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Probably a coincidence

Posted on January 20, 2013 by

Alert readers might have noticed that this morning we tweeted a link to a post on the Facebook page of Labour For Independence. It was a retort to a sneering claim from Anas Sarwar that the group had “one or a maximum of two Labour members” and was in fact a front for the SNP, and it responded by printing a list of 13 named Labour Party members who were active in the group. One of them stood out a little.

Now, we have absolutely no idea if that Alex Foulkes is the same Alex Foulkes who’s the son of arch-Unionist peer and Nat-basher Lord George Foulkes. We’re sure there are lots of people called Alex Foulkes in the Scottish Labour Party. But given that Lady Judy Steel (the excellent wife of Sir David, another prominent No voice) came out for independence a while ago – prompting a slightly misjudged joke from Murdo Fraser last week – it’d be a moderately amusing development if it was.

After all, if the leading lights of the No campaign can’t even convince the closest members of their own family to back the UK, how the heavens are they going to be able to sell the ailing Union to the rest of Scotland?

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49 to “Probably a coincidence”

  1. Tearlach says:

    Judging by what he got up to in NZ five years ago, I’m not convinced he is the best advert for out good friends at LFI (and hey post independence I pretty sure I may even vote for them). but if he has turned over a new leaf, it’s obvious he is doing it deliberately.

  2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    The Scotsman article does say that he denied all the allegations about what happened in Auckland.

  3. ianbrotherhood says:

    Okay, I’ll ask…what happened in Auckland? (Here’s hoping it didn’t involve Auks.)

  4. Tearlach says:

    Quite. I should have said – “Judging by what he was alleged to gave got up to in NZ five years ago”, and realised that it was a Scotsman article. So apologies Alex, and the Rev. 

    But no matter the history, any Alex Foulks, of whatever family tree, is more than welcome to the cause.   

    And is it is Alex Foulks son of George, I’m sure he is doing it deliberately……           

  5. muttley79 says:

    @Rev Stu

    Did I get a post deleted?

  6. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    For now, yes. Consider whether you want it restored.

  7. muttley79 says:

    You can delete it.  Was the thing I said false, incorrect?  I was not meaning to be nasty, it was just something I remembered.  I appreciate why it was removed though.

  8. ianbrotherhood says:

    Ah, right, gotcha…understood.
    Can’t help wondering though, if there was a certain frisson around the dinner table on Christmas Day.
    Good luck to him, and LFI. 

  9. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    He certainly speaks through his anus.

  10. ianbrotherhood says:

    All kiddology aside, we should keep our fingers crossed that IF said Foulkes is indeed the progeny of the George we all know so well, he isn’t a chip off the proverbial.
    Me ain’t no great follower of party-politics in general, but I’m not the only one who will always remember The Not-Gorgeous George as one of the mouthpieces assigned by New Labour to man the North-Britain barricades in the lead-up to the ‘war’ on Iraq – along with someone called, what-was-it-again, Joyce? Aye, Eric Joyce, and some boffin, he was always introduced as ‘a terrorism expert’…hailed from Aberdeen University…Jim Wylie perhaps?? Sorry, Professor James Wylie? 
    Aye, these three belters ended-up on Lesley Riddoch’s afternoon BBC Radio Scotland show more often than anyone was comfortable with – including Riddoch. If memory serves, she once apologised to listeners that the three had turned-up yet again because, to paraphrase her, ‘they just couldn’t get anyone else’. 
    Och, perhaps I’m just mis-remembering stuff after all this Lambrini, but it must be in the archives…
    (Archives? What archives?) 

  11. Barontorc says:

    Looks like smelling the flowers and acting as suits.

  12. dadsarmy says:

    After all, if the leading lights of the No campaign can’t even convince the closest members of their own family to back the UK, how the heavens are they going to be able to sell the ailing Union to the rest of Scotland?”

    I’m afraid I don’t agree with this at all, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

    Last time I checked my wife was against Independence and half my kids were too. I haven’t the slightest intention of convincing them of anything, except to check the facts, look out for biased media and outright propoganda, and think about it.

    Their opinions are their own, and it’s their future they vote on.

  13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Last time I checked my wife was against Independence and half my kids were too.”

    Man! I was sure you were female, maybe I’m just muddling you up in my head with Arbroath1320. My apologies!

    “I’m afraid I don’t agree with this at all, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.”

    Of course people are entitled to their own opinion. But if we’re not going to bother trying to change anyone’s mind on that basis, we’re going to lose and we’re all wasting our time here.

  14. MajorBloodnok says:

    Rev Stu says: Man! I was sure you were female.

    I shall now enjoy my brief vindication.

  15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    MAN! Not even 10.30 and I’ve been wrong and had to apologise to two people already! They’re not kidding, this really IS the worst day of the year!

  16. dadsarmy says:

    LOL, absolutely no offence taken Rev! it must be the way I talk 🙂

    I think there’s a difference between convincing people to an opinion, and encouraging them to find out the facts and the truth, and to think about it openly. And maybe, to point them in the right direction to get either unbiased fact and opinion, or if not, to get them to compare one side with the other.

    For the time being at least as well, it gives me occasional feedback as to what the “man or woman in the street” will think, and from this I can find out what it is that might make people vote NO. Simple things like “will I have to get a new passport”, or “when I go to London I’ll be a foreigner”.

    “We can’t afford it” will probably be a fairly easy one later on – like many Independence supporters, I’ve seen the figures!

  17. dadsarmy says:

    Basically, different people have different ways, but we work towards a common cause. I do my best to get people to open their minds, others are better at nudging, convincing, persuading.

    Looking at it another way, I do the warming up, others close the deal 😉

  18. Christian Wright says:

    OT – Hope this intervention is not an abuse of TOS but I think it important enough to push the envelope with this non sequitur.

    I think all (of us, at least) would like to think that articulation of a substantive positive case is the Sine qua non of a successful campaign for independence or for retention of the Union.

    I and others on twitter have been pushing Alistair Darling as leader of the NO campaign to make his substantive positive case for the Union. Sunday he offered the ridiculous argument that we have a really pretty flag (Union Flag) and cited it as a positive reason to reject independence.  

    The “Union Jack” he tells us, is one that other countries would die for, and he offers in support a story on the BBC web site about how said flag is much admired by the young and hip in Cuba. 

    This response was ridiculed by many – OK by me and I am sure others. In response to the howls of derision he offered the following, which leads me to the near certain conclusion that Mr Darling is in fact working for us OR that he believes the Scottish electorate has the cognitive discernment of a lobotomized fruit fly.

    I think that this a great gift generously given, and that it should be exploited mercilessly. You can make your own assessment. Reason 4 demonstrates he has a sense of humor and a talent for deflection. (this is in reverse order – read from bottom up)


     Alistair Darling ?@A_DarlingMP
    That’s all I can think of right now. More later. Remember, we are #bettertogether.

    2h Alistair Darling ?@A_DarlingMP
    7. As part of UK you’re allowed to trawl streets with the Union Jack, set fire to things & shout at police, if you so wish. #bettertogether

    2h Alistair Darling ?@A_DarlingMP
    6. The Scots government is run by 1 man. In a future Labour government you will have David Miliband, Ed Balls…loads of folk. #bettertogether
    2h Alistair Darling ?@A_DarlingMP
    5. UK elections are contested fairly and everybody’s vote counts. We are #bettertogether
    2h Alistair Darling ?@A_DarlingMP
    4. You will not have to worry about Salmond’s EU position. You can worry about ours instead. #bettertogether
    2h Alistair Darling ?@A_DarlingMP
    3. As part of the UK you get to view proper football. Not so if the SNP get their way. #bettertogether

    2h Alistair Darling ?@A_DarlingMP
    2. In a separate Scotland you will not be able to watch Eastenders ever again. #bettertogether

    2h Alistair Darling ?@A_DarlingMP
    1. As part of the UK you are able to claim Adele’s music as your own. #bettertogether
    2h Alistair Darling ?@A_DarlingMP
    For those asking for a positive case for the Union, there are many reasons why we are #bettertogether. I will list just a few. #indyref
    Christian Wright ?@ChristainWright
    @A_DarlingMP Defamation! There you go. But what is your substantive positive case of the Union? You don’t have one? Thought not.
     View conversation   Reply  Delete  Favorite  More

  19. JLT says:

    Hi Rev,

    I’ve been saying exactly this, ever since the Union flag problem blew up in Belfast. I CANNOT for the life of me, see any trouble in Scotland over the Referendum debate. 
    The Referendum will split EVERY family down the middle throughout Scotland. And for that reason, that is why I can see no trouble or voilence. If I’m wrong, then you might as well get every family member in the living room and have an almight punch-up to see who wins. 
    I can also see this being embarrassing for both sets of politicians (SNP and Labour) if they can’t even convince their own family members. I kind of see this blowing both ways !!

  20. muttley79 says:

    O/T  I see it has taken the No parties all of three months since the Edinburgh Agreement to begin to promise Jam Tomorrow.  A few articles today are saying that Labour have plans, and even David Mundell is being quoting about more powers!  Salmond has played a blinder, he has manouvered them into a corner and they are being forced into a repeat of the promises of 1979.  They were completely opposed to a second question, and now they and their media buddies have been forced to admit that they were wrong.  

  21. dadsarmy says:

    Yes indeed, Salmond has played a blinder. I have my suspicions that he may have played a deliberate game in other ways too, but enough said about that one. All I’ll say is that it is possible he didn’t make any mistakes last year, no mistakes at all.

  22. muttley79 says:


    Are you being sarcastic? 

  23. douglas clark says:

    I am beginning to think that this whole err, contest, is structured, on the Yes side, around ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’. That ended well!

  24. MajorBloodnok says:

    All the NO campaign need is for Cameron to come out and say that there are no new powers but we can talk about it after the referendum comes in as a NO, and they’re scuppered.  Not that I’m making any predictions, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised…

  25. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I am beginning to think that this whole err, contest, is structured, on the Yes side, around ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’. That ended well!”

    I’ve had the very same thought about strategy for quite a while now. The tactic does seem to have been to let the No camp punch itself out.

  26. Aplinal says:

    @muttley re: dadsarmy
    “I have my suspicions that he may have played a deliberate game in other ways too, but enough said about that one. All I’ll say is that it is possible he didn’t make any mistakes last year, no mistakes at all.”
    Obviously dads will reply, but if I see his reasoning, it goes something like this:
    1.  The NO campaign don’t understand what the referendum is actually about because AS has presented it (initially) as the SNP mandate.
    2. They have no ideas of their own, except oppose everything the SNP/AS seem to want
    3. AS feeds them his ‘wants”, and like Pavlov’s dogs they respond
    4. meanwhile the YES campaign works behind the scenes, with NS already agreed to be the “official” SNP standard bearer.
    5.  AS “allows” himself to be the butt of all the snide, personal bile and abuse.  True leadership!
    6.  NS then presents facts and calm assurances and ideas
    7.  AS “makes mistakes” in Holyrood and “is forced” to apologise  At the same time showing up the hypocrisy among Labour who don’t apologise.  More ammunition for NS
    8. NO campaign remain blinded by their antipathy (OK, hate) for AS and can’t see the woods for the trees.
    9. Game, set and match
    Of course, I could have this all wrong.  🙂

  27. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    Perhaps the NO campaign is beginning to wake up to this, hence recent attacks on NS. Hope not!

  28. muttley79 says:


    All the NO campaign need is for Cameron to come out and say that there are no new powers but we can talk about it after the referendum comes in as a NO, and they’re scuppered.  Not that I’m making any predictions, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised

    That would fit in with Scottish Skier’s theory.  Of course, so would Cameron calling the No campaign the Yes campaign/Alastair Darling’s campaign’s.

  29. douglas clark says:

    I am a huge fan of Nicola Sturgeon. I do not, for one moment, believe that your scenario holds water.

    It seems to me that it is our side of the arguement that demonstrates a ‘better togetherness’ philosophy, not them.

    We will win this because it is us that are together.

    I could certainly see Nicola as the First Minister of an independent Scotland.

    And I would be absolutely delighted if that was the case.

    Not least because she is my constituency MSP.

    She would never play along with shennanigans like that!

  30. Aplinal says:

    @douglas, I am a fan as well.  I wasn’t suggesting any ‘non-togetherness’ in fact the opposite.  maybe I did not express myself well.

  31. muttley79 says:


    To be honest, I think it is just the case that Nicola Sturgeon has in the last decade, risen significantly in the Scottish political world.  Remember when Salmond got elected in 2004 again as leader of the SNP, Sturgeon was effectively leader of the SNP in the Scottish Parliament for three years.  She took on McConnell as First Minister.  Then Sturgeon was Health Minister for five years or so, was even praised by the likes of Baillie and Lamont when she moved on!  She seemingly handled the referendum negotiations well, and quickly got the agreement completed.

    I think Sturgeon is being targeted by Lamont now, and I definently think she is being targeted, because Lamont and the like realise she is a threat to them.  That they have finally woken up to this is a measure of their political acumen and complacency.  I think the political dinosaurs in Scottish Labour are doing this because the hate the SNP, and want to bring down the talented leading members.  This includes Salmond, Sturgeon, Russell etc.   

  32. Aplinal says:

    I think you are right about Labour’s slow realisation that Nicola is a thorough professional and streets ahead of anyone sitting on the opposition benches.  I have admired her for some time, and have said many times that I see her as being the first female FM of an Independence Scotland.
    To avoid confusion, my response was in no way to demean anyone, quite the opposite.  I hope dadsarmy will come soon to cover my apparent faux pas! 🙁

  33. dadsarmy says:

    Spot on! It’s not all my own, I have discussed it at end of threads that ran quiet in CiF, with another one or two posters.

    Douglas, if AS did do that I think he would have kept NS clean. He’s long enough in the tooth to know the rules. And it is likely that it’s me being cynical. I have no idea if I’d do the same. But if deliberate, it worked – a case of not only picking the battleground, but spiking it in advance.

  34. dadsarmy says:

    As for NS, yes the attention is now on her, it took them long enough to realise the game changed – they’re still firing at the old target. She’s up to the job, she’s steel and will be tempered by fire by the time the referendum is over, and will emerge a fine Toledo blade for the negotiations and for Scotland’s Independence in 2016.

  35. douglas clark says:

    I am not persuaded by either Apinal nor dadsarmy.

    I love counter history as much as the next man but this, utter tosh, assumes too much:
    “Douglas, if AS did do that I think he would have kept NS clean. He’s long enough in the tooth to know the rules. And it is likely that it’s me being cynical. I have no idea if I’d do the same. But if deliberate, it worked – a case of not only picking the battleground, but spiking it in advance.”
    Absolute rubbish!
    We will win this if we stay together. Trying to double-guess the future has never worked! We have a reasonable chance of winning, it is not improved by your speculations.
    Enough of your nonsense!

  36. muttley79 says:


    Your theory could well be right.  I have an open mind on it.

    I think we have to remember that to view Sturgeon’s rise you have to step in Scottish Labour’s shoes for a moment (not an attractive proposititon).  Seen through SLAB’s eyes the 2007 election was an aberation, a one-off election defeat.  They thought that the SNP would not last a year in office, at least that was how they reassured themselves.  Sturgeon became Health Minister, but they did not really pay any attention to her, because the SNP was a one-man band (they and their media partners were always repeating this).  Therefore, Salmond would get all the abuse.  But Sturgeon was a successful Health Minister, and the SNP lasted the full four years in a minority admin. 

    Not only that but the SNP had a stunning victory in the 2011 elections.  However, even that did not bring a genuine recognition and exceptance of Scottish Labour’s problems.  After all, Lamont said that the voters had stopped listening to Labour’s message, not the other way round.  Internal reform looks like it has been abandoned as well.  However, I think we are beginning to see a recognition that SLAB are aware that the role Sturgeon and others (Swinney), played was significant.  After all Glasgow seats fell to the SNP in unprecendented numbers.  To deny that Sturgeon had no influence on this would be one thing that even SLAB could not deny.        

  37. douglas clark says:

    Dear reader,
    I will share with you a fact.
    Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I feel very positive about our independence. Sometimes, after a bad dream or whatever, I wake up feeling kind of depressed.
    Usually after  a good cup of coffee and a croissont I feel a bit better.
    I am not going to double guess the future here. But some folk – Apinal and dadsarmy – appear to have a scrying ball into a future that might be there, and then again, might not. Scrying balls are fun!

    The fact that they are unrelated to any current reality is what interests them. It is speculation and speculation is fun.

    Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, the coffee is getting cold.

    And Nicola Sturgeon is quite likely to see her place in history guaranteed.

    Just saying

  38. dadsarmy says:

    douglas, you’re entitled to your opinion, same as I am.

    As far as having on and off days about gaining Independence, I don’t think I do really. I do wonder at times if the SNP / YES know what they’re doing, but then I realise there’s probably method to their madness – and I try to analyse what that might be. I start from the notion that they’ve had a lot of years to prepare and plan.

    It’s not a crystal ball, it’s analysis. Something I have done for money in another life.

  39. Morag says:

    My own suspicion is that information will emerge demonstrating that Salmond was bang on the money about the EU membership situation all along, and didn’t lie or mislead or tell porkies of any sort.

    Just a hunch.

  40. dadsarmy says:

    I don’t think he misled anyone at all. Even before the recent additions, there’s been papers and opinions around well before last year, and he would have seen them or had them summaried and reported to him. He’s also a well experienced politician, been at Westminster, and capable of figuring out the probabilities of the EU.

    But he also knew the bile-filled Labour party and others would jump on any chance to try to discredit him, the SNP and hence Independence. And make a meal of it. And make a meal of it. And make a meal … repeat ad infinitum!

    They even mentioned it in Tuesday’s debate – more than once. I would think the neutral viewer would think “is that all you’ve got?”.

    Salmond would know that fine.

  41. Aplinal says:

    Again to try and be clear  -I have obviously not done this well.  What I hypothesized was MY take on what DADS may have been thinking.  So, I was speculating.  Now it so happens that I think AS is an extraordinarily astute politician.  It is entirely conceivable that once the LibDems rejected overtures to a coalition and in effect “forced” the SNP into a minority government, it was clear that they had no allies among the UK triumvirate.  (One reason for my dropping any support I previously had for the LDs).
    So, they had to plan for standing pretty much alone.  (The Greens were not really on the radar at that time).  And it is possible (again let’s not take it further than that), that a strategy was designed to put in place all the groundwork for the Independence campaign as ‘quietly’ as possible.  How better to do that, than exploit the oppositions blindness due to their unfailing opposition!  And so, by their obsession with AS – the “figurehead” – they did not see what was actually under their noses.
    It must have been astonishing to the SNP just how easily they were led.  As Napoleon was alleged to have said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”  And the NO campaign have made mistakes aplenty.
    So, now that they have looked the other way as the YES programme is fully prepared, many people on the ground, non-politicians in key positions, a non-SNP membership etc.  The NOs have lost the plot.
    Will they recover?  Well, one must assume so  – the latest “jam tomorrow” is an attempt to recover the ground lost already.  Probably not enough, as it now looks like throwing any old idea out there to persuade aa by now, more skeptical public.  The machinations of the MSM/BBC makes even more amusing reading as the lessons of 2007 and 2011 STILL fail to register.
    All this is speculation, and an amusing view from a far country – I am presently in the Balkans, a region that LIVES on political intrigue.  I have no scrying ball, so maybe I am assigning Machiavellian skill to a simple “perfect storm” of events.  We will see.  
    Finally, I do not see that this mild speculation should , or could be considered as anything other than that.  And to close, “Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, the coffee is getting cold.”  Indeed it is.
    Enjoy the rest of the day.
    Hail Alba

  42. Morag says:

    Dadsarmy – we agree, then?

  43. douglas clark says:

    You are entitled to say anything you want. I am entitled to say I don’t agree.
    So, in this case,  I think that you are using a cracked crystal ball, not analysis.
    Apinal @ 4:16pm
    It is not the end of the world if Scotland remains dependent. It is not, however, a particularily comfortable outcome. Well, at least from my point of view.
    I read your post at 1:28pm and, well, I didn’t agree with it.
    It assumes too much of a machievellian politics to even make a reasonable strategy, IMHO.
    It is my opinion that Alex Salmond will lead us into this and we will win, or not. Frankly. I wouldn’t want it any other way, absent my high regard fo Ms Sturgeon.

    I would be astonished if she thought otherwise. I really, really do think she will be our next but one First Minister.
    We are all set up for fighting for a win. I wish we would keep it simple. Either we fight the game that is in front of us, with our best prize fighter in our corner, or we don’t.

    Why would we tie one of our hands behind our back?

  44. dadsarmy says:

    Absolutely! I not only have very high respect for Salmond, I like the guy even though I may not have met him (though it’s possible I have long ago). What’s to dislike about a guy with a great sense of humour? And who likes Tunnock’s Teacakes?

  45. dadsarmy says:

    In aplinal’s post he was working out what I might have meant – and he did it very accurately too. It’s not him you have the disagreement with, it’s me!

    Scotland has 4.01 million voters, in 2014 it’s likely to be 4.1 million voters + the 16/17 year-olds. Out of that 4.2 million say. 1.8 million will stay at home. 2.4 million will vote, and my latest prediction is that 1.8 million will vote YES, and o.6 million NO.

    Out of the 1.8 million who will vote YES, there will be far right, far left, centre and dark side of the moon. Probably no two of these will have absolutely identical reasons for voting YES, even if they are identical twins.

    Of the 5.3 million population made independent, no two people will be identical, and, with any luck, there will be a huge and very different pool of thoughts, ideas, convictions and set and flexible ways of thinking to take Scotland forward with all the wide open choices we will have as to what type of society we will have.

    We will agree on some things. We will disagree on some things. One thing I hope, after the YES vote is accepted, is that we will all work our socks off for the type of Scotland we want. In perfect harmony – and through discord!

  46. dadsarmy says:

    I forgot to say, my actual hope is that 4.2 million will turn out to vote or use their postal vote, but out of all that vote I hope they will all vote YES, even including Lamont, Davidson, Rennie, the other Davidson, Murphy, Fergusson, Alistair Darling (if he’s resident at the time), and every other NO campaigner who will realise that they’re going to live in a better Scotland with Independence and will courageously turn their back on their previous convictions, and join us all in voting YES.

  47. Aplinal says:

    @dads, douglas

    Just back in from the gym.  OK, seems to have been sorted so I won’t comment further. 

    Best to all 

  48. Malcolm MacInnes says:

    I would bet this is Lord Foulkes’ son. Still in Auckland by checking Facebook. I see from his page that he is definitely backing a YES vote.
    Interesting times. 

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