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A very British coup

Posted on April 06, 2015 by

Anyone reading the weekend’s newspapers could have been forgiven for thinking that Westminster had been replaced with a bouncy castle, and our political class with hysterical children. As the long-anticipated rise of the SNP looms closer into sight, the Conservative press seems to have wet itself in fear.

dailymailmostdangerous

The Daily Mail front page on Saturday shrieked that Nicola Sturgeon is “The most dangerous woman in Britain”. The Times’ front page story declared that Labour is panicking and likely to run to the left after Sturgeon’s debate victory. The Telegraph gave up on any remaining pretence of journalistic standards and ran a story about a conversation between Nicola Sturgeon and the French Ambassador without asking either of them for a quote on it (both deny it).

It’s worth considering for a moment why this is. Conventional wisdom in the Labour Party, after all, is that a strong SNP is good for the Tories. Why, then, would the Tory press be so quick to attack them? Particularly in a way, as with the Telegraph, which might actually have damaged them, had the punch landed?

The answer is that Britain’s papers are in the process of re-writing our constitution to keep Labour out – and Jim Murphy is helping them.

The papers aren’t just preparing for the 7th of May, but also for the following week. Most polls recently have, when filtered through Britain’s absurd election system, shown roughly the same result: the Tories will have slightly more seats than Labour, but Labour plus the SNP will have more than the Tories plus the Lib Dems.

If this is the result, then what will happen next? Without a written constitution, there’s a surprising extent to which that’s up for grabs. In a move slammed (in an email to OpenDemocracy from Graham Allen, chair of the Constitutional Reform Select Committee) as “an affront to the electors”, David Cameron has postponed the return of Parliament until the 27th of May.

Without a proper constitution, and without Westminster meeting for three weeks, it’s not just the parliamentary arithmetic that matters (though it does). There will also be, in the immediate hours after the election, an important question around what will be called the “mood of the nation”. And that will be defined, at least to some extent, by the front pages of the newspapers.

It seems the press, which is hugely dominated in the UK by the right wing, intends to do this in two ways. The first is by setting the goalposts in terms of defining what it means to “win”. The second is what’s on display at the moment – an attempt to delegitimise any partnership between Labour and the SNP.

When the former debate comes up, it’s interesting to pose a question: who won the 1951 general election in the UK? According to the history books the answer is obvious: the Tories, led by Winston Churchill. But it’s not quite as simple as that, as noted on this interesting recent blog post.

The MPs who elected Churchill for a second spell as Prime Minister in fact ran with a number of different names on their ballot papers and technically came from a number of different parties. These included the Ulster Unionists in Northern Ireland, the Unionist Party in Scotland, and groupings called the National Liberals and Liberal Nationals who were a split from the Liberal Party who had a pact with the Tories.

In fact, in 1951 the party with the most seats – 295 to the Conservatives’ 267 – was Labour. But contrary to what the party insists now, that didn’t give them any right to govern. Most MPs were elected while being clear that they’d vote for Churchill as Prime Minister. That’s what they did.

churchill

Although the SNP clearly aren’t to Labour as the Scottish Unionists were to the Conservatives (a closer analogy would be Labour and the Co-operative Party), the fact is important because it reveals the democratic mechanism in play. If someone votes for an SNP MP in this election, or a Green MP, or a Plaid Cymru MP, then they can reasonably expect that that MP is going to vote to sack David Cameron and replace him with Ed Miliband – because that’s what they’ve said they’re likely to do.

If that’s true for the majority of MPs, then the democratic outcome is for Ed Miliband to be Prime Minister, even if Labour on its own has a smaller parliamentary group than the Tories. Who gets to govern if Parliament is hung, as outlined here, ultimately boils down to who can pass budgets and win votes of confidence, which has nothing intrinsically to do with being the biggest single party.

However, this is not how the Tory press will interpret the election. If they can possibly get away with it, they’ll find any way they can to declare Cameron the winner, even if it’s going to be almost impossible for him to command a parliamentary majority. In doing so, they’ll seek to make it impossible for Miliband to govern.

This circumstance would in effect be a coup by newspaper proprietors against the people of the country. Because our constitution is written not in statute but in headlines, this is perfectly possible.

It’s important to read this story in the Daily Mail today in that context. By saying that the SNP have vowed to “prop up Ed Miliband in Downing Street – even if he loses the election”, it redefines what it is to “win” an election in the UK’s parliamentary system – changing the goalposts from a funcitoning majority to biggest single party.

In reality, if Labour and the parties to their left have a parliamentary majority, then no Tory government can survive long. But it doesn’t need to. If Cameron can stay even briefly as PM, then he can call a second election and use his party’s superior wealth to secure a better position against a Labour party that’s already financially crippled.

In this context, Labour should be doing everything they can to ensure the goalposts stay where they are – who can command a parliamentary majority – and are not shifted to which party is the biggest. Unfortunately for Ed Miliband, Jim Murphy and other Scottish Labour MPs are selfish enough to be more concerned about saving their own seats than they are about getting Cameron out of Downing Street.

As a result, Scottish Labour’s main strategy has been to endlessly insist that the biggest party gets to be the government. If we do end up with the circumstance outlined above – as seems reasonably likely – we can assume that these comments will be pulled from the shelf and played back at Labour on a loop.

biggest6apr

To put it bluntly, Murphy is making a Conservative government more likely, even if there’s a majority of MPs against one. This has been pointed out to him by allies and opponents alike. He seems not to care.

The second attempt to keep Miliband out on the 8th of May has been more explicit. Attacks on the SNP from both the Tories themselves and their allied press are about winning votes from Labour on the election day – “you can’t vote for them, because the SNP will be calling the shots”.

But they’re also designed to make the Labour bigwigs fear the long-term implications of relying on the SNP, and to encourage them to put pressure on Miliband not to form a government, just as they pulled the plug on Brown’s attempted negotiations in 2010.

In this context, the debates were telling. For anyone who believes the Telegraph’s unchecked smear that Sturgeon wants a Conservative government, it’s worth thinking about a simple question: why did she spend most of the time in the debate reaching out to voters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

This does almost nothing to boost the vote for her party. In fact, the attacks on the SNP only push Scotland further from Westminster and make a future Yes vote more likely. The obvious explanation is that she was softening the ground for a post-election loose pact between Labour and the SNP (and possibly also the Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SDLP).

To have any chance of forming the government, Labour needs to learn from this, and quickly. While in Scotland it’s only reasonable that they fight hard for every vote, Miliband needs to start softening the English up to his most likely route to Downing Street – an arrangement with Sturgeon. To an extent, he did this in the debate – saving his attacks for the Tories rather than turning on the SNP.

But with Scottish Labour screaming at him through the Times front page, begging him to kick Sturgeon harder in the challengers’ debate, it’s vital to his own future that he ignores those threats, and allows the First Minister to do his work for him by reminding English voters not to believe the hysterical screams from the Tory press.

It’s likely that this election is as much about the 8th of May as the 7th. The press are lining up to push Cameron into Downing Street even if most of the UK has just voted to sack him, and Labour need to fight back. Unfortunately, they seem too distracted by the ground in front of them to look up.

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*A version of this article was originally published on OurKingdom.

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    1. 06 04 15 17:35

      A very British coup | Speymouth

    2. 07 04 15 10:20

      A very British coup | Politics Scotland | Scoo...

    3. 07 04 15 13:15

      The ‘Grand Coalition’ of Lifeless Packaging (with apologies to Peter Gabriel and Genesis) | 50 Days of Yes

    291 to “A very British coup”

    1. Robert Knight says:

      Absolutely brilliant piece of political analysis.

    2. Melo says:

      Read this earlier on the OurKingdom website. Fantastic article.

    3. Ali says:

      Calling a second election I would wager will result in a comprehensive thrashing for the Tories. Can’t see how it makes any sense at all.

    4. ghostly606 says:

      Eloquently put Adam. Jim and Scottish Labour don’t have a Plan B and don’t care that Plan A is not just working, but helping Labour lose the election.

    5. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      Thankyou Rev for publishing this article from Adam Ramsay. I read it earlier today on his blog and in the words of one respondent, absolute dynamite.

    6. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      “Anyone reading the weekend’s newspapers could be forgiven for thinking that Westminster has been replaced with a bouncy castle”

      By which you mean Alistair “dirty tricks” Carmichael. 😀

    7. Dan Huil says:

      Regardless of how it all pans out it’s still a win-win for the SNP and the independence movement in Scotland.

    8. Rupert Weir says:

      Brilliant piece!

    9. Gillian_Ruglonian says:

      Thank you Adam, I’ve been thinking exactly this for ages!

      Are the labour party really unaware of this situation, or does it suit them to be in opposition? 😉

    10. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      The right-wing tory press will indeed scream their heads off demanding Cameron be made PM even if it’s clear he hasn’t won a thing.

      You get a workeable majority you win the GE. You don’t then tough shit.

    11. kenzie says:

      I don’t suppose this scenario would have anything to do with DimJim’s intense dislike of Milly and getting his revenge for sacking him?

    12. Alastair says:

      Respect

    13. Mike says:

      Scary stuff.

    14. Croompenstein says:

      Good article Adam it’s certainly the most interesting UK GE in my lifetime and I think there will be more twists and turns than.. a twisty turny thing 🙂

    15. Juteman says:

      The Labour party was infiltrated by the right many years ago. Many of its MPs will be sleeper agents of the US. Look at all the Labour MPs that have spent time in the US, and are members of right wing ‘think tanks’.
      It wouldn’t surprise me if Jim Murphys ultimate employer is the CIA.

    16. Kenny says:

      “The Telegraph … ran a story about a conversation between Nicola Sturgeon and the French Ambassador without asking either of them for a quote on it (both deny it).”

      It’s called HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A TORY MAN SCORNED BY AN SNP WOMAN!

    17. Luigi says:

      After last week’s debate, I think Nicola very effectively started softening the English left for a possible “arrangement” with Labour, should there be no overall majority. People in England are beginning to listen and think it may be a good idea after all.

      Sadly, Ed Miliband does not seem to recognise that this is his moment. He is the one who should be softening the left to support a possible minority Labour government, in order to freeze out the tories. He should have stood tall after Memogate and adopted a “innocent until proven guilty” verdict (recounting what the MSM did to his father’s reputation, he could have scored a big hit against them).

      But no no no, he was too scared of what the papers might say, so he opted for the easy way out and spoke out against Nicola. This demonstration of weakness, in front of the world, is why Ed Miliband will never be PM. Nicola cannot do all the work for him on her own – she needs an ally. Memogate was the perfect opportunity to reframe the discussion about an SNP-Labour anti-austerity package. He was required to stand and be counted, but sadly, he bottled it.

      Ed Miliband has four weeks to grow a pair and show he is willing to stand up to the Tory MSM. If his political life effectively ends on May 9th, he only has himself to blame. Nicola has shown the way, it’s up to him to show he really is a champion of the left. action, Ed, not words.

    18. Macart says:

      Great article Adam.

      Government by media.

      Something we have become all too familiar with in Scotland.

    19. Alex Birnie says:

      I usually sit nodding as I read the posts on here, but I’m afraid I have to say that this is nonsense. One thing and one thing only matters on May 8th, and that is who can get a Queen’s Speech voted in. The papers can kick and squeal, but if the SNP and Labour have a combined majority, the game is up for Cameron – unless – Ed Milliband commits political suicide by persuading enough of his own MP’s to vote with the Tories.

    20. Martin says:

      Excellent analysis. Murphy really is ruining everything for Labour.

    21. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      It is by no means certain any of the parties would even be able to have another quick election should they even want one. There’s the logistics/cost question as well as the fixed term parliament act in the way.

      However, if it becomes clear that either Cameron or Miliband hasn’t done well enough to ensure their party is in government then you can bet your arse that they themselves would be looking down the barrel of a tory or Labour leadership election very soon afterwards.

      Their own jobs as leader are utterly dependent on them doing well enough to form a government and if they fail then the knives will be out for them with a vengeance.

    22. Holebender says:

      The Fixed Term Parliament Act means Cameron can’t call a snap second election. It requires a 2/3 majority in Westminster to dissolve Parliament early, and there’s no way Cameron will be able to muster the votes.

      Apart from that, good article.

    23. Kenny says:

      I’ve said it before but I believe this is Labour’s actual strategy – let the Tories in and blame the SNP, Plaid and the Greens for “stealing” Labour votes. It’s insanity if anyone is paying attention to reality but we know with absolute certainty that if it hurts the evil Nat threat then our media will spin any line they’re instructed to.

    24. Heather says:

      This is exactly why I believe the Telegraph hatchet job was orchestrated with and by the Tories. It wasn’t so much an attempt to smear Nicola Sturgeon, more it was a honey trap for Labour. It struck me as odd that the Telegraph should run with this story, given that the Tories would love a strong SNP, but if you look at who the Telegraph asked for comments, it wasn’t the Tories, it was Labour and the Lib Dems. They (both the Tories behind the smear and the newspaper) knew that there’s so much hatred of the SNP in Scotland, and by the Labour Party in general, that they will seize any opportunity to attack the SNP. They also knew that there is huge antipathy in England, even if orchestrated by the right-wing, towards Labour doing any kind of deal with the SNP. Therefore, Labour must be seen to be distancing themselves from, and attacking the SNP, and what better way than to issue a memo in which Sturgeon says that Milliband is weak and would prefer a Tory government.

      They, the orchestrators – the Telegraph and the Tories/Whitehall, would have known that it would have been quickly denounced as false by the parties involved in the meeting. A denial of a memo is then issued by the FCO, who are normally far more reticent in commenting on such matters, and then an inquiry is started, something that governments always fight tooth and nail to avoid. For Christ’s sake you can’t even get one when the rape and murder of children has been cited. We’re still waiting on an inquiry for the leaking of market sensitive RBS information during the referendum. Yet, conveniently, they order one immediately for this.

      It seems to me all very convenient. If Whitehall were truly trying to smear Nicola Sturgeon then they would have made sure their tracks were well-covered. This is shoddy, lazy, careless and far too easy.

      It matters greatly to the Tories that Labour are wiped out in Scotland as it weakens their voting power, but it matters far more that they can weaken Labour in their heartlands in England. What better way to steal the vote than to alienate them with the entire electorate. Many people are now saying they won’t vote Labour in England because of the tricks they’ve pulled over the Sturgeon incident, and far many more are terrified by the prospect of Labour doing a deal with SNP and will thereby shift their vote directly to the Tory Party. It all works out beautifully for David Cameron and the Telegraph, and they’ve had to do nothing other than sit back and watch.

    25. Peter Shand says:

      Only one of three countries without a written constitution. New Zealand and Israel being the other two. Soon to be only Israel as NZ is on the way to having one.

    26. manandboy says:

      I think we’re gonna need seat belts for a while –
      sure looks like serious turbulence ahead.

    27. Pam McMahon says:

      I’m sure you are completely correct in your analysis. We have to keep reminding ourselves, after all, who actually RUNS the country.

      The civil service. The finacial institutions. The media. The people do not figure in any way, shape or form in the government of the UK except as an item in their risk assessment formula, to be hammered into shape so as to present no challenge to their cosy status quo.

    28. Kenny says:

      Juteman: Jim Murphy is my MP and when I first clapped eyes on him I simply could not believe that he was not the Tory candidate. I just cannot get my head around him being “Labour”. I still cannot.

      It is not just his rabid right-wing politics and street-fighting style. Something about his physiognomy, all the little details about him, which just tell you instinctively, almost in your subconsciousness, all about a person, which social and political group he would belong to…

      The way Jim Murphy acts, speaks and looks makes me think so much of Norman Tebbit. To my mind, Murphy does not even fit convincingly into my picture of a “Scottish Conservative”. He is not so much to the right of them as just completely off-ball. So you may be right…

    29. Capella says:

      I understood Alex Salmond to be saying that, with the new rules of Fixed Term Parliaments, it all hinges on who has a majority in the Queen’s speech. That would likely be Labour and SNP. It doesn’t therefore matter whether Scotland votes in a majority of SNP MPs, Cameron is toast providing Miliband will deal with the SNP. Unless they can scare enough English Labour voters to vote Tory?

    30. Calgacus says:

      Rev.Stu, this could pave the way for a “constitutional crisis” followed by a grand alliance of Tory and Labour.

      That’s what the three weeks could be for.

    31. Aos says:

      Excellent read, thanks for that.:)

    32. BornOptimist says:

      Why should Jim Murphy care? He probably doesn’t, but with his political nous (self preservation), if his antics ‘save’ the Tories, I would not be at all surprised to find him moving further to the right, regardless of what he has said over the past few months, and join the Conservative Party.

      God, what a scabrous lot of politicians (and newspaper proprietors) we have leading the unionist political parties.

    33. asklair says:

      Could it be there are too many variables and many players pulling in different directions due to the referendum and social media. Everything is in free-fall, someone’s prediction is going to be right, similar to winning the lottery, if enough numbers are picked then someone will win.

    34. Luigi says:

      Jim Murphy is thinking long-term. he is already angling for a safe Tory seat down south before he crosses the floor.

      It must be true, because I heard, third hand that there is a memo……

    35. caz-m says:

      Alex Birnie 5.08pm
      “The papers can kick and squeal, but if the SNP and Labour have a combined majority, the game is up for Cameron.”

      You got it spot on there Alex.

      There is only going to be one outcome. Whether we like it or not, Ed Miliband will be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

      And then you will really see how much Cameron loves us.

      I think Dave and his chums will turn rather nasty towards their Scottish neighbours.

      Which is a good thing, it will let the NO Voters amongst us, see exactly what the English Establishment think of them.

    36. — Duncan Hothersall (@dhothersall)
      April 3, 2015
      So both @NicolaSturgeon & French ambassador have now both categorically denied Telegraph story. Apologies to the FM. Looks like I was duped.

      Feels weird typing this, but fair play to Hothersall, at least he has the decency to make an apology.

      I’ve been waiting for apologies from Kezia, Murph, Milliband & Alexander – turns out they’re all too busy campaigning for the Tories.

    37. george says:

      properly good

    38. CameronB Brodie says:

      Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy. Two ‘socialists’ who support the statehood of Israel (and subsequent subjugation of the Palestinians), yet do everything in their power to deny Scotland the status of statehood.

      British Labour is a One Nation, proto-fascist, Fabian controlled organization, working to protect the British Establishment. Benjamin Disraeli would be so proud his wet dream has come to fruition.

    39. Jack McKenzie says:

      The right wing press think they are the ‘British Establishment’.

    40. ForgotMath says:

      Slavery is written in our history books. No voting rights for women is written in our history books. And Labour winning most seats in Scotland is written in our history books.

      Spot the trend, Jim?

    41. JLT says:

      The thing is then, if it appears that Scottish Labour are doing the Media’s dirty work with the constant mantra of ‘the biggest party forms the government’, then we truly need to wipe Labour out in Scotland.

      That means gunning for Murphy’s seat with an imperativeness.

      What we don’t need on the 8th of May, is a deluded and selfish halfwit, who is only interested in saving his own skin, continually parroting his wee mantra, and in doing so, throws around say …20 million people under the Tory bus.

      Murphy needs to be silenced on the 8th and that can really only happen if he loses his seat. If he has lost his seat, then he’s yesterday’s man, and I can’t see him whittering on the 8th about who forms what; Jim will be too busy looking for his golden parachute and protecting his own interests.

      Silence Murphy, and the mantra from Scotland dies on the 8th. I can’t see Kezia and the other Labour MSP’s shouting the mantra, for surely she must know that to do so, and inflict a Tory government on Scotland, will see Scottish Labour wiped out altogether in the Scottish Elections which will be just 1 year later.

      That just leaves the London media to keep this nonsense up in what could be a very belligerent population not exactly enamoured to see Cameron back in at No. 10.

    42. Luigi says:

      Alex, Caz,

      I hope you are right about Miliband having a chance, but sorry I just cannot see it. Labour have been filleted and Ed continues to stare like a rabbit caught in the headlights. The ukippers will be counted on to do their stuff on May 8th. It’s a blue Tory majority, I’m afraid.

      The big question is – what happens then? It depends what happens up here. If Labour hold more than 20 seats in Scotland, it’s more of the same shit. If they don’t, Scotland becomes ungovernable and all hell breaks loose.

      We live in interesting times.

    43. Garry says:

      And if Miliband is smart – obviously an open question – he should abandon Scotland to the SNP to hoover up and re-focus any resources he would have pissed into the SNP tsunami fighting the English marginals.

      He might just be able to squeeze a plurality in England if he acts on this right now. I fear he has neither the intelligence nor the killer instinct for this though.

    44. Graham says:

      Decent article in FT on Saturday by Philip Stevens arguing that locking SNP out of govt will “only fuel nationalism”. At last, some common sense from a London paper.
      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f4f513fa-d9e7-11e4-ab32-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=uk#axzz3WY55Lb7P

    45. Al Dossar says:

      Given that it requires a 2/3 majority to dissolve parliament, could it just be that is one of the options being considered by both of the Tory parties.

      Get into power, show an inability to form a government and then the Tories and especially Labour then campaign again with the tale that a vote for anyone other than them is a wasted vote.

      They really would prefer the abhorrent US system with right wing vs extreme right wing being the only two parties involved.

    46. Joe Ghandi says:

      “They know the price of everything , and the value of nothing ….”

    47. Jim Mitchell says:

      We would be better off with the bouncy castle etc!

    48. Sean McNulty says:

      If and when post-GE discussions between the SNP and Labour fail, deliberately or otherwise, the MSM will place the blame for this entirely on the SNP: “Unreasonable demands… tail wagging the dog… besmirching British democracy…” etc. The Scottish electorate will be told that this shows the SNP really wanted a Tory govt (Frenchgate prepared the ground for this) and brought this about “just as in 1979”.

      Will social media be up to the task of setting the electorate right?

    49. CRAIGthePICT says:

      Superbly put Adam Ramsay! The Labour Party are being being played like fiddles. They have poor strategy and seem incapable of coherent planning towards the ‘end game’.

      This article is one of the best examples I’ve read of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and working out what they are up to.

      Will Labour heed your well reasoned warning?

    50. Lollysmum says:

      O/T sorry Rev
      For all those worried about voters in residential homes, please consider helping out Sunday Herald’s initiative to get the Sunday paper into their homes by contributing a few pennies.

      It started in February & delivers direct to residential/sheltered housing. See for info:

      http//www.readonsunday.scot

    51. Lachlan McDougall says:

      I’ve assummed milliband was an intelligent enough individual, but he lacks leadership qualities, personality and a common touch with people.

      murphy, I have absolutely no doubt, posses little political intelligence. murphy looks no further than how to damage an opponent then constant repetition until the story disappears from the front page.

      I am sure milliband views murphy with utter distain and this distain is reciprocated, after all murphy was demotted by milliband. The SNP will have difficulty negotiating with milliband when milliband’s Scottish mps, including murphy are in place, however once they are gone, no such constaint exists.

      My understanding is that many English labour mps view Scottizh labour MPs with contempt, a necessary evil, therefore come May 08th I see a more pragmatic labour willing to deal with the SNP.

      How the press behaves in England and the bbc in Scotland, sadly we have no control other than quick rebuttle and restating the true position.

      Lachlan McDougall

    52. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Stu, I think it’s too late for Miliband. He had his chance on saturday after the French had confirmed the lie. He could have really gone to town on the tories and The Telegraph.

      To me, he comes across as someone who doesn’t know what to do.

    53. carjamtic says:

      In a system that has ran since feudal times,designed to keep the smaller parties from having any influence,it is a shock to them,that the SNP and the other small parties will have a say,this is not the way it’s supposed to work.(reality bites)

      Independance is coming of that there is no doubt,any re-positioning of the old guard,grand coalitions,changes to the existing FPTP system,is merely buying them some time,they know Westminster is broken beyond repair.

      They should just let go,perhaps we would respect them more,but this won’t happen,as highlighted in the MSMs nasty outpourings (reality bites),it will end in tears.

      Scotland in the end will ultimately be free from this undemocratic/corrupt/ abusive system,hopefully sooner than later and amen to that.

    54. Big Jock says:

      Labour dont care about democracy. They only care about keeping Scotland British, even if it takes letting Cameron back in to do it.

    55. Rob James says:

      Labour don’t have the wherewithal to govern and sadly, I think they know this. There are too many neo-liberals in the upper echelons of the party who think the only answer is austerity. They are now aware that this is becoming ever more unpopular with the electorate.

      If they allow Cameron back in, and attempt to shift the blame on to the SNP, they will lose what remains of their socialist support. I don’t think the party would survive.

      If Milliband really wishes to lead the country, he must look to the progressive parties for support, or once again, lose the left wing voters.

      It is his only option of forming a government, and probably the only option of saving his party.

    56. xShuggy says:

      Other than personal finacial gain, I’m not at all convinced that Jim Murphy has any interest in politics.

      I believe he’d be perfectly happy if Labour were left with just one seat in Scotland…

    57. Big Jock says:

      Milliband is weaker than Neil Kinnock. Therefore middle England will never elect him. Scotland actually couldn’t care less for Cameron or Milliband. They both say nothing and do nothing for Scotland.

      The SNP have replaced Labour, because Scotland has given up on Westminster. That’s the part Murphy can’t get into his thick skull around.

      Its not just Labour that is finished ,its London rule of Scotland despite the referendum result. We watch the Milliband and Cameron debate as spectators not participants. We might as well be watching the French election for all these people actually mean to Scotland.

      The problem is they still lord over us but don’t represent us!

    58. I G says:

      Yeah, but if Milliband let’s up on the anti-SNP rhetoric he will haemorrhage votes in the south. A rock and a hard place have nothing on the situation Labour are in across the UK. Delicious.

    59. faolie says:

      Excellent, though slightly scary article. However, methinks we’re all over-analysing the post-electoral manoeuvrings. Think about it. Are we really saying the Ed Miliband and the Labour party would NOT form a government just because their partner is the SNP? So they, and first and only shot at PM Ed Miliband, would just give up 5 years of government because of the SNP? Sorry, it just isn’t going to work that way.

      So Dave gets first dibs to form the government, as is his right, as the Tories are the incumbents. When he can’t, or they get voted down, Ed will be asked by her maj if he can form a government:

      Her Maj: Can you form a government?
      Ed: No
      HM: Why not? The SNP will support you. So you can form a government. Are you telling me you don’t want to?
      Ed: Yes, that’s what I’m telling you.

      Just doesn’t ring true, does it? By May 8th, the SNP will be re-positioned as natural Labour partners; a left-wing party that supports the ‘traditional aims’ of the Labour Party.

      The Mail and the Express and the Telegraph can splutter all they want, but in reality there’s not a damn thing that they can do about it.

    60. CameronB Brodie says:

      P.S. An Israeli state created by the British Establishment, led by the Fabians, and with the primary aim of supporting Britain’s anti-Semitic imperialist ambitions.

      @ Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy
      Any comment, or would you need to speak to Labour Friends of Israel before replying?

    61. Lollysmum says:

      Ever since Murphy was anointed leader in December, commenters in these pages have been asking is JM working for the Tories? It seems that we now have the answer. He has been all along & will continue to do so.

      I’m glad to see that people are waking up to who lies behind the smear-I’ve been saying it’s the Tories since the beginning but others probably thought that was too far fetched an idea.Won’t be long now before we find out as the manoeuvring starts this week.

      Time to keep the eyes peeled both north & south of the border.

    62. Bob Mack says:

      A touch of Bonds'” Tomorrow Never Dies” ,about the whole thing, but this time it is the British State who are controlling and being controlled by the media to manipulate the population.
      Send for Jaws.

    63. Big Jock says:

      Faolie.Remember that Westminster is corrupt and so are Labour and Milliband. Yes he will refuse to form a government with the SNP. London means everything to Labour and Milliband. Scotland was useful when we did what we were told and voted Labour.

      Scotland will be cast aside by Labour if the SNP destroy them. Don’t expect scruples ,morals or democracy from any unionist party. Labour will take their chances later on and let Cameron run Westminster for a few more years. They will hope he weakens after a few more years of austerity. If they form a government with the SNP propping them up. Middle England will never re elect them its that simple. Its about Labours survival in England from now on as they have lost Scotland.

    64. Roger Mexico says:

      […]why did [Sturgeon] spend most of the time in the debate reaching out to voters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland? […]The obvious explanation is that she was softening the ground for a post-election loose pact between Labour and the SNP

      Indeed and if you look at the figures in the latest Sunday Times poll you can see that she was beginning to be successful. Her main purpose was to neutralise the anti-Scottish/SNP propaganda which has been is aimed at getting voters (especially UKIP) to back the Conservatives to counter this ‘threat’, or failing that make the SNP ‘untouchable’. That showed some effect with those who thought SNP involvement would be “a good thing” rising from 15% in March to 25% now.

      The 33% who actually watched all the debate were more enthusiastic – over a third of them backed involvement. And because most voters will think anything that doesn’t give unlimited power to the Party they support is a ‘bad thing’. An awful lot of Tory voters (over 80%) in particular.

      Oddly enough there was very little difference between support for situations where “the SNP held the balance of power in a hung Parliament” and “the SNP was part of a coalition government”, which suggests all that careful positioning may have been missed by people.

    65. RadicalLaird says:

      Call me old fashioned, but I like to keep things simple.

      My guess is that Nicola Sturgeon did say something along the lines that she thinks Cameron is preferable to Milband. I’m actually surprised that anyone here would find that possibility surprising given the attacks and dirty tricks the independence movement has suffered at the hands of Miliband and Labour over the last few years.

      I’d be inclined also to agree with Craig Murray in terms of the secret services of the UK and the U.S. having it in for the SNP and expect they played a part in not only recording what Sturgeon said to the French but also in leaking it.

      It’s likely the record of what she said derives from eavesdropping and for that reason Sturgeon and the French are confident that their denial can never be challenged without someone somewhere down the line admitting that the UK routinely eavesdrops on foreign diplomats and/or the SNP.

      So far, so simple.

      I notice a lot of people in the discussion above, and of course Adam Ramsay in the article, talking about the constitution and ingratiating ourselves with Middle England. Hmmmmmm. Getting a bit ahead of ourselves there, to put it mildly.

      I think all of this gets a lot simpler if you look at things from the perspective of the British State rather than getting caught up in the deception of party politics. From that perspective, this leak is just one of many attacks on the Scottish Independence movement; the narrow goal is simply to damage the SNP’s prospects in the election.

    66. gus1940 says:

      Let’s not forget the option of A Government Of National Unity to unite/scare the electorate of the alleged menace of The SNP, Putin, Al Quaeda, and Isis not forgetting The Argies.

      Even that would be a Win Win for The SNP as it would finally kill off Scottish Labour in next year’s Holyrood Election.

    67. Bruno says:

      CameronB Brodie – Have you been drinking all day?

    68. HandandShrimp says:

      As once said

      The people have spoken…the bastards!

      Now how do we ignore them?

    69. Robert Graham says:

      It appears Labour mps have been automated their tweets are being automatically removed by HQ Douglas Alexander on being questiond declined to coment regarding his coment on French gate nice to know they are free thinking individuals and not controled as in Tony’s day on message!

    70. crazycat says:

      @ Sean McNulty

      If and when post-GE discussions between the SNP and Labour fail, deliberately or otherwise, the MSM will place the blame for this entirely on the SNP: “Unreasonable demands… tail wagging the dog… besmirching British democracy…” etc. The Scottish electorate will be told that this shows the SNP really wanted a Tory govt (Frenchgate prepared the ground for this) and brought this about “just as in 1979?.

      I do sometimes share your concern about this, but if Cameron cannot form a group which commands the confidence of the House (which he has first chance at, so his failure is a pre-requisite for any deals between Labour and the SNP, although they may of course start talking before they know he’s failed), surely what happens is this:

      If Miliband refuses to deal with the SNP; then either he declines to put his programme to a vote in the House (cue another election if Cameron still can’t get a majority) or he does put it to a vote and the SNP support him, forcing him to carry on, while demonstrating to the electorate that they are prepared to be helpful.

      He can’t stop the progressive parties from voting with Labour whenever they see fit. So the only way Miliband can fail to form a government is by really blatantly having a tantrum.

    71. James says:

      good article Rev.

    72. Kenny says:

      Faolie:
      Her Maj: Can you form a government?
      Ed: No
      HM: Why not? The SNP will support you. So you can form a government. Are you telling me you don’t want to?
      Ed: Yes, that’s what I’m telling you.

      Just doesn’t ring true, does it?

      Is it just me, or does this sound COMPLETELY plausible?

      I think Dave will form a government with Blue Tories, Yellow Tories and Purple Tories, working on a case-by-case basis to “secure” the necessary Red Tory votes, all to “save the union” from the “insurgents” (you know, people like Caroline Lucas). Ed will keep on as leader of the Red Tories making fake braying noises in Parliament every PMQ, but going along with the charade.

    73. heedtracker says:

      There is two campaigns going on either side of the border but it does make you wonder why a lovely Bliarite like Jim Morphy blows off about his £2 million house taxation in the south of England.

      That’s a huge tax hike in London and it must be enraging rather a lot of home owners, quite a lot of whom have high paid jobs for life in the media and ofcourse the BBC.

      Morphy’s on tv down there explaining that “Aberdeen’s oil wealth” has been spent in London so now its time to spread around their wealth. Its like they’re trying to create a rather unpleasant environment for anything Scotland in the south east and Westminster.

      Just one more cunning Murphy stunt no doubt.

    74. manandboy says:

      Readers, look ahead, as the Unionists have done,
      and come up with a Unionist plan for the next twenty, forty, fifty years.

      Without Scotland, the rUK is bankrupt.

      So, can anyone really see the Unionists planning ahead
      WITHOUT Scottish wealth.

      GE15 is about The Union. It’s all they can think about.

      The Union is still in peril with a rampant SNP.

      Unionist solution?

    75. Dr Jim says:

      Absolutely agree

      The Westminster establishment will think about every possible scenario it can in order to thwart whatever the will of the people may be

      But this tactic is also, for them fraught with the huge danger that not just %45 of Scots don’t like it, but that the % goes far higher instantly

      Because they will in effect be telling their own supporters
      in Scotland that the very nasty and bad SNP were correct the whole time and that their vote, nomatter who they vote for actually and really doesn’t count or even matter at all

      Just like the very nasty and bad SNP told them all along

      Good luck with that one

      Just a quick thought.. the English might suss out it could be done to them too….next time..

    76. Christian Schmidt says:

      So what?

      Whatever the tory press says, prime minister will be whoever has the majority in the commons. (And Cameron can’t call a 2nd election either.)

      Assuming we get the expected hung parliament, then the only way for Cameron to survive is for sufficient Labour backbenchers to refuse to back Miliband in a vote of confidence. And how likely is that? ( And don’t say SLAB MPs will do that to spike the SNP, because they are unlikely to be there after 7 May… )

    77. John Robertson says:

      Nice article! However, there may be another motive – preparation for a ConLab coalition! That would allow both sides to claim “victory” and provide stability in the “national interest” (and conveniently marginalising the SNP and the other “insurgents”). It might seem an unlikely outcome but I wouldn’t be too sure that it is!

    78. K1 says:

      Ayep, he’s a cunning stunt alright.

    79. Grouse Beater says:

      Wings topic title: A Very British Coup

      Ah, there’s that catch-all English term again, ‘British.’

      Scottish, English, and Neo-Democracy’
      https://grousebeater.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/scottish-english-and-neo-democracy/

    80. arthur thomson says:

      Milliband’s stupid response to the false memo was a clear indication that he does not have what it takes to be a Prime Minister. I can only assume that his support system is equally inept. Labour have been duped by the other tories time and again in the past few years. The ONLY hope for the next five years is a wipe out by the SNP and then a Labour government guided by the SNP.

    81. Hoss Mackintosh says:

      @foalie,

      agree with you. The political map of the UK is going to be completely different after 7th May.There will be a big Yellow bit up in a Scotland – hopefully!

      What I do not understand is why Milliband is still trying to support SLAB. Most English MPs know they are a bunch of numpties and have written them off. If you go by today’s Herald article quite a few Labour MPs have also written themselves off as well.

      It may change in the coming weeks as reality dawns on Labour UK that their only hope of forming a Government is support from the SNP.

      They are about to get another dose of reality tomorrow night when Nicola exposes on live TV what a useless SLAB leader Murphy really is.

      This is the first time he will be the spotlight in a real debate.

      I have got my popcorn!

    82. Albaman says:

      Yes a very interesting article, and an insight to how “the system ” works, just wish “Joe & Josephine ” public were as interested in reading it as well.

    83. TD says:

      What this analysis reveals is that without a written constitution, politicians in the UK can literally make it up as they go along. It is appalling that the rules can be changed in this way – but it does happen.

      I am old enough to remember the Wilson Labour government in the sixties. The unwritten constitutional understanding up until then was that if a government lost a vote in the House of Commons, that precipated a general election. But Wilson lost a vote and then immediately tabled a vote of confidence in the government. He won this vote and stayed in office. Thus the constitution was changed because it did not suit the incumbent Prime Minister.

      Let’s not think for a moment that Cameron would be above “tweaking” the constitution in a similar way to suit his own ends. We should know from the BT campaign last year that they will do whatever it takes to get their way. They have no respect for democracy – they just want to win. Just like a tin-pot dictator.

    84. muttley79 says:

      I read with a chuckle comrade Will Podmore, over on Guardian Cif, arguing that apparently the SNP and the Tories were in coalition from 2007-2011 in the Scottish Parliament. What is it with these SLAB types? The truth seems to get in the way of their anti-SNP propaganda time and time again.

    85. caz-m says:

      K1 7.34pm

      Smiley thing AND a winkie thing.

      I can’t wait to get verbally abused by our English Establishment friends and their right and left wing media.

      They haven’t experienced anything like this in over 300 years of the Union.

      It has always been ruling classes of England who had the final say and all that will come to an end on May 7th.

    86. muttley79 says:

      Is there a debate tomorrow night between Sturgeon, Murphy, Davidson and Rennie?

    87. Alba says:

      It’s also worth noting that if this is the situation that comes to pass, then labour may have no option but to accept a Tory minority government. Both because they can’t afford to run a new campaign, but also, if they are perceived to have ‘lost’ the election, then forcing a new one would hurt them and add to their woes in that 2nd election. I may been deemed better to let a minority Tory government run it’s course and hope to do better in 2020.

    88. ScottieDog says:

      I think the article paints a rather sad (but true) picture of society in most of the UK. A pliant public who are willingly spoonfed the rubbish in MSM, too lazy to even go and find out what’s actually going on. I’ve had the daily mail recited to me on many an occasion like it was gospel.

    89. clochoderic says:

      Muttley:

      In the link below you will find Annabelle Goldie stating beyond doubt that there was no pact, deal or arrangement between the SNP and Scottish Tories in the Parliament of 2007 – 2011.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05nxkyg

    90. K1 says:

      Aye it will Caz, all this tactical voting malarky merely shows how desperately they are clinging, to a way of life that is about to come to an end.

      They have no ‘answer’, to the question of ‘why’ this is happening, and so can only fall back on blaming SNP.

      They just don’t get it: We Are Not Rats.

    91. Mark Russell says:

      Good article. I the event of a Labour/SNP pact, Miliband should resign or be replaced with Alan Johnston as Leader and I hope that would be a demand the SNP would make loud and clear.

    92. Grouse Beater says:

      Muttley: Plodmore says apparently the SNP and the Tories were in coalition from 2007-2011 in the Scottish Parliament

      Aye, as a crocodile and a lion share the same watering hole.

    93. Onwards says:

      Absolutely brilliant article.

      Jim Murphy’s ‘largest party’ nonsense could end up hurting Labour in a hung parliament situation.

      It makes Ed Miliband less likely to be PM, even if he has a democratic mandate of anti-Tory MP’s supporting him, albeit as the lesser of two evils.

      There is the very real possibility that Jim Murphy is out for revenge on Miliband for demoting him, and wants his job more than he wants Labour to win.

    94. Lollysmum says:

      Wee Ginger Dug putting in his four pennorth today

      https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/

    95. CameronB Brodie says:

      muttley79
      I think Will Podmore would be back affronted if you were to suggest he is a Slabourite. He defines himself as a British Marxist Leninist, or Communist to the uninitiated.

      As far as I can establish from him, he expects the British working class to unite in revolution against the Establishment. Yet at the same time, the British Communist Party wholeheartedly supported the TORY FUNDED Better Together, in order to usurp Scottish democracy. Then again, Communism was the creation of western financiers bent on imposing totalitarian authority over Russia and a central bank which they would control.

      The guy is either a dissembler or delusional. Just let him play with himself.

      P.S. According to Will, “The German Ideology” was an “old text” by Marx and didn’t really count for anything.

    96. YesMeansYes says:

      A de-motivational poster for Brit Nats.

      http://oi60.tinypic.com/mlpllk.jpg

    97. CameronB Brodie says:

      P.S. Marx was a rabid anti-Semite and Lord Palmerston’s pet.

    98. Natasha says:

      @muttley79, 7.56pm
      I read with a chuckle comrade Will Podmore, over on Guardian Cif, arguing that apparently the SNP and the Tories were in coalition from 2007-2011 in the Scottish Parliament. What is it with these SLAB types? The truth seems to get in the way of their anti-SNP propaganda time and time again.

      Don’t pay Will the compliment of assuming he’s Scottish Labour; he lives and works in England, and if you look at his history on his facebook page, you’ll see that he has done so pretty much all of his life. I doubt if he’s ever even been to Scotland.

    99. Onwards says:

      There is an easy way out for Miliband to save face with English voters.

      He could say it is perfectly reasonable to govern on a confidence and supply basis, with support from SNP MP’s, on condition they don’t demand another immediate referendum.

      That gives him a shield against those who say it would be untenable to depend on a party that wants to break up the UK.

      The SNP might agree to this – as realistically, another referendum will come through Holyrood.
      The next stage is generally accepted to be further significant devolution. And Brown has already pledged a solution ‘close to federalism’.

    100. John Young says:

      Just watching frankie boyle being interviewed by out taxi driver friend, very interesting, I did not know ed miliband and g osbourne’s wife’s are very friendly and go backpacking round South America together.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyDVLIENl48&feature=youtu.be

    101. Fred says:

      Anent Murphy’s mantra, this is the outcome of spending ones time at Uni’ being creepy instead of actually passing exams.

    102. Bill Hume says:

      Big Jock says……11:29

      “Its not just Labour that is finished ,its London rule of Scotland despite the referendum result. We watch the Milliband and Cameron debate as spectators not participants. We might as well be watching the French election for all these people actually mean to Scotland”.

      My sentiments exactly. If the people of rUK want to go to hell, they can go to hell in their own wheelbarrow. I care little who they elect.

    103. orri says:

      Milliband really needs someone with their head screwed on to advise him. Even to the extent of giving him advise on how to phrase things so that he doesn’t end up looking like an idiot when all the facts are known.

      He might also be wise to remember the Gang of Four and the SDP splitting off from Labour. The concept of a Grand Alliance might tickle the fancy of the Telegraph, where it seems to have first arisen, it’s not going to go down well in actuality and risks splintering Labour into pieces. I really doubt the Welsh would tolerate it. Jim Murphy might also find himself facing a rebellion. It might even go so badly wrong that the majority of Labour MPs jump ship leaving Milliband in a rump Labour party mainly centered around London. The idea might seem a “good” one but if not enough MPs obey the whip it isn’t going to get off the ground.

    104. Wulls says:

      Great piece of analysis but I fear one thing has been missed.
      The real possibility of Cameron & miliband forming a coalition to keep the SNP from any real power.
      This could happen.

    105. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Lachlan McDougall”

      Why has everyone started signing their posts suddenly? It’s a real pain in the arse having to edit them out. WE CAN SEE YOUR NAME AT THE SIDE ALREADY.

    106. BB says:

      If they’d given us independence then none of this would have worried them…just sayin.

    107. Kenny says:

      The Daily Mail supposed slur of “The Most Dangerous Woman in Britain” reminds me a bit of when the USSR’s similarly dull propaganda sheet of lies, Pravda (they must have named it after hearing how fowk in Ecosse refer to the BBC), called Thatcher the “Iron Lady” — and it was later seen as a compliment.

      It makes Nicola Sturgon seem edgy and cool, a bit like #SexySocialism. I hope it sticks!

      O/T More disturbing Carbuncle images, this time courtesy of Wee Ginger Dug: “Alistair Carmichael, a man who can’t even conspire to take a leak without it dribbling all down his leg”.

    108. Raymond Ferguson says:

      Great article right enough. However, what is to stop the Tories, {if they are the largest party in a balanced parliament] from going it alone as a minority government just like the first SNP government did in 2007.

      At that time, the prevailing logic among nationalists, was to form an administration and defy the majority unionist party’s to bring the government down thus precipitating another election.

      Professional and public opinion at that time believed that had they done so they would have been severely punished by the Scottish electorate. And given what you say about a second election favouring the deep pockets of the the Tories, what would they have to lose, especially if they were aided and abetted by the right wing Tory press?

    109. Sinky says:

      When will labour work out that there is only one Tory MP in Scotland and the SNP has the best chance to defeat him.

    110. heedtracker says:

      How long will they keep attacking and discrediting Sturgeon for at the beeb. It was all over the BBC Today R4 news for three hours this morn, on the hour every day since Saturday, clever word play sometimes but they are really going for this one.

      BBC vote Slabour or else Cooke’s tweets “Is this the country we want folks? Is it?” Like the “Is it?”

      Who on earth do these guys think are in their half a billion quid Pacific Quay box of vote Jim Murphy or else?

      Old dead Labour phoney Tony Benn said we should all ask

      What power have you got BBC?

      Where did you get it from BBC?

      In whose interests do you exercise it BBC?

      To whom are you accountable BBC?

      And how can we get rid of you BBC?”

      If you cannot get rid of the people who currently own the BBC, you do not live in a democratic system.”

      I know, shadap, vote SLabour or else, pay the licence fee.

      Rule Britannia and Jacky Bird:D

    111. Robert Llewellyn Tyler says:

      And Lo, there was great deleting of tweets in the Valleys of Wales…
      http://www.welshnotbritish.com/2015/04/leighton-andrews-tweeted-deleted.html

    112. heedtracker says:

      Creepy Murphy isn’t deleting anything. Classic double whammy, creepy Jim’s Slabour/BBC Scotland style

      Jim Murphy @JimForScotland · Apr 3
      It’s déjà vu – SNP not being straight. If Scotland votes SNP, Nicola Sturgeon will get her wish of another Tory govt.
      http://bit.ly/1D1tiCF

      Jim Murphy retweeted
      James Cook @BBCJamesCook · Apr 4
      OF COURSE there are some SNP strategists – I know, I’ve spoken to them – who say in private a Tory victory would hasten independence.

      Jim Murphy retweeted
      James Cook @BBCJamesCook · Apr 4
      OF COURSE I won’t identify the SNP folk who said to me in private conversations that they could see the attraction/would prefer Tory govt.

      Jim Murphy retweeted
      James Cook @BBCJamesCook · Apr 4
      OF COURSE I should ask tough questions of politicians. This is a democracy. This is my role in it. We’re the poorer without challenge.

      Neat twitter summation of how to go about monstering Nicola Sturgeon UKOK style. They held back the memo for weeks and waited and waited…

    113. Stoker says:

      Nicola Sturgeon – The woman who holds all the aces!

      Aye, Ah feel a song coming on:

      You gotta know when to hold them…STURGEON,
      Know when to fold them…TRIDENT,
      know when to walk away…CARMICHAEL,
      know when to run…MURPHY.
      🙂

    114. Andrew says:

      As people are pointing out, the left in the rest of Britain were actually surprised and impressed with Nicola Sturgeon (whilst the right, well as we can see…), if she continues to make an impression which might actually be her intention then Miliband and Labour really need to recognize this as a chance to soften any potential deal between the SNP and the Labour party.

      The Labour party might be best served to spin this entirely in their favour although perhaps Scottish Labour would be destroyed if it isn’t already.

      My point is if Labour just ended the whole fiasko that is “Scottish Labour” came out with a plea to work with the SNP in the event of a hung parliment, span a bit of yarn about how by working with the SNP it would actually show to the Scottish Voters that we are indeed better United and as part of the Union. This way nobody gets a tory Government, Labour actually move somewhat to the left, the SNPs end goal of independence takes a blow.

      I have zero confidence that any of this will happen in this general election.

    115. Cactus says:

      So that’s the long weekend holiday almost over, back to normal tomorrow.. more of the continued harrassment from the msm towards an increasingly popular Scottish lady.

      And seeing as tomorrow is the month to showdown marker.. (if you haven’t already) you could always stick some posters up on your windows in support of your local candidate?

      Scotland ROCKS X

    116. orri says:

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. To be perfectly clear if the SNP are in a position to prevent a second term for Cameron and don’t make every effort to do so then they can get fucked as far as getting my vote again is concerned. That’s the risk they face and why any supposition that a second term would hasten independence is on very shaky ground.

      Interestingly enough the tweet from Jim about seeing the attraction is almost close to the truth, he just had to add the words prefer even though that isn’t what James Cook said he’d heard when he put the scenario to his alleged sources.

    117. call me dave says:

      Been away all day and no internet so catching up now.

      Suspected that the smear had failed as I tuned into the radio at various times of the day (No Sturgeon stories at all).

      PS: Wasted 10 minutes of my life reading that circumlocution piece from Torrance in the Herald…I know…FGS!

      Anyhoo! Carmichael just for you, fingering a lackey tsk! tsk! that’s low, resign immediately. The buck stops with you.

      The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
      Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
      Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
      Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

    118. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      orri at 10.12

      Have you been asleep (or deaf perhaps)?

    119. caz-m says:

      orri 10.12pm

      What a strange post. ????????????????????

    120. @heedtracker

      In the quote from The Telegraph,Jim Murphy actually said “It’s déjà vu all over again”.

      And this is in a story that intimates no confusion in the interpretation of one language to another.

    121. muttley79 says:

      Here is a link to a review of the article in the SOS about Willie McRae’s death by Calum Carr:

      http://calumcarr.blogspot.co.uk/

    122. heedtracker says:

      Latest poll prediction from ElectoralCalculus puts SNP ahead of Carmicheal. BBC Orkney didn’t mention it though, they went big on Sea Eagle egg laying on Hoy. Funny that or as whatshisface Cooke would say “Is this the country we want folks? Is it?”

      http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/conlist_scot.html#OrkneyandShetland

      Lib 41%
      Nat 56%

      Why is Carmicheal looking so smug though? Another BBC/Torygraph memo from our noble and honest memo concocting civil service getting lined up no doubt.

    123. Valerie says:

      @orri 10.12pm
      how clear do you want them to be after Sturgeon has issued a clear statement calling on Milliband to work with SNP – again!

      Its Milliband who is holding things up, because he is too scared it will frighten the unionists who might vote Labour. It will frighten Unionists who scream of the UK govt being held to ransom if SNP hold the balance of power etc etc.

      If Milliband had a backbone, he would cautiously say about working with anyone who can join with their policies etc etc. – its not that bloody hard – they have copied most of the SNP good ideas.

    124. Connor Mcewen says:

      Just want to send all my love to Stu.,Heathersays,Gus1940,Bigjock.
      But in particular Heathersays as I am self confessed mysogyinist
      thingy and grumpy tae boot.
      Cameronian Croyden Hoodies and Satchel and Satchelbaggers(P.R.)
      are better at Carpetbagging publicity.
      Anything to scare the less P.R.aware voter and keep Tories in power.

    125. Patrician says:

      Jim Murphy has absolutely no interest in Ed Miliband becoming PM. The best outcome for Mr Murphy’s career is Mr Miliband losing the election and triggering a Labour Party leadership contest. Mr Murphy will then reluctantly allow his name to be thrown into the ring, and then it will be bye-bye Scotland. This has been the Blairite plan for the last 2 years. The only problem now for Murphy is that he might not have a Westminster seat. How ironic it would be if Labour were to not form the Government and Murphy loses his seat.

    126. Luigi says:

      Why is Carmicheal looking so smug though?

      Lord Carbuncle of Coveredass?

    127. Luigi says:

      Valerie says:
      6 April, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      @orri 10.12pm
      how clear do you want them to be after Sturgeon has issued a clear statement calling on Milliband to work with SNP – again!

      Its Milliband who is holding things up, because he is too scared it will frighten the unionists who might vote Labour. It will frighten Unionists who scream of the UK govt being held to ransom if SNP hold the balance of power etc etc.

      If Milliband had a backbone, he would cautiously say about working with anyone who can join with their policies etc etc. – its not that bloody hard – they have copied most of the SNP good ideas.

      As a presumed leftie, this is Ed Miliband’s big chance. Man up and face the English MSM. Nicola showed how to do it. Forget the south east England, the neolibs and the Tory press. There is a huge left support in the rest of England just waiting for a real leader to rise.

      You will only get one chance at this, Ed. You really need to grow a pair and get moving before it is too late.

    128. Martin says:

      Very astute Stu. Ever thought of being an adviser to the Labour party?

    129. itsme says:

      Kenny 9:20 – your post reminds me of the apparently popular saying about two of the main USSR newspapers Pravda, meaning truth, and Izvestia, meaning news. It goes:

      v Pravde net izvestiy, v Izvestiyakh net pravdy

      In the Truth there is no news, and in the News there is no truth.

    130. Natasha says:

      I’m a bit confused about the ward details on Electoral Calculus.

      When you look at Gregg McClymont’s constituency of Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, it includes North and South Cumbernauld (no surprises there, given the name of the constituency). The SNP are predicted to gain this seat from McClymont.

      However, if you look at Tom Greatrex’s constituency of Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill (predicted as a Labour hold) the ward details include Cumbernauld North.

      How can it be in two constituencies at once? Can anyone with local knowledge help me out here?

    131. muttley79 says:

      This new Guardian article about Dundee West is both achingly tragic and hilarious at the same time (I have shortened it quite a bit because of the length):

      Labour strategists hope that tactical voting will help save its most vulnerable seat from the Scottish National party after a last minute reselection in Dundee West.

      Scottish Labour announced that it had chosen Michael Marra, a former party adviser, charity worker and political analyst, to fight the constituency after the ailing sitting MP, Jim McGovern, bowed to mounting medical and political advice by retiring from politics on health grounds last week.

      Marra, whose sister Jenny Marra is a Scottish Labour MSP for the north east region and whose uncle – also called Michael Marra – was a folk singer, was chosen on Monday after a quick-fire reselection contest run last weekend.

      Until McGovern’s resignation, the party had written off its chances in Dundee West following the city’s heavy vote in favour of independence last September.

      Party strategists believe Marra could just rescue the seat, won by McGovern in 2010 with a 20% majority of 7,278 votes, but only if he can win the support of Tory and Lib Dem voters in the seat’s prosperous suburbs.

      One of a number of prominent candidates chosen by SNP because of their active roles in the yes campaign, Law is known locally for using a converted former Green Goddess military fire engine as a campaign vehicle.

      “I can see many Tories and possibly Lib Dems who never in a million years would’ve voted for Jim McGovern but they might think now we’ve got a decent chap who might be an MP, and we will vote tactically to get rid of this nationalist who drives about in a fire engine and has a goatee,” said one source.

    132. kininvie says:

      Once you get some – somewhat bizarre – Labour activists being given lunch by the Perth Conservatives, – according to Twitter – you know the world has gone mad.

      Labour has shot itself in the foot, with the Tories (conveniently disguised as Carmichael) holding the revolver. And the press line -‘she may not have said it, but we know she thinks it’ is also good for the Tories, because the issue is Ed as ‘prime ministerial material’ – and how could anyone, anywhere, think he was?

      The fact of the matter is that the only person who is prime ministerial material is our Nicola. Has anyone thought of a scenario where Cameron can’t, and Ed won’t, form a government? What’s to stop HM asking the leader of the third largest party? And what would happen if she did?

    133. desimond says:

      Somewhere Al Gore just sighed and doesnt know why…

    134. caz-m says:

      heedtracker 10.33pm

      Lib 41%
      Nat 56%

      Carmicheal told us a couple of weeks ago at the Lib/Dem phone box convention, that he heard he was going to be the last man standing.

      Does he know about this poll result. Someone should drop him a wee line.

      You could maybe “leak” it to him. “These things happen…”

      WHY wouldn’t you vote SNP, it is plainly the best Party to get the most done for Scotland.

    135. Kenny says:

      Luigi: “There is a huge left support in the rest of England just waiting for a real leader to rise.”

      There certainly is, and her name is Nicola Sturgeon!

    136. K1 says:

      Martin – This is an article by Adam Ramsay – It’s only astute if yi notice whit’s whit. 😉

    137. crazycat says:

      @ Natasha

      Tom Greatrex – Rutherglen and Hamilton West
      Tom Clarke – Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

      To answer your main question – ward boundaries are not necessarily congruent with those of a constituency.

      East Ayrshire, where I live, is mostly in Kilmarnock and Loudoun, but as well as several of the wards from the old Cumnock and Doon Valley District Council being in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock constituency, there are two or three tiny salients of Ayrshire Central, not big enough to be entire council wards, within the council boundaries.

      Cumbernauld North must be similarly split.

    138. Eckle Fechan says:

      A really insightful article.

      Makes you wonder, how low will they (MSM) go in pursuit of contined control and influence.

      On that word, I’ve thought for years that the media don’t just influence a culture, they create it. This might help explain a lot of our modern day ills.

      One of the sadnesses of the 80s Tory reign was the prophecy bound up in those infamous words re: no such thing as society. A simple counter argument may have run, “well there is actually, but by the time you’re done with it, clearly there won’t be.”

      I’ve written my own fantasy headline for the Ecke Fechan News, in the wake of the GE when the real negotiations begin. It reads simply, “THIS Lady’s no fir fuckin turnin”.

      Re: previous posts, I don’t buy Murphy’s grand scheming and glory hunting per-say. He’s as sharp as a tin tac, and as flat in the head. The needle’s almost worn out on the A-side (biggest party gets to form the govt), the only question is how much more shite will the B-side actually be when it’s flipped. The danger, as we’ve seen, is how many hack DJs pick it up and broadcast it to the nation as a hit, like it was ever a double A-side.. No way Jim (Naughtie)!

      On the Telegraph story, I readily admit that I’m still reeling readers. The “maybe, perhaps, possibly” mantra of recent BBC items, not to mention one broadcaster’s lazy appropriation of the phrase, “economical with the truth” and his subsequent hyperbolic conjecture (Oh FFS, keep it for your guest lecture on campus at the Oxbridge debating society) towards the possibilities of the FM’s meeting, have not helped to soothe me.

      So, forgive the outrage. I’m minded to pee and shit in a bucket for a week, Strangeways style, before visiting their offices for a 1-2-1 lunchtime launch of my Turner Prize entry called, “Takin the Shit Back Home”. I’ll get Tracey Emin to photograph it and then re-enact the event in a still life abstract – the Telegraph added to her bed scene, with a big fucking toley steaming off the page.

      Smell THAT stench readers, reekin rich.

    139. Molly says:

      Re the non SNP / Tory pact that never existed. Perhaps Will Podmore missed the ‘fear’ when the unionists pushed through their tram plan and there was a genuine moment of “oh shit” what have we done ? ( minority govt etc what if ? ) or maybe you had to be there.

    140. Natasha says:

      Crazycat

      Thanks, sorry, I happened to be thinking about Tom Greatrex when I was typing and forgot to doublecheck before I pressed ‘submit comment’.

      I shall cling to the excuse that it’s hard to tell one SLAB MP from another, particularly when their snouts are buried in the trough.

    141. JGedd says:

      @Natasha 11.01pm

      Isn’t Tom Greatrex MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West?

    142. Robert Peffers says:

      @Martin says: 6 April, 2015 at 5:08 pm:

      “Excellent analysis. Murphy really is ruining everything for Labour.”

      On the news breaking that Labour had made Murphy branch Office manager I posted that Labour must be mad to appoint a known right winger who supported Trident when all over Scotland the electorate were moving leftwards.

      It just seemed so obvious that for Labour to regain it’s traditional Scottish voters it had to return to where their old support came from.

      I think I said then that it looked like Scottish Labourites actually looked like preferring a Tory Government than a Labour one. I cannot say I have changed my mind.

    143. Natasha says:

      JGedd
      Yes, he is, have a look at crazycat’s comment at 11.18 and my reply at 11.27. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! 🙂

    144. orri says:

      To clarify, I’m voting SNP in this GE. It’s only a scenario where they allow Cameron a second term in order to somehow hasten a second referendum that I’m talking about. The same obviously goes for Labour if they’re the cause. I’m simply trying to point out the inherent flaw in any strategy involving a reliance on the misery and damage to the lives of the most vulnerable that’s the stock in trade of the right wing parties.

      The second point was that Cook as much as admitted he posed the scenario to those high in the SNP rather than them volunteering it. At no point did he claim they said they preferred it simply that they could see the attraction. You can glean a lot of information from his attempted interogation of Nicola before she took the stage at the anti-Trident demo.

    145. handclapping says:

      Don’t worry Natasha, Ali Carmichael can finger them whichever way they are presented 😉

    146. Big Jock says:

      10:12 your logic is lost on me a wee bit. The ball will be in Labours court following the election. If the SNP have 40 + MPs and can work with Labour to form an informal agreement.

      Then surely you can see that it is only Labour that can allow Cameron back in by refusing a deal with the SNP. Nicola has made it abundantly clear the offer is on the table. If they refuse then there is nothing the SNP can do to stop the Tories.

      In the event of such a situation. The SNP would try and block the worst of the Tory bills going through. But with Labour acting as unionists stooges. They could get Cameron’s bills through even if all SNP MPs blocked them!

      You have a very twisted mind if you want to blame the SNP for the Tories getting back in. The ball is in Millibands court!

    147. Dr Jim says:

      I thought it was nice today of the state Broadcaster reporting that Doune Castle are having record numbers of tourist visitors in the wake of the highly successful new series OUTLANDER which of course is filmed in Scotland and has been well received and now circulated around the world for everyone to enjoy except for “Scottish people”

      Still i’m sure the state broadcaster and others will be coming up with a good reason as to why they don’t deem it acceptable for us here in Jockland to enjoy some of the success of our colleagues who are working hard in our growing film industry to benefit our land of Jock

      Bit like finding oil but not getting the benefit of any of it…oh ..of course we don’t do we?
      At least we have our own version of “Game of Thrones”
      LIVE and coming to a Westminster near you

      They must me enjoying all this better together eh….

    148. Excellent post Adam Ramsay.

      You allude to the election of 1951 where Labour were the party with the most seats but a Conservative `Alliance`formed the Government.

      In your post you link to the blog FOREVER YES for added analysis on the 1951 election and at the end of the analysis the blogger says,

      “PS: I can’t take all the credit for this, as I acted upon information I saw in the comments section of Wings to look into this.”

      Just to give kudos where it is due it was Brian Nicholson on March 25th.

    149. schrodingers cat says:

      @kininvie

      labour activist tory booster club?
      wtf do they call themselves?

      fagging for dave?
      pimps in labour?

      ??red tories??

    150. Dr Jim says:

      Nicola Sturgeon constitutionally wouldn’t be Prime Minister

      on the grounds that ( She couldn’t give a shite )

      Technical Term that…

    151. heedtracker says:

      Hey caz-m
      6 April, 2015 at 11:06 pm
      heedtracker 10.33pm

      Lib 41%
      Nat 56%

      That’s the chances of SNP winning, not the vote percentage forecast for one weirdly smug SLibem. Orkney 35.5% Libs, 37.8% SNP

      Every other unionista across Scotland looks like they pooped their pants, even creepy Morphy. So why does Carmicheal look so pleased with himself? His Scottish office farted out that memo so, unless he’s a had good look at the next Project Fear BBC style run up to May 7… Cant imagine he’d be trusted to do anything meaningful in Scotland, other than phoning in his daily reports to Cameron and co.

      A BBC shill like Cooke thinks he can get away with saying out loud and in public “Is this the country we want folks? Is it?” after that last two week referendum BBC vote NO attack campaign alone, anything can happen.

      Dont have nightmares

    152. Natasha says:

      Loretta’s cat
      Hi.
      🙂

    153. Gavin MacMillan says:

      Not wanting to question the actualité so to speak, as I am as staunch a nationalist as any, but on checking online results for the 1951 election, I find figures of Conservative – 302 seats, Liberal National – 19 seats (giving a combined number of 321 seats, and Labour – 295 seats. This makes the Conservatives as the largest single party, with 35 seats more than you claim they won. Other sites I have checked give the same numbers. So I do have to ask – who is correct? Your article, or the UK Political Info website???

      http://www.ukpolitical.info/1951.htm

    154. crazycat says:

      @ Natasha

      They certainly are almost indistinguishable! Greatrex is now sporting a pair of glasses (he maybe always did and I forgot) which somehow makes him even more anonymous.

    155. Robert Peffers says:

      A wise man once said, (Victor Hugo),“On résiste à l’invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l’invasion des idées.”

      Literally : – ”One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas.”

      Usually paraphrased as : – “Nothing succeeds like an idea whose time has come”

      Anyone here doubt that the idea of an independent Scotland has arrived?

    156. JGedd says:

      @ Natasha 11.31pm

      Pax. Te absolvo.
      My comments usually take time to appear, which in this case, rendered it redundant. Sorry.

    157. Natasha says:

      Robert Peffers
      “There is a tide in the affairs of men . . . “

    158. Natasha says:

      Should have added ” . . . and women”!

    159. Natasha says:

      JGedd
      🙂

    160. G H Graham says:

      If the SNP achieve the >40 seats, I expect none of this to happen.

      I predict the Labour party will do a deal with the Tories to keep the SNP out of any circle of influence, even if it means elevating the chance of a second independence referendum.

      They both know that Scotland has already moved away politically & that the inevitable will happen. So Westminster will do whatever it takes to preserve its power & authority over the stale crumbs of the British Empire.

    161. schrodingers cat says:

      hi natasha

      labour really do seem intent on living up to the red tory lable
      in keeping with AS’s penchant for beano characters, perhaps we should forever more refer to labour as the “terry fukcwit party”

      i wonder who is advising them now? mcternan cant be that stupid, surely?

    162. Natasha says:

      schrodingers cat

      Actually, I think he probably is exactly that stupid. Never mind – it’s providing us with endless amusement. Those whom the gods wish to destroy . . .

    163. K1 says:

      This won’t help Milliband in England; Blair riding to his rescue citing ‘danger of Europe referendum’.

      Things must be looking bad for Labour if he’s stepping, so publicly, into the fray having stayed relatively quiet till now (yeah apart from his thousand quid donations to ‘defcon fucked’ areas that is.)

      https://archive.today/fXAte

    164. schrodingers cat says:

      it’s providing us with endless amusement

      i canny stop laughing
      🙂

    165. orri says:

      Beg to differ about the 1951 election result. I think I was the first person on here to highlight it. What clued me in was the rather specific assumption that at no point from 1924 did the largest party not form the government by Murphy. Second clue was the wiki article’s mention of total strength. I already knew about the nominally independent Unionist party in Scotland.
      The real significance of it is it demonstrates that, as always, it’s the largest group of MPs that matters. It also renders meaningless any attempt to portray Scottish Labour as being distinct from that in England and Wales. By Murphy’s own insistence it doesn’t matter as long as they accept the same whip. The only question that might arise is how much input all the separate parties making up the “conservatives” in 1951 had in their joint manifesto.
      In addition note how the Liberal party fragmented and was eventually eaten up by the Conservatives. Perhaps that’s about to happen again.

    166. ronnie anderson says:

      I think we,ve entered the realms of the 5th dimension some time ago,& we wont be getting out anytime soon, roll on 7th May.

    167. caz-m says:

      K1

      Please Tony Blair, pay Scotland a wee visit. I dare you to.

    168. thedogphilosopher says:

      I notice the opinion column (not ‘news’ per se) is written by Chris Deerin. I scanned over a copy of the so-called ‘Scottish’ Daily Mail today as it was sitting somewhat apologetically on the paper rack in my local coffeeshop.

      I think the most accurate word I can find to describe it is: EVIL. Having looked over it for a scant few minutes, I really felt as if I needed a good bath to wash away all the rancid ideological muck that oozed from its pages. Yet this is a paper which I often see many people still buying or carrying or reading. I know there are other Anglo-centric papers around but some of them don’t seem to be as popular with people around my own age (late 50s); other than the Red Tops, the Express seems to be the other contender.

      Deerin today was lecturing those who supported the Bairns Not Bombs demo. The tone sounded all very civilised and concerned, all very ‘knowing’, but really he was just being an apologist for weapons which can do untold damage (very possibly the extinction of the species) based on the not vey subtle premise that the world is full of evil foreigners with black hats and the solution is to stand tall like some kind of nuclear-bomb slinging John Wayne.

      As they Rev has pointed out recently, these papers demand close reading in order to reveal and scrutinise the more subtle and implicit ideas which are conveyed to the unprepared reader as just ‘commonsense’.

      And by the way, I did have that bath!

    169. schrodingers cat says:

      Those whom the gods wish to destroy . . .

      the labour party seem to be managing very well on their own, without the help of any gods……

      god help them…. cos i wont

    170. Ian says:

      On the Cooke interview I have no problem with it.
      Many folk South of Hadrians wall are just starting to learn about NS.She handled herself extremely well fielding the questions with ease.She was also able to “Stake Milliband on the ant hill” by asking for his commitment to keep the Tories out.
      Because she is new to England they do not appreciate how experienced she actually is and they are just starting to see how well she handles herself!

    171. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Slightly O/T

      We enter interesting times. There is now less than one month to go to the election and I get the feeling that little is making any difference to the intention of most people. Minds have been made up and it would have to be something cataclysmic to effect any radical change. What could happen from now is that a nationwide notion to put the SNP in in every seat could get the interest of those who usually see little point in voting.
      But is is important that we understand where we are

      A tabloid newspaper today started a report by saying “Of course the Scottish Government would have to ask the UK if it wanted to hold another referendum”
      No it would not. No more than a woman wanting a divorce having to ask permission of her husband to go for one.
      We do not have to ask England if we want to be independent. The United Nations Charter is very clear on the inalienable right of self determination.

      There are many perfectly legitimate routes to independence. It was very nice that the UK gov and the Scottish gov came to an agreement over our recent referendum but it wasn’t necessary.
      The Scottish Government as a legitimate and freely elected parliament can legally call a referendum. A manifesto commitment to call one at the next Scottish election regularises it.

      It could even go to the next Scottish parliament election on a manifesto commitment to assume full independent powers and a majority vote in favour would be politically adequate in the eyes of the UN. Several countries in recent years have gone independent on votes in devolved parliaments.
      Irish MPS at Westminster with a massive majority mandate walked out in 1919 and declared Ireland independent.

      As I say,interesting times

    172. ronnie anderson says:

      Blair.

      Another big hitter for the Labour party,as toxic as Doonrey. I,m sure there,ll be alot of XServices men/women & Family members voting Labour, the Homeless XService personnel will 1st at the polling booth.

    173. Dcanmore says:

      Thank you Adam, that was a good read,

      I posted on Wings a few weeks ago that the Tories would instigate a second election rather than let Labour win from behind supported by the SNP.

      If the Tories have a couple of seats more than Labour they will try to form a government, only to be voted down, then they will call another election for the autumn.

      Two things: the Tories are desperate to retain power, even more so than Labour wanting to gain it. They also want Labour to be weakened by the experience knowing that it would be hard for them to take seats back from the SNP in the short term.

      Adam is correct when he says the right-wing media is trying to set up the goal posts for this election. For those not living in England the media is dominated by the Right. They might not like Cameron very much but they want the Tories to win and be in power in perpetuity.

      What we need is Labour to win by a couple of seats, they then can’t resist the lure of being in government even if it’s handed to them on a plate by the SNP. It is the only scenario the Tories fear other than an outright Labour win.

      What is an afront to the establishment is the SNP forming the Third Party of the UK in the first instance. This allows the SNP special Westminster privileges that could see them uncovering the nasty underheart of a corrupt system that their current position doesn’t attain.

      Make no doubt that the SNP having the third largest Westminster seats will give the establishment sweaty brows. The SNP returning 35+ seats could change politics in the UK forever.

      We are now in the realm of a dark and dirty political campaign, we have been dragged down into this pit by people who crave power more than anything else, a group of narcissists and sociopaths that pass for public servants. If the shenanigans of the Indyref was bad enough, be prepared for worse to come.

    174. schrodingers cat says:

      ronnie anderson says:

      I think we,ve entered the realms of the 5th dimension some time ago,& we wont be getting out anytime soon, roll on 7th May.

      been there…..

    175. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Natasha 12.22 Ah ken the end of that quotation,an am well past that stage lol .

    176. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Natasha re my last post.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOCCvN8YDuc

    177. thedogphilosopher says:

      @ Dave McEwen Hill

      I like what you’re saying … But if another referendum is on the horizon I hope we have better and more clarified answers to questions about currency, central banks, EU membership, defence contracts, NATO etc etc than we did last time round.

      Not being pessimistic just preparing for the next onslaught.

    178. James cook, didn’t your granny tell you that when you fly with the crows, you get shot with them.

      Nicola becomes popular, UK wide and we get Memogate, the night before she attended an Anti Trident demo, which little gets spoken about due to Memogate.

      Agenda setting is what Westmonster are good at, that includes the liberal use of sleaze. Slabber have not got a clue they have become the play thing of the blue tories and appear to play go catch. They are likely to loose the election all on their own with their antics.

    179. CameronB Brodie says:

      Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael should “question his whole approach to politics” if he thinks dirty tricks are a normal part of election campaigns, according to Nicola Sturgeon.

      http://tinyurl.com/ndclgj6

    180. CameronB Brodie says:

      OT. Are international entrants eligable for Zoomer Patrol scrutiny?

      The SNP having failed at the ballot box now seek to breakup the United Kingdom by going back on their earlier pledge of barely a few weeks ago of not doing a formal deal with a minority Labour government, who instead now are seeking to enter into a deadly death embrace (alliance) with Labour so as to subvert democracy by preventing the probable largest party from forming a government. All as a means to an end of literally bankrupting the UK over the next few years through out of control spending and borrowing to perhaps at least double the current £9 billion annual subsidy from England as well as lumbering the England with at least £130billion of Scottish debt, before the holyrood fanatics finally declare Scotland Independant that I have warned the consequences of for well over a year that would literally sow the seeds for the Balkanisation of Britain (04 Sep 2014)

      http://tinyurl.com/k6rhr2b

    181. Ken Waldron says:

      Nicola brings economic change to the table and the Trident issue up in UK public TV debate to popular acclaim.
      whizbang… next day there’s a cruise missile heading her way aimed at her sincerity.

      Cue press: No talk of debate…change… Trident, oh she didn’t mention that…did she?
      Lots of talk of dishonesty, insincerity,leaks,investigations, controversy.

      Who cares now if its a lie and people now know it:…we moved the game on: the stuff she was talking is now under a media cloud of dirt. expensive?: a suspension or so for a while, maybe a sacking, but a nice wee masking job all in all.

      Now what have we got for next time?…

    182. Stoker says:

      @ Dave McEwan Hill (1.03am).

      Another good post from you, Dave.

      The manifesto commitment is my favoured route and i’d like to see it being made a permanent, No1, commitment.

      Thus, hopefully, guaranteeing that sooner or later the majority of folk are going to be aware of this and vote accordingly and bring us our independence.

      Under the current political climate, and with that manifesto commitment, we could have been looking at independence in 2016.

      The other benefit, as i see it, of a manifesto commitment would be that if there was/is any jiggerypokerry going on with referendums then it would be far harder for the culprits to repeatedly interfere with every single Scottish election without a greatly increased risk of discovery.

    183. BatleyBKK says:

      Brilliantly forensic article…doh!Makes me feel a bit dim that I didn’t work this out before! Cheers Adam.

    184. Another Expat says:

      CameronB Brodie

      Re your OT, it’s a bad one, isn’t it? But he’s an ex-derivatives trader who lives in Sheffield. Not sure that makes him a foreigner – yet! He’s reasonably well known for his outspoken, controversial and deliberately provocative views on financial and housing markets. Occasionally he writes about politics where the style remains the same – controversial and provocative. His target audience seems to be the right wing, doom and gloom, the end is nigh lot – in other words, he’s not talking to anyone likely to vote SNP or Labour or Democrat.

    185. Mealer says:

      For many years we were told that support for the SNP doesn’t equate to support for independence.These days,polls show support for independence as being higher than support for SNP.

    186. Ken500 says:

      Vote SNP Get SNP

      Vote Unionists Get liars

      Churchill took all Iran’s Oil. When the PM wanted some, UK/US destabilised the country discredited the PM and put him in jail, reinstated the deposed Shah. CIA/M15 caused death and destruction in tbe Middle East and the rest of the world. Bush/Blair’s illegal war in Iraq has made them and their associates extremely wealthy. Wealthy they could ever need. Just like the Unionists in Westminster. Greedy criminals liars. Their crimes are protected by tbe Official Secrets Act.

      The US/UK are causing death and destruction all over the Middle East and causing the migration into Europe. They are insane. Sanctioning people and starving the vulnerable to death. Why does Iranneed nuclear when it has so much Oil for fuel and energy.

      They used the same tactics in the Referendum. Don’t let the Unionist get anywhere near the
      Scottish budget or economy. They want to ruin the Scottish economy. HS2 will make journeys to
      and through Scotland even longer. The ConDems increased Oil tax 11% (£2Billion) a year in 201
      losing Scotland £4Billion+ a year. £16Billion. The SNP are funding NHS/Education, social care
      mitigating the ‘bedroom tax’ and welfare cuts and building affordable homes.

      Westminster are rewarding Millionaires who caused the crash but sanctioning and starving the
      most vulnerable. The most vulnerable, the sick, students and the elderly live on less than £10K
      year. Raising the tax threshold to £10K will not help them. There will be less funding for
      NHS/Education but funding for Trident/illegal wars causing migration in Europe and the rest of
      the world. Westminster are trying to privatise the NHS to pay for illegal wars. Unionists were
      means-tested student loans on household income. They would rather students were unemployed (£60 a week?) than studying.

      Edinburgh Council is charging £4 for a tram trip to the Airport. (£8 return). The airport bus used to be £6 (£12 return). After overspending so much taxpayers money on the maladministration of the
      trams, ECC are subsidising the trams and not getting a better return. Glasgow Airport bus is £5 (£10 return) for a 20min journey.

      Wedtminster is corrupt. Do not vote for any of them in Scotland. Scotland has a chance of a better way. Vote SNP.

    187. muttley79:“This new Guardian article about Dundee West is both achingly tragic and hilarious at the same time (I have shortened it quite a bit because of the length)”

      Panglossian. Hawking a cut’n’paste Labour-fantasy press release and commentary as actual political analysis reveals far more about Carrell and the Gruniad than it does about the actual race.

      A case study in shysterism and brassneck.

      http://www.weourselves.com/the-empty-suit/

    188. Ken500 says:

      Scotland raises and spends £54Billion+ (Corp tax etc paid through London HQs etc) Scotland could raise more in Oil tax, oil on the West, cutting Trident/illegal wars, a tax on ‘loss leading’ drink, tax evasion etc. EU renewable energy Grants. £10Billion?

      The rest of the UK raises £412Billion (pro rata less) and borrows and spends £90Billion more.

      Scotland would be much better off Independent and not have £4Billion loan repayment for money it doesn’t borrow or spend. Scotland has been paying for Westminster maladministration forever. Trident/illegal wars, banking fraud and tax evasion.

    189. Giving Goose says:

      Andy Burnham on Radio 4 at 710am this morning made to appear extremely foolish regarding Frenchgate. “Should Labour apologise to Nichola?”
      Andy blames it on the Telegraph or and its an election campaign; or words to that effect.
      labour walked into a trap.

    190. Scotspine says:

      The BBC reporting from Motherwell this morning. They interview a simpleton who says ” I will vote that way because of family connections”.

      FFS! He could only have meant Labour.

      Another guy “eh, I don’t really know much about it, so I don’t think I’ll bither voting”

      It makes you despair.

    191. Calgacus says:

      All of you dirty smearing unionists had better start apologising before you have to face the nippy sweetie face to face in this week’s debates.

      Just sayin;-)

    192. Ken500 says:

      Malcolm Bruce LibDem (Greens) blocked the By-pass road for 10 years. In the Landowners pockets and (secretly) funded by them. Putting 2 hours on people’s working day and causing accidents. The Labour/Unionists in Aberdeen City voted against the by-pass road for thirty years.

    193. Ken500 says:

      The only reason the biggest Party formed the UK Government is because there was one. There is no longer one. People are disgusted and fed up with the Westminster lying troughers. Vote Tory you get Labour. Vote Labour you get Tory. Vote LibDems you get liars.

    194. Clootie says:

      Ken500 says:
      7 April, 2015 at 7:20 am

      An important set of facts that the MSM fail to correct when Unionist Politicians project Scotlands deficit.

      a) They assume Scotland will be run as a mini UK, Independent or DevoMax (which it will not)
      b) They fail to compare the UK deficit to the projected Scottish deficit. In fact they ignore the simple fact that other countries have deficits (the deficit/surplus cycle should be considered over decades and the surplus of 40 years of Oil does not appear anywhere!)
      c) They ignore the VERY large allocation of interest charge to the Scottish budget for our “share” of UK debt interest for Westminster borrowing.
      Scotland is paying BILLIONS in interest every year for money that was NOT spent in Scotland.

    195. JayR says:

      @Scotspine

      I heard that too. Hereditary voting, can’t beat it can you? (well, Labour think so anyway). I think if your choice at an election is based on that thicko reason then you just shouldn’t vote, you’re taking the piss.

      My great grandpa was a Tory voter, other ancestor was Ulster Unionist voter in Ireland. Should I leave the SNP then and go vote Tory or DUP because they did? Utterly illogical.

    196. Scotspine says:

      Just what would it take for “hereditary voters” to actually think for themeselves?

    197. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Calcacus Is there a smell of Cloves in the Air.

    198. Robert Peffers says:

      Jings! Crivvens! Michty Me! Ma auld heid’s fair birrlin wi aa yon rhetoric wheechin in ower the Cheviots.

      Ah’h a, “Cybernat”, a, “Danger tae the hale o Britain”, Ah’m gawn tae be, “a real disaster tae Lunnon an the Inglis”.

      Ken this, fir mony lang years ma GP haed me diagnosed iz haein gunfire an Industrial noise induced Tinnitis. Div ye think it cud mibbie jist bi yon constant, bit aye growin louder, Inglis whine wheechin aa the wey up frae Westminster tae Kelty?

    199. CameronB Brodie says:

      Another Expat
      Thanks. I had assumed he was from across the pond, as he is zooming at such a rate and appears to completely lack a reality based appreciation of the situation.

    200. bookie from hell says:

      stv debate tonight will be a lot diff to tv debate last week

      more blood sport,more chance to inflict open wounds,

      1.Three against 1(looks like bullying & better together II)(not letting greens in–big mistake)
      2.nicola will have much more time for direct questioning Scottish Labour Leader
      3.Will Jim be given enough rope,to hang himself

    201. Gavin MacMillan says:

      Curious as to why my comment last night questioning the 1951 election numbers was not posted – websites I’ve checked give Tories 302 seats as opposed to your claimed 267, and therefore greater than Labour’s 295 seats. Surely I am not being censored?

    202. Brotyboy says:

      O/T Apologies if anyone has already posted this, but I think it’s well worthwhile;

      https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/debasers/nae-pasaran-an-untold-story-of-chilean-solidarity

    203. Calgacus says:

      Aye Ronnie, Dracula Murphy will be in the studio tonight to get a stake through his black heart:-)

    204. orri says:

      The thing I forgot to mention about the 1951 result is that it was the only one I really investigated as showing Murphy to be wrong was the aim, no matter that it’s on a technicality. There may actually be more instances of the Tories beating Labour that way. It certainly shows that coalitions and alliances were a way of life with that party so any claims they make about biggest party are historically inaccurate. The only thing they’d be able to fall back on is Murphy saying so and we all know he’s a fud who didn’t complete his degree.

      Not only that but the Fixed Term Parliament Act means the conservatives alone can’t call a new election. There’s a requirement for 2/3rd of the HoC to do so or a specifically worded no confidence motion has to be passed followed by the failure to pass a second specifically worded confidence motion within 14 days. That second part is where Cameron may have outfoxed himself. He may have thought delaying the next sitting of parliament would waste all that time. It doesn’t.

      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/14/section/2/enacted

    205. bookie from hell says:

      wow

      Willie Miller

      don & scotland footballer

      Doug Alexander prefers to delete #frenchgate tweets rather than man up & apologise to Sturgeon.
      Will Kezia have the integrity to apologise?
      9:18am – 7 Apr 15

    206. Sinky says:

      It says something about our journalists that other than The National no one is challenging Carmichael on this.

    207. Luigi says:

      Scotspine says:

      7 April, 2015 at 7:28 am

      The BBC reporting from Motherwell this morning. They interview a simpleton who says ” I will vote that way because of family connections”.

      FFS! He could only have meant Labour.

      Another guy “eh, I don’t really know much about it, so I don’t think I’ll bither voting”

      It makes you despair.

      The local Labour MP was also on, telling everyone she had spoken to “thousands” of people in her constituency, who were YES voters but are now definitely going back to Labour.

      That’s it then, we may as well give up now!

    208. Luigi says:

      You could almost print a book of deleted red tory tweets.

      Now there’s an idea!

    209. Luigi says:

      So why does Carmicheal look so pleased with himself?

      Perhaps he has been promised a bright future for his services:

      Lord Carbuncle of Coveredass

      He has the look of someone already seeing himself wrapped in ermine.

    210. Luigi says:

      Are we all ready for a couple of dodgy opinion polls, showing an amazing, last minute recovery for Labour in Scotland? We are certainly due one at this stage. On its way soon IMO:

      Brace yourselves.

    211. Macart says:

      I see DCs up to tell us wots wot on the economy today. Oh and he ‘abhors’ the whole leak thingy. He’s going to get to the bottom of it too donchaknow.

      Soooooooo Koalamichael – ‘Shit happens’

      His boss – ‘Thon’s awfy behaviour’

      Oh Jeez, like we don’t already suspect exactly what the chain of events were. Still, let’s be polite and laugh our asses of at this cackhanded pair of buffoons. I suppose in his statements this morning he has made Koalamichael’s position untenable. There is that. 😀

    212. X_Sticks says:

      Luigi says:

      “The local Labour MP was also on, telling everyone she had spoken to “thousands” of people in her constituency, who were YES voters but are now definitely going back to Labour.”

      and

      “Are we all ready for a couple of dodgy opinion polls, showing an amazing, last minute recovery for Labour in Scotland?”

      They’ll need some sort of evidence to support the postal votes that will save their seats.

    213. Macart says:

      Actually, when you think about it Cameron has played a blinder on this car crash, stabbing both Labour and the Libdems in the back. No one that isn’t due for a psychiatric overhaul or utterly blinded by hatred would actually have believed the story in Scotland.

      The cackhanded nature of the whole memogate issue was so easily debunked and traced back to source. Labour in Scotland with their press releases all set go and Ed with his soundbites primed for telly, queued up to fall into a bear trap full of stupid. The Libdems Carmichael and Rennie reeked from the moment it hit print.

      Who benefits from seeing senior members of the Libdems and Labour look like clowns and who had the machinery to make it happen?

      Oh jings, apparently not so better together anymore. 😀

    214. Big Jock says:

      Luigi – Are you expecting postal votes from Scotland getting scanned in England again soon!LOL. I can see where this is going…..

    215. Robert Kerr says:

      How can the “Shadow Foreign Secretary” hope to ever continue in that role or in the possible actual governmental role subsequent to effectively calling the Ambassador of the French Republic a liar?

      Come on Wee Dougie, worm your way out of that!

    216. Socrates MacSporran says:

      After reading this thread, I went to read the full original version, which Adam Ramsey wrote for Our Kingdom.

      I noticed, in the original version, Adam quoted the example of the 1955 General Election, when Labour finished up as the largest party, but Sir Anthony Eden became Tory Prime Minister, with the backing of the smaller parties such as the Scottish and Ulster Unionists.

      The Rev amended the original, to concentrate on the better-known 1951 GE, where the same scenario applied.

      Well, that’s twice in my life time when “the largest party gets to form the incoming government” hasn’t happened.

      I hope this point is made when Big Dim Jim goes into his prepared spiel tonight.

    217. almannysbunnet says:

      I am watching Just Answer the Question on BBC. It’s a new current affairs program hosted by Victoria Derbyshire. Mixture of mainly young English participants discussing politics and who they’d like to see win the election. Consensus was a coalition of 4-5 parties. Victoria “but how would you feel if someone you hadn’t voted for, SNP, was in the coalition”. answer “that’d be great, I’d vote SNP if I could.” Victoria, “really?!” someone else “yeah me too, they have some really good ideas”. I left the program to come to the keyboard with a stupid huge smile on my face, faith in mankind restored. No wonder the establishment are bricking it if this is what the people really think rather than the guff we read in the MSM 🙂

    218. Robert Peffers says:

      @orri says:7 April, 2015 at 12:42 am:

      “Beg to differ about the 1951 election result. I think I was the first person on here to highlight it. What clued me in was the rather specific assumption that at no point from 1924 did the largest party not form the government by Murphy. Second clue was the wiki article’s mention of total strength.

      I’ve mentioned this several times but it seems not to have made any real impression as yet.

      “There is no legal standing for political parties under the written, (but not all in the same place), constitution.

      The original rule was that the entire United Kingdom be split up into, (more or less), equal constituent parts, (Constituencies), and for each constituent part to elect a spokesperson to represent everyone in that constituent part, (whether they voted for the spokesperson or not).

      Then for the Monarch to command one of them to be the Monarch’s Prime Minister of the Monarch’s United Kingdom Government. Then those elected Members were to elect from within their numbers the officials of, “Their Majesty’s Government”.

      It was only later those elected members decided to form political Parties, “for their own political benefits”. This is why an MP can swap parties, become independent or, with others, form new parties but still remain the member who represents the constituency that elected them.

      Legally the elected member represents ONLY their constituents – not a party, not a country and not any kingdom other than the United Kingdom.

      From this fact comes the obvious rule that the biggest number of members, (regardless of country, kingdom or party loyalty), forms the government.

      Quite simply they ONLY legally speak for the constituency voters who elected them. Hell mend any elected member who thus forgets that legal fact and spits in the face of their electors.

      It is only the voters of any particular constituency that have the power to elect, or re-elect, a Member of Parliament. They need to understand that the party they joined, the country they come from, the Kingdom they live in, are totally irrelevant. They represent NOT themselves, NOT Their Party, NOT Their Kingdom, NOT their country but every single voter in the constituency that collectively elected them to speak on their behalf.

      Now they have all found out that very basic truth and party hacks are stunned to realise their misplaced loyalties mean – Absolutely Nothing.

    219. Big Jock says:

      Robert…cause he’s a unionist. It’s normal behaviour to sleaze and sit on your fat bahookie eating doughnuts!

    220. Capella says:

      @ Luigi
      So why does Carmicheal look so pleased with himself?
      Perhaps he has been promised a bright future for his services:
      Lord Carbuncle of Coveredass
      He has the look of someone already seeing himself wrapped in ermine.

      He’s forgotten that Nicola’s going to abolish the Houe of Lords.

    221. caz-m says:

      Wee Dougie is my ex-MP and the first question I will be asking him, as he sits at his empty table inside Morrison’s in Paisley and Johnstone, will be,

      “Are you going to apologise to Nicola Sturgeon AND the French Ambassador, for the lies you tweeted about them?”

      And I will make sure that the rest of the store hear me.

      I hope you are reading this Dougie.

      Vote SNP.

    222. ronnie anderson says:

      @ Big Jock Read Paticians article in Off Topic.

    223. bookie from hell says:

      Welsh Labour Minister deletes FM smear tweets

      http://dailywales.net/2015/04/07/labour-minister-tries-to-hide-his-snp-smears/

    224. sensibledave says:

      Firstly, it appears to me that many of the comments written here are voiced as if the recent referendum never happened. We all know what the SNP want, we also know that the Scottish electorate don’t want it.

      Secondly, we are a Union. Our electoral system is based upon there being a Union. Having a party in government that is hell bent in breaking up that Union strikes me as very odd. The SNP has no views or policies for the Union’s voters in England – other than often snide references the “English” where the term is almost used as a pejorative – bordering on racism. Whilst it may be a political imperative to dismiss Tory voters in England as ex public school, Oxbridge, rich, toffs, etc, it, of course ignores the fact, that the Tories, almost always, win the popular vote in England with 40% plus not being unusual – not a totally dissimilar percentage to the SNP in Scotland.

      In England, there is indeed increasing fear of a Lab/SNP alliance. Not necessarily because of political policies per se (NHS, Tax, Borrowing, etc) but because of the view that Sturgeon is a brilliant operator and very focused on her clear goals. It is easy to see therefore how the SNP may achieve its aims – against the will of the people. Once in a position of power in Westminster, she will not care a fig for the good of the UK, only Scotland, and will end up creating a situation where everyone wants an independent Scotland – other than the majority of Scots!

    225. Capella says:

      And if HM invites the leader in Westminster of the 3rd largest party to form a government that would be Angus Robertson PM, (though they might elect Alec Salmond as the leader.)
      Or Rt Hon Alexander Salmond PM.

    226. Edward says:

      Listened to the interview from Ravenscraig this morning on GMS

      What pissed me off was Pamela Nash spouting garbage that when Labour are in opposition, they cant do much, which is why they are promising to develop the Ravenscraig area.

      But it should have been pointed out that Labour were NOT in opposition when Blair came to power AFTER Thatcher and AFTER the destruction of the Ravenscraig Steel Works

      Labour had all the time under Blair THEN Brown to actually do something IN Government but didnt

      Hopefully Pamela Nash will get kicked out in May, but the SNP really need to step up to the plate and point out these idiotic lies by Nash

      (The other unionist lie is that the plant closed – Actually the plant was packed up and shipped off to America)

    227. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Secondly, we are a Union. Our electoral system is based upon there being a Union.”

      Then if the citizens of part of that Union democratically choose to elect a particular party to represent them, their voice presumably shouldn’t be silenced in Parliament?

      “the Tories, almost always, win the popular vote in England with 40% plus not being unusual”

      The last time the Tories got 40% of the popular vote in England was 23 years ago.

      http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/rp12-43.pdf

      The only time they’ve WON the popular vote in England in the subsequent 23 years (without also winning the election in the whole UK) was in 2005, by a microscopic margin of 0.2%. (35.7% to 35.5%).

      But UK elections aren’t decided by the popular vote, so that’s irrelevant anyway. They got 94 fewer seats in England than Labour that year.

    228. Stoker says:

      ((((( WHERE ARE THE ANSWERS )))))

      This ‘Memogate’ saga has been on the go for 5 days now.

      The truthful denials have been established since day one.

      Where are the sackings, heads must roll.

      Are you watching, world, this is the corrupt filthy UK establishment at work – skulking and lurking away in the darkest recesses trying desperately to gerrymander a way out of a filthy lying mess of their own making.

      They know the guilty parties responsible but still haven’t acted.

      This is what happens when you entrust foreign affairs to London.

      Protect Scotland’s interests – vote SNP.

    229. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Curious as to why my comment last night questioning the 1951 election numbers was not posted – websites I’ve checked give Tories 302 seats as opposed to your claimed 267, and therefore greater than Labour’s 295 seats. Surely I am not being censored?”

      It wasn’t posted because first comments need to be manually approved and you posted it at midnight. I don’t sit here 24/7 checking comments, sometimes people have to wait until the morning. And perhaps if you actually read the article you’d find the answer to your question.

    230. caz-m says:

      On the debate tonight, I do hope Nicola has been sharpening up on replies to questions about the NHS and Oil prices.

      You can be sure of one thing, Murphy will come after her on those two subjects. Full Fiscal Autonomy and £7Billion black hole and A&E waiting times not being met, will also be up there.

      We all know the answers but Joe public will be hearing this for the first time.

      I trust Nicola to come back strong on these answers and more.

      Go Nicola! We are right behind you all the way.

    231. ronnie anderson says:

      TWO TONE TONY lecturing the Nation from Sedgefield Me Maw Me Maw

    232. Luigi says:

      Macart says:

      7 April, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Actually, when you think about it Cameron has played a blinder on this car crash, stabbing both Labour and the Libdems in the back.

      I agree. DC, for all his faults, has completely out-manouvered his red and yellow tory chums since 19th September. And that includes all those big beasts like Brown, Darling etc. The whole lot of them. For all his faults, DC is no fool. As for the red and yellow tories – the biggest bloody fools ever to walk the earth.

    233. Footsoldier says:

      I hope someone asks Jim Murphy tonight why he was not representing Scottish Labour on the Leaders’Debate last week as he tells us it is not tied to Labour and is not a branch office?

    234. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I trust Nicola to come back strong on these answers and more.”

      FFA is the SNP’s one Achilles heel in this campaign, and the current standard retort about having paid more tax than the UK average for 30 years is piss-weak and won’t stand up under scrutiny. Sturgeon needs to bite the bullet and say this to Murphy the first time he brings it up:

      “Look, it’s irrelevant, because FFA isn’t on the table. It was comprehensively ruled out by the Unionist parties in the Smith Commission, including Labour, there’s no conceivable way of getting a majority for it in the Commons, it’s not going to happen, so shut your hole.”

      That should put his gas at a peep. If he raises it again, she should demand to know whether he’s offering it, and if he’s not, what it’s got to do with anything. If she tries to keep wibbling on about tax receipts instead, he’ll batter her.

    235. Fiona says:

      @ Sensible Dave

      You are repeating assertions which have already been answered on a previous thread.

      You may not be aware of this, but it is sort of courteous in debate to take account of the other person’s points and either answer them, or alter your position. Rev Stu has once again answered you, which is a credit to him. But this is not now a test of the argument, it is a test of our patience.

    236. sensibledave says:

      @ Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Then if the citizens of part of that Union democratically choose to elect a particular party to represent them, their voice presumably shouldn’t be silenced in Parliament?”

      Of course not! Neither should an accepted minority Party use their position of power to impose their will on the majority when its knows, on such fundamental issues, it does not have a mandate from the Union electorate.

      Lets just look at one “fundamental” issue. Of all the foreign leaders, who amongst them might think that SNP policies would contribute to helping make the world a safer place? Obama? Hollande? Merkel? Or Putin and Ali Khamenei?

    237. crazycat says:

      @ Dcanmore at 1.12

      If the Tories have a couple of seats more than Labour they will try to form a government, only to be voted down, then they will call another election for the autumn.

      Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, they can’t do that.

      If the government loses/fails to gain the confidence of the House, there is a 14-day interval for someone (including the incumbent with different partners or a different relationship with them) to win a confidence vote.

      Only if no-one can do that is it possible for there to be another election. So Labour would have to concede that they cannot form a majority grouping either.

    238. Fiona says:

      @sensibledave

      Fiona says:
      17 March, 2015 at 3:09 pm
      sensibledave says:
      17 March, 2015 at 12:19 pm
      I am an Englishman living in the south east of England and have arrived here following debate, on other other sites, with regular commenters here. I thought you might be interested in a typical englishman’s views?

      Politically speaking, these are fascinating and very interesting times. Firstly, it is worth people north of the boarder recognising and understanding some facts. I note that the word “Tory” or “Conservative” is almost considered a swear word north of the border but you Scots need to bear in mind (for reasons that you find incomprehensible) England is, nearly always, a Tory country. With the exception of Blair’s first win, the majority of the popular vote has always been in favour of the Tories.

      In the same way that the Scots argue that every Conservative government has been foisted upon them – so we in England can say the same about any (except one) Labour government.

      It is a racing certainty that the English will, once again, vote for the Tories in larger numbers than for any other party. It is likely that the Tories will get around 40% of the vote in England. That’s the joy of the Union.

      I dwell on this because of the discussion about what happens after the election. I ask you (aside from any issues of scottish nationalism) do you think the English will put up with a situation where they would be governed by the Labour party – when Labour will have no mandate from the electorate in England and no mandate from the electorate in Scotland??

      What, therefore, would be the repercussions in England of a LAB/SNP caolition/Alliance/confdence and supply deal? Even us very nice ENglish people might just start to say that someone is taking and the piss and the demand for an English Parliament with similar powers to the scottish parliament would be ultimately irresistible. This would result in Tory party having complete control of an English Parliament – almost for ever.

      Rev Stu has already corrected your perception that Labour governments always depend on Scottish and/or Welsh votes (with the single exception you acknowledge). I trust we can put that one to bed.

      Having said that, I am not sure why you think it is a racing certainty that England will vote for the tories in larger numbers than for any other party: that is certainly possible, but the polls are less certain that you appear to be. Nonetheless let us accept that, for the sake of the discussion.

      So on this scenario the tories will get around 40% of the vote in England, according to you. Last time I looked 40% is not a majority. If there is a problem with a government which does not command a majority, why is that not a problem? It is the same thing.

      You ask if the English will put up with a situation where they would be governed by the labour party, though that party does not have a majority (mandate) either in England or in Scotland. I have no idea whether they will or not. England has put up with being governed by the tory party, though that party does not have a majority (mandate) in either england or in scotland, since the last election (to name but one). I have no reason at all to think that mindset has changed, but it may be that the furore in the media has altered their views by now.

      But where I become puzzled by your post is when you say that “the demand for an english parliament with similar powers to the Scottish parliament would be ultimately irresistible” Speed the day!

      Perhaps you are not aware that this is something devoutly to be wished? At present the english appear to imagine they have a parliament, and that parliament is Westminster. That is what all of the nonsense about excluding MP’s who represent Scottish constituencies demonstrates: it is just another form of the nonsensical “West Lothian Question” and it rests on a fundamental failure to understand the fact that there is no such thing as a Scottish MP; there is only an MP who represents a UK constituency, as every member of the commons does

      I do not agree that the Tories would dominate an english parliament “almost forever” because I do not accept your original premise,for the reasons Rev Stu gave you. But even if you are correct, what would be wrong with that? If that is the democratic will of the English electorate, what business would it be of ours?

      What business would it be of foreign leaders, by the same token. What is your point on that?

    239. Bill McLean says:

      sensible dave – you have a very strange idea of democracy that small parties should not push for what they believe in.
      One thing for sure those foreign leaders you mention are sure of what British intentions to foreigners are! Oh! and you missed Cameron and Miliband from those who couldn’t give a shit about world peace!

    240. sensibledave says:

      Fiona says:

      “You are repeating assertions which have already been answered on a previous thread”.

      Two things Fiona. Firstly, could I ask you therefore to re read the comments above and elsewhere and perhaps post a similar comment to those contributors that make assertions that might be opposite to mine – but re assert those points that have already been made?

      Secondly, your tone when you say “But this is not now a test of the argument, it is a test of our patience” strikes me as you actually meaning that you only want people that agree with you to comment here.

      This is somewhat contrary to the statements made in the “About” page of this site i.e. “actively welcome intelligent contributions from all sides of the political debate”.

    241. orri says:

      @robert

      I understood what you meant which is why I used the phrase largest group of MPs It should already have been apparent that an MP rather than a party was elected due to the fact that on occasion they cross the floor to join another party. The recent defections to UKIP being a prime example. The Fixed Term Parliament Act didn’t change anything other than remove the ability of the Prime Minister to call a snap election. The only way round the 2/3rd majority is the vote of no confidence. A government with a majority of MPs might be able to vote themselves down but that’s a risky strategy that could backfire. Technically said government would no longer exist so there would no longer be a PM and no automatic first dibs at forming a government if it does go to a GE. Second you might find some members of the governing party concerned enough about losing their seats that they cross the floor and vote in a new government thus aborting the GE.

      @sensible

      Allegedly the main reason the independence referendum failed is due to the economic argument. If that is true then it’s in the SNPs interest to improve that. It wouldn’t be the first time could be accused of deliberately improving the lot of the electorate of the parliament they’re part of for their long term strategic goals.

    242. Fiona says:

      1. No, I can’t be bothered with whitaboutery. If you believe you have made substantive responses which preserve your point about the natural tory majority you claim exists in england then please direct me to those answers

      2. Nope. It just means I can’t be bothered answering the same assertions over and over again when they have not been evidenced and have been answered. That is very far from what you suggest

      3. Yep. Repeating things which are shown to be wrong, as Rev Stu has done again in this thread, does not qualify as intelligent contribution, though

    243. Andrew Brown says:

      One thought on a hung parliament. If the Tories only have a couple of seats more than Labour i.e. they are the biggest party but can’t form the Government. Is it not conceivable that some Labour MP’s could/would be persuaded to defect to the Tories to give them a majority ? Voila, majority government, no SNP influence and Labour will say don’t look at me, now’t to do with us.

      The establishment gets away with it again.

    244. Lollysmum says:

      BOOM-sensibledave shot down in flames 🙂

    245. sensibledave says:

      …. I cant write and post quickly enough to respond to the bashing I am getting!

      Fiona wrote, as if to prove my point about borderline racism, “At present the english appear to imagine they have a parliament, and that parliament is Westminster”.

      Fiona, in case it has escaped you, it is absolutely true that the english consider their Parliament to be Westminster. That is a truism! It is the only Parliament we english have. It is also the Union’s Parliament (i.e. the one that a majority of Scots recently voted for). Your pronouncement is loaded with accusation and invective that has come increasingly to the surface the more you write.

    246. Fiona says:

      @ Andrew Brown

      Yes, I think that could happen. However it implies that there is either a cohort of labour MP’s who know they are tories and are prepared to make that plain; or that there is an establishment conspiracy which is known to ordinary MP’s and that they support it. I don’t actually think either is true.

      Any MP who was persuaded to do that is looking at a single term, because I think their electorate would be very angry indeed: and a single term is quite a big sacrifice for any individual. They are not the stuff that heroes are made of, IMO.

      If they are really intent on excluding SNP influence then I think the grand coalition is more likely, on the whole. But I don’t think that is very likely at all. Seems to me that would only happen if the electorate actively recognised there is no difference between red and blue tories, and I see no sign of that in rUK so far. Could easily be wrong about that, though

    247. Fiona says:

      @ sensibledave

      Once again, no.

      The english do not have a parliament because they do not appear to want one. That is their right and their choice and is nothing to do with us. But the fact that they think (and you confirm) that already have one, is of concern to us: for it is not true.

      There is no racism in that at all. It is just a description of the real situation contrasted with the imagined one of Westminster as an english parliament.

      That is not “accusation nor invective”, as I think anyone here can see.

    248. orri says:

      @sensible

      Your barking up the wrong tree if you think we’re opposed to a devolved English Parliament. If it existed then one assumes there’d be a fixed allocation of funding for it and just as it is in Scotland, Wales and NI they’d have to live within their means. It’d also probably be elected on a form of PR so there’d be a far better representation of the views in England on who their country should be run. There’d be no complaint from us if that was the decision of the English electorate.

    249. sensibledave says:

      The Rev says:
      “The only time they’ve WON the popular vote in England in the subsequent 23 years (without also winning the election in the whole UK) was in 2005, by a microscopic margin of 0.2%. (35.7% to 35.5%)”

      Its all in the spin isn’t it. The same fact the other way round is: The only time that the Tories have not won the popular vote in England, since the war, was Blair’s first win. An astonishing fact don’t you think.

      Listen, I am not trying to be Troll or be difficult here. I just feel that we are heading for a constitutional crisis that will, almost certainly, be made worse by the Independence issue – when there has just been a referendum, and a clear decision, on that exact subject.

      I dont have the answers and, frankly, I was ambivalent with respect to the outcome of the referendum. Whether its the Scots, the Welsh or The Falklands, my attitude is that I want whatever the majority of their people want when it comes to Independence. However, if a country wants to be part of the Union then it needs to work together with its partners for the benefit of the Union.

    250. Fiona says:

      @ orri

      I would go further. I would be very happy indeed if the english established a parliament of their own. I doubt anyone who supports the scottish parliament could think otherwise, whether they favour independence or not.

      That is in their own hands, and rightly so. That they do not apparently want more local democracy is odd, and can only be based on the fact that they do not perceive any democratic deficit: and that in turn founds on the idea, admitted by sensibledave, that they believe they already have an english parliament. Which makes his other references to a “union” rather curious, to my way of thinking

    251. Fiona says:

      However, if a country wants to be part of the Union then it needs to work together with its partners for the benefit of the Union.

      Which is precisely what the SNP are offering. What is the problem?

    252. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “My guess is that Nicola Sturgeon did say something along the lines that she thinks Cameron is preferable to Milband.”

      Based on what? That you think she’s an idiot, and the French ambassador and consul-general are lying to cover it up when they could just say “we don’t comment on private conversations”?

    253. orri says:

      Perhaps the French might not have intervened so quickly if they hadn’t been looking for an opportunity to get their own back for Osbornes glee at celebrating the anniversary of Agincourt.

      That’s if you can really call correcting a misrepresentation an intervention.

    254. sensibledave says:

      I, of course, understand that the good, or the will, of the Union is not necessarily a major priority for the majority of contributors here. However, as far as I know or can make reasonable assumptions regarding, each member of the Union wants to be a member of the Union and for Westminster to continue to deliver policies that reflect the democratic wishes of the people in that democracy – whatever that means.

      Clearly, we are increasingly challenged, by circumstances and events to understand what that now means in different countries in the Union.

      By way of an example, an issue that highlights the difficulties that we all face is that of our Nuclear weapons. I do not want to discuss the merits of the arguments either way. I am using the subject as a focus of the democratic mine field we will find ourselves in unless parties, somehow, look beyond their own policies and respect what they should interpret as being the will of the people of the Union.

      Of any of the parties that are expected to have a significant voice in the next Parliament then, I am guessing, that the SNP and the Greens will be the only ones that have Unilateral disarmament as a policy. I will ignore the Green vote for the moment. Let me project that the SNP get 49% of the Scottish vote in the upcoming general election. That will probably equate to between 1 million and 2 million votes. About 30 million people will probably vote in the UK in the next General election. I assume that a vast majority of people will have voted for parties that want to keep our nuclear deterrent.

      If readers accept, there or thereabouts, the numbers I have guessed above, would it be “fair” or “democratic” to the Union’s electorate if, for instance Unilateral Nuclear disarmament, got even the smallest mention in any discussions about coalition or parliamentary support – post general election?

    255. Fiona says:

      @sensibledave

      First: it is true that a majority here want independence for Scotland. But you would be mistaken if you believe that this means they do not want what is best for the people of the constituent countries of that union. Try to understand that, for at least some of us, Scottish independence gives the best prospect for that: and FFA is next best. I realise you may find it hard to get your head around that: but it is certainly my own point of view and I do not think I am alone.

      Turning to the particular point you use for illustration: I want disarmament and as you say, so do the SNP and the greens. If I accept for a moment that is not what the majority in other parts of the UK want, then is it not blindingly obvious that is not what we will get even if the outcome of the election is as the polls predict. On this issue the parties which oppose such a move hold a clear majority and will vote it down: so it won’t even be proposed.

      However you pose a false dichotomy which is relatively easy to deal with, IMO. If I accept your figures (which I am happy to do) then the Scottish people will have voted comprehensively against trident and the share of the popular vote going to the SNP will be higher than the share going to the largest party in rUK, on your own prediction. So what is democratic? Clearly the next best option, and one which partially meets the aspirations of voters all over the UK, is to move trident to somewhere which does support its retention and renewal. That is how we should work together in a “Union”, but it is not the same as your vision, since you appear to imagine that there can be only one constituency within a union: and the name itself gives that the lie.

      So, in you “sensible” approach, can you support that as a partial solution to this particular problem? If not, why not?

    256. sensibledave says:

      Regarding Fiona’s general points.

      Either deliberately or through a lack of comprehension of basic language, Fiona refuses to accept 100%, incontestable facts and seeks to try and and score political points.

      I will try and be clear as possible for you Fiona. When all of us toffee nosed, oxbridge educated, multi-millionaires, all get in our limousines and our drivers take us to the polling station in a General Election – we get to vote for a Constituency MP that will be our representative in Parliament. That Parliament is in Westminster. The Parliament that represents the English is in Westminster – have you got that now?

      By the way, we are all mates with our MPs down here because we all work for banks and get huge bonuses and they make sure they look after us as a result (does that help you with your characterisation stereotypes of us english?).

    257. Fiona says:

      @sensibledave

      Attempting to patronise me does not further your case. Have you got one?

      You do not have an english parliament. That is a fact. It is not an unchangeable fact: you can change it. Have you got that now?

    258. orri says:

      One point is that the servicing and control of the nuclear weapons we have is outsourced to american companies. There’s a lot of profit being made there. There’s also little to no actual benefit as far as our defences are concerned.

      They are weapons that we say we’ll use only when we’re going to lose, or have already lost. When neither diplomacy or force of arms have worked.

      They do not count towards the UK’s NATO commitment to spend 2% of it’s GDP on conventional forces. A commitment that Cameron is already trying to pretend to fulfil by counting foreign aid and intelligence operations as being part of.

      They are not in any way shape or form a sensible part of any defence strategy. If the UK were to listen to the advice of it’s own military commanders and actually spend it’s money wisely we could fulfil out international commitment and at the same time when we need to send our men and women of to combat at least they’d have the equipment needed.

      For christ’s sake we’re standing down our conventional forces and expecting reservists to fill their places at a time when actively engaged in combat. In peace time that might be a cost saving idea. At the present moment you need to pay them their full salary. Given they’re mostly support staff and most likely have have skills that come at a premium that’s a lot of money wasted. There is no RE regiment in Scotland, not sure about signals.

      That’s two areas in the army where you might actually have been taught a trade of use in civilian life. All you are left with are the PBI, or for want of a better phrase Cannon Fodder.

      The biggest weapon in the world does you no fucking good if you can’t pick it up and use it.

    259. X_Sticks says:

      @sensibledave

      You’ve probably picked the worst (or best) example to illustrate your point.

      I will fight the imposition of nuclear weapons in my country until my dying breath.

      The only way I see that can be achieved is to regain sovereignty over Scotland. That means independence.

      I could put up with most of the rest of it for your ‘greater good’ (though it’s really just about the good of greater London) but being used a nuclear dumping ground at the whim of another country is absolutely a red line.

      Remove your nuclear weapons and we can negotiate the rest. As long as they are here I will fight against the union.

    260. Macart says:

      @sensibledave

      You seem to fundamentally fail to understand the nature of the treaty of union. Its about representation of all voices, including those of dissent. Its one treaty, two signatories. Who Scotland chooses to best represent its interests at a house of joint administration is for Scots alone to decide and yes even if that means said party have an ultimate goal of ending the political union. First and foremost the job of Scotland’s contingent of MPs is to represent/protect the interests and reflect the wishes of their electorate. To be clear, in this case that would be the electorate of Scotland.

      The SNP have formidable parliamentary talent. They are experienced in government and no one, but no one in Scotland doubts where their first priority lies and that is to look after the interests of the Scottish electorate. We’re not about to send down to Westminster a bunch of talentless party benchwarmers simply because it suits others comfy party agendas or vision of how they think the union should work.

      We’ve dealt quite patiently with democratic deficit in Scotland for quite some time. The very first time in my recollection the boot appears to be on the other foot and suddenly its toys out the pram? Just remember the folks you’ll find on this site tried their hardest to avoid this situation. Perhaps the people you should be aiming your concerns at are to be found at the big house on the Thames?

    261. sensibledave says:

      Fiona, you sort of make my point for me. In my previous final paragraph, I asked a question without giving my own answer. In accepting my numbers (which weren’t meant to be contentious) and then immediately jumping to what you say is the obvious answer (move trident) you illustrate the points I have been trying to make.

      You will accept that Unilateral disarmament is a huge issue that affects everyone in the Union and should be beyond the day to day knockabout of party politics. In my projected result, 51% of the Scottish electorate votes for parties that wanted to keep our nuclear option – together with the vast majority of other voters across the Union.

      In those circumstances, are you suggesting that the “will of the people” of Scotland (i.e. 51% of Scots didn’t vote for it), and the Union, is that we should keep the weapons, pick up the tab for replacing them from the Defence budget, but pay even more to build an inferior base elsewhere (i.e. less advantageous geographically), transfer the 5/600 civilian jobs out of Scotland to England, together with the wealth created by the servicemen based there and the depressed local economy that would result around Faslane?

      I assume your answer is yes – so you will make that clear to the electorate, before the election, that that is your policy wont you.

    262. sensibledave says:

      Fiona wrote: “If I accept your figures (which I am happy to do) then the Scottish people will have voted comprehensively against trident and the share of the popular vote going to the SNP will be higher than the share going to the largest party in rUK, on your own prediction. So what is democratic”

      The point I am trying to get you to consider, from a democratic point of view, on such a serious issue is – is your summation correct?

      You say that the “scottish people will have voted comprehensively against trident”. No, 51% of those that voted voted for parties in favour of our nuclear deterrent – together with a vast majority of voters elsewhere in the Union.

    263. Fiona says:

      Lovely wriggling, sensibledave

      Part of your original point both here and in the past is that there is a natural tory government in england. On your own figures that is around 40% of the popular vote. As I said, that is not a majority last time I looked. 60% voted against them.

      But now, when you wish to make a different point, 49% of the popular vote is not a mandate. Interesting

      As it happens I am not in a position to put any policy to the electorate, since I am not a member of any party and am not standing as a candidate

      But of course the parties will make their position on trident clear, and have already done so: all of them, so far as I am aware

      Do you have a difficulty with that?

      You persist in seeing the electorate as one constituency. This is a union which obviously shows that it is not one constituency.

      I am unimpressed by your partial account of the economics of this, as it happens. If, as expected, parliament votes for renewal of trident Scotland will pay its share of the cost of that. If a reasonable compromise to move the weapons is reached then the costs will also partly be borne by Scotland, though of course that opens up the whole can of worms about the nature of public finances, which I wont go into here: I merely note the inbuilt assumption. It is probably true that a few hundred jobs will move, but that is nothing new for Scotland and it is odd that it becomes a serious issue when trident is discussed: it never normally matters at all, though our young people are forced to move south for jobs all the time.

      Trident makes no sense economically, socially or morally

      As it happens I believe that that vast electoral support for it would vanish like snow off a dyke if any constituency in England was required to actually house it. But I might be wrong. No matter. I will be perfectly happy to see further jobs and prosperity in some area of the union which will gain these benefits you claim when they accept the base. It might even go to a deprived area, where they could certainly use the boost, since some of them are in as bad a position as many places in Scotland.

    264. Fred says:

      @ sensibledave, removal of Trident is SNP policy as was hammered home by the First Minister at the CND rally “Bairns not Bombs” in Glasgow on Saturday attended by people from all over the UK. The benefits you suggest are nonsense, there are no benefits. Prostitution creates jobs, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

      Anybody who supports the purchase & installation of this obscenity, at a cost of £100 billion, and imposing it on a country whose government, trades unions, churches & majority of MSP’s don’t want it, is not very sensible at all. It’s lunacy & a bone of contention which aint going to go away. If the English people want to continue with the fantasy of world power status, & bankrupt themselves in the process, let them make alternative arrangements and build their septic-tank on their side of the fence. Trident has no future in Scotland, as the coming election will make clear.

    265. Will Podmore says:

      Natasha speculates that I may never have been to Scotland. Why do ScotsNats keep making assertions about things about which they know nothing? Why don’t you find out the facts before making your accusations?
      Not that it’s actually relevant where in Britain one lives; there are ScotsNats in England, and Unionists in Scotland – elementary but true.
      And to provide the information that Natasha wants, yes I have been to Scotland, to the Edinburgh Festival, to Glasgow (this year even). Two of the most beautiful cities in Britain.

    266. sensibledave says:

      I’m making no headway here in trying to ask people to consider what democracy means in the context of the outcome of the next General Election.

      @Markat …. illustrates, beyond any doubt, the problems we are about to face.

      He writes: “We’ve dealt quite patiently with democratic deficit in Scotland for quite some time. The very first time in my recollection the boot appears to be on the other foot and suddenly its toys out the pram? Just remember the folks you’ll find on this site tried their hardest to avoid this situation. Perhaps the people you should be aiming your concerns at are to be found at the big house on the Thames?”

      … for him, and others here, there is now a huge opportunity for “revenge” and the potential for political anarchy as he dons the blue face and saltire with the scarcely veiled threats of “comeuppance” for Unionists (i.e. the majority). You can certainly feel the antipathy, if not outright hatred, as he relishes an opportunity to stick the boot in to everyone else (predominantly the English) for perceived wrongs in the recent and distant past. He sees himself, and other Scots, uniquely, as victims of a “Westminster” system that has oppressed him and his countrymen. He dismisses arguments about the English never (bar once) voting, in a majority, for a labour government (because of our voting system) because that would dilute his victimhood and he might be forced to see things in a broader, Union, context and have empathy with other people in the Union.

      He also wrote “First and foremost the job of Scotland’s contingent of MPs is to represent/protect the interests and reflect the wishes of their electorate. To be clear, in this case that would be the electorate of Scotland.” I am clear that this is his view and I am equally clear therefore that is where he is totally wrong. MPs are elected to the Government of the UK and the first priority should be the protection and welfare of everyone in the UK – regardless of where they live or who they voted for – that is what he, and others here, do not “get”. I am trying to think of an instance where you would have evidence that English MPs have ganged together to “represent/protect and reflect the interests of their electorate (i.e. the English) over other countries in the Union? Help me out here.

      All this in a background of a recent open and free referendum where a clear majority of Scots voted to be part of the Union – which, I think all Scots knew, happens to have a Parliament “at the big house on the Thames”.

      MarKat is the modern day embodiment of the film version of William Wallace in Braveheart. I’ve often wondered how far back we should all go to right the wrongs of the past. Maybe we should go and bomb Rome, or invade Scandinavia, and get them back for invading us? Maybe the English should go to Hampden Park and tear down their goalposts …. ?

    267. sensibledave says:

      @Fred

      … I said I wouldn’t write anymore for now, but I cant resist responding to Fred above. Fred, I used the “issue” as an example – rather than discuss the merits of Unilateral Nuclear disarmament, or otherwise, per se.

      I would entirely respect your views and applaud your principals – if it wasn’t for the SNP policy to be part of NATO and be under the protection of the very thing you so despise and consider irrelevant, meaningless and a total waste of money.

      I am always amazed by the absolute certainty shown by Unilateralists. There hasn’t been an instance where nuclear weapons have been used for over 70 years they say – so obviously we don’t need nuclear weapons. All said without a hint of irony! Ask yourself who Putin would prefer as our leader – Sturgeon – or virtually anyone else? Ask yourself why Putin had the guts to annex Ukraine – but not Lithuania. Clue: NATO.

    268. lumilumi says:

      @ sensibledave, 4.45pm

      NATO has 28 members. The vast majority of them do not have nuclear weapons. Having nuclear weapons is not a precondition to joining NATO.

      Do you seriously think that the Baltic states have nuclear weapons? Because your logic seems to suggest that. Of course you know they don’t, they’re “under the protection” of NATO and its nukes because it makes strategic sense from their point of view but also NATO’s.

      Were Scotland to become independent, NATO would be clamouring for Scotland to join as a non-nuclear weapons state. Why? Look at a map.

      NATO = North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Scotland occupies a very strategic position in the said North Atlantic.

      Even the USA isn’t too sure about Trident renewal. They’d rather the UK spend its diminishing military budget on conventional weapons and forces.

      The ones who seem to want Trident renewal are UK politicians who desperately want to be still seen as a “great world power” “punching above its weight” and “having a seat at the top table”. And nuclear arms dealers and contractors, of course.

    269. Macart says:

      @sensibledave

      So you’re a mind reader? Amazing.

      Revenge? William Wallace? Dismiss the problems English people face?

      You’ve made an awful lot of assumptions about me based on what? Your theory of how this political union is comprised and should work? Projection? It certainly wasn’t evident in anything of my post. Just wow!

      And as for being wrong about why you vote for a given representation, I’ll draw your attention to one line in particular: “We’re not about to send down to Westminster a bunch of talentless party benchwarmers simply because it suits others comfy party agendas or vision of how they think the union should work.”

      I am most certainly not wrong about how we should view our partnership within the union. The treaty of union is a bilateral international treaty creating a unitary state. There are two signatories to this treaty each sends representation to the political construct that is Westminster to administer governance for the whole and to carry the whole forward. Primarily though they represent their own electorates interests first and foremost and if at some point those interests diverge sufficiently then they have a duty to offer their respective electorates the option of dissolving that treaty and walking away.

      In a nutshell, you send your best representation.

      Of our established political parties the SNP is far and away the most politically competent. HMG won the referendum, we got past it, but don’t think for an instant anyone gets to tell us who is a fit or unfit representative. I’d say that’s a fairly anti democratic attitude. If the SNP do go down in significant numbers they will work with the house to promote what we feel are progressive policies based on a popular manifesto and a popular mandate end of.

      Also if we feel the need to send representation to hold establishment parties to account for pledges made during the referendum, that is the prerogative of the Scottish electorate and in fact a duty of any party which we decide to send down in numbers.

      Oh and by the by, if I don’t like someone or something I’m perfectly capable of saying so. Not only have you completely misrepresented my views but me as a person. I have never and I do mean never maligned England or the English electorate. There’s a very good reason for that, but I’m sure your crystal ball will fill in the gaps. All I will say is that you should never judge a book by its cover. My gripe is with the political system we ALL live under and has precisely bugger all to do with ethnicity and ancient history.

      Basically you made all of that up.

    270. Croompenstein says:

      Well said Macart, he hadn’t even the good grace to spell your name correctly

    271. Fred says:

      @ sensibledave, Trident is an expensive joke, we buy it from the US & can’t fire it without US permission, it’s a massive con which every other country in Europe has body-swerved. France has a weapons system under its control, thinking, like Britain, that it is due a seat around the top table and willing to beggar itself to this end. Try and divest yourself of the white-mans burden the Empire has long gone, France’s ditto, but the thought of France in the nuclear club when Britain aint, is unthinkable to you people and your obsession with “Britain’s place in the world”, Yawn.

      How the Canadians sleep at night, I have sleepless nights worrying about.

    272. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi sensibledave.

      You misunderstand the reality.

      In 1707, Scotland entered into a union (“the UK”) with England and its provinces.

      We, as ‘citizens’ of the UK, whether we live in Ullapool, Wrexham, Belfast or Yeovil, find ourselves, in a general election, electing an MP to represent the interests of his or her constituents. (As eloquently explained by Robert Pfeffers.)

      Therefore, if the interests of the electors in Forfar do not coincide with those of the electors of Thanet South (for example), it is still the job of the MP’s for each area to represent, in parliament, the views of the people in the constituency that elected them.

      That’s why we’re supposed to be “better together”.

      But, it seems, “Better Together” was only a slogan, not a reality.

    273. sensibledave says:

      @lumilumi

      How many of those NATO members don’t have nuclear weapons now – but used to have them? Would it be good if all NATO members were to unilaterally disarm?

      @Macart (sorry about previous spellings, my spell checker offered me Meerkat and i thought I’d edited it correctly)

      No, not mind reading – just reading your comments. You wrote the words – I read them – they are there for all to see. Vengeance, antipathy, threats of comeuppance – they are all there.

      Summary comment – I invited readers to provide evidence of where English MPs have ganged together to “represent/protect and reflect the interests of their electorate (i.e. the English) over other countries in the Union?

      So far, not a jot! Not an instance. Nothing! I’m left wondering why that is …?

    274. sensibledave says:

      Ive just reread some of my exchanges with various commenters above. Nothing is being gained, no sensible debate has been achieved, no ground has been conceded by anyone. I fear for the outcome of the general election and the constitutional upset that will, almost inevitably now, result.

    275. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The only time that the Tories have not won the popular vote in England, since the war, was Blair’s first win. An astonishing fact don’t you think.”

      I think it’s astonishing that EVEN AFTER I’VE GIVEN YOU THE LINK proving that’s complete and utter bollocks, you keep saying it and then insult other people for not treating the debate with respect.

    276. Fred says:

      @ sensibledave, interesting your dragging Putin into the argument, last year Cameron looked to Vladimir to issue a statement condemning Scottish independence now he’s the bogeyman and the sabres are being rattled down at the cricket club, what!

    277. sensibledave says:

      regarding The Rev at 1.07 above

      Now here’s something that you will rarely see on this site.

      I apologise unreservedly for the mistruths I asserted earlier! The Rev provided me with a link which (unless he spent hours producing a convincing fake document that is now available on line!) would suggest that I may have misled people, inadvertently, with respect to the Tory share of the popular vote in England in elections since the war. Clearly, the previous information I had was wrong. My apologies.

      Nevertheless, my statements about England being predominantly Tory still hold true. In the 10 General ELection in the last 40 years, Labour won the popular vote in three. Across those 10 GEs the Tory share of the vote averages out at 40.8% and the Labour vote at 35.3%. The Tories won 70% of all GEs in England in the last 40 years.

      All of this is only relevant because of the new circumstances we have in the Union – coupled with the end of the two party system and the rise of Nationalist parties and “single issue” parties (forgive the shorthand) of parties like the Greens and UKIP.

      It is a truism that the devolved powers to the countries in the Union (except England) have created a situation where Nationalist parties now influence or have control of those devolved powers – without necessarily having a material effect on Westminster. The SNP is about to change that paradigm.

      Our Westminster system of first past the post has, historically and on the whole, delivered a UK government made up parties that won the popular vote as well as the constituency seats to claim a mandate.

      I am (we probably all are) expecting that this will not be the case in the next election – and that is where the problems will begin. The Scots just had a referendum where they voted, freely, to stay, or leave, the Union. It looks like they will also elect a party to a majority of seats in Scotland whose raison d’etre is Independence and to leave the Union. Go figure!?!? Any form of democracy is going to struggle to reconcile and deliver a representative result in such circumstances.

      Our current system will produce a pig’s breakfast based upon the projected results. Another Con/Lib or Con/UKIP or Con/anything coalition will, doubtless, cause a fracas in Scotland – even though the Scots have reaffirmed recently that they accept that possibility – by voting to remain in the Union.

      I am guessing that the Labour party will not win either the popular vote or the majority of seats in England – and they will be marginalised in Scotland.

      As I may have stated before, the one message that the Labour Party will be able to take from the election will be that they will not have a mandate in England, or Scotland, for their Manifesto.

      To people in England, assuming my projections above are correct, the idea of a Lab/Lib coalition in these circumstances would be hated, deemed as unfair/a bodge/unrepresentative/etc but would probably accepted in the short and medium term. The idea of a Lab/SNP agreement of some sort is, quite frankly, beyond the pale in any sort of democratic sense. An alliance between a party that we didn’t vote for and a party we couldn’t vote for – to determine all laws in England, is just plain silly.

      Another outcome that is distinctly possible is that the total Conservative popular vote in Scotland, England and Wales together – may be larger than the total popular vote for Labour, the SNP, and the Welsh nationalists all together. Again, from a purely English perspective, that may prove to be very relevant Labour’s thinking about entering a coalition/agreement in those circumstances – as they may conclude that it might be the death of them henceforth in England- better to stay in opposition and hope to build something for next time?

    278. sensibledave says:

      @Fred 10.05

      “sabres are being rattled down at the cricket club, what!”

      … casual racial stereotyping again Fred. Can’t stop yourself can you.

      Go and have another deep-fried Mars bar washed down with a Carlsberg Special Brew, put on a ginger wig and and a kilt and go and beat someone over the head with a set of bagpipes down at Celtic Park based upon historical sectarian differences – why don’t you! Eh! What!

    279. Fred says:

      @ sensibledave, remember anent Nationalist parties, the Tories are the English nationalist party.

      Fred had an English grannie, has never seen a Deep Fried Mars Bar, worn a kilt or a Jimmy wig, is unfamiliar with Celtic Park and Carlsberg Special is a wummins drink. A little knowledge, eh!

    280. Fiona says:

      How can the Labour party stay in opposition?

    281. sensibledave says:

      @fred

      1. The Tories are not the English Nationalist parties although I am sure it helps your case to portray them as such

      2. … and I dont own a sabre, or attend a cricket club – or finish a sentence with “What! As I said, casual racial stereotyping is just cheap and lazy isn’t it.

    282. Fiona says:

      You should know, sensibledave. You attribute all sorts of things to the posters here, as has already been pointed out to you. But more importantly you wrote this

      I will try and be clear as possible for you Fiona. When all of us toffee nosed, oxbridge educated, multi-millionaires, all get in our limousines and our drivers take us to the polling station in a General Election

      I didn’t write anything of the sort, but you did. Seems to me that the attribution of stereotyping to other folk is you speciality. But I suppose that making stuff up like that is ok when you do it? I wonder why

    283. Brian Doonthetoon says:

      Hi sensibledave.

      I thought you were making some sense until you suffered from conflation…

      ” An alliance between a party that we didn’t vote for and a party we couldn’t vote for – to determine all laws in England, is just plain silly.”

      The Westminster Parliament, for which we are electing Mp’s on 7th May, does not define the laws of ENGLAND, it sets the laws for the UNITED KINGDOM.

      ENGLAND does not have its own parliament. And that’s the problem you fail to recognise.

      Your statement defines why, we in Scotland, are rebelling against the Westminster/UK establishment, as borne out in all the opinion polls since just after the referendum vote.

      It’s time the 4 nations of the UK achieved their independence from Westminster. Wouldn’t you agree?

    284. sensibledave says:

      @Brian Doonthetoon

      Sorry Brian, you are just plain wrong. This is a long one.

      You wrote: “……The Westminster Parliament …. does not define the laws of England” – Really? I would be grateful if you could let me know where they are made then! Of course we all know that Westminster is not “the” English Parliament but it is, beyond any argument, where the laws that apply to the English (both uniquely and as part of the UK) are made. So, sorry, your first point is just nonsense.

      Moving on to your final two paragraphs, and as a democrat, I don’t know how to respond really.

      There was a referendum in Scotland. Personally, if pushed, I would say that I wished the Scots had voted for Independence. However, the free, clear, democratic will of the people of Scotland was to stay part of the Union. So be it. It’s a bit like The Falklands really. Life would be simpler and easier if the majority of Falklanders wanted Independence – but they don’t. So we keep calm and carry on.

      Whilst you seem to care little about democracy, and the democratic will of your countrymen, the rest of us have to. Of course, ideally, I want the party that I vote for to form a government but I am not going to try and bring the whole thing down, by whatever means, if I don’t get my way. That’s democracy. The answer, as always, lies in the ballot box and one needs to respect the democratic process – whatever that may be.

      Wishing that we had some starting point based upon our personal preferences is no help Brian. I know you don’t want we have – but it is where we are and we have to work with what we have got and produce solutions (that will inevitably be imperfect) that attempt to address as many issues as possible. The response to the ongoing issues of Scotland not always getting the government they vote for was (is) to devolve more and more powers to Holyrood. Scotland now has its own Parliament and MSPs and, doubtless, further devolution will occur.

      In all honesty Brian, can you think of another alternative for Scotland that represents the expressed democratic will of the people of Scotland?

      The Union might deliver a government that the Scots didn’t vote for (because that is how the Union works) – but your Parliament, where you have your own government, provides some protection/dilution of the effects of such an outcome and – very recently your countrymen voted to have that as a solution. The alternative was there to be taken – it wasn’t.

      As the rest of the Union (represented by MPs from all the four member countries) have listened to what the Scots want, they have attempted to produce a solution to the issues the Scots face (Holyrood, devolution, etc.). As far as I can see there is no direct benefit for a Liberal MP in say Wales, or a Labour MP in England voting for these changes – other than it is a way of giving the Scots more autonomy whilst being in the Union – and responding to the needs/wishes of a part of the Union that they do not represent directly?

      That is what we expect from Westminster MPs. Of course we expect them to represent their constituents but we also demand that they work for the good of all the people in the Union too and then, sometimes, to focus on solutions for a particular part of the Union. You seem unable to understand those responsibilities. As far as I can see, the Westminster Scottish Nationalist Party candidates are making it clear that they don’t accept those responsibilities either. Which is going to be a big problem and cause much fuss – which is, of course, what you want.

      So, in recognition of the above, I made the comment that in the event Conservative majority in England, a Lab/Lib coalition would probably accepted by the English for the good of the Union. I also made the comment that a Lab/SNP agreement would be unpalatable – because, in my view, and most other English people, it would not be for the good of the Union. We would not be able to do anything about it other than, probably, a new movement would gather momentum that would ultimately seek another alternative – which again, is what you, as a minority Scots Nat’ wants.

      I also think that the Labour Party would be held responsible, by the electorate, for creating the problem and they would end up going the way of the Lib/Dems henceforth – I might be wrong, but I think/hope that Labour would struggle to get a majority in England ever again – or at least in my lifetime. I don’t know whether the Labour Party would think about that or whether Ed Miliband personally might conclude that in taking on such a poisoned chalice might make himself the most hated man in England henceforth – or whether he would care – providing he got to be Prime Minister.

      Power, at any cost, is attractive to some – and democracy is just an inconvenienr irrelevanceto others.

    285. sensibledave says:

      @fiona 7.22pm

      … I don’t understand your question Fiona.

    286. sensibledave says:

      @Brian

      … just had another thought Brian. When the next referendum on Scottish Independence is mooted, if I was Nicola Sturgeon, I would insist that the referendum be extended to allow the rest of the UK to be allowed to vote. I think she would get lots of support for the motion – and I think she could get the motion passed with a landslide!

    287. Chris Kerr says:

      Thanks, that was really smashing in-depth political analysis

    288. Fiona says:

      @sensibledave

      It is quite straightforward. If the polls are correct (and I take nothing for granted) then neither of the two mainstream parties will have a majority. If it happens that the tories cannot form a majority coalition they cannot govern. In that case, and if labour can form a government with the support of the SNP and say the greens and PC, then are you saying that they will not try? Is that what you honestly think they will do? Force another election?

      You may be right. However, it seems to me that on your own analysis that would be very likely to lead to a tory government, because you say that is the natural tendency of the english, and some of the labour support from swing voters would shift in those circumstances

      If that is the outcome, I think it spells the end for the labour party. Not in Scotland, but in England. Their core support honestly believe there is a difference between tory and labour, so far as I am able to judge. So what do you think that core support would do in face of such a betrayal? I think we have an example in the shape of the lib dems.

      The english are no more homogeneous than are the scots. The importance of swing voters and marginal seats is predicated on a large, solid core support for each of the mainstream parties. That support can be lost, as we saw with the original liberal party: they never got it back

      If you are correct then labour loses “the english” if it agrees to from a government.

      If I am correct then labour loses “core support” if it refuses to form a government

      Glad I am not making that calculation, but on balance I do not see Ed Milliband refusing the keys to Downing Street for his political lifetime on a scenario such as you paint.

      He might. But I can’t see it

    289. Will Podmore says:

      Brian Doonthetoon writes, “it is still the job of the MP’s for each area to represent, in parliament, the views of the people in the constituency that elected them.” No, MPs are not obliged to represent the views of the people of the constituency. In parliamentary practice, whether at Brussels, Westminster or Holyrood, MPs feel free and are free to put forward their own views or their party’s views. They do not have to take any notice of their constituents. That is not their job – see Edmund Burke on MPs’ duties.



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