Media: July 2008 Archives

Which is Glasgow's third party?

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DrEileenDuke.jpgIn their eve-of-poll programme, Newsnight Scotland tonight again had representatives from Labour, the SNP, the Tories and the Liberals. Their lengthy roundup of the campaign showed campaigners from those four parties, plus a moment where The Curran Sisters met. Dr Eileen Duke, our candidate (left), was simply airbrushed out.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that those four were indeed Glasgow's dominant parties, but you'd be wrong. Here are the numbers.

Westminster constituencies in Glasgow: 7, all Labour.
Holyrood constituencies in Glasgow: 9 Labour, 1 SNP
Holyrood regional seats in Glasgow: 4 SNP, 1 Liberal, 1 Tory, 1 Green
Glasgow City Councillors: 45 Labour, 22 SNP, 5 Liberal, 5 Green, 1 Tory

No-one can deny that Labour remain the dominant party by a massive margin in Glasgow politics. Similarly, the SNP are clearly the second-placed party in Glasgow. Third place is a tie between ourselves and the Liberals, with the Tories the clear fifth party. The Council is the tie-breaker, obviously.

Even though SSP and Solidarity, unsurprisingly, haven't a single elected representative between them at any level anywhere in Glasgow or elsewhere, all too often we appear in the same category as them. 

Viewers continue to get the misleading impression that we don't count in the city, despite these numbers. Does that sound fair to you?

Another resignation!?

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mcghee.jpgSurely not? Not another high-profile departure?

OK, it's not a politician this time. AMS is reporting that Charles McGhee has quit the editorship of the Herald (and there has been some moaning at the bar about morale, see also the NUJ quote in that article). But during a high-profile Glasgow by-election? Doesn't the city's daily broadsheet need good leadership at a time like that?

(note to self: not everyone sees the world through a politics-filter)

Pledges down the drain.

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tapsink.jpgThis article was sent in speculatively to the Scotsman around the half-anniversary of their green masthead edition. However, it didn't make the cut. I can see why. The tone didn't exactly fit with theirs.

"Six months ago The Scotsman made one of those very rare and striking changes to its masthead, turning the paper very visibly green, and partnering with the SNP government on the environment.

The public were invited to make ten modest pledges, from reducing car usage to turning the taps off while brushing their teeth.

Since then the paper has provided a substantial contribution to reporting about a range of environmental crises, including the threats to Scotland's seas, to the Balmedie dunes, and to our bees. One morning, readers were warned that the nuclear weapons at Faslane could explode in sequence as part of a phenomenon called "popcorning". Hardly a single issue has gone by without some discussion about climate change.

Those same six months have, however, seen almost total inactivity from the SNP government. Where is the environmental leadership they promised? On transport, they rammed through the M74 Extension despite opposition from the local community and every environmental group in the country, while letting bus fares rise and blocking progress on the railways.

Any occasional step forward is more than offset by some new step backwards. Several new wind projects have been cleared, and last week the SNP announced a renewables research joint project with the Irish Green Party's Minister for Energy. However, the previous press release had heralded "Scotland's largest ever coal supply contract", tying us into a long-term commitment to the dirtiest fossil fuel there is.

Most scandalously, the SNP manifesto pledged binding 3% annual cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Before their Climate Change Bill even came to Parliament, that's been dropped. At best, Salmond and Swinney have gone native. At worst, they recognise that they could never make cuts even that timid with their current policies on energy, food, transport and so on.

It's now up to Parliament to improve this legislation, otherwise the best we can hope for is that SNP Ministers keep brushing their teeth with the taps off."
jonstewart.jpgMy friend Adam recently had the pleasure of meeting Jon Stewart of the wonderful Daily Show.

Adam's interview with him is here. Sample line: "As a comedian, as a person, as a citizen, as a mammal- in all of those areas, I am looking forward to the end of the Bush administration with every fiber of my being."

So where's our Daily Show, eh, BBC/C4?
cochrane.jpgOr, more accurately, it looks like the rest of the media have a problem. The most recent Scottish circulation figures from the ABC show pretty consistent drops across all titles since the last time I looked at this, back in December.

To pick some semi-random examples, the News of the World is down more than 7% to 279,674, the Mail on Sunday is down 8.5% to 110,357, and the FT is down almost 7% to 5,151.

Now, maybe the month of June is a bad one for sales, with people too busy watching Euro 2008 etc. I can't tell because I don't have access to their trend data.

But even so there are two exceptions to these numbers that I've spotted. The Telegraph, up 3.7%, and the Sunday Telegraph, up a fraction. Could it be some inexplicable Cochrane effect?

Where would we be without BT?

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BT.jpgBT is of course Brian Taylor, one of the few authoritative Scottish political commentators. He's famous also for his love of Dundee United, despite the evidence, and his affection for brightly coloured-braces (tartan at left: Disney is more usual). His blog is highly recommended, and always fair-minded, as per the football affiliation discussion here. However, nothing's appeared on it since July 5th.

And why the silence? I'll let Brian's out-of-office explain:

I am currently on leave. I will be back in the UK on Tuesday July 22. Just in time for the by-election. And the Labour leadership. And the LibDem leadership. And any other vacancies which may emerge. Urgent inquiries meantime should be addressed to the newsdesk on 0141-422 7800.
Brian Taylor

Personally, I think all of Scotland's other leaders are pretty secure, even Annabel. That's despite Brian Monteith (remember him?) calling for her to be deposed in favour of Murdo Fraser or Gavin Brown. Don't worry, Brian, I don't see your holiday being disturbed by that.

Pump it slowly.

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murdomacleod.jpgSo Murdo MacLeod, Scotland on Sunday's longstanding political correspondent (and tech correspondent, and Gaelic correspondent, well you get the picture), had his leaving do last night.

Drinks were taken, more by some than others (I still want to hear what Mao's point was, Mark).

Murdo's away to work for a substantial oil company in Kazakhstan, and despite him being the bane of my life when I worked for the Parliament's first two Presiding Officers, I'll miss him.

When I say "bane of my life", what I most obviously mean is this article, which appeared ten days after I started work in Parliament.

It was factually correct, except for the species of oak, their colour, the number of them, the cost (massively less), their likely country of origin, the status of contract negotiations at the time. Oh, and the final price of the project, which sadly went a little higher than £280m while I was there.

Update: sources close to Murdo have made clear that this piece was based on dodgy information from a previously reliable former source. And that the subs might have had a hand in it too.

Anyway, back to oil. I corrected his impression that his new employers and my current employers have, shall we say, divergent interests, though. Pump it slowly, I advised him to tell them. If we burn all our remaining stocks of oil and gas more slowly, it'll have less of an impact on the climate. Oh, and his bosses will make shedloads more money if they hang onto what's left of their reserves until prices hit $500 a barrel or more.

I understand they are already aware of this issue, and I'm hopeful that they'll come to the same conclusions I did. Sorry, Gordon.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Media category from July 2008.

Media: June 2008 is the previous archive.

Media: August 2008 is the next archive.