Thursday, April 30, 2015

A timely reminder of just one of the many reasons why Scottish Labour is heading for electoral oblivion next week

It's been far, far too long since I last reposted a Twitter exchange, so I thought you might enjoy this one, which took place at around midnight.  You really do have to pinch yourself to remember that the guy I'm talking to here - with one week to go until the general election - is Scottish Labour's director of policy, and not a sneering schoolboy with too much time on his hands.  Or at least, you would have to pinch yourself if we didn't all know Blair McDougall of old.

I must say I found it all rather moving, because I've been trying to get Blair to speak to me on Twitter for years, but without success.

Me : Just received an email from Margaret Curran telling a blatant lie: that Sturgeon "promised" the indyref was "once in a lifetime". Shameless.

Blair McDougall : she didn't did she? That's terrible! There's no proof Sturgeon ever said that...oh!

(At this point he directs me to a video in which Sturgeon says that the referendum is "probably a once in a lifetime opportunity". Fans of the English language will doubtless be aware that if I say I will "probably have a banana tomorrow", I am not actually promising to have a banana.)

George M Clarkson : Blair, you have forgotten...#nooneislistening no-one cares goodbye...

Blair McDougall : that's for letting me know you hadn't read my tweet

Me : That's a bit rich coming from the man who hasn't listened to (or understood) the words in his own video.

Blair McDougall : You're right she clearly never, ever promised #indyref was "once in a generation/lifetime"

(At this point he directs me to a longer video, featuring a compilation of clips in which Sturgeon once again does not promise that the referendum is a once in a lifetime event.)

Me : Agreed, Blair. She never, ever "promised" once in a lifetime. Glad you've grown up over the last few hours.

Blair McDougall : nope. Never.

(At this point he directs me to text stating that it is "the view of the current Scottish government" that the referendum is a once in a generation event. Once again, there is no sign of a promise, and the word "lifetime" is mysteriously absent altogether.)

Me : Sorry, where is the word "lifetime" in that text? Or, indeed, the word "promise"? I see what you mean. Never.

Blair McDougall : I'm saying you're right. Nicola Sturgeon never ever said it was "once in a lifetime"

(At this point he directs me to a headline in Yes campaign literature, which does indeed paraphrase Sturgeon as saying that the referendum is "a once in a lifetime opportunity", but yet again contains no trace of a promise. For example, it does not read : "Sturgeon's solemn promise to Scotland - If you vote No, that's it. There'll be no more democratic votes on this subject until you're all dead.")

Me : Thanks, Blair. So I was right when I said something that I didn't say. Interesting.

John Ferguson : So if 3 million people march in Edinburgh demanding a referendum, Labour would say no?

Me : Of course. This is the UK, not a bloody democracy.

Blair McDougall : yeah. You're right. Never any suggestion that there wouldn't be another referendum.

(At this point he directs me to a quote from an SNP spokesman anticipating that there would not be a second referendum, because there would be a Yes vote in the first one.)

Me : Fantastic! I'm right about a second claim that I never made! I'm confident of a quick hat-trick.

Blair McDougall : yup. You are right. She never ever said it was "once in a lifetime."

(At this point he directs me to an SNP press release in which, you've guessed it, Sturgeon uses the words "once in a lifetime opportunity" but doesn't make any kind of promise.)

Me : The hat-trick! God, I wish I had made that claim now, because I WOULD HAVE BEEN RIGHT! You're making my dreams come true.

SoldierWhy : In years to come the dictionary definition of pyrrhic victory will feature a picture of Blair McDougall.

Me : As will the dictionary definition of "masterminded total wipeout".

Blair McDougall : yes. Never any suggestion there would just be one indyref (I have about 15 more but am off to bed)

(Pity he couldn't find even one example of a tweet in which I actually made any of the claims that he was gagging to refute, ie. that "there was never any suggestion there would be just one indyref", or that Sturgeon never used the words "once in a lifetime opportunity". Yup, it was just his luck that all I had done was point out that Sturgeon never made the "promise" that Curran lied about.)

Jon Smith : still beating that drum in the hope it swings voters? It's not worked so far. So Blair. What's your plan B?

Me : I think Plan B is trolling Nat bloggers at the dead of night. Surefire winner.


  1. You have to winder just employable he and McTernan will be post 8th May, VE Day (Victoire Ecossais?).They are, after all hired liars, and their skills will still have a marketability south of the Border.

    Smurfy will try to worm his way in somewhere but he will have run out of all support in Labour for 40+ reasons and fair few more in Westminster. King Midas in Reverse?

    Under normal circumstance you would feel some sorrow and pity but for the demise of "Scottish" Labour I feel none.

    Steady as she goes No 1 and brace for combat at Westminster.

    1. "no-brainer" McTernan was responsible for Australian Labor's worst result in 100 years AND managed to get the leader he was spinning for the boot.

      Impressive stuff and one of the main reasons we were all laughing so hard when the ultra-Blairite Murphy hired him.

      Looks like McTernan might be out to top that performance for 'scottish' Labour. :-D

      McDougall is a nobody. The big tactical decisions were always made over his head by Cameron or Miliband and in the end it was Broon who made the infamous last minute VOW and McDougall was totally sidelined and ignored once again.

    2. It takes some doing to lose a leadership election against Ed Milliband! Does a Slab wipeout trump even that?

    3. @Mick, don't forget Susan Dalgety as well. She compared the SNP to the Omagh bombers.

  2. I would have thought it would be in McDougall's interest to have another iref.

    He could take up his old role. It does look like 'campaign advisor to senior Scottish Labour politician' posts may be thin on the ground fairly soon anyway.

    The irony is that his 'Project fear' is in a big way responsible for what polls suggest will happen a week today. Maybe he should have gone with Project Lurve. Although I recall he said himself that this would never have worked...

  3. What you give is what (ultimately) you get.

    It's just extraordinary that this step in 'ultimately' looks like coming round so much sooner than any of us expected on September 19th.

  4. I confess that all this Labour farrago regarding what comments may (or may not) have been made about another IndyRef has me confused. What does it matter, these are different waters from the ones we sailed in during the last IndyRef.

    Surely we should just remind them of the words of John Maynard Keynes; "When my information changes I alter my conclusions, what do you do sir? " Often misquoted as "when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?

    The situation (information) has changed so therefor we are entitled to change our minds. Now faff off and bother someone who is interested in you Mr Mac Dougall/Ternan et al.

  5. This is core vote stuff, are they giving up entirely?

  6. He was in odd form last night. I wonder why.

    This was my mercifully brief exchange with him:

    Me (the first time I’ve ever mentioned him on Twitter): Imagine being Blair McDougall, though. Imagine knowing the shame attached to that name for decades to come, maybe more.

    Blair: @sean_mcnulty *squeezes eyes shut really hard and imagines*

    Me: @blairmcdougall In his dreams Blair McDougall repents his Slab sins on live TV. Then he wakens and gets on with spooking pensioners.

    Blair: @sean_mcnulty Sean sticks a pillow up his jumper, bases his politics on reason & dances in front of mirror pretending to be @blairmcdougall

    Me: @blairmcdougall publicly hallucinates a total stranger dancing around as @blairmcdougall. Slab 2015 gets even more trippily solipsistic.

    Him: Presumably off to bed to dream of his repentance/scared pensioners/Nat strangers dancing plumply before mirrors as Blair McDougall.

  7. Labour is a week away from a meltdown, yet their chief operatives are wasting their time on twitter with committed supporters of their opponents.


    1. The winter is coming...
      For SLAB, especially.

      Greetings from Northeastern Brazil.

  8. James Coleman
    To be honest James it was semantic nonsense from both of you there. The question of when there will be another Indy Ref is just another straw man among many which Labour has raised in this election. But we are talking politics here and as everyone should know, and quoting JMKeynes, "when the facts change, I change my mind." So another Indy Ref will be held when the facts have changed and suggest the time is ripe, and the Scottish people want one.

    1. I'm sorry, but your first point is complete rubbish. There are words in the English language that have crystal-clear meanings, and "promise" is one of them. McDougall's claim that Sturgeon promised that there would not be a second referendum for a lifetime is a lie - absolutely, demonstrably, provably a lie. End of story.

      By the way, you can give your name by selecting the "Name/URL" option. It always looks like you're responding to someone called James Coleman, rather than giving your own identity.

    2. Why do I always think of Keynes' full name as John Milton Keynes? Some sort of double word association thing going on there?

    3. Confusion with Milton Friedman.

    4. Or the poet John Milton (Paradise Lost). Or Milton Keynes.

  9. James Coleman
    Now, now, don't get stroppy just because we disagree. My reading of the, you v Mcdougall, discussion was semantic nonsense by both parties.

    1. I did what you suggested and it worked but it didn't work for me in the past that's why I was using the 'anonymous' method. Thanks.

    2. Then, regrettably, I have to inform you that your "reading" is utterly misconceived.

  10. I've heard people cite this a few times as Sturgeon "promising" there would be no second referendum. Normally they just quote her out of context, which suggests they're being malicious: but BMcD actually linking to the video there suggests he genuinely misunderstands her words, though they seem perfectly clear.

    Sadly, I suspect her prognosis remains true. Given the hurdles that have to be cleared to have another ref - the election of a majority of MSPs who have proposed it being merely the first - I struggle to see it happening any time soon, the current polls notwithstanding.

  11. Regardless of what was said, not said ,or inferred.

    Is Blair seriously suggesting that one or two people, can decide the fate of a nation forever. Absolute and utter pish, from the marshmallow faced clown in the Union Jack boxers size XXL.

    1. Yes, he, Murphy, Dugdale and co are clearly arguing that this is the case. I am getting very concerned about their understanding, or lack thereof, of basic democratic principles.

  12. Nicola Sturgeon clearly did not mean that there could only be one referendum on independence, when she said it was a once in a lifetime chance. If the unionists are seriously arguing this then they must surely just been trolling. I did not think they would get this desperate so soon after the No vote. Why on earth would a Scottish nationalist politician only claim that there could only be one indy referendum?