IT’S ALL ABOUT SNP BAAAAAD

IT WAS THEN, IT IS NOW…

AND THE TRUTH IS, IT’S LABOUR THAT’S CRAP

It’s really no wonder that “Scottish” Labour, back there in the day, the government, first became the opposition and then became the third party.

As a political force, you really have to have more in your store cupboard of ideas than “the exact opposite of what the SNP says”. The Willie Bain principle just won’t cut it. (In 2012, Bain stated that the Scottish Labour MPs have a convention of not supporting motions put down by the Scottish National Party, which became known as the “Bain Principle“)

In short, no matter how good a policy was; no matter how it would help people, Labour would simply vote against it. The alternative, I suppose, would be to admit that the SNP had had a good idea, and that was out of the question.

Article here on Wings.

Now, of course, an opposition party is supposed to oppose. The clue is, after all, in the name. But a good opposition party doesn’t oppose for the sake of opposing. It opposes out of principle.

Richard Leonard wrongly states there is no case for an independence referendum, completely ignoring that there is a mandate for a referendum from the Scottish people who returned a majority of MSPs to the Scottish Parliament. Time to accept reality & the democratic right of Scotland.

Image result for ross greer

And Ross Greer’s tweet (below) seems to show that Labour has scant regard for democracy. Pro-independence parties were elected on a platform of “if Scotland is dragged out of the EU against the wishes of the people, the Scottish parliament should have the right to call another referendum on Scottish independence”. Having then put that proposition to parliament and it having passed, it seems to me, the government has an obligation to the electorate to do just that. 

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So if Labour wins an election in the rest of the UK they will block an independence referendum, even when the people of Scotland have elected parliamentary majorities for one? Way to prove why we need independence folks.

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According to Nick Eardley (BBC), Labour seems relatively sure that there won’t be another referendum. Although, of course on their massively inflated salaries, I suppose  £1,000 is not that much.

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A (young) Labour MP just offered to bet me £1,000 there won’t be another in their lifetime (I’m not allowed to gamble on politics)

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So, it’s not been the best day for Labour. Richard obviously wants to talk about “class”, which, in my opinion, should be consigned to the dustbin of bad history.

Image result for richard leonard

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Tricia Marwick here, replies, referring to the gaff by Andy Kerr, who, upon seeing the person that he has chosen to put a question make the sign of a cross, indicated that perhaps he shouldn’t have chosen her. Protestants’ questions only, maybe?
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Maybe it is about time you united people regardless of religion, creed or colour. The sectarian remarks today against Catholics by your Chair Andy Kerr in an open session of your Conference were disgraceful. What are you going to do about that?

Image result for chair of labour's NEC Andy Kerr

Andy Kerr, Glaswegian chair of Labour’s NEC, called a woman to contribute to the conference debate on party democracy, then ‘joked’: “Did you cross yourself, there? In that case I might not.” Er …

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 What a bloody mess for a once respectable political party.

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PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES…

…SHOULDN’T WALK AROUND NAKED

Image result for  kenneth williams naked

Richard Leonard tweeted: Child poverty is rising under the Tories and the SNP. Scottish Labour’s plans to raise child benefit will lift 30,000 children out of poverty. It’s time to use Holyrood’s powers to bring about for the many, not the few.

This was in response to a Daily Record story about a survey carried out by Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, which has found 33% of Scots have gone without food because they were too poor to afford it and that 28% of those questioned had done so between one and six times in the past year. Horrific figures in an oil-rich country which forms part of one of the top ten richest in the world (and one which only a few years ago we were told we were better together within!).

(It’s fair to say that as the survey is open to anyone to complete, that it can be done more than once, and will have a relatively limited audience, the accuracy of the figures may be called into question.)

There is no doubt though, that ten years on from the financial crash, overseen by Labour’s Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, but a long time in the making (Tony Blair, take a bow), the poor have got poorer and the rich richer throughout the UK, thanks to massive pay increases and generous tax policies for the best off, a living wage that no one could live on,  a punitve benefits regime and the lowest retirement pension in the developed world.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg used the crash as an excuse to cut benefits to millions of poor people, and they were backed along the way by their friends in Labour. To balance this up, the people who caused the crash were dealt with too. Fred the Shred Goodwin had his knighthood removed. That’ll teach them.

Much could be said about the iniquities of the policies that led to that crash; policies which were echoed in several other countries, not least USA, Ireland and Iceland, all of which are now making a far better fist of recovery than the UK.

My point here is that Labour seems to think that it is fair to blame the Tories and the SNP for the problem.

Image result for david cameron posh

Every party of government must take some responsibility for the way it allocates funds, and although the SNP has worked hard to find money to mitigate some of the worst features of the Tory austerity programme which has made the lives of tens of thousands of people unbearable, many would argue that it could have done more, whether by concentrating better its resources or  more recently by increasing the few taxes that are devolved.

My argument with Labour is that it, although it is not in government either in England or Scotland, must take its share of responsibility for this mess. After all, it was Labour that introduced the horrific benefit reforms which the Tories grabbed with both hands and doubled down upon, using the Labour banking crisis as an excuse. Take a bow New Labour: In its last term of office, New Labour began to phase out Incapacity Benefit and replace it with Employment and Support Allowance. At the same time, the Work Capability Assessment became the gateway to the new out-of-work sickness benefit. The policy objectives for the new test were: to accentuate the positive by “looking at what you can do, not what you can’t do”.

Labour’s assessment stopped taking into consideration those who would find it nigh impossible to find work. No one ever stopped to think about how to persuade employers to take on someone who probably could do something”.

Image result for list of labour mps who voted for austerity

Labour has over and over again voted for austerity measures introduced by the Tories.

And, in 13 years of UK power, Labour did little or nothing to increase the tax burdens on the richest. Britain has the biggest gap (by a long way)  between rich and poor. It did in 2000 and it still had in 2015 after 10 years of Labour and 5 years of Tory and Liberal Democrat rule. Unionism seems to work for the rich.

inequalities

 

But one of the most telling truths and one that seems to have escaped Richard Leonard’s attention over and over again is that Labour is in power in Wales. Wales has a semi-autonomous government in Cardiff. It has many (but not all) of the powers that Edinburgh has.

And the record of the Welsh government is not one to be proud of.

Not just on child poverty, but this one will do for starters.

Mr Leonard has a history of demanding that the Scottish government act on matters that are outwith its control, often at least partly because Labour voted against these matters being devolved.

He has, in fact, made a fool of himself on several occasions in parliament at FMQs, to the embarrassment of his own team.

It would probably be best if he spoke rather less and researched a little more in future.

And one last thing… and this goes for EVERY party.

Whoever told you repeating the same slogan line over and over again is clever?

Image result for tory strong and stable stance theresa may

Mrs May’s “strong and stable” or “I am clear”, and Richard’s “For the Many; not the Few” get right up the nose after a few hearings. Especially when they are absolutely rubbish.

 

LETTER FROM MUNGUIN

Richard Leonard Retweeted Scottish Labour

How much more evidence is needed until the SNP government finally ban mesh? It’s time to consign this discredited and dangerous practice to the history books.

Richard Leonard added,

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Dr Philippa Whitford Retweeted Richard Leonard

. suspended general use in 2014-only suspended NOW in England. Held inquiry-patients in England still asking. Can’t BAN- decision by MHRA, UK licensing body. Why, after all this time, do you STILL not know difference between reserved/devolved policy areas? But hey

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Dear Richard Leonard,
I know what it’s like in your first few days in the job. You’re not entirely sure where the toilets are, if you can just go make a coffee when you want, or when yer granny phones, you’re not sure if you can take the call or not.
You also aren’t quite sure of what the organisation does in all its detail, and of what your personal responsibilities are.
It’s a difficult time, these first few days and weeks, as we can see from your first FMQs (as recently tweeted by Wings):
It is completely reasonable, in these initial days and weeks, that you get mixed up from time to time about whether your organisation is, or isn’t responsible for a variety of things.
But don’t worry, after you have been in post for a few months all of this will become clear. And never forget that you have a paid team of researchers to help you out.  So don’t worry about having to go and ask.
!!Reserved
They should be able to find you a list like the one I include here for your use. And I’m sure that, if you ask nicely, someone will provide more detail.
Reference to this information may save you making silly and quite high profile errors like criticising the government for something over which they have no control… you know, like drugs policy, or employment legislation, industrial relations, telecommunications, railway nationalisation… etc.
Many of these things are reserved for the Tories at Westminster, which can make governing rather difficult.
Maybe too, you should check with someone to see whether you campaigned against the devolution of a reserved matter before criticising the current government for shortcomings in that area. It may go against the grain, but you can always criticise the Conservatives.
And finally, remember that your close friend and colleague, Mr Jones, runs a government in Wales. He has responsibility and power for some things. You can always give him a call, or look over his result statistics, before you launch into an unfortunate criticism of a better performing similar service in Scotland.
Now I realise that the Press, or some of it, is, to an extent, on your side, and that they won’t make a huge deal of little errors. Indeed, even the parts of the press that aren’t really on your side will probably give you a by on some stuff, because they’d rather shut up shop than let the SNP government look as if it knew what it was doing. 
But you need to remember that there are sites like Wings over Scotland that are read by more people in a day than is most of the Press. And these sites will be relentless.
So take care.
I’m sure these little blunders are just teething troubles and that you’ll soon find your feet.
And one further wee piece of advice. Don’t just take for granted what your top team says. Perhaps most particularly, Neil Findlay, Jackie Baillie and the sit down man.
Yours sincerely
Munguin.
!£$M.jpg
PS: Notes and Corrections:
I fear I may have fallen into the trap against which I warned you. Having just checked with my trusty (more or less) factotum, Tristan, or whatever he’s called, I find that you have, in fact, been in your current job for nearly a year and not nearly a fortnight as I had been led to believe.
I can’t help feeling that, by now, you should have got past asking people where to find the Gents.
Oh, and obviously, I don’t REALLY know what it’s like in your first few weeks at work as I don’t actually work. Clearly, as owner and proprietor of Munguin’s Republic, if my granny phones me, it’s my business.
Regards
M

I KNEW HER DANCING WAS PRETTY BAD, BUT IMPRISONABLE?

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Thanks to BJSAlba for the pic.

Caption competition:

In the past, we have offered as a prize for our competitions, a weekend in the Clyde Tunnel with Jackie Baillie.  But Munguin’s Republic is moving up in t’world. For this new competition, the winner will be offered the opportunity to enjoy a weekend guided tour of t’Yorkshire Moors with none other than Tricky Dicky Leonard (and we mean none other… just you and Richard).

The second prize will be 5 days of the same.

Munguin says he will understand if winners offer their prizes to charity.

Terms and conditions apply

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS

 

ajcon
At least when he’s sleeping he’s not havering more of his right-wing crud.

 

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Should Scotland be an independent country? (STV/IPSOS March 2018)

16-24 YES 58% NO 42%

25-34 YES 61% NO 39%

35-54 YES 51% NO 49%

55+ YES 36% NO 64%

ALL Yes 48% No 52%

OK, 16 to 54-year-olds… it’s down to you to get out, vote and free us from this crap.

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Just because you see them doing something halfway human, don’t assume that they are actually humans. They aren’t.

 

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!gav

Gavin: “See you Russians? You should go away… and shut up…

Or I’ll tell my dad.”

Dad: Gavin, take the flags out of your head. You’re supposed to be a big boy now.

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aadvanced
Nine out of ten of them, small European nations.

 

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ripthepissruth

Interesting that both Ruth and whatsisname (who I assume is a caretaker Labour leader. Come on, he makes Willie Rennie look good!) asked the First Minister to comment on matters which are outwith the competence of the Scottish government today.

Ruth went with the Russians. Not entirely sure that was wise. Firstly because what Russians do in Salisbury, in England has absolutely NOTHING to do with our first minister or our parliament… and, in any case, Ruth appears to have accepted a donation of £15,000 for a Russian to have dinner with her. (It must rile Ruth that a mate of Putin’s paid £30,000 to have dinner with Gavin “go away and shut up” Williamson.)

!r

Mr Leopard, an associate of Keir Hardy, asked  Nicola what would have been a reasonable question had employment law been in the purview of the Scottish parliament and government, about the pay conditions of people working on an ex-Carillion government project (which, incidentally, she said she would be happy to look into if he would share the details with her).  She invited him to join her in trying to get employment law devolved to Scotland.

They really should be asking questions that have to do with the Scottish parliament. That’s what FMQs is about. Presiding Officer take note.

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!dicks
Just for a laugh, imagine dressing up AND GOING OUT looking like that. What a bloody state!

 

STOP CARRYING ON DICK

Today’s homelessness figures are a devastating reminder of the impact austerity has had on so many lives. There should be no excuse for failing to end homelessness in Scotland. This should be a priority for the Scottish Government, as it is for .

It seems to me that Richard Leonard is as calamity prone as Theresa Maybot. And that’s saying something.

Of course, Mr Leonard is quite right to be concerned about homelessness but his concern mixed with implied criticism of the government would have been more credible and believable if these uncomfortable facts hadn’t been immediately to hand.

%reid

Rottweiler Reid, as Tweeter, Tradasro said,  might like to put some of them up at his £3 million house.

The there’s this embarrassment for the party of the people:

%austere

Yes, there probably wouldn’t be nearly as many homeless people on the streets and in friends’ and relatives’ houses or bed and breakfasts, if only Labour hadn’t voted with the Tories for cuts of  £75 million, as Deryck de Rokesburge pointed out.

And, during the time that Labour and Liberal Democrats formed the government, they built somewhere around 6 council houses.

Perhaps if they had made that 60, or 600, or better still 6,000, there would be fewer people without a home?

sarwar

I really thought that Labour was wise to elect Mr Leonard. I knew absolutely nothing about him; had never seen him or heard him… or even heard OF him, but I reckoned he would be better for the country than Anas Sarwar, whom I had seen a few times in the London parliament. A less articulate or impressive speaker would be hard to find, I thought! However bad he was, Mr Leonard had to be better, thought I!

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But since the first hour of his election victory when he hot-footed across the country for a photo opportunity with some workers at Bi-Fab whose jobs the government had just saved, and tried to take credit for it… although the unions and the Greens were tweeting their thanks to Nicola Sturgeon, he has made mess after mess of his attacks on Nicola.

Now, I support the SNP, but I don’t believe that they get everything right all the time. So I would like to see a largely constructive opposition, which, in a minority government, is something you really need.

ag

Of course, it takes an intelligent and mature opposition party, and party leader, to manage that. To an extent, Annabel Goldie was such a leader. Although I profoundly disagreed with her politics, she was sensible and intelligent enough to realise that the way to get things done was to accept that not everything that Alex Salmond’s government did was necessarily wrong. To criticise where criticism was due (I saw her do that at FMQs) and to encourage and enable by working together, when there was a good idea. (Incidentally, I met her once at parliament and she was utterly charming.)

 ruth£

Unfortunately, the quality of leadership of the main opposition parties, Tory and Labour alike, have since these days, deteriorated drastically.

They seem to have one policy between them. And that is SNP BAAAAAD.

So if Dick wants to carry on any longer than the average for a Labour leader (around 2.5 years), maybe he should sit down with his team of advisors and think before he blasts off in the SNP BAAAAAAAAD mode.

The SNP may be imperfect, but it would take some doing the beat the hypocrisy and lack of policies from this rump of a party.

I’ll let John have the final word…

Give us policy detail or are you just carping on again from the sidelines?

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CARRY ON, DICK

ar

Erm, nice scarf.

The hapless Richard Leonard, seemingly always trying to get one over on the SNP, took to Twitter to elicit stories about NHSS.

The NHS crisis dominated today, I would like to hear your stories: good, bad or indifferent of the experience you, or a loved one, had with the NHS over winter.

Good bad or indifferent, he said, but it seemed to me that he was probably looking for bad stories, the better to beat Nicola Sturgeon around the head with.

And he got lots of comments.

But, as they say, one should always be a little careful what one wishes for. Because his very first reply was from Joe Kane:

Replying to 

I’ve a real shocker for you Richard. It’s difficult to imagine such exploitation in a modern health service, but Scottish Labour used the to line the pockets of rich tory shareholders. I’m sure you’ll mention it at the next

ar2
Ewww, er, Matron!

One of the reasons that the health service in our country is short of money is that we are paying for the hideously expensive PFI contracts signed by his predecessors. Joe pointed this out, as did several other people.

Wishaw hospital, for example, would have cost around £100 million bought and paid for, but thanks to Labour’s financing schemes, it will cost £800 million. And who is pocketing the £700 million extra?

These contracts were repeated all over the country, and not just for NHSS facilities. (We know about the PFI schools so badly built that they fell down!)

Richard wasn’t any luckier with his second respondent.

Replying to 

We had a terrible time in A&E in October with my sister’s knee injury, after the initial triage we waited SEVEN hours, although the target is to be seen within 4. She was in a lot of pain, it was awful. This was in Wales. You’re lucky that you live in Scotland.

He must have been salivating as he read the first couple of lines. Then smack! The punchline hit him The guy who was talking about poor treatment was actually from Wales, and he was referring to treatment his sister received at the hands of  NHSW.
Of course, there were good news stories too. 
£1
Replying to 

Virus affected my asthma, got emergency appointment with GP same day. Antibiotics and referral for X-ray. Seen at Wishaw General within 1/2 hour. Back to GP for results the next week. Great service, but hey, that’s not what you’re want to hear, is it Richard?

No, probably not, but he did ask!

Replying to 

Cardiology appt today 11:30am seen immediately and out 15 mins later ,Dr couldn’t have been better

And…

Replying to 

Phoned surgery AM, got appoint AM, seen by Doctor on time, walked to Chemist got my FREE prescription all before 11.30am. Excellent Service, love my Scottish NHS.

And…
Replying to 

Three family experiences in last three weeks. One at A&E. all excellent experiences. I hope you read this out at FMQs.

Replying to 

Vascular ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary absolutely first class over winter including Christmas Day. Staff from all over the world contributing. I wish your party would stand up for them or there will be a real crisis.

Or…

Called GP first thing, hurt knee, couldn’t walk. Was collected that afternoon, seen, diagnosed and offered to be taken home, via chemist (for my free prescription). 5⭐️

In the hashtag, as far as I read down, I couldn’t find one critical comment of NHSS.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have its faults and that there won;t be some negative comments as the day goes on. It would be weird if there were not.

Indeed the FM has accepted and apologised for delays.

My own family’s experience this winter has been, as most of you will know, the absolutely first class treatment my mother received at Ninewells in Dundee. Also, another family member had a baby in the same hospital just after Christmas, and again they reported nothing but total satisfaction with the way they were treated at the time and in the aftermath.

The UK’s health services are short of cash and they are short of staff. Scotland’s may be less so than the others, but it is a UK wide issue.

As well as the massive repayments of PFI debt that Mr Leonard’s party left us with, as a union we spend a good deal less than we should on health.

!NS

I remember somewhere back in the early part of this century, that Tony Blair promised to bring UK spending on health, as a percentage of GDP, up to the EU average. (I thought it strange, given how superior Britain thinks itself, that it wasn’t the other way round.)

Whilst progress has been made, we still fall behind most other G7 countries and much of the EU.

Brexit, as in so many other areas, must take some responsibility here too. European doctors, nurses and other staff are unsure of their careers in the UK. Recruitment from the 27 is sharply down and some people are returning home as they doubt the stability of their future here. They may be allowed to stay after Brexit, but as aliens, with no rights. People don’t want to do that on a long-term basis, and certainly not as they settle down, buy houses and have children.

An ageing population means that there is more need for hospital treatment, and people may need to stay longer in hospital.  Sad truth is it takes longer for older pople to recover than for younger. This was something which could easily have been planned for. All these older people didn’t suddenly appear out of the blue, after all.

Of course, throughout the UK, this winter has seen a particularly virulent flu virus which has doubled the numbers of people requiring beds.

No one pretends that it’s easy to run a health service. Not here, not in England or Northern Ireland, Wales or indeed anywhere else. But with limited funds, Scotland is doing better than most, and certainly all the other UK health services.

I suspect that Richard Leonard wanted to pick some choice complaints for next week’s First Minister’s Questions and for any interviews he might be able to give to the Press or TV in the meantime. And he may yet get some.

But I trust that any comments he makes in the chamber next Thursday will reflect the stories, good and bad, he is getting about the current situation, along with criticism of the utter waste of money that was and still is, PFI.

Feel free to share your stories, good or bad, with Mr Leonard, or with Munguin.