Monday, December 15, 2014

Perhaps we should give Treasury civil servant Mario Pisani something to cry about properly?

You've probably already seen it on Newsnet Scotland, but this is nothing short of astonishing.  A team of civil servants in the London Treasury was last month given a special Civil Service Award for running a propaganda campaign in the run-up to the referendum that was designed to terrorise the electorate into voting No.  In their acceptance remarks, the team openly expressed pride for doing something that was, by their own admission, very close to being inappropriate.  They were also entirely shameless in setting themselves up as personal enemies to half the population of Scotland, as opposed to defining themselves as public servants who were dispassionately following instructions from politicians.

Mario Pisani : “In the Treasury, everyone hates you. We don't get thanks for anything. This is one occasion where we've worked with the rest of Whitehall.

We all had something in common, we're trying to save the Union here, and it came so close. We just kept it by the skin of our teeth. I actually cried when the result came in. After 10 years in the civil service, my proudest moment is tonight and receiving this award.

As civil servants you don't get involved in politics. For the first time in my life, suddenly we're part of a political campaign. We were doing everything from the analysis, to the advertising, to the communications. I just felt a massive sense of being part of the operation. This being recognised [at the Civil Service Awards], makes me feel just incredibly proud."

Shannon Cochrane : “we've learned that it is possible for civil servants to work on things that are inherently political and quite difficult, and you're very close to the line of what is appropriate, but it's possible to find your way through and to make a difference.”

Paul Doyle : “This award is not just for the Treasury, it's for all the hard work that was done by all government departments on the Scotland agenda.

The reality was in all my experience of the civil service, I have never seen the civil service pull together in the way they did behind supporting the UK government in maintaining the United Kingdom. It was a very special event for all of us.”

I know there are many readers of this blog who would be completely opposed to the SNP becoming part of a full coalition at Westminster after the general election, but let me ask you this - isn't there some appeal in the idea that within just five months, the proudly anti-independence Mario Pisani could be required to follow direct instructions from an SNP minister at the Treasury? By the sounds of things, that's a development that really would make him "actually cry".

*  *  *

The ever-reliable George Eaton has kept the laughs coming - he's claimed that Jim Murphy's Clause IV wheeze exhibits "the kind of imagination and creativity that will be required in the months ahead". Imagination? Really? Frankly, I'm struggling to think of anything LESS imaginative than a Blairite politician saying to himself : "Now, I need my own Clause IV moment, just like Tony. What could it possibly be? Wait, I know, why don't I rewrite Clause IV?"

The current abomination of a Clause IV as dreamt up by Blair starts promisingly enough by stating "The Labour party is a democratic socialist party", but then goes on to explain why the Labour party is not in fact a democratic socialist party. For my money, a new constitution needn't be longer than about twenty words to meet Jackanory Jim's specifications -

"The Labour party is a Democratic Socialist But party, and a Proud Scots But party. We love Irn-Bru."

26 comments:

  1. It's mindboggling how open the Civil Service was about its involvement, all while the No camp constantly laid into Peter Housden for "going native".

    In other news, Murphy said this:

    "Any seat that the SNP tries to win from Labour increases the chance of David Cameron having an overall majority and I’m determined that won’t happen."

    Surely it would take a moment's consideration of the most basic arithmetic to realise this is complete bollocks? Is he innumerate, or lying? What do we think?

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    Replies
    1. Sounds good though. There's plenty of mileage in "Vote SNP, get Tory" or words to that effect.

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    2. Hmmm. There's also lots of mileage in "you voted Labour last time, and got Tory. Don't make the same mistake again." That also has the virtue of actually being true.

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    3. Maybe, but you've gotta work with what you've got. It helps that many people out there have very short memories.

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    4. What's more is that 2010 was in fact when the 'oh god oh god I need to stop the Tories' vote reached its pinnacle. SNP lost >10% of it's 2009 vote direct to Labour and the Libs starting ~1 year out to go from just behind Labour, to well behind by late 2009. More if you include those that were still Labour / Lib leaning but increasingly tempted by SNP.

      We saw the result of this disastrous tactical failure in 2011. How else do people think such a huge swing took place within a year? It was already brewing in 2009.

      SNP have been ahead since 2011 for Westminster. More narrowly, but still ahead. The softer SNP newbies in 2011 now back indy and are solid SNP.

      Also, statistically, if you look at previous elections, the higher the SNP vote in Scotland, the lower the Tory vote UK-wide. The higher the Labour vote in Scotland, the higher the Tory UK vote. If you want Labour in Westminster instead of the Tories, SNP is your best statistical bet.

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    5. "SNP have been ahead since 2011 for Westminster. More narrowly, but still ahead. The softer SNP newbies in 2011 now back indy and are solid SNP."

      No argument there, I've always been pretty clear that I expect a strong SNP performance even for their worst case scenario.

      "Also, statistically, if you look at previous elections, the higher the SNP vote in Scotland, the lower the Tory vote UK-wide. The higher the Labour vote in Scotland, the higher the Tory UK vote. If you want Labour in Westminster instead of the Tories, SNP is your best statistical bet."

      A bit of a stretch there. Just because previous strong SNP showings have coincided with weak Tory performances doesn't mean that one leads to the other. Correlation doesn't prove cause and effect.

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    6. "A bit of a stretch there. Just because previous strong SNP showings have coincided with weak Tory performances doesn't mean that one leads to the other. Correlation doesn't prove cause and effect."

      A better way to put it might be that Labour has never failed to form a UK government as a result of the SNP winning too many seats, yet the danger of this is Labour's core message in every Westminster election. Hell, they even sort of tried it at the last Holyrood one.

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    7. Correlation doesn't prove cause and effect.

      Sure, like how voting Labour normally gives us the Tories. Doesn't matter what we vote here if it's unionist. SNP can and will block Westminster policies. If they stand for devo max they have a mandate for that so can do so. Even start transferring control of taxes and stuff if they want.

      Labour politicians, as unionists, will consent to legislation they voted against still being implemented in Scotland. That's how the union works; by the consent of Scottish unionist MPs.

      Scotland would be in a much strong position if it elected MPs on a devo max mandate, e.g. SNP. Consent withdrawn for all but FA&D.

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  2. Stoat: well, it relies on voters being too dim to think about it even briefly, which seems a needless risk. Would it not be sensible to restrict your lies to ones that can't actually be disproven a priori?

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    1. Who's going to disprove it? The media? They'll merrily regurgitate whatever Murphy says without question. "Vote SNP, get Tory" might sound stupid to you but it's a nice easy soundbite for everyone to chew on.

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    2. Stoat, do you think that those who voted Labour and Lib in 2010 have forgotten what that delivered? Somehow I can't imagine that given they are feeling what it delivered every day, whether they're worried about mortgage payments or down the food bank. Certainly, when you ask them what they id in 2011 and 2010 they're extremely honest about the former, but lie about the latter, such is their shame.

      It's why polls look like they do and we are looking at massive surge in turnout in Scotland compared to past GEs.

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    3. I wasn't objecting to the general message of "vote SNP, get Tory" so much as Murphy's specific claim that the outcome of Labour/SNP battlegrounds would affect the number of seats the Tories get. My point is that it doesn't need the media to disprove it, because it's self-evidently false. No additional external information required.

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    4. Luckily, "vote Labour, get Tory" contains even fewer syllables.

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    5. keaton:

      "Murphy's specific claim that the outcome of Labour/SNP battlegrounds would affect the number of seats the Tories get. My point is that it doesn't need the media to disprove it, because it's self-evidently false."

      Self-evidently false to you, maybe.

      James:

      "Luckily, "vote Labour, get Tory" contains even fewer syllables."

      Hmmm, good point there. Still, Murphy has the advantage of a largely sycophantic media willing to do his bidding.

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    6. largely sycophantic media willing to do his bidding.

      Like 2011 you mean?

      The same media that help BT go from a very comfortable lead of up to 65% No / 35% yes to nearly losing the referendum?

      The same media that's busy slaughtering hapless English 'Jerusalem - respect' Ed?

      After all, it's English Ed people would be voting for in May, not Jim. Jim can have a go at policies for Scotland, but his views don't matter a jot to Ed.

      As unionist like to say, 'Scots understand the difference between Scottish and UK elections'.

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    7. I suspect the media in Scotland will try to act like Miliband doesn't exist and herald Murphy as some sort of messiah figure with appropriate saturation coverage. Though I agree that it probably won't have a great impact.

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    8. Something beautifully fitting about a party expiring from cynicism, corruption and viciousness turning in its hours of existential terror to a sneering, warmongering, expenses-glutton for salvation. Fitting too that their remaining ground troops should be represented here by someone as cynical as Stoat.

      And to think that only a year ago I still believed these people would be running things forever.

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    9. From what I can gather, Stoat is a non-party ex-Better Together activist, although he's said he may campaign for Labour (or the Tories, or the Liberal Democrats) in a tactical anti-SNP sort of way. He won't tell us why he's opposed to independence, though (private personal reasons), so his reason for doing all of this remains a mystery to both us and anyone he canvasses for support.

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    10. So Stoat's George Galloway with more gloating about MSM brainwashing? Nice.

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  3. So it is confirmed, our tax money was used against us, disgusting.

    jimnarlene

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  4. I may be wrong but I am fairly certain that Scotland did vote labour in 2010 - then got the tories. The simple reality is that labour needs England to stop voting tory if it wants to be the next UK government. Sadly this "one nation labour" party thinks that being a bit more tory is just what the doctor ordered. This kind of puts poor old Scottish labour on the back foot at a time when more people are becoming aware of how little "Scottish" labour matter in the grand scheme of things.

    The other issue is the lack of authority that Murphy actually has. He can't have a clause four moment unless Miliband lets him have one. Since Miliband has pledged to take an axe to public finances, in his latest bid to be worse than Thatcher, I can't really see Miliband letting Murphy derail the "pooling and sharing" narrative they are pushing very hard at the moment.

    The other problem as I stated in an earlier post is that Murphy must rely on Dugdale to effectively challenge the SNP and communicate real policy alternatives. Dugdale cannot do this without the say so from Murphy and Murphy can't greenlight anything without obtaining approval from Miliband. So what we can expect from Dugdale is her basically channeling the ghost of Lamont, as she lashes out an incoherent, hate filled stew at anything the SNP try to do. Without a narrative of what labour would do differently in Scotland, they are not giving the electorate a reason to vote for them in 2015 let alone for Holyrood in 2016, neither of which bodes well for Murphy. Since the narrative you have at the moment with labour, is Miliband and his desire to actually be "worse" than Thatcher, then party that has dined out on "vote for us, keep out the tory" for so long is going to have something of a mental breakdown.

    The lie that if Scotland votes labour, the conservative party loses needs to be buried once and for all.

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  5. From what few polls I've seen, Scots don't believe Labour can/will win the next GE - if that is the question rather than VI.

    That doesn't bode well at all for Labour. Why back the failures again? SNP are a far better defence against the Tories. They could and would block Tory/Labour/UKIP right-wing policies being implemented in Scotland if they get an Scots MP majority.

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  6. It's encouraging to see on these threads that "Vote SNP Get Tory" is still all that Labour have in their campaign chest. We've been hearing this chant a hundred times a day for two years now and SNP is still romping ahead, so at least we can be certain the electorate are immune to it now.

    If Labour's plan is to keep this up till May then we have nothing to worry about.

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  7. Stoat's attitude here is quite astonishing. It's basically "the media is on our side so you lot are stuffed, we can say what we want and no-one will challenge it."

    How anyone can delight in this affront to democracy is beyond me. Shame on you.

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  8. Expect the BBC to be even more biased against the SNP because they now know they can get away with anything. They know they have lost forever the chance to provide balance and recover the respect of Yes supporters, so they're going "What the hell. They don't have the nerve to refuse to pay the licence fee which is the only way to really hurt us, so we'll carry on as the union's propaganda unit "

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    ReplyDelete