The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Quoted for truth

Posted on November 27, 2012 by

Good piece about Parliamentary standards today by Iain Macwhirter over on his personal blog. It covers a lot of ground, and we’re not 100% sure we go along with the comments on Nadine Dorries, but this passage (our emphasis) leapt out:

“And by the way, the PO should ban the practice of applauding at question time. Holyrood has turned into a bear-pit. It isn’t anyone’s fault in particular – though Labour’s conduct has been pretty inexcusable. You can’t win any argument by ranting – except in a pub. The Nats have been behaving in a heavy handed manner since they won their landslide majority and their packing of parliamentary committees hasn’t helped.

Labour’s frustration is partly down to their being locked out of all influence. But it was their fault they lost the election by such a crushing majority, and they aren’t helping their chances of re-election by restoring to the politics of closing time.”

We’ve said several times before that applause should be banned from all forms of televised political debate except at the start and end. It swallows up precious time and serves no purpose – all sides of any given debate will (or at least should) be represented in the audience, and will obediently clap their own man or woman, telling us nothing. It wasn’t permitted in the 2010 UK general election leaders’ debates, and so far as we can tell it wasn’t missed. Holyrood should be no different.

But it’s the second paragraph quoted above that’s even more on-the-nose. In much the same way that they didn’t ever seem to genuinely accept the fact that they lost the 2007 election – seeing it instead as a blip, a grudgingly-permitted technicality, that the SNP got more seats than them – Labour in Scotland have absolutely refused to acknowledge the much bigger hiding they took four years later.

Johann Lamont constantly demands an input that her party simply didn’t earn – the electorate chose, entirely democratically and after looking at the conduct of the previous administration and opposition, to give the SNP the power to run the country without any petty, obstructionist interference this time round. Labour are going to have to suck that up for another three-and-a-half years at least, and if they don’t get a grip on themselves pretty soon they’re going to burst a blood vessel.

Print Friendly

    34 to “Quoted for truth”

    1. Peter A Bell says:

      I don’t mind the applause. In fact, I quite like it. The desk-banging and heckling is another matter entirely.

    2. Cuphook says:

      I thought it interesting last week when Michael McMahon said that he’d acted out of “frustration”. Labour really are flummoxed by the position that they find themselves in; and the purpose of opposition seems to have escaped them. I’m willing to bet that they haven’t even worked on creating a realistic manifesto that they can present to the electorate and, you know, win an election.

      Howler monkey impressions are not a political argument. How long till one of them throws their faeces at Alex Salmond?

    3. mato21 says:

      Who offers the best value


      FM = £13,361
      J.Lamont = £17,831
      W.Rennie = £19,378
      R.Davidson = £20,440
      P.Harvie = £24,266  

    4. Arbroath1320 says:

      I’m with you Peter, I don’t mind the applause too much but the Labour idea of thumping their desks is a right off putter and I’m sure THAT has not gone unnoticed by those people who have yet to make their mind up on Independence.
      How van that be mato? FM has the LOWEST amount of expenses claimed out of ALL political leaders. Shoorley shome mishtake! 😀

    5. Castle Rock says:

      In a way though we do owe Johann Lamont a debt of gratitude for all the converts she’s given us through her performances at FMQ’s and for following London’s instructions in setting up the Cuts Commission.
       She is a bit of a gift.

    6. muttley79 says:

      Yes,  I sometimes think that the Scottish Labour leadership have been living in some sort of a parallel political universe, where the last 5 years have simply not occurred.  However, then you realise that the manner they are acting in, boorish and aggressive, is in fact because they realise that they have been beaten.  However, they have not accepted this at all.  So basically, they realise they have been beaten, by the simple fact that there were Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2007 and 2011,  but have not accepted it at all.  This slight difference is causing them some major problems.

      Remember Lamont saying that the electorate had stopped listening to Labour, instead of Labour had stopped listening to the voters?  The difference here is she could not bear to admit that it was Labour’s fault, that they were the ones out of touch.  Lamont basically said that it was due to the electorate not responding to her party.  This attitude of Scottish Labour, a divine right to rule, should be remembered the next time she accuses Salmond of arrogance.  On past form it will happen very soon…

    7. EdinScot says:

      Castle Rock says:
      27 November, 2012 at 7:29 pm
      In a way though we do owe Johann Lamont a debt of gratitude for all the converts she’s given us through her performances at FMQ’s and for following London’s instructions in setting up the Cuts Commission.
       She is a bit of a gift.

      Well said CR.  The lamentable one and her red Tory party  forget there is a public gallery filled with…well the public and they all can report their findings on her and her parties disgusting behaviour at fmq to the wider public at large by word of mouth.  Her ‘infamous something for nothing’ rant will, i beleive, haunt her and her party on their total sell-out and revealed their masks for the faux Socialists they really are. She and her sick joke of a party should take heed that the people will have the final say.

    8. dadsarmy says:

      Parliamentary expenses perhaps, arbroath1320 – probably claims minsterial expenses separately.

      Watching STV earlier singing the drink 12 days of Christmas, I was struck by an idea to bring concord and bonhommie to Holyrood.

      They should form a choir, membership compulsory, and go out carol-singing!

    9. Boaby Swingin says:

      Castle Rock:
       “She is a bit of a gift.”

      Remove the ‘f’ and ‘a bit of’ and the sentence makes more sense. 

    10. Arbroath1320 says:

      Remember Lamont saying that the electorate had stopped listening to Labour, instead of Labour had stopped listening to the voters?

      Very true Muttley. There is a subtle but VERY important point about that. Unfortunately Lamont et al are incapable of recognising the small but VERY important and significant difference between the electorate listening to Labour and LABOUR listening to the electorate.

    11. Juteman says:

      I’m starting to think that Iain has seen the light. His last two articles have been good.

    12. velofello says:

      In principle it is not appropriate to pass comment or judgement on a person’s appearance or mannerisms but in politics it is a factor in considering a person’s capabilities and sincerity.
      Lamont is just so awful that cautious me wonders “what’s the catch?”. She cannot surely be seriously meaning to “honestly”behave that way – her honest debate pleas put me on guard wrt her sincerity. There must be some cleverly devious psychological game at play that is beyond me. But then I watch Murphy at the Westminster parliament asking if British ship orders will be placed in a foreign country – in the event of Scottish independence. Seems a childishly simplistic question to me. McMahon’s press conference talking about his yellow card offence for insulting the presiding officer in the Scottish parliament that people strived so hard to bring to Scotland.
      And naw, they are just hopeless. and lacking.

    13. DougtheDug says:

      Once upon a time I used to be a fan of Iain MacWhirter but then again I used to regard the Scotsman and Herald as both Scottish and authoritative.

      I don’t like the article linked to from this post. There’s the usual trick of taking Labour, Tory and Lib-Dem behaviour and widening it to cover all MSP’s in the Parliament “We see this in the Scottish parliament where MSPs have started behaving like schoolchildren in detention without any teacher.” and then there’s “The Nats have been behaving in a heavy handed manner since they won their landslide majority and their packing of parliamentary committees hasn’t helped.”.

      I haven’t notice the SNP behaving in a “heavy handed” manner and they can’t “pack” parliamentary committees because under rule 2.11 Parliamentary Procedure, Guidance on Committees, Establishment and Membership, “In proposing membership, the Bureau must have regard to the balance of the parties within the Parliament and to the qualifications and experience of any member expressing an interest in a particular committee.” In other words the committees are as proportional as they can make them in comparison with the parliamentary party numbers without excluding minor parties.

      Iain MacWhirter is a unionist. He is a federalist which means he believes in a system of regional government which will be put in place by Westminster on the day they call out the snowploughs in hell. A good political journalist might believe federalism is the best system to keep the UK unified but only a bad one still writes about it as a possibility.

      I certainly agree with your point that Labour are becoming increasingly frustrated out of power. The Scottish Parliament was not designed for Scotland but for Labour and was meant to be a Labour redoubt in times of Conservative government in Westminster.
      As far as Labour are concerned its design has failed miserably.

    14. Boorach says:

      The demise of labour as a political force in Scotland coincides with the rise of the social media. No longer do the electorate have to accept verbatim the daily dose of MSM propaganda in favour of the unionist parties hence a more informed electorate is able to differentiate between  the parties. They can also see and understand the differences between a devolved Scotland with a SNP government and the other parties who can only offer discredited policies which they regurgitate on instructions from their head offices in London.

      Come 2014 we could be saying “It was the MSM wot won it”!  😆 

    15. Boorach says:

      That, of course, should have been “it was the social media wot won it ,” apologies

    16. Jeannie says:

      I have to confess to feeling a bit sorry for some of the ordinary members of the Labour Party who may well be future-focused and have innovative ideas of their own but are stuck with a leadership hopelessly mired in the past, fighting the same old battles in the same old way, organically incapable of changing and moving on.  I think if I were a young, eager member of the Labour Party, this might be a far greater source of frustration to me than a lack of influence on Holyrood committees. And I can’t imagine that such a person wouldn’t be just as embarrassed about their leaders’ performances at FMQs and on television as the rest of us.

    17. velofello says:

      Boorach you are correct either way. Social media collectively confirmed our individual, previously isolated, misgivings of MSM.

    18. Arbroath1320 says:

      Thing is Jeannie the Labour supporters that you talk about do now have an alternative….Labour for Independence. They are a group, probably turning into a NEW Scottish Labour party sometime in the future, that can see what is so desperately wrong with the current Labour party and are prepared to stand up and actually do something about it.

    19. Jeannie says:

      @Arbroath 1320
      I know. It would be the natural home for the brighter, more innovative Labour members.

    20. Arbroath1320 says:

      Just hope the brighter more innovatives are aware to this ever growing group and are courageous enough to make the leap of faith over to join them. I’m sure they will.

    21. David Smith says:

      I look forward to that day and although my party sympathies lie more with the SNP, I understand that a good, professional opposition serves to keep the ruling party on top of its game. I will welcome a new, Scottish Labour Party with the service of the people and the country it represents its highest priority.
      To the dinosaurs of Lamont’s Zombie Labour I quote Zimmermann:
      “…Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand; for the times they are a-changin’…” 

    22. Bill C says:

      While I wish Labour for Independence all the very best, I am not convinced that the Labour Party in Scotland can be reformed. I see two issues:
      1.  Labour in Scotland take their orders from London Labour.  This was evidenced again by Lamont’s lame parroting of Miliband’s lurch to the right.  London Labour’s agenda is set to win over Middle England, voters in Scotland are still taken very much for granted, despite SNP victories.  I think that London Labour still think that Scotland wiil return to the fold, especially at a UK General Election.

      2. The depth of hatred within many Labourites, (especially in the West of Scotland), for the SNP is all consuming. It is a loathing which is hard to put into words and difficult to quantify. Labour in Scotland, are I believe, incapable of adopting progressive polices, Devo + is a step too far, Devo Max a non starter and independence anathema.

      I hope Labour for Independence manages to convert their party to independence, I really do, but I think it is a task way beyond ordinary mortals. 


    23. Galen10 says:

      @ Bill C

      I think you are probably right in your assessment of Labour in Scotland being a lost cause, however it behoves those of us in favour of independence to at least give 2 cheers for groups like Labour for Indy. Whether that group is capable of transforming Labour, or whether it emerges as a replacement Labour party in an independent Scotland, are in my view less important than its role in promoting a Yes vote in 2014.

      To the extent that such groups provide a “home” for people who are not SNP members or supporters, they should be welcomed for their potential to broaden the appeal of voting Yes. Unlike Catalonia, we don’t have individual parties of different political hues supporting independence; the SNP is something of an umbrella movement sheltering people of many different political outlooks – whether it fragments post indy, and /or what its future position will be is really neither here nor there for the purposes of 2014.

      We don’t have the kind of parties they have in Catalonia, nor even an “independent” Scottish Labour party (I think Jim Sillars tried and failed with that one many moons ago – perhaps we’d have been a lot better off if he’d succeeded?!). The Labour Party in Scotland is as you say a creature of the UK; it is not fit for purpose, nor can it be rendered fit for purpose. As a result groups like Labour for Independence provide a useful alternative for dyed in the wool Labour members and supporters who can’t bring themselves to join or support the SNP, but do want to see change.

    24. Archie Guevara says:

      I don’t feel any sorrow for “ordinary members of the Labour Party” since the ones that I hear from are cast from the same die as their leaders.  What we hear from the party followers is the equivalent of “four legs good, two legs better” as the policy shifts take place and the expenses fraudsters crawl from under their stones.

    25. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      I wonder if Scottish Skier feels happy about being right on this one???

      Boundary changes for devo max: the Tory-SNP deal that may reshape the UK
      An agreement with the Scottish Nationalists could keep the Tories in power – and settle the West Lothian question

      This reads like a justification for a Jam Tommorrow promise just before the referendum…

    26. Peter A Bell says:

      Have you read beyond the headline? There is no substance to the story at all.

    27. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:


      Yes, I know. Read my last line.

      “Have you read beyond the first line?” 😀

    28. Morag says:

      Some one is flying a kite, methinks.  Rather an intricate one, with a dragon head and a long elegant tail, but a kite nonetheless.

    29. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      I wonder if the Conservative MEP John Stevens happens to read Wings and knows of S_S theory?


      Uninoist tactic 1 – Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

      Unionist Tactic 2 – Divide and Conquer

    30. Barontorc says:

      Of course it’s not Labour party MEMBERS that we need to convince – it’s Labour leaning supporters who make up the bulk of Scotland’s population that need convinced.

      The casual feedback coming my way is almost totally founded on the ‘mud-sticks’ category of thinking; don’t like Alex Salmond, can’t be trusted, a liar, never answers a straight question, pompous attitude, etc, etc, straight out of the paint-by-numbers MSM book, but, they have absolutely nothing to say in support of a single Labour politician either.

      My reading is that the YES vote will get a lot of support; positive politics will win the day. I just cannot believe that a third question – ‘devo-whatever’ has been denied to these voters. They have nowhere to go but YES and it’s a master-stroke it being organised by a cross-mix of political head-liners.

      There is at the same time an enormous degree of damage being done to the political fabric of Scotland by these wreckers in the Labour and Tory camps and I’m certain not all politicians in these parties approve of what’s being done. It would be significantly sweet justice to see a few walk across the floor to show it up for what it is. Who’ll be the first to openly sign-up for Labour for Independence?

    31. Jeannie says:

      The behaviour of the Labour Party at the Scottish Parliament does seem to denote an underlying message of “If we can’t have it, we’ll make sure nobody else can either”  If only they would remember that the Scottish Parliament is not their ball to play with – it belongs to the people of Scotland.

    32. Bill C says:

      @Galen10 – I agree. I was a founder member of the Scottish Labour Party (Jim Sillars and John Robertson 1976). It was a great idea and a very courageous move by the two Labour politicians. The party was infiltrated and destroyed by Trots and agent provocateurs.  I think the reluctance of many ex-Labour members to join the SNP is due to a residual hatred of the SNP.  

    33. Arbroath1320 says:

      Thing is Barontoc they had to deny us the second question They had to appear to be fighting to save the union. Personally I think Cameron knows the game is up but is just doing enough to try and hang on.
      He knew the minute the second question appeared as an option then all was lost . We would get Devo whatever and then a few years later say 10 – 20 years we’d have another referendum and we’d win outright Independence. So from his point of view Scotland WILL become Independent  He just hopes that enough voters will vote NO in 2014 to delay the inevitable. Unfortunately he hasn’t factored in the number of Devo supporters who will vote for full Independence because they do not want the status quo. Moreover I don’t think he has really thought through this promise of jam tomorrow. I don’t think he realises that there are still an awful lot of us still around who can remember the Tory promise of jam tomorrow in 1979.

    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