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In-hole digging instructions

Posted on November 14, 2013 by

No.1: Stop.

Labour MPs have been largely conspicuous by their absence on social media today, just as they were at this Tuesday’s bedroom tax vote. With even the Scottish press belatedly picking up on their no-show, most have been keeping their heads down rather than trying to explain their (in)actions.


So kudos to the party’s culture-loving Airdrie & Shotts MP Pamela Nash, who bravely stood up, despite already having one massive bullet-hole in her foot, to take careful aim and have a blast with the other barrel.

This post appeared on her official website today:

“I had agreed to speak on the issue of youth unemployment at a conference where participants from across Europe joined to discuss new ways to tackle this scourge.”

We suspect the rest of Europe would have struggled by somehow without the input of a backbench MP from a party that isn’t in power in either the UK or Scotland. But if not, couldn’t a Scottish Labour MSP have deputised and read the speech out for her?

“It was arranged for me to be ‘paired’ which is a long held convention in Parliament. This arrangement allows MPs who must miss a vote due to personal circumstances or to attend work commitments outside Westminster to be paired with someone in the same situation on the other side.”

We already know that is isn’t supposed to happen for important votes. Ms Nash doesn’t explain why she or her party considered the bedroom tax vote unimportant.

“This maintains the same balance in the vote and ensures that neither MP paired missing the vote affects the outcome of the vote; ie., they cancel each other out.”

We must admit, we don’t quite grasp the concept here. If neither the Labour nor the Tory MP is genuinely able to attend the vote, why does there have to be a special arrangement around the fact? And if their absence isn’t genuine, why should the other side play along and let them off the hook?

“I appreciate that most people will not have heard of pairing before now, however parliamentarians do know of the practise.  Therefore, it was extremely misleading, and indeed malicious, for SNP MPs and MSPs to take to Twitter claiming that Labour lost the vote due to our MPs not turning up.”

We’re not sure what insight Ms Nash gained into the workings of the minds of the SNP members in question. She can claim their comments were misleading, but to know that they were malicious would have required the talents of a mindreader, which we’re fairly sure she doesn’t possess.

“It is more than disingenuous of the SNP to attack Labour MPs who had arranged a pairing for this debate, which ensured there was no detriment to the overall vote, when they themselves have failed to turn up to important votes on this very subject.”

The SNP has six MPs at Westminster, from 650. As far as we know, their presence or absence hasn’t changed the outcome of a vote in over 30 years. The 49 Labour MPs who didn’t show up on Tuesday could at least theoretically have reversed the result.

“Indeed, during the aforementioned debates on the Bedroom tax, in which I participated – the majority of which were on the legislation itself – all SNP MPs have missed at least one of these votes.

For clarity:

– 15th June 2011, final vote (3rd Reading) on Welfare Reform Bill, which included the Bedroom Tax – Angus McNeil and Mike Weir did not vote.”


The Public Whip website doesn’t list any Welfare Reform vote on 15 June 2011. There were some two days previously, but all of them were passed with more than 510 votes, so it seems fair to say they can’t have been inportant or contentious.

In fact we can’t find any “Welfare Reform Bill (third reading)” on that site for the Commons at all. The only thing we could find was this page from the “Don’t Play Me, Pay Me” website, which does list the result for the bill’s second reading, at which four SNP MPs voted against, although the names don’t match Ms Nash’s allegation:


Alert readers will notice that the list features just 12 Labour MPs from the party’s total number of 258. All the rest abstained. We eventually managed to track down details of the third reading, which revealed that 238 MPs voted against, meaning that as well as two SNP absentees, at least 26 Labour MPs didn’t show. So that seems like something of a glass house.

(Funnily enough, Hansard shows that Ms Nash is still wrong – Angus MacNeil DID vote. It was Angus Robertson, along with Mike Weir, who didn’t.)

None of Ms Nash’s other examples show up on the Public Whip site either, which forces us to conclude it’s a bit rubbish, and we can’t be bothered tracking down what were clearly non-critical votes. But we’re pretty confident they’d show similar patterns.

“Misleading the public on the impact of pairing is not a new tactic of the SNP.  Back in April the Daily Record published a retraction following Joan McAlpine MSP including allegations in her column in the newspaper that my colleague Ian Davidson MP had abstained from a vote on Bedroom Tax, when in fact he had been paired.”

We believe the applicable phrase is “a distinction without a difference”.

So what have we learned from Ms Nash’s angry rebuttal? Primarily that she really hates the SNP. But also that it’s a common occurrence for dozens, or even hundreds, of Labour MPs to either enter into cosy arrangements with Tories to fail to vote against coalition bills, or simply to not bother voting at all.

We’re not entirely sure that makes anything better.

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106 to “In-hole digging instructions”

  1. Grendel says:

    Ms Nash has already taken a pounding on the Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser facebook page. The above information should help with a decent letter to them for next week.

  2. Smudge says:

    The only thing worse than a ‘benefit scrounging scumbag MP’ is a benefit scrounging scumbag MP who takes their wages without doing the work yet forcing the poorest and weakest in society to pay for it.

    labour their arse is oot the window next elections

    Goodbye to bad rubbish

  3. Alex Grant says:

    Interestingly I believe the reason that Labour didn’t show was to save face for the LibDems
    It meant lots of them could effectively abstain?
    Labour expect to need them as a coalition partner if they can come back at the next election so a generous helping hand. Any other explanation is that they are completely stupid and I don’t believe they are that daft!

  4. annie says:

    I think someone should tell Ms Nash when in a hole STOP DIGGING.

  5. Iain says:

    So Democracy at work. Nobody needs to turn up at Westminster. May as well close it down and save some money. 

  6. TYRAN says:

    Pairing…  Just another word for Better Together. And what the hell is that guy wearing? 

  7. mathew says:

    I got a message back from my MP Brian Donohoe, I thought it was such boring by-the-book nonsense I couldn’t be bothered sharing it but here it is:
    “Dear Matthew
    Thank you for your email below in connection with Tuesday’s vote on the Bedroom Tax.
    Unfortunately, this motion was only confirmed for debate last week and my diary had, for over 3 months, been committed to attending a Conference to among other things talk about the possibility of  a Trade Agreement between the US and Europe.
    In any event there is an MP from the Government side at the same Conference who did not vote.
    This means that had I been at the vote where I would obviously have voted for the repeal of the Bedroom Tax then there would have been another vote from the opposition to oppose the repeal.   
    I am fully aware what an emotive subject this is and have always made my feelings on the unfair bedroom tax known and the Labour Party, if we form the Government after the 2015 General Election, will repeal this obnoxious Act.
    Thank you for taking the time to write to me.
    Yours sincerely
    Brian Donohoe MP
    Central Ayrshire”
    Didnae even get my name right.

  8. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I think someone should tell Ms Nash when in a hole STOP DIGGING.”

    That’s sort of what the title and opening line is getting at… 😉

  9. annie says:

    Yes – but who reads titles

  10. beachthistle says:

    The more she and other Labour MPs patronisingly claim that the pubic don’t know about or don’t/can’t understand ‘pairing’* the more these MPs show that they don’t really understand nor care enough about the public’s anger and concern about the Bedroom Tax. And that it is clear that these MPs are not fit for purpose.
    * re which we seem to know/understand it better than her – if the issue is deemed by a party’s own whips to be ‘politically important’, pairing is not allowed.

  11. Seasick Dave says:

    Brian Donohoe, if you are reading this, FRO.

  12. Mathew
    Leaving aside the Dr Who time shifting of tenses, “In any event there is an MP from the Government side at the same Conference who did not vote.” doesn’t strike me as a formal pairing arrangement by Donohoe. It sounds more like a lucky coincidence that there was an un-named Government MP at the conference.

  13. gillie says:

    Pamela Nash is witless. 

  14. Robert Louis says:

    Ill-informed, disingenuous claptrap from Pamela Nash, MP of the Labour party, and she knows it.
    In most parliaments, there will be occasions where a vote is mecessary for a technicality regarding scheduling or some such matter will take place, and nobody woul object to a highland MP not attending for such a vote.  It is this kind of scenario for which ‘paring’ is intended.  It is NOT intended for major or important policy votes.
    Labour have been shouting long and hard about the bedroom tax, and managed to arrange a vote to have it abolished.  Every single one of the Labour MP’s, apart from extremely serious illness should have been in the chamber for that vote.  It is about intent, it is about making a statement – packed opposition benches, and yes, indeed, by doing so without any warning, they may well have caused the Tories problems leading to an end of the bedroom tax.
    My sugestion to Pamela Ash and her rather handsomely paid ilk from the Labour party is this, go see some of the real people getting evicted, who haven’t got ONE PENNY to spare, and are now homeless.  Go and tell them about how you really didn’t think it was necessary to attend the vote. 
    Labour are a sham of a party, they have zero credibility.  Pamela Nash should quit moaning and start apologising.  She should hang her head in shame.

  15. REV,  Where  was   P  NASH   speaking  to the  Unemployed  Youth  somewhere nice

  16. Linda's back says:

    Ian Union Jacket Murray claimed over £747 last year from taxpayers to pay his electricity bill and ran up the third highest claim in the whole of the House of Commons for his Constituency office which he rents from his disgraced predecessor Nigel Griffiths who failed publish the fact he was claiming £11,000 rent for a property he already owned. 

  17. handclapping says:

    Pairing is not allowed if a vote is politically important. Labour has been making waves over the Bedroom Tax and even called for this debate but deemed it not politically important so Pammy could go and grandstand.
    It all adds up.
    Labour says “Abolishing the Bedroom tax is not important.”

  18. creigs17707repeal says:

    Was a three-line whip issued by Labour before this debate/vote? If not, then why not? Is it because that in the Home Counties this is not as important an issue as it is elsewhere in the country? If Labour hadn’t deemed this a three-line whip then why not?

  19. HandandShrimp says:

    Labour claim that he point of their motion was to force the Coalition to once again put their name to this unpopular benefit change…something many Liberals were clearly reluctant to do. If indeed it is the case that nearly 50 Labour MPs did use the pairing convention to skip attending their workplace then that rather blows their strategy out of the water because it let dozens of Tories off the hook and now their name is nowhere near this motion. 

  20. Mark Coburn says:

    This was Anne McKechin’s response to me last week (via her office of course):

    Dear Mr Coburn,
    Scrap the Bedroom Tax
    Thank you for writing to me to express your support for the debate being held on Tuesday 12th by the Labour Opposition at Westminster to scrap the unfair and unworkable Bedroom Tax.  Due to a longstanding arrangement, I will be abroad on that day on other parliamentary business but am paired so it will not impact the balance of the final vote.
    Many of you have written to me and told me how much you hate what going on.  We know it hits disabled and vulnerable people the hardest and may cost more than it saves. It is also causing our local housing associations increased financial difficulties with mounting arrears which will quickly become unsustainable without help.
    For the vast majority of those affected, there is nowhere smaller to move to, hitting vulnerable people through no fault of their own. That is why Ed Miliband has pledged that the next Labour Government will scrap the Bedroom Tax.
    The Coalition UK Government’s  failed economic policies mean further borrowing won’t be an option so to ensure we can cover the maximum £470m cost of repealing the Bedroom Tax, Labour has confirmed that if in government it would set aside funds raised by closing tax loopholes and cracking down on avoidance.
    If you haven’t already done so please sign the petition which you can find on my website at
    Thanks for taking the time to write to me and your support for this vital campaign.
    Yours sincerely

    Ann McKechin MP

  21. Brian says:

    You really need to watch question time tonight. 

  22. Kev says:

    Cant really be arsed with work tomorrow, how can I get out of it? I know, ill text a few work mates and find one in the same boat and get the Friday off…And if our employer asks where we both were wel both stick the fingers up at him and say HAHA we were pairing IDIOT!!

  23. HandandShrimp says:

    GMB chap is actually talking a fair bit sense on the shipyards and ship building. Ed Davy and Nigel Lawson (Yes he) much less so.

  24. Linda's back says:

    Question time on 28 November from Falkirk

  25. handclapping says:

    2015 could be fun with 10 Labour MPs looking to be returned with Abolishing the Bedroom Tax is not important as their middle name as in Pamela Abolishing the Bedroom Tax is not important Nash. That’ll look good on the posters.
    I wonder if they’ll try the old you need to vote Labour to protect you from the Tories line again?

  26. Robert Louis says:

    Question time is in Falkirk on 28th Nov, apparently.  Might be interesting.

  27. Bannock Hussler says:

    In future she might instead ask someone who’s planning to say much the same thing in Europe to say it twice. And what was this Tory partner away doing? Shouldn’t she tell us? Doesn’t that matter?

  28. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Mathew (10.33) –
    You (very kindly) avoided mentioning that here, in Ayrshire, Brian Donohue is widely known as ‘The Doughnut’.
    Is it because he has nothing in the middle?
    Is it because (and this is just scurrilous rumour, okay?) he boasts about paying a Westminster barber upwards of £100 to have his crowning glory attended-to? (clearly, the barber in question doesn’t feel he’s being paid enough…)
    Or is it because he’s so out-of-touch that he made a rare appearance in Irvine last year to help distribute a ‘Better Together’ leaflet (which crowed about the UK’s AAA credit rating) on the day AFTER that same rating had just been downgraded by Moody’s?
    The guy is a fully-mature, sixteen-pointed Belter who deserves nothing but scorn. Ayrshire has better, like Katy Clark, and she’s well-respected (why, oh why, Katy, not give the LFI someone to lead them?) – but Donohue? In an independent Scotland? 
    ‘Naucht but a bad memory, soon shook awa’.’

  29. HandandShrimp says:

    Pairing was primarily supposed to allow MPs to attend official foreign business, attend select committees and working groups without rushing to the lobby to vote every 30 minutes…not slope off to attend all sorts of personal commitments.

  30. Linda's back says:

    if Labour were serious on Bedroom Tax they would have put a three line whip in place rather than let Tory and Lib Dems  off the hook.
    As someone posted earlier
    If the motion was carried then what would be in Labour’s 2015 manifesto that would be worth voting for. The sooner people realise this, the sooner they realise it’s only within Labour’s interest that the motion was defeated.
    This was never about doing the right thing, all it is about is sowing the seeds for the 2015 election. Expect plenty lip service from Labour about ‘bedroom-tax this and that’ but they got what they wanted. 

  31. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Sorry, but I must be missing a joke somewhere, and it’s really doing my nut in – who is that clown with the UJ jaiket?

  32. HandandShrimp says:

    A very young Terry Scott?

  33. Adrian B says:

    @Ian B
    Hover cursor over picture for answer.  

  34. Conan_the_Librarian says:

    Utterly gobsmacked at the end of newsnight North Britain

  35. HandandShrimp says:

    Oh dear

  36. HandandShrimp says:

    What happened Conan – I’m watching Nigel Lawson denying their is any such thing as global warming.

  37. handclapping says:

    The brass neck of these politicians is quite amazing, or else they are thick. Do they not relise that by trying to excuse themselves by pleading pairing they are, in effect, agreeing that they agree that abolishing the Bedroom Tax is not important so they can go and give their lecture / continue their overseas jolly. It doesn’t matter if their Whips agree there can be pairing. Each individual MP has to agree also that it is not of enough political importance to them to accept the pairing.
    The other thing that gets me is that they have the best part of half a year spare from their need to attend Westminster. Why don’t they arrange their lectures / overseas jollys in that time and not in the time we pay them the thick end of £67000 to be at Westminster?

  38. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Adrian B –
    I did. That’s why I’m asking what the ‘joke’ is.
    (He’s not really a Labour MP, surely?)

  39. Linda's back says:

    Ian brotherhood @ 11.18
    Its Labour MP Ian Murray (Edinburgh South) who claimed £26,593 for his Constituency Office expesnes.

  40. HandandShrimp says:

    Just checked…he is

  41. Horacesaysyes says:

    @Ian Brotherhood
    ‘fraid so –

    BTW – interesting to note that the url says ‘Scottish politician’ by the page says ‘British politician’ for some reason.

  42. Kaiser Tia says:

    I’ve aiming to do one for all the Scottish MPs, at least…

  43. Aidan says:

    Some days the whole thing sinks well below a level that feels tolerable.  Today is one of those days for me.  Maybe its because I know people who are being badly affected by this issue that it casts such a pall.
    Carmichael and Moore voting to KEEP the Bedroom Tax; Sarwar and the rest not turning up, after all that posturing;  and this cosy nonsense about ‘pairing’ and ‘political unimportance’.  What are these people FOR?  
    And yet some people will still be voting Labour after this. 

  44. Thepnr says:

    Osborne and Cameron are a pair. Clegg and Alexander are another. Then you have Balls and Miliband.
    Finally, you have Salmond and Sturgeon, which pair would you prefer?

  45. Barontorc says:

    Yes Conan, what was Brewer trying to point out?
    Was it that the Scotsman had a headline which was a shocking statement for the SNP Gov? Surely, even he can reason out that the gulf in wages from top to bottom has nothing to do with the way the SNP is governing Scotland.
    But no –  his crassness had to come to the surface as he held up the Scotsman (gads enough LOL) as ‘evidence’ of wayward means. Stone the crows – is this circus what we pay good Scots money for?

  46. Aidan says:

    @Ian Brotherhood

    Got to agree with you about Ayrshire MP Katy Clark.  As far as I can tell, she genuinely represents her constituents and has often taken a principled stand against her party.  She would be a great addition to Labour For Independence! Right now, she has my respect; if she could extricate herself from the Machine, she might even get my vote.

  47. Doug Daniel says:

    Brian Donohoe’s letter to Matthew is utter pish : “This means that had I been at the vote where I would obviously have voted for the repeal of the Bedroom Tax then there would have been another vote from the opposition to oppose the repeal.”
    No Donohoe, that would only have been true if the Tory you were “paired” with had ALSO turned up.
    When I first heard of this pairing thing, I thought it meant MPs sort of twinned themselves with an opposition MP in a long-standing arrangement, so if I. Claimalot MP can’t vote, he asks his “pair” Millie O’Naire MP to skip the vote too. I could understand that, although it still sounded like crap.
    But from what I’ve heard today, it seems they simply go “hey, who from the other side can’t be bothered turning up either? Okay, we’ll be each other’s alibi if anyone notices we didn’t turn up to vote.”
    Absolute pish. Get rid of these grasping idiots as soon as possible.

  48. Jr Ewen says:

    Danny Alexander also had an explaination on his website why he wasn’t at the vote which was about a visit overseas. It was a noble cause justly but he could have canceled and put in an appearance to vote for the benefit of the people. I’m sure the visit was at taxpayers expense. How many bedrooms could have been paid for with the money for his visit

  49. Teechur says:

    Like so many others, I am still beyond angry at the inactions of Labour. What I don’t understand is why, given the supposed desire to get rid of the bedroom tax, Labour entered into any agreement for pairing. I would have thought the obvious thing would be to enter an agreement, then ignore it. Get every Labour MP in to vote, and get rid of the bloody tax. It would also have ended the pairing arrangement in one fell swoop.
    In short, use the system to defeat the bill and show that you have the interests of those being unfairly penalised at heart, rather than the vested interests of a morally bankrupt Labour Party.

  50. Paul G says:

    Classic Labour. Allowing a much hated opposition policy to continue in order to differentiated the party from ‘the other parties’. All about getting their greedy hands back on power. But what about the people, we ask? Screw the people, they say!  

  51. mogabee says:

    Labour a long time ago headed for the quicksand and ultimately fell in……..Now they think we are going to pull them out…Oh dear.

  52. Bobby Mckail says:

    Even if we were to give them the benefit of the doubt over pairing, (which I don’t by the way) they’re constituents who are affected by the bedroom tax have an absolute right to demand that their MP’s turn up and speak on their behalf of how they are effected by this iniquitous tax. Especially since they are paid to do so.

  53. Morag says:

    When I first heard of this pairing thing, I thought it meant MPs sort of twinned themselves with an opposition MP in a long-standing arrangement, so if I. Claimalot MP can’t vote, he asks his “pair” Millie O’Naire MP to skip the vote too. I could understand that, although it still sounded like crap.
    As I understand it, that IS how it works.  I think there are some people around tonight who are being somewhat economical with the verite.

  54. GrutsForTea says:

    The Labour MPs seem to think this pairing thing is a valid excuse. It’s not. It’s actually even more depressing. Democracy is dead in Westminster. It’s like an arcane gentleman’s club, stuck in the 19th century. We’ve had instantaneous long distance communication for over a hundred years and yet we have a system where an MP has to physically be in the House of Commons to vote. That seems crazy to me.

  55. msean says:

    Even if they were on a loser,they should still be placing on record their opposition to the tax.When researchers in the future look back on the result,they may be excused in thinking it was not very important.They represent people with a strong opinion on the subject and were sent to register it in Parliament,

  56. joe kane says:

    With regards to the Welfare Reform Act, the former Labour Party Shadow Minister for Disabled People and Scottish MP Anne McGuire has already promised that a future Labour Government will not repeal it. Quite where that leaves Labour’s alleged opposition to the bedroom tax is anyone’s guess, especially given that its new Shadow DWP Minister, Rachel Reeves (a 34 year old ex-banker who has never had a real job in the real world outside of the Westminster-Whitehall-Oxbridge-City of London bubble), has promised in her first public statement in her new job to be tougher than the Tories when it comes to the welfare state.

    Reference –
    See last video at the bottom of this webpage, a 4 min interview with Anne McGuire by the excellent Kate Belgrave –
    Reflection’s on the mainstreams acceptance of austerity
    New Left Project 
    05 Sept 2012 
    In June this year, I asked Shadow Minister for Disabled People Anne McGuire whether the party would reverse the welfare reform act, or even certain parts of it. You can see that train wreck for yourself in the video below. If you can’t stand the suspense, I’ll kill it for you know. The answer was No.

  57. joe kane says:

    It was the Labour Parliamentary Party which claimed in public that opposition to the bedroom tax was a top priority for it, hence the reason it tabled a debate and vote on the bedroom tax, in which case it shouldn’t have practised pairing. Labour can’t have it both ways – the bedroom tax was too important an issue for pairing, or it was unimportant hence the use of pairing.

    Here is Labour’s DWP Shadow Rachel Reeves MP on the day of the vote in the New Statesman –
    Why all MPs should vote against the indefensible bedroom tax 

  58. Early Ball says:

    If Labour had nothing to hide here each missing MP would have quickly said on Twitter who they were paired with.  Fact is they were sloppy and did not give the vote the importance it deserved. 

  59. Macart says:

    No redeeming qualities whatsoever not even humility in the face of very justified outrage.
    I have no sympathy left for Labour parliamentarians. What should come next in terms of their vote in Scotland is richly deserved.

  60. Roll_On_2014 says:

    Found this article on Google – Pairing in 1996

    Which leads me to believe that the vote on Thursday was down
    to Westminster Political shenanigans, and that “Pairing” is
    more about Politics than about People.

  61. JLT says:

    I’ve been rather quiet this week (working late / decorating) and so, have only caught snippets here and there.

    With all the gaffes that the Scottish Labour Party have found themselves in recently (in fact, since Ian Gray decided to go for a Subway), I have noticed that amongst the Labour Supporters at my work, they are even struggling to justify their parties stances on several issues. When asked about Grangemouth or the Bedroom Tax vote, I actually find those colleagues seriously squirming. I get a kind of ‘shrug of the shoulders’ routine, and then a, ‘I don’t know’ mumble.
    For some, I believe a crisis of conscious is beginning. How can you back something if you no longer have faith in it? Will that make them decide to vote ‘Yes’, well, that is the big question.
    I really hope that ‘Labour for Independence’ start getting a voice out there. When I asked my Labour colleagues about this new branch of the party, they had never heard of ‘LFI’.

    I think that might be one area for the ‘Yes’ campaign to promote – the LFI movement. If Labour supporters who are having a crisis of conscious know that there is an alternative out there, then I believe this might do wonders amongst the general public.

  62. ggreig says:

    OT, this is not how I remember the encounter at the end of this piece about politicians visiting supermarkets?

  63. Conan_the_Librarian says:

    Nice tits.
    Apart from the one in the jacket.

  64. gavin lessells says:

    I did suggest a few days ago that donations to LFI might be a useful stratagy.
    My comment aroused little interest. However it is increasingly obvious that the LFI is of great importance in exposing the lies and deception of the Scottish Labour Party particularly in Glasgow and Strathclyde.
    They, the LFI were active on the sreets of Govan in support of the evicted tenant and will doubtless be present at the Sarwar protest at 9 Scotland Street this afternoon

  65. Arabs for Independence says:

    What conference was Ms Nash at? She states:
    As you may know, I was not present at the vote which took place earlier this week.  Prior to the date being set for this debate, I had agreed to speak on the issue of youth unemployment at a conference where participants from across Europe joined to discuss new ways to tackle this scourge”
    It would be interesting to know what European event she had been invited to speak at.

    I wonder if it was this one in Brussels on 12 – 13 November?
    but I guess it can’t be as Ms Nash is not listed as a speaker,

  66. Conan_the_Librarian says:

    iplayer version been edited; should have known.

  67. Arabs for Independence says:

    I wonder if Ms Nash was speaking at this important European Conference on Youth Unemployment in Paris:

    Can’t see her as a named speaker though. 

  68. alexicon says:

    JLT says:
    “…..I think that might be one area for the ‘Yes’ campaign to promote – the LFI movement. If Labour supporters who are having a crisis of conscious know that there is an alternative out there, then I believe this might do wonders amongst the general public.”
    Hi JLT, why wait on the YES  campaign to promote LFI and its pretty obvious that our press will hardly mention them.
    Do what I do with work colleagues.  
    I go on the web, find all the relevant material I need like ‘The Independent’ (newspaper) article on the McCrone report, a screen shot of LFI website and a few other choice stories then print them all off.
    I then hand them to my fellow workers, or leave them in a strategic place like the tea shack etc. and tell them to have a read at these, I then leave them to it.
    In fact I’m away out now to an address of an bright elderly lady, who told me while I was out leafleting last month, that she needed more information. So I have all the said print outs right in front of me and I will hand them over to her. 
    We all have to do our bit in this media war.
    Oh and I didn’t say, use your works facilities. 😉

  69. Brian Mark says:

    Nash, another diddy who has never had a real and proper job me thinks.

  70. Famous15 says:

    Call Kaye discussing the Pound and AS and his advisor Mackay being stirred!

  71. bobby McPherson says:

    They wanted the vote to repeal the bedroom tax to fail – otherwise they wouldnae have anything to bribe people with at the next election

  72. MochaChoca says:

    Wonder if it’s possible to put a LFI candidate up at the next by-election?

  73. MochaChoca says:

    On second thoughts it would just be cried down as an ‘SNP front’ trick to split the Labour vote.

  74. Tim says:

    Perhaps we could organise some pairing system for soldiers when invading countries we have no right to be in (aka keeping the peace).

  75. pairing is an arrangement, designed originally for Ministers who perhaps were overseas on ministerial business.   Labour’s half-hearted and late conversion to the idea of repealing the bedroom tax has been exposed by their lack of determination – this could have been dealt a fatal blow if they didn’t put the cozy relationship with the government and the Westminster conventions before their own constituents.  There’s no excuse at all. The failed, and everyone knows it, nomatter what they say.

  76. desimond says:

    I think its a bit harsh.

    Poor brave wee Pamela manages to ignore her tweeter account and her rivetting Coronation Street and X-Factor updates, to try and develop a good long term strategy by going to an Unemployment seminar.
    This is clever and should be applauded.,after all, unlike her parachuted MP role,  dear old “Uncle” John Reid wont be standing by her side when Westminster gets firmly rejected next September and the more she knows about Youth Unemployment the better.

    The better for her rather than Airdries unemployed granted but hey….she never claimed to be perfect!

  77. Wee_monsieur says:

    I like to think that I’m fairly politically astute and up to date with things. Odd then, that I’ve never heard of either of these two!

  78. DougtheDug says:

    I think this is the conference that Pamela Nash was attending.
    European Space Policy Institute (ESPI)
    11 November 2013
    09:30 – 16:30

    12.15-12.35 Making society sensitive to the problem, getting society behind solutions. The role of parliaments
    Pamela Nash, Scottish Member of Parliament

  79. EdinScot says:

    It was arranged for me to be ‘paired’ which is a long held convention in Parliament. This arrangement allows MPs who must miss a vote due to personal circumstances or to attend work commitments outside Westminster to be paired with someone in the same situation on the other side.”

    So in actual fact what Labour mp Pauline Nash is saying is this pairing cancels each Westminster mp out and if taking to its ultimate conclusion, why should any mp turn up in the first place!  Utter bollocks Pauline Nash et al and you know it.  As i said yesterday, they chose not to be at that vote.  The bedroom tax could have been kicked into the gutter and be done with if those Labour mps had turned up.  A note to Pauline, All 6 SNP mps turned up to vote to get rid of it, A fact, no matter what way she wants to squirm her way round it.  Instead what we have today is the suffering for the poorest and the most vulnerable will carry  on  thanks to the Labour party no show.  You would think now it would kind of spike their guns and put an end to their fake and totally disgusting sickening media displays re the bedroom tax from Sarwar and co.  Total hypocrites.  I hear that the Daily Rubbish were forced into a belated ‘Labour mps no show’ yesterday.   People pressure?  Who knows but lets make sure this no show story gets out there to all their constituents and all the public at large by any means available to us to ensure we are well rid of this toxic self serving troughers that masquarade as the British Labour party.

  80. Train Fares says:

    @Arabs for Independence says:

    What conference was Ms Nash at? 
    She was at a jobs in space conference. That outer space in case you are confused.

    I kid you not. She is my MP and round here the closest anyone has got to space  was on acid in the 90s.

  81. Grant_M says:

    This pairing arrangement is all too convenient for Labour, but it’s absolutely no excuse for not turning up to vote on important issues – even worse when it’s your own party’s motion. It’s indefensible.
    (In fact, I think MPs should be voting on all issues. Abstaining, or simply not being present at a vote is not representing the electorate.)
    If I chose not to cast my ballot at elections simply because I thought doing so wouldn’t change a thing, then in effect I’d be showing a contentment with the current situation. By doing nothing, by raising no objection, I’d have no justifiable entitlement to complain.
    I do, though, completely understand and respect the decision of the many people who don’t vote, when it’s the case their highly-paid, expenses-claiming MP very often doesn’t even attend Westminster.

  82. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “what Labour mp Pauline Nash is saying”

    Ah, it’s always good to know that folk are reading closely 😉

  83. Arabs for Independence says:

    So she missed this nationally important vote to attend a Space Conference in Vienna. I note she was speaking for 20 minutes at noon on 11 November – was the Westminster vote not on 12 November?

  84. Arabs for Independence says:

    Looks like there was plenty of ‘space’ at her conference

  85. Seasick Dave says:

    Arabs for Independence
    If that is true then I think that her constituents should be made aware of her priorities.
    Truly shocking.

  86. DougtheDug says:

     Pamela Nash finished speaking according to the program at 12:35 CET. That’s 11:35 in GMT.
    The vote in the Parliament was the next day at 18:59 according to Hansard.
    So she had about 31.5 hours to get back and vote on the Bedroom tax and she didn’t make it. 

  87. Arabs for Independence says:

    Of course she could have made it back – she could have borrowed a fucking Spaceship from her ‘conference’ or caught the 15:10; 17:15; 18:45;20:05;20:45 direct flights on the 11th or the 06:40; 07;55; 11:30 or the 15:10 direct flights to London on the 12th

  88. EdinScot says:

    So she had about 31.5 hours to get back and vote on the Bedroom tax and she didn’t make it.
    Oops, looks like another excuse bites the dust for Labour mp Pamela Nash.  From all the evidence, it appears she had neither the desire nor the inclination to deem the vote on the bedroom tax and the actuality of getting rid of it important enough. 

  89. IG says:

    So, do we know where Anas was? Or is he frantically concocting his alibi as we speak?

    He’s going to have to be bloody creative to beat Ms Nash’s space conference! I know we’re meant to be ambitious in our new, confident, independent Scotland but travelling all the way to Vienna to represent the Shotts and Dykehead Space Agency is maybe a wee bit much.
    I always thought it was a TV mast at Harthill. Now I realise it’s actually a launch pad.

  90. A2 says:

    Have too admit though, Having a hole in your foot is a pretty good reason not to turn up. 🙂
    There’s a key principle that Lab seem to be missing.
    Decisions are made by people who turn up.

  91. Arabs for Independence says:

    Transporting tens of thousands of young unemployed to outer space would solve the issue of youth unemployment. Perhaps ‘Buzz’Nash is onto something

  92. Dramfineday says:

    When it comes to serving your constituents, some of whom may soon end up on the street, (and in some cases perhaps with their children taken from them) it is surely expected that one would do the “honourable” thing and clear the diary, attend the chamber and vote. Otherwise one might give the impression that one does not care a damn.

    In this particular case, attending a youth unemployment conference (laudable as that is) over a chance to put a stop to the bedroom tax shows a remarkable lack of priority as to what is of  immediate importance to her constituents.

  93. Scaraben says:

    May I draw people’s attention to James Kelly’s blog
    He quotes the result of a YouGov poll which indicates that while people in Scotland are strongly opposed to the bedroom tax (63% against, 26% in favour), in the rest of the UK the numbers for and against it are very close. If one makes the assumption that there will be more opposition to it in the North of England and in Wales, where support for the Tories is less strong, then it follows that in the South of England there is overall support for the bedroom tax.
    Given that it is in the South of England that the next UK General Election is likely to be decided, it makes sense for a Labour party more concerned with gaining power than with upholding any principles to pander to the voters in the South of England. At the same time, they probably do not want to alienate voters in their traditional strongholds. I therefore think that we cannot expect any clear, consistent policy policy on this from the Labour party.

  94. Seasick Dave says:

    I therefore think that we cannot expect any clear, consistent policy policy on this, or any other matter, from the Labour party.
    Sorted that for you Scaraben.

  95. Scaraben says:

    slightly off topic, it is a good idea to learn from others mistakes.

    The possible abuse of ‘pairing’ by MPs, and the way in which some MPs do not seem to spend much time at Parliament, makes me wonder whether the constitution of in independent Scotland should include some provision whereby excessive absenteeism could lead to an MSP being fined or even sacked.
    Also, there could be provision for MSPs who are are absent for a good reason (parliamentary business or illness) to vote by proxy or by cryptograhically signed email.

  96. Scaraben says:

    @Seasick Dave,
    I cannot quite agree with you. Labour do have at least one very clear and very consistent policy, which is to disagree with anything the SNP say.

  97. Jamie Arriere says:

    Why in God’s name, a space conference? Is there a space industry in Lanarkshire? Is she going to set up a space cadet troop in Airdrie?

  98. Patrician says:

    This will be the final nail in the coffin of Ms Nash’s political carrer.  There is already a whispering campaign being waged against her by some in her local party.  see  Strangely enough I can’t find the original article or follow up by her election agent in the next weeks Advertiser. 

  99. Seasick Dave says:


  100. Taranaich says:

    @EdinScot: So in actual fact what Labour mp Pauline Nash is saying is this pairing cancels each Westminster mp out and if taking to its ultimate conclusion, why should any mp turn up in the first place!  Utter bollocks Pauline Nash et al and you know it.  As i said yesterday, they chose not to be at that vote.  The bedroom tax could have been kicked into the gutter and be done with if those Labour mps had turned up. 
    Couldn’t agree more. I cannot fathom this idea that an agreement for one MP not to show up if another can’t make it actually takes place in a supposed democracy. It is completely and utterly nonsensical.
    First: if there occurs a situation where all MPs can’t turn up to vote, then why not change the voting system so that every MP can vote? Send it in by post, email, telephone, arrange the vote for a day all MPs can manage, have multiple days, ANYTHING. Seriously, ANYTHING other than “oh well, I guess this motion will pass because a few MPs were stuck on the tube overseas, ho-hum.” Seriously, I know I’m far from a politician, but this is ridiculous to me.
    Second: Can you politicians get some sense of bloody perspective here? What’s a greater sin, going to vote when you know another politician who’ll be voting the other way cannot attend, or allowing an evil law which is destroying lives to continue unchecked? Are you really going to afford more respect to the people who introduced a law which is ruining communities than the people who are suffering?
    If I was an MP and someone tried to pull that “pairing” garbage on me, I’d say to hell with you. If it’s a choice between breaking some unspoken parliamentary code, or trying to support my country’s basic human rights? I think I could live with the Tories howling about how unfair it was I voted when one of their scoundrels was over in Geneva talking about the Sudan.
    Honour among politicians, or repealing a horrifically iniquitous law? These politicians made their choice, and they chose poorly.

  101. Wingman 2020 says:

    “And yet some people will still be voting Labour after this.” 
    Indeed, it is sickening.  How do we get the message out there?  There must be a way.  
    It has to be something drastic like a Wings Billboard / Poster displayed prominently and provocatively in Glasgow, such that the press had to report on it.   
    Or a whole page in the press with a comment from each funder.. Like
    “Labour Party used to be about people, now they are about greed and selfishness”  Signed. Joe McBloggs 
    There has to be something that will make a stir. 

  102. Wingman 2020 says:


    Well said.  Best post so far.  The system is simply corrupt from top to bottom.  They were invisible before.  Social media has made them much less so.    

  103. A2 says:

    ” Is there a space industry in Lanarkshire?”

    Yes there is.

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