Official poster from the Tories:
Official leaflet from Labour:
So if Scots vote SNP in May, both Ed Miliband and David Cameron will get in. Glad we cleared that up. We might start work on some sort of handy translation chart (“vote Green get Ulster Unionist”; “vote UKIP get Monster Raving Loony”), so if you spot any more do drop us a line.
Actually, that last one’s true, isn’t it?
We don’t get paid enough. Then again, we’re not sure how much money it would have taken to make the job of wading through the UK government’s 134-page “command paper” on Scottish devolution bearable. There may not BE that much money.
The entire document is a heroic achievement in the field of wonkspeak, screed after screed of impenetrable jargon deployed to create something which could in fact be accurately and fully summed up in six words: “Oh, we’ll figure something out later”.
Here’s a (very) typical passage:
We haven’t left out a subsequent paragraph explaining the answer. The paper simply leaves this and pretty much every other question hanging in the air, to be filled in at some unspecified future date after the general election, by whichever party is in government, if they can be bothered.
Don’t all celebrate at once.
Tonight’s Question Time for some reason featured a question about the SNP, which Labour, Lib Dem, Tory and UKIP representatives got to discuss at length with nobody from the SNP (or even from Scotland) there to respond. It was an enlightening insight into England’s attitude to the Scots as a whole, not just the SNP. Here’s how it went.
We recommend all of it, but UKIP’s Paul Nuttall is the star, from 3m 42s.
The media is aflame today with the claim that Jim Murphy has finally ended weeks of speculation about whether he’ll stand again for his current Westminster seat of East Renfrewshire in the general election. Numerous sources including STV, the BBC, the Scotsman and Murphy’s local press have all announced unequivocally that the MP has confirmed his candidacy.
The only slight hitch is that he’s done absolutely no such thing.
We’re a bit surprised The Sun managed to get an issue out at all today, to be honest. The editorial team must have been struggling to see through their tears of laughter after they managed to get two days of free publicity in every rival newspaper in the country and a ton of coverage from national broadcasters over a completely imaginary decision to stop featuring topless models on Page 3.
And they must have almost wept with the hilarity of getting The Guardian to line up a whole collection of its most pompous feminists to prematurely proclaim victory and parade some gloating triumphalism across several pages, before putting a winking Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth front and centre this morning and innocently pointing out that they’d never actually said anything so why was everyone acting so surprised?
Now, of course, every rival paper in the land will spend ANOTHER day or two talking about the sting, and The Sun will continue to roll on the floor and clutch its sides and get away with printing stuff like this:
And the thing is, nobody who looks like an idiot today will learn the lesson.
The No camp really do seem to be the world’s worst winners. In a mischievous piece of trolling today, the First Minister announced that the SNP’s policy of not voting on English matters at Westminster was to come to an end, and that it would intervene for the protection of the NHS, on the reasonable grounds of avoiding Barnett cuts to the Scottish budget were privatisation south of the border to lead to lower spending.
The reaction from Labour and the Tories was predictable, with the latter accusing Sturgeon of throwing principle “out the window”. George Osborne, furthermore, was quoted in the Telegraph telling a Commons committee that:
And readers might be forgiven for thinking “Hang on, isn’t that what you wanted?”
In a post earlier today we quoted some extracts from the political memoirs of former Labour Prime Minister, James Callaghan, on the subject of the infamous 1979 vote of no confidence which resulted from his government overturning the Yes result of the Scottish devolution referendum that year, as a result of a Labour MP’s amendment to the bill which meant that it required an effectively impossible threshold for a Yes vote.
Callaghan said of the amendment:
“This provision was carried by a majority of fifteen, with as many as thirty-four Labour Members voting against the Government. I have since wondered whether those thirty-four Labour Members would have voted as they did if they had been able to foresee that their votes on that evening would precipitate a General Election in 1979, at the least favourable time for their Government.”
He blamed the rebels on his own benches, rather than the SNP, for ultimately bringing about the collapse of his government and opening the door to the victory of the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher. And we’ve often wondered who they were.
We’ve spoken before of Scottish Labour’s most revered ancient totem of faith, the 1979 “stab in the back” myth by which they accuse the SNP of sole responsibility for the 18-year rule of Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party.
More than three-and-a-half decades later, Labour still cling to it as their trump card in any argument against the SNP, pulling it out when all else fails and relying on the fact that hardly anyone was there to contradict their version of events.
It’s an accusation that’s complete cobblers from top to bottom, but then again you’d expect us to say that. So instead let’s get the view of someone who was there.
It is sometimes said, unkindly, that in parts of Scotland it would be possible to get a monkey elected as a Labour MP, so long as said monkey was wearing a red rosette.
Here, not entirely unrelatedly, is Brian Donohoe (Central Ayrshire), earlier today.
Um, just a couple of points.
There are sacred rules, except when you don’t have to bother with them.
The beauty of an unwritten “constitution”, eh readers?
We’re exhausted this morning, readers, and it’s not from a lack of sleep. It’s because we’ve been trying to definitively establish what Scottish Labour’s position with regard to the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system is, on the day the entire UK-wide Labour party (with so far one known honourable exception in the form of Katy Clark MP) looks set to boycott a Westminster debate on it, and it’s a time-consuming and tiring job.
In fairness, we can’t really say that we blame the Scottish branch office, especially, for ducking out, because we suspect they haven’t got any more of a clue what their position is than we do, and if you’ve got to stand up in your country’s Parliamentary chamber – which of course for them is the House Of Commons – and make a speech about it, that’s a significant handicap.