Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tavish : the bitterness lives on

I genuinely expected to come away with a more favourable impression of Tavish Scott after reading his candid confessional about the Lib Dems' catastrophic election campaign in Scotland on Sunday, but...I didn't. His legendary irrational bitterness towards the SNP leaks out again and again -

"Money was an enormous problem. Business either backed the SNP or was frightened to back anyone else publicly. The Nationalists' approach of public charm and private threats - the intimation (sic) of anyone who is against them - had paid off."

And how exactly was this supposed "intimidation" so effective when everyone and his granny (including me, if I'm honest) thought Labour were highly likely to win just a matter of weeks before polling day? A party seemingly heading into opposition is hardly in a position to "threaten" anyone.

"The BBC's leaders' debate in Perth went fine. Iain Gray looked like the world was about to fall in and Salmond who, as usual, knew the audience was stacked with Nationalists, was himself."

The audience stacked with nationalists? Nonsense. I vividly recall the Daily Record's authoritative account of that debate, and there can be no doubt that Iain Gray was cheered to the rafters, while Salmond was left a broken man.

And the SNP aren't the only targets for Scott's bitterness. Unsurprisingly, the man who had the temerity to put up a stiff challenge in Fortress Tavish itself comes in for a special mention -

"But what told me how bad it might be was a late March afternoon campaigning in Shetland. Having won 67 per cent of the vote in the 2007 election the only way was backwards. I faced an unpleasant local campaign led by an anti-wind farm campaigner masquerading as an independent, egged on by the local media."

Ah, is that a bit like Jo Swinson masquerading as "Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats", but magically turning into an English Lib Dem when she votes on tuition fees just to get Tavish off the hook? Oooh, for heaven's sake, Gordon, go and ask her about that.


  1. "Business either backed the SNP or was frightened to back anyone else publicly."

    That's right Tavish, it was nothing to to with donors seeing the Lib-Dem yellow dodo in free fall out of the sky under your command. This section of his aggrieved whine could be re-written as, "It wisnae my fault for failing to raise cash, it was these nasty SNP boys who took it all."

    What Tavish forgets is that Brian Souter's money was only match-funding. The SNP had to get money in from personal donations to access the money he promised.

    The other thing Tavish forgets is that despite the fact he could go cap in hand to the central command of the Lib-Dems for cash the SNP had to rely on money raised only in Scotland. The peril of being a branch manager is that you always rely on head office to the point where you stop taking any responsibility for your own failures or have any initiative to do anything not ordered by head office. When you're a branch manager it's never your fault if the buck can be passed up.

    Tavish is either getting forgetful or economic with the truth when he says, " injection of money through Scottish Water that we'd checked with the company and the Treasury", because I remember the car crash TV of Newsnicht Scotland when Gordon Brewer asked then Lib-Dem Scottish branch finance spokesman Jeremy Purvis if he'd actually checked with the Treasury if the water scheme was going to fly and it turned out he hadn't. Not only had he not checked with the Treasury it's Lib-Dem Danny Alexander who's in charge of the Treasury. It was a most enjoyable five minutes of TV.

    Tavish blames his party's coalition with the Conservatives in London for the Lib-Dem failure in Scotland but as a loyal ex-branch manager he can't see the solution staring him in the face.

  2. His defeat was less about the Lib-Dem coalition in London, and more, I suspect, about the fact that he supported it.

    If it was good, he bragged about it; if it was bad he said "you'll have to ask Nick Clegg about that." Never a word of condemnation, if you'll pardon teh pun, when the Liberals turned their policies upside down for a seat at a London cabinet table.

    I don't know why he did that. He could easily have made it clear from the start that what they did in England was their business, and that, as the most devolved or federal of the three unionist parties in Scotland, he would use power that neither Iain nor Annabel had at their disposal to distance themselves from English policies of his party and its marriage with a right wing Tory group that had failed to gain a majority, even after 13 years Labour.

    He failed to do that; and what I find even more remarkable...Willie Rennie has played "follow the loser", as it were, and with all the enthusiasm of the newly appointed.

  3. Tris, Tavish's argument in the previous article seemed to be that he always knew the coalition would be a disaster, but it wasn't his place to point that out during the negotiations. Sounds suspiciously like 20/20 hindsight to me!

  4. They're well shot of that loser.

  5. Well, they would be, if only they hadn't replaced him with someone even more 'Tavishian' than the man himself.