George and Jack McConnell attending Holyrood
A wee bit about George Foulkes
George Foulkes, a career politician cut his political teeth while a student at Edinburgh University where he was President of the Students Representative Council. From there he went on to become full-time president of the Scottish Union of Students and later worked for Age Concern Scotland before winning a seat in Parliament.
He won Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, in 1979. He remained in parliament until 2005 then stood down taking a seat in the house of Lords. He was elected to the Scottish parliament 2007 -2011 and attended both establishments until 2011 when he stood down from his seat at Holyrood preferring his other persona as Baron Foulkes.
He is also a member of the GMB Union, Co-operative Party and the Fabian Society. He lists his interests as watching Ayr United and Hearts football clubs and boating.
The present leader of the Labour Party in Scotland Kezia Dugdale was his protegee,. having worked for him at the start of her political career. Her personal character and approach to politics largely mirrors that of George and that does not endear her to the Scottish electorate, including those who might prefer to vote labour. Her father, who is an SNP supporter has urged her to moderate her behaviour but she chose publically to ignore him.
Kezia Dugale and a colleague whose name escapes me
4 December 2015: Baron George Foulkes of Cumnock is tabling an amendment to the Scotland Bill to create an elected upper chamber for Holyrood – a Scottish Senate.
The Scotland Bill is currently in committee stage in the House of Lords. Coming in the wake of last year’s referendum, the Bill is intended to provide Scotland with a robust set of devolved powers within the United Kingdom. To this end it includes greater fiscal powers, including borrowing and income tax variation, as well as greater discretion over spending.
These powers are welcome, and highlight the historic opportunity for reform which the Scotland Bill represents. It is important that we recognise the rarity of this opportunity, and be as bold as possible with the reforms we propose.
The area I think is in critical need of addressing is Holyrood itself. As it stands, Scotland’s unicameral constitutional set up is inadequate.
Having only a single chamber drastically reduces the checks and balances needed in a mature democracy. It makes the likelihood of flawed legislation being passed much greater, because it does not provide a restraint on a majority government.
The importance of this restraint has been illustrated clearly during the past weeks in Westminster over the issue of tax credits, where the House of Lords challenged the government’s planned cuts. This was bad legislation, forced through the Commons by a Tory majority, and the Lords fulfilled their constitutional duty by forcing the Chancellor to reconsider and eventually scrap his plans.
It is this sort of check which Scotland badly needs, or else it is vulnerable to similar legislation.
That is why I am tabling an amendment to the Scotland Bill which will provide for the creation of an upper chamber at Holyrood, a Scottish Senate. This Senate will be empowered to function much as the House of Lords does in Westminster:
* to undertake pre-legislative scrutiny;
* to consider and propose amendments to legislation agreed by the Scottish Parliament for future consideration by the Scottish Parliament before it is able to receive Royal Assent;
* to debate and make resolutions on devolved matters;
* to set up committees with the power to call or require Scottish Ministers to give evidence on any devolved matter.
Crucially though, a Scottish Senate will be elected. The House of Lords does great work, but its present system of selecting peers is undemocratic and anachronistic. A Scottish Senate, comprising of 46 Senators elected from across the regions of Scotland, will provide a democratic, legitimate and effective guarantor of good government in Scotland.
For some time now, Holyrood has suffered from an increasing lack of accountability, stemming from a lack of checks and balances built into the system, and made worse by one-party rule. The Scotland Bill represents an opportunity to insert sensible structures which will guarantee Scots a legislature which not only represents them, but also protects them from misgovernment. http://labourhame.com/time-for-a-scottish-senate/
20 July 1993: Labour MP George Foulkes arrested by police
Scottish Labour MP George Foulkes was arrested near the Palace of Westminster last night for allegedly assaulting a police officer and being drunk and disorderly.
He was taken to Charing Cross police station. Mr Foulkes later left the police station at 1.50am in the back of a Ford Granada. Two men in the car had arrived at the station 20 minutes earlier. Scotland Yard said that Mr Foulkes had been released without charge on police bail, pending further inquiries.
A police spokesman said earlier a 51-year-old man was arrested at 9.20pm at Millbank after an alleged assault on a police officer and for allegedly being drunk and disorderly.
Mr Foulkes, 51, the MP for Carrick, Cumnock, and Doon Valley in Ayrshire, is an Opposition Front Bench spokesman on defence.
Millbank runs beside the Houses of Parliament, and it is believed Mr Foulkes was taken into custody after a scuffle outside Chancellor’s Gate near the House of Lords.
George and friends
13 August 1993: George Foulkes charged with police assault
Labour MP George Foulkes was yesterday charged with assaulting a police officer and being drunk and disorderly after an incident last month outside the House of Commons. The issue could threaten his future on the Front Bench. Mr Foulkes, 51, was bailed by police to appear before Bow Street magistrates on September 9.
The MP for Carrick, Cumnock, and Doon Valley arrived at Charing Cross police station on the back of a motor cycle.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said the MP was charged with being drunk and disorderly, contrary to the Criminal Justice Act, and with assaulting Mr John Williams, a constable in the Metropolitan Police, in the execution of his duty, contrary to the Police Act of 1951.
Mr Foulkes could not be reached for comment yesterday. A woman answering the telephone at his home in Ayr said: ”I’m afraid there is no comment on that.” He is married with two sons and a daughter.
He was arrested on July 21 after attending a Westminster reception held by the Scotch Whisky Association. He was returning on foot to the Commons with other MPs when the incident occurred. An elderly woman involved in the incident was taken to hospital.
The day after his arrest, Mr Foulkes, a member of Labour’s Front Bench defence team, was missing from defence questions in the House, There has been speculation that the issue could jeopardise Mr Foulkes’s chances of promotion to the Shadow Cabinet. Any MP convicted of an offence may be expelled from the Commons if the House so decides. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/12725149.Foulkes_charged_with_police_assault/
3 September 2000: The son of Foreign Office minister George Foulkes convicted of being a football hooligan
Hearts supporter Alex Foulkes, 25, almost triggered a riot when he hurled sectarian abuse at Celtic fans during a match at Parkhead. The arrogant lout, who tutted his way through a court appearance, told officers who arrested him: “You will be in trouble – my father is an MP and my mother is on the police board.”
Foulkes, a former official of the Scottish Executive’s rural affairs department, was fined £450 at Glasgow Sheriff Court. He initially denied shouting, swearing and taunting rival fans with sectarian abuse. But he changed his plea after his younger brother Dominic, who was at the game with him, testified that he had swore at the Celtic support.
Police on duty at the game last August described how they watched Foulkes flicking V-signs and screaming vile insults at the home fans. He ignored several warnings about his behaviour and was eventually arrested after police feared an angry reaction from the Celtic fans. Sheriff Samuel Cathcart heard that when Foulkes was taken to the detention area at Parkhead he threatened officers that they could be “in trouble” because his mother was on the Strathclyde Police Board and his father was an MP.
Last night, dad George, Labour MP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, said: “I have no comment to make, and neither does my son. “You decide what you want to print, I have nothing to say.” Foulkes’ embarrassed mum Elizabeth, Provost of South Ayrshire Council but never a member of the Police Board, also made no comment about her son’s disgrace.
During an earlier court appearance last month Foulkes, sat in the dock and loudly tutted when told there wasn’t enough time to deal with the case and it would have to be adjourned. At one stage, he refused to stand up for Sheriff Charles MacFarlane QC, who was outraged at his arrogant behaviour. The Clerk of Court was forced to remind Foulkes that failing to show respect could end up with him facing a contempt charge. The politician’s son then huffed and puffed and swore under his breath, before turning to reporters and declaring: “Is this how justice in this country works?”
After last week’s hearing, a court insider said: “We get nicer drug addicts, thieves and neds in here. The man had the manners of an arrogant toddler.” Foulkes is believed to work for a hi-tech internet company. He took up the post after leaving his previous position as a junior official in the rural affairs department of the Scottish Executive last year.
He was suspended after using the Scottish Government e-mail system to invite people to an event organised by a Labour youth organisation. He was rumbled when his ‘scotland.gov.uk’ address was noticed when an invitation went to Alex Fergusson, a Tory MSP, to attend a debate on fox hunting. Foulkes later worked briefly as a Scottish Labour Party activist, campaigning for senior Scottish MPs such as government whip Anne McGuire.
His conviction is the latest in a long line of incidents involving the Foulkes family. In 1993 his dad George resigned from his post as opposition junior defence spokesman after he was fined for a drunken assault on a policeman. Foulkes had just left a party hosted by the Scotch Whisky Association, and ended up trying to whack a police officer shortly after inviting two women to dance in the street. The MP was hit with a £1550 fine after he admitted assault and being drunk and disorderly. But minutes after leaving court in London, Foulkes, also an avid Hearts supporter, was on a plane with son Alex, jetting off to watch the club play a cup-tie in Spain.
Alex first hit the headlines in October 1998 when he was thrown out of a students’ bar in Edinburgh after a rowdy argument. He was told to sort his act out or face an expulsion. He said at the time: “It’s unfair to say I’m a chip off the old block. “It’s not very nice for my father to be dragged into all this.”
George’s outspoken comments have often embarrassed the Labour Party hierarchy. He famously described former US president Ronald Reagan as “increasingly senile and dangerous.”
In 1983, while Shadow spokesman on South America, he was given a hostile reception in the Falkland Islands after seeming to speak out in favour of Argentina. He was greeted by a group of islanders who had written a message advising him, none too politely, to go back home.
The following year he received an equally frosty welcome in Argentina when he was part of the first group of politicians to visit the country since the war. He was pelted with eggs and forced to retreat from a press conference by angry protesters.
Foulkes also became persona non grata in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man after he fiercely attacked them for their tax-haven status.
He famously once admitted that he was not scared to court controversy, by saying: “There will always be a danger that I’ll end up with my foot in my mouth, but it’s a risk well worth taking.”
18 April 2007: Campaign woes for Foulkes jnr Again
Even on the other side of the world, Labour is embroiled in election controversy. Alex Foulkes, the academic son of Scots Labour stalwart Lord George Foulkes, is reported to be involved in a row that is rocking the New Zealand Labour Party.
According to a local paper, Foulkes jnr has been accused of “drinking and aggression towards branch members and harassing people with early-morning phone calls” during a campaign to be elected chairman of the party’s branch in Princes Street, Auckland. As result, he has been suspended from the party’s e-mail list, denied access to the branch membership to campaign, and – worst of all – barred from the Auckland University pub.
Young Alex vehemently protests his innocence and, according to the newspaper, even claims his home is being watched by agents from the New Zealand intelligence agencies. In that regard, at least, his father may be able to help. Lord Foulkes is a member of parliament’s intelligence and security committee and has privileged access to all sorts of sensitive secrets. http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/campaign-woes-for-foulkes-jnr-1-743551
Another George. How could he say that?
16 September 2007: Wendy Alexander’s first test as Foulkes brands her spin doctor an ‘idiot’
Wendy’s honeymoon as Scottish Labour leader ended abruptly after one of her senior MSPs described her new spin doctor as an “idiot”. Lord Foulkes, a Labour member for Lothians, has made a complaint about the party’s head of communications, Brian Lironi, for allegedly briefing against him.
Wendy’s reaction to the statement from george
16 September 2007: Foulkes snubs McLeish’s call to apologise for SNP ‘racism’ claim
Labour MSP George Foulkes last night refused to apologise for remarks linking the Scottish National Party to anti-English racism despite a call to do so from a former first minister.
Lord Foulkes, the former UK minister who is now an MSP, sparked a heated row after he warned the Nationalists over their disparaging talk of “London Labour”. He claimed the SNP encouraged people “on the extreme outskirts of nationalism to think it is OK to do things that could be very harmful to English people”.
However, Henry McLeish, the former Labour First Minister, launched a stinging attack on his party colleague over the remarks. Mr McLeish said he was “very disappointed and saddened” by Lord Foulkes’ comments. “I think in Scotland at the present time there is no need for that type of vitriol for the SNP,” he said.
A spokesman for the Labour party said neither Lord Foulkes nor Wendy Alexander, the party’s leader-elect, would be apologising. The two spoke by phone yesterday but no details of their conversation were released. Lord Foulkes was unavailable for comment and Labour issued a one line statement in response to the continuing controversy. The party spokesman said: “George Foulkes has made it clear that he is not accusing the SNP of racism”.
According to Labour, the MSP had said: “I’m not suggesting for a second that the SNP are racist, or indeed, anti-English. “What I am saying however is that Alex Salmond needs to be very careful when he makes snide remarks about ‘London’ Labour and the ‘London’ Government, that he’s not fanning the flames of any existing anti-English sentiment. t would be deeply irresponsible”.
A source close to Alex Salmond, the First Minister, said: “We would associate ourselves with the sensible, dignified remarks of Henry McLeish. “It’s a shame the Labour Party don’t have the grace to apologise and draw a line under George Foulkes’s antics. “He has only succeeded in making himself look silly and his party look shabby.”
Henry finger in the pie Mcleish
28 April 2008: George Foulkes – A buffoon
The drunken Lord Foulkes is in the news again for two reasons. He’s been rumbled for a huge expenses claim for travel between Edinburgh and London to do his second job. He’s also been heavily criticised for talking utter pish in the Scottish Parliament.
Since he was given his own column in the Edinburgh Evening News, George Foulkes, the drunken Baron of Cumnock, has provided an almost constant source of entertainment. Anyone remember when he got pished, fell over, got arrested then claimed he’d been mugged before finally being charged with assault and drunken buffoonery – I don’t think that was the exact legal term but he got a hefty fine and booted out of his comfy job on the front bench.
Or what about the time he tried to claim £45,000 for expenses on a flat he himself owned? As I say, a thin grasp on reality. Anyone remember the next time he got “mugged” on a trip to Europe with the Jambos? Pished again, unsurprisingly. http://www.easterroad.com/george-foulkes-buffoonery-2/
22 December 2008: George Foulkes costs £90,000 for asking questions
Labour MSP George Foulkes was accused of wasting public money yesterday after his bill for asking Holyrood questions topped £90,000. The Lothians MSP has tabled 927 written questions since his election to Holyrood in May last year, at a cost to the taxpayer of £98.51 each. Foulkes is not the only big questioner at Holyrood but SNP members claim some of his queries are “ludicrous and utterly irrelevant”.
SNP deputy whip Bill Kidd said: “Many of Foulkes’s questions are simply jokes at the taxpayer’s expense. “At a time when how taxpayers’ money is spent is under greater scrutiny than ever, Lord Foulkes should stick to the serious subjects and stop wasting public cash in this way.”
The cost of answering questions from Foulkes has reached £91,318. This year, he has asked how many times First Minister Alex Salmond has met singer Sandi Thom, and when cabinet ministers can claim expenses for dry cleaning. But he said: “I make no apologies for asking these questions and will continue to do so. “For every one that appears trivial, there are a dozen about serious issues. Some have been really effective. They have exposed the kind of thing Salmond gets up to at Bute House.”
27 December 2008: Lord Foulkes caught in £54,000 expenses row
He earns £52,000 a year in his ‘day’ job as a Member of the Scottish Parliament. But the demands of Holyrood haven’t stopped George Foulkes claiming a further £54,527 in expenses over the past year as a member of the House of Lords.
As Lord Foulkes, he attended the upper chamber 94 times over the past financial year, charging taxpayers an average of £580 for each day of parliamentary business there. Foulkes, the only member of the Scottish Parliament who also sits in the Lords, last night faced demands from his political opponents to stand down from one of the positions. But Foulkes said he was capable of doing both jobs well, insisted all his expenses claims were legitimate and pointed out that as a peer he was helping oversee the work of MI5 and MI6 as a member of the Intelligence and Security Services Committee at Westminster.
Statistics released at Westminster revealed that Foulkes, a Labour list MSP for Lothian, claimed £21,014 for overnight stays in London, which he used to finance his flat in the city. A further £7,626 was claimed for meals and incidental travel not covered by his £16,327 travel allowance for journeys by car, train and aeroplane. Office costs amounted to £9,474, according to the figures – covering the year from April 2007 to the end of March 2008.
Mike Rumbles, the Lib Dem MSP, said: “I’m astonished that he feels he can do these two jobs in two different places at once. It is quite remarkable. As MSPs, we have enough to do, and our jobs should be focused on serving our constituents in Scotland and Edinburgh, whether or not you are a list or a constituency MSP. “Lord Foulkes really should be concentrating on his work in Scotland or his work in the Lords. I don’t think there should be any dual-mandate MSPs in the Scottish Parliament.”
The only other MSP with a seat at Westminster is Alex Salmond, MP for Banff and Buchan and MSP for Gordon. As an MP, Salmond receives an annual salary of 60,675, but takes only a third of his MSP’s salary – this 17,697 a year is put into a trust fund to finance charity contributions in his constituency. Salmond also receives 70,000 as First Minister.
The figures also revealed that Lord Watson of Invergowrie, the former Labour minister who was convicted of fire-raising, claimed 42,805 for attending on 129 days.
Pete Wishart MP, the SNP’s constitutional affairs spokesman, said: “It is scandalous that Lord Watson is allowed to continue grandstanding at the public expense in the Lords. It is time for the House of Lords reforms, banning anyone with a criminal conviction from sitting in the Lords, to be brought back.”
2 April 2009: Foolish Foulkes?
A great many political watchers would answer the above question in the affirmative without further ado. But even the few who support the more offbeat statements made by Lord Foulkes must be cringing at the MSP’s latest outburst – his claim that Alex Salmond was “playing politics” with the North Sea helicopter tragedy by suggesting that the business of the Scottish Parliament be suspended as a mark of respect.
Lord Foulkes has also accused the first minister of behaving as a “quasi-head of state” and The Times quotes him as saying:
“Alex Salmond is trying to carve out a role for himself as father of the nation and is trying to use this for political purposes. It is unbelievable and outrageous.”
As a political cynic I do think that sometimes these occasions are exploited by self-righteous politicians for their own ends, and of course those who take a slightly different view on the scheduling of political business are effectively browbeaten into compliance on grounds of sensitivity.
George gets his team organised. Note he is fingering John Reid out as the culprit
14 July 2009: George Foulkes, Labour Lord and MSP – waste of public money and oxygen.
It is that time of year again, time for George Foulkes to cause trouble. This time the noble Lord latest venture in stirring shit is a complaint to the Westminister sleaze Watchdog against First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond.
Foulkes has a history of wasting public money by asking a large number of parliamentary questions, the more meaningless the better. Nothing is too stupid for Foulkes to ask the Scottish Government. From Space hoppers to hairstylists, Foulkes wants to know the cost. Alex Salmond use of taxpayers’ money in a bid to force Tony Blair from office over Iraq. Some might say that he was doing his duty holding the UK Government to account.
Last night, Foulkes was quick to crow Mr Lyon was to look into his complaint, which was limited to the First Minister “in the first instance”. In other words, this is a party political complaint against Alex Salmond, could it be something to do with the fact there is a by-election in Glasgow North East?
The SNP response to what Foulkes is up to is that the Nationalist parties had been “absolutely” right in their bid to hold Mr Blair to account for the war. That war was illegal, achieved nothing and destroyed an entire country which caused lasting damage to the West. Foulkes is one of the most expensive clowns in public life.
Alex Foulkes son of
23 July 2009 Baron Foulkes Gets himself involved in too few helicopters in Afghanistan row
As Baron Foulkes of Cumnock, former Labour MP George Foulkes sports a title as florid as his ample cheeks. His opinions are equally colourful and frequently targeted at anyone who has the temerity to question Government policies or the activities of his friends. His name is a byword in Westminster for unthinking tribalism and shameless sycophancy. One writer once complained: ‘His toadying is becoming embarrassing even by Westminster standards.’
But his accomplishments in the military arena are rather less striking. As one MP put it yesterday: ‘The only fighting George has ever been interested in is fighting his way to the bar.’ Indeed it was his taste for drink which summarily ended his only experience of the Armed Forces.
He was Labour’s defence spokesman in opposition between 1992 and 1993 but was forced to resign after he admitted assault and being drunk and disorderly following a reception hosted by the Scotch Whisky Association. He spent a night in police custody and was fined £1,050.
Lord Foulkes – whose Gordon Highlander grandfather won the military medal in the First World War – became an MP in 1979 after a career in student politics and local government. When Labour won power in 1997 he was Clare Short’s deputy at the Department for International Development. After a couple of other jobs he got a peerage in 2005.
In recent months he repeatedly leapt to the defence of fellow Scot Michael Martin during the MPs’ expenses scandal. Lord Foulkes was still arguing that Mr Martin was the right man for the job just hours before he became the first Speaker forced from office in 300 years. Lord Foulkes’s own expenses included claims of £45,000 over two years for overnight subsistence to stay in a flat he had inherited. He also acquired a reputation as one of Westminster’s leading junketeers, going on record numbers of foreign freebies.
21 August 2009: Labour MSP, George Foulkes is a national disgrace to Scotland
Where would we all be if clowns hadn’t been invented? The world would be a lesser place indeed. Enter George Foulkes, Lord and MSP, his parlour trick is the Freedom of Information Request.
Foulkes has perfected the art of using the law of freedom of information for his own stupid ends. The boy loves it! Now Foulkes has taken time off from annoying the SNP Government to attempt to smear a high ranking General, Sir Richard Dannett. Foulkes campaign against General Sir Richard Dannatt involves demanding information on his use of chauffeur-driven cars and military helicopters. This isn’t the first time that Foulkes has attacked the head of the Army for his criticism the Government over Afghanistan equipment shortages. The smear campaign by Foulkes is calculated to embarrass him and stop dissent.
Opposition MPs have said the smear campaign against Dannett was ‘nauseating’ but it goes further than that, Foulkes is a national embarrassment who is attempting to undermine the armed forces. So, not having any evidence of wrong doing Foulkes sets off to smear by asking about ‘accommodation and chauffeur-driven cars, his use of military helicopters and entertaining costs at the general’s official London residence.
Tory, Liam Fox said; “The systematic undermining of opponents has been a trademark of New Labour”. And when your tactics get exposed in politics the wise thing to do is change them but not Foulkes; he doesn’t care he is a laughing stock.
Foulkes said; “If the information is embarrassing, it will embarrass him,” He further added; “if it’s not, it won’t.” In other words, it is a fishing expedition. Truly Foulkes is a pathetic character.
3 December 2009: Labour politician Lord Foulkes comes under fire for comment from the SNP after comparing Alex Salmond to Mussolini.
Lord Foulkes referred to the First Minister as “Il Duce” – the title Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini took after becoming dictator. The Lothians MSP said later that his remark “must have been a slip of the tongue”. But itprovoked an angry response from the Nationalists.
SNP MSP Linda Fabiani – who is of Italian origin – branded the comment “a disgrace” and demanded an apology from Labour. Ms Fabiani, who has previously been honoured by the Italian government for her work promoting Italy overseas, said: “Lord Foulkes may be a figure of fun who regularly embarrasses the Labour Party, but he has overstepped the line with this very silly and tasteless remark. “As someone of Italian origin, I am appalled that a member of Scotland’s Parliament thinks that is an acceptable way to behave.”
Lord Foulkes made the remark at Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee as he questioned representatives from Audit Scotland on whether or not a delegation from Scotland would be heading to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. He asked: “Have we any indication as to whether there are plans to send a delegation to the 2010 Games?” Lord Foulkes then added: “No doubt Il Duce, sorry the First Minister, will be going as well.”
15 January 2011: Presiding Officer shows Labour MSP George Foulkes ‘who’s the daddy’ by publicly slapping down him in Holyrood Chamber
He is the master of the inane Freedom of Information Request. But talentless Labour MSP George Foulkes has a big mouth as well. Blowhard is an expression best summing him up. He is the bam’s bam!
Yesterday saw George Foulkes threatened with expulsion from the Holyrood Chamber as he was reprimanded by Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson for earlier shouting the word “charlatan.” He has been a “charlatan” for years but hasn’t seen fit to broadcast that fact. When ‘Lord’ Foulkes opened his gub because his bottom wasn’t available by way of being tightly pressed into a seat, he reminds us that anyone can be a politician.
The Lothians MSP claimed he did not consider the word to be disrespectful, but the presiding officer Alex Fergusson told him that it was the manner of his intervention which had been discourteous. With Holyrood Elections looming and panic setting in among MSPs don’t be surprised at more eruptions as party politicking like a leaky dam will burst. George Foulkes is retiring and won’t be missed, but who in the Labour Group will take up the mantle of the village idiot?
After retirement expect to see ‘Lord’ Foulkes heading south to the London Trough & Care Home for retired Labour placemen and women. The House of Lords! What is the betting he will cause trouble there?
25 May 2012: Doing it deliberately – Is George Foulkes trying to be Kelvin Mackenzie?
His latest attack on the SNP has backfired spectacularly straight back to the previous Labour and Liberal Democrat administration. I previously suggested here that Kelvin Mackenzie’s ongoing diatribe against Scotland is such a vote winner for Scottish independence that he may be a fifth column nationalist. I now suspect that Labour’s own Baron Foulkes of Cumnock may also be a fifth columinist. What else could possibly explain his latest gaffe?
Fifth columnist in action. Lord Foulkes asked parliamentary questions to ‘expose’ the SNP Government’s waste and mismanagment. In the event he only exposed the last administration’s incompetence and huge expenses.
Among the details uncovered were:-
* The SNP is spending around 40 % less than the previous Labour and Liberal Democrat on PR costs and communication officer costs. The famous Labour spin never comes cheap.
* Advisors to Alex Salmond have claimed 1/6 of the expenses claimed by the former administration’s advisors.
* The number of comparable ministerial car journeys has decreased by 500 by the new SNP government.
* Three times as many people watch Alex Salmond’s online broadcasts compared to the previous First Minister, Jack McConnell.
His latest blunder was a free gift to the SNP. One of the youngest members of the parliament, Jamie Hepburn could not resist:”I would like to thank Lord George Foulkes for going to such lengths to expose the efficiency and effectiveness of the SNP Government in contrast to the waste and excess of the Labour and Lib Dem administration.
“His fishing attempts demonstrate that the SNP have delivered far more effective, efficient and leaner government than the previous Labour/LibDem Executive – which was clearly all expensive spin and no policy substance. “The SNP government has done more in the last year than the Labour/LibDem coalition did in 8 years, which is one reason why we are at record levels in the opinion polls.”
Ah yes. The SNP Government. How does George think they are doing? Rewind to the 25th February, on the BBC Scotland at Ten programme; George is discussing the months since Scotland elected the SNP Government and began to implement their policies:-
“The SNP are on a very dangerous tack. What they are doing is trying to build up a situation in Scotland where the services are manifestly better than south of the border in a number of areas.”
Interviewer Colin Mackay:”Is that a bad thing?”
Lord George Foulkes: “No, but they are doing it deliberately.”!!
Henry McLeish, the ex-Labour First Minister mentioned here, once responded to Lord Foulkes’ comments insinuating that the SNP were xenophobic, clearly worried about the Lord’s habit of self-destructing the Labour Party: “I think in Scotland at the present time there is no need for that type of vitriol for the SNP.” “This is about Lord Foulkes and I think Lord Foulkes has to realise that every time he makes such comments he damages the Labour Party.
He damages the prospect of winning more votes”. Scottish Labour may wish that Lord Foulkes be quiet, for the sake of the party, worried about the SNP’s record opinion poll ratings. Yet he continues to gaff, as thousands of once-Labour voters switch allegiance to the SNP. There is only one reason. He is doing it deliberately!
One of George’s questions to the Lords
5 February 2013: Lord Foulkes accuses Alex Salmond of ‘lying to parliament’
Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond was accused in the Lords today of “lying to parliament and other transgressions”. Labour former Scottish minister Lord Foulkes of Cumnock drew gasps of surprise from peers when he levelled the charge at question time. But when pressed over what the “transgressions” might be said only: “I’ll tell you later.”
His intervention came during a question on the application of the ministerial code at Westminster. Lord Foulkes said: “The ministerial code in Scotland is so narrow and so lax that the first minister gets away regularly with lying to Parliament and other transgressions…” As peers pressed him on what this might be, he said, to laughter from all sides: “I’ll tell you later,” but added: “Seriously, do we have any reserve powers to look at the ministerial code in Scotland and tighten it up?”
Cabinet Office spokesman Lord Wallace of Saltaire said he was not “sighted” on this particular question. He added: “But I look forward to the enjoyable evening in which you tell me about some of the transgressions that you feel have happened in the Scottish Executive.”
An SNP spokesman said later: “It reflects extremely badly on the Westminster system that an unelected Labour peer should allow his obsession with opposing independence to degenerate into saying things in the House of Lords that are utterly untrue and without foundation.
“Perhaps Lord Foulkes had too long a lunch. “On six occasions Mr Salmond has referred complaints by opposition politicians to independent scrutiny under the ministerial code – and on all six occasions he has been entirely vindicated.”
A George for the ladies
31 March 2013: Shame on Lord George Foulkes
In desperation, and in my opinion, for the want of any decent argument that really addresses why we might be better together, there are some silly and sad accusations being made by unionist parties. But all’s fair in love and war… and … independence debates, and I’m certain that there are some on the independence side who blether though a hole in their backsides.
It’s to be expected, and best largely forgotten. But some things are so low and despicable that they just cannot be ignored. It probably no great surprise to anyone that George Foulkes managed to be responsible for at least one of these things. It isn’t to me anyway, because I’ve never heard him say one sensible thing yet. But this tweet takes the biscuit.
“Horsemeat in school dinners, 14 year old raped in City bus & Orkney firm in administration yet all we hear from SNP Govt. is more on Indyref!”
He has reduced the argument to trading on children being raped. Well done Foulkes. If you were on the Yes side of the argument I’d be hoping that you would leave the country for an expended holiday of say 2 years in Antarctica. It was not only despicable though; it was also very stupid.
12 May 2013: Had to post a reminder of his drunken escapades in London
George Foulkes (aka Ffoulkes or other variations) has had a chequered career – sometimes coming into conflict with officers wearing a checkered cap band, but always ensuring that he received a sufficient supply of cheques.
At a party held by the Scotch Whisky Association, the defence spokesman at the time, also a magistrate, drank adequately from the fountain of the water of life. One witness described Foulkes’s subsequent behaviour as “like Zebedee on acid”. The MP trundled back to the Commons for a crunch vote.
Unfortunately, the pavements of Westminster dipped and rose like the deck of a clipper on a choppy sea, tossing him into the arms of pedestrians. An attempt to dance with a 70-year-old lady resulted in them both hugging the asphalt. Foulkes biffed one persistently helpful constable on the chin.
He was arrested and invited to spend the night enjoying Her Majesty’s hospitality. He pleaded guilty to assault and being drunk and disorderly, and was fined £1,050. He vowed not to drink whisky again.