Red pandas and pop tarts

The red panda is a real thing. It’s much smaller beastie than the better known giant panda, but it’s only marginally less endangered. According to Wikipedia, the red panda faces extinction because of habitat fragmentation, inbreeding, and poaching – which by a happy set of coincidences also form the reasons why the red pandas of the Labour party in Scotland are also staring extinction in the face. No one is really sure what sort of creature a red panda is, but it looks like some sort of weasel, a bit like Ian Davidson with a full head of ginger hair. Real red pandas are much cuter than Jim Murphy however, but then so is a snake in the grass slithering through dog mess.

Red pandadom beckons after STV published an IPSOS Mori opinion poll of voting intentions in next year’s Westminster revenge match – when the voters on Scotland get to boot the Westminster political parties in the glands as punishment for being a bunch of self-serving self-regarding self-abusers. The poll, fieldwork for which was carried out as Johann Lamont resigned as branch office manager, shows that the SNP stand to receive a whopping 52% of votes in Scotland. The SNP enjoy a lead of 29% over Labour – meaning that the SNP’s lead is greater than Labour’s entire vote share of 23%. Translated into seats, Labour would be left with just four MPs in Scotland, which makes the red pandas marginally less endangered than the giant pandas of the Tory party – just like the real pandas. Spooky, and just in time for Halloween.

The poor polling news was compounded by another poll from YouGov which was only marginally less desperate for Labour. Like the desperation difference between wanting to throw yourself off a cliff, and wanting to throw yourself off a cliff after you’ve slit your wrists. If translated into seats, YouGov’s poll would give Labour just ten useless bench occupiers.

Despite the dire polling figures, Labour isn’t toast. Toast is home made and often organic. Labour is a pop tart, chock full of artificial ingredients which appeals only to those with no political taste buds. Labour is likewise filled with a red coloured goo which bears the same relationship to socialism as the contents of a pop tart do to real fruit. And the Labour leadership’s favourite Gordon Ramsay stand-in who will rescue this culinary disaster zone while swearing a lot is apparently Jim Murphy – a right wing, ultra-Blairite, Iraq war supporting, expenses junky, egg magnet.

Jim promises that if he’s elected as branch manager, he will stop Labour in Scotland from self-harming and will put an end to its obsessional in-fighting. And this is true, because it’s Jim and his pals who’ve been engaging in most of the self-harming and obsessional in-fighting by briefing against Johann and anyone else that Jim thinks stands between him and his career plans.

I did have to laugh though, when Jim said that the Labour party needed to find some passion again. Jim and the rest of the sorry careerists who pride themselves on “professional” politics are precisely those who have leeched anything resembling passion from politics, with their focus groups and triangulation. There is however plenty of passion in Scottish politics – it’s just a pity for Labour that it’s the passion of those who are intent on bringing about the long overdue demise of a Labour party that’s become a parody of its former self, a party that’s as progressive as a pop tart with imaginary jam.

Labour is now facing another election – it’s going to have to elect a new deputy branch manager following the resignation of Anas Sarwar. Anas has resigned in order to remove the inevitable objection to Jim Murphy’s election which would have led to both the branch manager and the deputy branch manager being Westminster MPs. Anas is an obedient little Labour placeperson, he does what his daddy tells him, and he does what Jim Murphy tells him too.

Anas’ resignation as deputy manager of Scotmid conveniently delays the need for Jim to find a safe Holyrood seeat. This is very handy for two reasons. Firstly because there’s no such thing as a safe Labour seat at Holyrood any more, and secondly – as pointed out by Lallands Peat Worrier – the plan mooted by some senior party figures for a Labour MSP who plans to retire in 2016 to be persuaded to stand down a year earlier is a non-starter because it would mean that he or she would lose their pension rights. And it would force an election purely for reasons internal to Labour, a situation which the voting public is unlikely to look kindly upon, all the more so when they are already looking on Labour as kindly as an axe wielding maniac who’s just given up smoking. Over ten days now – in case you’re wondering. But I’ve never knowingly wielded an axe. Just a sharp tongue.

The root cause of this seismic shift in Labour’s Westminster electoral prospects is that Scotland’s voters have finally decided that the well established tactic of differential voting in Holyrood and Westminster elections is an idea whose time is past. There is no point in voting Labour in Westminster elections in order to keep the Tories out for a number of reasons – not the least of which being that Labour stood shoulder to shoulder with the Tories throughout the referendum campaign. And if there is little chance that Labour can win the election in England, then there is absolutely no point at all voting Labour in Scotland in order to protect ourselves from Tory governments. We’re going to get the Tories anyway, whether that’s yer actual Tory basterts, or a Labour party that apes Tory policies in order to sook up to Tory leaning voters in English marginal constituencies.

It’s not that Scottish tactical voting is dead – it’s just that it’s got a whole lot smarter. There’s nothing Labour can do to turn things around, you can’t turn around a sinking ship. The only question remaining is the scale of their defeat. Labour’s tea is oot – they’re being served burned pop tarts and red pandas. gets ready to launch

We live in a country where the people voted to continue to be ruled by a parliament in London.

Okay, the majority wasn’t very large but it gave the parliament in London the green light to “get ahead” and consider that the “Scots” had been put back in their box.

They didn’t figure on the Labour party in Scotland imploding in the way it did.

That parliament in London is a very one sided affair and Scotland only have 59 MP’s sitting in a parliament of 650 MP’s. Right now, 40 of those Scottish MP’s are made up of Labour people. Labour is a UK party and as we’ve seen over the last few days, the Scottish branch of that party is run for the benefit of those who make up the bulk of the party and owe their allegiance to Westminster first before any consideration of Scotland, if at all, takes place.

It doesn’t matter if your wish is for more powers for Scotland or for complete independence, what matters is electing pro-Scotland MP’s who will push our (the people living in Scotland) agenda to get the best out of the situation. Having elected pro-Westminster MP’s in the past has always made the best outcomes for Scotland second fiddle to UK Party politics. This is a situation we must change before we can consider anything else.

It is therefore our task to ensure that the Labour party in its (rightly) weakened state don’t get any of those MP’s returned at the General Election in May 2015. Our task should be to return as many pro-Scotland MP’s to Westminster as humanly possible and in doing so get Scotland’s agenda onto the table.

How are we going to do that? was formed to create a communications portal for constituency groups made up of people of all pro-Scotland parties and none. In all 59 constituencies, if a pro-Scotland MP sits then assistance will be given to their campaign, on the other hand if a pro-Westminster MP sits, all possible assistance must be given to the pro-Scotland candidate most likely to challenge the pro-Westminster MP and win.

We have set up a website, two facebook central groups (one for news and media), a twitter account and a youtube channel all under the “” banner.

In each constituency, suitable persons will be chosen to run a local group under the banner having their own autonomy and able to call on help from other constituency members. Some areas will have strength through strong, experienced members and some unfortunately due to the lack of experience on the ground will be weak. It is our intention to support the strong and help the weak campaigners to gain strength. This will be accomplished by using the portal to identify those who need the most help. You will also be helped to get the best out of the system by the organisation of simple, friendly training sessions which will be easy to follow.

That means there will be 59 local facebook groups able to communicate with each other and take information from the central groups (or each other) or feed information back.

Those local groups will be assisted to create a file on all candidates fighting to win the seat and will be best placed to decide what candidate will do best in their particular area.

This won’t be a Yes Scotland exercise where initially most of the groups were left to organise themselves, this will be a joined up action which aims to promote tactical voting in each constituency.

As we saw in the referendum, many interlopers from the no campaign found their way into the facebook groups where they tried to damage the yes campaign from within, has its own security professional and the core administrators have run some of the largest groups in favour of independence. We will be there to ensure that the campaign is kept secure and that the business of creating a tactical vote in each constituency is able to happen relatively easily.

All that’s required is people with the same aim; to create a situation where Scotland’s voice cannot be ignored and subsequently achieve the best outcome for the people of Scotland.

Over the coming weeks as the membership rises and we make contact with you all, the conversations we will have will allow us to move to the constituency facebook groups and get planning and organising in each area. It is in all our best interests to see that this is done in an organised way which will create the best situation for the chosen pro-indy candidate in each area.

This isn’t about empire building, this is about Scots talking and campaigning with other Scots of a like mind, that’s why we came up with the name Each and every one of you matters.

There’s a lot to do, this won’t be a piece of cake but the success that we could have in our hands will make it worth the effort.

Let’s get building and let Westminster know there’s a storm coming! They’re going to find out sooner or later. Don’t waste time, join today and let’s get this show on the road.

Remember, remember the 5th of November because that’s our launch date. An auspicious date I would say for any action which seeks to upset the comfy seats at Westminster. About time too.

Kindest regards,

David Milligan

Spermatazoa and Jim Murphy

What happens when you call an election and no one comes? Labour looks like it may be about to find out as each of those tipped as future pretendy leader of the pretendy “Scottish Labour” branch office rule themselves out the running. It’s like a PE fitba selection in reverse – oh dear God don’t pick me. None of the dinosaurs want the job because they’re staring extinction in the face as it is, and besides, Ian Davidson has issued a statement saying he’s got to stay in and wash his hair. None of the so-called big hitters want the job because they know they’ll only get hit bigger. None of the young hopefuls want the job because they would like to have a career that lasts longer than a tub of lard held up to a hair dryer. At the rate things are going, we’d end up with Jackie Baillie because there’s no one else left. However Jackie has also ruled herself out, on account of the fact that she’d melt.

On Monday Gordie Broon announced doesn’t want the job because it would mean he’d actually have to do some work and attend sessions of Parliament – and then stand for Holyrood and attend there. It would have a serious impact on his career as an after dinner spokes hypnotist, helping businesspersons who can’t switch off to enjoy a good sleep. Gordie has an aversion to being challenged, so he can’t stand as it would mean that he’d be challenged weekly at FMQs. He didn’t spend the entire referendum campaign talking to no one but hand-picked audiences for nothing. Hand picked audiences of Labour supporters don’t answer back.

Anas Sarwar, the interim hereditary leader, announced today that he won’t stand as his daddy won’t let him give up the family heirloom seat in Govan. Holding the seat in Govan is sort of like being the Prince of Wales, it’s occupied by the future Governor of the Punjab. Anas has fond hopes that one day he can pass it on to his own wee Sarwar, who – according to a persistent rumour -Anas sends to a private school because he doesn’t want his children to associate with the kind of scruff that Anas relies on to vote for him.

Anas refusing to stand means that there is a very real likelihood that both the leader and deputy leader of the ahem “Scottish” Labour party will be Westminster MPs – an eventuality which rather proves Johann’s branch office run from London point. Jim Murphy is the only well known name who has not so far ruled himself out. Jim thinks he’d be a great leader because he fancies himself as spunky. Like a spermatazoa, Jim has a one in a billion chance of turning into a real human being. Many in the party think that Jim is ideal for the job as he epitomises all that the moribund modern Labour party stands for – self-serving careerism, bloated expenses claims, a dictatorial nature, a willful failure to listen to or understand what Scottish voters want, a complete lack of principles, and as a bonus he already looks like a cadaver.

The other potential contender is a guy called Neil Findlay, a list MSP for Lothian whose main selling point is that no one outside of Holyrood’s Labour group has ever heard of him, and half of Holyrood’s Labour group haven’t heard of him either. This is a major advantage as it makes Neil one of the very few Labour politicians in Scotland who don’t provoke guffaws and derisory howls from the electorate whenever their name is mentioned. Neil wants to take Labour to the left, and recover the party’s socialist principles, hoping to appeal to that aged and dying off section of the voting public which can actually remember when Labour was supposed to be a left wing party. Which is no one under the age of 90.

The problem with Neil’s prospectus is of course that even if he does succeed in taking the pretendy leadership of a party the doesn’t really exist, the dinosaurs in charge of the branch office will put the kybosh on his leftwards movement in about as long as it takes to say velociraptor. It may be relevant at this juncture to point out that the makers of the Jurassic Park movie took considerable liberties in the depiction of the velociraptor, which in real life was about the size of a turkey. This would make Labour the first organisation in the history of politics to have been culled by an extinct turkey. And it’s not even Christmas.

There’s been some speculation in the media, or at least by Alex Massie, that Jim Murphy represents the only serious threat to the SNP and this is why he’s attracted most attacks from 45ers on social media. This is not true. The reason Jim Murphy is a favourite target of attacks is because he’s Jim Murphy. Why bother attacking someone no one has ever heard of when you can launch a few verbal lobs at the man who sums up in a single individual all that has gone wrong with Labour over the past 20 odd years. What’s the problem with Labour? Jim Murphy. See – that makes sense.

But a new leader – whether it’s the death-head Jim or the guy nobody knows – won’t be able to solve Labour’s problems. Today we’ve had a succession of Labour figures on the telly telling us that Johann was quite mistaken when she said that they were out of touch, and proved it by denying that there were any issue to address at all. David Blunkett was aghast at the very notion that Labour in Scotland might have policies that differ from those of Labour elsewhere in the UK, demonstrating that he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of “Scottish Labour” as anything other than a brand name for Ed Miliband north of the border. This is as much a problem for Labour as Jim Murphy is.

Meanwhile the Smith Commission is working to a strict timetable as Labour tears itself apart. Does anyone know any more what Labour is proposing for our lovely new devolution settlement? Did anyone know before Johann resigned? Answers on a postcard to the Smith Commission.



Is schadenfreude fatal?

Less than two months since Scotland voted No, and it’s become clear that the big loser from the independence referendum isn’t the SNP or the other pro-independence parties, it’s Labour. Is schadenfreude fatal? I may have given up ciggies just to die from an overdose of smugness, gloating, and an overwhelming urge to yell out: “Ha ha! Fuckin’ TELT yese!”

Johann Lamont famously told Scots that we are not genetically programmed to make decisions, but now she herself has been programmed – a bit like a washing machine – and has decided to leave Labour to its rinse and spin cycle. The woman who has spent the last two years telling us that being ruled from London like a branch office is a good thing has resigned as leader of British Labour in Scotland – because the party in Scotland is being run from London like a branch office. No, really, pick your jaw up off the floor.

There’s some serious irony lurking there. Well, not so much lurking as standing in front of you in a dayglo spandex suit screaming “Look at me I’m the dictionary definition of irony, you bastard” into your face. It’s irony that’s so unsubtle that even Alanis Morrisette would pick up on it for a song lyric. Johann can’t spot it though. Johann doesn’t do irony, or indeed intellectual coherence, joined up thinking, or sentences with a subject a verb and an object. Actually it transcends irony, iron is a base metal. What we see before us in the British Labour party is something heavier, rarer and far more toxic, it’s plutoniumy. They’re entirely artificial, radioactive, destructive of all that is organic, and have a limited half-life. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch of self-serving careerists.

What Johann does do is lobbing a few grenades in the direction of Labour’s Scottish MPs and Ed Miliband. Or as he’s known in the Lamont household – that fucking useless skinny wanker. The Labour MPs are, according to Johann, dinosaurs – a discovery that Johann has only recently made. The rest of us realised this long before the asteroid that wiped them out crashed into the Yucatan peninsula where it created a massive crater known as Chicxulub, which is Yucatec Maya for “Jim Murphy’s expenses”. So vast, it can be seen from outer space.

However, the reports in the media that Johann has resigned as leader of Scottish Labour are not strictly true. There is no such party as Scottish Labour – Scottish Labour is a branding exercise belonging to the British Labour party and has no distinct existence of its own. A non-party can’t have a leader, and indeed Johann was very much the model of a non-leader, non-leaders all over the world looked to her for inspiration on how not to lead. It is more accurate to say that Johann was the fictitious leader of a fictitious party who has fictitiously resigned.

When Johann was elected as the fictitious leader of a fictitious party, British Labour swore a vow that she would be a proper non-leader, and would non-lead Westminster MPs as well as Holyrood MSPs and local cooncillors. It was of course a deception. But Johann took the gig and was quite happy to go along with the deception right up to the point where she realised that she was one of those who was being deceived.

Johann’s resignation was allegedly provoked in part by the discovery that Magrit Curran – her auld pal fae uni and co-conspirator – was canvassing members of the party’s ruling executive in order to get them to persuade Johann to resign. Magrit and Johann go back a long way together, but personal loyalty counts for about as much as a manifesto promise or a referendum vow in the Labour party. Magrit Curran – the wummin that’s too venal for tribalism. But the straw that broke the humphy camel’s back came when Labour’s leadership in London decided to sack Ian Price, the general secretary of the Labour party in Scotland, without anyone consulting Johann, which is a bit like giving someone a house then breaking in and redecorating the living room with puce green flock wallpaper without telling them.

Today the Guardian is reporting that for over a year Johann was forbidden from criticising the bedroom tax – a key issue in the referendum campaign – until Ed Miliband had made up his mind on the issue. This is code for “consulted with focus groups of voters in key English marginals”. Labour’s policy is set, as it has always been set, by the need to persuade Tory, and now UKIP, leaning voters in marginal constituencies to vote Labour. There are no such seats in Scotland, so the demands of Scotland’s electorate simply do not figure in British Labour’s calculations. We get to be taken for granted – and now Johann has found out that getting taken for granted is a bit of a pisser, so she’s voted with her feet. There’s all Magrit Curran needs to know for her wee commission investigating why Labour is about as appealing as a centrifuge full of dysentry victims.

The question now is who is going to accept the poisoned chalice and take over as leader of the moribund bunch of expenses claimants, time-servers, arselickers and greasy pole climbers. The range of potential candidates is less than inspiring. Some in Labour are pushing for Gordie Broon, the recently declared Saviour of the Nation, however his political career is hanging by a vow. Jim Murphy’s name has been mentioned, by people who don’t spit while saying it, which is something of a novelty for Jim. But that would be an effective demotion for a man who has spent his political career fighting to advance a sacred principle which can be summed up in just two words – those words being “Jim” and “Murphy”. Plus he’s a warmongering Blairite whose past will most assuredly follow him like the smell of a bad egg. Kezia Dugdale, of all people, has been mentioned, and you know things are desperate when Kezia is regarded as a plus, but she didn’t get the BBC radio show so she needs something to do with herself.

Still, you can console yourselves with the thought that no one has mentioned Jackie Baillie as a new possible leader, but that’s only because – judging by her performance on Good Morning Scotland on Saturday – she has finally taken leave of what little senses she once possessed.

So that just leaves the hereditary MP for Govan, the millionaire slimebucket otherwise known as Anas Sarwar, who as deputy has taken over as fictitious interim leader of the fictitious Scottish Labour party. This is perfectly appropriate, seeing as how Anas is a fictitious human being. But he has no intention of giving up the Westminster seat bequeathed to him by daddy – it’s a family heirloom after all.

Meanwhile the UK polls show that Labour is slipping behind a Tory party which is itself riven with infighting and division, and in Scotland the SNP surges ahead in Westminster voting intentions. Looks like we’re going to find out whether schadenfreude is fatal, but Labour’s condition certainly is.

Still not had a ciggy – that’s almost 5 days now.



A wee update about flitting and fags

The fact I’m posting this ought to let you know that I’m back online again – whoo hoo. But this isn’t a post about the Smith Commission, the British Labour party, or any wit and wisdom about anything remotely political. It’s just a wee update to let you know what’s going on with the big flit.

The move went smoothly, and we managed to get everything over to the new flat without breaking anything. Although my uncle did point out a loose wire on a model train when he was looking at it. Every single time that man looks at a model train or tram, it gets broken. It’s not even his fault either. He hadn’t even touched the train. He’s just cursed. He is to model trains as Gordie Broon is to politics, come to think of it. Although in Broon’s case it generally is his fault. And you can’t fix the devolution settlement with a bit of solder, you’ll only get burned.

I’m now unpacking everything, and working my way through all the packing cases. I’ve got loads of lovely things that haven’t seen the light of day since we moved back from Spain. And a shitload of crap too.

I’ve not had a fag since 2.30am on Tuesday morning, when I finished the last of the baccy I’d found in a tin in a drawer in the old place. On Saturday while suffering a severe craving I distracted myself by clearing out rubbish – only to discover a wee bit of rolling tobacco hiding there. So that was the giving up smoking buggered for last weekend. Until I finished that very last little bit. I’ve not used nicotine patches, e-cigs, or thon boggin tasting chewing gum, I’ve just gone cold turkey – and to my surprise it’s working. And I’m not even eating lots of sweeties.

I don’t want to smoke in this new flat – and haven’t. Moving has made it easier to give up because I’ve changed my routine. I still sit and watch Pointless with a cuppa, just not with a fag any more. I’m watching it in a different house in a different place – and it feels sufficiently different that the craving for the ciggie is controllable. I am determined to do it this time.

I’m still getting cravings of course, but they’re bearable. When I was a teenager I used to bite my fingernails, but managed to stop that by playing with a wee lump of plasticene instead. Believe it or not I still have the original lump of plasticene – which is now a solid ball bearing very little resemblance to modelling clay. But it fits my hands perfectly, and when I get a craving for a ciggy I roll the ball between my hands. Fingers crossed it’s working, or rather I would cross my fingers but they’re occupied with a ball of plasticene.

I have no idea what’s going on in the news – but I’ll try and catch up with myself and all going well normal posting service will be resumed over the weekend.



How now Brown’s vow

The road to Hell, blog posts, and post-referendum vows is paved with good intentions. Or at least that holds true for two items on the list, whether there were ever any good intentions in the vow is very much a matter for debate. In fact, it’s debatable whether there ever was a vow in the first place, because it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that it only ever existed in the febrile minds of Gordie and the editor of the Daily Record. More a ciao than a vow then, as it meant we could say goodbye to any hopes of substantive extra powers for Holyrood.

In the Peanuts cartoon strip, there was a recurring gag when Charlie Brown attempted to kick a football, one of those oddly shaped ones like Gordie’s heid, held into place by his friend Lucy. Whenever Charlie Brown went to kick the baw, Lucy wheeched it away. Yet Charlie Brown fell for it every time. He’s clearly a close relative of Gordie. Lucy was never going to let Charlie Brown kick the baw, just like Westminster was never going to fulfil the vow that Gordie assured us was a done deal. Snoopy won’t be doing his happy dance.

The debates in Westminster this week were obstensibly about extra powers for Scotland and the implementation of the infamous vow, however the debate was taken up almost in its entirety with arguments over English devolution. Predictably, proceedings descended into Labour and the Tories arguing over what was best for their own party interests. The only person who seemed shocked by this turn of events was Charlie, sorry, Gordie. This is because if anyone is going to break their word but pretend that they haven’t, it will be Gordie, and he’s not happy that others have trodden on astroturf he regards as rightfully his.

Despite his much heralded intellect, Gordie suffers from a very special kind of stupid, the kind that only highly intelligent and deeply vain people suffer from, people whose IQs are the square root of their egos. Gordie may be highly intelligent in getting a PhD about the early history of the Labour party, but he has the social intelligence of monkey wrench. He is, quite literally, a tool. People like Gordie get used by those who may not partake in his impressively large ego, his intellectualosity, and his ability to come out with phrases like endogenous growth devolution, but who are far more politically and socially shrewd. Lenin called monkey wrenches like Gordie ‘useful idiots’. Gordie was played, brought down by his own ego and the mistaken belief that he can out-think everyone around him. It’s the arrogance of the small town boy who was always the brightest in his class at school, and who thinks this means he’s brighter than everyone on the planet.

If I was ever a telly interviewer, there’s a question I’d like to put to Gordie – I’d ask him to name one, just one, policy he had implemented because it was the right thing to do, even though it had damaged his party’s chances of election and his own career. Bet ye he couldn’t answer, and this is why I’ll never be a telly interviewer – I wouldn’t let it go. Gordie has never willingly put the greater good above the interests of Gordie and the British Labour party, because in Gordie’s eye the greater good always, by an eerie coincidence, just happens to be what’s good for Gordie. Spooky.

Yet this is the same Gordie who wanted voters to believe that he, and the rest of the misbegotten Westminster party leaders, would put aside personal and party interests in order to fulfil a vow to the people of Scotland. And Gordie, being the tool fool that he is, probably genuinely believed that Davie, Ed and Nick would go along with what was good for Gordie. Davie Cameron looked at Gordie’s proposal for a vow, and saw a monkey wrench to stick in the devo-works. It is below the belt to cast aspersions on a person’s mental health – but you do have to wonder whether Gordie is just a bit of a nutter. Actually no. You don’t need to wonder, it’s really quite certain that Gordie’s contact with reality is at best tangential.

On Friday Gordie published an article in the Guardian. The focus of his upset was not what happens to Scotland under Cameron’s proposals for devolution, but rather what happens to Scottish MPs. Or more specifically, to him and his British Labour co-conspirators. They will no longer be able to vote on “English only” matters. And by devolving all income tax, Cameron has ensured that’s going to include the budget. At a stroke, Gordie, the Smurph and St Dougie the Creeping Jesus will be denied the possibility of cabinet seats. That’s the second classness that really bothers Gordie, not the second class nature of a hauf arsed devolution proposal that includes a random selection of tax raising powers but doesn’t include much else, and certainly not the ability for Holyrood to set up a Scottish nation TV channel.

However Gordie doesn’t need to worry, because there may not be that many second class British Labour MPs in Scotland after the next General Election. They’re all third class runners up, and there won’t be that many of them. The latest polls show that British Labour is about to experience its very own version of lemmingdom. Since the referendum the party’s vote share in Scotland has fallen off a cliff. In the most recent YouGov poll, the Scottish subsample shows that British Labour is – almost unbelievably – returning a lower vote share than the Tories. The Tories poll 20%, British Labour a paltry 19%. “Others”, those small parties and regional parochial parties too insignificant for YouGov to notice, have been polling over 50%. That’ll be the SNP and the Greens then. Although other polls do show Labour ahead of the Tories in Scotland – although not by much – all agree that the SNP and the other pro-independence parties are well ahead, and UKIP, the BBC’s favourite “other party” is nowhere to be seen.

The BBC is doing all it can to rescue the situation, and has decided quite arbitrarily that the SNP, the Greens, and Plaid Cymru will be excluded from the leaders’ debates scheduled for before the next General Election. It’s all that stands between business as usual and the prospect that pro-independence MPs will hold a majority of Scottish Westminster seats. That will mean that Westminster’s devolution proposals will be unlikely to secure a democratic mandate within Scotland, and will instead have to be imposed by English votes. English Votes for Scottish Laws, it was ever thus.

Magrit Curran better hurry up with her consultation of pissed off East Enders then. The only thing I don’t like about my new hoose is that Magrit is my MP – although probably only until May. The seat fell to the SNP in the 2008 by-election. I’m still waiting for my invite to yer consultation Magrit, by the way. I’d be delighted to tell you at length and in colourful detail exactly where things have gone wrong for you, and why it’s far too late for you to do anything about it. All that’s left for Magrit is to consult under a rock along with Wullie Bain and Ian Davidson.

Many years ago I remarked that Scotland would become independent, not because it was the expressed and settled will of the voters of Scotland, but because the Westminster parties would be incapable of putting the continuation of the Union above narrow party interests. That’s one prediction that looks like coming true. If only I had the same success with lottery numbers.

There will not be any more blog posts this week. The big move is on Tuesday, and I am currently surrounded by packing cases and I won’t have internet access until everything is reconnected in the new house. And I’m trying to give up smoking. With limited success, so I am really, really tetchy right now.  Magrit, you have been warned.



Newton’s law of Y-fronts

When I’m not wondering why I have a waffle iron, and am still unclear on what a waffle iron is, never mind wondering why there’s one in the cupboard, I’ve been on the phone to utilities companies, insurance agents, and the rest of the practicalities required for a flitting. But the big day is looming, the removal van will appear at the door one week from today, and there’s still so much to do. Oh God. Panic panic. This is why you’re not getting so many blog posts of late, looking after a dementia sufferer was almost relaxing by comparison.

I’m drowning under a sea of packing cases, books, and a vast quantity of detritus that people sell on eBay as ‘collectables’, like a cracked old candle in the shape of Bugs Bunny dressed as Carmen Miranda that was given as a birthday present over 30 years ago and which will never be lit, it was much more recently joined by a stuffed toy Wee Ginger Dug made by a reader of this blog. However neither Bugs nor the wee dug will ever be sold on eBay. And probably neither will most of the rest of the crap that’s currently littering the living room carpet. It’s going to follow me around for the rest of my life like a stray dog that looks at you with big brown eyes and makes you feel guilty. He’s still following me around too, and is at this very moment giving one of his special accusatory stares, the kind he reserves for when he wants you to know that he’s not been out for a few hours …

Right, the dug has been walked now …

So, election debates, pure dead exciting innit. We can all shout at the telly that we don’t agree with Nick, and rather feel like taking Nick by the scruff of the neck and setting his pants on fire. In fact many of us want to do that with all of them. It would certainly make debates more interesting, and quicker, as party leaders rushed to explain their policies on taxation before the flames removed the last of their pubic hair. Although I don’t think anyone as shiny as Davie Cameron has any.

For the correct degree of gravitas with the gravy train arses, the programme should be presented by Dale Winton, who can ask the contestants, sorry – political leaders – for their opinions on the latest war in Iraq and whether they believe that Ermintrude from the Magic Roundabout was a right cow after she left Zebedee in the lurch at the altar and ran off with Dylan to get stoned in a hippy commune near Brighton. Dale can emote in a dayglo orange while a clock ticks and the contestants will be tipped backwards into a big pool of goo if they get the answer wrong. The eventual winner gets to take home the key to Number 10, a new motor, unlimited foreign trips staying in the best hotels, and will become besties with the presenter of Top Gear – except Ed Miliband, who’ll get a dinner date with that guy with the teeth who used to be on Big Brother, or was it the X-Factor. Then Ed can learn from a master of being famous for being famous while having no appreciable talent at all. Ben Fogle wasn’t available.

All this would at least make the programme interesting for Scottish viewers, because our full range of democratic choices won’t be only display. The SNP and the Greens are not going to be invited to the debate, because they’re not important. Scotland isn’t important either, a proposition with which 55% of the country agreed last month, at least according to the broadcasters, so they don’t have to take us into account when deciding who’s going to goo with Dale. SNP voters can see a wee cute kitten stuck in a drain in Falkirk on Reporting Scotland instead, or if you’re a Green voter there may be a beardy folk singer on BBC Alba explaining renewable energy policy through the medium of jigs and reels.

Only the leaders of parties which could actually form the government of the UK are going to be invited to participate in the main debate. So that’s us telt then. The SNP are a mere provincial regional county parish party, and don’t even put up candidates in important places – which is anywhere within a 20 mile radius of the M25 in case you were wondering. That’s why Dale won’t deign to goo them. So naturally Davie Cameron and Ed Miliband get to come along, and Nick’s got to come too because he’s their governmental vaseline.

And Nigel needs to come along as well, because he’s got an MP now and it is entirely possible that large numbers of people in important places will consider voting for him and he could be swept into power, like it’s entirely possible that the atoms making up Nigel’s body could spontaneously rearrange themselves into a candle in the shape of Bugs Bunny dressed as Carmen Miranda. I’d set light to that one, so Nigel could drip all over Dale’s shag pile and melt away to nothing.

Fair enough, although the spontaneous rearrangement of Nigel Farage’s atoms is possible, it is vanishingly improbable, but there is a law of physics that says that exact thing can happen, Newton’s fifth law of incendiary Y-fronts. You can’t say that for the SNP. This is all detailed in the BBC’s top secret election debate manual, just after the chapter where it explains that the BBC is Nigel’s publicity agent and is contractually obliged to have him on the telly every day. He’s on Bargain Hunt all this week, looking for 1950’s social attitudes at a car boot sale in Colchester. Tim thinks it’s a bit orff.

None of this means that the spontaneous rearrangement of constituent parts is always improbable, since it’s already happened. I seem to recall that just a few short weeks ago, before a certain vote, Scotland was being told it was a much valued partner in the bestest union of nations in the universe ever, but now the UK has rearranged its constituent parts and we’re back in an over-centralised unitary state again. We must be, because it’s only in a centralised unitary state that major political parties representing one part of what some of us thought was supposed to be a union can be legitimately excluded from a UK election debate. Or perhaps I just misunderstood Gordie, like he apparently misunderstood Davie, Nick and Ed when they vowed to him it was a done deal about all that devosuperpowermax federalism stuff. Although it’s considerably more probable than the spontaneous rearrangement of constituent parts that Gordie just made it all up to suit himself, just like the BBC’s debate rules.

Oh God why did I ever think this was a good idea

I’m now at the “oh God why did I ever think this was a good idea” stage in the house flitting process, and am sitting here surrounded by packing cases and piles of assorted stuff all over the floor, under which – somewhere – is hiding a roll of parcel tape. It’s hiding on purpose, because it’s malevolent. The guy in Gordon’s Supplies, Lies and Trussing shop where I bought it swore blind that it was really good and would do exactly what I wanted, so it was only my own fault for believing a vow. See when someone tells you it’s a done deal, it means you’ve been done.

So what with arguing with recalcitrant packing tape, choosing wallpaper, spending hours on the phone to the electricity company, and packing stuff away – I’ve not really been keeping abreast of political developments of late or had much time to update the blog. But you don’t need to pay close attention to realise just how much trouble all three of the main Westminster parties are in. It’s a bit like watching an overhyped boxer fighting to the death with a plastic spatula, and the spatula is winning.

The simultaneous descent of all three main parties into direpute is quite a remarkable achievement in a First Past the Post electoral system where distaste for one party generally results in strengthening one of the others. But that’s just how rubbish our current crop of party leaders are – they’ve even broken a political system that was designed so that one or other of them would be in power for perpetuity, with or without the occasional Lib Dem dangleberry – they cling on so persistently. And it’s all the more remarkable when you consider that this is a system that was set up to cope with chinless wonders with stiff upper lips who never needed a spoon because they were already born with silver ones preinstalled in their gobs.

The Lib Dem conference was still going on for most of the week, although no one noticed. I think it was still going on yesterday, but like 99.99% of the population I couldn’t be bothered to find out. The remaining 0.01% is related to a Lib Dem MP and hears about it whether they like it or not. Usually not.

Meanwhile the realisation is dawning within the upper reaches of the British Labour hierarchy that in Ed Miliband they really did pick a plasticene Wallace as party leader but Ed Balls comes nowhere close to Grommit the dog in competence or likeability. With opinion poll ratings showing that Labour has thrown away its previous lead in the polls, it’s looking highly unlikely that the party will become the largest party in the next parliament, never mind the government.

The Tories on the other hand had a “good” conference. “Good” in this instance being defined as tearing up the European Human Rights treaty, tax cuts for the better off, putting a great big English votes for English laws fly in the devolution jam, and sawing off the legs of people on benefits so that golf club members in Surrey can run them down in a golf cart. This has made the Tories more popular with people who have Death Race 2000 on DVD and aspire to the membership of golf clubs in Surrey.

However the Tory feel good bounce, achieved by using a disabled person as a springboard, has been splattered due to a by-election in the previously Tory seat of Clacton which fell to UKIP and give the purple faced right wing populists their first directly elected MP. Douglas Carswell won with an embarrassingly large 60% of all votes cast. It was one of the biggest swings to any party since in decades. Nigel Farage, who permanently wears the smug expression of a late developer who has just discovered masturbation and thinks he’s got a special secret no one else knows, is going to have to buy in a bulk order of paper towels from the cash and carry.

Tory rumblings of discontent with Davie’s leadership were already rumbling before Clacton. Now the pressure on the Tories to tack even further to the right is going to be intense, and we can expect a lot more in the way of “fairness for England” as an excuse to delay Scottish devolution, and hyping up the anti-Europe rhetoric.

Labour’s woes have also taken on a deep purplish hue. The other by-election on Thursday was in the Heywood and Middleton constituency in Manchester. It was supposedly a safe Labour seat, as recently as 2001 Labour took 57.7% of all votes cast. But UKIP came within a tickle of making Nigel have to go and get a new supply of tissues again, and reduced Labour’s majority to just 617. A whole swathe of Labour seats in England suddenly became as vulnerable as a baw hair in a Brazilian waxing salon. There’s those plastic spatulas again. Turn out was a pathetically low 36%. There’s no apathy like British Labour engendered apathy. It’s one of the few things they’re very good at.

Although Labour held on to the seat, in some ways the result in Heywood was worse for them. In Clacton Douglas Carswell was the sitting MP before he switched to UKIP. He was, apparently, popular locally. I know. Go figure. No I don’t get it either, but there ye go. He had an established presence in the seat. Like one of those dents on your favourite chair that’s shaped itself into the perfect shape of your bum. In Clacton Carswell was the right arse. But in Heywood UKIP came from nowhere, and almost succeeded in planking their arse very firmly on a sofa that Labour has always thought it was its divine right to get on expenses from John Lewis.

Meanwhile in Scotland, British Labour is in a whole different set of bother. Those of you who voted Yes can go “muwahahahaha” at this juncture, like an evil supervillain. Go on, you know you want to. I’ve been practising my special “told you so” smug look.

The Lib Dems avoided humiliation, but only by securing the sole rights to ignominy, disgrace, and mortification. And made a strong bid for ridicule too, but were only saved by there being so much ridicule to go around these days. In Clacton they managed a paltry 483 votes, and a lost deposit of £500. They would have been better off bribing 483 voters a quid each and then they’d still have had enough left over for a curry.

UKIP have now proven that they can take votes from both Labour and the Tories, and the Lib Dems have been consigned to oblivion. They’ve done this because of rather than despite of the fact that they have no policies besides getting out of Europe, kicking Scotland, and hating immigrants. They’re the party for people who hate politicians, but who don’t have any real consensus yet on what they want to do about it.

That’s where Scotland is way ahead of the game. There is a whole ferment of ideas and new projects amongst the 45. Scotland is slowly reaching towards a new consensus on how this country should be governed, and who it should be governed for. They look to what’s happening down south, and many of those who voted No are now having “oh God why did I ever think this was a good idea” moments of their own.

We’re in for some very choppy waters along the way, but the current weak and discredited condition of the parties and institutions of the UK means that an organised mass movement can gain huge concessions. And we’ve had a two year long education in organising ourselves.

Sorry there have not been as many new posts of late, but until the flitting is done and dusted updates and new entries are going to be a bit erratic.


Garden gnomes and koalas

I was going to blog something about the Lib Dem conference which was held in Glasgow this weekend, but what’s the point? Does anyone actually give a toss what Vince Cable thinks? Even the rest of the Lib Dems don’t care. You do better blogging about the minutes of the last meeting of the Auchterarder Market Gardens and Allotments Association summer outing subcommittee, which unlike the Lib Dems has a purpose and is at least going somewhere. Other than serving as enablers so one or other of the twin Tory parties can continue to take buggin’s turn as the government of the day, the Lib Dems have no purpose, and most likely no future either.

But since the Auchterarder Market Gardens and Allotments Association are far too important and weighty and Scotland voted No so we aren’t allowed to talk about important stuff, the Lib Dems will have to do. Their conference can be summed up in three sentences: What a pointless waste of time. Can I get the last 48 hours of Danny’s Alexander’s life back please. I’d like to do something inventive with them.

The Lib Dems vie with Gordie Broon for the title of Biggest Suckers in British Politics. It is only Gordie’s recent masterclass performance in being taken for a mug that has pushed them out of pole position in the rankings. They can’t even win at being losers. Gordie has been vowed the trophy, which he achieved during the final days of the referendum campaign by turning the word ego into a verb, only to discover that he’d been strung along like an overpuffed balloon and then burst by Davie Cameron’s wee prick. It was the biggest explosion of a bag of noxious gas since Gordie mistakenly chose the beans during that fateful dinner with Tony Blair.

However Lib Dem party strategists have clearly decided to fight the General Election campaign on a platform of: We really hate the Tories too. No honestly. They’re beastly. We said so all along, under our breath while Michael Gove wasn’t listening. They bullied us into supporting them, they really did. It wasn’t our fault. We’ll support Labour if you like.

Despite the delusional nature of their self belief, the Lib Dems maintain a cheerful disposition, founded entirely upon the proposition that come 2015 everyone will forget that Danny Alexander has spent the past five years as George Osborne’s suppository. Danny has found his calling as the greasy slime which permits the smooth passage of Osborne’s parliamentary motions. And then there’s that vow that a lot of people are itching to pay them back for. No, not the Scottish one. The tuition fees one that lasted as long as it took to say ministerial motor. Though that wasn’t a vow, if memory serves it was only a solemn pledge signed in blood. Or in Menzies Campell’s case, formaldehyde.

But even the harshest critic would have to admit that the situation is not entirely dire. The Lib Dems have escaped most of the blame for Gordie’s disemvowment, but that’s only because we already have Nick Clegg’s tea oot for the student loans thing and being a second rate Tory when the original version was third rate to begin with.

Yesterday saw Wee Wullie Rennie and Alistair Carmichael launch into a fearsome attack on the SNP, like being savaged by an elderly and toothless Yorkie and its chew toy.

Wullie has given the SNP a wee test, because he’s learned how to do them after someone showed him how to put a wee tick in the multiple choice box. And if he got it right he got a smartie. That’s how he got the job as Lib Dem leader in Holyrood – well that and the fact there was no one else left.

Wullie said that the SNP and independence were like Gollum and his preciousssss, which he would know a lot about, since he had a non-speaking part in the fillum as a garden gnome. I always thought he was wasted in politics. Wullie has a face that you usually see in a DC Thompson cartoon, like the offspring of Daphne and Desperate Dan, and he could have a weekly series of misadventures and homespun philosophy with his pal Alistair the prissy Koala in the pull out section of the Sunday Post. It would at least add to the sum total of human happiness in a small but significant way.

Instead he’s wasting his enormous natural talent on making up a test for the SNP before he’ll let them play with the Smith Commission on further devolution. He’s helpfully provided only one option for the tick box, which is helpfully labelled ‘wrong answer’. Wullie thinks this is a cunning ruse and he’s set a very clever trap. Awwwww. Someone give him a smartie.

The test consists of a vow, there’s a lot of those going around just now. People must catch them in lifts, like Yes voters with a cold and other viruses of nationalism. The SNP have got to vow not to tell the Smith Commission they want an unstable form of devolution that will only lead to independence. Wullie doesn’t actually know what an unstable form of devolution is, seeing as how no one is very sure what a stable variety would look like, but he does know that unstable will be what the Lib Dems call absolutely any proposal put forward by the SNP.

Meanwhile the Koalamichael is getting agitated about another referendum, and wants the SNP to rule it out forever. Because if the people of Scotland are not told once and for all that they can never change their minds ever, not even if circumstances change, then it will be just like Quebec where they keep having new referendums. Then Edinburgh will turn into Montreal and this will be very bad for the banks because all the ATMs will be in French. The thrust of the argument being that the self-interest of the finance industry is more important than silly little things like democracy, or vows not being kept by balloons.

And this pretty much sums up the attitude of the Westminster parties, whether it’s the Blue Tories, the Red Tories, the Purple Raving Nigel Fan Club Tories, or the Yellow Greasy Enabling Tories – all of them believe that it’s only the populace which should be held to any sort of commitment, never their own party. All that’s left for us is to be lectured by a garden gnome and a stuffed toy koala on an entitlement kick.

Let’s kick them out.



Labour, wonga puppets, and the moral high ground

So it’s a final farewell to the poll tax. Well, I say “farewell”, when “consigned to the bin where it always belonged” is more appropriate. The Scottish Government has announced that local authorities can no longer chase up people for outstanding poll tax debts, debts which date back 25 years. It’s a wee ha ha get it up yese from a departing Alicsammin to the British Labour cooncillors who were rumoured to have been heard licking their lips as they relished the prospect of punishing the poor who had turned against them.

Labour cooncils are beelin, because they had decided to use the increased voter registration in order to penalise people who registered in order to vote in the referendum, despite the fact that everyone, their granny, their granny’s dug, and even their granny’s dug’s British Labour cooncillor, agrees that the poll tax was malign, unwanted, and unjust. It’s better for the party when people don’t bother to vote. British Labour understands this as contented aquiescence and not alienated despair. But now large numbers of people are once again engaging with politics, and this threatens to reveal just how hollow the party’s apparent dominance in Scottish Westminster seats really is.

Making the lives of the poorest even harder in order to punish them. It’s the typical small minded vindictiveness that we’ve come to know and love from the British Labour party as they complete their transition to a fully fledged right wing party, proponents of the belief that there can be no representation without taxation. They’ve become the party of net curtain twitchers, tutters, tskers, and the very worst small minded Presbyterian self-righteousness straight from the Victorian kailyaird. The British Labour party in Scotland has turned into the Sunday Post. It’s even got Daphne.

But that’s unfair. The Sunday Post had the graphic talents of that genius of ink, Dudley D Watkins. British Labour scrawls on the backs of fag packets. In lipstick, it appeals to women voters. Dudley D drew fantastic imagescapes of the Scottish imagination. Labour draws the blank look of Johann and the bankbook of Blair.

David O’Neill, president of Cosla, was raging about the poll tax soor grapes ban. There are fewer things more amusing to watch than a pursed lip in search of a pout. David ranted that it was “the oddest decision ever to come out of the Scottish government”. Odder than Jock McConnell’s decision to wear that kilt, odder than Jock’s decision to allow Westminster to keep its paws on £1.5 billion because he couldn’t think what to spend it on, odder even than North Ayrshire cooncil’s decision to sign contracts to spend almost £430 million in PPP payments for new schools that cost £88 million to build. David O’Neill, leader of North Ayrshire cooncil, has a peculiar definition of oddness, but then he’s a British Labour timeserver.

David moaned that no one had consulted him about it before the decision was announced. Because it’s only right and proper in the odd world of British Labour that when you want to slap down uppity wee gits who are on a bigger power trip than a car park attendant during a bus strike, you tell them about it beforehand in order to allow them to get their excuses in first so they can appear pre-pouted in the TV studio.

Naturally, this doesn’t hold if the car park attendant uses his or her awesome power to ban Audis, which is merely an act of social and moral responsibility. This is because Audi is German for “I have a very small penis and a need to over-compensate.”

The news about Labour’s shock and dismay at being refused the right to chase after ancient debts with the zeal of a witchfinder general came on the same day that pay day loan company Wonga announced that it was writing off £220 million in outstanding debts owed by thousands of clients who never had any realistic chance of repaying, and who never should have been given loans in the first place. Wonga has promised to change its business model and check clients’ ability to pay before authorising a loan, and has issued an apology for the distress its lending behaviour has caused. British Labour in Scotland has less of a social conscience than a pay day loan company. That’s jaw dropping, but admittedly only in a universe without Johann Lamont or Jim Murphy in it.

Our universe is far odder than that. We live in a universe where the puppets in the Wonga advert can lecture Labour from the moral high ground. And these are the people who claim to be the political heirs of Mary Barbour and the Glasgow rent strikes. Labour no longer believes in peacefully challenging authority in order to defeat an injustice. They believe they are the authority, and for a very long time they went unchallenged. That’s changed now.

Over the course of the past few years, I’ve come to the distressing realisation that I loathe the British Labour party in Scotland even more than I despise the Tories, and it’s not because I’ve got any more right wing. It used to be common knowledge, by which is usually meant something that everyone believes because no one has ever bothered to contradict it, that people get more conservative as they get older. Apparently it’s something that occurs naturally to humans once they discover that they have a use for a nasal hair trimmer. However, this hasn’t happened to hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland, many of whom do have suspiciously hairy nostrils now that I come to think of it.

The Labour party hasn’t aged at all well. The British Labour party has suffered an explosive outburst of nasal hair which has propelled it rightwards more quickly than a missile over Baghdad. It’s the self-serving sneeze from those whose nasal hair is rooted in a nose in the trough.

During the referendum campaign independence supporters were lectured by certain supporters of the Union for our supposed fixation on the “narcissism of small differences”. Insisting that Scotland is a different political space to the rest of the UK is an example of such narcissism, they told us. But there is no greater example of the narcissism of small differences than is to be found in the British Labour party and its attempts to portray itself as something different from the Conservatives. The party has wholeheartedly adopted privatisations, PPP schemes, foreign wars, benefits caps, and austerity cuts. And now we have discovered that a pay day loan company has more of a conscience about the effects of aggressive debt pursuit on the poorest in society. I wonder what Mary Barbour would have said.