Sunday, December 28, 2014

Journalists must challenge Labour on their secret plan to go into coalition with the Tories

Do Labour know the meaning of the expression "no shame"?  This from Scotland on Sunday's report on the Craig Murray story -

"Labour last night seized on the row to challenge the SNP on whether they would do a deal on the Bedroom Tax to keep the Tories in power, which would be “a shocking betrayal” of the Scottish people.

Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran said: “The SNP need to come clean about asking their prospective MPs if they would agree to keep the Bedroom Tax. This means they are willing to do a deal to keep the Tories in power.”"


The irony is, of course, that the intentionally extreme hypothetical question asked of the SNP's prospective candidates implicitly presupposed that Labour would insist upon retaining the bedroom tax in negotiations with the SNP.  There's no other way of making sense of the question, because the SNP have absolutely, explicitly, unambiguously, categorically ruled out doing a deal with the Tories under any circumstances whatsoever.

Labour, by contrast, have thus far failed to make any comment on whether they would refuse to go into coalition with the Tories and keep David Cameron in office.  That's highly significant, because "grand coalitions" between the main centre-right and centre-left parties are of course extremely commonplace in many continental European countries, and are not without precedent in the UK.

According to Curran-logic, a party that has categorically ruled out a deal with the Tories must be "willing" to do a deal with the Tories.  It presumably follows that a party like Labour which has not ruled out a deal with the Tories is absolutely certain to do such a deal?

Perhaps journalists should be asking them to "come clean" about that.

* * *

Of the comments from senior SNP people about the Craig Murray story, the one I found slightly troubling (and peculiar) was this from Andrew Wilson on Twitter -

"In his reaction to his failure to pass vetting Mr Craig Murray demonstrates why his candidacy was impossible. Old story."

Why is a decision that Craig Murray only found out about on Christmas Eve (ie. four days ago) an "old story"?

*  *  *

Congratulations to Bruce Anderson on having penned one of the top seventy most barking mad articles to appear in the Telegraph since the referendum - that's one of the toughest accolades to attain in journalism.  Here are a couple of particular highlights...

"There are no guillotines or concentration camps in Scotland. But even though most Nats have never heard of Rousseau, they are his disciples, behaving as if anyone who does not share their version of Scottishness is not a proper Scot."

You know, it's odd that you should say that, Bruce, because I was told by your fellow Brit Nats that I am "not a true Scot" due to the fact that I have Irish and French-Canadian ancestry, and that I don't believe in the most glorious political union in the history of the known universe (as presumably any "true-blooded" Scot would).  Any thoughts?

"The Scottish Highlands are a symphony of sea and loch and river, of moor and rock and mountain. It is as if a divine alchemist had transmuted grandeur into landscape – a landscape which nourishes splendid human beings...That said, nature costs money.   It has always been easy to make a small fortune in the Highlands. You just have to start out with a large one."

Ah, the Tory answer to the American Dream! Absolutely anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps in the Highlands, just so long as they have the odd half-billion to spare...

48 comments:

  1. The irony is, of course, that the intentionally extreme hypothetical question asked of the SNP's prospective candidates implicitly presupposed that Labour would insist upon retaining the bedroom tax in negotiations with the SNP. There's no other way of making sense of the question, because the SNP have absolutely, explicitly, unambiguously, categorically ruled out doing a deal with the Tories under any circumstances whatsoever.

    But Labour have absolutely, explicitly etc said they'll repeal the Bedroom Tax. After making such a song and dance about it, it's hard to imagine that they would u-turn to such an extent that they would actually make its retention a red-line issue in a coalition agreement. So the question already presupposes that either Labour or the SNP are willing to break their promises.

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    1. "But Labour have absolutely, explicitly etc said they'll repeal the Bedroom Tax."

      After the year it took Miliband to make up his mind whether he liked the Bedroom Tax or not, you mean?

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    2. Labour introduced the bedroom tax. It was a main policy of theirs. Tories just expanded it to social housing as a 'natural step'.

      Are we looking at a huge u-turn from Labour? Tories will hammer them for that.

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  2. Do Labour supporters seriously believe SNP policy is created at each and every selection process? It would be too good to be true if they did.

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  3. I will trust Alex Salmond to do what is best for Scotland. If the SNP exhume Thatcher and do a deal with her that delivers my country independence , then I'm in.

    And I truly hope that Curran loses her seat and that Liebour doesn't let her anywhere near the top of the list for 2016, so I never have to hear or see her greetin face again. Gae her a seat in the Lords to milk and gae us peace!

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  4. A national Coalition of Lab+Con will depend on how things shake down after May 2015 With results something like +++SNP, +Plaid Cymru, ++ UKIP, =DUP, =SF ---LibDems, I would expect to see it on the cards
    regards to all
    Ben Madigan

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  5. A 'Grand Coalition' of Labour and the Tories, whilst very very very very very unlikely to ever occur could be the dream scenario for the SNP. Can you imagine the SNP as the third biggest party sitting on the shadow benches?

    Oh ya fcuker!

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    1. actually I realised I had made a mistake in the term I used as soon as I posted but there's no edit button after pressing the publish button!
      I should have written "National Government" which usually refers primarily to the governments of Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain which held office from 1931 until 1940. Again a time of economic hardship, war etc

      Ben

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  6. James, who had the cheek to call you ''not true a Scot''. What a joke! You're more of a Scot than Tartan trewser wearing 'proud Scot buts'.

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    1. That was pretty appalling. Unfortunately you get arsewipes in all walks of life and of all political persuasions.

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    2. "James, who had the cheek to call you ''not true a Scot''."

      It was "Moniker of Monza", who posts on Political Betting. As far as I can gather, he takes the view that "Scottish" is an ethnic identity rather than a national identity. So coming from "immigrant stock" I'm entitled to call myself British but not Scottish.

      There were two or three other PB Tories who said very similar things. One of them was "JackW", who is reputed to have been a relatively senior figure in the Thatcher/Major government. People who attend the PB get-togethers in London always snigger among themselves when the subject comes up, because they're in on the secret of his identity. Whoever he is, he owns land in Scotland (as is the Tory way), so doubtless he would approve of Bruce Anderson's vision of the "Highland Dream".

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  7. On Craig Murray. I wonder if Andrew Wilson has seen similar reactions from unsuitable candidates in the past. Now that would be an old story.

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  8. wee jock poo-pong mcplopDecember 28, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    @Kevin: good point, my experience is that you can never trust anyone wearing a bow tie or Tartan Trews.

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  9. I can't read anything by Bruce Anderson without recalling that anecdote in Private Eye about him shitting his bed at Tory conference and leaving the maid to clean it up.

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  10. Of the comments from senior SNP people about the Craig Murray story, the one I found slightly troubling (and peculiar) was this from Andrew Wilson on Twitter -

    "In his reaction to his failure to pass vetting Mr Craig Murray demonstrates why his candidacy was impossible. Old story."

    Why is a decision that Craig Murray only found out about on Christmas Eve (ie. four days ago) an "old story"?


    I think you're over-interpreting this, James. As bjsalba said, it's highly likely this scenario is not new. Rejected candidate doesn't suck it up and enquire politely how he might improve his performance next time, but instead writes letters to the papers lambasting his unfair treatment by the biassed selection process. I'd be astonished if this was the first time in 80 years!

    There's also the point that much of Craig Murray's writings demonstrate his poor skills in handling criticism or rejection. In that sense it could well be seen as predictable.

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  11. The irony is, of course, that the intentionally extreme hypothetical question asked of the SNP's prospective candidates implicitly presupposed that Labour would insist upon retaining the bedroom tax in negotiations with the SNP. There's no other way of making sense of the question....

    The real irony is that some sort of conversation about possible ways this situation might arise, and possible reasons the SNP group as a whole might feel a vote in favour of the bedroom tax was something they should do, is exactly what the question was supposed to elicit. A flat outraged "no" would have been a poor answer, but I suspect a knee-jerk "yes" indicating blind loyalty without any reservations might not have been too well received either.

    Also, we only have Murray's opinion that he was failed on that question. I don't think an otherwise promising candidate is ever failed on a single question. Conversely, just about everything in Murray's writings and CV scream "problems working in a team, and problems deferring to someone else as leader."

    Going public on a blog post handing a shed-load of ammunition to unionist politicians and journalists is about the worst possible reaction. I think he should resign, it's the only honourable thing to do after the contempt he showed yesterday for the party. It's also the only way to what he really should be doing if he wants to be an MP, and that is standing as an independent candidate. If he doesn't, I wouldn't be surprised if the party starts moving to expel him.

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    1. If they expel him, it would be a totally unnecessary self-inflicted wound. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this are, the fact remains that a significant chunk of the pro-independence movement take the view that Craig Murray has been treated unfairly. There are lots of people who would be absolutely disgusted if punitive action is taken against him, and it would confirm their lurking suspicions that the SNP is not an inclusive party. There's simply no need to do it.

      I hope he doesn't resign either, although obviously that can only be a personal decision.

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    2. Well, we'll just have to see what happens. I assumed he was intending to resign, given the tenor of that blog post. I don't see how anyone can honourably continue in membership of a party they hold in such contempt. If he doesn't, I wouldn't be surprised if the party hierarchy decides to go in that direction. I haven't read the details of the rules, but if I'd written that, I'd expect to be expelled from the party I have to say.

      I don't think the chunk of the independence movement who are concerned about this is as big as you think it is. One problem is that many of his fans are very vocal, and anyone who expressed an opinion that Murray wasn't the blue-eyed boy but rather a potential liability was shouted down and subjected to dog's abuse. It's only in the last day or two that more have come out and said they agree with the decision.

      You said you were following his quest to become a candidate. Does it not strike you that this is a problem? People do not usually announce their intention to go up for candidate vetting publicly. They may only tell a few close friends and local officials in the party. People fail all the time. Natalie McGarry revealed that she'd failed twice in the past. Better not to make a song and dance about it until you've passed.

      Craid Murray seemed to think it was a formality. He displayed an enormous sense of entitlement. He was paraded by the Scotsman as a prospective candidate a couple of weeks ago, with his co-operation, with his comment about "waiting to hear the result of his vetting" implying that this was a foregone conclusion.

      It's not about fairness. Nobody has any right to be accepted as a candidate. It's about the SNP selecting the people it believes can form part of the party's Westminster group for 2015-20. Craig Murray was an unsuitable candidate and he didn't get the job. It happens all the time.

      We only have his opinion of why he was rejected. I don't think he has a lot of self-awareness, and I don't think he's the best judge. Of course he thinks he's been treated unfairly. However, if people can't see that he would have been an utter disaster as a candidate and the committee made the right call, I'm afraid there's nothing to be done.

      Jings, if Gerry Fisher hasn't been chucked out by now, with his decades-long record of bolshy opposition to the leadership, I don't think anyone can accuse the SNP of not being inclusive. But there comes a point when a member publicly trashes the party when it can't really be ignored.

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    3. If Craig Murray has been publicly trashing the party, when did he start doing it? Yesterday? I think we have to keep a sense of perspective here. Think how damning Tony Benn was of New Labour for year after year (rightly so) and yet wasn't expelled. Surely the SNP shouldn't be aiming to be more draconian than the Blairites.

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  12. Yes, it's yesterday's comments I'm talking about. The situation is very different from Benn of course. Benn was already an MP of long standing and something of an eminence grise within the party. For a candidate who has just had his first application to go on the approved candidates' list rejected to behave like that, it's something else.

    I assumed the blog post was a rather lengthy resignation letter. How can anyone go on as a member after saying such things, in these circumstances? The honourable thing to do now is to resign, and probably to stand as an independent, which he's much better suited to doing. (If he joined the party in order to secure a Westminster or Holyrood seat, he must now realise that will never happen, so resignation would also be the rational move.)

    If he doesn't resign, it's up to the SNP hierarchy to decide what to do. My instinct is they may now see this as a boil that is better lanced quickly than allowed to continue through the election campaign. Some people are just better outside the tent, even if they are pissing in. I could be entirely wrong though, it's just my reading of the situation. We'll have to wait and see.

    I certainly won't think any the less of the SNP if they do decide to expel him. The party doesn't owe any member a living, no matter what their claim to fame (or infamy) is in the wider world, or how many groupies they have.

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  13. 5 or 6 posts on the one thread on one blog calling on CM to resign Rolfe, perhaps just a wee bit obsessive?

    " He was paraded by the Scotsman as a prospective candidate a couple of weeks ago, with his co-operation,"

    I think the appropriate point here is that CM isn't just another prospective candidate, he has a unique personal story to tell about how British Foreign Policy and the last Labour government worked, and so would have been (IMO) a very powerful voice in parliament on those issues. His selection in a winnable seat would have been a big story. I take the point that others have made about volatility, his comments re: no voters and so on, but frankly wish the SNP had decided to take the chance. It's distinctive stance on British foreign policy (anti-Trident, anti-war, tried to impeach Blair) is one of its main points of differentiation with the mainstream parties.

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  14. "CM isn't just another prospective candidate, he has a unique personal story to tell"

    Absolutely, and the other point is that people are perfectly entitled to their own view as to how a central vetting procedure should work in a party that regards itself as having a thriving internal democracy. There's a reasonable argument that it should be a minimalist process that only weeds out candidates who are totally unsuitable, and that in all other cases the local associations should make the decision themselves. For example, if it's true that Natalie McGarry was rejected twice in the past, I can only assume that was because the committee decided she was not quite ready yet. Isn't that something a local association could be trusted to decide for itself? It plainly isn't the case that she was ever totally unsuitable for elected office, so why should a vetting committee be placing an absolute bar on someone like her?

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    1. Interesting stuff, I know for a fact that two other high profile proposed candidates have been turned down after appeal. These two aren't throwing their toys out of the pram though and are instead taking it on the chin.

      There is something wrong with the selection process however, as James points out, it should be there to weed out the absolute nutters and it should be left for the 'cream to rise to the top' in their respective branch meetings and win the support of the members, not there to seek out the next Alex Salmond.

      Craig is of course, entitled to his view, but airing dirty laundry in public is never pretty, maybe he hopes to exert influence on them by doing this, who knows.

      The ongoing Morag/Rolfe v Craig Murray stuff is pathetic and I'd urge both parties to stop having a pop at each other, it's pretty boring and most folk couldn't give a fuck about it. It takes up space and detracts from both characters who are a credit (in the main) to the independence movement.

      If you are reading this Craig, stick with the SNP, it's an entirely new party and changes will take place which reflect the sheer size and scale of it. Don't be put off by the various dinosaurs still living there, no political party is perfect and I'd urge you to stop being naive about it, the SNP are a political party and it was a fair question to ask of you. Flat out refusing is naive as it doesn't reflect what actually happens on decisions such as this, arguing for a deal in your consitutuency in order for your vote is the way to go, rather than going against the party line.

      I.e. They owe you one. They want to avoid another situation that happened with the two guys leaving due to NATO policy.

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  15. I'm not calling on Murray to resign, I'm remarking that I don't see how he ever intended, in honour, to continue as a party member after trashing the party on a public blog on Saturday. If he doesn't, then we'll just have to see how the SNP responds.

    James and others have said that in their view the candidate vetting should let through anyone who isn't an obvious gross liability. In my view Murray is an obvious gross liability, and I think the party agrees with me on that. But leaving that aside, that's a misconception of how the process actually works.

    The one-member-one-vote selection process is a bit of a hostage to fortune, especially with the huge number of new members. Members are all sent a ballot paper, to their homes, by post, to return by post. The party has no control over who gets the majority other than by ensuring that only completely suitable candidates are in the running in the first place. A popular and populist maverick could be a nightmare in that situation.

    The simple reality is that the selection process is far more rigorous than just weeding out "obvious nutters". It's not just about overall potential suitability to be a candidate, successful applicants have to demonstrate a comprehensive and in-depth familiarity with party policies in all areas, and also to show that they understand how the Westminster (and Holyrood) systems work, the committees and the votes and the procedures and where the SNP fits into it all and where they will be expected to fit in if they become SNP MPs or MSPs.

    A potentially good applicant may easily fail by failing to do their homework on all this. I'm impressed by the number of people who have managed to pass, actually, and that shows that it's possible and the method works. If someone thinks they can swan in on potential and hasn't done their homework, well they'll discover their mistake and have the chance to have another go at a future election.

    Some of the reason for this is that according to the history books the SNP came a bit of a cropper in the 1970s because some of the 11 MPs elected in 1974 weren't up to it. Mostly, though, it's because the SNP members get such a tough ride in the Commons that only the very best and most meticulously prepared can be trusted to cope with it.

    So it really doesn't matter who thinks the system should be different, that's the way it is, and certainly Murray isn't going to be treated as a special snowflake.

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    1. I could give a personal anecdote in this department. I applied to be a candidate in the 2012 council elections, bcause at the time our local councillor was talking about retiring and he twisted my arm to put my name forward. I didn't realise that the detailed knowledge of procedure had to be demonstrated at the time of the selection process, I thought it was more of a general suitability interview. Not only that, my mother (who was living with me) had just died, and I wasn't in any state to do my homework. I fell down badly on my knowledge of council procedure, and didn't get through.

      It didn't matter, because the sitting councillor had by then decided to go on for another term anyway. I got a polite email telling me where my deficiencies were, and assuring me that many people who had served with distinction as elected memebrs for the SNP hadn't got through their first shot at the selection process. Of course I girned a bit to the branch convener and some friends, but I could see where they were coming from.

      Then in 2013 there was a resignation in the council, in my ward, and I suddenly found myself receiving emails from within the local branch telling me to get myself through the vetting like, NOW please. I did the homework. It wasn't difficult, as most of the stuff was on the council's own web site. In addition our sitting councillor took more time to explain his duties to me, and took me to the council offices to meet the rest of the SNP group, who were lovely.

      I wasn't even asked most of it at my second vetting. I think they knew perfectly well that I'd learned the necessary stuff by then. I girned a bit more, privately, saying that if they'd passed me the first time there would have been no need for the emergency vetting for the by-election, but you know what? They were quite right.

      Thankfully I didn't actually win the by-election - it was never on the cards in our ward. A Tory resigned and another Tory got in, with a swing from the LibDems. But it gave me an interesting insight into the selection procedures.

      And it doesn't really matter whether I or anyone else agrees with the procedures, that's the way they are, and I can absolutely see why.

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    2. I've recently done it, actually, and it isn't that rigorous and featured a couple of failed candidates as well as one who was burning the copy of the smith commission. So I think you should take that under advisement.

      The policies change, whether people agree with them is here nor there, apart from independence of course.

      You'll find that no one agrees with everything the SNP advocates...unless they are showing blind faith of course. The ability to see different arguments is one that the SNP should encourage, I think however since 2007 where all MSP's had to stick together and back each other up, we've seen slavish party loyalty that is leading to the situation at present, where anyone not agreeing with something is thrown out, regardless of their talent it's quite frankly, a joke.

      Also, your slave to good fortune, that's democracy I'm afraid. I'd point out that those going for selection aren't necessarily going for the upcoming election. And you don't usually get grilled on the finer points of council policies or laws.....not only that, but someone who has been sitting on the approved register of candidates since 19oatcake can go to be a candidate, yet have no clue about local issues as well as perhaps being passed when SNP policies were slightly less socially democratic....so being passed vetting means nothing in this situation.

      Like I've said above, the party NEEDS to change.

      P.s. I passed. So hold no ill will, but I know others failed, people that shouldn't.

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    3. Sorry, should point out that the failed candidates and the one of the ones who burned the vow, were approved assessors of the candidates...

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    4. It would be helpful to the discussion to post at least one example of Morag's supposedly abusive behaviour. I was involved in a couple of these discussions and didn't notice her saying anything which could be described that way, though she was sometimes invited to "shut up" by other posters.

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    5. Welp, I posted that on the wrong thread.

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  16. I want to say something about this alleged "spat" between me and Craig Murray. It's a spat that should never have been.

    I posted on Wings that I didn't think Murray was a suitable person to be an SNP candidate, as my personal opinion in the light of what I knew of the man through his public utterances. (It is now crystal clear that the SNP agrees with me on this.) I was subjected to a barrage of personal abuse for this, some of it extremely unpleasant. Not only that, someone from the Wings discussion obviously went to Craig Murray and told him I was criticising him on Wings.

    A mature, level-headed candidate for selection would have ignored what anyone was saying about him BTL on a blog. Murray didn't. He signed up to Wings to berate me for criticising him, constantly asking for "evidence" for my "allegations" and otherwise misrepresenting what I'd said. (The same thing happened here in the previous thread.)

    When someone goes public as a wannabe candidate before they've passed the vetting procedure, they're opening themselves up to comment, and not all that comment will necessarily be favourable. They have to deal with this in a mature manner, and running to blog comments pages to pick a fight with the person who has criticised them is not that.

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  17. I think the appropriate point here is that CM isn't just another prospective candidate, he has a unique personal story to tell about how British Foreign Policy and the last Labour government worked, and so would have been (IMO) a very powerful voice in parliament on those issues. His selection in a winnable seat would have been a big story. I take the point that others have made about volatility, his comments re: no voters and so on, but frankly wish the SNP had decided to take the chance. It's distinctive stance on British foreign policy (anti-Trident, anti-war, tried to impeach Blair) is one of its main points of differentiation with the mainstream parties.

    Craig Murray thought he was a special snowflake who should get special treatment to wave him in as a candidate. He wanted to be in Westminster, in my opinion, for precisely that reason. To use parliamentary privilege as a platform to pursue his agenda against the last Labour government and the British state.

    This is not what the SNP is about. The SNP is about Scotland, and achieving the best possible constitutional settlement for Scotland. Having an MP with his own, conflicting agenda is not going to help.

    If Murray wants to pursue that agenda in Westminster, he either has to find a party for whom that agenda is a priority (if there is such a thing, which I don't think there is), or stand as an independent. He should not be using the SNP as a vehicle to finance and facilitate this agenda. It may well be a good and worthy agenda, but it's not the SNP's primary business.

    The SNP selection committee obviously felt that his special snowflake pretensions didn't weigh against his loose cannon potential. His insulting remarks about No voters, his lack of ability to work as part of a team and to subordinate his own agenda to the needs of the group, his inflammatory blog full of intemperate and sometimes erroneous articles (demonstrating some pretty poor judgement), and his lurid past which makes him a prominent target for any journalist wanting to smear the SNP.

    These were the reasons I thought he would be a disaster as a candidate. The 2015-20 parliament is going to require the most stringent discipline from everyone elected to represent the SNP, and Murray never looked like a possibility in that department.

    I think he needs to look at finding a suitable seat to stand as an independent.

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  18. "Members are all sent a ballot paper, to their homes, by post, to return by post. The party has no control over who gets the majority..."

    That's interesting. Who exactly is 'the party?' Is it someone different from the members who are doing the voting?

    " To use parliamentary privilege as a platform to pursue his agenda against the last Labour government and the British state.

    This is not what the SNP is about. "


    Well, I'm not a member of the SNP so it's not up to me to say what they are really 'about' but as I said before I would have thought that the party's take on foreign policy was pretty central to its worldview. Certainly that was the case for the two MSPs who resigned over the NATO decision.

    For many Yes voters, independence wasn't a goal in and of itself. It's about exactly HOW an independent Scotland would be *different* to the status quo.

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    1. In that context, "the party" is the National Executive Committee. The leadership, if you like. Nobody high up in the party hierarchy can possibly promise a constituency candidacy to anyone. Once people are on the list of approved candidates it is entirely up to the ordinary members.

      The NEC can't even control who is nominated for a constituency. That's done by the branches within the constituency, full of ordinary members. At our last branch meeting, although we nominated one of our number unanimously, it was made clear to us that if anyone wanted to nominate anyone else on the approved list, all they had to do was get that person's agreement, and any ten SNP members living within the constituency to sign the nomination.

      That's what makes Craig Murray's nonsense about people favoured within the party having been "promised" certain seats so dishonest. Surely to God he was aware of the actual process through which he himself hoped to become a candidate? Of course it's possible to block a grossly unsuitable applicant from getting on the approved list - that's what the selection process is all about. It's not possible to deliver a constituency to any particular person who is on the approved list.

      The SNP's take on foreign policy is of course important. However, the SNP is not in the business of bringing Tony Blair to trial for war crimes. Having one maverick MP whose mission in life is to do just that could fatally compromise the party's effectiveness.

      If Craig Murray wants a Westminster seat to pursue his agenda against Tony Blair and the last Labour government, he needs to find a constituency where he can stand as an independent.

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  19. @Rolfe

    You were posting things on Wings about Craig Murray long before the selection issue, and a lot of it was very personal and abusive. As it happens, I don't think Craig Murray would be a good candidate for the SNP, given his comments about No voters, and his posting things regarding the selection process on his blog.

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    1. Links, please.

      A great many personal and abusive things have been said about me on Wings, including one choice comment about me "spewing shit from all orifices". Perhaps you could quote the "personal and abusive" things you accuse me of saying. Anything to match that one?

      I remember challenging the claim that there had been manipulation of the postal vote in the Rotherham by-election, which originated from Murray on his blog. That was the first time someone ran to him and told him a poster on Wings was disagreeing with him. He promptly showed up and tried to impose his interpretation of events by his usual means of asserting that he was right, but eventually had to back down and admit he had no evidence for what he was claiming.

      Other than that, I don't recall anything beyond my remarking that I thought he was an unsuitable candidate to be an SNP MP, with reasons that have all been articulated multiple times by other people. That goes back some time of course, because he himself has been promoting his assumed candidacy for a while and people have been commenting on it.

      Now, I may have said that he never met a conspiracy theory he didn't like. I may have remarked that his lurid past was a hostage to fortune, given that muck-raking journalists would be digging for anything they could find. Someone who has been smeared once can always be smeared again, simply by re-reporting the original "alleged" scandals. I may have questioned his judgement, as evidenced by many of the posts on his blog. I certainly described him as a loose cannon, and not a team player.

      If you think that's "personal and abusive", then I have to say you have a low threshhold. What's your response to the abusive posts that have been made against me, I wonder?

      If there's something else you have in mind, a link would be nice. You see, I find that people (including Murray himself) have been saying that I posted personal and abusive things about him on Wings, and others take their cue from this and repeat it. But nobody has actually said what these personal and abusive things consisted of.

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  20. @Rolfe

    Your abusive remarks about Craig Murray on Wings are well known, and go back much further than a few weeks. You know that as well as anybody. I am not going to waste my time going through so many threads on Wings, as I know they are there, and there have been so many posts in the last few years because of the referendum. However, they are there and people from Wings know all about them. In fact, they became so vituperative that Craig Murray himself felt the need to post on Wings asking you about them. This happened well before the referendum, and well before the issues over his candidacy. Trying to deny that they were not personal and abusive is pathetic.

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    1. That is a complete misrepresentation of what happened. (And the Rotherham by-election was in 2012, so who said anything about a few weeks?)

      If you will not back up your allegations with links to a number of these supposedly "well known abusive remarks", which you claim there are "a lot" of, I will consider your allegations withdrawn. Posting falsehoods then weaselling out of backing them up is a common nasty trick on the internet. I thought you were above that, but clearly I was wrong.

      I can link to the post about shit coming from my orifices if you like. In fact here you are. http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-inconvenient-truths/comment-page-1/#comment-1938155 Maybe you agree with Sanymac of course, so you don't criticise his abuse of me.

      Can you find anything even remotely comparable to that in the things I have written about Craig Murray? Or what? I would like to know just what constitutes "personal and abusive" in your book, when you're so free in accusing me.

      Delete
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  22. Muttley79,
    it's not worth it. Rolfe is blind to her pre occupation. Best to leave her to it. If nobody discusses this subject any longer, her monologue of posts will speak for themselves. Seems an inexplicable blind spot but quite ugly never the less.

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  23. @Anonymous

    I know. Rolfe must know the truth, anybody reading the comments on Wings over the last few years knows the strength of her feelings against Craig Murray. I think you are right. James does not need his blog filled up with these kind of posts. I don't take withdraw what I have said because I know it to be correct, but this is my last post on the subject.

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    1. More baseless, unsupported assertion. You're peddling a myth, Muttley. Words are easy. You accuse me of posting "a lot" of "personal and abusive" things about Craig Murray. You're either completely misremembering or misrepresenting what I actually said, or you're blindly parroting the line others (including Murray of course) like to spin.

      I linked directly to an abusive comment made about me. Why can you not link even to one of these allegedly numerous personal and abusive comments you're so sure I've made? I mean, you said there were "a lot". Plenty to choose from?

      I don't really have any strong feelings about Craig Murray. I find him mildly irritating, as I find most conspiracy theorists. I was also irritated by his jumping on the SNP bandwagon back in 2011. No more than that. Of course, when a group of his fanboys was bigging him up as a candidate for the SNP, I was going to say something, wasn't I? It kind of escalated from there, as some of these fanboys can't abide any criticism of their idol.

      Claiming that you "know" you're correct doesn't cut it. You've made a fairly serious allegation against me that you've been completely unable to back up. Can't you even remember a couple of these "personal and abusive" terms I've used against Craig Murray? If they were so terrible, surely one or two of them must have stuck in your mind, as the "spewing shit from all orifices" one did in mine. Can you not even hazard something from memory, and we can see if there's any example of it to be found using a search engine?

      If not, I'll take it that you're blowing smoke.

      Delete
    2. Still nothing? I think you "know" the truth, and that is that if you posted any of my comments about Craig Murray, the very notion of my words being described as "personal and abusive" would be risible. Legitimate criticism of a controversial figure who chose to put himself in the public spotlight, yes. Personal and abusive, no.

      Delete
    3. It would be helpful to the discussion to post at least one example of Morag's supposedly abusive behaviour. I was involved in a couple of these discussions and didn't notice her saying anything which could be described that way, though she was sometimes invited to "shut up" by other posters.

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    4. Craig Murray's fanbase, and Craig Murray himself, have frequently accused me of being "abusive", "vituperative" and "personal" against him. They have done it so often that others begin to repeat it as if it's something they know to be true.

      It's a downright lie. I have criticised his suitability to be a Westminster candidate for the SNP, and it seems my reservations are shared by the party. I also criticised his conspiracy theory about vote-rigging at Rochester, which he had to admit he had no evidence to support. I have criticised one or two other misleading blog posts of his as well.

      It seems it's OK to abuse me in the most vile personal terms, but my measured and reasonable criticism of a public person who is putting himself forward for elected office is deemed "vituperative".

      Delete
  24. Rolfe, I'm a regular visitor to this site of Kelly's. I like it. There's a lot to learn on Scotland's future and how to get there. I don't usually post as I live abroad and although I am a strong believer in Independence for Scotland there's not much I can do out where I am (except to try mildly to correct the stubborn views of certain expat Scots out here!).

    So, please, could you please bin it on the Craig Murray saga? You are taking up too many column inches for what is finally not such a big deal compared with the magnitude of what we are trying to achieve for Scotland.

    (Disclosure: I like and admire Craig Murray for his forthrightness and for standing up to a deeply corrupted British Establishment. I read his blog regularly. I was initially inclined to agree with him that he had been badly treated. But on reflection, he is not SNP MP material. He is not a team player. What convinced me of this was a piece written by an interesting young lady called Missy (http://misssymartin.blogspot.com/p/besoms-and-blethers.html) who has also been through the process.. )

    Rolfe, we mostly agree with you so just quit while you are ahead! let's talk of other matters!

    Best rgds, LAB.

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    Replies
    1. Gillian Martin's article is excellent.

      The subject will die the death, and probably quite soon. I'd quite like to talk about other things too, but I've been quite badly traduced on this issue and is it any wonder I reply when someone like Muttley (whom I normally respect a great deal) comes in again with baseless lies against me, repeating false accusations about what I said on Wings?

      Delete
  25. Poor me. Poor, poor me (and that's why I continue to act like a spiteful child)!

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