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Struggling for words

Posted on February 19, 2015 by

It’s not often you get to see someone actually thinking out loud.

mcdougallwords

The spectacular collapse of their “FACT: the biggest party forms the government” line earlier this month has clearly left Scottish Labour somewhat scarred. Ever since it was blown out of the water as being not only untrue but also comically hypocritical, the party has been frantically trying to find a new way of saying it that conveys the same message without being technically false.

biggestparty

Blair McDougall looks like he was trying out a few variations that he meant to send to Jim Murphy by private message but accidentally tweeted publicly. Just minutes apart and seemingly apropos of nothing (they’re not responses to tweets from anyone else), he says the same thing four times in slightly different phrasing.

Yet every one of them is as wrong as the last.

bmshite1

Rubbish. Imagine that the election breaks down CON 285 LAB 275 SNP 45 LIB 20 UKIP 5 OTHERS 20. Who’s in “pole position” there?

The Tories are the biggest party, but even with backing from the Lib Dems and UKIP they’re well short of the 321 seats they realistically need for even a slight majority. Labour have fewer seats, but could secure backing from the SNP and the Lib Dems for a workable 340 votes, with potential extras available from Wales and NI.

The party in “pole position” is whichever one has the best chance of forming a viable government. Labour have a large advantage in that the SNP, who are expected to grab at least 20 seats and possibly far more, will absolutely not back the Tories. In the highly-plausible example above, being the biggest party gets the Tories nowhere.

bmshite2

Nonsense. Democracy by no means always delivers single-party government – indeed, in Europe majorities are the exception rather than the norm. By definition, any grouping which can command a majority in Parliament is a democratic one. If the electorate wanted to give one party absolute control, they would.

bmshite3

Hogwash. Which has the more “moral authority” – Tony Blair’s 2005 government, which represented just 35% of the electorate and got to steamroller the wishes of two-thirds of the country, or the current coalition, which was voted for by almost 60%?

If Labour had succeeded in their attempts to form a coalition with the Lib Dems, that alliance would have spoken for 52% of the nation – a majority, and more than Blair’s government did, yet without the largest party being involved. And Labour’s senior spokesmen in Scotland today both expressly told us at the time that it would have had the “moral authority” to do so.

weedoug

murphycoalition

You’d imagine, as someone who works for both of them, Blair McDougall would know that. Which only leaves us with his final effort.

bmshite4

Piffle. The people will expect SOMEONE to form a government, but mostly they’ll want it to involve whoever they personally voted for. If Labour get one fewer seat than the Tories, but can get a workable majority by co-operating with other parties, Labour voters will be thrilled, as presumably will be the supporters of those other parties.

The only people who’ll be angry will be those who voted for the party which won most seats. But since for this scenario to occur they’d almost certainly have to number somewhere in the region of 30% of the electorate, it’s hardly an outrage. You can’t really whine about not being the government if only 3 in 10 people voted for you.

Given that “Vote SNP get Tories” is Scottish Labour’s ONLY election message, we suspect we’ll see many more bouts of semantic wrestling in weeks to come as the party tries to find a way of making a demonstrably false line stick. We’re waiting keenly to see the next attempts.

.

FOOTNOTE: See here.

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    115 to “Struggling for words”

    1. Michael Shedden says:

      They really aren’t thinking this through at all are they? There must be a very large chance that all this will come back to bite them.

      In the fairly likely event that the Tories are the largest party, Labour are going to look pretty silly trying to form a government now – even if the other parties’ numbers make it the obvious eventuality.

      I can hear Cameron already sneering at Miliband: “Does he not agree that it is the largest party that get to form the government?”.

    2. BrianW says:

      All i can say is:

      Bollocks to Blair.. What about all the Lab/Con/Lib parties that joined forces to form Local Council Administrations just to keep the SNP out..

      “People will be pretty angry if a combination of other parties try to prevent the leading party form forming a government.”

      Aye your bloody right they will Blair.. and it’s happened Locally in several places around Scotland by your Better Together, uKOK cronies.

      Tw@t.

      You really don’t have any positive messages/policies to give to the people of Scotland do you Blair? So in place of that you just open your mooth and let yir belly rumble.

      Hats off to you though.. It’s Comedy Gold.

    3. Jim Bowman says:

      Blair McDougall, just for you here’s the line you’re after: “You hate us and we hate you, but just vote for us cause like… stuff” – sorted.

    4. Dog says:

      Hmmmmm what should I write on this comments page?

    5. Colin Cameron says:

      Maybe they’ll eventually come up with something that works? I won’t hold my breath.

      Nice filenames BTW 🙂

    6. Dog says:

      Something funny would be good…

    7. Johnny says:

      Could not agree more with the article.

      The ‘people’ are not going to be angry if a majority get something like what they voted for (and, as you point out, even accept it when a large majority did not, as in 2005). Blair would of course like to pretend the ‘people’ are a homogenous mass who want what he wants but, sadly, they don’t.

      Yes, the minority left without their party in power will be slightly larger if the biggest party does not play some role in forming the government, but that’s all. If anything, the coalition era we seem to be in the middle of is a lot fairer whether it’s a ‘coalition of the losers’ (tm, N. Robinson, 2010) or some other arrangement.

    8. Callum says:

      give the man some credit, I was indeed angry when the Labour party and Conservative party prevented the leading party (SNP) from running Stirling Council.

    9. the Penman says:

      With regards to the first: the biggest party are absolutely not in pole position to form a government; in a hung parliament the previous government (or Prime Minister?) are in pole position, in that *they get to literally go first*. How hard is this to understand for Labour?

    10. Johnny says:

      Michael Shedden @ 2:44pm

      Alarmingly, they are perhaps going to try and make that their excuse for shirking the responsibilty of government. We will see but, given that pretty much every commentator thinks it’s going to be a hung parliament, Labour seem to be getting all their excuses ready as to why they might not come out of that in power.

      I wonder if there is something horrible (economic crash?) coming down the pipe that they are really desperate not to preside over?

    11. the Penman says:

      With regards to the second: No, the political commentators and those with vested interests in how Westminster works will expect the largest party to govern. The public will expect that the party who can get enough MPs to agree with it will form a government. The coalition this time round has set a precedent of one way to do it; us in Scotland have seen at least two other ways in Holyrood.

    12. Nobody wants a Tory government but by the same token I don’t want a Labour government unless of course they are tempered by the SNP.
      At the very least with the SNP you get, for better or worse, what it says on the tin.
      Slabber, with the man from Westmonster have become so inept that you could be excused for thinking that they were the distraction element of a greater confidence trick. The time has long past for a return to honest politics, if there is such a thing. Vote SNP, give Scotland a voice, whatever the outcome of GE 2015

    13. chalks says:

      Was he not doing it out loud to see what got the most retweets?

      Then he would go with that one?

    14. John Jones says:

      Jim Murphy on daily record yesterday – “Since before the World War II, the largest party has formed the government. The more seats the SNP get from Labour, the more likely it is that the Tories will be the biggest party across the UK and Cameron will get into government through the back door. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/revealed-daily-record-poll-shows-5187551

      Not sure how accurate this is but “confused” yes I am

    15. the Penman says:

      With regards to the third: No, that’s your opinion, not a fact (FACT) by any means. If the largest party get an absolute majority, then they carry a huge amount of moral authority to form a government; if nobody does then everyone involved carry the moral authority to come to an agreement to work out who can be a government. That’s how grown-up parliamentary democracy works, instead of Blair’s world of Westminster which assumes that “it’s us vs them” is the only way it can work.

    16. frankieboy says:

      I’m beginning to think that Murphy, McTernan and McDougall come out with this drivel so they can get a mention in Wings. I reckon they fancy Stu.

    17. Luigi says:

      Brilliant demolition job, Stu. The FPTP system is threatening to work against them and they don’t like it one bit. Blair McDougal’s tweets, thinking aloud in desperation to come up with a believable “biggest party” soundbite, are hilarious.

      Why should a party with barely 30% of the overall vote have exclusive rights to form a government?

      Why should two parties, not the largest but with more than 50% of the vote combined, not be allowed to form a government?

      It’s about time that the Westminster tories (of all hues) were given a real lesson in democracy.

    18. Craig B says:

      Labour disciples must really hate you

    19. HandandShrimp says:

      If Cameron had 315 seats and Miliband had 200 but managed to persuade every other party to support him and thereby take No 10, one might expect distraught Tories in England to fulminate a tad.

      However, how damned unpopular would Dave have to be to not be able to entice a single party to his side, not even the UUP and DUP?

      In practice there is unlikely to be more than 20 or 30 seats between Labour and the Tories (on current polls…this could change) and if the Liberals are toast then Cameron is going to toil to put together a working majority even if his is the single largest party.

      What these ramblings do make clear is that Labour spads have absolutely no confidence in Ed and expect him to lose in England and lose badly. If he does lose will the backlash be any worse if the SNP allow him into No 10 or Scottish Labour MPs do? Will the rabid writers in the Wail differentiate this subtle nicety.

    20. the Penman says:

      With regards to the fourth: No, that’s a non-sequitur. Not only will everyone understand that where Labour and the Lib Dems agree, or Labour and SNP, or Conservatives and UKIP, or whoever, they should vote together to implement government, but this happens all the time at lower level government than Westminster. People would be possibly miffed at firsts followed by a bit interested (especially if this is something they’ve not seen before), then accepting, then not really bothered so long as they can get on with their lives.

    21. HandandShrimp says:

      Labour disciples must really hate you

      🙂

      That is all, just

      🙂

    22. StevieMcB says:

      NewsShaft podcast
      http://newsshaft.podbean.com/
      Rev Stu, FMQs and more

    23. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

      #VoteMilibandGetRedTories 🙂

    24. MochaChoca says:

      McDougall should be made to wear a Conservative Party cheerleader outfit. With pom poms.

    25. John O says:

      Blair McDougall the new crash test dummy, that should suffice
      hope this helps. 🙂

    26. HandandShrimp says:

      John Jones

      For most of the existence of the UK Parliament there have been two parties Whigs and Tories, Liberals and Tories and Labour and Tories. For transitional periods there were three parties when Labour appeared on the scene and recently as other parties have kicked in including the Liberal revival.

      The largest party could nothing else but form a government. There is no law that says it must though and what is most important is a working majority. With just three parties the largest is again best placed if there is no overall majority but as soon as several parties are involved then it becomes a matter of natural alliances. If the largest party is a Billy No Mates then they are onto plums.

    27. bugsbunny says:

      Dog,

      What about, “Get a life, Fatty, and a diet”.

      From someone who has recently lost exactly 6 stone and 2 pounds.

      Stephen.

      P.S. This propaganda is aimed at the same idiots that were about to vote yes, but voted no. The hardcore Labour supporters would still vote Labour if their local party started a witch hunt and started burning their wives at the stake.

      The old Labour mentality is, don’t think for yourself or out of the box, don’t better yourself, be in poverty and debt all of your lives, don’t give a damn about your country or your family or community, think of number 1 only.

      Any moral authority the “People’s Party”, had evaporated a generation ago, if not two. They have no empathy, no conscience, no morals, no backbone, no feelings of “black burning shame”, no guilt. When I found out that Cathy Jamieson MP was high up in Ayrshire CND, I nearly wrote a letter of resignation. However I thought, “sod it”. She’s the hypocrite, not me.

      We must get the message loud and clear that Labour no longer has any authority, moral or otherwise, over the hearts and minds of ordinary Scot’s.

      Let’s bayonet the survivors after May. lol.

      Stephen.

    28. Lollysmum says:

      Rev
      Ever had the thought that these idiots have trouble with parliamentary rules & structures?

      The rules are clear in the Commons Manual & at the 2010 election Labour tried everything to get them to work for itself but failed.

      5 years later those rules are undemocratic & will make voters angry. WHAT???????? Noooooooooooooooo! What planet are they on? As you say above, if they don’t vote for you then the electorate doesn’t want you & that’s correct so they can only blame themselves for that outcome. It’s called ‘putting yourself to the electorate’ for a reason. They can’t be arsed about voters at any time other than election time but in doing so they have to accept the voters’ decision.

      Tell you what, there’s a lot of people out there getting very, very, cold feet now. If they could avoid this election going ahead they would but that would deprive us of so much joy. It can’t come soon enough for the electorate 🙂

      Roll on May

      What is it they say? #youcouldn’tmakeitup

    29. Jamie Arriere says:

      Maybe this is Labour’s way of saying they have absolutely no intention of forming a coalition with the SNP. Maybe they should come right out and say it, and see how democratic people think they are.

    30. heedtracker says:

      “Whoever becomes the largest party carries a HUGE amount of moral authority” is a cracker” means what, other than absolutely nothing in Westminster. From the ferocious, lying, smearing, terrorising, THE VOW fraudster creep show that gave Scotland Project Fear too.

    31. Onwards says:

      This new ‘moral’ authority argument is nonsense because of tactical voting.

      Many Scottish voters will deliberately choose to vote SNP as a way of keeping pressure on a Labour government that would otherwise forget about further devolution.

    32. manandboy says:

      Stu, more great work from yourself.
      Thank you x 3.

      I do wonder how a guy like Blair gets work, but, there you are.

      Ps, RU going to leave ‘I Will Kill You With Hammers’ there forever. Time for a new threat – to freshen things up a bit.
      My wife hates a pot scraping on a hob – like I do frequently.
      Something like that, to make us squirm!

    33. Robbie says:

      Supposing Labour is in the position to form a govt and supposing SNP do have the majority of seats in Scotland, with the kind of rhetoric Blair has here Labour wouldn’t be able in a position to refuse; SNP would be in pole position, would have the moral right to form govt, and people would be angry if Labour were to refuse them. And all According to McDougall’s own logic.

    34. bugsbunny says:

      Mocha,

      That I would like to see. He would even have a big pair of breasts to jiggle up and down with his pom poms. Should stir the loins of many an old Etonian Tory.

      Stephen.

    35. Fiona says:

      John Jones says:
      19 February, 2015 at 3:01 pm
      Jim Murphy on daily record yesterday – “Since before the World War II, the largest party has formed the government. The more seats the SNP get from Labour, the more likely it is that the Tories will be the biggest party across the UK and Cameron will get into government through the back door.

      What????

      If this was true what is his complaint? So far as I can see, he asserts that the largest party forms the government. Leaving aside the fact that this is not remotely true in constitutional terms, what is his point? He concedes that the largest party may be the conservatives. So how are they getting in by the back door, on this reasoning?

      Oh, Scottish votes belong to him….I see, now.

      Carry on 🙂

    36. Kenny says:

      “MacDonald government ‘immoral’ claims Murphy staffer.”

      “McDougall: Gordon Brown ‘tried to subvert democracy TWICE.'”

    37. Macart says:

      That fella MacDougall has issues…

      … mainly with facts, logic, truth etc

    38. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      The “biggest” Party gets to form the Government.

      By which definition, by seats or votes.

      It is possible that Labour could have more seats but fewer voters. So that with a coalition the Tories would have bot more seats and more voters?

      Labour would be pig stuck.

      Another scenario could be that Labour gains slightly more seats but not a clear majority. They approach the SNP for support on an issue and confidence basis thereby gaining two majorities. Cameron would go batshit crazy but, do you think MacDougal would bother his erchie about that?

      The are a few more possibilities which could come to pass and bite the erchie of MacD.

      Great fun. Need to plant fast growing maize soon.

    39. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Please note, readers: see footnote to article.

    40. glynbeddau says:

      I am not sure Plaid Cymru would appreciate being called extras.

    41. Johnny says:

      Jamie Arriere @ 3:18

      Yes, I really do wonder. It all sounds like excuses to me. As if they don’t really want to govern and they want to make it everyone else’s fault. Well, I think if there is even a kernel of truth in that they are being so irresponsible it just isn’t funny. If you don’t want to govern in a way that works for the majority, Labour, just disband and bugger off.

    42. John Sellars says:

      …..

      chalks says:
      19 February, 2015 at 3:00 pm
      Was he not doing it out loud to see what got the most retweets?

      Then he would go with that one?

      ……..

      Now that was funny!!

    43. Lesley-Anne says:

      I think I have decyphered wee Blair’s tweet, specifically the last one.

      People will be pretty angry if a combination of other parties try to prevent the leading partry from forming a government.”

      This tweet is in fact Labour double, or is it triple speak 😉 , for:

      LABOUR will be pretty angry if a combination of other parties try to prevent the leading partry from forming a government.” 😛

    44. Johnny says:

      Fiona @ 3:22

      Yes, the argument is in essence that Labour are entitled to win regardless of votes cast. Ergo, if another party has more votes, it’s because some unfairness has occurred and the victory has not been achieved by straight up means.

    45. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @ Lollysmum

      MacDougall, McTernan and Murphy will have no significant input in any deal that Miliband would offer the SNP, post 7th May.

      That decision will be taken by the big boys not the jockanese riff-raff.

    46. gillie says:

      1st Attempt: “largest party”
      2nd: “largest party”
      3rd: “leading party”
      4th: “leading party”

      perhaps

      5th: “mostest party”, or
      6th: “bulkiest party”, or even
      7th: “fandabidozist party, or probably
      8th: “it’sno’fair party”

    47. heedtracker says:

      That fella MacDougall has issues…

      … mainly with facts, logic, truth etc and pies!

      Oh come on, its all just banter Bliar? If Bliar MacBloater can brand/dehumanise/monster everyone voting and arguing YES or SNP online a cybernat, he wont mind if he gets one of his ten bellies prodded a bit. Lie fatboy lie.

    48. MochaChoca says:

      Just read your edit. Conclusion: McDougall is cleverer than he looks, but not clever enough know he can’t see the wood for the trees.

    49. Stoker says:

      Callum says:
      “I was indeed angry when the Labour party and Conservative party prevented the leading party (SNP) from running Stirling Council.”

      Aye, me too!
      😉
      ____________

      John Jones says:
      “Not sure how accurate this is but “confused” yes I am”

      Aye, you must be if you think anyone wants to click direct links to The Daily Rectum and help that Unionist rag to survive.
      Tip: stop Rectum gazing and your confusion will disappear.
      🙂

    50. Bruno Baumgärtner says:

      The most likely coalition, if the Lib-Dems are rightfully wiped off the political szene, is a Tory/Labour one. so we should challenge both parties of what they think of this idea. It is for me really suspicious, none of the elephants are very low-key about this point.

      The problem for a small coalition partner is always that their convictions are lost to the general public. Exemples: Lib-Dems before and the Social-Democrates now. Madame Merkel is all too overpowering there. Here we would not suffer from such a strong person. Both party leaders do not really belong to this category.

    51. MochaChoca says:

      Lesley-Anne
      Yes, except in a surprising turn of events, Labour may well be one of parties trying to prevent the leading party forming a government.

    52. Desimond says:

      Another story about Labour stealing and reusing old SNP stuff…. oh come on!

    53. george says:

      mcdougall trying to be smart-arsed with the press? is that entirely sensible of him?

      well done for owning up to being zinged stu, just keep the actual facts coming for us and we can make up our own minds

    54. Schrödinger's cat says:

      I don’t think mcdougall is clever enough for such a sting, mcturnip’s hands all over this one

    55. Wull says:

      If only all Conservative voters in Scotland would believe the Labour slogan – ‘vote SNP, get Tories’ – they would all vote SNP. After all, they want a Tory government, and Labour is advising them how to get it.

      They know very well that voting Tory in Scotland will be a wasted vote, because of ‘first past the post’, an arrangement to which their Party is firmly committed even though it does not serve their own interests in Scotland. There is only one constituency where voting Tory might result in a Tory victory: elsewhere, sensible Tories should vote for someone else.

      But they won’t be able to vote for Labour. That would be taking ‘Better Together’ too far, and anyway that one is already consigned to history. So, committed Conservatives, you should listen to what Labour is telling you: ‘Vote SNP, the only way to keep Labour out (which is precisely what you want) and get the Conservatives in!’

      Of course, if you listen to your own Party’s propaganda instead, you might fear that if you ‘vote SNP you will get Ed Miliband as PM and some kind of Labour government’. But think of it: this will be a Labour government that will have its hands tied by the SNP, and will not be able to do exactly as it pleases. The alternative – returning Labour MPs instead of SNP ones – is to end up with a Labour government that can rule unconstrained and unfettered, with an outright majority.

      Conservative voters / sympathisers in Scotland are throwing their vote away, for no purpose and with no result, if they vote Conservative in a General Election. Only the SNP or Labour is going to win in almost all Scottish constituencies (making abstraction of one where the Conservatives, and another couple where the LibDems might still have a chance). There is no point in them giving their vote to other minority parties which are also going to lose. They should use their head; and if they do, they will do the sensible thing and vote SNP.

      It’s a no-brainer: from their point of view, better a constrained Ed Miliband than one who rules unfettered. And, better still, according to Labour, if they vote SNP they will actually be furthering their own cause. Which will certainly not be the case if they throw away their vote on a Tory (or other) No-Hoper.

      If they are sensible, Scottish Tories should vote SNP in May 2015.

      But are they? And will they?

      Not for me to answer, but for them. On May 7th.

    56. Dr Jim says:

      Labours whole argument
      Doomed or less doomed what’ll it be Hmmm
      SNP the ground will open up and swallow all
      Tories They’re really bad but no as bad as SNP
      Lib Dems Don’t waste your vote..very poor
      Labour We’re just as bad as the rest but at least you know that and trust everything will be the same but most importantly SNP bad

    57. Nation Libre says:

      Surely there has only been a few times since the war that a single party never had a majority anyway and had to form a coalition. Murphy makes it sound as if every election involved negotiations to see who formed the government

      Aren’t Labour kind of painting themselves into a corner with this argument as should they end up a couple of seats behind the Tory Party, they’ve provided an endless stream of quotes stating the largest party should form the government

      I’m really beginning to think that they’d rather lose this election so that they are not involved in the continuing austerity and even worse, in power being beholden to SNP support

      A Labour government backed up by the SNP would have to concede considerable further powers to Scotland. This would surely strengthen the SNP in Scotland, further loosening Labour’s hold, with many ‘Old, Aye Labour’ voters moving on

      Why else would they have allowed the Two Eds and Murphy in charge?

    58. It would take real politicians to carry off a minority Government, alas there are not many about in this modern world where the troughers think me, me, me all the time. We need The SNP in Westmonster to keep then honest.

    59. JLT says:

      I tell you …does Blair truly understand the true meaning of his second tweet, where he ponders on the question, ‘Whoever becomes the largest party carries a huge amount of moral authority’

      Ponder on that for a second …the moral authority.

      What we are being asked here is that whoever wins, will have the great responsibility of leading not just a nation morally, but also ethically. The party (outright or through coalition) will have to make decisions that the people expect. They will want the NHS protected. For the Scottish people, they will want Trident removed from their shores. We will want to see an end to food banks. We will want to see the bankers reined in and finally forced to live ‘morally and ethically’ just as the vast majority of the people do.

      These are just some examples.

      So what is it that Blair is asking? Lets look at the parties.

      Will the Labour Party lead by example as the voice of moral authority?

      No. They are tied in with big business, would like to retain Trident, and have shouted loudly that they will implement Austerity even better than the Tories!

      Will the Conservative Party lead by example as the voice of moral authority?

      Hell, No!!! They are big business, are the military and will without a shadow of a doubt take austerity much further than Labour would promise. These are nasty evil b******! Even Satan takes advice from them.

      Will the Lib Dems lead by example as the voice of moral authority?

      Ha ha ha ha …they will sell their souls for power and back anybody else’s policies if it meant just a whiff of power. Thank God they are almost gone …and hopefully into the history bins with them.

      Will UKIP lead by example as the voice of moral authority?

      …..tumbleweed ….faint wind …more tumbleweed….

      That leaves you know who.

      The ‘Yes’ ideology team. The SNP, Greens and SSP. And if they can somehow …strongarm the Labour Party into a coalition deal, then who knows? But if this does come to pass and we do end up with a Labour-SNP coalition, then just watch Middle England erupt in fury when they realise that they are about to be partially ruled by the SNP. Democracy! …England will clamour for their own referendum than be ruled by a Party, whom they perceive as being nasty, anti-English and bitter …even though we know that is not true, and that at the heart of the SNP’s moral charter, they are ethically and morally what everyone wants …and even they only want the best for EVERYONE in these islands.

    60. Grizzle McPuss says:

      Blair McDougall, aka Billy Bunter, is now being set loose to thwart the SNP advance as apparently Jim Murphy cannot walk any further today having shot himself (repeatedly) in the Foot(e)

      http://www.vintage-television.com/billybunter.html

    61. ScottieDog says:

      If I had labour at my door spouting this, I would ask them genuinely and politely of course ask why do they insist on voting with the Tories so much if they’re so against them.

    62. Doug Daniel says:

      This is reminiscent of the sort of giggling-schoolboys-behind-the-bike-shed nonsense the Better Together campaign was forever coming out with, and which ended up pushing people towards Yes in frustration. All the focus is on trying to wind up opponents online, without any thought as to what they’re really saying, or how it looks to those they actually want to attract.

      The entire Jim Murphy regime seems to be more about winding up nationalists than actually trying to win back ex-Labour voters. What sort of “genius” thinks pissing those folk off is a winning strategy? It’s bizarre.

    63. Lesley-Anne says:

      MochaChoca says:

      Lesley-Anne
      Yes, except in a surprising turn of events, Labour may well be one of parties trying to prevent the leading party forming a government.

      What are you doing on here Mocha, you’re far too clever to be reading sites like this especially the comments! 😀

      . Alex Salmond isn’t the leader of a party any more, but his comments referred to a Holyrood election, conducted under a fundamentally different electoral system to a Westminster one – Holyrood was explicitly designed NOT to give anyone a majority.

      Working under the full authority of the village idiot here Stu but does this still not hold true for Holyrood then? Therefore we can still quite correctly, if you are a member of the Village Idiots club (fully paid up member by the way 😉 state this as fact and it will still be true for HOLYROOD elections. The problem here is wee Blair boy has taken a factually correct statement about Holyrood and turned it into a demonstrobly inaccurate statement about WESTMINSTER.

      McDougall is not a secret member of Murph the Smurph’s “Nine years at uni without a degree” club by any chance? 😛

    64. Auld Rock says:

      Brian W, where did you get the expression, “open your mouth and let your belly rumble”? This was a favourite expression of my Alec Rodger my Higher Maths teacher in the late 50’s and apart from myself I’ve never heard anybody using it. You can email me at asterix [dot] says [dot] yes [at] gmail [dot] com

      Auld Rock

    65. Marcia says:

      The Labour campaigners look like a bunch of people who would unplug your life support so they could charge their smartphone to enable them to tweet against the SNP.

    66. Marie clark says:

      It’s awe that Alicsammin’s fault. Did youse no read the Rev’s footnote.

      Mystery solved.

    67. Mealer says:

      Marcia
      That’s good.

    68. Desimond says:

      “Ha!! It was Salmond who said it!”

      Its all so exhaustingly backward-lookingly sad isnt it?

      You get the impression that Blair, John and Jim must be raging they cant use pictures of Thatcher after Gordon Brown had her into Nbr 10 for afternoon tea not so long ago.(PS By coincidence both were wearing the shade of pink utilised by todays Labour party!)

      Theres at least 1 generation of Scots who have no idea what the “Your scots so hate the Tories” even means, the days of “As long as we’re no them!” politics are dead and gone, if Labour dont see that, it really will be putting the fun in funeral when May results come in.

      And this is from someone who cheered loudly in Parkhead Forge car park the moment Portillo was ousted and we all thought a new dawn was on the way…mea culpa!

    69. Tarisgal says:

      Isn’t it funny how, after nearly 50% of the electorate voted ‘yes’ for independence, and things didn’t go our way (at that ‘dress rehersal), we had no right to be angry. We had to suck it up, move on – and get on quietly with our austerity-driven lives. Now its a case of, if the largest party doesn’t get in, we are allowed (have been given permission by Blair McDougall, which was terribly big of him) to be angry.

      Clearly one set of rules for Labour & supporters and one set for SNP electorate. And Labour are trying to draw their ex-supporters back to the fold? What a juvenile way to go about it. The Scots are not fools, but rational thinkers and this kind of silly nonsense does NOT encourage anyone to rekindle their desire to be part of the Labour movement. Honestly – I can’t believe how petty Labour are getting in their hatred for another’s viewpoint!

    70. the Penman says:

      So, the pubchline is that these were quoted from Alex Salmond about a Holyrood election? And we’re all meant to roll over and go “och, well, if Alex said it it MUST be true”?

      Poor, poor Blair McDougall – he can’t actually conceive that we would turn round and say “Well, Alex was wrong then.” – the idea of someone in Labour agreeing that one of their own was wrong 8 years ago being anathema of course. Projection, much?

    71. Desimond says:

      Just imagine youre a hard working low paid union member.
      You get home from work knackered, and you think “Hmm Lets see where my Labour contributions have been going today then”….and then you see the man with the massive pay packet is spending his time and your money winding folk up on twitter.

      yip, well done union worker man, thats money well spent that!

    72. So, it’s official then.

      Last tweet cited in article indicates that if they are the second largest party in a hung parliament and the Conservatives are the largest, Labour will refuse to form a minority government or a coalition government with any other party SAVE the Tories.

      Sensational news.

    73. Ronbon says:

      Suspect we will get more of this as the election aproaches i.e. Labour in their desperation trying to set a trap by reusing old SNP stuff and/or lying which has become an addiction for them.

      Fortunately Stu and his team are too savvy to be hoodwinked!

    74. Macart says:

      If Mr MacDougall isn’t aware of how the Scottish parliament works.

      http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/visitandlearn/Education/18663.aspx

      http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/visitandlearn/Education/16285.aspx

      “In 1999 the people of Scotland were given the opportunity to elect a Scottish Parliament for the first time (the Parliament before 1707 was not elected). A decision had to be made about what type of electoral system should be used. Most people wanted to avoid using the ‘first past the post’ system used in the UK general elections. This system can disadvantage some parties and can allow one party to form a government with an overall majority of seats but at the same time get less than half the votes cast.”

    75. Meindevon says:

      Sorry off topic, but I’ve just had a phone call from my local Exeter Labour HO. Asking about a) any local issues I want to discuss and b) will you be voting for us (as usual).

      I got a) out of the way ( could there be an election coming up?) and said as a Scot I was very unhappy with the way Labour had cosied up to the other parties, particularly the Tories to persuade Scotland to vote No in the referendum.

      I had a similar conversation last year before the referendum with someone after another phone call and I did actually get a letter from Ben Bradshaw himself who said that he had some sympathy with my views as his partner is Scottish.

      However as I never saw Mr B stand up against the ‘vote No or the world will end’ attitude, I said I would not be voting Labour now or in the near future. I went easy on her as she sounded like a wee lassie and she probably didn’t expect to be discussing a Scottish issue.

      I do hope Mr B writes again though, his thoughts on the referendum and the upcoming GE will be interesting.

      (Please God, I hope there’s enough paragraph breaks as the rev could be down here pretty quick!)

    76. DougtheDug says:

      Actually Alex Salmond was right and Blair MacDougall is also right because he agrees with Alex.

      1. The largest party will have the best chance to form a Government because they will not need so many MP’s from other parties to form a majority.

      2. People will expect at some level that the largest party will form a Government for the reason above.

      3. The largest party will have moral authority to form a Government but then again so does any party or group elected to the Parliament which can command a majority of MP’s and the electorate.

      4.People who voted for the largest party will be angry if a rag-bag of unnatural allies stop the largest party from forming a Government.

      However none of these things back up the Labour line that only the largest party can legally form a Government.

      If the Tories are the largest party but not a majority they will of course look for allies to form a Government but that doesn’t stop Labour also doing the same thing.

      In a hung parliament it will simply come down in the end to who can forge some form of agreement or coalition with another party or parties which gives them enough seats to form a majority.

    77. Helena Brown says:

      Auld Rock, you live a very sheltered life. Have been using it for years, my Mother and Father both used it and I think was well known in my part of the World, Edinburgh.

    78. thedogphilosopher says:

      I take it that all this talk about being ‘the largest party’ has to be understood in the context of there being a well-hung parliament?

      Boys will be boys!

      Alas.

    79. Thepnr says:

      Blair McDougals problem is that if we vote Labour we get Tory.

      Tories of the red variety, but Tories none the less. I’m amazed that this halfwit still has a job. He will be unemployable after May 8th unless he accepts a zero hours contract on minimum wage.

      THERE IS NO LABOUR PARTY NOW ONLY TORIES IN DISGUISE

    80. Helena Brown says:

      I followed Stuart’s links to the Labour Progress page, worth a look, written by a certain McTernan, I think you will know him. He thinks Labour won an election on the 19th September also one of the commentators thought that those from Labour joining the SNP are hardliners who had been thrown out by Labour. Never being one to refuse a challenge I had to thrown out a few comments. I did say that as they are unlikely to correct anything by May they should simply carry on as before whilst so many former Labour Members work their butt off to keep them out of any seat.

    81. Marcia says:

      I was puzzled in 2007 as to why the Labour and LD’s did not try to form a minority administration at Holyrood in 2007. A tactical error by them and god bless, thanks for not trying.

    82. MochaChoca says:

      I’m sure each of the parties will consider the moral aspect when conducting their coalition negotiations 😉

    83. Will Podmore says:

      In Elliott and Hanning’s biog of Cameron, they note that in 2010, “the Tories, as the winners of the largest number of seats, had the chance to form a government.” And,
      “Clegg had always said he would talk to the party with the greatest number of seats first.” Politicians don’t always respect constitutional conventions when power is at stake.
      The incumbent always has the advantage and the initiative.
      None of the ‘Rev”s speculations alter the obvious fact that in Scotland, voting SNP would largely take seats away from Labour, reducing their total in all Britain, giving the Tories a relative advantage, making it more likely that the Tories will get back in.
      But some Wings supporters are quite happy with that, like JimW when he wrote, “David Cameron seems the better of a bad choice.” Wings, 4 February 2015.

    84. wullie says:

      Vote labour get Tory policies, nuff said.

    85. Sheena W says:

      Hi Auld Rock, “opening your mooth an lettin yer belly rumble” is a weel-kent expression in Dundee! And to get back on topic, this does have McTernan’s fingerprints all over it. We have to double check and then double check again everything they say because, as we all know, large segments of the MSM will accept it withour question. We saw that today with whatsisname giving Murphy credit for the WOmen’s Prison to Murphy when it was actually groups like Women for Indie etc lobbying and Derek Mackay’s own reservations about it.

    86. Joemcg says:

      The stooshie about photographing red Tory liars on your doorstep and putting it on the net,is that actually illegal?

    87. Stoker says:

      @ Auld Rock (4.04pm),

      “open your mouth and let your belly rumble” is a very old and widely used phrase. I’ve heard it many times throughout my life, especially in my childhood. Mind you, don’t know when i last heard it used.
      ___________

      @ Desimond (4.17pm),

      Bullseye!

    88. DougtheDug says:

      @Will Podmore:

      “Clegg had always said he would talk to the party with the greatest number of seats first.”

      Nothing to do with which party is nearest politically to the Lib-Dems just a power grab. It confirms my view of Lib-Dems.

      “making it more likely that the Tories will get back in”

      Nonsense. If the combined SNP+Lab numbers are greater than Lib-Dem+Tory numbers then it doesn’t matter who talks first.

      The point is that the contest in Scotland matters very little to the overall SNP+Labour total because it’s just shifting seats between the two.

      Apart from any loss of Lib-Dem seats in Scotland to the SNP the contest as ever is in England. Unless Labour can get enough in England to form a majority or make an SNP+Labour majority possible then the Tories and whatever remains of the Lib-Dems will get back into Government.

    89. Marcia says:

      I doubt it is illegal but don’t think it is nice. If you look under the tweet issued from Blair McD – someone has link a photo and an earlier that his side took of a Yes canvasser.

      Oscar Wilde was right, ‘If you keep telling the truth, sooner or later, you get found out’.

    90. Marcia says:

      My comment is in reply to Joemcg at 4.53.

    91. Luigi says:

      Will Podmore says:
      19 February, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      “… in Scotland, voting SNP would largely take seats away from Labour, reducing their total in all Britain, giving the Tories a relative advantage, making it more likely that the Tories will get back in.”

      Nonsense – SNP gains would only give the tories an advantage if they were on offer to the Tories, and they most certainly will not be (no deal with the Tories – remember?).

      And what exactly is a “relative” advantage supposed to mean?

    92. Dr Jim says:

      Re; Labours progress page
      Once again McTermites wrong Labour did not win the Referendum
      “It woz the Meeja wot dunnit”

    93. Joemcg says:

      Marcia-just seems a bit rich coming from cretins who scared our pensioners shitless in to voting no saying they will lose their pensions.

    94. Dan Huil says:

      I believe people in Scotland are fed up voting Labour only to get a Tory government in Westminster. Anyway, with Labour supporting many Tory policies there is not much difference between the two.

      More and more it seems a vote for Labour in Scotland is a wasted vote.

    95. Fred says:

      Will Frogmore, when Labour were in power the rich got richer & the poor got poorer, same-auld, same-auld, we were involved in illegal wars which cost the earth & squillions of lives, and the Lords was packed with comrades draped in velvet & ermine as the former socialists assumed the imperial role.

      The Tories were never getting back, Blair & his cronies were the new ruling class but due to gross mismanagement the Bullingdon Boys found themselves back in the driving seat and austerity became a byword in both parties, the obcenity of a Trident replacement, ditto.

      How you as a supposed Communist can distinguish between them & take sides, is a connundrum only you can resolve. Mandelson was once a Communist and he had no problem with people getting filthy rich (John Reid, the baron Cardowan, ditto) so maybe it goes with the Red Star. I was a party member myself in daft days of my youth.

      Time to wise-up, coz you’ll never rise-up!

    96. Les Wilson says:

      The best of it is these numpties are actually paid!
      McDougall, McTernan et all.

      But they don’t get it, they have an ancient tradition used by Ostriches, they are not even good lies they produce.
      They are a disaster, Slab is a disaster.
      Murphy just ads the creme de la creme!

    97. call me dave says:

      @Joemcg

      A visit from a labour footsoldier! Surely a good reason to click a photo of the red lesser spotted socialist.

      More likely to be your worried labour MP or close relative. Probably with a portable ‘sat nav’ because they have forgotten how to get round the doors without getting lost. 🙂

      Mr Bateman not impressed with wee Dougie this morning on GMS.

      http://derekbateman.co.uk/

      Carry on Dugdale and Murphy a grand pair working for Scotland in every way.

    98. Desimond says:

      @@Will Podmore

      Seats are not ‘taken’, seats are WON. How large is that sense of entitlement these days?

      Labour : Blaming the voters!
      Just about sums it all up really.

      Oh wait, are you actually blaming the biased English seats outnumbering Scotland by 10:1, yip Scottish labour are always complaining inpublic about that one arent they?

    99. Marcia says:

      I actually thought I was watching a news report – brilliant bit of satire;

      http://tinyurl.com/oyj2x9v

    100. Desimond says:

      The Little girl sat at the end of her bed and wept.
      Her father heard the tears and entered the room. “Whats up princess? You should be happy, its Xmas day!’.

      The little girl looked up and sobbed “Thats why Im crying, I now know there isnt a Santa Clause as I didnt get my present!”

      “What did you ask for?” asked her concerned father.

      “A Labour party worth voting for!” sobbed the little girl. The father then laughed, picked up his daughter in his strong arms, gently dabbed her tears away and said “Silly girl, Santa delivers presents, its Jesus who does the Miracles!”

    101. Proud Cybernat says:

      In the last 90 years (actually 80 since there was no elections between 1935-1945 due to WWII) only on three occasions did the largest party not have a controlling majority on their own in Westminster.

      Note:
      TPM = Tory Parliamentary Majority
      LPM = Labour Parliamentary Majority
      LLPG = Labour Largest Party Govt (with Libs)
      TLPG = Tory Largest Party Govt (with Libs)

      These are the figures:

      Labour Tory Libs Outcome
      1924 151 412 40 TPM
      1929 287 260 59 LLPG
      1931 46 470 35 TPM
      1935 52 473 21 TPM
      1940 – – – Ngov
      1945 393 197 12 LPM
      1950 315 282 9 LPM
      1951 295 321 6 TPM
      1955 277 345 6 TPM
      1959 258 365 6 TPM
      1964 317 304 9 LPM
      1966 364 253 12 LPM
      1970 288 330 6 TPM
      1974 301 297 14 LLPG
      1974 319 277 13 LPM
      1979 269 339 11 TPM
      1983 209 397 23 TPM
      1987 229 376 22 TPM
      1992 271 336 20 TPM
      1997 418 165 46 LPM
      2001 413 166 52 LPM
      2005 355 198 62 LPM
      2010 258 306 57 TLPG

      The vast majority of elections in the last 90 years, with the exception of three elections, produced an overall Westminster majority for the party of government. So, what point is it, exactly, that MacBlowhard is trying to make?

    102. ClanDonald says:

      Blair McDougall was right about one thing: the electorate do get angry if two losing parties combine to force the winning party out of power, especially if these two parties happen to be the unholy alliance of Labour and Tory. Yet in the real world Labour continues to completely ignore this fact.

      I know a family in Stirling who say they will never vote Labour again due to their collaborations with the Tory party in the local council, it has opened their eyes to how much Labour has in common with the Tories. They say that everyone they know locally thinks the same.

      It’s a laugh that Blair pretends to know this now, especially as they’ve been forming unholy alliances up and down the country for years, it turns out they even tried it at Holyrood. Everyone knows they’d rather have the Tories in power than the SNP.

    103. Effijy says:

      “Moral Right”

      That Bloat Bag wouldn’t know a moral if it slapped him on the face

    104. Gary45% says:

      Did anyone hear wee Dougie”please be my pal” Alexander on BBC Drivel Macpish this morning.
      Being provided with an excuse to make lurid reference to the unfortunate twitter comments made FIVE years ago (at the age of 15)by the SNP candidate running against him.
      PATHETIC.
      Gary

    105. Thepnr says:

      @Desimond

      Loved your wee story, the Labour party in Scotland need at least a miracle. McTernan though is not Jesus and doesn’t do miracles. His specialty is lies.

      Lies though, are what have caused the slump in Labout party support. I love the three stooges, Murphy, McTernan and McDougall.

      Thank you Jesus.

    106. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      OT

      The Scottish Government launches a new website

      gov.scot

      which will gradually replace

      gov.uk

    107. Legerwood says:

      It is interesting that the Labour poster uses 90 years as a cut of point because it just and no more leaves Ramsay McDonald’s minority government in 1924 out of the equation.

      I think I am right in saying that the Tories won the 1923 GE but then lost a vote of confidence and RMcD formed his minority government in 1924. The Liberals supported Labour but not in a formal coalition.

    108. Patrick Roden says:

      @Will Podmore,

      it’s funny that you would take the ‘word’ of a Liberal Democrat, but apart from that glaring error, you may have forgotten that Nick Clegg had also said that he felt the Lib Dems would naturally tend towards doing a deal with the Labour Party, but that this could only happen if Gordon Brown stepped down.

      It goes without saying that Mr Brown refused to step down, so we ended up with the Tory Party calling the shots, because Labour let them in through the ‘front door’

      Has Gordon Brown not dug his heals in we might not have the austerity carnage that we currently have, but then again, since Alistair Darling has already said that the Labour Party would cut deeper than the Tories, perhaps it didn’t make much difference.

      Or to put it into far sharper terms:

      RED TORIES OUT!!!

    109. Wull says:

      If Christian Wright, at 4.19, is correct, then the truth indeed ‘sensational’: ‘Vote Labour, get Tories’. Real Tories, not just Red Tories.

      There will almost certainly be a hung parliament, and, again presuming that Christian is right, in that case the Tories and Labour will get together and form a coalition. Labour will never recover from that in Scotland, or even in England.

      Why don’t they just throw in the towel already, merge officially with the Tories and rename the new party that has been thus created as … well, I suppose … ‘The Conservative and Unionist Party’?

      Christian Wright says:

      19 February, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      So, it’s official then.

      Last tweet cited in article indicates that if they are the second largest party in a hung parliament and the Conservatives are the largest, Labour will refuse to form a minority government or a coalition government with any other party SAVE the Tories.

      Sensational news.

    110. Will Podmore wrote: “The incumbent always has the advantage and the initiative [in a hung parliament].”

      Bull. In other fora Will, you have made this sort of unsupported and transparently false statement, refusing to justify it when challenged.

      The only material fact of any importance is which party or group of parties can command a majority in the House. That is it – PERIOD.

      No 3rd party (or group of parties) holding the balance of power, is going to be persuaded to throw in their lot to support either the Tories or Labour on the basis of which happens to be the incumbent party.

      No 3rd party (or group of parties) holding the balance of power, is going to to be persuaded to throw in their lot to support either the Tories or Labour on the basis of which one happens to have the greater number of seats or which party gets first dibs.

      ALL parties* who singly or collectively hold the balance of power, are going to make the decision of who they will support SOLELY upon the basis of which of the two leading parties they can support on issues of policy and which will give them the best deal on furthering their political agenda.

      *However, in the case of the LibDems, since there is no policy, left or right, that they will not support given the proper incentive, and since they have no policies of their own that they will not compromise, the only criterion operational is which of the two main parties will offer them the greatest number of ministerial cars.

    111. Nigel Tufnel says:

      The only word I can think off the is going to suit this General Election perfectly is ‘clusterfuck’.

    112. Will Podmore says:

      Here’s a forecast: come 8 May we will have a government committed to the European Union and the free movement of labour, to the continuance of anti-trade union laws, to NATO and TTIP, to the marketisation of the NHS, and to the growth of free schools and academies.
      Look at the situation in Ukraine. Every single so-called opposition party from Greens to Conservatives is a paid-up member of the anti-Russia hate club. Working class opposition stopped the government’s planned bombing of Syria. We need to be equally vocal now against anti-Russia warmongering. Ballots don’t stop bombs.
      In Scotland, where the referendum resulted in a vote for the unity of Britain, that democratic decision is now being set aside and a new campaign to fragment the whole of Britain into regions is under way. It will continue after 7 May, whoever gets elected.
      There is a huge responsibility on those who voted No in Scotland to continue the fight for unity. Equally, the rest of Britain must understand the importance of the unity of Britain. We need to be united in the fight for wages, for planning our future needs and for Peace.

    113. Grouse Beater says:

      Plodmore: We need to be equally vocal now against anti-Russia warmongering.

      You mentality is concreted in the 19th century.

      Try and imagine how England would react if Scotland was to place nuclear weapons along its border all pointing south, while still trading with merry England.

      You ‘unity’ is bogus.

      In reality it’s continued corrupt rule by Westminster.

      Take a hike.

    114. Will Podmore says:

      Grouse Beater, are you justifying the anti-Russian war propaganda? Believe me, I hate the corrupt Westminster crew. But splitting the opposition to Westminster, by dividing the British working class, only cements their rule.
      Build the union, build our unions. Unite and liberate, not divide and fall.



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