Giving up bad habits

This article first appeared in the first edition of iScot – Scotland’s new news, politics and features magazine.  If you’ve not subscribed yet, do so now!  I’ll be writing for them regularly – because they’ve asked me to contribute regularly unlike certain national newspapers – and I have just submitted my piece for their second edition due out in January.  The magazine is online at and is published in both digital and print formats. Subscribe here – a year’s subscription is just £36.

I’ve given up smoking, it’s not always easy giving up ciggies even though you don’t get much pleasure from it. Over a month now without polluting my lungs with the evil weed, and I’ve also joined the ranks of thousands of Scots who’ve kicked the bad habit – that would be the bad habit of voting Labour. I used to vote Labour, but then I realised it causes cancer of the Scottish body politic and leads to the premature death of aspirations.

By an eerie coincidence, the percentage of Scottish voters who say they plan to vote Labour at the next election is more or less the same as the percentage of Scottish adults who still smoke. But giving up one is a whole lot easier than giving up the other. The main difference being that while former smokers still get cravings for a fag, no one in their right mind feels a desire to have a sook on Jim Murphy. Not even Anas Sarwar.

Labour’s been a bad habit in Scottish politics for far too long. We voted Labour without thinking as we wrongly believed it was the only way to keep the Tories out of office. But the truth of the matter is that the only way to keep the Tories out of office is for voters in England not to vote for them, and there’s precious little that the Scottish electorate can do to influence that. For all Labour’s calls for solidarity with folk south of the border during the referendum campaign, there’s precious little solidarity in the other direction. Voters vote according to what they consider to be in their own best interests, and if voters in England believe their interests are best served by voting Tory, no appeals to solidarity with Caledonians are going to make them do otherwise.

We voted Labour all the way through the 80s and 90s, and got Tory governments anyway. We voted Labour in 1997 and got a Labour government that had become Red Tory in order to appeal to voters in England because that was the only way it could get elected. So Scottish voters must take a leaf out of our English brothers and sisters’ book, and vote according to what is in our own best interests. Vote for parties that put Scotland first. That doesn’t mean we let the Tories in, no party which puts Scotland first is going to ally itself with David Cameron and George Osborne. But Labour will adopt Cameron and Osborne’s policies in an effort to appeal to voters in the English shires. Eds Miliband and Balls have already said they’ll implement the same austerity plan, just with a sad face and a more adenoidal commentary.

Scotland needs to break the Labour habit, and during the referendum campaign hundreds of thousands of us gave it up as we saw Labour stand shoulder to shoulder with the Tories and wrap itself in the Union flag and cheer as bosses, bankers and big business issued dire warnings and threats at the behest of Westminster. Scotland is too small to go it alone, our economy too unbalanced and weak, they told us, conveniently sidestepping the question that if what they said was true, then it made little sense to continue to vote for the pathetic parties which had brought about this lamentable state of affairs. We’ve made you rubbish, Labour cried, so vote for us. Labour is no longer the people’s party, they’re the party of managing the people’s expectations on behalf of the banks and the bosses.

Labour may once have had principles, but now the party is epitomised by the man most likely to take over as branch manager in Scotland, Jim Murphy. It’s not true to say that the Smugurphy has no guiding political principles, he does, and they are clear and consistent and can be summarised in three words – and those words are : Jim Murphy’s career.

Since the referendum, Labour’s support has gone into freefall while support for pro-Scotland parties like the SNP, the Greens and the SSP has shot upwards. Due to the distorting features of the first past the post voting system, it now looks quite possible that Labour will be reduced to a tiny rump of Scottish seats, a backside that’s been severely kicked. We need to make sure this comes to pass, if Scottish voters can ensure that the Unionist parties lack a majority of Scottish seats then we can effectively block any claim to democratic legitimacy of any attempt by Westminster to tinker with the devolution settlement. And if the SNP were the third or fourth largest party in Westminster then pro-Scotland parties could be key to the stability of a future UK government. That’s the way to extract concessions, not by voting Labour and hoping that they’ll pay us heed when they’ve never paid us any heed in the past.

Once you’ve broken a bad habit, and realised it was nothing more than a bad habit, you start to see the benefits. In the case of giving up smoking you find your lung capacity increases – which is extremely useful for screaming abuse at the telly at a greater volume whenever Magrit Curran’s mug hoves into view – and your bank balance is a whole lot healthier too. In the few short weeks since stopping smoking, I reckon I’ve saved over £300. And in the few short weeks since Scotland’s broken the Labour habit, it looks like we can save an entire country.


Mr Hi Jumpy and the high jump

Jim Murphy has been raising the profile of the Labour party this week, at least according to an interview in the Guardian, a newspaper which sells only a handful of copies in Scotland, most of which are to people who like the crossword. This means that the Labour party’s profile has been successfully raised amongst people who like to do crosswords – but of course people who like to do crosswords also understand that ‘deluded Mr Hi Jumpy is very confused (3, 6)’.

Anyway, Mr Hi Jumpy has a very high opinion of himself and likes to remind everyone how hard it was for him when he was a baba. The Baby Hi Jumpy was born in a cutlery drawer in Arden under a star, or at least a disco ball, and was visited by the three kings from Labour party headquarters who presented him with the gifts of a brass neck, a press office, and an expenses claims form. Mainly in the hope it would make him go away and stop plotting against Ed Miliband.

However the media is determined to blur the distinction in the voter’s mind between Jim Murphy and the Baby Jesus, and over the coming holiday season BBC Scotland has lined up a Christmas special programme called Jim’s Nativity Miracle, during which he’ll be visited by a donkey, an ass, and some shepherds who’ve lost their sheep – that’ll be Ian Davidson and Dougie Alexander together with the management of BBC Scotland. Kezia Dugdale will play the role of an angel in a dufflecoat, who appears in a vision to the Daily Mail and complains about cybernats being nasty to her.

The Christmas message will be that Mr Hi Jumpy has come to redeem Labour from its sins, and seeks to achieve this by hoping that the rest of us will forget what Labour’s many sins are if we’re constantly bombarded with sycophantic interviews which go on about drawers in Arden like it makes Jim something special. It might spoil the infantile narrative to point out that Jim’s hardships largely took place during a time when Labour was in power, and the policies Jim and the rest of his misbegotten party have espoused ever since have done precious little to alleviate them for the rest of the residents of Arden. Labour, let us recall, refused to allow the devolution of minimum wage policy to the Scottish Parliament during the Smith commission negotiations.

Mr Hi Jumpy told the Guardian’s reporter that it was clear from the attacks on him that his opponents think he “isn’t shit”. And this would be true, Jim’s opponents don’t think he’s shit. But just stick an indefinite article in front of that last noun and you’ve got a very accurate assessment of what we do think he is. The chain is going to be pulled in May, and the 45 campaign is lining up to perform the role of the toilet duck of Scottish politics.

In his latest foray into lookitme politics, Mr Hi Jumpy has announced that he wants to end the ban on alcohol at fitba matches. He thinks it’s unfair that middle class yobs at rugby matches can imbibe some swally, but working class yobs at the real fitba can’t. Jim’s teetotal himself, but he’s drunk on the idea of cheap publicity, and he needs all the cheap publicity he can get, because according to the opinion polls Labour continues to look like a down and out alkie in the electoral gutter. The UK media kept telling us that Jim was going to turn around the fortunes of the Labour party, how a big hitter like him was exactly what the party needed to take on the supposedly provincial politicians of Holyrood, but it’s not working out according to plan, despite the hagiographies and near sainthood bestowed on a serial expenses claimant and apologist for Tony Blair’s war crimes.

But Jim is no longer an apologist – he thinks Labour needs to stop apologising and move on. Politicians always say this sort of thing when they desperately hope that the public will overlook their previous lies and misleading statements and will listen enthusiastically to the next lot of lies and misleading statements. Jim might be done apologising, but that certainly doesn’t mean that the public has forgiven him and the rest of his unapologetic elves and dwarves.

A sign that considerably more apologising and crawling will have to be done by Labour came in the latest Scottish opinion poll, fieldwork for which came after Jim was crowed about and crowned. The headline figures can be summarised as : Labour’s going to get a kicking that will make the massed ranks of the Can Can dancers at the Moulin Rouge look like they’re wearing shackles. Labour is going to get kicked from Caithness all the way to Jim’s holy Celtic park and from there to Galloway, then back again. Done apologising? If they had any sense they’d know they’ve not even started – but then when did Labour in Scotland ever have any sense? A sense of entitlement, certainly, common sense, not a bit of it.

In a statement that’s going to come back to haunt him, Mr Hi Jumpy keeps repeating his assertion that Labour won’t lose a single seat to the SNP in the Westminster General Election due in May. He’s almost certainly going to be proven right, Labour won’t lose a single seat to the SNP, it looks set to lose dozens.

But undaunted, Mr Hi Jumpy claims, “[Labour’s opponents] have got to work out how they deal with the argument we’re going to make, which is you can protest against Cameron by voting for the Greens or the Nats, but you can only replace him with one party.”

Well that’s easy isn’t it – we’ll deal with the argument by pointing out that how Scotland votes can’t replace the Tories anyway, as 50 useless Labour MPs have proven repeatedly. If voters in England want a Tory government, they’ll get a Tory government. But in Scotland we can vote SNP or Green and get MPs who won’t support Tory austerity policies and who will not go into coalition with or support the Tories at Westminster. MPs who will vote for what is in the best interests of Scotland. 50 Magrit Currans and Jim Murphies voting for austerity policies and what’s good for the banks – or 50 MPs working for Scotland and Scotland’s interests? Hardly a difficult choice, is it.

Mr Hi Jumpy’s for the high jump.

Well I’m still waiting to hear from The National …  would be a lovely Christmas present to get a weekly column in the paper.  I might have to start annoying them …


Thinking very carefully

I’m plastered in potions and lotions in an attempt to get my psoriasis under control, but I’m not sure which is scabbier, psoriasis or the union. Psoriasis is a chronic condition, but there’s a cure for the union even though we have yet to persuade a majority of Scottish voters that the side effects of the cure are nowhere near as bad as the disease. The cure may be some way off, and we don’t yet have a date for our independence doctor’s appointment, but at least the cure exists.

Another psoriatic Union lesion burst out onto the surface this week giving independence supporters something to scratch, with the revelations that the Queen’s supposedly spontaneous non-intervention in the referendum debate was neither spontaneous nor a non-intervention. Well, I say revelation, this is one of those revelations like the revelation that the X-Factor is nothing more than a money making machine for Simon Cowell and not actually a means of nuturing genuine talent. It’s a shocking surprise that anyone with half a brain knew at the time was a set up job, but saying so would only have brought down a torrent of accusations of tinfoil hattery from the Unionists who dominate the media. The usual suspects would have chorused “ooooh get her” in unison like a drag queen boy band dressed as girl band who’d just been turned down by Simon Cowell on the grounds that they were more butch than Louis Walsh.

Anyway, so Liz’s office got a phone call from Davie Cameron’s office, begging her to do something, anything, to help prevent Scottish people from voting for independence. We’re dealing here with the rarified world of people who employ people to answer their personal telephones, because protocol dictates that you can’t just give Liz a call on her mobile and tell her that her operating system is infected with the virus of nationalism. Davie’s spad doubtless reminded the royal flunky on the other end of the phone that Scottish people are well known connoisseurs of vodka which they will cheerfully consume without crackers. Actually he probably didn’t, because he probably thinks we only drink whisky and isn’t very clear on the distinction between Irn Bru and Tizer.

Some have attempted to defend Liz’s intervention on the grounds that remarking that people should “think very carefully” before they vote is not in itself an attempt to influence the outcome. I’d ask such people to think very carefully before they open their gobs. You do not ask people to “think very carefully” before making a decision if you genuinely do not give a toss what decision people will reach. Imploring that a person should “think very carefully” is the sort of response that you give to an elderly and wealthy relative with no weans who’s just told you she’s considering leaving all her money to the Maryhill Food Bank and the Cute Yes Supporting Spanish Mongrel Foundation and isn’t going to leave it all to you so you can buy that large Highland estate you’ve always wanted and teach baby Prince George how to shoot Bambi’s mammy.

Clearly, Queeniepoos cares deeply, and equally clearly, would prefer we voted No. Because anyone with half a brain, even people with a quarter of a brain, in fact even Alan Cochrane, understands very well that an independent Scottish Parliament is far more likely to vote for a referendum on the future of the monarchy than the Westminster Parliament is. And Liz knows that too. She knows that as soon as she pops her clogs, an independent Scottish Parliament would be faced with a clamour for a referendum from hundreds of thousands of Scottish people who would rather have a potato as head of state than King Charles III. Although it wouldn’t really be that easy to tell the difference. On balance the potato would be better, because it could at least be distilled into vodka. The only thing you’d distill from Charles is an overpriced organic cracker and a flunky whose job is to squeeze toothpaste on the brush.

So having prevailed upon the Royals of the desperate need for an intervention that wasn’t an intervention really, Liz obliged with a wee charade involving getting the polis to position the waiting media in the exact place so they’d just happen to overhear Liz making a carefully rehearsed and choreographed spontaneous remark which was written and prepare by some Tory government official. A remark which didn’t contain any bias in its text, only in its subtext, providing a fig leaf of plausible denial. And moreover one which was conveniently disguised as an overheard private conversation, giving Liz the excuse not to comment on any uncomfortable or difficult questions that might arise in the future. Questions like – so you did stick yer highly privileged oar in even though you know that’s a no-no, didn’t you? Or questions like – you do know that the Scottish people reserve the right to get rid of monarchs that piss them off, don’t you? Or questions like – oh come on, you’re not saying you really take Alan Cochrane seriously, are you?

You can argue about how neutral the Queen’s comments were from now until the Sun has fused the last of its hydrogen into helium atoms and expanded into a red giant and consumed the Earth, or until Scotland has forgiven the Labour party for giving the Royal family a run for its money in the sense of entitlement states – my money is on the Sun – but you can’t deny that the entire episode was manipulative, underhand, conniving, immoral, and dishonest. Even though it achieved in its immediate purpose – to assist the chances of a No vote – it still managed to be woefully inept because it got found out and so has only damaged its longer term interests due to its own short-sighted maneouvering. All of which is, come to think of it, a pretty good description of the workings of the Westminster Parliament, and the longer term fate of the Union, so there’s a poetic circularity to it all.

In much the same way, this week Davie Cameron’s wheeze to use the result of the Scottish referendum as a political tool to head UKIP off at the pass and get one up over Labour fell apart around his ears. Operating for short term advantage leads to longer term failure – and in the case of the constitutional status of Scotland in the Union, the time bought by the short term maneouvering gets shorter and shorter. Back in the 1950s, the short term maneouvering that dismissed the two million strong petition of the Scottish Covenant bought Westminster nearly 30 years of kicking Scotland into the long grass, the 40% rule in the referendum of 1979 bought 18 years, and the referendum of 1997 bought Westminster 17 years. Yet despite the fact that Westminster won the referendum of 2014, they couldn’t even manage a couple of months. The Scottish lion is very much out of the long grass, and eyeing a devomax haunch and licking its lips. Westminster’s ungulates are looking on nervously.

In other news – I need a job. I’ve been subtle. I’ve dropped hints. I’ve coquettishly fluttered my eyelids, and trust me, coquettish is not a look that looks good on me, but I’m still awaiting the offer of a regular column in certain newly founded national newspapers. Newly founded national newspapers that could be doing with a wee more in the way of funny and not taking yourself that seriously. More in the way of miniature erythrismal canids, in fact. Because it’s not just Kevin McKenna that can write fancy words, oh no.

National newspapers aside. I really do need a job. I don’t propose boring you with my financial issues, but I didn’t inherit any pensions after my other half passed away, and I gave up work in order to care for him. So unless I can find a lasting means of supporting myself, there won’t be any blog articles because I’ll be too busy asking “Big Issue?” to passers by in the street. Well maybe not, because I do at least have my own house. But I need to eat. And to pay the bills.

I’m 52, have an impressive line in vintage suits, and speak fluent Spanish. I formerly worked as the editor of a monthly English language magazine in Spain. Very much the low rent end of the publishing trade, but it taught me how to write to a deadline. Prior to that I worked in the voluntary sector. Ideally I’d like a part time job, anything I can do sitting on my bum in an office – or even working from home. Except a call centre, or sales. And I’m too old for the outdoorsy stuff, or heavy lifting.

So gie’s a joab, somewhere within travelling distance of the East End of Glasgow.  I have a full driving licence but no car.  All serious offers will be seriously considered. email me at


Running down Shettleston Road naked with a red rose up my bum

I’ve come over all Labour party this week, scabby, lazy, and only interested in my own comfort.  I’ve got an excuse – my psoriasis has flared up again – but the Labour party’s condition is terminal.  I decided we need to make labourparty a word – it describes self-absorbed selfish people who only do what suits themselves but who hypocritically make out that what suits them just so happens to be in the interests of everyone else and we ought to be grateful to them.  But then I remembered there’s already a word for that – and that word is jimmurphy.

I’ve been asked to do some public speaking and campaigning during the run up to the General Election.  A friend who’s involved with the SNP branch in Glasgow East has asked me to give a few speeches in support of their candidate – who has yet to be selected.  Glasgow East is where I live and while I’m not an SNP member, it’s only the SNP which has any chance of taking the seat from the inbumbent – no that’s not a typo – the fragrant Magrit Curran (she reeks of complacency and entitlement).  An imbumbent is a careerist seat-warmer, in case you were wondering.  I’m not that keen on public speaking, but I agreed, because if it would help to separate Magrit from her expenses claims I’d run down Shettleston Road naked with a red rose up my bum while towing a life sized cardboard effigy of Jim Murphy and asking everyone I pass the only question of any relevance about the Smugurph – battery or free range?

My friend said she thought it might be wiser if I did a wee speech instead though.

Another Labour imbumbent is Frank Doran, MP for Aiberdeen North, or at least for the men.  Frank is a byword for pomposity and entitlement, having pissed off the staff of the House of Commons some years ago when a committee he chaired ruled that MPs have the right to jump the queue in the canteen.  Scottish Labour MPs are busy and important people, those expenses forms take ages to fill in you know.

Frank’s in a spot of bother after he said in the Commons that the post of Fisheries Minister was not a job for a woman.  He was clearly confused by the meaning of the feminist slogan: a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.  Mind you, a Scottish Westminster constituency without a Labour MP is like an intestine without a tapeworm.  Anyway, in a botched attempt to get his foot out of his gob, Frank claimed that his remark wasn’t sexist because he “knows the fishing industry” – so in other words it’s the people who work in the fishing industry who are the sexist neanderthals, not him.  Frank’s not sexist, he just thinks his constituents are.  Well saved there then Frankie boy.  Perhaps he could discuss it with the Norwegian Minister for Fisheries, Elisabeth Aspaker.

Of course the duties of the Fisheries Minister are not solely concerned with representing men on boats, the minister represents the entire fishing industry.  There are many jobs within the industry which were traditionally filled by women – like filletting and gutting fish, shellfish, and molluscs like the Labour MP for Aiberdeen North.

But of course the big imbumbent news is the election of the Smugurph and Keezha the Daily Mail’s Overcoat Pin Up as branch manager and deputy branch manager.  Jim got 55.77% according to a press release which conveniently neglects to tell us what he got 55.77% of.  In Labour’s Byzantine system of voting where some people get three votes, this is by no means clear.  55.77% of apologists for Tony Blair?  55.77% of people whose brains have been surgically removed and replaced with a banana mush?

To make things a bit simpler, so that the likes of Magrit Curran or Frank Doran can understand them, it was also reported somewhere or other – I did have a link but the dug ate it – that 60.4% of Labour members voted for the Smugurph.  This is not much better.  60.4% of what number?   When you don’t give a detailed breakdown of total votes cast, you are not reporting on a democratic election, you’re reporting the result of a farce.  60.4% is meaningless unless we’re told what it’s 60.4% of.  But then the Labour party in Scotland has been a meaningless farce for a very long time now, so I suppose it’s appropriate.

So just how many people did actually vote for Jim Murphy?  Labour doesn’t want to tell us.  No detailed breakdown of the votes has been published for the very good reason that it would reveal that the party Jim is leading most probably has fewer members than the number of employees of Scotmid.  Scotmid employs over 5000 people in Scotland – how many active members does Labour have?  This means that Scotmid branch managers are leaders in a bigger and far more influential organisation.

It is clear to everyone that a party only goes to such lengths to hide its membership figures if its membership figures are an embarrassment.  Why else be so coy?  If Labour had enjoyed a massive boost in membership following the referendum campaign that we are told Jim acquited himself and free range hens so well in, the party would have been sure to tell us.  It’s equally an embarrassment that the supine Scottish media does not pursue them on this peculiar omission of information which is vital to the proper functioning of any supposedly democratic election.  But fearlessly investigating how long it takes to turn a Labour press release into published copy by changing the intro and adding a couple of words at the end then accusing the SNP of something – that’s the extent of the investigation that the Scottish media subjects Labour to.  And they think we’re impressed by this.

Labour’s great hope for saving itself from the kicking they’re about to receive for allowing the party to be taken over by right wing Westminster based careerists who are bereft of anything that can be described as a political priniciple is to choose as party branch manager a right wing Westminster based careerist who is bereft of anything that can be described as a political principle.  A careerist who has received the support of an embarrassingly small number of people, the few who have yet to resign in disgust from a party which long ago lost anything that might pass for self-respect and replaced it with Magrit Curran.  But the Smugurph is the darling of the BBC and will be the subject of glowing reports from gushing reporters, and that’s all that matters.


Alicsammin’s part in Alan Cochrane’s downfall

How many Alan Cochranes does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  He doesn’t have to, he just holds up the bulb and the world revolves around him.  Alan has a very high conceit of himself, and indeed the man is remarkable as the field of journalism is indeed crowded with exceedingly large egos balanced precariously upon very little talent.  Competing against contenders like Piers Morgan and Kelvin Mackenzie, the Telegraph’s Scottish editor easily wins the prize for inflating oneself greater than a whoopee cushion designed for an elephantine backside, a feat previously managed only by Gordie Broon.  Never in the history of newspaper opinionists has such a small mind occupied such a big head.

Alan’s just published his memoirs, coming to a remainder bin near you very soon.  To save you the bother of reading them, they essentially boil down to the claim that anyone who’s anyone in Scottish Unionist politics, or UK politics, or the Pope, never does anything without first consulting Alan and benefitting from his words of wisdom.  For yeah verily, seekers of union look unto the cockring, the sayer of sooths and the fount of all that is good and true,or at least Ruth Davidson.  And this is why the Unionist parties are doing so terribly well these days in the affections of the Scottish electorate.  No really. Alan said so.

Having won the referendum, mostly by making desperate last minute promises of vague and unspecified devomaxiness, the holiest prediction of the gaping cockring has perplexingly failed to come to pass.  Alicsammin remains resolutely undownfallen.  However much the cockring throws himself likes hoops in a fairground side show, the bobbing ducks of alicsammin just keep dodging the devastation that is wrought in the pages of a Tory newspaper that no one reads outside of the Morningside Endangered Species Reservation for David Mundells and Abseilers.  Alan can’t understand why this should be, when all the really important people hang onto his every word like unpleasant berries on a bottom.   Yet the plebby people with clean shiny bums continue to ignore him.

Far from downfalling, the Alicsammin promises to continue to be a trapped bawhair in the cockring for quite some time to come.  It’s a passion killer for any warring couples thinking of conjugating in a loveless union, a guarantee of eventual divorce which is even more effective than waking up of a morning and having to look at Alan’s mug.  In what was the perhaps the worst kept secret in Scottish politics since it was revealed that the Labour party isn’t socialist after all, Alicsammin has announced that he’s going to stand for the Westminster Parlie at the next General Election.

So we’ve now been told officially that the lubricant for the cockring’s outpourings is going to thrust himself into the seat of Gordon.  Which is a sentence you wouldn’t otherwise get to read outside a gay porn mag.  Sadly Alicsammin is not going to stand for election as the new MP for Kirkcaldy which is an immense pity because it would be so funny and dripping with ironic karma that no would be satirist would have to think of anything smart arsed to say for several months.  All you’d have to do would be to say “Kirkcaldy”, and guffaw.   Alicsammin is instead going to stand for the constituency of Gordon in Aberdeenshire, whose current MP, Malcolm Bruce, is a Lib Dem who’s retiring citing extreme old age and decreptitude.  And he’s still only a third as old as Ming Campbell and with considerably less dry rot.

Malcolm Bruce’s would be Lib Dem successor, Christine Jardine, is fair beelin that the Alicsammin is blythely wandering in to shove her political career even further into oblivion than Danny Alexander’s.   Ms Jardine does not appear to be an avid devotee of Twitter, but on her Twitter feed the vast majority of her tweets or retweets have been attacks on the SNP, or Alicsammin, or Wings Over Scotland and / or its readers rather than any positive comments on what she or her party might have done.  Although to be fair that runs the risk of reminding people that Danny Alexander exists.   Instead Ms Jardine has gone full out for the Labour strategy of being unable to open their gob without criticising the SNP about something.   She is perhaps hoping that voters might mistake her for Magrit Curran, although it truly is a sign of the deep and indeed hopeless desperation of the Lib Dems that Magrit has become something to aspire to.

Not that things look any better for Labour.  Magrit Curran’s latest master stroke is to give a speech to a bunch of Labour hacks during which she will attack the SNP for not being progressive enough.  Because Labour have used this tactic before and it’s been working out so well for them.  In case you were wondering, “progressive” apparently means : supporting the Iraq war, bailing out banks with public money, creating a culture of poorly paid casual jobs in which low pay and big employers are subsidised while the poor are penalised, privatisation, PPI, ATOS contracts, sooking up to defence contractors and schmoozing with nuclear weapons, and being in favour of even fewer powers being devolved to Holyrood than the Conservatives are willing to countenance.  So that’s progressive in the sense of progressing ever closer to the definition of “Tory”.

The opinion polls continue to look dire for all the Unionist parties.  With every new Scottish poll, the outlook is bleaker.  It’s highly probable that Alicsammin will be the new MP for Gordon, and it’s highly probable that the SNP will take a majority of Scottish seats.  They may very well end up with more seats than the despised Lib Dems, who are about to receive a kicking south of the Border commensurate only with the kicking they are about to receive north of it.  And that could see whoever wants to form the next government of the UK – we’re looking at you, Eds Miliband and Balls – being dependent upon the goodwill and grace of Alicsammin.  There’s that ironic karma again.

It’s highly probable that Alan Cochrane will live to see the Tory party, the Labour party, and the Lib Dems reduced to electoral insignificance and Alicsammin will achieve his goal of Scottish independence – not because it is the expressed and settled will of the Scottish people, but because all those Unionist party elites whom Alan fondly believes hang on to his every word are short termist idiots following moronic advice from whoopee cushions with beards.  Still, at least he can commiserate with Alistair Darling over a lovely home made lasagne.


Wullie Rennie’s letter to Santa

Just three months after the referendum, and for much of the Scottish political class and their media hingers oan it’s back to business as usual. This consists of finding things to accuse the SNP of while displaying a moral outrage that a hormonal teenager who’s just painted their bedroom black and retired under the duvet would consider a bit immature. And then they wonder why the public hold politicians and the media in contempt.

This week we’ve had two invitations to throw our hands in the air in horror and purse our lips like a Wee Free who’s stumbled into a Gay Pride march in Stornoway on a Sunday. There may have been more SNP accused moments, but on Monday and Tuesday BBC Scotland and the Record were far too busy trying to persuade us that Gordie Broon was really one of the X-men – a superhero who’s the offspring of Mother Theresa and Gandhi with the intellect of Einstein – and I’d been overcome with projectile vomiting and had to go and lie down in a darkened room so didn’t notice. Gordie’s superhero persona is endogenous growth man – which is a bit like a verucca but with added Nokia hurling, bullying, and behind the scenes briefings. Gordie’s politics were an ingrowing wart on the sole of socialism.

Anyway, first up was Wullie Rennie, attempting to be noticed again. Wullie has to pull moronic stunts on regular basis as otherwise the rest of the world would forget he exists as something other than a character from a Dudley D Watkins cartoon – one of those who’s been badly drawn after the great man had popped his clogs. That, and the fact that Lib Dems have been staring extinction in the face for longer than a diplodocus, only far less nifty on their feet. This week Wullie’s wheeze was to reveal to a shocked Lib Dem pamphlet, one channelling a Wee Free at a Gay Pride March in Stornoway, that Scottish Government civil servants have been looking at evil nationalist websites. It’s the curse of Wings again, flying high over Scotland, and dumping guano on the Unionist establishment.

Looking at Wings Over Scotland is a bad bad thing, because civil servants must never allow their eyes to be polluted with biased sources, except those like poorly sub-edited Lib Dem pamphlets or the Aberdeen Press and Journal. But it’s not bias when it agrees with Wullie. The Unionist parties, the Unionist media, and a number of pro-independence supporters who really ought to have known better spent much of the referendum campaign portraying Stu Campbell, the author of Wings Over Scotland, as a sort of cross between a cult leader and a J Edgar Hoover without the taste for cross dressing.

Ooh that Stu Campbell is a homophobic monster, heterosexual people cried in unison, because he’d had a number of inconsequential twitter spats with inconsequential people and said some things they hoped that other people might find objectionable. It is of course a well known rule of Scottish politics that only people who are saint-like in their dispositions are allowed to make any contribution to political discourse – so that would be saints like Gordie Broon then, former employer of Damien McBride, Iraq war enabler, and the man who condemned a generation to low paid employment subsidised by those of us who can’t avoid paying our taxes while allowing the banks to run riot and selling off state assets. But Gordon’s never said anything objectionable on Twitter, so that makes everything else he’s ever said or done perfectly OK.

The real reason for the stunt was of course to provide the tame press with an excuse to accuse Nicola Sturgeon of something. Cue newspaper articles demanding that the new First Minister disassociate herself from a website she’s not associated with and has no control over anyway. Next week Nicla will be called upon to disassociate herself from North Korean pirate downloaders, a guy on Twitter who pretends to be Philip Schofield, two serial shaggers on the Jeremy Kyle Show, and a spotty child in a primary school who told the infants class that Santa doesn’t exist. Wullie was particularly upset by this latest revelation, as he’d already sent a letter off asking for his very own Danny Alexander glove puppet after George Osborne blagged the one the Lib Dems already had.

Our second invitation to ooh-aah-ery came courtesy of Wullie again, joined this time by Anas Sarwar, who’s forever looking for a deflection strategy in case folk realise that the hereditary principle isn’t the best way to select a Labour candidate. Although the offspring of Tony Blair, Neil Kinnock, John Prescott and Jack Straw may beg to differ. Anas is still hoping that he’ll get Magrit Curran’s job as Shadow Scottish Secretary after he stood down as deputy Scottish branch manager in order to remove one of the objections to the Smugurphy’s candidacy – that Jim getting the gig would mean both leader and deputy were Westminster MPs, which would prove Johann’s criticism that the party in Scotland was being dictated to by London – something we’d already guessed anyway. Mind you there are a myriad of other objections to Smugurphy getting the job, not the least of which is that Jim Murphy is objectionable in and of himself. But Magrit would have to be replaced anyway. She is widely regarded as being ineffective as Shadow Scottish Secretary because she just isn’t sneery enough, her face looks like that all the time and no one can tell the difference.

Wullie and Anas were annoyed that three SNP cooncillors from East Renfrewshire had the temerity to mock the Smith Commission report by saying it was a worthless confection of lies and visually demonstrating this by setting fire to it and dumping it in a bin. It was behaviour every bit as mature as Wullie Rennie’s, and at least had the advantage of providing something that you could toast some chestnuts on. Wullie’s party has only got old chestnuts, in the form of ancient jokes like Jim Wallace and Ming Campbell.

Wullie immediately decided that the stunt was another test for Nicla, who disappointingly obliged him by condemning the SNP cooncillors. What she should have done of course would have been merely to point out that she had no time for childish behaviour and tantrums, whether they come from SNP cooncillors or the leader of the dwindling band of Lib Dems at Holyrood.

You really shouldn’t pay Wullie Rennie any heed Nicla, unless it’s to mock him, it only makes him think he’s important and has something worthwhile to say. The last time Wullie made a substantive contribution to a debate was when he was mistaken for a bus driver and said, “No, you want the number 17 to Kelty.”

There are going to be many more “Nicola Sturgeon accused” stories over the coming months. Perhaps one day this country will have a media which spends the same amount of time and energy fearlessly accusing Gordie Broon, but you won’t be seeing that in the pages of the Daily Record or on the BBC – which is why we need sites like Wings Over Scotland. Wullie Rennie finding them objectionable is precisely why we need them.




iScot launches today

A new digital magazine and video news platform has launched today, iScot is open for business. iScot is an independent news service which aims to hold the establishment to account and to promote Scotland. Here’s some information from the site, it’s well worth a visit, and well worth supporting. Scotland needs an independent, active, and campaigning media whose focus is on Scotland and which is owned and controlled within Scotland. And the first edition features an article from yours truly.

You can find iScot at

Here’s a few words from the creators of iScot:

iScot brings together a team of dedicated content producers with all the support needed to create a sustainable and credible alternative source of news and information. Our aim is to provide a new multi-media platform which includes a digital magazine combining text, video and audio to report on the stories and angles often missed by mainstream media.

Created by a team of professional journalists and designers the publication plans to cover more than just politics. Everything from business stories to lifestyle features that reflect what’s happening in Scotland today will have a place among its pages. Although iScot has been designed specifically for the digital age and can be read on any tablet or mobile device, a printed version is also planned so it can reach as wide an audience as possible.

Our team already consists of journalists, photographers, video journalists, internet tv pioneers, presenters, bloggers, editors and designers but there is plenty of room for more. We are also looking to enlarge our support team of researchers, fund raisers, social media operators, advertising sales people and technicians to help us ensure that iScot remains a truly sustainable and independent media resource.

If you would like to help we would love to hear from you. Please email


Resetting Gordie Broon

Gordie Broon doesn’t want Scotland to obsess about constitutional change. In this instance we can be certain that Scotland’s very own political Walter Mitty knows what he’s talking about because if you obsess over things you turn into Gordie Broon. He’s worried because it looks like the voters of Scotland are going to throw a metaphorical Nokia at the Labour party and hold a grudge against them until they’re hounded out of office forever left with nothing but a reputation for crimes against humanity and a clutch of cushy directorships, somewhat like he did with Tony Blair.

In a speech at the weekend to a hand picked audience of the dwindling band of Labour loyalists – because Gordie only speaks to folk who have been vetted and who sign an agreement not to jeer – Gordie said he wanted to press the reset button on Scottish politics and the constitution. The speech was conveniently splattered all over the BBC news so that the rest of us didn’t miss it, those of us who haven’t been vetted and are quite likely to jeer because we’ve heard this sort of guff from Gordie before.

Gordie’s announced he’s resigning as an MP, which is only making it official as he’s rarely been bothered enough about the concerns of the good people of Kirkcaldy to turn up at Westminster to represent them. But his resignation does mean that when the Smith Commission and Gordie’s vow crash and burn, Gordie won’t be there to cop the flak. He’ll be off mumbling about endogenous growth theory – which is apparently something to do with warts – on the highly lucrative corporate speechifying circuit. But at least it does mean that the voters of Kirkcaldy get the opportunity to press the reset button on their MP, and might even get one who can be arsed enough to do some work.

Pressing the reset button on Scottish politics and constitutional wrangling is entirely appropriate as reset is a good Scots word, referring to the crime of holding something which was taken by theft or by a breach of trust such as fraud or willful imposition – you know, like Labour and the other Unionist parties have done with the sovereignty of the Scottish people in the pathetic excuse for more devolution delivered by the Smith Commission. Glad you’ve cleared that up for us then Gordie. Can we call the polis now?

The Smith Commission report has been dissected and digested by everyone in Scotland with at least a passing interest in politics – which is a most of the electorate – and the general consensus of opinion amongst everyone who isn’t a Unionist politician, a wannabe Unionist politician, or an editorialist in most of the media, is “Well that’s a bit rubbish then, isn’t it.” The Smith Commission gives us the absolute minimum which the Unionists think can be fobbed off as fulfilling Gordie’s Vow – the one which promised as close to federalism as it was possible to get and full home rule.

The problem for the Unionists however is that a politically literate electorate is unlikely to be fooled by their scrawlings in crayon all over the constitutional settlement. Although to be fair, we don’t have a constitutional settlement so much as we have a constitutional campsite, complete with discarded bin bags full of devolution proposals that never got through Commons committees, and an old caravan which Labour MPs use for weekend piss ups. But the latest addition – the Smith Commission BBQ and Grill – is not going to toast the aspirations of the majority of Scottish voters who want devo max. Scottish voters know what home rule means, they know what devo max means. The Smith Commission doesn’t come remotely close.

Yesterday the Sunday Herald reported on the many and varied powers which had originally been considered as part of the Smith Commission proposals, but which were filletted at the insistence of one or other of the self-described parties of devolution. Labour, the Tories, and the Lib Dems spent most of their negotiating time on the phone to headquarters in London and then demanding that various powers were removed from the final report.

Labour – shamefully – demanded the removal of powers over the minimum wage. Labour would have us believe that a Westminster Parliament dominated by Conservatives and looking forward to an ever increasing number of Thatcherite Ukip MPs is going to be a better defender of the rights of the low paid than a Scottish Parliament dominated by MSPs from parties from social democratic parties. The only reason that Labour did this is its tribal hatred of the SNP.

The same goes for the removal from the Smith report of powers over the abortion law. Labour opposed devolution of this – apparently citing the spurious reason that it would mean there would no longer be a single cut off date for abortions throughout the UK. There never has been, as Northern Ireland was exempt from the original abortion law and abortion remains illegal in the province. But Labour refuses to cede powers to Holyrood simply because it hates the SNP so much. What’s in the interests of the people of Scotland don’t figure in Labour’s considerations at all. It’s the very definition of holding the voters in contempt.

But it may all be academic anyway. It needs to be stressed, repeated, and screamed from the rooftops that the Smith Commission’s proposals are merely proposals. We’ve been here before with the Calman Commission. New powers over this that and the other were announced to great fanfare, we were told that this was the devolution settlement that would finally put the issue to bed for a generation or more and Scotland could hit the reset button and get back to normal politics instead of constant constitutional wrangling. As we all know, that’s not what happened. We got devo-hee-haw instead.

Many of the Calman Commission’s proposals were removed in Commons Committees – powers which have once again surfaced as proposals in the Smith Commission. There’s no guarantee that Unionist parties which were dead set against these powers the last time are any more disposed to allow them through the Commons this time. Quite the reverse, this time Westminster is far more interested in limiting the power and influence of Scotland, or more precisely, Labour MPs representing Scottish seats, and that in turn will only hasten the day that the dysfunctional UK comes shuddering to its final unlamented demise. That will be Gordie’s real lasting legacy.