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Wings Over Scotland

Let’s twist again and again

Posted on March 13, 2013 by

Veteran readers of this site will know how hard it is to nail Scottish Labour down on a policy for just about anything. So when we suggested earlier today that the party DID have a (sort of) firm policy on something – namely calling on the Scottish Government to bring forward legislation to stop people being evicted over bedroom-tax arrears – we probably shouldn’t have been surprised to be contacted within minutes by a Scottish Labour press officer angrily insisting that it didn’t.


ALAN LAING: Show me the press release from SLab which calls for a ban on evictions due to increase arrears?

WINGS OVER SCOTLAND: Are you saying that’s NOT policy? Do you have a policy? If so, let me know what it is and I’ll happily correct.

AL: You wrote that SLab has a specific policy proposal relating to evictions. Don’t assert – prove. Show me where you get it from.

WOS: I can’t see where I wrote such a thing. I said “Labour has been agitating…”, which is clearly true. However, as I said, I’m happy to provide clarity by outlining Scottish Labour’s official position if you let me know what it is.

AL: “agitating for some time for the Scottish Government to make such a policy law nationwide” – don’t selectively quote yourself.

WOS: You know there’s a 140-character limit on Twitter, right? I included “…” to show incomplete quoting.

AL: [You said] “enacting a policy Labour themselves have loudly called for” – prove that assertion or stop making stuff up.

WOS: Um, the Dundee Labour councillors called for it, as reported by the Courier and linked in my piece.

AL: Substantiate that entire sentence – both parts! You can’t. Our position is clear. But it’s convenient for you to ignore it.

WOS: If your position is clear, why are you going to so much trouble to NOT tell me what it is?

AL: Read every Labour MP’s speech on it, listen to PMQs and read SLab press releases. It’s clear.

WOS: Oh, that’s glorious. Have you been taking evasion lessons from Duncan Hothersall? Why is your policy a secret? Why do I have to apparently spend all day on Google to find out what it is? But how’s this for starters?


WOS: Or are she and the Dundee Labour councillors loose cannons acting without party approval?

AL: Looked at the UK Labour website?  Latest news on [here] – doesn’t take all day!

WOS: Once again: so are Dundee Labour councillors and Katy Clark MP acting without the approval of the party in calling for the Scottish Government to enact a no-evictions policy? A simple “Yes” or “No” will be fine. Because otherwise it seems reasonable to assume they’re representing the party when they do so.

AL: Don’t I even get a thank you for saving you sitting on Google all day by pointing you to front pages of Labour websites?

WOS: As noted in the original piece, I already knew Labour were loudly proclaiming their opposition to the bedroom tax. The point was that when given an opportunity to actually DO something, they ducked it in favour of Nat-bashing.

AL: I guess that’s as close to a “thank you” as I’ll get. Shame you were confused about what it was. Glad I could set it straight.

WOS: So what you’re saying is that it IS Labour policy to complain about the bedroom tax but not actually do anything about it?

AL: [no reply]


So there you have it. Scottish Labour DOES NOT have a policy of calling on the Scottish Government to enact anti-eviction legislation for bedroom-tax arrears, and when Scottish Labour MPs and Dundee Labour councillors demand the Scottish Government brings forward such a law, they are definitely NOT representing Labour, even when they do it in their capacity as Labour elected representatives at council meetings or on their official Labour websites.


We apologise for any errors.

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77 to “Let’s twist again and again”

  1. Doug Daniel says:

    I’m confused – he seems to think he’s “won”, yet he’s completely failed to prove you wrong.
    I actually have no idea what that entire argument is about. Is he saying Labour are against the bedroom tax or isn’t he?

  2. Jiggsbro says:

    I’m confused – he seems to think he’s “won”,
    He’s trolling. He got a reaction, therefore he won.
    Which would be amusing, if he weren’t a press officer for a major political party.

  3. Ray says:

    This is one of the drawbacks of Twitter. It’s great for getting started in discussions that wouldn’t be carried out elsewhere with the same people, but nearly always they get taken from the initial point to “Twitter isn’t good enough for me to express how right I am properly, so please just go Google stuff so I don’t have to try!”

  4. Adrian B says:

    Look over there – A Squirrel!

  5. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    But the bit I still dont get is WHAT IS “SCOTTISH” LABOURS POLICY?
    That ever so helpful chap forgot to mention…

  6. Juteman says:

    “Scottish” Labour doesn’t have any policys. British Labour sets policy.

  7. Bill C says:

    I voted Labour once, in 1979 because they told me they would stop Thatcher. They didn’t and it is a decision which I regret to this day. Not life threatening I know, but it still rankles because I should have known better, they took me for a mug, never again.
    I just wish we could get articles like this out to the general public in Scotland, it wouldn’t take long before the YES vote in the opinion polls doubled, if not trebled. Brilliant work Rev.

  8. Geoff Huijer says:

    Come on Rev…you should know by now ‘Scottish’ Labour
    don’t do difficult questions (or easy ones in this case) and
    certainly don’t do facts…

  9. BillDunblane says:

    I’m confuddled?

  10. John Lyons says:

    Should we all email him and ask?

  11. ianbrotherhood says:

    If Laing can communicate by means other than Twitter, he has a ready audience right here, keen to see a lengthier statement – if he’s up to the job he should be able to put that cheeky Rev firmly in his place.

  12. Restlessnative says:

    Didn’t think it was possible, but I’m now starting to despise Scottish Labour as much as I despise the Tories.

  13. Mosstrooper says:

    Labour are liars
    Tories are twisted
    If we don’t vote YES
    We’re going to get fisted!

  14. Adrian B says:

    This link I am putting here as its relevent
    Stewart Hunter says:
    13 March, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    As one of Dundee’s SNP councillors thought you would be interested in the background to this debate. I should point out that it was a Labour motion calling on us to write to the Scottish Government. our ammendment, which surprised Labour, was that we called on the UK Government to abolish the bedroom tax, re affirm Council policy…………………. 

  15. The Man in the Jar says:

    Hey Guys and Girls
    Check out Stewart Hunter’s comment on previous post (The Difference etc.) He is a Dundee SNP councillor.

  16. The Man in the Jar says:

    Beat me to it!

  17. Yesitis says:

    “Didn’t think it was possible, but I’m now starting to despise Scottish Labour as much as I despise the Tories.”
    Oh, I despise Labour more than the Tories. Labour pose more of a threat to Scotland`s future than the Tories, and always have done; it`s just becoming more obvious these last few years.

  18. The Man in the Jar says:

    Typical Labour party.
    Say one thing in private and another thing in public.
    Where have I heard something like that recently?

  19. Cath says:

    Our position is clear. But it’s convenient for you to ignore it.”

    I remain entirely unclear on what their policy is on this, or indeed anything else.

  20. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Oh, I despise Labour more than the Tories.”

    Aye. At least the Tories don’t pretend to be any different to the Tories.

  21. Luigi says:

    A Labour Party policy is like a cheap beefburger. It has good face value, with lots of added flavour, but you don’t know what crap you are eating.

  22. Doug Daniel says:

    The Man in the Jar – to be fair, they don’t say one thing in private and another thing in public. They say one thing in public and another thing in public!
    Yesitis – indeed. It’s like that truism about how the Tories may be utter, utter shits, but at least we all KNOW that, and it comes as no surprise when they start acting like Tories. Labour, on the other hand, are not supposed to be the Tories. 
    The Tories can’t help being selfish, self-serving gits, it’s just their nature. The Labour Party, on the other hand, have made a conscious choice to act like Tories. That’s much worse.
    Also, it’s entirely consistent of the Tories to not want to protect Scotland from the Tories. Labour, on the other hand, are supposed to try to protect us from them. Yet their entrenched support of the union acts only to enable Tory rule over Scotland.

  23. Chic McGregor says:

    The sad thing is that if the SNP were as confused or as misleading as this on ANY subject, it would be a mainstream media feeding frenzy for a week.  As it is, they have to resort to inventing confusion where there is none or misrepresenting things where they can.
    As they say Rev.  the truth is the enemy of propaganda, keep up the good work.  It is obviously having effect.

  24. Cath says:

    I too have reached a point where I now despise Labour – especially in Scotland – even more than the Tories, and for similar reasons. You always know where you are with the Tories: they’re evil and anti-Scottish. Labour never used to appear to be either, but are currently showing their true colours as both.
    The media is not rabidly anti-independence, lying and printing propaganda purely on a whim of its own either. It’s doing it as part of the Better Together agenda, run by the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems together, for London.

  25. Galen10 says:

    I loved your Duncan Hotherstall line, as it is so true; there must be a New Labour training course in how to argue this way – the lack of self awareness and ability to delude themselves that they have actually “won” the argument whilst persistently failing to actually answer simple questions is truly breathtaking.
    It does takes a sort of talent to be able to argue that the Bedroom Tax is wrong, but fail to say what you’d do to try and stop it; bit like opposing minimum unit alcohol pricing in Scotland, but supporting it in England. Could this bunch of chancers BE any more ridiculous?

  26. Macart says:

    What I’d like to know is do they have any policies active on how to avoid making policy? Or is there a policy in place on how to avoid discussing policies either privately or publicly and does that possible/maybe policy cover rogue MPs who’d like to buck the system and alter alleged policy Willy Nilly to suit themselves? Worse…… rogue MPs who actually want a policy to argue about.
    And they’re surprised and offended at not being the party of government. 🙂

  27. cynicalHighlander says:

    Luigi says:
    13 March, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    “A Labour Party policy is like a cheap beefburger. It has good face value, with lots of added flavour, but you don’t know what crap you are eating.”

  28. lumilumi says:

    @cath 15.27
    Who knows what is Labour policy in Scotland and in the wider UK. The only thing I know is that they adhere to the Bain Principle (oppose anything and everything that the SNP proposes) and nod to any and every Tory policy, saying, we’d cut a bit less.
    My cynical pet idea about working-class parties is that from the horrible conditions and pitiful wages of about a 100 years ago, most working men and women have lifted themselves from the squalor, famine/malnutrition etc.
    In a way many “labour” parties in a number of countries have been too successful. “Workers”, skilled workers in key sectors have been lifted out of poverty, and are now middle-class, middle-income and don’t give a fuck about people beneath them.
    In a way it’s just inevitable and normal that Labour will eventually represent middle-income middle-class people. Their core voters are either dead or evangaizing their grandkids on how Labour made it possible for their dads/mums to go to college/uni. Labour opened up higher education… But they’re closing it now – after nearly all Labour politicians have benefited from free uni education. ;-D

  29. Les Wilson says:

    Labour are the most deceitful party, they would see Scotland cheated and sold down the river again. In act as several others have said here, I actually despise them even more than the Tories!
    Ok, you are right I despise them equally.
    This little country of ours has to waken up to them with a venom.

  30. Cath says:

    “It does takes a sort of talent to be able to argue that the Bedroom Tax is wrong, but fail to say what you’d do to try and stop it;”
    Similarly to argue that a devolved administration with no power over welfare must do something about it, without suggesting what it believes said devolved administration with no power over welfare should do. And being steadfastly, aggressively, nastily and wholly against the one policy that really would do something – ie giving that administration power over welfare.
    Truly they beggar belief.

  31. dmw42 says:

    So, they don’t have:

    a policy;
    a position;
    a representation at council level; or
    a clue.

    Does that about sum it up?
    You can imagine the hysterics in the MSM if the SNP applied such strong-arm tactics against a not for profit organisation.

  32. Yesitis says:

    “You can imagine the hysterics in the MSM if the SNP applied such strong-arm tactics against a not for profit organisation.”
    Labour seem to be immune from any mainstream media criticism. No-one at the BBC or STV or in the papers seems to be able to think of anything awkward to ask them. Strange that, isn`t it? D`ya think anyone`s noticed?

  33. Dcanmore says:

    O/T BBC website … those pesky oil companies at it again!
    Aker Solutions wins £70m Contract for BP’s Schiehallion field
    The Aberdeen arm of a major oil service company has won a £70m contract to help redevelop one the UK’s largest oilfields….
    The company is already one of the largest employers in the north east of Scotland, with more than 2,700 staff. It has previously announced plans to create a further 500 posts by May 2014…
    The Schiehallion and Loyal fields are estimated to contain a further 450 million barrels of recoverable oil, and a £3bn upgrade is under way which will extend production to 2035 – or possibly beyond.
    Damn them! We’ll never get rid of the stuff if they keep finding it! 😉

  34. David McCann says:

    Its a new twist on the Vote NO- get nothing syndrome! A sort of dummy run!

  35. Rod Mac says:

    Rev ,the likelihood now of course is Lamont or Gray or one other Labour Quisling will cite you as one of those nasty cybernats that bullies and is aggressive when defeated in an argument.
    They accuse Nationalists of their faults every time.
    One only has to go to the Scotsman threads to read some of the most vile insulting comments made against Independence supporters.
    The same tactic of evasion and refusal to answer questions,then declaring victory of the argument is commonplace

  36. Dan Simmie says:

    I feel the labour party are being misrepresented here .They do have policies and thoughts on anything the Scottish Government come up with and its NO.
    Even Iain Gray in a public debate a few years ago refused to divulge the labour position until he had heard what the SNP thought. As I’ve said before if the SNP came out for the union labour would come out for independence.
    They are driven by the fact that the SNP have gradually hauled the labour noses out of the trough at Westminster and local government,they want back at that trough.

  37. pa_broon says:

    I wonder what its like to work for Scottish Labour, what must their office be like? Every conversation must be an exercise in subterfuge, each meeting a mind baffling display of opposites, u turns and out right weirdness.
    Where I work, I’ve been subjected to some hum-dingers in terms of meetings, the double-speak, mixed messages and management terminology. (I remember being told by one manager how much of a ‘blender and evolver’ he was… Those were not the words on the tip of my tongue…)
    What a bizarre exchange, I’m surprised thon Labour man didn’t end with; END-OF! Because as we all well know, this supercedes all previous arguments and renders the person deploying this most powerful debating instrument; the winner. (If you’re nine years old…)
    The mind boggles.

  38. Cath says:

    “if the SNP came out for the union labour would come out for independence.”
    Could be an idea 😉

  39. douglas clark says:

    I used to have a tad of respect for Socialism.
    No more. Because it breeds people like Terry Kelly who thinks claiming the name absents any other form of use. Because oor Terry is about as useful as a refrigerator to Eskimos.

    Alan Laing comes out of the same mould, IMHO.

    He is as incapable as oor Terry of answering a question.

    I do not know Alan Laing, but the folk that represent the Labour Party up here are generally not very attractive human beings. The failure to provide any evidence whatsoever for their, ahem, radical views are somewhat ruined by what their chums are saying down in London town.
    This correspondence shows him up for the fan that he is.
    Sorry Alan, but Westminster is not the answer.

  40. Marian says:

    Its not worth the time of day getting into arguments with people from the Labour propaganda department for they believe black is white and white is black.  

  41. Craig P says:

    Hate, hate, hate. All this hate on this thread. Hate will blind you. Let Labour do the hate. 

  42. Cyborg-nat says:

    Same Alan Laing who used to work for the Herald?

  43. Highlander says:

    Although the main thrust of the article is fine as are the replies, I fear the aggressive anti-Labour rhetoric will serve us poorly. We need to make new allies and giving them more reasons to become entrenched is not the way. 
    There are hundreds of thousands of Labour voters who could be persuaded.  There are hundreds of politicians from whatever level of the Labour party that could be persuaded which would be powerful.  Saying we “hate” them publicly and calling them stupid will elicit the exact opposite of what we need.
    Chill guys. 🙂

  44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Same Alan Laing who used to work for the Herald?”

    Doesn’t look like it. Professional PR/politics wonk:

    (Herald guy seems to have been “Allan”, also.)

  45. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Douglas Clark-
    I’m anxious not come across as a Labour-hater after some of the more recent comments, but please don’t make the mistake of associating Labour with ‘socialism’. Labour only managed to secure power by dissociating themselves from ‘socialism’ in word and deed – they’ve forfeited the right to claim that territory and, heartbreaking though it undoubtedly is for many traditional Labour people, they’ll just have to face up to the fact that the party they loved is dead. 

  46. Simon says:

    In an independent Scotland I truly think that the Scottish Labour party may rapidly become a progressive left-wing party that works for and represents workers and the poor.

    I really don’t see much chance of that happening for the English Labour party unfortunately, despite the long tradition of radical left politics in England.

  47. Cyborg-nat says:

    Thanks Rev. I wondered because back in the days when the Herald was a newspaper and had reporters like Murray Ritchie I got it daily and remember Allan Laing as a competent and witty  reporter.

  48. Laura says:

    I maybe wrong here, but what did Labour ever do for Scotland?
    To me they were always the nasty, two faced, hypocritical, brown envelope party.

  49. velofello says:

    Is anyone maintaining a list of the little pearls that are oft times expressed here and on other sites?
    Instance: Dcanmore above on oil exploitation – Damn them! We’ll never get rid of the stuff if they keep finding it.
    Surely that is haun knitted as a poster?
    Over at NNS: Critising Lamont is like critising a fence post, she is there to keep the sheep in place…and gulp, who is the good shepherd?

  50. creag an tuirc says:

    7:50 mins into this video sums it all up re: Labour in Scotland

  51. Stevie says:

    The only reasnobable and fair minded reaction to the Labourite’s incomprehensible reaction is they’re all supercilious, self-serving mental bam pots and… OMG

  52. Appleby says:

    So Alan Laing attacks you like an aggressive moron to proudly announce that his party has no policy or real opinion whatsoever on something that the public face of the party was dead against? He is cutting his own feet from under himself.
    Why are Scottish Labour constantly so hostile too? He could have handled that much better.
    Chic is also right on the consistently easy ride that Scottish Labour get in the media compared to the SNP. Labour’s behaviour would be trumpeted as an outrage across the media forever and a day if it was done by anyone associated with the SNP, even the most minor party member or the man who once sold Alex Salmond a haggis supper.

  53. BillyBigbaws says:

    Labour Party policy:

    We will loudly moan about the unfairness of Tory cuts and benefit reductions.

    We will fail to vote against them in the chamber.

    It’s been this way for a long time hasn’t it? They’re enablers.

  54. BillyBigbaws says:

    Come to think of it, there was a story in the Herald recently about a Labour councillor nearly getting into a carpark punch-up with a Tory over the Bedroom Tax.

    The Labour guy was obviously violently opposed to it, the Tory thought it was fine.

    How’s this Labour fella going to feel when he finds out UK Labour’s position on it, which appears to be (though it’s hard to tell) that they would’ve brought it in too, or at least reduced housing benefit by some other method? Maybe he’ll go down and give them a doing.

  55. Angus McLellan says:

    It wasn’t a Tory councillor Billy, it was the Tory councillor. There’s only one (David Meikle, one David Meikle, only one…).  Sorry, but let me finish before I get my coat.
    I wonder if David’s car was in the car park? Easy to find if it was, it would probably be the only one with contrasting his (Better Together) and hers (Yes Scotland) indyref stickers. Evidence:

  56. BillyBigbaws says:

    Hahaha!  Brilliant stuff Angus. 

    So Meikle finds himself both supporting and opposing Yes Scotland, and soon enough George Redmond will find himself both supporting and opposing the bedroom tax!

    How on earth do they manage it?

  57. Chic McGregor says:

    Remember most of the current pro Yes support were probably once Labour supporters.

    Remember there is a Labour for independence group.

    OK, their Scottish leadership might be a bunch of cringe-ridden, fact dodging, fantasists, but let’s not tar that Labour support which inhabits the real world with their leader’s delusions.

  58. Laura says:

    To be fair, the Labour for independence group is not yet an official party, hopefullly will be one day – who knows, I might even vote for them one day.

  59. Cath says:

    “I fear the aggressive anti-Labour rhetoric will serve us poorly.”
    I agree with this and I was probably guilty of too much of it yesterday. There are plenty good folk in the Labour party and, if we do get independence, we will need them and a good left wing party. What bothers me – and it’s about their leadership and elected members, not rank and file –  is firstly their inability to have a reasonable debate about independence or more powers. There is a good debate to be had. I have no issues at all having a debate with people who hold a different view to mine – that is a positive thing and leads to better, more thought-through decision making. I would love an honest debate about the pros and cons of independence and what other options we have that are within our control.
    Sadly the Labour leadership are unwilling to have that honest, reasonable debate, even within their own party. Instead we have lies, spin, smears and media domination to misinform.
    Secondly, this issue – welfare reform – goes way beyond independence. The most vulnerable and poorest are being made to suffer hugely under these reforms, many of them started by Labour at Westminster. Watching welfare reforms while at the CAB was one of the things that turned me political again after years out of it! Labour were instrumental in taking the devo-max option, which potentially could have included welfare, off the table and are not looking at devolving welfare at all. They support welfare reform and bedroom tax at Westminster. And they are using those vulnerable folk already being hammered as political pawns in some ridiculous game whose rules even they don’t seem to understand – it’s just bash and oppose the SNP whoever gets hurt.
    It’s increasingly difficult to stay polite. If we go indy, we will need a Labour party, but not one with this kind of leadership. If we don’t go indy and this is what we’re stuck with, God help us.

  60. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Although the main thrust of the article is fine as are the replies, I fear the aggressive anti-Labour rhetoric will serve us poorly. We need to make new allies and giving them more reasons to become entrenched is not the way. There are hundreds of thousands of Labour voters who could be persuaded.”

    The second part of that is absolutely true, which is why I’ve repeatedly tried to reach out to various people – even Duncan Hothersall, for heaven’s sake – and engage in debate.

    But the bare fact is that Scottish Labour is so absolutely tribally defined by hatred of the SNP that the only hope of achieving that goal is to detach the people from the party, and to do that we need to show them how comprehensively their party has betrayed its values and its members and Scotland as a whole.

    I don’t think I’ve ever written anything on the site that attacked Labour members. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) But the Labour Party is – make no mistake about this – the No.1 enemy of independence, indeed perhaps the ONLY significant one, and must be fought as such.

    We can’t afford to foster the delusion of good faith, because if people are allowed to develop the false notion that “Labour aren’t all that bad really”, they’ll trust them to fight the Tories, and that will ensure that the Tories win forever.

  61. Dunc says:

    I maybe wrong here, but what did Labour ever do for Scotland?
    Well, there was the small matter of devolution and the (re)creation of the Scottish Parliament…

  62. Albert Herring says:

    Questionable. Devolution was conceded in order to “kill nationalism stone dead”, and allegedly under pressure from Europe. Why won’t they release the secret devolution papers?

  63. Baheid says:

    @Albert Herring
    Why won’t they release the secret devolution papers? 

    Who actually decides if they can be released or not ?

  64. Albert Herring says:

    That’s probably secret too!

  65. Cath says:

    “Who actually decides if they can be released or not ?”
    That’s an interesting question. I presume it’s the UK government and Scotland Office. Yet I also presume it’s the Labour government who look bad in them. Will the UK government choose to cover up for the UK government, or stab Labour in the back?

  66. Baheid says:

    @Albert Herring @cath
    Attorney General: Dominic Grieve, former Justice Secretary Jack Straw and even the Scotland Office have all played a part in blocking the release of the minutes.

    Nothing to hide there then!!

  67. Albert Herring says:

    I suspect they’ll be released at whatever time Dave thinks they’ll do the most damage to Labour.

  68. Laura says:

    @ Dunc
    Have a wee look at this, should clear things up about devolution.

  69. Morag says:

    Oh no, not that lot again.  It’s a good idea to run these claims through a reality check.

  70. Cath says:

    It makes a good story. I was reading it not sure if I was reading the truth or someone’s fantasy fiction. However in the absence of the devolution papers, and with the knowledge of a few things that are true, we are all free to make up our own minds. And if we want to think the absolute worst of successive UK governments, that’s up to us. They’re free to offer proof it isn’t so.

  71. Morag says:

    It appears to be someone’s fantasy fiction.  I had a bit of a set-to with the main proponent James Wilkie some years ago, and he became extremely abusive when I pointed out that in all his “papers” there wasn’t the slightest evidence that the representations he and his mates had taken it upon themselves to make to the Council of Europe had landed anywhere other than the round filing cabinet.

    A little bit of googling reveals a former schoolteacher and youth worker with some interesting delusions of grandeur.  He must be getting on a bit by now.

  72. Chic McGregor says:

    That’s why I said group?

  73. Laura says:

    I stand to be corrected, if it is in fact an entire work of fiction but I’ve read a few passages to the same effect, that was the one I found at random.
    If it is pure fantasy, then please explain why it took Labour over 100 years to commit to their manifesto pledge in 1888 (and just about every few years since)

  74. Morag says:

    I don’t have to explain anything.  The Labour party themselves explained why they went with it.  “John Smith’s legacy” and an entirely misguided belief that “devolution will kill the SNP stone dead”.

    It’s perfectly possible these representations were made to the Council of Europe exactly as James Wilkie and his couple of mates claim they were.  They have a collection of letters they say they sent, and a collection of holiday snaps indicating they went to Europe at some time.  You might ask, who authorised these few unelected private citizens to make such representations, supposedly on our behalf?  However, in their own collection of documents they like to boast about, there isn’t a single one which includes an actual reply.

  75. Chic McGregor says:

    Ah, I see the confusion.  There are now two Chic McGregors (the other one uses ‘Mac’, which technically I should too because it is on my birth certificate, but instead I use ‘Mc’.  I reckon, over the course of a lifetime it has probably saved me, …  Oh possibly even as much time as this explanation took to write). 🙂
    Morag, I know something of Scotland-UN’s activities and can assure you that Dr Wilkie, who worked in the field of diplomacy in Europe at the time and the other professionals lawyers etc. in that group were influential in bringing at least some  European pressure to bear on the UK government.
    Initially they had approached the UN but some of the UN’s requirements, way back then, did not have the evidential backup to enable them to act (although that evidence did eventually become available by around 2007). 

    However, they cleverly switched tack to go through the Council of Europe, seeking only devolution (the ECHR remit does not extend to secession) and used the leverage provided from the new Eastern Europe break up for all it was worth.  i.e. ‘How can the UK lay down standards of democracy for would-be new EU members from Eastern Europe, if they do not adhere to them themselves?
    I am afraid that the insularity of the UK means that they do not even realise they have one of the most controlled media’s in the world.  In particular, while they are happy to report the minor European influences they know will irritate the British public they will play down, distort or ignore altogether the big picture influences from there.
    Oh and BTW because the UK takes the optional protocol ONLY individuals and groups of individuals can be complainants, no political parties etc.

  76. Morag says:

    I’m sorry, having interacted with James Wilkie and been rudely abused by him for asking some perfectly reasonable questions, I’m not very open to “assurances”.

    A small group of unelected self-appointed poseurs may well have written some letters and gone on a road trip as they claim, but there is not the slightest shred of evidence, anywhere, that their little hobby had any effect whatsoever on larger events.

  77. Laura says:

    O/T  Always wondered why people use different monikers for different sites.
    Just asking.

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