June 2008 Archives
But Greens in third? In some pretty unpromising territory? Wonderful work, despite the usual flurry of "Only the Liberal Democrats can win here" (prime spurious example) and other similarly misleading leaflets.
But if I were a Labour supporter, I'd be in utter despair, having been beaten by us to the left and the BNP to the right. Labour's vote is less than the sum total of votes for UKIP plus the Monster Raving Loonies. You don't even need to add in Harry Bear from the Fur Play Party.
Gordon and Wendy are increasingly looking like New Labour's pall-bearers.
One day in the sin bin has presumably been chosen by the SNP as enough punishment to damage her further, but not enough to force her out, which is a real dancing-on-pins calculation. Now Parliament must vote on it, where "now" means in September.
So a long ugly summer for Wendy beckons, followed by a vote where it appears Parliament will be more or less evenly divided - I understand the Tories have backed Labour's line, while the Liberals voted with the SNP, although reports vary on that.
There's plenty of time for everyone to have a good long think about it and go through the report. That includes the Presiding Officer, who has a stack of related points to sort out from Presiding Officer's Question Time, another term for a mild outbreak of POOL. Please can we have a better alternative on procedural matters?
There have been occasions where SNP members have tried to use the term to include us, even though we're somewhat closer to them on the constitution than we are to Labour, the Liberals and the Tories.
But this conspiracy, it doesn't exist.
You can see the evidence today. Wendy's tortured donations saga rumbles on, and the Standards Committee voted five to two against her. The Committee has three Nats on it, two Labour members, one Liberal and one Tory. This means the non-Labour Unionishts backed the SNP and sent Wendy down.
Personally, I'm with the Queen of Hearts on this (no, not that one). Sentence first, verdict afterwards. Wendy's already been sentenced to having her credibility removed. This is just a verdict that recognises that.
The only surprising thing is that the SNP didn't decide to vote the other way and absolve her. Nothing could please them more than having to face Wendy in May 2011, although I don't know a single person who expects that to happen.
One section related to First Minister's Questions, and it made me smile.
"You have a great propensity for not answering questions put to you. Why is this?"
Methinks that's one more question that won't get answered.
This despite many in the near-pacifist left in the SNP knowing that the carriers are designed, in the Navy's own words, to provide "a coercive presence worldwide".
So late last night we chipped in, arguing that the carriers shouldn't be built at all, and that the skills on the Clyde and the money from the Treasury should instead be redeployed to develop cutting-edge renewables industries and other similar green tech.
The prize for the best response goes to the following, found in my inbox this morning.
"Are you suggesting that we shouldn't be spending billions on the world's biggest floating cocktail party venues? Where will Prince William be able to land his jets? This all sounds dangerously close to treason to me."
"Green politics matter now more than ever. It is not woolly to be green at this time. It has never been more hard-headed. The crisis over the oil price is just one of many indicators that it is even more imperative to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and make the radical moves necessary to become a low-carbon economy. The fortunate countries of the future will be those with political and business leaders with the foresight to plan for that world by encouraging investment in clean and renewable energies, carbon capture and green transport."
I do disagree with the statement before that, though. But I recommend you read the whole article. Right through to the last perfect paragraph.
Two of my favourite Nat Ministers, Bruce Crawford and Linda Fabiani, failed to persuade the chamber that the finances stack up for Creative Scotland, via a dip in the deep end of the POOL.
With Linda not having made the case, and because Bruce sought to withdraw only the financial document, Labour and others scented a chance to defeat the Nats, albeit on a proposal they broadly backed.
Cue an utter POOL feeding frenzy. Some members, like Ken Macintosh, asked sensible questions, masquerading as points of order. Some asked actual points of order, I think, perhaps including Dr Simpson, the fireman's friend, but it was hard to keep up.
Others, like Karen Whitefield, hardly bothered - she just knew she had to start her contribution with the magic words "Point Of Order Presiding Officer Point Of Order", then went on to tell the chamber how important her role was before eventually offering nothing more than a pretty spurious debating point.
What POOL actually is is an unscheduled debate about the correct procedures to follow, working like a regular debate, except that Members have to shout and wave their arms in the air, shout the magic words, barrack each other and generally give a poor impression of the place.
POOL is profoundly not a good system, with or without top hats. And the end result today? A Bill with (admittedly relatively lukewarm) support across the parties has fallen altogether. Although Labour's tactics can easily be represented as divisive game-playing, the fact is that this farce has diminished the SNP's authority in the chamber.
Update: apparently it did happen. Coincidence? I think not!
Here's Shirley-Anne Somerville for the defence, and Patrick Harvie for the prosecution. You'll note she doesn't mention transport. How could she? Exhibit A shows Alex Salmond in a JCB, personally building the M74. Case closed. Next!
Calum The Nat along the corridor, lover of motorways above all.
Scottish Tory Boy, whose site curiously shows him to be closest ideologically to Obama.
Kez Dugdale, who is far too consistent and principled to be in Labour much longer.
I don't know of any Liberals here who blog, but any tips on that front would be appreciated.
Anyway, this is about Kez. She came along to the Scotsman debate previously discussed here. In a post on oil earlier this week she not only compared Alex Salmond to JR Ewing, which I love, especially with the pic chosen, but also praised one of Patrick's contributions to that Scotsman debate - the idea that we should be independent from oil, not try to build independence on oil.
She also listed some sensible things the Nats could be doing, including investing properly in public transport. And then notes that instead Salmond's "actively opposing the Edinburgh trams whilst building roads, bypasses, motorways and blocking rail expansion."
So when you get back from your holidays, Kez, let's talk about which roads, bypasses and motorways we think Salmond should scrap. And you've been flagged as "future Green".
If Hillary'd played a bit nicer, especially over things like comparing the Florida/Michigan fixes (which were generous to her side) to the Florida fiddle of 2000, maybe she would have been right for the VP slot. I doubt it.
But just for fun, to the left is what that ticket would look like (via). Scary stuff. I prefer a shot of undiluted Obama. Oh, and may the next serious female candidate for US president be someone more admirable than her.
So the Guardian, in the spirit of equality, pored over "Dave" Cameron's hair today. Right on, brothers. Curiously, though, they claim that parting to the left makes someone look more leftwing. Che Guevara, when you pried his beret off him, went a bit to the right. And Green men are disproportionately bald, myself included: what does that say? Neither left nor right, just forward, perhaps? Who knows.
But on Dave, they missed the crucial hairstyle, i.e. the posh-boy semi-mullet as adopted at the Bullingdon (he's #2 in the pic above, click for a larger one). To me that says "I know I'm going to get an excellent Establishment job - possibly The Big One".
Note that Boris is entirely unchanged. Not just the same hair, the same everything. How has he managed to avoid either aging or growing up?