Sunday, June 14, 2015

Does the Scottish Affairs Select Committee face an English takeover?

I was slightly surprised to see Pete Wishart quoted on the Scotsman website as saying it was "very generous" of the Tories to give up two of their six allotted seats on the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, so that the SNP can claim them instead.  Obviously it's better than nothing, because it at least heads off the ludicrous possibility that the eleven-strong committee might have only one member who actually represents a Scottish constituency.  But it does still mean that, unless Labour are even more "generous", it's very difficult to see how the committee will have even a bare majority of Scottish MPs, which you'd think would be the minimum requirement.  If the Tories stick to their guns, I can only see two ways in which that could now happen...

Option 1 :

Conservatives 4
Labour 1

Option 2 :

Conservatives 4
Labour 1
Liberal Democrats 1

The reason those are the only possibilities is that David Mundell and Ian Murray are presumably unavailable, leaving Alistair Carmichael as the only non-SNP Scottish member who can conceivably be drafted in (which would be hugely controversial to say the least).  Either way, Labour would have to give up three-quarters of their four allotted seats, while the Tories would only be giving up one-third of their six.  Doesn't seem a very likely basis for an agreement, does it?

Realistically, the Tories are going to have to give more ground, otherwise Westminster will face the PR disaster of a sham "Scottish" committee with a clear English majority.

*  *  *

To celebrate the thrilling news that Iain "the Snarl" Gray is BACK as Scottish Labour leader, it's nostalgia night here at Scot Goes Pop.  If you've ever wondered how to say Iain "the Snarl" Gray in ten different languages - including, naturally, Portuguese - you're bang in luck this fine evening.

ENGLISH:  Iain "the Snarl" Gray

GERMAN:  Iain "das Knurren" Gray

HUNGARIAN:  Iain "a Vicsorog" Gray

MAORI:  Iain "te Ngengere" Gray

DANISH:  Iain "den Snerren" Gray

PORTUGUESE:  Iain "o Rosnar" Gray

MACEDONIAN:  Иан "на метеж" Греј

AFRIKAANS:  Iain "die Warboel" Gray

CHINESE:  伊恩 "在咆哮" 灰

MALTESE:  Iain "l- Ħajt tas-Sejjieħ" Gray


  1. James
    Are you serious?

    The Snarl has defeated La Dugette?


    PS What happened to the other Blairite tumshie

    1. IG is only "acting leader". So the tumshie's hopes are still very much alive.

  2. They are allowed less ( 8 is the smallest ) or more ( 16 the largest - NI ) than 11 members. Mostly they have 11, but it is not always so. Generally the governing party will have a majority - although it was 5 all plus one SNP @ SAC last parliament.

    What needs to be done - as our representatives will be aware - is to just take seats on English only committees. Then be obstructive. But keep the powder dry until we have strengthened our position in Holyrood and at local council level in the next two years.

    These are just the latest skirmishes in the long game. Trust the leadership. We are going to be independent.

  3. So the Tories are being "very generous" are they? I don't know whether Pete Wishart was being sarcastic or ironic (looked at the definitions and wasn't enlightened), but I am pretty sure Pete doesn't think so either.

    This is a win-win move for the Tories. The longer they take to get this settled, the longer they deny Scotland (i.e. SNP) a voice at Westminster. If they can con Labour into refusing to give up seats and trying to use the Committee as a forum to SNP bash rather than look to Scotland's interests, so much the better for the Tories.

    In Scotland that will go down like a lead balloon with SNP voters, and converts to SNP from Labour. A few English and Welsh voters will be pleased to see their Labour MP spending his or her time putting the uppity jocks in their place, but the vast majority will be wondering why they are not opposing the Tories on the things that matter to the constituency they represent.

    It does of course depend on how the MSM plays this. I expect that in the main they will ignore the proceedings when the questions are from SNP, and play up the Labour SNP bashing if and when it occurs.

    It will be interesting to see how Labour handle it.

  4. "y chwyrniad" in Welsh

  5. Italian: "il Ringhio"

  6. I didn't really follow politics until the referendum came on the horizon, so Iain Gray is actually a fresh new face for me. He shall lead us all into the promised land.

    Hooray for Gray!

  7. "Realistically, the Tories are going to have to give more ground, otherwise Westminster will face the PR disaster of a sham "Scottish" committee with a clear English majority."

    100% correct and from the nasty party that still has less scottish MPs than Pandas you would have to be an amusingly delusional unionist to think that will play well to the scottish public and do anything other than underline just how out of touch the unionist parties are with ordinary voters.

    Iain Gray?? LOL. :-D

  8. In Estonian it’s urisemine – remove the “semi” in the middle and you will then see what Labour is extracting from Scotland.....

  9. in Mandarin 冷笑 (Lěngxiào)

  10. When did Gray become Scottish leader? Did I miss something?

  11. Or in his native language, Klingon -


  12. So how does Iain Gray's being "acting leader" work at FMQs? Does he now get to ask the questions, side-lining KD, or does she continue to lead in Holyrood, making him obviously redundant?

    These both look like bad options (what a shame); how many more FMQs will there be before the new leader is elected?

    1. Iain Gray will be representing Labour at FMQs, and there are two more to go until the summer break. Self-styled political expert Mike Smithson once memorably described Gray as a "heavyweight", so we can look forward to something pretty damn scintillating over the next couple of weeks. Nicola isn't going to know what hit her.

    2. Thanks - it should be very entertaining!

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