lyn Brown, Margaret Curran, Mary Creagh, Meg Hillier, Meg Munn, Mike Wood, Nic Dakin, Pat Glass, Peter Hain, Rachel Reeves, Rosie Cooper, Rushanara Ali, Sarah Champion, Seema Malhotra, Shabana Mahmood, Sheila Gilmore, Stephen Twigg, Susan Jones, Toby Perkins, Tom Greatrex, Valerie Vaz, Vernon Coaker, Virendra Sharma, Yasmin Qureshi.

http://www.sunnation.co.uk/if-zero-hours-contracts-are-so-bad-how-come-these-68-labour-mps-used-them/?CMP=spklr-Editorial-TWITTER-SunNation-20150401-SunNation-163416812

 

 

Steve-Bell-28.09.2012-002After the Scottish referendum.

 

 

November 2014: Commons-Hansard – Zero Hours Contracts Bill – Second Reading

Ian Mearns (Gateshead) (Lab): In politics, it is said that there are no final victories and no final defeats; that each generation must fight many of the same battles that the generation before have, and that the generation after may have to fight as well. Today, I am fighting for the same thing that people of every generation have fought for: the right to decent and secure conditions and terms of employment.

It is not a great ask. A well-paid and steady job is the bedrock on which people build their lives. It is the starting point for planning for the future, and the platform of stability needed to pay the bills, meet the rent, pay the mortgage and start a family. Those are not extravagances, but the minimum that should be available to any person who is prepared to work to pay their way in a wealthy nation such as ours. Yet that stability and security is denied to millions of workers in this country. Increasingly, people are finding themselves plagued by job insecurity, not knowing from one day to the next whether they will be working or earning.

In recent years, the rise in the number of those feeling insecure at work is worrying. Nowhere is that clearer than in the explosion in the use of zero-hours contracts. Such contracts are an employer’s paradise. they are a one-way street, because they demand total flexibility and commitment from individual employees but offer very little in return from the employer.

As recently as last year, the coalition was claiming that slightly more than 200,000 people were employed on zero-hours contracts. The true figure, as revealed by the Office for National Statistics, was in fact seven times higher than Government Ministers admitted – a staggering 1.4 million people engaged in zero-hours employment contracts.as been startling.

Ian Murray (Edinburgh South) (Lab): My hon. Friend is making a powerful speech on the use of zero-hours contracts, but is not the proof of the pudding always in the eating? Although unemployment has gone down in this country, the tax-take to the Treasury from income tax has stayed flat, despite the Treasury predicting a huge increase. That shows that we have under-employment and a massive explosion in zero-hours contracts.   Double standards Mr Murray. You are guilty as charged employing staff on zero hours contracts yourself.

Philip Davies (Shipley) (Con): To be perfectly honest, I must say, and we need to get this on the record before the clock counts us out, that it is a bit rich for the Labour party to come here en masse to pretend that they are massively opposed to zero-hours contracts, when if one believes what one reads in the press – I am one of those who does, rightly or wrongly – it appears that some of the worst offenders are not only Labour councils, but Labour MPs. I do not know whether any of those in the Chamber want to fess up today, but perhaps those who skulked out quietly at the start of this debate are the guilty parties. I read somewhere – so it must be true – that 62 Labour MPs, which I reckon is about a quarter of them, actually employ their staff on zero-hours contracts, which I cannot believe. http://www.ianmearns.org.uk/141121zerohours.htm

 

 

 

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July 2013: The hidden scandal of zero-hours contracts

MP Ian Murray concentrated on the complexities of employment law affecting zero-hours workers, including the difficulty in classifying them as a “worker” in a legal sense. “Many would argue that someone on a zero-hours contract is, in fact, a worker, but that worker needs to have some kind of mutuality of obligation, and there cannot be a mutuality of obligation if the workers has to turn up for work at their expense, but the employer has no need to give them any hours”.   http://www.ier.org.uk/blog/what-coalition-wishes-it-could-ignore-hidden-scandal-zero-hours-contracts

 

 

 

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April 2015: Labour MP breaks ranks over Trident

Murray told The Scotsman that he had a “different view on Trident” to the ­Labour leadership and also suggested he would be prepared to vote against his own party on the issue in the House of Commons.

The shadow minister, who is seeking re-election as the MP for Edinburgh South, is thought to be the first member of Mr Miliband’s frontbench team to deviate from the official Labour line of being fully committed to renewing Trident.

When asked whether he would be prepared to face being sacked from Labour’s frontbench for voting with the SNP against Trident, Mr Murray said: “I’m more than happy to cross that bridge when we come to it.”

The Labour politician said it would be “bonkers” if he allowed concerns about being in the same House of Commons lobby as the SNP on the Trident issue to dictate his position, which he insisted was a matter of principle rather than party loyalty.

He said: “I have a different view on Trident. The party ­position is the party position. I’ve made it clear that I wouldn’t support it [Trident].”

http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/labour-mp-ian-murray-breaks-ranks-over-trident-1-3744485

 

 

 

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January 2015: Angus Robertson Called for the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland and abandonment of the proposed Trident replacement.

On conclusion of the debate a vote was conducted.  Only 35 MP’s voted with Angus Roberston in favour of cancelling the Trident replacement. Mr Murray failed to vote. So much for being anti Trident.

Abbott Diane, Blunt Crispin,  Campbell Ronnie, Clark Katy, Connarty Michael, Corbyn Jeremy, Crockart Mike, Davidson Ian, Durkan Mark,

Flynn Paul, Galloway George, George Andrew, Godsiff Roger, Hancock Mike, Hopkins Kelvin, Hosie Stewart, Huppert Julian, Lammy David,

Lazarowicz Mark, Llwyd Elfyn, Long Naomi, Lucas Caroline, MacNeil Angus, McDonnell  John, Morris Grahame, O’Donnell Fiona,

Osborne Sandra, Ritchie Margaret, Robertson Angus, Skinner Dennis, Smith Andrew, Stringer Graham, Walley Joan, Weir Mike,

Whiteford Eilidh, Williams Hywel, Williams Mark, Pete Wishart, Jonathan Edwards.   Ayes 35, Noes 364.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150120/debtext/150120-0003.htm#15012058001018

 

 

 

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April 2015: SNP candidate sorry over Twitter trolling  (See the 2010 election campaign at start Murray has form with this type of attack)

An SNP election candidate has apologised after  posting offensive messages on Twitter likening anti-independence campaigners to nazi collaborators and disparaging the elderly.

Scottish Labour immediately leapt on the article and demanded Mr Hay be sacked as the candidate, less than two weeks before the election. It’s not possible to replace a candidate at such a late stage – some voters may already have voted by post – and such a move would thereby effectively have handed the seat to the Labour candidate and previous MP Ian Murray by default.

The story turned out to be an absurd, massive exaggeration and misrepresentation of the reality. But it also exposed a level of naked, shameless dishonesty and hypocrisy in Scottish Labour, and in particular its deputy leader Kezia Dugdale, that even this site hadn’t previously dared to imagine.

Below is an extract from  First Ministers Questions in which the issue was discussed. In it we hear Ms Dugdale repeat the accusations from the  and assert that Mr Hay had “described the majority of Scots as traitors”.  But that allegation is a total falsehood. The Scottish Sun tracked down the offending tweet from Mr Hay’s pseudonymous (now deleted) account and it says no such thing.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q7ajGqn-Kw

Full mucky story:   http://wingsoverscotland.com/a-serious-case-of-hypocrisy/

 

 

 

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Comments in the Edinburgh Evening News

Personally sick of Project Smear and now seriously annoyed. Will now vote for him even if the Evening News reveals that his principal pastimes are strangling kittens and robbing old ladies. I’m sorry for Ian Murray, who is a good local MP, but this muck-spreading has gone too far. Incidentally, if Scotland does elect 40-plus SNP MPs, who do you hope to sell your newspaper to? I don’t claim to be morally superior, but neither do I spend my time scrabbling in the dirt.

What has the Edinburgh News been offered to so debase their professional integrity to run nudge nudge, tripe like this, ok labour spin what’s next, he parked on a double yellow line when picking up a fish tea? Farted in a elevator? Forgot his PIN number had to call his bank and brought down the entire banking system, we deserve to be told!

This publication is overclubbing it so much I’m almost starting to have sympathy for Mr Hay, despite him appearing to be a bit of an eedjit.

Personally speaking I used an accountant in the past to minimise my exposure to paying tax when I was self employed. It doesn’t make me immoral or anything it’s just that paying an accountant to do my tax returns saved me more than he/she costed. It certainly doesn’t belittle the accountancy firm in any way.

I can only wonder what Mr Hay has done to offend Mr Maddox, but presumbly is was something nasty given the vendetta he appears to be pursuing.  I agree and support the exposure of “tweets” made under an assumed name not least because this kind of sniping and rabble rousing is cheap. nasty and smacks of mob rule. BUT Mr Hay’s occupation, however moraly offensive Mr Maddox might find it, was not illegal or any worse than the occupation of any number of politicians from all political parties. There is already blood in the water and once the sharks have circled a bit I don’t doubt that Mr Hay will have to serve his time in the wilderness and – if he is deemd worthy by his peers – manage a quiet return at some point in the future.  This is life in politics, the mechanism is modern, but the principle is ancient, in politics there is only one sin – to be found out. There is a long list of victims and I dare say if you actually delved into the past of some political ‘heroes’ there is always something unsavoury to be found.  Of greater concern is the amount of energy being focussed on this matter rather than on the very real problems that face us as a nation and as individuals. But then again that is the way politics has always been and sadly always will be.

The discrepancies between Mr Hay’s ACTUAL tweets and the statements being made in Mr Maddox’s articles really beggar belief. I imagined that Maddox was building up to the point when a ‘smoking gun’ is revealed – but no, just more innuendo. Regardless of one’s politics, surely we can expect better from this newspaper? Perhaps not! However, given the current journalistic focus here on associating with companies in the tax and wealth management business, perhaps the Editor might consider this worthy of publication? On 6th February 2015, BBC News online http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31147276 reported that: ‘Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been accused of promoting tax avoidance “on an industrial scale” ‘. The BBC is referring to a report prepared by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee chaired by the Labor MP, Margaret Hodge.  In the official House of Commons Register of Members’ Financial Interests (as at 30th March 2015: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem/150330/150330.pdf , Ian Murray MP declares a sponsorship he has received on 10 November 2014 from the same PriceWaterhouseCoopers amounting to £45k to provide research services. By the way, I am not an SNP member but I am sick and tired of the way the MSM in Scotland does politics.

Once again, we get the usual, dig dirt on a candidate and trumpet it to the whole world, it’s better than trying to convince people of the merits of your own policies. Labour running it’s own version of PROJECT FEAR!  http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/politics/cybernat-neil-hay-blasted-for-tax-dodge-role-1-3754312

 

 

After the Scottish referendum.alexander1
April 24 2015 – Statement by a badly offended Ian Murray printed in the Daily Mail 24 April 2015.

Posted to Twitter 24 April 2015, by Alan Roden, Political Editor of the Scottish Daily Mail  (https://twitter.com/AlanRoden)

As an MP I also receive all manner of personal abuse on Twitter and Facebook.

It’s not acceptable and I generally put it down to those with too much time on their hands who hide behind anonymity.

For years I have given senior people in the SNP the benefit of the doubt. I used to make a clear distinction between those at the top of the party and the midnight keyboard warriors who abuse anybody on social media who dares to disagree with the Nationalist view of the world.

Not any more. When my SNP opponent in Edinburgh South , Neil Hay set up a false Twitter account solely to harass and abuse people, he exposed the clear link between the cybernats and SNP candidates.
The fact that Mr Hay called those who voted No in the referendum traitors is bad enough. But questioning the right of pensioners in Scotland to even vote in the first place is beyond the pale.

Those comments are not part of modern Scotland and should not be tolerated. We must respect everyone’s views.

How could he possibly represent pensioners in Edinburgh when he doesn’t even think they should be allowed to cast their vote. Would he ask someone on benefits how they voted in the referendum before helping them with their claim?

Will he disregard the views of older people who ask him to represent their views in Parliament?

This is probably the first major test of Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership of the SNP and so far she has fundamentally failed.

Lots of people can condemn appalling comments on social media after they have been made. Sympathising with the victims of online abuse isn’t a huge effort. It is a pretty simple thing to do. The real challenge facing Miss Sturgeon is whether she will do anything to stand up to the perpetrators in her own party.

By refusing to sack Neil Hay as the SNP’s candidate in Edinburgh South, she is effectively saying that online abuse is acceptable, just as long as people don’t get caught. A quick slap on the wrists when they are exposed and off they pop back onto the doorsteps asking people for their votes.

I am proud of my record as a local MP. If I have the honour of being re-elected I will be a representative of everybody in the constituency. After yesterday it’s clear beyond all doubt that the SNP’s Neil Hay cannot say the same.

 

 

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But square the foregoing with the undernoted posted by Fifi La Bonbon, (aka Kezia Dugdale) who at the end of April 2015 made a tremendous fuss in Parliament attacking Mr Hay, demanding the SNP disown him.

https://caltonjock.com/2015/04/24/kezia-dugdale-or-is-it-fifi-la-bon-bon-the-latter-is-unfit-for-politics-if-the-latter-is-the-former-she-is-unfit-for-the-office-of-deputy-leader-of-the-labour-branch-office-in-scotland/

 

 

 

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The 2014 referendum:

 Fifi la Bonbon: I oppose giving the vote to children, but not because of paedophile hysteria, but because they’re too daft to vote. How would publishing younger people’s details on the electoral register be of any benefit to paedophile ? What is the paedophile “danger” these “experts” are exercising their gums about? Would a paedophile look up the details of someone apparently aged 15, and then write to them to ask if they would like to see some puppies?

 

Her views that 15-17 year olds are too daft to vote will be extremely offensive to the younger members of Scottish society trusted by the SNP to vote in the referendum and any future Scottish Parliamentary Election. The Deputy Leader of the Labour party in Scotland should follow her own advice and resign before the so called, “daft youngsters” get the chance to punish her by voting her out of Holyrood in 2016.

 

 

 

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May 2015:  History made in Edinburgh…. but Labour hold onto one seat

Labour’s Ian Murray narrowly held on to Edinburgh South, where SNP candidate Neil Hay was caught up in a manufactured social media scandal about a perceived insult to elderly people that his colleagues said cost him many votes. This was a campaign conducted in the gutter by a Labour Party desperate to hold onto power, by any means, in South Edinburgh

http://www.thenational.scot/politics/history-made-in-edinburgh-but-labour-hold-on-to-one-seat.2772

 

 

 

Scottish-Referendum43Scottish-Referendum42Scottish-referendum46

Is Kezia Dugdale’s Other Self the Virago Fifi La Bonbon? – If Affirmed She has No Place In Scottish Politics

 

 

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Kezia, as Fifi La Bonbon, emerged as a sort of Leader of Labour in the Scottish Blogosphere and as such became something of a lightning rod, no doubt encouraging the fellow travellers but also attracting the critics from the other side, in massive numbers. And of course, it’s the critics who are more likely to speak up – that’s a fact of life. And with Kez leaving the blogosphere, that left a vacuum at the heart of Scottish Labour’s online presence. http://macnumpty.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/scottish-labour-and-blogosphere.html

 

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A Reader:

MSP Kezia Dugdale launched her “Fifi La Bonbon” political career as an online abuser and troll in the Scotsman working, at the Public expense for the Lord Laird Foulkes. She is now complaining, still a SPAD – in that fine socialist journal the Daily Mail – that she has been upset by a ‘recent’ tweet sent in 2012 which said, “…dancing on the head of a pin’? I wish Kezia Dugdale would dance on the end of a bayonet! One stupid remark in the whole campaign so far hardly constitutes a hate campaign against her, particularly when contrasted with her own tawdry cyber history. Time to cut the hypocrisy, Kezia. https://www.facebook.com/BBCScotlandshire?fref=photo

 

This a hate campaign Kezia. In Westminster, Ian Davidson MP, prominent anti-independence campaigner repeated his call that once the, “conflict” of the independence campaign is over “all that will be required is mopping up and bayoneting of the wounded.

http://www.glawest.org/ian-davidson-mp-repeats-call-to-bayonet-scottish-independence-supporters/

 

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2 August 2008: The Evening News’ Save our School Dinners campaign recently got hot meals back on the menu for the city’s toddlers.
Readers comments:

I fully expect the child hating numpties will be ranting soon….. 5…4…3…2…1… Skip McClendon

What a big stushie about feeding bairns that have been dumped all day in a glorified child minding facility! Finbarr Saunders

Can the parents afford to feed their kids during the holidays……..or do we have to pay for all-year-round meals? Hermitage,Edinburgh

Jacque Swartz, chairman of the parent council at High School Yards Nursery, today welcomed the decision as “great news”. Could Ms Swartz please tell us which services should be cut so her child can have a lukewarm meal? We already provide subsidised baby sitting for her sprog what else does she want the tax payer to provide for free? The Judge

It’s appalling, isn’t it? A cute little story about a wee toddler and her joyous meal, and all I can do is mock it. Mock, mock, mock. Have I really got nothing better to do with my time? Should I not be ashamed of myself? I love to eat Sellotape

So you’ve completed your degree, post graduate qualification and got yourself a job as a teacher. Then toon cooncil wants you to serve up school dinners? That will be right. The SNP and Lib Dems have been found out and now they’re acting all indignant, but they can’t resist that last wee insult to the teaching staff. Fifi la Bonbon

 

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27 December 2008: Fears over paedophiles could scupper plans to give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in elections – The Scotsman

Readers Comments:

The voting age – like the driving age – should be raised to 21 as people younger than that are often extremely ignorant and foolhardy. It’s life but not as we know it, The Oort Clouds

This paedophile hysteria has to stop. What are they saying? That someone could look up a register and see how old someone is? So what? If a paedophile wants a victim he can easily talk to a youngster in the street. tumshie heid

How, exactly, could they use the information to their advantage – in comparison to any information/opportunity that’s already widely available? The world has gone mad. Philip Thompson, Edinburgh
I oppose giving the vote to children, but not because of paedophile hysteria, but because they’re too daft to vote. How would publishing younger people’s details on the electoral register be of any benefit to paedophile ? What is the paedophile “danger” these “experts” are exercising their gums about? Would a paedophile look up the details of someone apparently aged 15, and then write to them to ask if they would like to see some puppies? Fifi la Bonbon

 

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7 January 2009: A £2m appeal is being made to rehouse the UK’s leading Braille printing press and protect its long-term future

The Royal Blind’s Scottish Braille Press was built in the 1960s and needs to be rebuilt and fitted with state-of-the-art printing equipment. the press is a leading provider of the UK’s Braille books, magazines and other printed materials. Best-selling author Ian Rankin, whose son goes to the Royal Blind School, is giving his backing to the campaign. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7805868.stm
Reader Comment:

This arrogant, wicked man is just promoting himself. How dare he do this so-called thing, and how dare he campaign for the Braille Press. It’s just a cheap publicity stunt. It’s the same with all these so-called “achievers” – anyone could have written a string of so-called internationally renowned bestselling novels and so-called TV films – he was just lucky, so he was. There’s nothing special about him. It’s doomed to crash and burn, to be able to play some records you need to have been doing it for at least 30 years, rank amateurs are taking over. ” Fifi la Bonbon, channelling the voice of real Edinburghers.

 

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12 January 2009: A lot of anger over nursery plot – The Scotsman

Attached to Mrs McLeod’s nursery is a small allotment, which she uses to introduce the toddlers to horticulture expanding their knowledge and understanding of the environment. But not for much longer, the council recently served a “notice of intent to evict” barring the nursery age children from the allotment.
Readers comments:

It’s a £33 a day private nursery run for profit in a relatively well-heeled area. Presumably only those children whose parents pay Mrs McLeod fees to attend get to play, and local kids whose parents don’t pay are barred. Allotments aren’t there to make businesses like hers more profitable. If she wants to establish a garden for the inmates of her nursery, she should buy some more land herself. Fifi la Bonbon

My daughter goes to a private nursery, I’m not well off, but I have no choice in the matter because I have to work, and I cannot get a state nursery place for her until she is three. I get no help at all with the fees and I think that your comments are very uneducated. So what if the parents are well off (which I bet most of them are not)! This project has been an educational tool in a time when learning about where food comes from is a government target to cut obesity rates. Perhaps instead of taking the land away from people who were using it for good, they should make more provision for programmes for both fee-paying and state nurseries to run these schemes. Mrs Mac

 

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2 August 2009: The Tamiflu disaster and fallout

The Labour government spent £473m on the untested antiviral drug Tamiflu, which was then stockpiled to prepare for flu pandemics, from 2006 when some agencies were predicting that a pandemic of bird flu could kill up to 750,000 people in Britain.

The drug was prescribed during the swine flu outbreak in 2009 but reports surfaced claiming that the drug had a number of side-effects, including nausea, headaches, psychiatric events, kidney problems and hyperglycaemia.

The labour government subjected to public to a costly and intensive propaganda onslaught anticipating an improved level of take-up of the vaccination programme. But to no avail. The public did not trust the Labour government to tell the truth.

Epidemiologist expert advice was commissioned and a report named the “Cochrane Collaboration was submitted to government.

Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford and one of the report’s authors, told the BBC: “I think the whole £500m has not benefited human health in any way and we may have harmed people. The system that exists for producing evidence on drugs is so flawed and open to misuse that the public has been misled.”

Dr Tom Jefferson, a clinical epidemiologist and former GP, said: “I wouldn’t give it for symptom relief, I’d give paracetamol.”

The Cochrane Collaboration researchers did not placed the blame on any individual or organisation, instead saying there had been failings at every step from the manufacturers to the regulators and government.

Between 2006-07 and 2012-13, the Department of Health purchased just under 40 million units of Tamiflu.

Between 2009-10 and 2012-13, 2.4 million units were consumed, mostly during the swine flu pandemic.

In total, 10 million units were written off – 6.5m units were discarded before their shelf lives had run out because poor record-keeping by the NHS meant it was impossible to tell if they had been stored correctly and were still useable.

The Public Accounts committee concluded that taxpayers’ money had been squandered and that there was “simply no excuse for this waste.”

It was muted (supported by Fifi La Bonbon) that the UK government should pass a law to secure immunity from liability for any harm inadvertently caused to people getting immunised. (http://www.scotsman.com/news/sos-online-forum-1-1355041) ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22608671)
Readers comments:

Never before have we all been in a situation like this one, a flu pandemic that could be controlled and lives saved by a untested vaccine, and on the other hand, the mass inoculation programme may be lethal for some. The question of choice for ourselves is difficult enough, but extremely difficult in making the decision to have your child inoculated with this flu vaccine. Charles Linskaill, Edinburgh

Finally some sensible journalism on the dangers of this virus. Unfortunately though this is going to be effectively a taxpayer bailout for the dubious practices of the pharmaceutical industry now that the banks have had theirs. Which industry will be next? Iain, Glasgow

Even without this present complication, the uptake of the vaccine by the UK population of circa 60 million persons should be expected to be well below 100 per cent. This news will further depress the numbers being vaccinated. Why, then, have ministers reportedly ordered “60 million doses”? Can this figure be revised downwards if it is shown to be considerably more than is required? Slioch, Scottish Highlands

The taxpayer at large is paying for people to get the jags – we shouldn’t have to pay out damages for people unlucky enough to suffer bad side-effects. Anyone getting the vaccine courtesy of the taxpayer should be made to sign a waiver supported by statute waiving the right to sue the NHS. If they won’t sign, let them do without. They’ll still get free NHS treatment if they fall ill. Fifi la Bonbon:

 

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21 November 2009: It was identified that many school children were not being provided with a balanced diet. The council decided to heavily subsidise meals so that the health of children would be improved – The Scotsman – Lothians
Readers comments:
“It is back to the good old days, when our schoolchildren did virtually get free school meals. It makes sense, and should be seen as part of our children’s welfare.” Charles Linskaill,
“I completely disagree with this. It is parents’ responsibility to look after their children, not that of the local authority. Far from paying for meals for all schoolchildren, we should withdraw the free meals already given to some kids, and make parents pay for the lot. The money involved just goes to paying for mobile phones, expensive sandshoes, and iPods anyway. The taxpayer pays for their education, and gives generous benefits to parents who are disabled and cannot work, as well as to widows and to mothers who have been abandoned by feckless fathers. But it is not our responsibility to feed their children at lunchtime. If parents are too neglectful to do this properly, they need to be punished not rewarded.” Fifi la Bonbon

 

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26 April 2010: General Election ‘debate’ appeal answered by ordinary Scots – Newsnet Scotland

The SNP have reached the target of £50,000 needed to fund the court action aimed at fighting their exclusion from Thursday’s leader’s debate: http://www.newsnet.scot/nns-archive/index.php?

Reader Comment:

The money was raised by cybernat fanatics and dubious foreign interests”: Fifi La Bonbon

 

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31 May 2010: Former boss of Jenners announced grand plans for a luxury retail store in a new tourist village on the outskirts of Dalkeith – The Scotsman.

Will our readers be rushing to snap up its offerings? http://www.scotsman.com/news/readers-best-comments-1-1246382

Readers Comments:

Great, a satisfied customer. You weren’t so positive over the council plans to close three nurseries. How was it arrived at that 3 nurseries should close? Why not 2 or 4? Was this predetermined financial decision rather than a properly thought out rationalisation process of the school estate involving the council, communities and educationalists? Thought not. Just like the primary school closures again. escape from spam valley
Well I for one cannot wait. Quite frankly I am tired of travelling between the Borders and the city without a designer shopping experience and fine dining opportunity to break my journey. I demand nothing but the best in luxury clothing and Scottish produce, and of course Midlothian has been crying out for a gateway for centuries. Ikea and Costco just don’t cut it, I’m afraid. So this is all good news for me, and literally dozens like me. Fifi la Bonbon

 

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26 June 2010: Trinidadian, Kade Romain was brought to Scotland from Trinidad in June 2010, by Robina Addison, a Scottish dance teacher and philanthropist, so that Kade could benefit from ear reconstruction surgery.

Fifteen-year old Kade, had been born in Trinidad and Tobago without ears and missing part of her ear canal, a condition known as bilateral microtia. This had rendered her partially deaf and according to her benefactor “facing a future begging for a living.” Ms Addison explained that because Kade was born without ears, she couldn’t go to mainstream school and was attending a day care unit for children who are mentally handicapped, a day care unit which she likened to a sanatorium in Scotland 40 or 50 years ago.

The cost of the operations and treatment was believed to be around £50,000. Fortunately for Kade, who was not entitled to free health care in Scotland, the Spire Murrayfield hospital offered its facilities and the surgical team worked for free. Her foster parents themselves contributed £10,000 for a hearing aid implant that will allow her to hear.

Robina said “She is very intelligent but there is no special needs system in Trinidad. I came home and I was quite upset to think that’s where she was. After making several return trips. we eventually got permission to take Kade to Scotland. Although the surgery appears to have been successful, there is a continuing struggle with Immigration since Kade entered on a visitor’s visa instead of the required medical visa. At one point Kade faced the possibility of deportation.

Robina added “We do not intend to formally adopt Kade, but hope to help her with her health and education enough to allow her to make a success of her life back home on Trinidad….We want her to get a job and help people in a similar situation. If she does not get this opportunity, her future will be working on the streets or, stealing. It’s the difference between the chance of a lifetime and nothing, and she has got so much to offer.”

(http://guanaguanaresingsat.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/orphanhood-is-not-taking-care-of-your.html)

Readers comments:
These people are willing to pay all the costs themselves and the girl isn’t going to be getting to stay here permanently, so there oughtn’t to have been a problem if they’d made the proper arrangements. Very neglectful not to check properly whether the girl needs a visa. She does if the stay is for more than six months. There are particular rules for visitors from Trinidad wanting to receive private medical treatment – very clear. It took me less than five minutes to find and check the rules on the internet – it’s all on the UK Border Agency website. If this “high profile couple” had bothered to check with a lawyer in Trinidad or over here they would have known what to do. We only have the woman’s word that she was misled. Anyway I hope it all turns out well but there’s no excuse for failing to get proper advice in such circumstances and them blaming the government. Fifi la Bonbon
For goodness sake Fifi la Bonbon – don’t be so pompous. They obviously asked a jobsworth who gave them the wrong advice. And you can’t blame them for believing an official. If we listened to everything we heard, or believed everything we see in black and white, no matter how careful we are, we can still end up with problems. I hope that common sense prevails. Brodric:
I don’t disagree about the girl being allowed to stay to get her treatment. My point is that anyone who fails to get legal advice on such matters or at least to make their own proper enquiries is being negligent. There’s more to this than meets the eye, anyway. The report says the girl is fostered. That would involve contact and negotiation with authorities in Trinidad and Tobago, and certainly with social workers here. I am surprised that the question of her legal ability to remain here was not picked up somewhere in the process. What is the social work department’s view about the case? Fifi la Bonbon:
Follow-up:
12 October 2012: Surgeons create new ears for girl from Trinidad

Kade Romain was born without ears and missing part of her ear canal, leaving her partially deaf and facing a future begging for a living. The medical team from the Spire Murrayfield hospital in Edinburgh gave its time and expertise for free to construct new ears so that she faces a brighter future. She hopes to return to Trinidad soon. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-11516981

 

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10 October 2010: Cybernats – a Scottish political phenomenon

It was, I think, the noble Lord Foulkes who coined the memorable term ‘cybernats’. The Scotsman’s David Maddox likened them to an army who ‘launch daily, sustained attacks on journalists, politicians and anybody else perceived to stand in the way of their cherished aim of independence, or who raises even the mildest criticism of Alex Salmond or the SNP’. http://davidtorrance.com/cybernats-a-scottish-political-phenomenon/
Reader comment:

Mr Torrance is a long established, serious and distinguished writer who has published books on Margaret Thatcher, Harold MacMillan and the Secretaries of State for Scotland, and this is just the latest of these. He doesn’t write hagiographies. Aw, shucks.

She then offered a cybernat biography of Salmond: ‘Once upon a time, in a humble cottage in Linlithgow, the Greatest Living Scotsman was born. A strange golden light shone out of his nappy, bathing the faces of his proud parents with a warm glow…’Fifi la Bonbon:

 

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15 June 2012: Andrew Whitaker’s observations on First Minister’s questions:

Alex Salmond pulled himself back up off the political canvas at First Minister’s questions yesterday after weeks on the ropes with a heavyweight performance at the dispatch box. But those who witnessed Mr Salmond’s tirade at Ms Dugdale, it was hard not to say that the SNP leader was back to his most bombastic.” http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/alex-salmond-off-the-ropes-but-punching-too-fiercely-to-win-favour-1-2353766
Reader comment:

Kezia Dugdale was not bullied. Her pretended innocence hid a disgusting disreputable distortion of events. The irony is the system was in place back in the day of Lab/Lib but the SNP now do so much better……

Dugdale learned her craft at the feet of Lord Fffoulkes and we saw that when she posted as Fifi la Bonbon. Day and night she posted the best distortions witnessed by mankind.

She sees herself as a fantasy champion of the British Empire and will have no concern about truth and justice in her frantic, desire to do down the SNP.

She loves the game and that is the main thing to her, not people’s welfare, just the point scoring. Famous15

All about FiFi

https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/the-kezia-dugdale-show/

https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/the-howls-of-the-cyberbritbrats/

 

 

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Austerity – For 5 More Years Of Ever Increasing Hardship Vote Tory-Labour or Lib/Dem – For A different Approach-Stick With The SNP – Give Your Children A Chance

 

ts-krugman-190Professor Paul Krugman

 
About the Author

Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as an Op-Ed columnist and continues as a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University. Mr. Krugman received his B.A. from Yale University in 1974 and his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1977. He has taught at Yale, M.I.T. and Stanford. At M.I.T. he became the Ford International Professor of Economics.

Mr. Krugman is the author or editor of 27 books and more than 200 papers in professional journals and edited volumes. His professional reputation rests largely on work in international trade and finance; he is one of the founders of the “new trade theory,” a major rethinking of the theory of international trade. In recognition of that work, in 1991 the American Economic Association awarded him its John Bates Clark medal. Mr. Krugman’s current academic research is focused on economic and currency crises.

 

 

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2010: Myths of Austerity (I have edited the following articles to suit the UK situation but in essence they remain intact)

When I was young and naïve, I believed that important people took positions based on careful consideration of the options. Now I know better. Much of what serious people believe rests on prejudices, not analysis. And these prejudices are subject to fads and fashions.

For the last few months, I and others have watched, with amazement and horror, the emergence of a consensus in policy circles in favor of immediate fiscal austerity. That is, somehow it has become conventional wisdom that now is the time to slash spending, despite the fact that the world’s major economies remain deeply depressed.

This conventional wisdom isn’t based on either evidence or careful analysis. Instead, it rests on what we might charitably call sheer speculation, and less charitably call figments of the rich elite’s imagination — specifically, on belief in what I’ve come to think of as the invisible Hedge Fund vigilante and the confidence fairy.

Hedge Fund vigilantes are investors who pull the plug on governments they perceive as unable or unwilling to pay their debts. Now there’s no question that countries can suffer crises of confidence. But what the advocates of austerity claim is that;

(a) Hedge Fund vigilantes are about to attack the UK.

(b) Spending anything on financial stimulus will set them off.

What reason do we have to believe that any of this is true? Yes, the UK has long-run budget problems, but what we do on stimulus over the next few years has almost no bearing on our ability to deal with these long-run problems. “There is no intrinsic contradiction between providing additional fiscal stimulus today, while the unemployment rate is high and many factories and offices are underused, and imposing fiscal restraint several years from now, when output and employment will probably be close to their potential.”

Nonetheless, every few months we’re told that the Hedge Fund vigilantes have arrived, and we must impose austerity now now now to appease them. Three months ago, a slight upturn in long-term interest rates was greeted with near hysteria: “debt fears send rates up,” was the headline in the The London Financial Market’s, although there was no actual evidence of such fears, and financial experts later pronounced the rise a “canary in the coal-mine.”

Since then, long-term rates have plunged again. Far from fleeing UK government debt, investors evidently see it as their safest bet in a stumbling economy. Yet the advocates of austerity still assure us that Hedge Fund vigilantes will attack any day now if we don’t slash spending immediately.

What’s the evidence for the belief that fiscal contraction is actually expansionary, because it improves confidence? Well, there have been historical cases of spending cuts and tax increases followed by economic growth. But as far as can be certain, every one of those examples proves, on closer examination, to be a case in which the negative effects of austerity were offset by other factors, (such as an increased National Debt from £500 billion to £1.7 Trillion). Another example is Ireland: Ireland’s era of austerity-with-growth in the 1980s depended on a drastic move from trade deficit to trade surplus, which isn’t a strategy everyone can pursue at the same time.

And current examples of austerity are anything but encouraging. Ireland has been a good soldier in this crisis, grimly implementing savage spending cuts. Its reward has been a Depression-level slump — and financial markets continue to treat it as a serious default risk. Other good soldiers, like Latvia and Estonia, have done even worse — and all three nations have, believe it or not, had worse slumps in output and employment than Iceland, which was forced by the sheer scale of its financial crisis to adopt less orthodox policies.

So the next time you hear serious-sounding people explaining the need for fiscal austerity, try to analysise their argument. Almost surely, you’ll discover that what sounds like hardheaded realism actually rests on a foundation of fantasy, on the belief that invisible vigilantes will punish us if we’re bad and the confidence fairy will reward us if we’re good. And real-world policy — policy that will blight the lives of millions of working families — is being built on that foundation.

 

 

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2012: Cameron’s Remarkable Achievement – UK Office For National Stistics – Economic Review – April 2012 http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_263951.pdf

When David Cameron became Prime Minister, and announced his austerity plans — buying completely into both the confidence fairy and the Hedge Fund vigilantes — there were many plaudits. Cameron and Osborne were the toast of very serious people everywhere.

In the years that followed Britain has suffered the brutality of a double-dip recession, and has achieved the remarkable feat of doing worse this time around than it did in the Depression of the 1930s.

Britain is also unique in having chosen to implement an “Austerity Programme” freely, facing neither pressure from Hedge Fund markets nor conditions imposed by the EU.

Now, the defense I hear from Cameron apologists is that the austerity mostly hasn’t even hit yet. But that’s really not much of a defense. Remember, the austerity was supposed to work by inspiring confidence: where’s the confidence? Basically, the expansionary aspect should already have kicked in: But it’s all contraction and accompanying austerity from 2010 -2025 and beyond. Needless to say, Cameron and Osborne are insistent that they will not change course, which means that Britain will continue on a death spiral of self-defeating austerity.

 

 

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2015: The Big Wrong

Austerity measures forced on the UK by the Con/Dem coalition government (fully supported by the Labour Party) have raised public consciousness in a way literally years of economic data couldn’t. The austerity doctrine that has ruled UK policy in the period 2010-2015 has been a big fat failure.

It’s important to understand that what has occurred isn’t a failure of orthodox economics. The Keynesian approach. That is, economics based on what the finance profession has learned over many generations, and for that matter contained in most textbooks — wasn’t adopted by the Con/Dem Government. The austerity thing was simply invented out of thin air and a few dubious historical examples serving the prejudices of the “rich elite”. And now after 5 years the results are clear: Keynesians have been completely right, Austerians utterly wrong — at a terrible human cost.

Acceptance of the foregoing should really be enough for the future UK government to change their fiscal policy in favour of the Keynesian approach advanced by Nicola Sturgeon, First minister of the Scottish Government, now that it is known that the ideas behind the “Austerity Policy” were all wrong.

Wishful thinking! Not if SNP MP’s, in large numbers, are returned to Westminster on 8 May 2015. Their presence, in support of a Labour Government will do much to persuade ED Balls that whilst Austerian ideas clearly have an emotional and political appeal they are not resilient to the evidence stacked against them.  http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com//2012/04/25/camerons-remarkable-achievement/

 

 

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Bombshell – Brian Taylor’s BBC Blog – Wendy Alexander Leadership – The Reason BBC Banned The Public Any Public Comment And The Reasons For The labour Party Meltdown

 

Wendy Alexander

 

September 2007: Wendy To The Fore By Brian Taylor

And so finally, after weeks of waiting, Wendy Alexander has been confirmed as the new leader of Scottish Labour. Why the wait? Because, although she was sole nominee, her election had to be confirmed by an electoral college comprising Labour MSPs and the party’s executive in Scotland. Today it was announced that she had received 100% support from those voting. “Better than Stalin”, one party aide was heard to mutter, the comment somewhat stifled by the presence of tongue in cheek. And better than Donald Dewar. In similar circumstances, he only got 99.8% of the vote. On investigation, it turned out that one union had rashly declined to offer support. Plainly, discipline has improved.

 

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Wendy Alexander wants organisation to improve too. The new leader wants root and branch reform – extending the party’s campaign reach across the whole of Scotland. When Harold Wilson became Labour leader in 1963, he compared the party’s organisation to a “penny farthing”, quite unsuited to winning power in contemporary politics. Wendy Alexander plainly feels the same now about Scottish Labour. Stand by for policy movement too. She plans a virtual think-tank, tapping into ideas from a wider base. Stand by for a new team of advisers – and for her shadow cabinet, due to be unveiled on Monday.

But perhaps she faces a more fundamental question. What, precisely, does she lead? Strictly, it is Labour in the Scottish Parliament. Her focus upon party organisation would suggest that she definitely envisages a wider role. But how will that square with the role and influence of MPs – including one Gordon Brown? Wendy Alexander wants more autonomy for the Scottish party on policy. She says the Scottish party should lead on devolved issues while the UK party leads on reserved matters. It will be intriguing to see how it all shakes down.

 

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Comments:
Wendy Alexander is trying to prepare the ground for a UK general election in May 2008.

That job of convincing Scots to vote for Labour at these elections has now been made impossible by the pictures of Gordon Brown glad handing Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street. That stunt has repulsed many in her own party, convinced others that Labour is back to it’s spinning ways, and will bring back some truly horrible memories for many Scottish voters.

“New Labour – New Tories”, will be the cry that Wendy will hear ringing in her ears right up to polling day.

Welcome the new caretaker of British Labour (Scottish division). Related to the incompetent one (her brother Douglas) who messed up Scotland’s elections in May. Protege of the dour (similarly unelected) Gordon Brown in control of number 10.

 

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Radical? She said it herself – today, the only thing Labour know they want is to change who is currently in power! This lot are clearly still in the William Hague, IDS phase of recovery that can be best summed up as “self-delusion”. ‘All we need to do is be Labour … more than we were before’. No you need to change.
When did Labour ever control the “politics of aspiration” incidentally? What I remember from countless Labour election campaigns is the politics of fear! It will be a long time before they even get to the Cameron touchy-feely “were listening” phase!
I think the Gordon Brown has already started his campaign in Scotland for a 2008 election. He said ‘we’ when referring to Scotland’s great result in France on Wednesday night, and he phoned Alex McLeish on his mobile to congratulate him, something he didn’t to to the successful Alex Salmond four months ago.
Will McFadden’s goal replace Gazza’s one against us in 1996 as his favourite goal of all time? Watch out for more clues as we head towards Euro 2008!

 

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Providing Wendy Alexander listens and the Labour Party remains disciplined, she will do fine. “Stand by for policy movement too”
This was by far her most dramatic policy statement and contradicted all that had been said by the Labour party on this issue to date, but you would be excused for not noticing. Neither the BBC nor the Scottish press gave it any coverage.

The journalists who were present were informed by her press team that this was no a slip of the tongue. But does this represent independence of thinking on her part? I hardly think so. Just how likely is it that Gordon Brown, who’s support secured the Scottish leadership position for her, would allow her to make such a monumental decision on her own.
For some reason no official statement has been made to inform the Scottish public of Brown’s change of heart. Perhaps it is because he is desperately trying to fend off pressure for a referendum on the EU Treaty, and perhaps also he doesn’t want voters in England reminded of the pressure in Scotland for a fresh look at the relationship of Scotland has to the rest of the UK. This would of course focus attention on those negative voter perceptions; the fact that he is Scottish, the Barnett Formula, and the West Lothian Question.

These are the perceptions that no amount of PR such as having Maggie round, or having members of other parties in his government, can do anything about. All of this doesn’t represent new politics, but a return to the old practices of subordinating Scotland’s interests to Labour’s UK electoral needs. The fact that Wendy Alexander let slip that Labour’s intentions before the general election is safely out of the way, could have been her first major gaffe, but thankfully for her the Scottish press obliged in not letting on.

 

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Who are they kidding ? Wendy is Browns stooge. Scottish Labour is rotten to the core and until it becomes an independent Scottish Labour party it will continue to lose out in Scotland. New Labour are Conservatives with a different badge nothing else.
I cant believe the BBC is calling Wendy Alexander “Red Wendy” the only thing that should be red about Wendy is her face. She is an embarrassment to true socialists everywhere. This is the woman who thinks thatcher is “interesting”.
I heard part of her speech and it was the same old garbage from Labour.It is almost as if they really believe that only they have the right to govern in Scotland, then of course she set about attacking the SNP for not delivering on election promises. Surely after all these years of Labour rule everything is wonderful and there is no need to change anything.

Labour still dont get that what she was saying may appeal to the core Labour voter but I and many others are sick of their negativity and lack of ambition.Dinosaurs the whole lot of them.
Wendy Alexander can run up and down Argyle Street in a chicken suit for all I care. After that disgraceful election campaign, and everything that English Labour has inflicted on us from Holyrood and Westminser, I will never vote Labour.

 

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Wendy Alexander is described on the Labour in Scotland website as, “Labour’s Scottish Parliament leader”. http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/
Even though you acknowledge that Ms. Alexander is no more than, “Labour’s Scottish Parliament leader”, in your post you headline it with, “Wendy Alexander has been confirmed as the new leader of Scottish Labour.” This sloppy journalism seems to be endemic in both the Scottish and English media.

In the interests of accurate journalism are you going to stop using the phrases, “Scottish Labour” and “Leader of Scottish Labour” or “Scottish Labour Leader”, in print and on the television as no separate Scottish Labour party exists either within or without the Labour party and the post of Scottish Labour Leader is equally fictional.

All the use of these phrases do is reinforce the widespread misapprehension that there is a Scottish Labour party and that Wendy Alexander leads it. Wendy leads the Labour MSP’s in the Scottish Parliament. That’s her only official role within the UK Labour party.
The problem for Scottish Labour is that they are always going to be seen as part of the English Labour Administration. A Scottish Labour Party, truly independant of London – ooerr, starts to look somewhat Nationalist.

This is why Independance is ultimately a given – because all the parties must evolve to looking principally after the needs of the Scottish electorate. I look forward to an independant multi-party Scotland – I might even vote labour again then…

 

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The big ‘policy’ is to hike council tax to pay for Edinburgh’s trams; otherwise what? From the Herald: “The Labour Party has suffered because of the influence of the private sector, particularly on public services, and by giving them privileged access and positions, they’re going to alienate the membership.” So the membership is clearly unimpressed as am I, a member of the middle class. Wendy work this out: My house has increased in ‘value’ by 15% per annum over the last four years and my net income by 2.2% per annum over the same period. Explain why your pan is ‘fair’? Do you really think Scots will buy this nonsense.
The only person who wil be more pleased than Wendy Alexander at her “Election” is Alex Salmond. He must be so looking forward to her brand of 1980s-style, Politicaly Correct student Politics.Taken along with her membership of the Ronald Regan and Rupert Murdoch inspired “British-American Project” and her familial connections to the New Labour Establishment,she has serious credibility problems.Don’t be too hard on her Alex !
So Wendy Alexander is the new labour leader, I expect the people of Paisley wont have long to wait for a public apology for the destruction meted out by her party on its town centre. But no, she is now saying that her party would revitalise Paisley and that it was a mistake to vote SNP. Does she really think that the majority of people in Paisley have a short memory. Tell this hypocritical MSP to get back to basics and stop treating the electorate as fools.

 

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So Wendy says she wants to revalue all the homes in Scotland? Now is this not going to cause problems for those with the overinflated values around at present? And the pensioners who have lived in their house for decades being ripped off yet again and not a word about the ability to pay. So far under Labour council tax rates have increased above the rate of inflation every year without fail with no improvement in services, in effect local government is becoming a luxury we can ill afford. You have not listened Wendy, you have learned nothing, you are still in denial regarding the wishes or ordinary scots.
I wished she would have made a good introductory speech but sadly she did not. Labour are failing to capture the hearts and minds of the people of Scotland. Alex Salmond and the SNP are doing a good job but they require a good opposition to provide the spur to perfection. I am afraid tricks for Tory heartlands like resurrecting Maggie Thatcher on the steps of number ten are actually severely negative for me and my friends. I was gobsmacked.
They had eight years in power to prove themselves worthy,competent and listeners. They did none of these!!! Ready to meet the aspirations of the people? I think not!

 

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Wendy leads the Labour MSP’s in the Scottish Parliament. That’s her only official role within the UK Labour party. And that my friend is why you and your similar thinking Labour MPs are being increasingly left behind. The political scene in Scotland is evolving. The movement is without doubt towards autonomous Scottish parties, with an affiliation to their Westminster counterparts. It matters not a jot about your ‘formal designation’, the reality has already moved beyond it.

Eventially the formal set-up of the Labour party will reform itself to reflect the reality on the ground. You need to accept what is actually happening on the ground rather than being hung up with the ‘official designation’ of Scottish Labour. The future success of the labour party in Scotland is dependent on it coming to terms with the evolving trend of the new polity known as Scottish Labour. The Lib dems have accepted this development with regards to their own parties, as have the Tories.

Labour appear archaic. They are in danger of becoming political dinosaurs. Did Irving Berlin display a greater foresight than was perceived in 1911 when he penned “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, seems an ideal call to arms with the exception of, “…Up to the man, Who’s the leader of the band…”; but Hey Ho the PC brigade had not darkened our doorsteps in those early years of the twentieth century. Will Wendy adopt this as her theme tune or is the rather obvious alternative interpretation cause this to be a title too far?

 

Wendy Alexander
The only reason Wendy Alexander is leader of the London Labour party in Scotland is because no one else bothered to contest the position. Why didn’t Andy Kerr or Cathy Jamieson or any of the others who previously held ministerial jobs contest the leadership? They surely have more right to the job and more ministerial experience than Wendy has. Could it be they declined the contest because,

a)Wendy was hand picked by Gordon Brown as his ‘stooge’ in Scotland, a case of like sister, like brother.
b)Her colleagues in Scotland want to see Wendy crash and burn so are only to happy to see her get the job.
c)Her colleagues in Scotland lack the ambition or ability to take on the job.
d)Her colleagues in Scotland think she is the only person for the job given her previous examples of leadership qualities, her popularity within the London Labour party in Scotland and her warm and engaging persona.

Methinks d) is the least likely reason, Wendy has questionable leadership qualities, she isn’t popular within Labour regardless of what the spin doctors say, and she certainly does not have a personality that would have most people running out to the ballot box to vote for her. This leaves a), b) or c) as the reason why Wendy is now the head honcho in Scotland, any of which speaks volumes about the lack of quality and ambition of the London Labour party in Scotland and their contempt for the Scottish electorate.

 

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I think another Political Editor got it right when he said the other night on television, that she was not an orator or telegenic communicator. First we get Donald Dewar, who the public never liked, then Henry who disgraced us all, and then inarticulate mumbling Jack. And now finally Wendy, who I think will distance Scottish Labour from the electorate, more effectively and efficiently than the previous three put together.

I hope wendy’s cabinet reflects the whole of scotland . I say this because she is MSP for Paisley North and with Cathy Jameison the MP for Cummnock there is currently a western imbalance some of the answers you seek were on the politics show today, its a conn!! Wendy WANTS more powers, its looking unlikely, Browne, not that one (the other invisable one)was very bashfull, giving loads of waffle,the usual saying plenty of nothing, does not want to burst her bubble so soon, now we all know there IS no such a thing as THE SCOTTISH LABOUR PARTY. ITS labour all the way, HEAD QUARTERS LONDON ENGLAND. we are not fooled,

 

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The saddest thing about the political situation is that the voting populace has become so complacent. I can’t stand the fact that the politicians in Scotland seem to think that it is OK to pour out the same old formulaic drivel when asked direct questions. I also cannot stand the fact that the voters seem to lap it up. Well Scotland’s got a new emperor with the same old clothes, hurrah, pity there are no wee boys or girls who can see through the facade. Politicians. Pity that we have them – and have to pay for the privilege of having them represent their own groupthink and not the needs of their constituents. Long live Emperor Wendy – I hope you wear underpants.

Is Politics about getting elected by sticking to your principles? Since New Labour “reinvented” intself i.e. changed its stance on many of its principles, other parties have done the same e.g. David Cameron. Now Wendy is proposing the same for Scottish Labour. The question is, has her principles/beliefs simply “evolved” (a not unreasonable thing to happen), or is she simply going for policies that she thinks will get Labour elected? The electorate will not be fooled. For what its worth, my view is that “career polititions”, of which I think Wendy Alexander is one, are more concerned with their standing in the polls that their principles.

What sort of party are the London based UK Labour Party in Scotland? No one of substance has put his or her name forward to lead the party’s Scottish region. This suggests the post is not of sufficient importance to the UK Labour party. Alternatively is it because there have no leaders of note? Those in Labour see their career and allegiance to Westminster and not the Scottish people. Was it ever so and will continue to be! Difficult to pick one reason, I believe it is a mixture of the two, that combined ensure Labour will treat Scotland with contempt, no surprises there either.

 

taylor

 

Brown and Thatcher on steps of the Downing St in London. It is a pity Brown did not tell us of his admiration for Thatcher when she was closing Scotland down in the eighties. He wouldn’t have, Brown was playing the London card, not really caring what Scotland thinks. Only time Brown, Blair or the Alexanders care about Scotland is when they want votes or someone to fight for them in a war that without Union, would have nothing to do with Scotland. Surely people are beginning to see what a curse the Union is to Scots?

There is nothing about Wendy Alexander that encourages or persuades me to believe she will truly listen and re-act to what people think. After 40 years supporting and voting Labour I have switched to SNP and with the news that the Lib Dems are going to back them, I await the introduction of their replacement Council tax proposals with anticipation and delight – I couldn’t wait any longer for the fairness in taxation I expected Labour to provide. I await the Proclaimer’s new hit single with money to spend: ‘Labour no more’

 

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Wendy Alexander is yet another member of the West Coast Mafia, just from a different ‘family’ The Labour party in Scotland is now being led by the only person who wanted the job; there were no obvious contenders for the Labour Leadership and have been none since the demise of Donald Dewar, clearly the Scottish Labour Party is displaying the symptoms of a dearth of talent; Wendy previously ran away in the huff with Jack’s ‘family’, how long will she last this time?

Could John Reid be contemplating a run for the Scottish Leadership once he has spent enough ‘time with his family,’ he would at least be a credible figure in the role of Labour Leader / Prospective First Minister; could he become the second Westminster politician to re-cross the border?

At the risk of sounding cliched “Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss” So, “Red Wendy” has now been anointed as Gordon’s Representative to Northern Britain. Can anyone tell me what’s going to change ? Will New New Scotch New Labour Policy be made in Scotland or will it have to be run past Westminster first ? What’s Gordon’s, sorry, Wendy’s “Big Idea” to chivvy the Sweaties back into the traditional “weigh the vote” fold ?

 

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Let’s not forget that but for the eagle eyes of Dave Thompson we would now be sitting in a third term of a moribund and morose New Labour/Liberal administration and Wendy’s husband wouldn’t have to be giving up the day job. Jack wouldn’t be planning his retirement in Malawi and Nicol (Who?) Steven wouldn’t be trying to pick Tavish’s daggers out of his back. Ross Finnie would still probably be telling the Farmers not to panic and wait and see what London decides. And there’s still that deafening silence about the “stringencies” of the Spending Review… I give her about….until Brother Doug tells Gordon that it’s safe to call an election. Anyone for Wendy being the shortest serving Labour “Leader in the Scottish Parliament” ? I’m sure that Doug’ll give her plenty warning.

I am well aware how the system is supposed to work: and I am also well aware how it does. Dont delude yourslef. Consider if Tony Blair, Gordon Brown – or indeed your precious Maggy – govern/governed as the first among equals? No, they acted rather like Presidents in fact! Also, how quickly can a promise be forgotten? Tony Blair was elected to serve “a full third term”, not two years.

As much as I despised Tony Blair, you had to recognise his legitimacy as he was elected as PM (even if it was by a crooked system). But Gordon Brown has never been elected by anyone outside of Fife! There were no promises of an orderly transition at the last general election, and it was Brown and not McConnell who lost in Scotland in May. Put away the textbook and view reality. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/legacy/thereporters/briantaylor/2007/09/the_waitings_finally_over.html

There already has been policy movement. See for instance this article on her speech at the culminating meeting of her national tour in the Apex Hotel in Edinburgh, where she said there would be a referendum on Scottish government in 2010 after all. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2165513,00.html

 

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The State And Media Barons’ Abuse of The Electorate – The Fightback Begins – Media Manipulation Is Unacceptable To Scots

 

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Press and media stranglehold on the public

In the last 20 years an ever expanding deregulatory regime has been embraced and abused by the UK media, (including the State funded BBC) despite many requests from the public and their representatives to limit their unfettered power. But politicians and media barons continue with the “velvet glove” approach insisting this increases competition.

Public concerns are given scant regard by government. Further adding to the problem a flood of mergers over the same period has brought about a marked reduction in media broadcasters and newspapers and the UK has ended up with the bulk of media outlets being held in the clutches of a few companies, all of which pursue agenda’s wholly in favour of one or other of the two major political party’s to the exclusion of all other political persuasions.

This is an unhealthy situation and needs to be corrected soon. The two articles that follow provide indication that the “National Union of Journalist’s” (NUJ) and the “Coalition For Media Pluralism” are addressing the issues. They need to be supported in their endevours. Scotland, ( see my many articles on the subject) is subject to appalling media abuse and we need help so that there is balance to media output reflecting the truth of any situation.

 

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There is a problem with media ownership in the UK and it needs to be corrected.

Unchecked media concentration over several decades has allowed some media groups to accumulate vast amounts of revenue and influence. It has led, as we saw throughout the Leveson Inquiry, to a collusive relationship between media owners and senior politicians, which skews public debate in favour of the state and private interests, and fails to insulate government policy making from the interests of media proprietors.

With power in increasingly few hands, public debate is often restricted to those agendas favoured by press elites, as the space available to a diversity of voices shrinks.

Recent legislation gagging civil society groups has only served to amplify the voices of established news organisations, thereby distorting democratic debate.

Powerful media outlets regularly use their position of influence over public opinion as a platform for attack and misrepresentation. We oppose the routine vilification by the press of groups including the unemployed, the working poor, and immigrants, which serves to marginalise large sectors of society and deny them a voice.

We believe that we must act urgently to safeguard the right to independent and pluralistic information, and that it is essential that the power of media barons be curbed.

In response to the problem of media concentration in the UK, the TUC, the National Union of Journalists, the Media Reform Coalition and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom have launched the Coalition for Media Pluralism to campaign for a more diverse and representative media.

 

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The coalition is working with civil society organisations across Europe to promote a citizens’ initiative, a petition which calls for an EU Directive to protect against concentration in national media ownership.

As a tool of participatory democracy, the petition provides an opportunity to address national media concentration at the European level.

We believe that the existing media ownership regime is not working to protect pluralism or democracy. This citizens’ initiative gives us the opportunity to bring about change in how our media is controlled. https://www.nuj.org.uk/news/why-we-must-act-to-reclaim-the-media/

Monitoring media pluralism the European experience

The Media Pluralism Monitor is an instrument developed at the request of the European Commission and European Parliament to regularly monitor the health of Europe’s media, flagging potential threats to pluralism in member states.

The Monitor is currently undergoing a pilot implementation led by the European University Institute in Florence.

European Media Initiative has been a strong advocate for the Monitor since its inception in 2010, following every step through its current implementation.

We are now working to ensure the EU takes up this instrument as a structural component of its assessment of compliance of EU member states with the fundamental values of the Union.http://www.mediainitiative.eu/

 

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Tory’s, If Elected Will Scrap The Human Right Act In Favour Of Their Alternative A British Bill Of Rights

 

 

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April 2015:“The next Conservative Government will scrap the Human Rights Act, and introduce a British Bill of Rights” — Conservative Party Manifesto.

If you feel strongly about the Scotland’s human rights laws, the general election offers you a clear choice. On the one hand, the Conservative Party and UKIP want to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998. On the other the Scottish government is determined to keep it. https://fullfact.org/law/conservative-party-bill-of-rights-39308/

 

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October 2014: Scottish politicians attack human rights plan

the chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Prof Alan Miller, said it was “irresponsible” to “play party politics with human rights”.

Prof Miller said: “Human rights laws often benefit us in ways we do not always realise. Here in the UK, they have been used to expose fatal failures in hospitals and care homes and to challenge the unfair impact of the bedroom tax.

“From protecting soldiers serving in battle to challenging prison conditions that have no place in a decent society, the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights provide a safety net for everyone.”

He added: “The commission expects the Scottish government and parliament to show leadership on these issues, doing all they can to assert and protect Scotland’s commitment to upholding human rights and the rule of law.

“This will be particularly important as we enter a period of negotiation over further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-29475430

 

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