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Always crashing in a different car

Posted on June 05, 2013 by

Heaven’s sent us an angel, folks. Alert reader Jack Deeth is stranded far from home shores (really very far indeed) and stuck for something to do in the long winter nights, he very generously offered us his transcribing services.

We leapt on the offer with undignified haste, and you can read the first results below, in the shape of today’s interview between Margaret Curran and Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics, in which the shadow Scottish Secretary clearly and unambiguously laid out a future Labour government’s spending and welfare plans.


ANDREW NEIL: By restricting the Winter Fuel Allowance to only the non-rich pensioners, you save about £100 million. What’s that as a percentage of overall government spending?

MARGARET CURRAN: Well, it’s a very small percentage of overall government –

AN: How small?

MC: Well, miniscule, in terms of the grand scale of things.

AN: You’re right. It’s 0.01% –

MC: But can I tell you, £100 million is still a lot of money. And I think if you-

AN: What would you do with it?

MC: …if you get an attitude to government spending, that says “Every pound matters, every £10, every million pounds matters, then I think that indicates that –

AN: So what would you do with that £100 million?

MC: What we do is try and keep growth back in the economy again.

AN: What, with £100 million?

MC: Well, it would contribute a lot of things in terms of helping and how you can challenge.

AN: Wait. Hold on, Margaret Curran. This economy’s a £1.5 trillion economy. £100 million makes zero difference to growth, whatever you do with it.

MC: No, no, no, it can make a difference.

AN: Well, tell me what you would do with it.

MC: Well, you could spend it on housing, for example. That could produce housing. It could do all sorts of things, but –

AN: But how much would that contribute to growth? How much would…? Alright, spending £100 million on housing: how much would that contribute to growth?

MC: Well, if you were in one of those houses I think it would might make a difference to you, just, in that –

AN: Excuse me – that’s a social welfare argument –

MC: No it’s not. It’s not a social welfare argument.

AN: …that it’s good that you built a house for another person. That’s fine, I don’t argue with that. How much growth would £100 million create?

MC: I don’t accept the premise that £100 million, because it’s such a small part of, obviously, a very very large budget, is insignificant. And also I think it’s about the indication that you, you signal, that every single pound matters. Now, what Labour is absolutely categorically clear about is we will be very strict guardians of public expenditure. Public expenditure really matters to people –

AN: This is the new line, isn’t it?

MC: No it’s not a new… I’ve always believed it all my political life.

AN: You never said that when you were last on this program.

MC: Well, maybe I was never asked, but believe me, I believe that. I think you have to be very strict guardians of public money.

AN: Well, let me ask you this. Is it your policy, then; is it implicit now in Ed Ball’s speech, that if you win the election in 2015, you’ll stick to the existing, current spending plans?

MC: No. No, that’s not our indication. No. But what we have said, is that we’ll be very strict with public expenditure; we have recognised that given where we are with the failing economy, given this government’s abject failure to get the economy growing, with one of the least successful economies, with the IMF telling the government to turn course, but given where we are, we need to be honest and see that if we get into government in 2015, we’ll be in a very difficult environment.

AN: I understand that. So, will you increase current spending?

MC: Well, we’re not going to publish our budgets – we’re not going to write our budgets – why would we write our budgets now, when we don’t know absolutely what will happen? But we’re giving an indication –

AN: Gordon Brown did in 1996. He said he would stick to Tory spending plans.

MC: Well he did, yes, I remember that well. He did say that in 1996.

AN: So why can’t you do that now?

MC: Because it’s not appropriate for these circumstances. And what we won’t do –

AN: What was different between ’97 and now?

MC: A Tory government is sitting, creating such difficulty, and we live in a different environment, and we are seeing now that –

AN: But surely that would mean that it’s more likely that you’d have to stick to current spending plans, or even spend less?

MC: No.

AN: I mean, Mr Brown inherited a rising economy in 1997, so you – let me just get this right – you cannot tell us whether you will increase, stick to, or cut current Tory spending plans?

MC: What we are saying: there’s things the Government could do just now, that could actually alter the economic climate. For example, they could follow the IMF’s recommendation and put £10 billion into investment, and the economy could show some signs of recovering.

AN: So that would add £10 billion to spending?

MC: No. We won’t know –

AN: I thought you were going to be very strict on spending?

MC: Hang on! Hang on. We won’t know, until we actually publish our budgets, at the time of the next election, to know exactly what, how money will be spent; what the exact priorities are. But we’re making a very important point this week. And that is that we, Labour, will take a different approach to public expenditure. And we will re-prioritise within public expenditure. That’s the difference.

AN: Well, you say that, but actually you’re taking a different approach to what you said only two weeks ago. Never – well, you’re now going to go along with the cuts you attacked when the government cut child benefit for better-off taxpayers. You now think that you won’t reverse that, correct?

MC: Honestly, well Ed Miliband hasn’t made his speech. I respect Nick Robinson, I know that he’s reported that today –

AN: So are you for or against it then?

MC: Well we’ll wait and see what Ed Miliband has to say tomorrow.

AN: You haven’t a view of your own?

MC: Well, your highlight said, it’s about the challenge between universal benefits –

AN: What do YOU think: do you think better-off taxpayers should get child benefit or not?

MC: Well, if I had an absolute choice, if we had, if money was not an option, we would prefer child benefit to be universal.

AN: But money’s always a problem, it’s never free, so would you –

MC: Ah, in a very particular… we’re in very different circumstances just now.

AN: Would you keep child benefit for better-off taxpayers?

MC: Well, what we are saying, and Ed will make his own speech tomorrow, and I don’t have foresight of that, so –

AN: I’m not asking for Ed Miliband’s opinion, I’m asking for YOUR opinion.

MC: What I’m saying to you is, we are now in a very difficult financial situation, and it is very different.

AN: Just answer my question.

MC: What we are saying is what were universal benefits before, like the Winter Fuel Allowance, that we do need to look again at that, and it’s what you prioritise, and where your spending will be prioritised, that will govern what Labour says we will keep, and what we will change.

AN: Yeah, alright, but that’s just the rhetoric –

MC: No it’s not!

AN: Let’s try and get to some hard facts. When the Government took away child benefit from better-off tax payers, you – your party – said it was “ill-thought-through, unfair, and showed that the Coalition was out of touch with hard-working families.” Is that still the case?

MC: I do think that was unfair, and I do think they hadn’t thought it through…

AN: So you’re against it?

MC: …they got themselves into a complete mess. But what we are saying is when you get into government, and when we come in in 2015, we won’t be able to do all that we wanted to do, and things that the Government have done… what will be our priorities there, and beginning to tackle that.

AN: I’m sorry – is taking child benefit away from better-off families ill-thought-through and unfair or not?

MC: I thought it was unfair…

AN: But you’re still going to support it!

MC: …I think there’s a difference when you say, when the Government does things, that was wrong, and it was unfair and ill-thought-through. If you come into government…

AN: But you’re going to support it!

MC: …hang on a wee second! If you come into government, three or four years later, you then decide what are your priorities. Now we’ll have lots to reinstate of what the Government has done. Will child benefit for the wealthiest people be our top priority? I’m not sure about that.

AN: Well why didn’t you say that at the time?

MC: Because that was then, and –

AN: It was only eighteen months ago!

MC: No… but when we come into government, we will have to make, um, make up for a lot of what this government has done. We will have to make priorities about that. We won’t be able to come in and say “Everything that’s gone will change overnight what the previous Government’s done”, and we’ll have priorities about how we tackle that.

AN: So you’re getting rid of the Winter Fuel Allowance, you’re going to go along with the Tory plans to take child benefit away from better-off families –  both two big dents in the universal welfare state – what’s next to go?

MC: Well, what we are saying, is –

AN: What’s next to go? Don’t tell me what you’re saying, tell me what’s next to go.

MC: What we need to do, what we need to do, is look and see, in terms of public expenditure, what are Labour’s priorities. We think there’s better ways that you could use public money than –

AN: So what’s next to go?

MC: We will give our plans at the time of the budget. We’ve been very clear – Ed Balls has made it really clear, Andrew – we’re not going to do that just now. But what we are saying –

AN: So you’ll give your plans at the time of the Labour budget?

MC: At the time when we publish our budget plans. What we are saying is the Government has got us into such a situation of economic failure, we think there’s things that they could do just now, we think that… but nonetheless, when we come back in 2015, we need to be honest with people and say we can’t do everything Labour would want to do, because public expenditure will be in a very different situation, but we’re signalling now that there are things we really have to get tough about and that’s what we’re doing.

AN: Okay.


We’re pleased to see that Ms Curran’s memory has improved, at least. But if you got lost in amongst all the interrupting and waffling, the short version is this:

If elected in 2015, Labour won’t promise to undo a single Tory cut. We already knew they wouldn’t abolish the Bedroom Tax, they’ve just told us they won’t reverse the cuts in Child Benefit, and they told us yesterday they’d even be adding more cuts of their own, by ending Winter Fuel Allowance for 600,000 pensioners.

Ed Balls has made those policy decisions not because it would save a significant amount of money (contrary to what Curran said today – the cost of the bureaucracy to means-test the UK’s 12 million OAPs annually will almost certainly wipe out every penny of the notional £100m saving), but to make a political point about how tough he is to the cold-hearted, “scrounger”-hating swing voters of Middle England.

If that sounds like an attractive alternative to the current coalition’s policies to you, readers, do feel free to vote No in 2014, then choose your poison.

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    1. 16 03 15 22:34

      The Devo Files: Margaret Curran (Glasgow East) | A Wilderness of Peace

    86 to “Always crashing in a different car”

    1. Well done, Mr Deeth!

      I do think people need to experience the full splendour of the original delivery though! 🙂

    2. Aitch-Aitch says:

      Scottish Labour …..what an incompetent bunch. They are now just proxy Tories in denial…should be hanging their heads in shame.
      Surely membership for ‘Labour for Indy’ must be going through the roof, with SLab being led by the likes of McIntosh and Lamont as well as Curran

    3. Training Day says:

      The above is the result of over two years deliberations in answer to Sally Magnusson’s question on May 5 2011 – ‘so what do we do now, Margaret Curran?’

    4. Adrian B says:

      Ed Balls pretty much said exactly the same last night on the UK wide version of Newsnight.
      He got ripped to shreds as well – it was quite funny watching it, Balls trying to be the Iron Chancellor by making tough choices.
      Genuine car crash Labour politics.  

    5. Luigi says:

      Is there anything more pathetic than a third-rate politician trying very hard to fib/prevaricate his/her way out of a tight spot, but not being quite smart and articulate enough to pull it off?

    6. Doug Daniel says:

      My favourite bit is when he says “you haven’t a view of your own?” and she forgets to say “my view is whatever Ed Miliband tells me it is – don’t you know how Scottish Labour works, Andrew?”
      Well, I say Ed Miliband, but I’m increasingly coming to think it’s Ed Balls running the show…

    7. orkers says:

      It sounded worse when she was saying it.
      Still pretty horrendous though.
      Perhaps there is a god after all?
      Nope going too far.

    8. Luke Stirling says:

      This is actually painful to read. This woman is actually a candidate to become part of the leaders of our country. HOW IS SHE GETTING AWAY WITH THIS CRAP? SHE’S GETTING PAID FOR DOING NOTHING. And there’s still people saying ” I’ll vote labour all the way because they’re better than the tories” what labour party are they seeing? At least the Tories don’t lie about being greedy fucks and don’t try to convince you otherwise.

    9. Luigi says:

      BBC Labour certainly have their work cut out over the next 16 months if they want to save the union. Silk purses and sows ears comes to mind.

    10. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “At least the Tories don’t lie about being greedy fucks and don’t try to convince you otherwise.”

      I found myself thinking about this last night. Can anyone think of any major principles the Tories have abandoned in living memory? I don’t mean principles of basic human decency – plenty of those – but Conservative principles. Labour have abandoned socialism, abandoned nationalising industries, abandoned nuclear disarmament, abandoned Home Rule (then abandoned opposition to devolution), abandoned taxing the rich, abandoned civil liberties, abandoned free tuition, abandoned universalism… well, it’s harder thinking of principles they HAVEN’T abandoned.

      A lot of people hate the Tories, for extremely good reasons, but I suspect that people also think “Well, at least they stick to what they believe in”, and see that as a kind of strength, especially in difficult times. For as long as Labour will ditch ANYTHING that might cost it a couple of votes, they’ll appear weak, and that’s a big disadvantage in politics.

    11. Luigi says:

      The Labour party are certainly testing the loyalty of their core voters. It must be incredibly painful for traditional Labour supporters to continue propping up these jokers, election after election, after election.

    12. Stevie says:

      Oh dear heck — I’ve gone blind!!!!!

    13. Luigi says:

      Principles? With the Tories you always get what it says on the tin – not to everyone’s taste, but clear as day. With Labour, however, you can vote for a tin of sweet peaches, only to find out later it is full of rotten, stinking beans.

    14. Marcia says:

      I see that she uses that old phrase but believe me’I don’t.

      I read the article with her voice in my head – I need to get sectioned.

    15. Jiggsbro says:

      we think there’s things that they could do just now, we think that… but nonetheless, when we come back in 2015, we need to be honest with people and say we can’t do everything Labour would want to do
      Welll, there’s Labour’s entire manifesto: An ellipsis. And they don’t think they’ll be able to achieve all of it. Hopefully, they’ll achieve a third of it: a full stop.

    16. Archibald Berwick Melrose [aka Archie] says:

      Great work Jack Deeth and thanks. I did download the .MP3 version and played it to my Thai friends. They did laugh and asked if MC could go to Bangkok for ‘Happy Ending’. Maybe somebody can explain to me – is that a Soap on TV?

    17. Dcanmore says:

      Margaret Curran, another SLab-bot that’s risen without trace. Gawd that was awful to get through. The rhetoric of … “what we say is; what I’m saying; what we’re looking at; what we need to do is blah blah blah very difficult circumstances blah blah” … is the exact same as Johann Lamont’s recent car crash on a sofa! No answers, no clue, nothing unless it comes triple stamped from Labour head office. This started since Ed Millibot took over the *ahem ‘leadership’ of the party and so far has not committed Labour to anything other than agreeing with Troy cuts and austerity measures. If you want a picture of what Britain will look like in the next 20 years, look at it now but a lot, lot worse.
      VOTE YES 2014! … or we’re fucked!!

    18. Eco_Exile says:

      Didn’t the Tories change their logo not so long ago, and at the same time stopped being the nasty party?

    19. David Milligan - a very Sovereign Scot says:

      “Independence will kill off devolution!”  Margaret Curran – Question Time
      What a joke, how on earth did she get elected in the first place?
      Kindest regards,
      David Milligan Lvss 

    20. Jamie Arriere says:

      I am sure that “Every Pound Matters” is the motto at the top of expenses forms for Westminster MPs

    21. handclapping says:

      Thanks Mr Deeth, instead ot wastingmy time and my patience on however long it took MC to haver her way through it took me 3.5 minutes to read with the comments 🙂
      Very nice (archaic meaning)

    22. Sapheneia says:

      The Scottish Labour philosophy on getting elected seems to be simply “we are called Labour”.  Vote for this thing called “Labour” as you always have done.  Trust us despite us changing all our core policies.
      The contents of this thing called “Labour” have basically leaked out over the last 20 years and what remains has gone a bit rotten when you start to look below the lid.
      They may go the same way as the Ratners Group brand when one day someone confesses (which deep down everyone knows anyway) that what they are hawking is basically crap.

    23. Juteman says:

      I wonder if Balls agreed at that not so secret meeting in Watford to let the Blue Tories win again?

    24. Xercies says:

      The problem is I have no idea what Labour wanted to do in the first place

    25. Adrian B says:

      The Kirsty O’Brian piece is on Conservative Home – Comments allowed :

    26. ianbrotherhood says:

      “At least the Tories don’t lie about being greedy fucks and don’t try to convince you otherwise.”
      It’s an extraordinary and depressing mindset, but surprisingly common – me ain’t no expert on such matters, and certainly don’t speak from personal experience, but it sounds like the reasoning of an abuse victim – ‘okay, he beats the living daylights out of me, belittles me, steals from me, lies to me, but he’s still my Dad/husband/son etc and I can’t help loving him.’
      Some strange form of masochism? Deference to powerful patriarchs etc?
      Most peculiar momma…

    27. muttley79 says:

      @Training Day

      The above is the result of over two years deliberations in answer to Sally Magnusson’s question on May 5 2011 – ‘so what do we do now, Margaret Curran?’
      Did Magnusson really say “we” to Margaret Curran?


    28. Luke Stirling says:

      For the record I’m far from a fan of the Tories, but at least you know you’re getting horrible policies from them that they actually believe in. With Labour you have to do detective work and wade through all the bullshit (THAT’S WHAT I WANT FROM MY REPRESENTATIVE!). It actually shows Labour’s (and Margaret’s) skill in incompetence to say so much yet actually say NOTHING.

    29. EdinScot says:

      After reading the transcript, i braved it and listened to the audio version.  Really really dreadfully bad so bad i laughed out loud more than once.  Her mantra was to keep talking drivel no matter what as what passes for her brain would freeze frame.  I guess the mark of the woman is that she couldnt be honest about where she resided when fighting the Glasgow East by election so i  shouldnt be surprised.  Its just the slow motion car crash in all its technicolour that  keeps me glued.  I suspect we are going to see more of these Unionists collapsing big time in the run up to  the referendum.  Hold on to your hats. 

    30. Davy says:

      Its nice to see it laid out in black and white, the full intellect of the lesser spotted ‘curran numpty’, and the sad thing is she will try and convince herself it was a good interview, and she only told the truth !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      A joke MP for a joke party, Scotland deserves a lot better.
      Hail Alba.

    31. Erchie says:

      7 hours ago Wings RTed two links from Labourlist.
      The first was to a bog standard Better Together piece (borders, changing money, baled out banks) from a woman in London.
      The second was to a piece about Labour keeping Tory cuts.
      Isuspect the Rev may havebeen using irony.
      7 hours later and my post (and 11other “reactions” ) have not shown up.
      Labourlist, as foreign to free and open debate as Labourhame

    32. mealer says:

      Am I correct in my understanding of what Ms Curran said ? That she couldn’t give any information on what Labour would cut until after they are voted in ?

    33. Adrian B says:

      @ Erchie,
      I posted a link earlier to the piece on Conservative Home which is allowing comments to the Kirsty O’ Brien piece.

    34. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      The whole interview’s now on YouTube:

    35. BeamMeUpScotty says:

      This twister would dwarf anything Typhoon Alley throws up.Curran just reminds me why I will never vote Labour again in my life.Completely and utterly without principle.Labour conveniently ignore the fact that they created the current economic mess by following Tory dogma.They have learned nothing from this and are beyond salvation in England.

    36. Red squirrel says:

      Balls yesterday, Curran today, Millibean tomorrow – three numpties subjecting us to further evidence of Labour’s lack of ideas, principles and ethics. 
      Please make it stop. 

    37. ianbrotherhood says:

      Here’s an interview where the guy doesn’t flaff about. Seems a tad staged, but good all the same:

    38. John H says:

      The thing that puzzles me is that Curran and Lamont both got through university and got a degree. How did that happen? Or are they both being deliberately obtuse in order to avoid commitment to any policies?

    39. Jen says:

      I am very thankful for the transcription. I could not bear to watch or listen to Curran’s tory crap.  No principles, no beliefs just what’s feed from the party wanting power for their enrichment. 
      Vote Yes in 2014.   Lets get rid of these people. 

    40. CW says:

      You could tell that Andrew Neil was really enjoying that. He was actually rubbing his hands together.

    41. Sapheneia says:

      Seems Labour are hell bent on gathering middle class favour at all costs – attack the poorest for being workshy and living in accommodation that is too good for them (aka the “something for nothing culture”) and talk about stopping the “rich” getting universal benefits.
      What other core policies will be watered down?  Universal state pension, … health care?  Once you go down the means tested welfare road it is very difficult to stop. The road ends at a murky place called Insurance.
      Can people be convinced about Westminster economic mismanagement, huge financial waste (corruption fits in here too), proven track record of growing wealth inequality, etc? Maybe if we simply did things better (or less worse – the Scottish view on life) on behalf of 5 million Scots? I believe the Yes campaign’s consistent messages will start to hit home.
      Labour may start to accuse Yes supporters of living in a financial wonderland?  This would be very good for Yes I think as all the good work on the economic fundamentals would get centre stage.

    42. Tattie-boggle says:

      Jesus Christ I wouldn’t trust Labour to get the Deposit back on my glass bottle of Irn Bru

    43. Morag says:

      Did Magnusson really say “we” to Margaret Curran?
      Yes.  As I recall it, the first part was more of a rhetorical plea to the camera – “What are we going to do about this!?”  Then she half-recollected herself, turned to Magrit, and said “Margaret Curran?” as if this was the question she had been intending to ask her all along.

    44. ianbrotherhood says:

      Just watched it all via the Youtube link (currently at 237 views)
      Jack Deeth deserves some kind of medal for setting it all down in words.
      What could we call that medal?

    45. Clarinda says:

      Ianbrotherhood – Medal of the Bleeding Ear ie MBE?

    46. ianbrotherhood says:

      Competition over.

    47. The Rough Bounds says:

      Labour are worse than the Tories. Tories are crooks and everybody knows it. And they don’t even try to hide it.
      Labour on the other hand are also crooks, but they are complete hypocrites.
      Much worse.

    48. scottish_skier says:

      I see better together London is launching tonight.

      Will they like be leafleting Kensington and Chelsea?

      “So many Scots who want to use their voices to ensure a strong Scotland in UK”

      Are English not invited? Just ‘real’ Scots (those with Scots genes I presume)?

      Anyone know when Better Together Berlin is on?

    49. Jamie Arriere says:

      What we are saying is….what we say is…..what we believe is…..what we are saying is…
      What’s Ed Milliband going to say tomorrow?
      I haven’t a clue….

    50. Marcia says:

      Major tax avoidance row about to hit Labour Party & Ed Miliband. Full details in the @Telegraph tmrw

    51. scottish_skier says:

      @ Marcia

      John Mills gave the party shares in his shopping channel company, JML, valued at £1.65 million in January. In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Mills said that the donation was made in shares rather than cash so the tax on the deal would be significantly reduced.

      Describing the donation as “tax efficient”, he said the form of the donation was agreed with figures in Labour’s fund-raising team.

    52. BeamMeUpScotty says:

      @ scottish_skier
      Sounds like the Romans probably did as the Goths were about to cross the Tiber.
      Tories,Tories(NuLabour),lend me your money.

    53. HandandShrimp says:

      Just reading that started to make my brain melt.
      So we have the one of the least successful economies…..and we are Better Together why exactly?

    54. Marcia says:



      Very true indeed.

    55. HeatherMcLean says:

      “What we are saying is….what we say is…..what we believe is…..what we are saying is”…
      Does Johann Lamont have the same script writer??

    56. turnip_ghost says:

      OT but is anyone here aware that there was a Better Together London event this evening?!

      Is this them getting donations…?

    57. scottish_skier says:

      Does Johann Lamont have the same script writer??
      ‘I think we need to have that debate’.

    58. Seasick Dave says:

      Hunners o’ squirrels!

    59. Dee says:

      What does johann lamont do apart from FMQs??. You never hear from her from one week to another. She should be out explaining these policies to the voters. She can’t just bury her head in the sand and say it’s all Ed and Magrits fault. Honestly, does anyone know where she is??. Child benefits and heating allowances are just the start, they will be far worse than any lib/Tory coalition. Come on Lamont get out in the street and look the people in the eyes and tell them what your policies really are.  You should be ashamed of yourself.

    60. scottish_skier says:

      OT but is anyone here aware that there was a Better Together London event this evening?!
      I can see maybe 50 folk in this photo.

      I guess if they’d had a good turnout, they’d have released lots of photos as standard in politics.

    61. Jiggsbro says:

      Blatant hypocrites the lot of them.
      That Telegraph story is nonsense. Mills didn’t avoid any tax. He wouldn’t have paid tax on a £1.5m donation in cash, because political donations are not taxed. Trying to imply tax avoidance because a cash donation would have come from income which had already been taxed is stretching credibility beyond breaking point.

    62. Famous15 says:

      The whole point is that it was not cash but SHARES…and thus it efficiently avoided tax upstream. Are you a Labour spin doctor?

    63. Appleby says:

      I don’t think the old tory would have approved of the all-encompassing big brother state that is being built. I can remember when this was greatly frowned upon when the Soviets did such shameful things. Now they claim it as perfectly normal or even desirable.

    64. Macart says:

      Not so much a car crash as a train wreck. That’s right up there with Sarwar and Lamont’s carnage interviews on income tax. 😀

    65. Desimond says:

      Armando Ianucci said that The Thick of It was getting so hard to do because real life Politics was becoming beyond parody with MPs and their actions becoming ever more pathetic.
      This was Margaret Currans “Mr Chop” moment. You just know there was some PPE graduate Labour SPAD standing in the wings texting Labour HQ “The Banshee has gone ballistic”. When a ragged Margaret walked back after the interview they would have calmly said “Oh it went fine..well done” and all the while making throat slit gestures behind her back.

      And here is one for those aasking about Margrits Uni days..dont have nightmares now :

    66. Craig P says:

      Thanks for the transcript! I had my screen reader voice read it out to me, the harsh, robotic delivery probably an improvement on the original. 
      but nonetheless, when we come back in 2015, we need to be honest with people and say we can’t do everything Labour would want to do

      “Well kid, we *want* to offer free candy and hugs to all children,  that’s what we *want* to do, it was in our manifesto – but instead, get up that chimney you workshy scrounger.”

    67. scottish_skier says:

      Labour ‘would cap welfare spending’
      Ed Miliband is to promise to cap spending on social security so that a future Labour government can “turn the economy around”.

      Mr Miliband will say only people who pay in to the system for more than two years should get jobseeker’s allowance.

      But the Conservatives said he was “too weak” to deliver change.

      Mr Miliband’s speech appears to represent a further move by Labour away from so-called “universal” benefits, awarded to all, irrespective of income.

      Earlier this week, shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the party would end winter fuel payments for pensioners on high and top-level income tax rates and Labour’s leadership has indicated that it will not reverse the coalition’s decision to axe child benefits for households where one person is earning at least £50,000.



      Survey done at James Watt College, Greenock (Finart St Campus) 20 May. Straight yes/no. No option for undecided.

      From a comment by JS_Scotland on newsnet.

    68. Tamson says:

      Curran’s appointment to the Shadow Cabinet was a total mystery to me. Even by TLPiS standards, she’s rubbish. And she was largely responsible for the party’s worst by-election loss ever (across the whole UK possibly: I’m struggling to think of a worse result than losing a seat in the East End of Glasgow).

    69. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “That Telegraph story is nonsense. Mills didn’t avoid any tax. He wouldn’t have paid tax on a £1.5m donation in cash, because political donations are not taxed.”

      Then why is he himself extensively and unambiguously quoted in the piece saying that making the donation in shares was done for tax reasons?

    70. Erchie says:

      it is possible that Johann Lam9nt has strengths as a backroom operator.
      but in the light of day, no. when she was interviewed as Iain Gray’s deputy right after the Subway incident, you could she she could not think on her feet nor did she seem to like talking to human beings

    71. Shinty says:

      Desimond interesting quote from that article on Curran & Lamont in their Uni days.
      Ours was a strong, united political outlook that would help us tackle numerous injustices, from the greed of landlords in the Highlands and islands to the shameful levels of poverty in the housing estates of the inner cities.
      What has she or  SLAB ever done to change these ‘shameful levels of poverty’ – Absolutely nothing. Hypocrites the lot of them.

    72. Jiggsbro says:

      The whole point is that it was not cash but SHARES…and thus it efficiently avoided tax upstream.
      Did you actually read my post? I’m well aware it was shares. It simply didn’t avoid any tax, because tax isn’t payable on political donations. The nonsense about ‘if it had been cash, he would have had to earn 45% more’ is just that: nonsense. Everything I buy, I buy from taxed income. In order to buy a newspaper costing £1, I need to have earned £1.81. Would I have avoided tax if I bartered for the newspaper with something I already owned, or would I still have paid the tax on my income? That’s what Mills did: he donated something he owned rather than cash (on which he had already paid tax). Mills didn’t avoid tax. It’s that simple.

    73. Jiggsbro says:

      Then why is he himself extensively and unambiguously quoted in the piece saying that making the donation in shares was done for tax reasons?
      ‘For tax reasons’ is not ‘to avoid tax’. He explained the tax reasons in the article: there is no tax relief on political donations, so in order to donate £1.5m in cash, he would have needed to earn nearer £3m before tax. His point was precisely that it wasn’t possible to avoid tax using political donations, because there is no tax relief. He was, however, able to afford a larger value donation by donating shares rather than cash. The government still got all the tax they would have been due if the donation had been in cash: £0.00

    74. Training Day says:

      “Did Magnusson really say “we” to Margaret Curran?”
      She surely did, Muttley.  To be fair to Margaret Curran, and as Morag points out, Sally may have been letting out a generalised cri de couer in the direction of the rotten, mendacious Scottish Unionist establishment, and Margaret Curran just happened to be its closest representative to hand..

    75. Juteman says:

      Call UKaye talking about votes for prisoners. Obviously an excuse to have a go at the SNP, but according to an ex-prisoner, “the Labour party are finishdd in Scotland.” 🙂

    76. Sapheneia says:

      Mr Mills is exactly right – giving the £1.65 million in shares was the “most tax efficient way of doing this”.  This is a self evident truth for both Mr Mills and the Labour Party.
      Mr Mills is implying he would not have made the contribution if he had to do it in cash, or it would have been significantly smaller.  Mr Mills has achieved his objective of giving a donation to something he believes in and appears to believe he has avoided some tax at the same time.
      There seems to be nothing wrong with this donation.  We live in a free country and Mr Mills should donate whatever he likes within the law.  It is the role of politicians to set the tax law. I guess Labour’s view on this is changing as well now!

    77. McDuff says:

      It is terrifying that these people could be back in government.

    78. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “‘For tax reasons’ is not ‘to avoid tax’.”

      Eh? What other “tax reasons” are there than avoidance?

      The article seems incredibly clear:

      “If you donate to a political party out of a tax paid income, up until April it was 50 per cent and now it is 45 [per cent]. That means if it is £100,000, the Labour party gets £55,000 and the Government gets £45,000.”

      “Alternatively, if Mr Mills had chosen to make the donation in a single cash dividend rather than shares, he would have had to pay dividend tax of 30.5 per cent, or £724,710, to the Exchequer on the £1.65?million donation.”

      That sounds an awful lot like tax being avoided to me. Which of those isn’t true?

    79. Dunc says:

      How much growth would £100 million create?
      Assuming a typical fiscal multiplier, probably somewhere between £150 million and £200 million. There, that wasn’t hard, was it?

    80. mato21 says:

      On you tube Scottish Election 2011 part 15 will show you Sally and Mags response to the Glasgow result

    81. Sapheneia says:

      Well summarised Stu.
      Labour need every penny they can get to remain solvent, as do Conservatives.  Electoral commission website shows party published accounts (net assets) for 2011 as:
      Labour -£5.5 million (a net liability and actually quite low for them -£27.2 million in 2005)
      Tories -£8.7 million (a net liability)
      SNP £0.9 million
      When politicians can’t run the financial affairs of their own party can we really be surprised when the screw up the UK economy!

    82. Adrian B says:

      @ Dunc,
      Are you going to avoid the costs associated with means testing in the first place. I would suggest the setup costs probably quite close to £100 million. Leaving virtually nothing to invest in the wider economy – unless that is you accrue further benefit savings elsewhere using the same means testing?
      Why spend money to save money when universal benefits work for everyone. More to the point why do so many global companies not pay the same levels of Tax as there smaller counterparts? Strange burden on growth in the economy if smaller companies have to pay more as percentage than far larger companies?

    83. Adrian B says:

      To paraphrase Margaret Curran – every pound helps
      Mr Mills claimed the idea of donating using shares followed meetings with Labour party officials.
      Speaking to the Telegraph, he said “It emerged?…?came out of a discussion I had with them about the best way of doing it.
      “It is quite a good model.  Labour has got people who deal with compliance and the legal side of all this. They are very sensitive nowadays.”
      Every little helps” – to quote Tesco

    84. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      scottish_skier says:
      6 June, 2013 at 12:08 am

      OT but is anyone here aware that there was a Better Together London event this evening?!
      I can see maybe 50 folk in this photo.
      50 seems about average for BT rallies.
      I winder if we ran the photos through Facebooks visual recognition system we would find that it is the same 50 in all of them, just rotated in the front row?

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