Thursday, April 14, 2011

Labour MP helpfully lives up to caricature

Tuesday evening's very funny broadcast by the Yes to AV campaign featured a self-satisfied MP being confronted by voters while he is busy enjoying the finer things in life. They suggest to him that AV will make him work harder for them by forcing him to seek 50% of the vote at general elections. "Work...harder?" he mouths disdainfully, with the emphasis on the word that seems to cause him almost physical pain. "Can we rely on you to vote Yes on May 5th?" the voters press him. "Certainly not!" is the emphatic reply.

Yesterday, in a stunning exemplar of the famed self-awareness of certain Labour MPs, Ian Murray announced that he was so miffed at the suggestion in the broadcast that he and his colleagues could possibly "work harder" that he has now decided to vote No, having previously been undecided. In other words, he's quite brazenly admitting that he's made this important decision entirely on the basis of his wounded pride as an MP, rather than on the merits of the two voting systems we're choosing between. Yep, Ian, that's a grand way of demonstrating to us all that the Yes campaign's depiction of MPs as being totally self-absorbed and self-interested is well wide of the mark.

It's also worth pointing out that if the message of the broadcast hit such a nerve with MPs, it's also likely to have hit a nerve with voters - but probably in a slightly different way.


Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie came up with a devilishly original ploy on Newsnight Scotland last night, dodging an awkward question by flatly denying that she is the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party. Now, if she tries that defence in one of the leaders' debates, we really will be entering Alice in Wonderland territory...


  1. Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie...denying that she is the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party.

    Well since the Scottish Conservative Party doesn't exist she has a point. There is no record of such a party in the Electoral Comission's register of parties. I'm fairly certain that she is the Scottish Regional Manager for the Conservative Party although I'm not sure exactly what power she wields in the party either inside or outside Scotland.

  2. She claimed on Radio Scotland this morning that the Scottish Conservatives were legally constituted, although she didn't go so far as to claim that she was the leader of said organisation.
    Also hadn't a scoobie about the cost of Trident----"some millions"

  3. William, under Electoral Commission rules you do not have to register your political party but if your party is unregistered then all your candidates have to stand as, "Independent", on the ballot paper.

    If she's claiming the Scottish Conservatives are a separate legally constituted party then they've been breaking the law for decades by not standing as independents on the ballot paper as an unregistered political party while at the same time passing themselves off as the Conservative party.

    Of course the reality is that they are just the regional wing of the Conservatives in Scotland and are not separate at all.

  4. Agreed, Doug, but it just seemed bizarre that Goldie would spontaneously start waffling on about her party's internal organisational chaos in the middle of a big setpiece interview in the middle of an election campaign.

  5. James, it does seem bizarre. Why is she now downplaying the received wisdom that there actually is a Scottish Conservative party and she's the leader? It's as if Iain Gray had started to tell everyone on TV the truth that he isn't really the Scottish Labour Leader and it's all been a bit of a con.

    I suspect that she's not been given full control of the campaign and is already distancing herself from the fallout of a bad result by distancing herself from the leadership. Can't think of any other theory but time will tell.