Thursday, June 4, 2020

Back when the MP for the Western Isles held the fate of the UK government in his hands

In the unlikely event that you have two-and-a-half hours to spare this morning or this afternoon, I can recommend that you grab the last chance to watch the National Theatre recording of This House - the story of the 1974-79 Labour government from the vantage point of the whips' office.  I went to see it in Edinburgh in March 2018 - which given the current circumstances is a rather unsettling memory, because two days later I came down with just about the most horrendous dose of the flu I've ever had.  Just goes to show how easily respiratory infection can be passed on in large indoor gatherings (although admittedly I've no idea whether I caught it in the theatre or on the train).

There was a debate in the press recently (in relation to Braveheart) about whether historical inaccuracies detract from artistic merit.  It must be hoped that isn't the case as far as This House is concerned, because it's not hard to spot the errors and misrepresentations.  You'll wince at the portrayal of the SNP's Westminster leader Donald Stewart, but even worse is the depiction of the SDLP's Gerry Fitt as some sort of romantic Irish nationalist who helped bring down the British government for no other reason than that it was the British government.  The reality is that if Fitt was a romantic anything, he was a romantic socialist.  He was horrified when his successor as SDLP leader, John Hume, turned the party into an out-and-out nationalist party.  He actually had a very specific reason for refusing to back Callaghan on the vote of no confidence:  he wanted rid of Roy Mason as Northern Ireland Secretary.

48 comments:

  1. I'm sure you just accidentally forgot to mention that it is a production from The National theatre of England. Being that you are a Scottish person writing from Scotland, some people may assume that that National Theatre in your story was ours and not theirs. We deserve better than such blatant cultural cringe and English imperialism from you JK.

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    1. Technically, James was correct as the English 'National Theatre' calls itself just that.

      https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/

      It's like how the English NHS claims to be the NHS, or the 'UK NHS'.

      https://twitter.com/NHSuk

      By contrast, the National Theatre of Scotland calls itself the 'National theatre of Scotland' and doesn't try to appropriate other nations as part of Scotland.

      https://www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/

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    2. Anon: Your comment is tiresome and I would have deleted it if Scottish Skier hadn't replied. As SS pointed out, I simply referred to a theatre group by its name. That would still have been its name if I had been an Australian person posting from Australia, or a Mongolian person posting from Mongolia. It's a bit of a jump from using a name correctly to "Engish imperialism".

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    3. SS would never disagree with you James Incidentally I believe John Hume was allegedly a member of Opus Dei that well known self flaggulation org. Gerry Fitt was a decent bloke and a socialist unlike the many pretend types we used to have in Scotland. Fitt was under threat from Skiers Sinn Fein IRA mobsters. His house was protected by a large grill outside. I walked past it during the early seventies. Roy Mason was a working class guy from a mining community. He had no time for fascists therefore his response to the IRA. Anyone who was not a Tory and voted to bring down Labour can happily say we gave you Maggie forgetting of course the economy was recovering from the oil crisis.

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    4. As ever James, being of technical "bent' may well have been correct but the posted link hss no such excuse..... "Video unavailable
      This video is private."

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    5. As I explained in the blogpost, the video was about to expire - that's why I said "this morning or this afternoon". I can't wait to hear the next complaint.

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  2. Since you're half American, maybe you can offer some thoughts on the recent nonsense over there?

    I noticed that under the evil racist demonic proto-Hitler DJ Trump (Boooo, Orange Man Bad!!!!) all four of the police officers responsible for the death of George Floyd have been charged with Murder.

    Compare that with life under Saint Barak of O'Bama when none of the police who killed Eric Garner by asphyxiation were charged, and only one of them was eventually sacked, 5 years later.

    Given that Joe (shoot them in the legs) Biden was Baz's VP, that contrast may just possibly be raised in the election.

    Like JB's role in enacting Clinton's lovely law which sent more black men to prison than any other politician on Planet Earth.

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    1. I'm not certain that it's the president who makes decisions about whether to press criminal charges against individuals.

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    2. To be honest i'm more concerned that over the weekend there are going to be about 20 organised pre planned rallies /demonstrations in most of the major cities cross the UK. In the middle of a pandemic, its crazy.

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    3. Keaton is correct. Over here, power is, in theory, held at the most local level practicable. In this case, the decision over who and what to charge was in the hands of a popularly-elected county prosecutor. Mind you, it seems the governor of Minnesota had some influence. Both of them are members of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, the Minnseota affiliate of the Democratic Party.

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    4. A Scottish Nat si flagwaving rally could help reduce their numbers and save the taxpayer.

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    5. Local DA - County- charged first guy . State Attorney General ( sic) charged other three and upped charges . Trump has little to do other than trying to overthrow our government. Incredibly, phone video is causing America to finally see it's racism. Protests are everywhere even in lockdown. My little town had one tonight . Town next to us last night. Town my father in law had one tonight and in both ours and his the police joined protest. There is hope.

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  3. I think Bozo needs to hire a clever advisor to help boost his poll ratings.

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-poll/uk-leads-fall-in-global-trust-in-government-covid-responses-poll-idUKKBN23B0GK

    UK leads fall in global trust in government COVID responses - poll

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  4. Crime pays. Big rally in USA to honour a dead criminal.

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    1. He paid a 45 bill with two twenties and a ten. Owner thought one was forged. Called cops. People pass bad bills are not forgers and not criminals. It's actually NOT a local thing here. Police are to call feds so they can track back to forget. So actually the police aided a criminal.

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  5. The National Theatre's full name is "The Royal National Theatre of Great Britain".

    The 'Royal' was added when the theatre moved from its temporary home at the Old Vic into the new South Bank Building in the 70s. Nowadays, the formal title remains, but is always abbreviated to "National Theatre", as here:

    https://nationaltheatre.org.uk

    As for the show itself, I also saw the touring version in Edinburgh but left in the interval. The Festival Theatre was too big for it, and the tour cast underwhelming.

    But the main point is: James was correct in calling it "The National Theatre".

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    1. An abbreviation is not the full name. So young James was incorrect.

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    2. There's a terrible stench coming from the pendant's corner of the sobbing cupboard...

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  6. Wuhan carries out 10m tests
    Nearly 10 million people have been tested for coronavirus as part of a three-week blitz in Wuhan, where Covid-19 was first detected late last year.

    Only 300 positive cases were found with all showing no symptoms, health authorities said.

    The city found no infections among 1,174 close contacts of the people who tested positive, suggesting they were not spreading the virus easily to others.

    That is a potentially encouraging development because of widespread concern that infected people without symptoms could be silent spreaders of the disease.

    Feng Zijian, vice director of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told state broadcaster CCTV: “It not only makes the people of Wuhan feel at ease, it also increases people’s confidence in all of China.”

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  7. Sunetra Gupta, a professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford University, believes – somewhat controversially – that the lockdown should be lifted faster.

    Gupta, who is married to Adrian Hill, the director of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, which is pushing ahead with developing a vaccine for Covid-19, believes the test data may substantially underestimate the number of people who have fought off the virus. She suspects that while physical distancing and the lockdown have helped suppress the epidemic, infections may have waned because of people’s natural resistance to the infection, for example through antibodies that fight related coronaviruses which cause common colds – but which would not necessarily show up in Covid-19 antibody tests.

    “The epidemic has in many places displayed a pattern which suggests it’s been brought down by natural processes, which does not just include acquired immunity, but perhaps cross-protection from having other related viruses, and possibly some innate level of resistance to start with,” she says.

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  8. “In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,” said Alberto Zangrillo, head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, the capital of the northern Lombardy region, which has been the worst-hit by the pandemic. “The swabs performed over the past 10 days have showed a viral load that is absolutely infinitesimal in quantitative terms compared to those carried out a month or two months ago,” he said in an interview on RAI television on Sunday. Someone has to take responsibility for terrorising the country”.

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    1. Certainly still exists in the UK, that's for sure!

      Another 176 dead yesterday with 1800 new cases. It was at those kind of numbers Italy started locking down Lombardy and my boss had to isolate for two weeks on return from Milan.

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  9. Excellent news:

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/5june2020

    I'm guessing the 'VE day second wave' was just something that nationalists were making up.

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    1. I think you are just a wee bitty paranoid.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52715571
      https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ve-day-celebrations-led-spike-22059976
      https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/local-news/drunken-parties-fighting-ve-day-18283280

      BBC, English Mirror, Yorkshire examiner = 'Scottish nationalists'?

      Okey dokey.

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    2. "Prof John Wright, a doctor and epidemiologist, is head of the Bradford Institute for Health Research and a prominent Scottish nationalist' [in your crazed mind]".

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    3. THat great. However my statement that Scottish nationalists were tweeting about a 'VE day second wave' is still correct. Other people organisations doing the same does not change this obviously.

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    4. It would be useful if you could provide some links to known nationalists using the text you quote. Otherwise, you could be accused of just making thing up.

      But even if these are forthcoming, how does reporting what English/British medical experts fear equal 'making things up'? It was these experts that came up with the theory / story as per the above articles.

      Your paranoia is interfering with your logic.

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    5. Search twitter, its quiet easy to do, or look back through posts on this site.

      Experts making a informed supposition is competently different than the tone used my may nationalists.

      Obviously

      Anyhow i'm just pleased the figure is falling. As I said yesterday i'm concerned that the protests that have been happening are planned will push things back up again but will wait to see what happens before making any claims of a second wave based on no evidence.

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    6. As I suspected; you were just making it up that nationalists made up the story, because they didn't.

      I'm pleased too. If the VE day mass gatherings didn't push things up, it's unlikely outdoor protests will. The numbers involved will be smaller I imagine.

      If something does push it back up, it will be the general relaxing of restrictions having been done too early.

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    7. Good to know, so if the numbers spike in Scotland you will be blaming the Scot Gov for lifting restrictions too soon I assume? Or does that only count for England.

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    8. Depends on the cause of the spike. If it was due to Holyrood policy, then yes, Holyrood is responsible. If it relates to reserved matters, then Westminster.

      As part of the union Scotland has two governments, and it's vital we recognise the key role London plays in governing Scotland.

      Unlike you, I don't just make stuff up.

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    9. And of course all deaths in Scotland are ultimately the responsibility of London as Holyrood is devolved. If Sturgeon does something disastrous which causes loads of deaths, then London is negligent if it didn't intervene to stop it. We know it is happy to take control of devolved powers in an instant; it's overruled Holyrood numerous times here of late.

      So the buck ultimately lands at the door of No. 10 until such time as Scotland is independent. Holyrood can be blamed, but Westminster is ultimately culpable.

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    10. The protests would be a mass gathering therefore break the Scot Govs rules therefore come under the Scots Govs jurisdiction. the UK Gov is not stopping in protests either so your last point bears no relivance in this case. Therefore any spike in infections will be on the shoulders of the Scot Gov, hopefully there is not a spike but if there is I trust you assign the blame to the Scot Gov not to another country as is your habit.

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    12. The spike would need to be clearly traced to the gathering by experts in the subject following extensive investigation before the two could be related.

      And it would still be ultimately be Westminster responsible for the spike as No. 10 could intervene to stop the protests if it felt Holyrood was not maintaining order / risking public health.

      As earlier noted, Westminster can overrule Holyrood at any time it wishes, and does so regularly, such as with devolved areas and brexit.

      This is the nature of a devolved parliament; the supreme parliament above it is ultimately culpable for the actions of the devolved one.

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    13. Really, you have previously said that infections in Scotland would be lower if it was not for people from England travelling to Scotland. You have been vocal on this subject. Have you got evidence from experts in the subject saying this after investigation to make such claim, or is that not needed when you want to blame another country.

      Ultimately the Scot Gov has deemed the event not safe but it is allowing it to happen anyhow. Therefore it is reasonable for any spike cases that come of it happening.

      https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/5670730/nicola-sturgeon-glasgow-green-anti-racism-protest/

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    14. You are saying Charles didn't bring covid to Scotland? If he had not come, infection rates would be lower.

      And anyway, it is you that needs to prove UK community transmission did not bring a single case to Scotland other than Charles. I merely stated that the virus primarily spread in this way across the UK, just as it did in every other country (e.g. from North to South Italy). It arrived from overseas, but once the infection arrived, it spread through the UK community. Closure of Scotland's borders would have given something more like Norway.

      And why isn't No. 10 stopping the rally? It has the power to intervene here. It could temporarily taken control of police Scotland or even send in the army to save lives.

      So any spike from the march would ultimately be London's fault as it is the supreme parliament for the UK.

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    15. Closure of Scotland's borders would have given something more like Norway.

      Again have you the evidence for this. Seems clear that you demand evidence for things that could lay the blame at the Scot Gov yet just make random claims without any evidence when you want to blame another country.

      And why isn't No. 10 stopping the rally? It has the power to intervene here. It could temporarily taken control of police Scotland or even send in the army to save lives.

      UK Gov has not said its dangerous, so why would it stop it? Its the Scot Gov saying it is so why its not using its powers to stop it?

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    16. You are saying that preventing infected people from entering Scotland would not have resulted in less infections entering Scotland? You are off your trolley.

      It's bloody obvious that if Charles had been stopped at the border there would have been once less infection at least. I don't need to provide evidence for something so blindingly obvious.

      I think you need to provide evidence. It is you that keeps proposing water is dry while I am simply pointing out it is wet.

      So the UK government is responsible for any spike associated with marches. Thanks for clarifying that. It's what I've been saying all along.

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    17. Nope the Scot Gov is for allowing a protest it believes will lead to more infections/deaths to go ahead.

      The UK Gov is agreeing with you it does not see it as a problem hence its not saying its dangerous



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    18. You are saying that preventing infected people from entering Scotland would not have resulted in less infections entering Scotland? You are off your trolley.

      No i'm asking why you keep mentioning Norway. Why not Belgium or France or Ireland or a host of other countries. You need some evidence if you are claiming the infections would be reduced to the level of a country in particular.

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    19. It's you that again needs to provide evidence for suggesting nonsensical ideas.

      If Scotland had followed the Norway plan, it goes without saying outcomes would have been more comparable.

      If had followed the Ireland plan, again outcomes would have been quite comparable.

      If Scotland had locked down at 300 deaths like England instead of just over 10, it would have similar numbers of dead to its neighbor too.

      You don't need to provide evidence for blindingly obvious stuff because some dimwit is arguing for the sake of it.

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    20. Anyway enough wasting time on this. Maybe if unionists talked more sense and less shite, folk wouldn't support independence in majority.

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  10. The Scottish nat sis will pander to any protest that is not against them. The problem with black lives matter is that blacks do not give a shit about murder,robbery and mayhem in their own communities. Watch this space, they will erect a monument to their criminal hero Floyd. And terence callachan is the biggest knob amongst many knobs.

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