When it comes to Scottish Labour’s great brainwave about “restoring” Tory tax-credit cuts, the madness just won’t stop. Here’s Magnus Gardham, formerly political editor of Scotland’s staunchest Labour paper the Daily Record, in the Herald today:
The media and Unionist politicians (we really need to come up with a word to describe that single entity), when not concocting hysterical frothing diatribes against Michelle Thomson or complaining about the Scottish Government giving money to T In The Park – a position we must confess we find ourselves in some sympathy with – have recently been loudly protesting about last year’s “underspend” in the Holyrood budget.
There’s an extremely good article here by Dr Craig Dalzell of the Scottish Greens dealing with the broader issue of why such complaints are idiotic, so rather than go over the ground again we thought we’d look at another angle.
Kezia Dugdale talking to Gordon Brewer on BBC Scotland today:
“I’m astonished that you’ve spent 10 minutes in this interview talking about independence and Trident when almost 50% of the poorest kids in the country can’t read […] I’m sure you’d be shocked to know that 50% of the poorest kids leave our schools unable to read.”
We suspect he would too. Because it’s total cobblers.
There’s been a veritable flurry of polls commissioned to mark the impending one-year anniversary of the independence referendum. In the last 48 hours alone we’ve seen ones from Survation, YouGov and Panelbase, making a variety of interesting findings. As ever, though, the trick is in the interpretation.
We’re sure we’re not the only people for whom the hours are dragging and we wish the election would just hurry up and get here, but all the same we’re pretty sure that if there were 11 days left to save the UK on Sunday morning, then by Tuesday morning there should be fewer than 10 still to go.
Because almost nobody in Westminster, whether they’re politicians or the media, ever pays any attention to anything outside SW1A, Alex Salmond’s comment in London yesterday that the SNP would vote against any Tory government in the event of a hung Parliament – which to any Scottish person was news as surprising as a weather forecast for rain – has been greeted with seemingly-genuine shock and horror.
Reporter after reporter has treated the non-revelations (which have been official SNP policy for as long as we can remember, and were stated explicitly by Nicola Sturgeon in November) as a stunning bolt from the blue, and Tory politicians and the right-wing media alike have burst into frothing, spluttering rage, based on the fact that apparently none of them grasps how either the UK electoral system or basic arithmetic work.
Jim Murphy’s practiced air of nonchalant bonhomie was coming apart at the seams all over today’s “Good Morning Scotland” (from 2h 10m). Pressed hard by presenter Bill Whiteford, the beleaguered Scottish Labour branch manager spluttered and blustered and interrupted constantly in a desperate attempt to stop Whiteford from even finishing any questions, never mind getting answers to them.
Murphy tried determinedly and repeatedly to punt the hopelessly-discredited line about the biggest party forming the government, on the sole basis that it had always been the case before, seemingly unaware that the election wasn’t being held in the past. He even tried to use the recent catastrophic Ashcroft polls to Labour’s advantage.
You can marvel at the entire nine-minute trainwreck by clicking the link below. But let’s just pull out that one argument and take a closer look at it.
The very few readers who don’t immediately just snort and turn the page when they see the words “George Foulkes” may have noticed in yesterday’s Herald that the thirsty peer could be found gloating gleefully that had Scotland voted for independence last September it would now be “bankrupt” due to the decline in oil prices.
We can’t be bothered pointing out for the 500th time that a Yes vote wouldn’t have seen Scotland actually independent until March 2016, and that the oil price NOW is therefore about as relevant to anything as, well, Baron Foulkes himself.
But we couldn’t help noticing a couple of small arithmetical details.