Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Light a candle for Robert

I was tickled earlier to see the characteristically inventive line of defence that Scottish Labour's one-man online presence Duncan Hothersall was using in an attempt to insulate his party from the Robert McNeill scandal.  He claimed that it wasn't actually true that a Labour politician had urged people to vote for the Tories to keep the SNP out - because McNeill "isn't a politician".  I pointed out that this seemed to be a case of if all else fails, let's redefine the meaning of the word 'politician'.  But then I really started cracking up when Duncan, who is just as senior a Labour official as McNeill, replied by saying "Robert was no more a politician than I am".  I said that I wished I could have seen him attempt to keep a straight face as he wrote those words, and urged him to stop speaking about poor Robert in the past tense.

Duncan was furious by that point, and severely scolded me for my tone of frivolity -

"He's been forced to resign. He is personally very hurt. It's not in the least bit funny. It's very sad."

I have to say that, on reflection, I think Duncan has a good point here.  Although it's true that Robert McNeill has brought this on himself by breaking Labour rules, that doesn't change the fact that he has just suffered an immense personal tragedy.  Being a non-office-holder of East Lothian Labour party is a terrible cross to bear, as those of us similarly afflicted can readily testify.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Robert and his family as he attempts to salvage something from the wreckage of his life.

Altogether now...

Light a candle
Light a candle with me
A thousand candles in the dark
Will open our hearts

36 comments:

  1. Ah Robert, he was the people's princess.

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    1. The people's princess of hearts

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  2. My eyes have all filled up!

    RIP Robert, you were one in a million :-(

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  3. Have you also lit a candle for poor Natalie Bennett, who most definitely is a politician - albeit of the non-elected kind - after her disastrous day?

    One of the less bright commentators on here often likes to refer to 'incompetent fops.' Whlst I concede that she is not a fop, she has demonstrated a level of incompetence that makes even Charles Kennedy's notorious 2005 manifesto launch look like a slick PR event.

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    1. Natalie Bennett is the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, of which I am not a member (the clue's in the name). As it happens, though, I think a lot of people will have been impressed by the way she apologised for her poor performance in that interview - I can't remember Ed Miliband doing something similar after his "these strikes are wrong" meltdown, and nor did David Cameron after he rendered Scottish independence inevitable with his idiotic speech on the morning after the referendum.

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  4. I cannot believe even Duncan Hothersall came out with that nonsense yesterday. Even for him it was a spectacularly stupid thing to say. Any right thinking political party would and should never let the likes of Hothersall anywhere near any position of responsibility. I suppose when you employ the likes of Susan Dalgety, John McTernan, Blair McDougall etc then it all makes perfect sense.

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  5. Aye, let's think of Natalie doing a 'Miliband' as she forgets her lines.

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  6. Israel ESC entry 2002 would be wasted on him I would think. Perhaps the Estonian entry that year, Runaway, would be more appropriate? ;)

    It would be amusing is Australia win on their first outing this year.

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    1. Runaway was my favourite song in 2002, although it was a pity Ines decided against singing it at the last minute.

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  7. It was interesting just how much prominence Natalie Bennett's interview was given in the news - why so? It would certainly have been better for the Greens were the interview to have gone better but, as has been noted, she apologised afterwards and hasn't hidden, so quite brave (in as far as it is right to use 'brave' to describe politicians).

    My own view is that the obsession with presentation and patter is misguided, like the electorate and the media is in effect asking for slick operators to 'con me, con me'. Substance over style any day, thanks, and the day that becomes the general view of the population at large can't come a moment too soon.

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    1. Substance over style any day....

      But has failed disastrously on both. She lacks both style and substance. It is hardly a media witch hunt to be posed questions about your own manifesto commitments. It is fine to criticise the established parties but if you want to be taken seriously as a party - which the Greens have been in terms of the media opportunities that were offered to them today - then you have to be able to justify the policies that you are putting forward.

      Her excuse today was that she was ill but she got into similar problems last month over the citizen's income proposal.

      What the Green and UKIP are finding is that it is easy to be anti 'mainstream' politics but it becomes much harder when you are questoned about your own policies.

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    2. If by "mainstream politics" you mean the tiny sliver of centre-right space occupied by Tory, Labour and Lib Dem, it's actually very easy to be opposed to that. It's like being opposed to mauve - there are plenty of other colours.

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    3. I'm not a Green.

      From what I can gather, their manifesto is not even out yet so questions about its final content seem a bit stupid.

      I think the thing I find most interesting is that they get little to no coverage (despite what you claim, the weight of coverage is still stacked against smaller parties) and the first time they are a major story is when she makes a mess of it. At least there is some coverage of, say, Labour's policies mixed in with Miliband's gaffes. It's also notable that, moving to Scotland now, the interviewers let the likes of Murphy away with not explaining how he really expects any of his policies to be costed/work. It's pretty well been argued by others, for example, that a mansion tax isn't going to cut it. So where's the pressure on him to say how else he is going to do it? Surely he has to be able to justify the policies he is putting forward?

      At the end of which, I will repeat that I am not a Green, but have you seen the mess the mainstream parties have made of the economy, for one example? Debt and housing bubbles that will probably explode again soon and a country that makes almost nothing for itself. The place is bust. Awesome. Yes, the current anti-mainstream parties might be unable to do any better, but they don't actually have a proven track record of failure like those who have presided over things for the last century have fouled things up.

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    4. Agreed - it is very easy to be opposed. However, as Natalie Bennett has proved today, it is a lot less easy to offer a cohesive alternative.

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    5. "There is no alternative to neoliberalism and austerity."

      Yawn.

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    6. There is an alternative but, as Francois Hollande has proved over the past couple of years, as Syriza proved last week, and Natalie Bennett proved today, it is destined to fail

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    7. Iceland? Throw the bankers in the jail and start again? Nothing is destined anything, it's a question of will.

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    8. Anon : So there is an alternative, but there is no alternative. OK. That makes perfect sense.

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    9. James

      Labour are not a "centre right party".

      We are a left of centre movement. Always have been, even in the darkest years of Blair. Always will be.

      Peace x

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    10. Hugh, I realise you weren't addressing me so apologies but I wanted to ask a couple of things. Do you really think that Labour is left of centre? I mean in, as a whole, since I do not dispute that many in the party will be but is this where you see the party leadership on the spectrum? The way I view it as that there is clear ideological crossover between Labour/the SNP/Greens and even the Lib Dems on *some* issues but that on some of the most important things Labour's leadership has long since dragged the party away from a left wing stance. I realise you didn't ask for my tuppence, but forums are for sharing views :)

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    11. Bennet had a terrible interview because she learned nothing from the previous Brillo interview in which he deployed the standard 'uncosted' gambit so beloved of the westminster bubble punditry. Nick Ferrari simply aped Brillo's style (hardly for the first time either) and indeed the manner in which he seized on the 'uncosted' area. The only saving grace for Bennet wasn't just that she had the humility to apologise as the westmisnter establishment's 'finest' were wallowing arrogantly in a fetid pool of corruption. (Straw and Rifkind obviously) It was also that Ferrari managed to sound like an obnoxious prick even though Bennet's grasp of the policy area under scrutiny was clearly nowhere near good enough and was precisely why she apologised.

      The intersting thing isn't just that 'uncosted' gotcha interviews are as old as the hills, but the contrast depending on who is being interviewed is usually incredibly revealing.

      It's a fact that in the 2014 Budget the tories and Osbrowne produced a supposed £5 Billion Tax 'giveaway' that was soon found to be 'uncosted' by the likes of the IFS. It was then subject to the usual party yahboory at PMQs and elsewhere yet you won't find an interview with Osbrowne or Cameron with the same kind of undisguised contempt Ferrari used because the westminster bubble establishment wouldn't dream of treating one of their own like that. Same goes for little Ed and Labour when the tories deployed the same tactic with a dossier of 'uncosted' stuff not that long ago. Don't get me wrong, there was the occassional sharp question asked of both parties on the subject but compared to the Bennet 'monstering' it was nothing. Different parties, different standards. It's also going to come up time and again before May and you can bet that Farage is going to get the same treatment.

      To bring it back to the SNP we saw a variation of this with the arrogant pillar of the westmisnter establishment, the castle dwelling toff Heseltine, faking outrage over Trident using another lazy 'gotcha' which is the opposite of the 'uncosted' ploy. The 'it can't possibly cost that much' ploy. Helped by the Red Tory and Yellow tories (who are now so fond of weapons of mass destruction) and egged on by the BBC 'royalty' that is Dimbleby, they all ganged up and tried to pour scorn on Nicola at the very idea that a party could possibly be against wasting money on weapons of mass destruction.

      The fact that former head of the armed forces Field Marshal Lord Bramall, backed by two senior generals openly saying Trident is a waste of money, with even Blair!! conceding they have no military utility (in his autobiography) is ample proof that the being against Trident is anything but some niche or 'crackpot' policy. We know scrapping Trident it is hugely popular on the doorstep. We also know that this has even managed to filter through to SLAB as their absurd attempts over the years to duck the question (since they know their own voters do not like it at all) speaks volumes.

      As to Hothersall, you would think it might have dawned on him that saying "He's been forced to resign. He is personally very hurt. It's not in the least bit funny. It's very sad." might be a wee bit hilarious and ironic as the corrupt warmongers Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind lick their wounds and praying that they will still get to be Lords.

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    12. The other obvious thing to point out of course is that, despite Cammie's previous lies about wanting the debates with the greens in them, the coward Cameron is still trying to scupper the debates because he is absolutely terrified of looking like the out of touch incompetent fop he so very clearly is.

      So for all those tories cheering on Bennett's car crash, just remember the coward Cameron is still too scared to debate her or even the hapless little Ed, never mind Nicola.

      Something which I'm afraid the voters are going to notice because the broadcasters will always choose any debates at all over no debate and no viewers.


      Cheer up though. At least Cammie's big debate with little Ed isn't scheduled for mere days after his best chum and spindoctor goes on trial for Perjury. Oh that's right, IT IS!

      LOL :-D

      Word of advice, when Cammie realises the broadcasters are determined to have debates (with or without the fop or the toxic Clegg) perhaps he might want to rethink the order and claim it was a 'concession'.

      *chortle*

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  8. I suspect he will star in a new series on the BBC 'Last of the summer whine' due out at the end of May.

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  9. From what I can gather, their manifesto is not even out yet so questions about its final content seem a bit stupid.

    They were the ones who choose to launch their campaign today so it is not surprising that they are asked about policies that are listed on ther website!

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    1. These strikes are wrong. BOTH sides need to get back to the negotiating table.

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  10. How about this "politician" Duncan? Foulkes, saying same thing in Jan this year:
    https://twitter.com/Rossmatthews86/status/570334940409147393

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  11. How dare you mock Robert McNeill! He's nto a politician just an ordinary, hard-working housewife!

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    1. Eat your cereal Drew. :-D

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  12. I think we should ask Duncan who forced Mr. McNeil to resign.

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  13. News also reaches me that the wee yellow tory halfwit, Danny Alexander, is ranting and raving against the SNP with the same kind of jawdropping anti-democratic lunatic fervour that the yellow tory poodle Norman Lamb was also guilty of.

    Apparently wee Danny thinks "the SNP aren't serious about ensuring the right sort of government for the whole of the UK". I shit you not! This amoral wee unprincipled tory lickspittle is talking about the "right sort" of government!!! Staggering stuff even for Clegg's ostrich faction.


    It will be an absolute pleasure to see the witless Alexander booted right out on his arse and humiliated in May. Something of which I have little doubt will happen just going by the sheer number of activists expressing an interest in travelling to campaign against the wee yellow tory shite. (and I'm operating on the west coast and around Glasgow remember! LOL)

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    1. Got a blue Tory here we could do with some help against. Lots of new members, but also lots and lots of acres of countryside to cover and a real fight on our hands.

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    2. I know Rolfe and to be fair we're talking about a day or two when they talk about Alexander not some mass exodus for weeks.

      But there is no question that he is going to get some serious campaigning clout mobilised against him.

      It's because he and so many other lib dems pretended they were left of centre and lied to the electorate. As I've heard more than a few times "at least the tories say they are tories".

      I think we're going to be plenty busy as it is with some gigantic Labour majorities to overturn in their heartlands here, but should things snowball (it's looking good but we hope to get even more volunteers) then I'll certainly put in a word to try and ensure the noble Panda is even more triumphant when it comes to outnumbering tories. ;-)

      I would also take any predictions of a 'scottish tory surge' with a massive pinch of salt as I've heard that one before and it just never seems to pan out. We saw their conference and they sure ain't getting any younger.

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    3. While we are at it, there is tremendous value in actually having days where you either have activists from another area in yours or the other way around. Nothing particularly new about it but we really saw some concrete benefits when Plaid visited some places or when activists from a larger spread out area got together and got together to concentrate on a smaller area or town some of them were not so familiar with.

      Truth be told you can burn out a bit if you are focused like a laser on the one town or area for day after day and week after week. You need something to lift your eyes up to the bigger picture around scotland. There will be some fantastic events and rallies scheduled for before May but just getting about a bit can make all the difference and expand contacts and friendships.

      All the branches are still pushing hard to get more members even now. Connecting those members up all over scotland is going to become ever more important.

      Course these are still westminster elections with defined boundaries but this isn't just about MPs even though that obviously has to be the main focus. It's also about building a much bigger and, dare I say it, even better party for the future and that is going very nicely indeed. :-)

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    4. Mick,
      no need to campaign against Danny in InverYes it is all well in hand up there. He is finished with no chance of a recovery.

      I am sure the SNP will release the A9 speed camera results in full just before the election. This will highlight his dispicable campaign to block the cameras.

      The intial results show a marginal increase in journey times but with an improvememt in freight times, must reduced accidents, no road closures and no deaths. A great result for the SNP pragmatic approach to enforce the legal speed limit while increasing the speed limit for HGV on single carriage ways.

      Danny Alexander is finished - you would be better campaigning against John Thurso and Charlie Kennedy who are more likely to retain their seats than him.

      I am originally from up North and would love to see a Lib-Dem wipeout in the Highlands. It is a strong possibility as there are good SNP candidates. Shame that Buffoon Carmicheal may yet retain his seat.

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  14. I'll be honest Hoss, I don't think he has a chance either. The guys and gals saying they would like to go up there to see that wee Alexander oot on his bahookie are treating it in much the same way you would a nice day away and not altogether serious. Though I have no doubt it's a measure of just how unpopular Alexander is all over scotland. As you say there are harder battles and when it comes to any official HQ plans I'm sure there are steps being taken to ensure people will be mobilised according to need. Not that I'm privvy to all of their planning but from what I've seen already this GE is a big leap forward compared to previous ones. Not just in member and activist numbers but when it comes to logistics and just the general conduct and level of commitment. We are taking this GE far more seriously than Labour, the lib dems and the tories in scotland are capable of. That alone should have them terrified even regardless of all the polls. I think we're going to see serious panic breaking out among the unionist parties out the closer we get to polling day. Well okay, even more panic than now. ;-)

    As for the idiot Carmichael, well even if he does win he's still going to find a far, far bigger SNP presence and membership breathing down his neck. The days of any old yellow chimp being guaranteed their seat there will be fast vanishing before his very eyes.

    Which, for those who don't realise, is very much our approach to some of the safest Labour seats. We may well not win the safest of them, but by god we're going to do everything in our power to make sure they become far less safe and likely anything but safe for the future.

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  15. Have to disagree with Mick Pork here, when he says that there's no Tory surge.

    I think what the Tories meant was 'Oh Jim Murphy has been elected Leader, that should mean a Tory Surge in Scotland'

    There has in fact been a Tory Surge in Scotland a Red Tory Surge.

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