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Return of my grumpy!

I used to like to put my thoughts on my blog.

I would range across the range of topics political and sometimes vent into the blogosphere.

However, as an elected Councillor, the putting your thoughts down could lead to some interesting discussions and misuses of my words.  I stuck to my job and left my blog to gather dust.

After an election campaign that ended with results that are less than ideal, I felt my grumpy gene kick in and my fingers twitch across the keys of my keyboard.

Third!  yes THIRD!  That’s where Labour have ended up after this latest election.  My party suffering at the hands of the electorate.

Firstly, the electorate are never wrong, they make up their mind and if they don’t choose your party then it is down to your inability to convince them to give your their support.  Trite and I desperately want to blame something or caveat the statement.

There is no caveat.  It needs us to look in the mirror and work out what we need to do to regain that support.  The online news is full of pundits, ex-politicians, failed politicians, failing politicians, armchair political strategists, enemies and opponents – all saying where Labour got it wrong.  I have twice declined phone calls from a friend of mine who, no doubt, wants to pick over the bones.

As one Labour List Candidate said to the BBC ‘The manifesto was self immolation for dummies.’ unhelpful, mistimed and totally infuriating.  He was adopting the old adage of when things are going badly, fight with your own side.  It is the Labour way.

There are many strands that knit the rope that bound us to our result.  A result that, if we stand back and look at it, we could see unfolding before us.  There were a whole series of factors that left us behind the others.

Firstly, the Flag.

We have been unable to counter the Flag waving tag that presents us as anti-Scottish (or not Scottish enough / not REAL Scots) and a branch office of an oppressor party from Engerland.  Utterly idiotic and impossible to refute without buying in to the argument.  The wrapping in a flag approach worked effectively for the Westminster election but should have lessened in a Scottish parliament election.  It might have if Ruth Davidson hadn’t used the same tactic to pretend to be the defender of the union.  Polarised the issue once more.

If we are not careful this division will become a new sectarianism, a blight that we have been trying to rid ourselves of in Scotland for decades.

Nicola Sturgeon.

The profile, and generally high regard, that Nicola holds is an electoral asset.  Never mind the policies, never mind the record, ‘I’m with Nicola’ has bizarrely got traction in a way that Alex Salmond could never manage.

She has managed to avoid anything sticking to her for the moment but that won’t last forever.  The poor record on education, health, policing, environment to name but a few have been deflectable with a few blasts of dog whistle Indyref.  The manifesto, on which she has been elected, has no Indyref and only 1 mention of austerity.  Fracking may be the monster under the bed for her own supporters if it gets out.  Big boy did it and ran away won’t wash on this front.

The gloss is coming off the Nicola Apple but it certainly wasn’t going to be a problem this time.

Ruth Davidson.

A problem for Labour.  A Tory that has performed well in the chamber landing a series of caustic statements and hits.  However, being a Tory she was making little progress until she could paint Labour as weak on defending the Union.  Worked a dream, a new flag to wave and call Labour soft on opposing the SNP.  Bulldog and fierce she played her limited hand very well.  Always trying to make the electorate forget that she is still, and always was, a Tory.

The tagline ‘For a strong opposition.’ was astute, saying that she couldn’t win so it would be safe to vote Tory if you didn’t want the SNP.   No real statements on policy that a supporter of Ruth was ever able to tell me on the doorstep.

Jeremy Corbyn.

He gets the blame when it goes wrong, and no credit when it goes well. The constant negative press of Jeremy Corbyn is unbalanced but working for the right wing parties in Scotland.  Helped by our own side who cannot accept his mandate.  I didn’t vote for him but he has a huge mandate.  No Corbyn bounce in Scotland as the press here portray him as soft on the union (for tories), English westminster politician and puppeteer of branch office (for SNP) and some kind of dinosaur  (helps both).

Kezia Dugdale.

New leader taking over the mess after the GE massacre last year.  Leading an attempt to reorganise to fight again, taking on ‘the most difficult job in Scottish Politics’ with an empty purse and lacking in activists.  She is intelligent and articulate and wants to make things better for future generations.  Wanted to use the powers to raise taxes and invest in public services.

Sadly, the electorate never really thought Labour could win power (by defeating the SNP) and deliver the promises this time.  Making the job of articulating how we would use the powers more and more difficult.  Opinion polls told the electorate that SNP were going to win, and stubbornly refused to move much.

Putting up Taxes

Hard to believe that this would be a problem.  Being honest about the need to raise revenue to protect services apparently is a bad thing to say out loud.

The electorate (a bit like the SNP Government) talk left but vote right.  The notion that 1p on taxes would be a deal breaker is bizarre.  Somehow it was made in to one.  The Anti-austerity message of taxing to invest and protect against tory austerity was somehow unacceptable.

IF the media streams all sell the story that Government waste your money all the time, then the message that paying any more will be received with horror.  The idea of the 50p tax rate for the wealthiest was fine last year but this year Nicola didn’t fancy it.

Kezia tried to Talk and ACT left, was roundly criticised and ridiculed.  Hypocrisy in action, largely missed by the mass media (the Sun supported SNP, for example).

Trident.

The vanity motion forced on Scottish Conference was a missile fired early that just confirmed the pattern of the election to come.  Scrap Trident (majority of Scots voters poll to be in favour), lose jobs, no real plan to diversify the industry.

It doesn’t matter how this would be done, and the need to rid ourselves of the Nuke, the issue was used as a club to beat us with. Jackie Baillie opposed the motion and was reelected as her constituency holds Faslane (although her years of service and fighting on local issues would have been huge factors).

Indyref Hangover and Red tories.

This has cast a pall over the Labour vote in Scotland.  The message that the Labour party were the same as the tories has been hard to shift.  All evidence to the contrary.  The politics of smear have worked well in the identity politics of post referendum Scotland.  It has stuck and will only weaken as the Tories and SNP start to agree on all things tax and spend.  It will wear off but will take time.

No indyref2 message in the SNP manifesto but opposing a referendum makes Labour look afraid of asking the people to decide.  Ruth managed to deflect this from the Tories to a respect the decision argument.  Sadly, we are bearing the blame and the tories have benefitted.  In strategic terms we are stuck in the middle, unable to find a place to stand that isn’t taken.

We have had to refight the indyref and fight about the constitution where it suits our enemies and not on the grounds of health, education and Anti-austerity where we would have been much more solid.

Optimism.

The hostility that personified the Referendum and GE, has largely disappeared and door knocking conversations have improved massively.  The voters haven’t returned to the Labour party (and it might take a while) but if we keep on talking about issues they will give us a hearing.  How far that gets us I don’t know.

There were other issues that contributed to where we are (some of them years in the making) but we are third and that will take some getting over.

We need to rebuild, rethink our approach and fight for the right to be heard in a largely right wing landscape.  It won’t be easy.  Who likes easy anyway.

Grumpy.

 

 

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A barrage of Farage

‘It’s the fault of the Meedja.’  was the cry from our erudite and (apparently) miffed First Minister Alex Salmond.

Maybe, for once he has a point.  But then again trying to use UKIP threat to get support gave UKIP more coverage courtesy of the SNP.

I think that the coverage of UKIP on the Beeb has been excessive but how much this has led to votes isn’t really demonstrable.  Irritating?  Yes.  Unfair? we all (political parties) think that the Media are biassed against us at times.  However, they did get a fair old chunk of the vote and as such are deserving of some coverage.

For me the interviewing skills on most channels are pretty poor and the print media are generally not much better these days (everything was better in black and white….cue the hovis theme).

I saw a great tweet the other day Beeb : ‘Farage, farage, farage, farage, farage.’  Beeb : Shock lead in the polls for UKIP.

‘UKIP are the party of Racists, Xenophobes, sexists, Mysoginists and Homophobes.  And that’s their good points.’  This tack has been used to discredit the ‘swivel-eyed loons’ and to slay the UKIP beast.  Newsflash!  It doesn’t work.

The Electorate voted for UKIP in varying numbers across the country.  These are the same voters that when they vote for your party are respected and when they vote UKIP are nutters.  Anyone else uncomfortable with this line of thinking?  I am.

There is a simple three step plan to defeat the UKIP (or any of the other far right mob that pollute ballot papers – No2EU, BNP, Britain first)

Step 1

Engage the electorate (turnout and apathy are major issues)

Step 2

Demolish their (UKIP) argument

(not just sloganeering but solid analysis and facts.  You know those pesky things that trip people up)

Step 3

Offer electorate a solution to the issue.

Thats it.  Simple isn’t it?

So the mainstream parties have only themselves to blame on the UKIP success story.  No one else.  A self inflicted 20 year cock up.  If voters are not engaged and given facts and treated with respect they will invariably end up at the (political) door that feeds on their problem.

We have (all parties) refused to discuss immigration or Europe and have left a vacuum for the vacuous UKIP to fill.  That needs to change in a grown up way.  Not in a we can out UKIP,UKIP kind of way.  You can’t out UKIP them, so don’t try.  Their policies are toxic and need real solutions not easy slogans with nothing but blame behind them.

IF the solution is difficult say so.  But say so clearly.

Remember the old adage ‘Never argue with an idiot.  He will bring you down to his level and then beat you with experience.’  Nick Clegg found that out to his cost in the television debates.  Free publicity for the UKIP leader, free credibility too.  The party of IN got found out.

If ex-banker, Nigel Farage is the answer then god knows what the question was.

I would suggest that UKIP isn’t an answer ( to anything) but a symptom that has been too long ignored at our peril.

words are powerful things

A ‘funny’ thing happened to me today.

Sitting in my car (bedecked with a better together sticker) in a car park waiting for my (undoubtably) better half to get a missing ingredient for tomorrow’s tea (second time we had been at the shops tonight) , I was given the finger, backed up with a call of ‘independence ya bass!’

Hmmm, I thought, (Ok, I thought Eff off)  that will work to convert me to your argument.  Then I decided to break my long fast of blogging and comment tonight.

Now, before anyone has a apoplectic fit, I am not saying that these fine specimens are representative of the Yes campaign or the people involved in it.  I am a politician and, as such, used to the ocassional barb.  I don’t have thin skin (and need a wee lie down after such an event).

However, it got me thinking that things are not moving in the direction that most scots would accept as healthy.  Online, we are often guilty of being a little acerbic or unkind about those who don’t share our views.  The notorious Cybernats are often mentioned but there are lunatics on the No side too.

They say that culture flows from the top down (a bit like the brown smelly stuff) and we have become very much more unpleasant to each other on this very singular item.  It is not surprising that the impact has been a widening out of the language and behaviours that we are seeing.

At Scottish Labour Party conference, a placard wielding Yes supporter waggled his homespun, mis-spelled, message at me.  I was amused more than anything else but thought that on a sunny afternoon in March I would have been able to find many, many more interesting things to do had I been in his shoes.

Sadly, I expect that the idiocy will continue for the next nearly six months and then the tallying up will take place.

If you think it is getting hostile now, enjoy this period because it will get much worse (I expect).

Anyway, on September 19 (the morning after the night before) or whenever the decision is called, what then.  If the count is close then half of the country will be mightly aggrieved and the wailing and gnashing of teeth will commence.  Recriminations will abound and then the finger pointing will commence.

I expect No to win, and I am campaigning for that to be the case but there’s a long way to go.

Afterwards my main worry is that, as a society, we wont be able to look at each other (let alone talk sensibly to each other).  It is hard enough now.  Politically it will be carnage and at all levels theere will be spite and bile from those who have lost and smug, condescending triumphalism from the winners.

How we get over this will be a determining factor for years to come.  Politics will be irrevocably changed for this generation of politicians.

Which of these words would you accept being called and not react negatively to?

Collaborator, traitor, so-called-scot, quisling, scoundrel, coward, Britnat, feartie

Swivel-eyed Nat, Sep, separatist, fantasist, Cybernat, tartan tory,

I would expect, not one of them. ( I kept them clean, but there are much worse).  So why then are these flying around and hurled willy-nilly around the place (comment threads on news articles are a real eye-opener (or eye-waterer))?  It is because those at the top have given the lead and the trooops have followed.  The twitterspere and blogosphere are full of unpleasantness that is really unnecessary and unhealthy.  The responses to those who dare disagree with the Yes (or No) campaigns are vitriolic and poisonous.  Its time that the moderate voices spoke up and put these folks straight.

We are not debating with each other but sloganising each other.  Utterly specious and I am sooo glad I am not undecided, or I would end up not undecided but utterly disgusted.

I didn’t get into politics to spend my time on the constitutional settlement.  I did so to make things better in the town I represent and live in.  No one gets elected to make things worse.

However, I have to accept that this question needs addressed and once it is answered I hope not to have to do it again.

Calling for people to be aware of the impact of their words would be pointless (and a bit hypocritical as I have ocassionally been less than measured in my utterances) but someone needs to start winding back the insults and jeers.  Sadly, I think we are passed the point where much will change.

Playing the man (or woman) and not the ball is ingrained now.

174 days to go………

 

 

You can’t play politics with people’s lives.

Obviously, I am not the originator of this quote (and I’m not sure Neil Kinnock is either).

It is seldom that I am so utterly vexed by the political chicanery that goes on, that I am ashamed to be associated with other politicians.  Today was one such day.

Setting the scene.  A full council with a public gallery of demonstrators who want to ban the tax (the #bedroomtax, not the spare room subsidy or whatever nonsense the coalition call it).  A motion on the agenda, amendments and a long morning before we got to the main event, a debate on eviction policy of the minority Labour Council in light of the #bedroomtax.

All good so far.  The gallery got a bit excited (and hurled a few insults) mainly because they had to wait until after lunch and thought the motion wasn’t going to be debated.  However, all calmed down when it was apparent that after lunch the fireworks would start.

Seconds out, round 1

The motion (proposed by the SNP opposition) is not competent.  Shock!  well no, not exactly they already knew this (everyone notified in advance).  The final paragraph (and I wont bore you with the process) was different from the agreed policy of the council agreed at the executive just over a week ago (6 month rule in force).

72 of 78 (6 absent) councillors are geared up (and tooled up with pithy comments and speeches at the ready) stymied.  A collective defaltion.  Damp squib.

Ditch the last paragraph and we can get on with it.  It would have been all the way through the debate anyway.  No chance, the rules twonks (insert stronger if you feel the need) come out fighting.  standing orders and challenges to the provost’s ruling on the incompetent and an increasingly hostile set of exchanges fill the chamber.  Plenty of heat and next to no light as most of us new boys (and girls obviously) have no idea what standing order 60 is (or whatever number is being debated).

Suspend standing orders!  (because the proposer and seconder wont change the words of the last paragraph), Role call count so we have to answer agree or disagree to a call to suspend that is going nowhere.  Just so we can cast it up at you again in the future.

No suspension of standing orders as we collectively manage to make a total mess of getting the arguement (sorry debate) tee’d up.

Now the playground is really rowdy, with booing and name calling as councillors answer the role call.

The Gallery (not full of rules twonks) are incredulous and think the administration are trying to stop the debate.  One which we have prepared for, one which we want to have and one in which ( and here’s the rub) we basically agree.  definate political chicanery in action.

The Administration position is that we will not evict anyone who falls into arrears (because of the tax/subsidy thingy) who contacts the council and works with us to deal with the problem.  The incompetent motion – we will not evict anyone who has rent arrears from the bedroom tax.

Huge difference, obviously.

Angels on the head of a pin.

We wanted to have a debate that highlighted what we could do to protect our residents, we wanted a debate that showed Gidders/IDS and their gang were wrong, we wanted a debate that said we will protect you, the residents of Fife.  We wanted a debate so we could score some cheap points off each other (sorry sarcasm slipped in).

What did we get? Punch and Judy, rule this v Standing order that and a gallery of people who didn’t know what the hell was going on.  I might venture, that some on the floor of the chamber were in the same place (confused dot com).  In the end with no motion there was no debate.  Zip.  Nada. Eff all (to use the vernacular).  Rammy ensued.  Gavels banged and a few faces went red/puce or betroot.

Sorry it took longer than I meant to get to the point, and here it is.

You can’t play politics with people’s lives.

Fallout.

Now it will be a case of spin and counter spin, lies and mistruths played out in the press until we get to do it all again next time.

This bedroom tax is a disaster for many of the people we merry 78 are supposed to serve, after todays showing we have failed them terribly.  there will be over 5000 families across Fife (and 1300 more in housing associations) who will be worried about the impact of this change to housing benefit, who were looking to us to make clear what to expect, who wanted adults not children debating and deciding.

Their lives will be blighted (while most of the councillors will not be) and their purses constrained and all we offered them was finger-pointing and hot air and barely a whit of sense.

I have seen the spin tweets from fellow councillors and they just make us look like a bunch of twits (definitely insert stronger).

No wonder Politicians are reviled, distrusted and treated with contempt.  Sometimes we just help our poor public image along.

 

If political parties were people….

Funnily enough this sort of thinking is used all the time in business and to a lesser extent in political circles as core voters are analysed and deciphered.

It set me to thinking after reading a blog post on Labour hame, of which I am an intermittent visitor. http://www.labourhame.com/archives/3316#more-3316

Where a musing was made about the new tory logo and whether Scottish Labour needed a makeover of its symbol.  I’m not convinced it does but it did set me off on a musing of my own.  If we are asked to imagine the parties as people how would they look.  I am as always prepared to be wrong.

So here goes….

Scottish Labour – A middle years woman with a grown up (and growing up) family.  A bit frumpy at times.  Sensible and weighed down by responsibility to family.  Steady and at the centre of her family.  Good sense though not particularly over educated.

SNP – A sharp businessman, with a drive to get what he wants. Competent and professional.  Cold and wanting control.  Thinks he knows best.

Scottish conservatives – Older, well-to-do, sensible man who exudes calm and resists change, paternal and condescending.  Grey and a bit round the middle.

Scottish Liberal Democrats – A middle years teacher who’s involved with local fetes and the like, a bit grey and a bit well-meaning.  Very earnest and middle class.  Well thought off in general.  Not too dynamic.  Probably a bloke (not quite in a tank top).

Now if these are people as brands then we can see why the SNP have managed a good fit to theirs.  Emphasis on competence and drive, pugnacious and control focussed.  One issue and driving for it.

It seems to have worked when we consider that polling data suggests they do well among men of 25-45.  They are honed in on many of their frustrations about lack of control of their lives.  Their ‘take control’, ‘poor downtrodden us’ ‘all their fault’ mantra resonates with this group across all economic sections (or decile if you will).

Scottish Labour on the other hand are attractive to women with families and those of a sensible, more cautious vent.  Older people poll better for anti-independence, as do women with families.  Labour it seems has become like its supporters and has focussed much of its attacks on the SNP Government on uncertainty, dishonesty and trust.  Going further to ensure arrogance and sharp, smug FMQ responses allow Alex Salmond to keep turning off these groups.  It is working.

The Scottish Conservatives are struggling in the hangover of Toxic Thatcher brand.  They have found it difficult to move on from this as few will give them a fair hearing.  This has been ingrained as an Anti-English / Tory message from the SNP and to a lesser extent Labour.  The current Tory PM, stinks of privilege and is a reinforcer of this viewpoint.  Etonians telling us poor wee scots whats good for us.  Even with a new badge and a female leader, it’s a long, long road back to influence let alone power.

Scotland is conservative with a small ‘c’ and currently rejects the Conservatives with a large ‘C’.

As for the Libdems, the coalition with the Tories at westminster has blotted their copybook and exposed their compromising (over principle) as a weakness not a pragmatic virtue.  It has exposed them to ‘yellow Tories’ tags and ‘untrustworthy collaborators’ as labels.  Both are unfair but mud most certainly sticks leaving the Scottish Libdems in a mess.  Unsure of how to retain their core voters after own goals (VAT, tuition fees, coalition, cuts, welfare reform) and a relentless assault from the Scottish press.  Now viewed as worse than Tories by some.  As for fit with their brand person the teacher is falling out of popularity with his groups and while he can attempt to justify his positions, he’s less well-respected at the moment.

Do the leaders reflect their Brands?

Johann Lamont – fairly well reflects the brand person (she is an education professional however).

Alex Salmond – For the last 25 years the face of the SNP – the brand person and he are almost inseparable, but he is getting on a bit looking bloated and tiring (lots of younger MSP’s to fill the brand mould however).  Nicola Sturgeon is a good female fit for the brand too.

Ruth Davidson – doesn’t fit well at all (although Annabel Goldie did).  She is struggling to change the brand and will not make it fit better in the short to medium term.

Willie Rennie – Pretty much reflecting the brand person.  Sensible contributions but not dynamic nor able to shake off the ‘Coalition damage’.

Now I wholly appreciate that some of the language used above reflects my inner dislike of the SNP, the Tories and, to a lesser extent, the Libdems.  I am biassed, as are we all, but I think I have captured the essence of the brands.

Sadly, I think that Scottish Labour have a bigger problem in attracting other groups of voters (seen as a little old-fashioned) especially the young.

Whatever happened to the red flag singing socialists?  Well they grew up, had families and bills to pay.  Responsible adults can still be radicals, a message that has been lost in the (Scottish Labour) brand.  If Labour is a middle-aged woman then its time to tell the youngsters about the demonstrations, placard wielding, CND supporting, bra-burning protesting times of our youth and be a newly discovered cool, role model to emulate.

Brands are more than a symbol, they add value.  It’s time Scottish Labour started to use it.

 

 

It’s more than the economy stupid!

As a grumpy individual I find myself shouting at the television / twitter and online blogs more often these days.

This week (like far too many others recently) has been dominated by the referendum process.  Sorry THE REFERENDUM process.

It is important.  It is like oxygen to the SNP, the single most important issue for them.  Less so for others.

For me, however, two more years of this and I’ll lose the ability to watch the news.  It is bad enough that the Beeb is (allegedly) pro anyone and newspapers don’t print news but if I have to suffer endless rehashes of  this morning’s #marr #murnaghan then I’m going to be entirely unhappy.

Polling about how people will vote if they are £500 a year better off or worse off is pathetic and likely to be as reliable as Michael fish in 1987.

Polling ‘If the Tories were likely to win in 2015’  is equally specious.  Democracy in action eh?  do we only want democracy if we get our own way?

This filler of time is all Alex Salmond’s fault (slightly kidding here).  If he had hurried up and ‘called the date sooner’ then less of this guff would be experienced by us all.

The Economic arguments are important to THE REFERENDUM but a largely uninformed electorate (on economics) will struggle to cut through the misuse and clever language (Eg Relative surplus is a case in point – paid in 53bn got out 63bn. comparisons of marginal differences in deficit is not a relative surplus – it’s a relative deficit of large proportions.  In other words we’re up to our necks in debt and they are up to their chin.)

Alex Salmond builds in caveats on almost every issue while trying to sound plain speaking (great trick for a politician) one which I think we have all had enough of (All Tony Blair’s fault – he started it obviously).  I am complaining but I can respect his clever use of language to give him wiggle room.

However, wiggle room is not what we need on such a stark national choice.  Yes or No, in or out.

In Nato, Keep Queen, Keep Sterling, Get rid of Trident (when safe to do so FFS), In EU but no Euro / Shengin, free care for the elderly, free this that and the other (ish) (and never a whisper about how we will pay for it) and don’t mention Council Tax freeze that is crippling local authorities (nor the now sunk Local Income Tax).  A far cry from statements of the past and looking like a ‘don’t scare the horses approach!

Now this wasn’t meant to be a rant about SNP or Alex Salmond but I got distracted.

The Yes Campaign are equally as guilty of obfuscation and this is entirely unnecessary.  The choices are stark but need facts and evidence not assertions.

This fuzzy Guff about ‘Britishness or Scottishness’ is built into us all and to varying degrees it will shape our viewpoint.  But do we really need a never-ending stream of this?  Probably not.

We need facts on the Economy.  (Robust data presented in a factually comprehensible way)

We need facts on EU membership and the implications. (Legal advice published before any vote)

We need facts on other institutions that impact on our society. (Legal, political and social)

None of these are being addressed with facts, they are being addressed by assertions and spin.

A post yes vote (or no vote for that matter) needs to have a clear position on these vital elements.  Otherwise THE REFERENDUM is a ‘trust me’ poll based on a pastiche of Mibbe’s Aye, Mibbe’s Naw.

How on earth do we expect voters to make an informed decision on a fundamental issue?  Let alone the 16 & 17 year olds who will be asked to choose too!

Fair, transparent and legally binding.  At this rate it will be based on Braveheart and olympics.

Not good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moore fumbles negotiations

Where have we heard this before?

Tomorrow the Prime minister (Big Dave) and the first Minister (Wee Eck) will have a signing sesh.  This isn’t some huge diplomatic meeting but rather a procedural step on the way to the referendum.  (I’ll bet there will be pipers and tartan everywhere and wee eck will be in his best tartan troos)

Negotiated brilliantly by Michael Moore (LD MP) who effectively fell hook, line and sinker for the devo-max question two gambit.  He gave away everything in the cabinet to stop the safety blanket question that Wee eck didn’t really expect to get anyway.  It was a fiction dreamt up by the SNP and hung out as bait.  Sadly the daft laddie that is Michael Moore (and others) fell for it.

Sleekit and canny, Wee eck will have to manage his smugness on Monday or Dave will realise just how much he has been had.  The incompetence of Mr Moore is even more shocking when we consider that he was negotiating with Nicola.

Of course, it might be that he was terrified of her and just gave her everything to avoid being savaged.

What exactly are the terms then.

1 question.  Written by Wee eck.

16 & 17 year olds allowed to vote. (just as wee eck wanted)

August 2014 date. (wee eck’s timetable for a post Bannockburn party)

So all the unionist demands are being met then?  Michael Moore seems to think so.  (not sure which ones, however)

Will it matter? Probably not.  The scots electorate are currently disinclined to support separation from the Rest of the UK (all because of the Olympics and Ryder cup – obviously).  A ha, I hear the zealots yell but just wait until the Bannockburn bounce.  I fully expect them to stay disinclined when the time comes.

Funding is going to be the last little problem to be given up by Mr Moore, we don’t have details but Wee Eck wants the chance to use his lottery windfall and deny the others their chance to use their funds.

Wee eck wants a fair roll of the dice but wants two rolls just in case.

Mind you, by giving the Nats everything they want, they will have no-one to blame when they lose in 2014.  It wont stop them doing so, of course.

Perhaps Michael Moore is playing a blinder and aiming to deal with the SNP for years to come?

Nah, dinnae think so.

Well done Eck another blinder.  Bollocks.

Stunt, Beartrap for Labour, call it what you want.

When Alex Salmond set up his speech to the SNP conference he put in a win-win trap for Labour.

Reaffirming the Claim of Rights 1989, which many labour Politicians signed as part of the Constitutional Convention, will be used as a tool to restate  (and spin) the sovereignty of the will of the Scottish people.

Restating the obvious but the will of the Scottish people is exercised on a regular basis.  UK elections, Holyrood Elections, Local Government elections and even European elections.

Now, when I called his call to reaffirm the Claim of Rights a stunt, on twitter, I was rapidly attacked by some of the Nationalist online brigade.  I still hold it to be a stunt (a good move politically- but still a stunt) and here’s why.

The Claim of rights 1989 Text is below

We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.

We further declare and pledge that our actions and deliberations shall be directed to the following ends:

To agree a scheme for an Assembly or Parliament for Scotland;

To mobilise Scottish opinion and ensure the approval of the Scottish people for that scheme; and

To assert the right of the Scottish people to secure implementation of that scheme.”

Looks pretty clear to me.

What people (of all political persuasions in the Constitutional convention) signed up to was detailed explicitly in the second part.

Agreed a scheme for an assembly (done), mobilised opinion to get one (done), implemented the scheme (done) all of this led to the devolution act and the founding of Holyrood.

Now that doesn’t help Alex Salmond, because he hardly wants to point out the Claim of Rights 1989 has been delivered by the Scottish constitutional convention.  After all the SNP dropped out of the process early on (toys out of pram springs to mind).

The bit he wants to exploit is ‘the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of government best suited to their needs’.  However, the Scottish constitutional convention are the Subject of the sentence (those declaring) which his mob abandoned (that will be conspicuous by its absence I expect).

No one is challenging the right to choose, A referendum on independence won’t be opposed by the Westminster Government (they’ll probably even pay) so why does it need reaffirmed?

Has anyone not held the will of Scottish voters as not sovereign?  Has our will been ignored explicitly?  No it hasn’t.  Now that the Westminster Govt is Conservative we can say we never picked them!  This is true, but we are part of a democracy (which is tuff Alex live with it) and sometimes that’s the outcome.

Alex Salmond wants to spin opposition to his interpretation of the Sovereign right bit and make the Opposition oppose (and refuse) so he can say ‘See they don’t see your right to choose as sovereign!’ and then jump up and down like the bombast he is.

He wants to make it sound like Labour / Lib dems are preventing the will of Scots being expressed or don’t see it as important.  This is patent nonsense but he’ll try it nonetheless.

If we do reaffirm it (the SCC has in fact wound up having met its aims) it is redundant but to refuse is an own goal.  To sign it gives free impetus to let Alex Salmond misuse his bit.

A beartrap! A stunt! definitely.

Proving once again that Alex and his team are sleekit, manipulative and scheming.  But Damn they are good at it.

How complex does it need to be?

Independence, the grail of the SNP- Alex Salmond for First Minister Party.

It is a simple proposition isn’t it?

Part of United Kingdom or Not?

Self-determining or Governing as a devolved parliament?

It’s fairly Boolean in nature.  It is a ‘true / false’  proposition.
It’s not that you can be nearly pregnant, nearly dead, sort of Independent.

Now Separatism is used as a swear word in Nationalist circles and used by ‘Unionists’ as a pejorative.
It isn’t really necessary.  It is the question that needs to be discussed and resolved.

Time we were all grown up about this and just asked the voters we trust to decide.

Does anyone think the decision will be taken lightly?

That the Scots are too stupid to realise that this is a life changing decision? Of course they aren’t.

They’ll decide based on a mixture of emotions, aspirations and fears. Facts probably wont be a major contributor to the decision.
It is an emotional response and that is Why Alex Salmond doesn’t want an ‘all-or-nothing’ Yes or no question.

One cast of the dice, one moment alone behind the curtain. It is too much to lose for the SNP.  It is also too much to lose for those who want the status quo to continue.
Enter, stage left, a multi option ballot. What about the mibbe’s mibbe option? You know the one where we can kind of have a sort of independence and not have the total risk. You know that full fiscal autonomy thing.
Its like stabilisers on your first bike.  A cycling proficiency badge without the proficiency.

The current need for a safety blanket says more about the worried combatants than the importance of the question.  This is vested interest at work.  Too much to lose for both sides.  Like drunks desperate to be held back before fists are thrown.

 

The fact that many have voiced support for Indy-lite or Devo-max shows the uncertainty that resides underneath the surface.  ‘Don’t scare the voters’ or ‘It’s too complex for a yes or no’.  I think differently.

 

Nationalists may say they are certain that we can do it better ourselves than westminster can.  Maybe that is true, and maybe it isn’t.  But independence isn’t about better  management, it’s not a comparison between shite and really shite.  Devolution has brought some self-determination to Scotland (a good thing) and we are feeling our way forward.  Are we ready? I don’t think so.

 

The SNP majority was a surprise to everyone (result of good campaign, poor Labour one and LD betrayal in joining Tories) and is probably 10 years too early for Alex.  He now has to put up and stop blaming everyone else.

 

He knows that now is not the right time hence Devo max / indy lite option.  Alex is a politician and not the prime zealot in his party.  He is pragmatic and his whole approach screams it out loud.

 

I will be voting against independence (not because I think we are too wee / stupid/ poor/unable to manage) but because there is no need in my opinion.  I said devolution would be the slow march to independence but we aren’t ready yet, good government takes practice not a messy divorce.

Will we be ready in 20 years?  Maybe.  Will it take 20 years to unwind from UK?  Maybe.

But these are beside the point.

So Alex (ya fearty – helpful eh?) yes or no?  That’s it, do it now and let’s get on.  I think you’ll lose and more importantly so do you (despite what Nicola spouts at conference).

 

Lets not play politics with this – courage of your and my convictions and just let the voters decide.

 

Win the argument and you might win.  And then what?  You have no idea, and that is what really worries me.