Thursday, September 29, 2011

Miliband gives ringing endorsement to, you know, that guy

Some news stories are beyond satire. From the Press Association (or possibly from a script for The Thick of It) -

"There are three not very well-known candidates," said the BBC interviewer. "What do you know about them and can you name them?"

Mr Miliband replied: "I think we have got three great hitters. I think we have got three people who are determined to show that they can make a difference, that they can make a difference to the people of Scotland."

Interviewer: "Can you name the three of them?" Mr Miliband: "Look, what I say is, there is Tom Harris, there is Johann Lamont and a third candidate who is also putting himself forward."

Interviewer: "He is the front-runner, Ken Macintosh." Mr Miliband: "Ken Macintosh, yes."

Interviewer: "He is the front-runner but you can't name him." Mr Miliband: "No, look, Ken Macintosh is going to be an excellent candidate."

* * *

"Can you name the three of them?"

"Look, what I say is : No."

Of course, Miliband recently informed us that our elected First Minister isn't that big a figure in Westminster, and when people want to know what is really going on in Scotland, they instead turn to the obvious political colossus - Ann McKechin. Hmmm. Perhaps Mr Miliband ought to reflect on whether he might be going astray there, because I think we can safely assume that Alex Salmond is considerably better informed on the Scottish Labour leadership contest than the UK Labour leader presently appears to be.

It's also worth pointing out that Miliband's seeming reliance on the not exactly objective source of McKechin for obtaining his hazy information on this far-off land of ours is eerily reminiscent of the story of how Michael Heseltine came to vote in favour of imposing the poll tax on Scotland but not on England, as mischievously recounted by Donald Dewar in the House of Commons. A Lib Dem MP enquired whether Dewar had heard that the reason Heseltine voted the way he did was that he - amazingly - thought the Scottish people wanted the poll tax. Dewar replied : "It's worse than that. What he actually did was ask the Secretary of State [Malcolm Rifkind] whether the people of Scotland wanted it - and he believed the answer."


  1. And they laughed at Bush because he couldn't name the president of Pakistan and the prime minister of India....

    ...Still it shows us that the leader of the Labour party has the same interest and level of respect for Scotland that his Conservative counterpart has.

    I don't know how they expect to win an election with Ed in charge. They surely will have to depend on the awfulness of the Tories doing the job for them.

  2. To be honest why should Miliband know who the Scottish candidates are?

    The Leader of the Labour MSP's in the Scottish Parliament aka the, "Scottish Labour Leader", has been a nonentity in terms of Labour's internal hierarchy since Donald Dewar died. The LOLITSP has always relied on the post of FM to give them authority not on their position within the party itself.

    Even now when there's a promise of a new improved regional policy and election manager aka the, "Scottish Labour Leader", that leader as far as I know will have no real authority within the Labour party and none over Labour MP's and MEP's in Scotland.

    Divergence on devolved policy can only go so far until it runs either into the buffers of the Block Grant calculated on English public spending or into a slap down from the British leadership because they don't like Labour policy to diverge too far across the UK as it would lead to English voters crying foul if it looked like Scotland was getting a better deal.

    So Miliband didn't know much about a regional party matter north of Watford. Hands up those who think that Lamont, (Lam-ont not bloody La-mont), Harris and MacKintosh are big players in Labour and are always in the thoughts of Ed or anyone else come to that.

  3. "(Lam-ont not bloody La-mont)"

    Absolutely, he may know who she is, but it's pretty clear he's only familiar with the name in written form!