Ohhhhh, Richard Leonard

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Yesterday, Scottish Labour bemoaned the fact that too many people working in Scotland are living beneath the £10 an hour so-called (by George Osborne) Living Wage.

Of course, that is true. Far too many people do work and yet live in poverty. And many people on Gideon’s Living Wage have to claim tax credits and other social security benefits.

It is a bad situation.

Mr Leonard appeared to say that he would give them all rises of up to £2,600 a year. All 500,000 of them. Generous man.

The trouble is that Minimum Wage legislation lies within the purview of the hated Tory government in London.

Now, I seem to recall that Minimum Wage legislation was something that the Scottish government asked to be devolved. And I also recall that Scottish Labour voted against. 

Any notion that the Tories would want to see poor Scots £2,6000 better off, at the expense of business owners, is rather far fetched.

Still, I suppose it makes a good headline for those who do not care to look beyond the headline soundbite.

Today, Our Richard was having a go at the NHS in Scotland.

According to Scottish Labour, it is failing people.

And to prove it, they put together a video. Mindful of a previous video where an NHS nurse was found in fact not to be an NHS nurse, they did indicate at the beginning of the video that parts had been played by actors. 

Now, our NHS isn’t perfect, I think we all know that. It takes too long to get an appointment with a doctor for starters, hospital food can be unappetising and in a couple of hospitals where the government’s lawyers couldn’t break the terms of contracts signed years ago, the parking charges are ridiculous. 

Of course, Brexit hasn’t helped with the situation. Many people working in the NHS are from Europe and, saddled with applications for residency permits, some after working here for a quarter of a century and more, have just given up and announced their return to the EU where they will be welcomed and treated like valued citizens.

But for all its faults, it is a good health service. Indeed, I think by most measures, it is the best in these islands and we should be rightly proud of it and the people who provide it at every level.

That said, if Labour can suggest ways that it can be improved, we would, I am sure, welcome their suggestions, wouldn’t we?

There’s a small fly in the ointment though… If we look for an example of how Labour runs a health service, we find that maybe their advice might not be that good.




Isn’t it about time, given the results of the latest Yougov poll of voting intentions for Westminster showing Labour reduced to one seat in Scotland (aye, old Union Jacket), for the annual branch office leadership contest?


Who this time… James Kelly?




James Brokenshire was on the Marr show today, saying that Transport Secretary (England) Chris Grayling was completely up to the job. He didn’t exactly say that of course, not being a complete idiot, and therefore aware that May could, indeed should, replace our Chris with the Downing Street cat or perhaps a lump of wet clay next week.

In a government of incompetents, led by an incompetent prime minister, Chris Graying stands out as the incompetents’ incompetent.



He proved to be an utter disaster at the English Justice ministry, with his successor having to overturn most of what he had done. Jail privatisation has resulted in companies reducing staffing levels, replacing experienced officers with inexperienced recruits… and needless to say not enough of them for the growing prison population, resulting in the odd riot here and there.

His successors are looking at introducing the policy put forward by the Scottish government of not imprisoning those whose crimes are worthy of a sentence of 1 year or less.


At Transport Chris Graying has overseen chaos on English trains including the all-important London commuter services and those in the North of England which were supposed to be a part of the Tories’ big plans for the regeneration of that region.

And we should not forget that Graying was spent time at the DWP. Need we say more?

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What can we say about the pizza delivery company that was supposed to be running ferries it didn’t have, from a port that had no capacity for them to a port which had no customs or infrastructure, and upon which Grayling assured us that due diligence had been carried out by his department?

While that contract has now been cancelled due to the inability of Pepe’s Pizzas to fulfil any of the terms (despite the due diligence so carefully applied), we now have two other contracts to bring goods from Europe. Unfortunately, given the “taking back control” aspect of the Brexit fervour, these companies are French and Dutch! The failed company was, of course, British.

Mais, alors, nous aurons les passeports bleus en moins de 60 jours!



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In another issue to do with transport, James Kelly (Labour’s “sit down” stand up Scottish comedian) has (among others) for the last few days, been ranting about the scheme to give councils the power to make a charge for workplace parking in an effort to raise money and reduce traffic.

Mr Kelly, who is a Glasgow MSP, is highly critical of this scheme.

Mr Kelly has said “People should not be facing the SNP’s tax on getting to work. Workers here in Cambuslang and across Scotland do not want this tax, especially when ScotRail and local buses are a shambles under the Nationalists.”

Of course, all public transport could do with improvement, but it should be noted that ScotRail is among the best, if not the best performing rail company in the UK, despite the appalling standards of the infrastructure.


However, as Glasgow councillor Mhairi Hunter points out “It would be awkward if Glasgow Labour’s 2017 manifesto included a commitment to investigate introducing a workplace parking levy”.

And awkward it is:

As indeed does Labour in Edinburgh.

Well, what say you, Mr Kelly?


Well, in the immortal words of the Presiding Officer: “Sit down, Mr Kelly”