The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Putting out fire with gasoline

Posted on February 14, 2013 by

There’s a faintly astonishing story in today’s Scotsman. As if belatedly realising the damage that they’d done to the No campaign by detailing Labour’s toys-out-of-pram tantrum in the House Of Commons this week, the paper runs a firefighting exercise of a follow-up piece which reveals no new information, but gives the party a helpful platform from which to try to winch itself out of the hole.


(A “senior party source” duly obliged with the comically-absurd assertion that “the party’s main concern was that without a reference to independence, an MP could be stopped from speaking for going off the subject.”)

That’s not the astonishing part, of course – giving Unionist parties a platform is what the Scotsman exists for. The amazing thing is the size of the gulf between what the story reports as the reason for the debate’s cancellation and what the person whose debate it was had already said in public a full day earlier.

The entire 800-word story only once mentions the fact that Labour’s response to having the Commons clerks rename their motion to something in keeping with Parliamentary rules had been to cancel the entire debate in a huff, something referred to so briefly and passingly that we actually missed it entirely when we first wrote this post. But the Scotsman’s interpretation of the event is this:

“The emergency meeting took place on Tuesday night after Labour cancelled a Westminster Hall debate on the future of the Royal Mail in Scotland in protest over the way clerks changed the title without informing Inverclyde MP Ian McKenzie, who had tabled it.”

Alert readers, however, will recall that that wasn’t the way Mr McKenzie saw it. On his Twitter account, the Labour MP claimed that he was “Disappointed my debate on Royal Mail in a separate Scotland was blocked by the SNP”, rather than having been cancelled by himself. We suspect it might be wise to refrain from further coverage until Mr McKenzie gets his story straight.


There’s a funny ending, however. Now banned from using the words “separate” or “separation” in any future titles, Labour have graciously compromised and allowed the term “post-2014” to replace them, so that the debate’s original name (“The Royal Mail in a separate Scotland”) will now become “The future of the Royal Mail post-2014”.

We’re sure we don’t need to point out the implication – Labour now apparently officially accepts that a post-2014 Scotland will be the same thing as a “separate” one. Or, as we prefer to put it, independent.

Print Friendly

    25 to “Putting out fire with gasoline”

    1. David Robertson says:

      Wonder how long before they realise that it’s time to stop digging

    2. james morton says:

      I guess this is the best dressing for the shit sandwhich they have to eat.

    3. CameronB says:

      I can’t remember who first said it, “but a turd is still a turd, no matter how hard you polish it.” 🙂

    4. muttley79 says:

      This is following on from Scottish Labour’s decision not to have a debate in  the Scottish Parliament on universal benefits because the SNP had suggested it, or some such excuse.  It it obvious that the real reasons these things are happening is because Scottish Labour is out of power at both Westminster and Holyrood, and hence the toys are being thrown out of the pram on a regular basis.  I genuinely think they are feeling lost and rejected at the moment.  They appear not to care that their actions are being noted by at least some of the electorate in Scotland.  Lamont’s weekly rant is also an indication of the rage they feel at being thrown out of power.  The only ones responding in a positive manner appear to be the Labour Voters for Independence. 
      Can you imagine the press coverage if the SNP acted in a similar manner?  It would last for weeks, and journalists would be foaming at the mouth about how disgraceful the SNP were conducting themselves.  Instead what is the response?  A bare recognition in one or two articles, and then mostly embarrassed silence… 

    5. Macart says:

      Nice Rev. Its funny cuz its true. 🙂
      Here’s a wee story in the Herald which should turn a head or two. Stiglitz piece on why Scotland would be better off independent. Its written up by Dinwoodie, but its kind of hard for commenters btl to argue with a Nobel Laureate and economist with the usual pub expert economics.

    6. the bunnyman says:

      Post 2014: ok, you guys win (snigger, snigger)

    7. Keef says:

      In this instance should that not be – (Royal) Post 2014:-)
      Clerks & SNP -1.  Labour sooks- 0

    8. Paul Martin says:

      Every time I think we’ve identified the single biggest numpty in The Scottish Labour Party, along comes another one to take pole position. I reckon McKenzie is probably good enough to hold top-spot on this one for at least a few days. Until inevitably another SLAB numpty contrives a way to top it. And they will. They always do !

    9. Baheid says:

      the bunnyman says:

      Post 2014: ok, you guys win (snigger, snigger)
      Good to know not all the north english are not running away in a bubbling tantrum.

    10. chicmac says:

      That point immediately occurred to me as well.

      Another tiresome and pejorative mantra which has come to be used with ‘Carthage must be destroyed’ regularity during FMQs is ‘in the real world.’.  Continually inferring, of course, that the Scottish government are fantasists.

      Perhaps, encouraged by this recent rediscovery of parliamentary decorum by Westminster, although I have suggested a possible ulterior motive for that elsewhere, the presiding officers might see fit to speak out on the  inappropriate nature of such inference.

      It is insulting, contributes nothing to the proceedings and serves only to provide a much favoured sound bite for BBC Scotland ‘news’ output.

      It is also a bit rich, coming as it usually does from Ms Lamont who to all appearances, seems to spend her time between FMQs in some metaphorical attic somewhere.

    11. scottish_skier says:

      OT but Dave’s referendum on the EU and the likely exit of the UK will come to haunt Better Together.

      Scots want EU referendum but would vote to stay in
      When asked how they would vote in a referendum on whether Britain should stay in or leave the EU, just over half of Scots said they would vote to stay in (53%), compared with a third who said they would vote to leave (34%). This is in contrast to November 2012 data on attitudes in England, where half said they would vote to leave the EU compared with 42% who would vote to stay in.

      Also, 61% of Scots think an independent Scotland should be a member of the EU compared to only 33% who do not.

    12. kininvie says:

      I was watching the Scottish Affairs cttee asking Moore, Wallace & Blundell about the ‘Legal Advice’.
      It’s probably not worth spending a lot of time on, as both questions and answers were predictable, but I was struck by the language. Moore was quite careful to keep his verbs conditional when referring to post-indy negotiations, but others, notably our Jim, were happily using ‘will’ ‘are going to’ – almost as though the referendum was a done deal.
      It’s not exactly hard evidence, but it’s maybe a straw in the wind. As the UK govt continues to publish its papers on an independent Scotland, it’s less easy for them to dismiss the thing as a fantasy

    13. Ananurhing says:

      Scottish Labour. Stuck in the same rut, and spewing the same bile since May 4th 2007.
      The chagrin that just keeps giving.
      I guess they are in a position where they don’t have to come up with anything of substance to counter the Yes campaign. In the absence of any credible arguments, they can always rely on the MSM to do the dirty stuff for them.
      Makes me wonder, have Slab always been this way? Did they just get by for decades through being ‘Not the Tories’?

    14. Embradon says:

      Ironic that the parliament conducting the debate would have no responsibility for “The Royal Mail in a separate Scotland”.

      Perhaps, for clarity, they should be discussing “The Royal Mail in a separate R-UK”.
      They could then debate to their wee hearts content without offending or disturbing anyone.

    15. Ananurhing says:

      MacKenzie’s selective dictionary definition of “separate” says it all really. Mine’s defines the word as meaning ” To act as a barrier between”. Pejorative or what?

    16. John Lyons says:

      I’m not a fan of R-UK although I do like Macedonia know as The Former Yugoslavian Republic of.(FYR for short)  They’re so proud of having once been Yugoslavia, maybe proud Great Brittain should follow that model. Former United Kingdon of Great Brittain. or FUK Great Brittain for short…

    17. Aplinal says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but I live in Macedonia and they DEFINITELY DO NOT like to be called FYRoM.  In ALL official correspondence they use the “Republic of Macedonia” and only use FYRoM (in particular) in dealings with the EU.  This was a sop to the Greeks who had closed the Macedonian border and imposed trade embargo for a few years until pressurised by the EU to desist.  The FYRoM was a “temporary” compromise, which – surprise, surprise – is not yet resolved as both governments continue to use it for their own political ends.

    18. David McCann says:

      A wee bit off topic, but we will forgive you Rev if you use some of the Wings donations to fund your attendance at Reform Scotland’s seminar on the press.
      It is absolutely vital that someone with real facts and EVIDENCE is there to put the case that the Yes side are not getting a fair shout. What do you think?

    19. muttley79 says:

      What kind of media does Scotland want and need in the 21st Century?  An honest one!

      Does Scotland need its own national broadcaster? 

      Does it need its own solution to Leveson? 
      Not sure.

      Does the print media have a future in Scotland? 
      It it keeps on being as biased against independence as it has been then?

      How do we regulate online media – and is there a successful model available to fund high-quality online journalism? 
      Funny you should ask that?!!

    20. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      I’ve said before on this site that the MSM’s  co-operation in supporting scaremongering stories etc will have a negative effect for the NO campaign.
      Loved Margo MacDonald’s comment last night that around half of Labour MSP’s will secretly vote for Independence ’cause they know the score. Christ, Brewer nearly shit himself! 

    21. TYRAN says:

      Franchitti and Judd are separate yet still married as normal. It’s quite common. She’s moved some of her clothes (powers) out of the family house (Westminster) and to her own place (Holyrood). He’s locked the door and has the credit cards. No more powers for you. Best to use the word independent so there is no confusion. The referendum is not about voting for a separate Scotland. ie: devo max in UK. 

    22. Alan Gerrish says:

      Ian MacKenzie?  Ah, yes, I remember him from the Inverclyde election campaign which resulted in victory for him and a big disaster for the people of Inverclyde. “I shall work tirelessly to bring new jobs to Inverclyde” quoth Ian, “Only a Labour victory will bring jobs to Inverclyde”  he added.  So Ian, how many jobs have you secured for Inverclyde, and how do you protect the postal workers jobs by throwing a strop and cancelling your big debate?”
      When will the poorest communities in Scotland ever learn that “Scottish” Labour is profiting from their trust and giving nothing in return?

    23. BillyBigbaws says:

      I hate to be rude, but this fellow – Mackenzie – gives every appearance of being a bawbag.

    24. The Man in the Jar says:

      Hope AS is holding this for next FMQs
      This and Scotland extinguished for wee Ruthie.
      Or perhaps he might have forgoten by then.
      Aye Right!
      Should be good.

    Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

    ↑ Top