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Vested interests

Posted on August 10, 2012 by

There’s currently some dispute between the Scottish and UK Parliaments over who should ultimately determine the nature and details of the independence referendum currently scheduled for autumn 2014. The Scottish Government is adamant that the referendum must be run by Holyrood, the only place where a mandate for the vote exists. The Scottish Affairs Select Committee at Westminster, on the other hand, is vehemently proclaiming its own rights, as expressed by the committee’s chairman Ian Davidson MP on Newsnight Scotland earlier this week:

“We have the opportunity if we wish simply to hand over our powers to the Scottish Parliament, but we choose not to do so, and what we are saying in the committee is that the Scottish MPs, and the Scottish Affairs Committee, should have the responsibility for reviewing and supervising and assessing any Section 30 notice that is proposed.”

There are arguments to be made, constitutionally speaking, for both viewpoints. Legal experts are divided on their interpretations of relevant law, and it seems unlikely that a definitive judicial consensus could be reached without legislation being brought forward and then challenged in court, a time-consuming and expensive process which could bog the referendum down for years.

How, then, might we break the deadlock? Well, a fundamental principle of law is that the arbiters of a decision should where possible not stand to gain personally from any particular outcome of it. And as it happens, one side in this particular dispute is operating under a vested interest that’s just about as big as they get.

The select committee comprises the following members:

Ian Davidson (LAB, Glasgow South West) (chair)
Fiona Bruce (CON, Congleton)
Mike Freer (CON, Finchley and Golders Green)
Jim McGovern (LAB, Dundee West)
Iain McKenzie (LAB, Inverclyde)
David Mowat (CON, Warrington South)
Pamela Nash (LAB, Airdrie and Shotts)
Simon Reevell (CON, Dewsbury)
Mr Alan Reid (LIB DEM, Argyll and Bute)
Lindsay Roy (LAB, Glenrothes)
*Dr Eilidh Whiteford (SNP, Banff and Buchan)

*Dr Whiteford does not participate in the committee, as a result of an alleged physical threat from Mr Davidson.

An interesting feature of the list is that all of the Conservative members represent English constituencies. This is of course because the Conservatives only have one Scottish MP (David Mundell, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale), and as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland he’s a bit busy.

It might be legitimately queried why English Tory MPs should have the right to dictate the terms of a Scottish referendum mandated by the Scottish people to the Scottish Parliament, but there’s no obvious alternative given that the party of government needs to be substantially represented on select committees, and it’s not directly relevant to the issue under discussion anyway, so we’ll move on.

The more pertinent point is that concerning the Labour and Liberal Democrat members, who do all represent Scottish constituencies, and to illustrate that point we must muddy our hands in the ugly world of money.

Mr Davidson is paid an MP’s standard salary of £65,738 per year. He also receives a supplementary salary for serving as chairman of the committee, which adds £14,582 to that figure. His Parliamentary expenses for 2011-12 were £21,889 (closely in line with previous years), taking his earnings to a healthy £102,209.

Full figures including expenses for the sitting committee members from Scottish constituencies, taken from the same source as those above are as follows:

Ian Davidson £80,320 + £21,889 exp. = £102,209
Jim McGovern £65,738 + £44,998 exp. = £110,726
Iain McKenzie £65,738 + £45,722 exp. = £111,460
Pamela Nash £65,738 + £47,123 exp. = £112,861
Alan Reid £65,738 + £43,497 exp. = £109,235
Lindsay Roy £65,738 + £41,572 = £107,310

We commend Mr Davidson on his restraint. Nevertheless, we can see that every sitting Scottish member of the committee draws a six-figure remuneration from their job as an MP, in addition to the many other exceptionally generous benefits of the job, including lavish pension plans and subsidised dining. It’s nice work if you can get it.

Were the Scottish people to vote for independence, it obviously follows that every Scottish MP would find themselves unemployed, their positions having been made redundant. It’s therefore equally plain that the members of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee have a vested interest in ensuring the referendum does not produce a Yes result, and benefit significantly from the status quo.

(To the collective tune of £653,801 a year or £3.27 million per Parliamentary term, plus other benefits, which is quite a lot of vested interest.)

The Scottish Parliament, on the other hand, has no such conflicts. Scottish MSPs and ministers will remain MSPs and ministers regardless of whether Scotland achieves independence or remains a devolved region within the UK. (They clearly have a political interest, of course, but that’s also true of the Westminster MPs, whose party aims would be served by a No vote as well as their personal ones – all but one of the committee members above are Labour MPs, who jealously guard the large block of Scottish MPs which is normally returned in UK elections and the contribution it makes to Parliamentary majorities.)

So the decision about which of the two groups is better placed to make fair decisions with regard to the referendum seems extremely straightforward. On one hand we have a collection of exclusively-Unionist MPs who each has a huge personal, financial and political stake in seeing the referendum either fail or not take place at all, while on the other side we have a Scottish Parliament with 70 pro-independence MSPs against 59 anti-independence ones (a considerably more balanced ratio of 1.18 to 1 than the 10-against-0 lineup of the Westminster select committee) all of whose members will, electorate permitting, retain their jobs regardless of the outcome of the vote.

If the jury in a court case stood to lose over £3m between them from an unfavourable outcome, they wouldn’t be allowed within a hundred miles of the courtroom. We must admit, it’s quite impressive that the Unionists have even managed to keep the argument going this long, and even more so that they’ve done so while unabashedly laying claim to the “moral authority” to direct the referendum process. But it’s probably time to draw the pantomime to an end, before the audience’s patience wears thin.

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  1. 10 08 12 15:39

    Scottish independence/separation: constitutional wrangling meets international law oversight? « basedrones

60 to “Vested interests”

  1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Cui bono?

  2. Seasick Dave says:

    In the blue corner:

    Lallands Peat Worrier.

    In the red corner:

    Angus MacLeod
    Alan Cochrane
    Lorraine Davidson
    Professor Arthur Midwinter
    Professor Brian Ashcroft
    Professor Hugh Pennington
    etc, etc…

  3. Lord Geordie Foulked, Barren of Shame says:

    how dare you impugn my troughing colleague, I mean that fine Labour Class Hero, Ian Davidson.
     you’re nothing but nasty CyberNats!

  4. Adam Davidson says:

    I have often wondered why this wasn’t focused on more when Lords Foulkes or Robinson pipe up with their words of wisdom on why Scotland should behave theirself and stop rocking the boat. This article is so spot on. I am sure some unionists believe in Better Together because they believe it is best but I have no doubt many are there to keep their snouts in the trough.

  5. R Louis says:

    Excellent article, the subject of which I have been thinking for a very long time.  It is blindingly obvious that those members of the Scottish affairs select committee have a serious conflict of interest.

    However, aside from the select committee, it could also be argued that many in the NO campaign, such as Alistair Darling and Margaret Curran, are also faced with a serious conflict of interest.  If Scotland becomes independent, people like Margaret Curran and Alistair Darling lose their job, expenses, MP salary, chance of becoming a ‘Lord’, and their second homes in London.

    By ANY sane, reasoned assessment, this conflict of interests is of a magnitude, as to seriously potentially prejudice judgements or decisions by such people.

    The Scottish Government has a democratic mandate obtained at the ballot box, to hold the referendum.  It is up to them and the democratically elected Scottish parliament to decide how the referendum is run.  As Alex Salmond and others have said previously, the days of Westminster telling Scotland what it can and cannot do are over.  

  6. Kenny Campbell says:

    I agree with the argument but think that saying expenses are earnings stretches the point a bit, Do they get taxed on expenses ?. The fact they cannot get a true cross party select committee together in my view kills any legitimacy they might imagine they have stone dead.

  7. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    If you accept that most of the Westminster committee members are career politicians then it is self evident to accept theirs’ is a lifestyle choice.

    There appears to be no great intellect on that committee however, would they have chosen Davidson to chair it, and given that example of political acumen, elevation of any members to the higher exclusive echelons to be damn unlikely.
    They are never going to set the heather on fire and lead us to a new Jerusalem.
    They are timeservers whose primary objective is to maintain the status quo, keep their collective noses clean and as a reward they are allowed to milk the system.
    They have a vested interest in making sure their gravy train keeps on rolling.

  8. Doug Daniel says:

    That latest Herald article is a disgrace. I’ve posted a comment criticising the Herald for printing it, but I expect it won’t appear, or if it does it’ll be heavily edited. When you think of the plethora of Labour people who appear on Newsnicht and the Politics Show as supposedly “neutral” experts without a word being said, and it’s only now that it’s an SNP member that they bother. The worst thing is the way they try to make it sound like some sort of secret, when Newsnicht shows his blog address plain for anyone to see, so anyone can find out quite easily what his political affiliations are.

    They want to talk about bias? How about using Lorraine Davidson all the time, an ex-Labour spin doctor who is currently in a relationship with a Labour MEP and was previously in one with former Labour MSP Tom McCabe? How about employing a journalist (Catriona Renton) who used to be Labour councillor for Kelvindale? How about Kirsty Wark being married to someone high up in the Labour party? How about Susan Deacon’s partner John Boothman being head of news and current affairs at the BBC? How about using many of the “experts” on here whose Labour affiliations are never mentioned?

    This really is Big Lie politics. 

  9. Kenny Campbell says:

    If presenters and former First ministers can share holiday homes without bias then bloggers can surely comment on law without being influenced by their personal political views. Its not like Davidson is neutral.

  10. douglas clark says:

    Is Andrew Tickell a member of the SNP? I know he says he’s a supporter, but member?

  11. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I agree with the argument but think that saying expenses are earnings stretches the point a bit”

    I disagree, for the simple reason that I have to buy my dinner out of my wages. If you get paid additional money for food (and all the rest), that’s in all meaningful senses extra salary.

  12. Kenny Campbell says:

    if i travel on business that takes me away from my home then my company pays for my travel, food and lodgings. That isn’t salary, so it isn’t taxed. MP’s are employees they are not self employed.

    The correct test is are expenses taxed. If not then its not income.

  13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    MPs get a food allowance even when they’re at their main place of work.

    (Also, I once had a job where I worked away from home four days a week, which meant I effectively had to maintain two flats. I didn’t get paid any extra for it.)

  14. Kenny Campbell says:

    So you personally now set the standards for what is income and expenses ? Are they taxed on it ? No they are not, therefore its not officially income. Anyway its a distraction to the main point which we agree on.

    MP’s by default have 2 remote places of work. Where is the main one ?

  15. James Morton says:

    The thing that amazes me is that it is so mind boggingly shallow, idiotic and childish.
    Scottish Labour seems on the whole to be run by pea-wits and morons. They don’t seem to have realised or don’t want to admit that they lost Scotland in 2011, largely because of how they behaved in opposition when the lost in 2007.

    The political landscape has shifted, the lines between left and right have become blurred. The old certainties of Labour vs Conservative have changed. There is now a credible third alternative in the SNP. Labour simply don’t seem capable of realigining themselves to fight this on policy and have made it vicious and personal. This has happened imho because anyone of talent or skill saw their careers being made in westminster not Scotland. That left Scottish Labour with a shrinking pool of talent to draw on to fill the ranks at Holyrood. What they have in office atm is what little they could find at short notice…which is why they have so many C listers and people of no real note or talent. Why should it surprise anyone when they resort to such knuckle dragging stupidity, like dreary Iain Gray saying that if Scotland would only vote for him, he would somehow find the money to pay for an extra hours PE for Scottish children…then hide in sandwhich shops from voters angry about tax issues – all the way to their sterling performance in FMQ’s and now Ian Davidsons brain fart on newsnight.

    It’s a party that has forgotten how it got here and what it actually stood for. I for one, could not in all good conscience vote for a party like that.

  16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “MPs by default have 2 remote places of work. Where is the main one?”

    The main one is Parliament. The clue’s in the name 😀

    (Facetiousness aside, an MP could theoretically do their job perfectly well without ever visiting their constituency. It would obviously not be IDEAL, but certainly POSSIBLE – constituents can raise issues perfectly well by phone, post, email etc. They could not, however, do their job without visiting Parliament.)

  17. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    The answer, incidentally, is that SOME of them are taxed:

  18. Sorry for going off topic:)
    We were wondering if you guys might be interested in checking out our remix of the classic Corries tune “Bannockburn”

  19. Cuphook says:

    I think any politician appearing on TV should have their expenses claims displayed on the ticker at the bottom of the screen. It might help to put their arguments into perspective.

  20. John Lyons says:

    Forget income, tax, wages, salary, expenses and all the other fancy financial words. Ian Davidson has over £100,000 per year pass through his hands in one from or another for his own benefit. Sure, he may be away from home and have to buy his dinner in a fancy restaurant in London (Poor wee soul!) and thal might cost more than he’d pay down at his local tescos for something he takes home and cooks himself BUT he still saves the money he would have spent at tescos, so to all intents and purposes he’s benefiting.

    The guy is scum, his wikipedia entry says “During the 2009-10 Expenses Scandal, it emerged that Davidson claimed £87,699 in the four years to 2007; only £30 below the maximum permitted. He has since admitted that he wished he had a larger mortgage on his London flat to allow him to claim more in allowances”

    HE wishes he could rip us off even more than he does already! Why would he want a bigger mortgage? He’ll get the same flat either way. This is tantamount to saying I want to waste Tax payers money!

    And anyway, even his £65,000 a year Salary is enough to suggest he has a vested interest in keeping Scotland in the union. He won’t want to se that disappear.

  21. Andrew says:

    The BBC could easily sort this out by declaring all interviewees political affiliations and financial vested interests. Surely Davidson would have no problem with this.

  22. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I noticed they’d just started doing that recently with studio guests, for example Lorraine Davidson (no relation I’m sure) never used to be identified as a former Labour adviser, but is now.

  23. Peninsula says:

    Great Piece Stu,

    I’m sure (I hope) that in two years time, Scottish voters will be fully aware that Scottish Westminster MP’s (and members of the House of Lords) have a vested financial interest in the union remaining.  

  24. Andrew says:

    I think maybe the BBC is actually now trying hard to be truly impartial. I’ve certainly noticed something of a change in attitude. Maybe this has the unionists a wee bit worried!

  25. Theuniondivvie says:

    Actually the vested interests may not be limited just to Westminster. The recent Referendum round up piece on Better Nation makes the case that the next two years are a high stakes game which the Yes campaign haven’t quite got to grips with, while the Unionists see a No as their chance to defumigate the house of Nats (e.g. Ian Smart’s recent effusions) but also consider a Yes as the end for them – ‘as the cheerleaders of the former Union they will have no place in the public life of an independent Scotland’.

    Not sure if I quite agree with this Gotterdammerung scenario, but I think it’s quite believable that the Unionists, particularly SLABers, see it that way. No more council leaderships, £50k shoo-ins with GCC, MSPs or invites to boards of businesses, their minds must be wonderfully concentrated.

  26. Cuphook says:

    Earlier this year it was revealed that the UK government had been consulting with Prince Charles over changes to the royal family’s funding. What did Ian Davidson have to say on the matter?

    ‘This is a scandal and an anachronism. The idea that the Prince has a right to be consulted on legislation which might impact on his interests belongs to a bygone era.’

  27. Tris says:

    I think that it is reasonable to designate most expenses as income. 

    The Housing allowance invariable goes towards a mortgage on a property which becomes the property of the member. Later it may be sold at a very considerable profit.

    Collecting expenses on food is also a form of income. One has to eat whether one is at home or in London. Were MPs not eating in their second home, they would have to eat in their own home presumably around the same amount, at around the same cost. The excuse that they may have to eat in some fancy London restaurant hardly washes. It is not a requirement of the job to eat in “fancy” restaurants. In any case we already provide them with a second home in London and cooking facilities therein, and a variety subsidised restaurant in their main place of work, parliament. We also subsidise their drink. This is rather different from my company sending me to work in Paris or Gabarone and leaving me to eat in restaurants at full price.

    Certainly travel costs are simply reimbursement of  monies that otherwise would probably not have been spent.

    The truth is that they do rather well out of us, remembering that it is a job that requires no qualifications at all, and that in around 60% of constituencies, once you are chosen by your party, you are a shoo in, for ever or until you go to that happy parliamentary just up the corridor where they pay you £300 + a day.

    This incidentally is another reason that Scottish MPs have for voting status quo. No such Retirement home for Scottish politicians. Once upon a time the prime minister and foreign secretary got an earldom, the rest retired or dies in harness. Now every Tom, Dick, committee chairman and junior minister ends up ennobled and with a tidy daily income to supplement the pension. 

  28. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Earlier this year it was revealed that the UK government had been consulting with Prince Charles over changes to the royal family’s funding. What did Ian Davidson have to say on the matter?

    ‘This is a scandal and an anachronism. The idea that the Prince has a right to be consulted on legislation which might impact on his interests belongs to a bygone era.’”

    I wish I could work out a way to condense that into a tweet.

  29. Malky113 says:

    Ian Davidson has “previous” with regard to MPs expenses.
    When the issue broke a couple of years ago (before the media really got a hold of it), he was one of the most vocal in trying to keep a lid on it & maintain the system as self-regulating.
    I clearly remember a Radio Scotland interview with him when he maintained in effect that  this was a perk of the job & he would be claiming everything he considered he was entitled to.
    Wish someone could track that interview down as it would show him up for the character he is.

  30. Doug says:

    When it was revealed that UK govt had been consulting with Prince Charles over changes to royal funding, what did Davidson have to say?
    ‘This is a scandal and an anachronism. The idea that the Prince has a right to be consulted on legislation which might impact on his interests belongs to a bygone era’

    Separated into 2 tweets it would fit.

  31. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Problem now solved. 😀

  32. bigbuachaille says:

    Your article correctly presents what these individuals stand to lose personally when Scotland gains her Independence.  Where personal gain is derived from public resources, one must of necessity raise questions of moral justification, and no doubt Ian Davidson, who used the word “moral” during the interview, will be able to justify his stance.
    However, many of us are amazed at just how cavalier the Labour Party has proved to be when administering public money: Jack McConnell returned an unused £1.6,000,000 of Scotland’s block grant to the Westminster treasury, because he couldn’t find any use for it; Gordon Brown lost billions by deliberately selling public gold at the lowest rate possible; then there are the wars, the lies about oil, the asset-stripping of Scotland and mass unemployment, the trams fiasco, the Scottish Parliament Building and the PFI love affair.
    Alongside these shameful episodes were supine, infantilised Scots, deliberately kept so by the Labour Party, and until Devolution, Scots content to blame others.  Davidson, for me represents that element of the Labour Party, confident of its entitlement to power, and consciously doing nothing to improve Scotland.
    And what does Davidson (supported by Michael Kelly et al) do? Like Arturo Ui, in Brecht’s satire, he sets about disposing of the opposition, most recently in the form of Isabel Fraser.
    Davidson’s dizzy rise and rise to the heights of power might do much for his own self-image.  Others view him as a grotesque parody , whose only useful purpose now is to remind us all of the huge mistakes made by an infantilised electorate , and by the MPs of a Party which once held high ideals, but chose personal gain over transforming the poverty endemic within our society.
    The defence by Marcus Gardham of such behaviour, as witnessed by many on our screens on Tuesday, will do nothing for The Herald’s standing in Scotland.  This is one regular purchaser who has grown up.

  33. Arbroath 1320 says:

    One question.

    When the Bitter Together crowd relentlessly go on about being Bitter, sorry Better, Together I always question exactly WHO is Better Together. My impression is that it is certainly NOT the people of Scotland. The ONLY people who are Better Together are the money scrounging Westminster M.P.’s. As has be said by many before, it is these numpties who are fighting for their financial and political futures who are Better together.

    The people of Scotland MUST be told about the ongoing troughing being carried out by the Bitter Together camp. As we all know they are incapable of putting up a SINGLE positive case for remaining in the union. Therefore the conclusion that I have come to, quite some time ago actually, is that it is only the Westminster gang of troughers who are Better Together.

  34. bigbuachaille says:

    #Malky 113
    This article in the NorthBritisher is something along the lines of what you are after:

  35. Jeannie says:

    Many of us would take the view that  the people who have the most to gain from a certain outcome should have the sense, integrity and  dignity to declare that interest and  voluntarily disqualify themselves from being part of the decision-making process – at the very least to avoid invalidating the process and to avoid later charges of corruption.
    I eagerly await news of the first MP to step up to the plate.

  36. Kenny Campbell says:

    “The answer, incidentally, is that SOME of them are taxed:”

    Yes but the VAST Majority are not taxed on expenses as well you know.  This section below from the website shows that MP’s are subject to same limitations as normal employees. Naturally if they pay for office staff the office staff pay income tax on the received salary.

      If you want to look at it from a self employed or freelance basis(MP’s are neither), even working as a freelance consultant you are allowed travel and lodging expenses under the banner of your limited company umbrella whilst doing business.

    If you employed an accountant or PA then those costs are offset against income and so no corporation tax is due.

      Naturally there are some limitations on what is an expense but that also applies to MP’s.

     The general rule on deductions from employment income for tax purposes is set out in section 336 of ITEPA. This says that a deduction is allowed for expenses:
    —  that the employee has to pay because they hold the employment; and
    —  that are incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the employment.

    Traveling from constituency to London is to me clearly a legitimate expense, as are lodgings should you stay in London. Unless you have a London constituency.
    MP’s need to be in their constituency to perform their job in a reasonable way. If mine held no local surgery I would vote them out.
    I have no love of Westminster but we should not demonize MP’s on the back of what are legitimate expenses to enable them to perform their duties to make the point.

    Do we just leave it to those who can afford it or who live near parliament ?

  37. Tony Little says:

    I also have no love of the Westminster system and I disagree with you on the substance. MPs already get a substantial income, circa 65k per annum, which is about three/four times the average wage.  PLUS they get to charge mortgage payments AND then get to keep the profit on the house/flat that WE, the taxpayer, is actually buying!  If they need a London property, either the property should remain in the ownership of the Government, OR Westminster should provide accommodation.  MPs DO NOT need luxurious accommodation to do their jobs. 
    Any and all “expenses” are de facto additional income, whether or not they are taxed/.  And MPs are NOT your typical employee, so the usual ‘rules’ do not apply.  At your place of work can YOU decide what your company will pay you in additional expenses?  Of course not.  MPs have a privileged position, and many of them have abused that.
    The fact is, this is another smoke and mirror argument.  The “Committee” that Davidson represents is wholey one-sided, and it is disputable whether they should even be considering this issue and wasting yet more tax-payers’ money.

  38. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I do find it odd that with very few exceptions, all MPs seem to incur the exact same amount of expenses annually, give or take a couple of hundred pounds, despite their widely varying circumstances, and that they’re all coincidentally remarkably close to the maximum permissible amount.

  39. Jeannie says:

    Yes, that is odd, now you come to mention it.  I wonder what could possibly account for that?

  40. Kenny Campbell says:

    Previous abuse of expenses and questions of MP’s salaries in line with national averages does not influence the question of expenses versus wages. They are completely different things.
    Expenses are not defacto income that is patent nonsense. As to the question of mortgages. They need to have 2 places of work and 2 places to live. if they choose to take a mortgage on rather than rent then the expense of that is ‘I believe‘ some way covered by expenses but contribution is limited and the risk of capital gain or loss from that purchase lies with the MP’s themselves.
    “Claims may be made for rental payments and associated expenses such as utility bills, up to an annual limit of £19,900 of which a maximum of £17,400 may be claimed for rental payments. Alternatively MPs may claim for hotel accommodation up to a maximum of £130 per night in the London area and £105 elsewhere.”
    Anyone who has lived and worked in London will look at those figures and lap of luxury is not what jumps out at you.

  41. Kenny Campbell says:

    “Yes, that is odd, now you come to mention it.  I wonder what could possibly account for that?”
    To use someone else’s argument( 🙂 ) , maybe its due to them spending the majority of their time in the same place of work……..and doing the same job and being limited by the same rules on expenses…

  42. Kenny Campbell says:
    Shows plenty of what I’d call abuse but it doesn’t mean we should dismiss all legitimate expense and imagine its ‘income’.

  43. Cuphook says:

    Some MPs clearly see their expenses claims as a measure of their worth. Ian Davidson criticises members of the royal family for having the tax payer pick up their rent bill while he himself wishes that he’d a bigger mortgage for us to pay.
    If an MP can sell their second home for a profit to themselves in what way are way paying ‘expenses’ rather than just handing over taxpayers’ money? If I travel on business my employer pays for a hotel room – they don’t give me shares in the hotel.

  44. douglas clark says:

    Back in the day, I had a very good expenses deal during quite lengthy training. What was rather marvellous about it was that I didn’t have to touch my salary whilst I was being trained. The expenses were good enough to live on. I came down to earth with a bump when that training ended. For MPs, it never seems to end.

  45. TYRAN says:

    Ian “Who Cares” Davidson

    Why does he now have 102,209 reasons to care? 


  46. Jeannie says:

    Interesting, 106 posts later, the Herald has now closed comments on Magnus Gardham’s article in which Ian Davidson tried to stitch up Isabel Fraser for the second time.

  47. Bugger (the Panoid Panda) says:

    Paranoid as I am , it doesn’t mean they are not out to get us, I wonder.
    Say it was a devious plot to set up Issy Fraser, as she is viewed to be too pro SNP ( i.e. neutral), and Davidson was set up to make the full frontal with the soto voce connivance of some high heid yin in the BBC News Labour sub branch.
    She was set up, knocked back a bit by his bare arsed cheek and misogyny, and through her ear-piece she is “counselled” to ask him for an apology. He says “bugger aff” and now we have a right wee stooshie in the airwaves Steamie, completely deflecting everybody from the Committee’s Gruyer cheese  of an position.
    Job done!
    Issy rocked back, Davidson sets the tone for future easierinterviews in the future and everybody squabbling about anything but the central issue?
    Davidson was set up to do this, Issy was just set up.
    Think like a fox to catch a rat.

  48. douglas clark says:

    Quite an ‘interesting’ little exchange between the good guys (us) and the unionists on the Herald. They really do not like being told that they are troughers, do they?

  49. Bugger (the Panoid Panda) says:

    I wonder, out loud, if there has been a sea change in the BBC News “elite” or the people above them who, for a number of reasons want or need to move towards a public position of neutrality?
    I always suspected that, as 2014 drew closer, they would moderate their Pravdaesque position so as not to invite a cry of bias and manipulation in the referendum, especially should the vote be a close NO.
    I hope that the SNP have a team detailing and documenting their bias in the run-in.

    Labour know this is happening and are getting their realiation in first?
    Maybe Davidson was a dummy run, the dummy being a really neutral honest TV journalist, which Davidson and the rest of the “dirty” Labour politics team fear?

  50. Doug Daniel says:

    Some of the Herald comments are incredible. Terry Kelly quotes our very own Mr Minto:
    “But lets not just look at Mr Tickells word, lets look at other legal experts”

    Before adding:

    “Or put another way Scott. let’s create a diversion.”

    Amazing. This whole business about LPW is an attempt to divert away from the awful behaviour of Ian Davidson. Does Terry Kelly not understand how hypocritical he is being, or does he just not care about looking stupid?

    More to the point, when did the job description for a councillor change to “spend all day on the internet speaking pish”??? 

  51. James Morton says:

    I would like to say to all the folks who think this is some very clever plot to polish the BBC’s credentials – I think you are giving labour way too much credit by thinking them capable of Machiavellian double plotting.

    Sometimes people who behave like childish brats are simply just childish brats and Davidson I fear falls into this category. They sent a brat to do an adults job, and he made a complete hash of it. Like children they then fall into name calling and trying to blame someone else for it. 

    This was not clever poltiking…this was a f*ck up, pure and simple.

    Davidson will brag to his mates about how puredeadgallus he was and how she was brickin it…this will lead them to think that this is the approach they should use again.

    The irony was that the BBC was allowing his camp to make their case and counter any arguments to the contrary. Instead he lost the plot and engaged his inner petulant child and let that do the talking for him.  

  52. Adrian B says:

    @James Morton

    Absolutely agree with you 100% on your comments. Davidson made an ar*e of the whole interview. Three days latter and perhaps the momentum might have peaked, but he is still making further allegations. This is not the reason of rational comment.     

  53. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    As well as being unemployed you forgot to say unemployable. That’s their big concern as they won’t have any fallback positions after Independence.

    Doug-don’t worry about the Herald. People don’t believe the political crap papers print now. In fact I think they’ve done the worst thing possible for Labour and the committee, by keeping the story going. If they had any sense they would have ignored it.  

  54. Stuart M says:

    Another unfortunate side-effect for Labour may be people going to look at LPW’s blog. It’s one of the most eloquent and well-written Scottish ones on the net, about as far removed from “raving cybernat” as you could get.

  55. jake says:

    The Scottish Affairs Select Committee are neither bound by law nor convention in this matter. They understand and are clear, it is a matter of choice and they simply choose not to do so. If there is a delay in the referendum because of a legal challenge, and who can doubt that some patsy will not be put up for it, then the delay is entirely the fault and consequence of the Select Committee and their deliberately obstructionist decision.

    I understand why it is necessary for the Scottish Affairs Select Committee to call on MPs who represent English Constituencies, but it begs the question as to whether or not a Select Committee was the appropriate way to consider this matter. Why was a Select Committee cobbled together when the matter could have been considered by the Scottish Grand Committee with the greater legitimacy of members being democratically elected MPs representing both all and exclusively Scottish constituencies?

  56. Appleby says:

    It’s rather frustrating that for the months and years the independence side have been complaining about bias and being locked out of the media it has barely gone reported but one puffed up moron is rude to Isabel and it’s now big news and they’re all spinning it Dino Davidson’s way.
    As for politicians raking it in, the paid speeches, writing, chairman/letterhead and cushy jobs lined up with banks or other big businesses and old boys clubs should all be taken into account too as they are part and parcel of the Westminster trough. Ignoring that would be like ignoring tips with many service sector jobs that rely on them. The politicians can earn more than their yearly wage in such moonlighting alone when they work their way up the ladder, all while still supposedly working full time as our elected representitives. After that it’s off to work for whomever you managed to curry favour with by bending rules or pushing through legislation on their behalf.

  57. Waqar Ali says:

    Ugh…this sickening corruption in the system is one of the main reason I’m (and a good few others I know) are voting for independence, so we can get away from this bollocks.

  58. Siôn Eurfyl Jones says:

    Surely, it’s time to call in Jimmy Carter foundation.  They have invigilated contentious elections al over the world, and are universally admired for their impartiality and wisdom. There would be an agreement that their decisions should be accepted by both sides.

    If they are not available, perhaps it is not too soon to bring in the UN. 

  59. douglas clark says:

    I checked twice, but I’ll stand to be corrected on this…..

    I went back to the Herald thread on this to see if they had restarted comments. They have. It is quite astonishing that both Doug Daniels’ posts and my own appear to have completely disappeared from the Herald thread. Now that is micro-management!

    How does this happen? Does Magnus Gardham spend his Friday nights censoring the comments? For they were there even after the thread was closed for comments, late on, yesterday afternoon….

    Has the Herald been threatened by Iain Davidson MP?

    The good folk of Auchtermuchty demand to know!

  60. douglas clark says:

    Oops, I appear to be wrong about that! If you enter Magnus into their search engine, it does indeed bring this up:

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