23 November 2012

Scottish Labour's Samson strategy?

Back in 2011, a waggish nationalist friend half-seriously suggested that, failing everything else, Scottish Labour's best strategy to defeat independence was to be as crushingly, dishearteningly mediocre as possible. 

There is a sort of bleak logic to it.  Fostering a collective sense of confidence in Scottish political institutions is the sine qua non for those who favour independence. Part of the SNP's governmental and parliamentary strategy must be to promote, wherever possible, images and examples which make it easier for folk to envisage an independent Holyrood, and an independent Scottish government in which they can repose confidence, operating effectively in their interests. Arses must be consistently distinguished from elbows. Government must be poised, parliament at the very least credible, at best, something which one could be optimistic about. The major opposition party can play an important role in creating - or despoiling - that atmosphere.

And here's where Labour's "Samson strategy" might come into its own. Your argument (and I'm not endorsing it, merely stating it), probably looks something like this...
"Isn't this level of political discourse dismal? You needn't make the argument that daft wee Scotia can't fend for herself.  Just watch First Minister's Questions. We can't even sustain a meaningful debate on the powers within our competence at the minute.  What sort of future can Scotland have, when the national defence, when foreign affairs, when tax and welfare decisions are to be made in this vacuous, bilious climate of rank stupidity and corrosive partisanship? If only we were like the sober souls on the Green benches in Westminster.  At least there you get serious debate, not like Holyrood. If this is the best we can do as the official opposition in parliament, how the devil can you have confidence in Scotland's future, with us lurking about as the only government-in-waiting? Doesn't it all just dishearten you? Sod it. It's all too depressing. Just vote no and put us all out of our misery."

As another crony pointed out to me this week, this strategy may be - much more destructively - elaborated upon. Why not pull the temple down around your ears? Like the Biblical strongman, it's a self-sacrificing tactic, but not necessarily ineffective for all that. If the credibility of devolved institutions is an important part of the pro-independence argument, why not rob them of that advantage altogether, by striking out at the pillars of its credibility?  Finger the Presiding Officer for bias, call for her to be sacked, attack not only the government, but the committees, the chamber, everywhere spreading the notion that Holyrood is collapsing under the weight of its own amateurism and incompetence, finally revealed to be the "wee pretendy parliament" and dysfunctional parish council that some always believed it would be. Certainly, this sort of political strategy may bring the roof crashing down on all of yours heads. Collateral damage might be inflicted on things you value, but that's all to the good, so long as the separatist serpent is satisfyingly crushed when the roof caves in. 

It is not, perhaps, accidental, that we simultaneously hear the likes of Gordon Brown making speeches which give every impression that devolution was really something of a mistake, with a whisper of nostalgia for the old days of Scottish governance by the Queen in Parliament, untroubled by devolved parliaments and their governments. None of this should be understood as an unqualified defence of how Holyrood discharges its duties, or to suggest that a majority government in a unicameral parliament, and the unremitting loyalty of SNP backbenchers doesn't pose challenges. Clearly they do, and I've been critical about some manifestations of that before, but the challenges of majoritarian government are hardly unique to Scotland. Yet an increasingly hysterical, Labour-dominated opposition in Holyrood would have us believe that the SNP administration is some unique, terrifying, oppressive, unprecedented chimera, gnawing away at the roots of Scottish democracy.  

Increasingly, this looks like a classic case of projection to me. Johann Lamont is weel kent as a formidable woman, but given the political atmosphere of the last month or so, I'm beginning to wonder if she doesn't also have more shades of Samson than Delilah about her...

42 comments :

  1. Speaking as a Labour person who has criticised the FM, the SNP in parliament and the PO in recent days and weeks, I see no strategy here, and no Samson-like plan. I see merely the opposition holding the government and the machinery or parliament to account. It is the SNP's ingrained view that they alone speak for Scotland which seems to make them think they should be beyond criticism.

    If Alex Salmond wants to avoid criticism for misleading parliament, he should stop misleading parliament. If Tricia Marwick wants to avoid criticism for bias, she should start treating SNP members the same as she treats Labour members, and start holding the FM to standards of respect like she holds Johann Lamont to standards of respect.

    This is a problem entirely of the SNP's making. There is no Labour strategy here. There is no grand plan. There is simply an opposition doing its job.

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  2. Speaking as an ex-Labour member, to say that, "There is no Labour strategy here" is quite believable.

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  3. LPW, you were a lot more entertaining and even convincing when you were (or claimed to be) only semi-attached to the SNP. When you could allow a smidgeon of distance, and (pretend?) objectivity.

    Lately you have steered closer and closer to an SNP rather than small n nationalist position. This in turn has led to less interesting, and in the case of this contribution, plainly silly posts.

    Mike Russell and Alex Salmond (again) mislead Parliament, but it's Labour's fault for pointing this out... indeed they would rather bring the house down than practice "responsible" opposition...really?

    Consider. Since it appears that, in your opinion, "responsible" opposition means not highlighting and exploiting ministerial misleadings and misjudgemnts, how do you recommend that can Parliament work as a democracy?

    Just how is ignoring ministerial misbehaviour and weakening the challenge to the Executive "responsible" opposition?

    It may be uncomfortable for the SNP to see Salmond and Co. attacked like this, but being attacked is part of the democratic deal, and the SNP has in the past attacked just as fiercely.

    The level of debate depends on at least two contributors. Misleading Parliament and the voters is a contribution likely, in a healthy democracy, to invite a strong response.

    if you can hand it out, and Eck can hand it out, you can take it. Mewling that it wisnae me and it isnae fair is as dishonest as giving the wrong facts to Parliament. It's also cowardly, the tactic of the playground bully.

    Now where have I heard that accusation before, and of whom?

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  4. For confirmation that Labour is capable of stooping to any depths to attack Salmond, all we need do is recall the Alexander memo and its call for a campaign of unrelenting negativity.

    Since the SNP took power, there has been a stream of attacks in the chamber at FMQs that have blown up in the faces of opposition leaders.

    Was it Stephen or Scott that got a church group leader their jotters by calling the FM a liar, only to find that his source was the problem? That is one of the five occasions on which the FM has referred himself (because that is the procedure) for breach of the Ministerial Code.

    All of these referrals have resulted in findings that embarrassed the opposition not the FM. Except that by the time the findings come out everyone has lost interest. Which is part of teh calculation.

    When every issue is followed by the charge that the people can't trust the Government and statements regularly made outside the chamber that couldn't possibly be made inside, it is clear there is a strategy at play.

    The past few days demonstrate that, to preserve the union, Labour is prepared to expose Scotland to any amount of collateral damage.

    If FMQs is about holding the government to account and reflecting the interests of voters, why did none of the unionist leaders ask about the severe weather problems facing the country? Why no questions about Scottish Government input to Westminster's Energy Bill, which impinges hugely on the SP's Climate Change responsibilities? Why, yet again, did all three focus on the same issue, demonstrating that, although they are no better together, they are at least working together.

    If there is no strategy behind the chaos engulfing the first half of FMQs one must assume that Lamont, Davidson and Rennie all have their jackets on shoogly pegs, because there should be a strategy.

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  5. Is it the Labour case that no opposition MSP has made a claim that misled the Chamber?

    Or, that when they do, they have no responsibility to correct the Official Record?

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  6. All of which ignores the fact that with regard to the referendum, the SNP really have been the architects of their own downfall. Sterlingzone and the furore surrounding continued membership/entry to the EU have exposed some of the SNP's arguments as having the look of being formulated on the back of a beer-mat.

    If Lamont was really any good as a Labour leader, the referendum would be all over bar the shouting.

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  7. You note an increasingly hysterical, Labour-dominated opposition

    I think this hits the nail on the head. Unionist hysteria is a historical phenomenon noted by (Unionist) historians and political scientists.

    It is also described as dangerous and reckless. It is not merely ridiculous, as we tend to imagine, given the sheer risibility of its manifestations at Holyrood, or elsewhere.

    I do think it is fair enough that people poke fun at it but we should also remember that it is not the benign form of nationalism that has characterised the movement towards Scottish independence, that commentators in and beyond Scotland have noted.

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  8. Explain the problem with the sterling zone ... the Scottish pound is part of the current sterling zone, Scotland owns a per capita share of the 'Bank of England'. Remove the Scottish pound from the sterling zone and only one thing suffers - the rump sterling zone as it looses a £1 trillion pound oil and gas asset and 40% of its foreign exchange earnings.

    According to Labour's best pal Professor McCrone an independent Scotland will have a hard currency, cash rich with a large anual surplus. he even suggests that keeping Scotland in sterling will make loans from Scotland to Westminster easier to handle. Of course we Scots were not supposed to know this and would not have if not for an FOI request.

    New Labour's Scottish region has been found out and found wanting, blaming the people of Scotland for voting SNP is a rather strange way of making your case nor does it appear effective with a Tory poll showing 39% of Scots will vote SNP in 2015 - a 9% lead over Lamont and her stairheid rammying.

    There is no furore over 'EU or not to EU' as the SNP Government behaved in exactly the same way as the Westminster Government on this issue and took confidential legal advice which they are not at liberty to disclose because it is 'confidential legal advice' according to the rules put in place by their 'Liblab' Scot5tish Government predecessors on advice to Government Ministers.

    Hysterical is a fitting description of New Labour in the light of McMahon's suspension on Thursday.

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  9. A mirror held up for their convenience, yet the Labour supporters cannot see themselves in it. Why am I not surprised?

    It is all a bit depressing. Maybe I'm too naive for politics, but if a mistake is made an apology follows and matters move on to more important things. But apparently not.

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  10. One should always apply Hanlon's Razor, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.", to the behaviour of the Labour party in Scotland and this razor is as applicable to their coalition partners the Lib-Dems and the Conservatives as it is to Labour.

    Continually shouting liar, liar pants on fire by the BetterTogether coalition doesn't hold the Government to account it just shows up how poverty stricken all three of the coalition partners are when it comes to talent on the front bench. However Labour's performance makes even me shiver a little about the idea of the current Labour regional leaders running an independent Scotland.

    Most of the Parliamentary question time is taken up by the coalition parliamentary leaders grinding out long rambling insults not sharp directed questions. If it's not stupidity then I certainly agree that it is a deliberate attempt by the coalition to belittle the Scottish Parliament in the eyes of Scots voters.

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  11. "If FMQs is about holding the government to account and reflecting the interests of voters, why did none of the unionist leaders ask about the severe weather problems facing the country"

    Far worse than that - when he provided a brief summary of the situation and what measures were in hand, he got a graceless, ugly bit of carping in return.

    The notion that banging on and on and on about how everyone in the SNP is an instinctive liar constitutes "holding the government to account" is so fatuous as to be contemptible. Labour got TWO apologies for what at the end of the day was a trivial mistake - facts wrong by a couple of percent - yet still they scream and shriek and rant and completely ignore anything the Scottish people actually care about.

    I made much the same observation as LPW on Thursday before FMQs was even halfway through. It has reached a new all-time low of fabricated hysterical rage. Hugh Henry had to be told to shut up three times, Lamont somehow thought it was appropriate to call the democratically elected leader of the country "Pinocchio" - in Westminster she'd have been dragged out by the hair for that - and Ruth Davidson looked like she was watching someone in the act of shitting on her carpet.

    It was a disgusting spectacle, and goodness knows how the opposition are going to keep ratcheting up the hatred for the next two years. LPW calls it a Samson strategy, I called it Soviet-style scorched earth. It amounts to the same thing.

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  12. Interesting thesis, LPW, but because the SNP's raison d'etre is independence then opponents will approach a Nationalist administration differently to how they'd approach one largely supportive of the constitutional status quo.

    So the corollary of the SNP's denigration of Westminster must to some extent be Unionist denigration of devolution, because the SNP are to a degree more conflated with the latter, particularly because they want to extend it.

    Of course, the Holyrood opposition parties sound shrill and will overegg things, but essentially that's the result of politics as normal combined with the unique nature of the current SNP administration.

    The current conduct of opposition v government at Holyrood can't be compared with anything pertaining previously because it's not a normal opposition v government scenario.

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  13. Stuart
    My perspective on this is that the SNP does not value devolution or the Parliament because their ideal is to kill off both.

    THey don't think of it as an expression of the democratic will of the Scottish/British people.

    And the rules are not their rules, therefore the rules don't apply to them.

    Therefore they they can give it no respect, and feel no shame.

    So, you can have an SNP speaker and a cavalier approach to answering questions and the facts and spending our money to hide their mistakes.

    After all, it's only a wee pretendy parliament... as they see it. So they can ignore it or treat it with contempt or rfuse to give clear answers to honest questions...


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  14. I was going to post something really meaningful and relevant to the debate but then I scrolled on to Stuart Wintons post and it all went the same as when I watched the last FMQs and listened to Lamonts opener which was the most graceless po faced contemptible bleat she has yet come out with. "I certainly hope ministers are doing their jobs" she grated through gritted teeth. A time of severe weather and floods affecting Scotland with people losing their homes and possessions and this bitch comes out with that pish. What a vile creature Labour is.

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  15. Stuart Winton's comments are an eccentric special pleading that somehow Labour's appalling behaviour is justifiable in the current circumstances.

    I say "nonsense" to that.

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  16. Braveheart

    What a ludicrous statement "My perspective on this is that the SNP does not value devolution or the Parliament because their ideal is to kill off both."

    Since when did wanting to extend the competence of a parliament beyond its current limited responsibilities amount to 'killing it off'.

    This is another example of the warped thinking that dominates the unionist cause.

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  17. "Labour got TWO apologies for what at the end of the day was a trivial mistake - facts wrong by a couple of percent..."


    Oh please! The Scottish people got two apologies. Misleading parliament is the same as misleading the people. Y'know, the people who actually choose to live here rather than carp from the sidelines.

    As for the casual dismissal of a couple of percent... that couple of percent resulted in thousands of people being denied part-time courses.

    That might not matter to faux elitist eager Beevor readers, but it does to the people denied the courses.

    Grow a pair and come up with a better argument Reverend. You're as shrill as Ruth Lamont.

    I'm surprised at the tone of this blog LPW. The First Minister was just as culpable of treating the parliament with contempt.

    If he would at least answer the questions put to him, then maybe he wouldn't have to put up with the overheated frustration and belligerence of opposition leaders.

    His lack of accountability contributes just as much to the Samson complex alluded to here.

    Regards

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  18. Braveheart, I'm inclined to disagree with you, because the way I see it is that the SNP view Holyrood as a step towards independence, and the only problem with it is that it's hamstrung by a lack of powers as things stand.

    So they've been trying to use it to demonstrate what could be achieved if only it had more powers. Which in turn is why the opposition parties are even more keen than normal to undermine the ruling administration. I think Mr Lallands' thesis is maybe a slight variation on conflating the SNP with Scotland and thus opposing the SNP amounts to opposing Scotland. So now attacking the SNP is attacking the seat of Scotland's democracy. Or something like that ;0)

    Anon @ 23.56. If it helps then I was trying to explain Labour's conduct rather than excuse it :0)

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  19. I don't know if it is a strategy as such. There is a unionist strategy to try and bring down the Yes campaign by bringing down Alex Salmond and as many of his ministers as they think they can get. But a Samson strategy I am not so sure about.

    One thing is for sure though, the SNP needs to try and get out of this situation. Our people need to stop responding and rise above it, simple as that. The behaviour in the Scottish Parliament is getting to be atrocious. Tricia Marwick was quite right to suspend Michael McMahon and she ought to clamp down hard on any subsequent antics. It is embarrassing to watch sometimes.

    It is mainly the Labour people but there are too many SNP MSPs who respond in kind. That has to stop. I don't think you could overstate the public's disdain for that type of behaviour from people who are - after all - at their work! It's awful.

    On the issue of misleading parliament. Everyone has been guilty of this at some point or other. The question is whether it is intentional or not. When Alex Salmond says there are - I think - X number of jobs been created in X sector he is not lying if he gets the number wrong, he is just wrong because he is trying to remember rather than having the number on a bit of paper in front of him. To say that is lying or deliberately misleading parliament is just silly. People do things like that themselves all the time.

    In the case of college spending it was also not intentional - but the real underlying issue is that the Education Secretary appeared not to know whether spending was going up or down because he was going by a briefing where the author had not put in the additional spending from last year. That is genuinely concerning because it suggests a Cabinet Secretary who is overly reliant on briefings so if there is a mistake in the briefing he doesn't question it.

    Is that a resignation issue? In some circumstances it could be. I am rather glad Michael Russell has not resigned because I think he is doing a good job but I also hope he will make a point of double checking every figure he is given in future.

    But I think he would have been in much bigger trouble if Labour/Tories/Lib Dems had not adopted this get the SNP strategy. Because when everything is seen as evidence of incompetence/dishonesty/grounds for resignation then when someone does something which might actually be a bit incompetent it barely registers in amongst all the other froth and nonsense. Ironic.

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  20. Incidentally I think the issue about misleading parliament cuts both ways. I have no doubt there are SNP researchers at this moment trawling through the Official Report looking for examples where oppositon MSPs have said things which were not accurate. I hope that - rather than publishing them - they simply send the results to the MSPs in question and say you might want to amend the Official Report to reflect that this was not accurate. That would make the point as effectively as publishing it.

    Or it could be done the way that Alex Salmond did it at FMQs with Ruth Davidson. But what you don't want to get into is a situation where people keep hurling accusations of being a liar at each other. That will just turn everyone off.

    For example - a lot of people still cite the example of Johann Lamont talking about the fabricated rape case at FMQs as though Johann Lamont had fabricated it. Well she didn't. She was going by newspaper reports which turned out not to be true. So yes she said things which were untrue - but she did not intend to and therefore she shouldn't be accused of lying.

    Ditto with going over the way people say things with a fine toothed comb. If someone is making a point they may well do so in a way that could be subject to different interpretations because that is just how debate happens and how people talk. If we get into a place where every sentence is analysed to the nth degree and every mistake is raked over again and again we will simply kill debate. That is surely not what anyone wants.

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  21. Mr Worrier

    Can I suggest that you go back and look at the last few relpies the First Minister has given to the LibDem leader, Willie Rennie's always polite and direct questions?

    Once you've done that I invite you to reconsider this piece.

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  23. Peter.

    I don't know if Newsnet (Scotland) covered this, but the D-FM admitted (backed up by the FM) that they had not taken formal legal advice on I-Scotland's position on whether we would retain membership of the EU, or whether we would have to reapply - In essence they spent £100,000 of public money to keep out of the public domain legal advice that did not exist at that point. Own goal number one.

    Secondly, the Scottish Pound is part of the Sterling Zone because we are at the moment still in the same country as the English, the Welsh and the Northern Irish. The problem arises if we become a seperate independent country. The reason why readoption of Sterling is own goal number two is that there are suddenly issues that would arise with Independence, which would require a Maastricht style treaty to resolve.

    In any case I suspect that the SNP's preferred option (until very reciently) was entry to the Euro, hence the desire for Scotland to remain within the EU without consulting the Scottish People. It is the sense that the "Sterling Zone" scheme seems to be thought up on the hoof - given Swinney's unconvincing answers on this subject - that provides own goal number two.

    As I said earlier, were Lamont to be any good (and I think we have established that she is not a very good politician) the case for Independence would already be a dead duck in many people's eyes. That many of the coments above make the point that there is no strategy here only adds to the sense that the leader of the opposition is a very poor leader of the opposition.

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  24. "For example - a lot of people still cite the example of Johann Lamont talking about the fabricated rape case at FMQs as though Johann Lamont had fabricated it. Well she didn't. She was going by newspaper reports which turned out not to be true. So yes she said things which were untrue - but she did not intend to and therefore she shouldn't be accused of lying."

    The point being made, though - certainly by the FM on Thursday - wasn't that she was wrong, but that she entirely failed to then acknowledge the fact when the truth came to light.

    (Although you'd hope that a party leader would make some sort of effort at verifying stories, rather than just parroting whatever she sees in a newspaper.)

    She made no correction and no apology for a disgusting allegation based on a falsheood, and nor was she pulled up on it by a media which has now been banging on at enormous and vitriolic length about Salmond/Russell's error for the best part of a fortnight, even though both of them HAVE apologised and corrected their error.

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  25. Stuart you say "... I'm inclined to disagree with you, because the way I see it is that the SNP view Holyrood as a step towards independence... "

    I think we're in agreement...the SNP view Holyrood as a step towards independence, they don't respect it as a Parliament (wee pretendy, remember).

    They find it frustrating to be stuck in this system which they require to be flawed, therefore QED, the find that it is flawed, and not worthy of respect.

    It's not really legitimate in their eyes and it's stoppoing them getting where theywant to go, so they can treat it any way they like.

    And misleading the Parliament becomes less of a crime..."so what it's only a wee pretendy thing anyway."

    Allied to the fact that Eck's default position is arrogance anyway, and hey presto, he misleads the Parliament numerous times and, maybe even genuinely though I doubt it, can't see what he's done wrong.

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  26. Braveheart

    Alas, your comment is as inaccurate as the film! "Pretendy wee" was the dismissive description used by Unionist Billy Connolly.

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  27. Oldnat
    Thanks for the correction. I thought it was the Blessed Margot that said it...

    But the point stands, the Nats opposed devolution, don't think Holyrood is 100% legit and they certainly don't give it 100% respect.

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  28. Braveheart

    You are really into errors today!

    The SNP strongly campaigned for the restoration of the Scottish Parliament - alongside Labour and LDs in 1997.

    You are confusing it with Gordon Wilson's (mistaken) decision to withdraw from the Constitutional Convention because it wasn't willing to include independence as an option.

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  29. Allan

    I stopped reading when you trotte4d out the lie of spending £100,000 on the legal advice case.

    Sturgeon gave the answer in SP as roughly £4000 and counting.

    Seems to me to have been money well spent in order to keep the unionists off the scent of where the real legal advice had occurred.

    And if you don't know that by now you haven't been paying attention.

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  30. s = miskeyed!

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  31. oldnat

    the SNP opposed devolution and left the constitutional convention.

    all the other parties, the churches and trades unions and other organisations laboured for 10 years to produce the devolution settlement.

    Labour came to power in 1997 and delevered the devolution bill, which the nats opposed.

    When it passed into law, they decided to campaign alongside Labour and others for a yes vote.

    So you're abt 5% right and 100% wrong..

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  32. Braveheart

    I'll assume that you are too young to have been around at the time. The 1997 referendum was a pre-legislative referendum.

    As a Labour member then, I campaigned for a Yes Yes vote alongside SNP, LD and Green supporters.

    The legislation wasn't introduced until 1998, because the detailed Bill wasn't presented to Parliament until the concept had been approved by referendum.

    Do try to get your facts right.

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  33. Very good article LPW and needed saying. FMQ each week is becoming a total farce and to think that foreign visitors are courteously welcomed into the chamber then to suffer the screeching and desk-banging by the Labour side is nothing short of deplorable.

    That's on the face of it; your main import, that it is a deliberate wrecking tactic, Luddite even, by the opposition parties and I include the Tories in this, to deflate the importance and purpose of the Scottish Parliament, has to be a serious consideration for anyone bent on perfecting self-government for Scotland.

    I would caution the FM and any Scottish Government speakers from now on, to beware the bear-pit traps and to conduct themselves properly in a manner and with the substance deserving of their position.

    As to the opposition parties - I warn them that no good will come of this behaviour. Already there are signs that the voting public have no time for wasters and any attempt to belittle this Scottish Parliament will have severe political repercussions.

    Scotland needs a strong debating chamber to take it forward and there is very little evidence of productive debate being undertaken to date. Shame on you.

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  34. Stravonian.

    I find your assertion that the waste of £100,000 was "money well spent" to be utterly offensive in a time of austerity. It does not do your cause any good whatsoever.

    Prehaps the next time Swinney moans about the block grant, when the "Unionists" point to that waste of money you will think about the votes that the "well spent money" will have cost your cause.

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  35. Allan

    The £100,000 figure is a lie. On that false foundation, your post collapses.

    "The First Minister said the true legal costs so far amounted to "just less than £4,000," out of a total legal bill estimated to be £12,000.

    "I would imagine the information commissioner's legal costs are somewhere around the same quantum, or something around that. That's incidentally a world away from the £100,000 pounds which was claimed by a Liberal [Democrat] MP in the House of Commons today - a figure which is plucked out of thin air."

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  36. Stravonian

    No need for the "L" word!

    Allan probably just misread the number from the briefing notes he was given.

    When he wants to correct the "Official Record" here, I'm sure LPW would be happy to allow him to do so.

    Of course, if Allan doesn't so wish ......

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  37. To cut to the chase -is it a labour strategy - no merely an affliction.

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  38. So, Oldnat & Stravonian, you condone the waste of taxpayers money just so long as your argument wins out then?

    Like I said above, I find that stance disgusting at a time of economic hardship. It's equally disgusting whether it is £3,960 (or as Sturgeon put it not "an absolutely final figure") or the reported £100,000

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  39. Allan

    See! I knew that you had just misread your notes.

    Wouldn't it be a fine world, if politicians could spend every penny on the needy, instead of spending it on other things?

    £23,387 on FOI requests might equally be considered a frivolous squandering of resources, which could have been better spent elsewhere?

    However,like "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells", I suspect that your disgust is only selectively applied.

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  40. You know what's a disgusting waste of public money? £579 million.

    http://wingsland.podgamer.com/the-something-for-nothing-country/

    Carping about £4,000 after that is a pretty fucked sense of priorities.

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  41. Indy, the reason people go on about Lamont's use of the fabricated rape case, is because it was only partly fabricated. It actually followed extremely closely a tragic story that was hugely prominent in the early 2000s.

    That Lamont, a frequent speaker in Holyrood on the issue of violence against women, didn't recognise the similarities was astounding. Astounding ignorance or astounding political cynicism, we struggle to decide.

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  42. RevStu's post shows the quandary for the Scottish electorate. To decide whether an independent Scotland would be free of the corruption he cites.
    Will the SNP question and investigate such contracts?
    Will they make public the legal and technical advice given and by whom?

    We do know Labour is responsible.
    We want to know - What are you going to do about it?
    Will the SNP challenge this contract? Now.

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