Friday, 31 October 2014

Scottish Labour Leadership - The Candidates So Far

It appears most of the contenders I listed for the leadership of the Scottish branch of the Labour Party have decided not to touch the poisoned chalice.  However a couple of ‘brave’ souls have stepped out of the melee and announced their candidacy.

The first is Neil Findlay.  When I heard the name I thought “Who?”  Of course google, being a best friend, came to the rescue with an image of the said Neil Finday. I didn’t recognise him but it’s stated he is the current health spokesman in the Scottish Parliament.

Next to express their desire for promotion was Sarah Boyack. I did recognise her - she’s been around quite some time but has been more or less silent since she left the first Labour coalition cabinet.

The past few days the media has been buzzing with the news that ‘the big gun’ Jim Murphy has put forward his candidacy. Fear and scorn are a few of the emotions drifting around social networks.  Andrew has a legal slant on Mr Murphy’s expectations.  Whilst reading the comments I happened across this link.  Tommy Ball is a member of the SSP but he’s done his homework and his assessment of Mr Murphy won’t be pleasant breakfast reading for the Eastwood MP.

However, a week is a long time in politics.  Next week is sure to bring more interesting facts and opinions from and of the candidates.  I was tempted to say “I cannae wait,” but that would be a downright lie.  I can wait.  It’s somewhat satisfying to watch the slow destruction of Scottish Labour.  I doubt if any will be honourable enough to fall on their swords gracefully though.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Labour In Scotland To Reinvent Itself - Again

Since last week Labour in Scotland has been without a leader.  Did you notice?  No?  Neither did I.

To be fair to Johann Lamont she accepted a poisoned chalice but it was her intense hatred of the SNP - visibly palpable at First Minister’s Questions - which didn’t permit her to be anything other than a Labour Westminster stooge.

She managed to finger her (dis)associates in London on her way out of the door but methinks her criticism will be a nine day wonder.

Who is left now?  Most of you will have read the Sunday papers by now so will be up to date with the suggested candidates.  I’ve placed a poll in the right hand column is case you wish to place your own bet. No prizes available but the satisfaction of knowing that whoever wins will continue to be under the Westminster cosh. I have not included Gordon Brown as he has apparently ruled himself out. A few speeches in the last days of the Referendum campaign has left him totally exhausted I’m informed.

It’s with some reluctance I made Sarwar the image on this post. My dislike of this career politician knows no bounds.  Since he became deputy to Johann Lamont three years ago I’ve had to restrain from throwing something at my television countless times.  Never have I heard such automated nonsense from a Scottish politician and that speaks volumes.  But the man will very possibly go farther.  He reiterates the same drivel day in day out in the media and some of it will be believed by his party faithful I suspect.

It would appear Labour in Scotland will have a new leader by the 13 December. Yesterday I read that each MP’s vote is worth 100 times that of a grass roots party member.  That’s about par for the level of democracy wielded by London Labour.

Saturday, 25 October 2014


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Scotrail Or Should That Be Dutchrail?

On Tuesday I partially drafted a post about the Scottish Government’s decision to grant the franchise, worth up to £6n over ten years, for Scotrail to a foreign company - the Dutch operator Abellio.

The main point of the post was to discuss how a foreign company could outbid our own excellent National Express or First Group and it seemed it had done so by offering cheap fares. We all know ‘cheap’ fares have to be paid for somehow and my concern was other fares would rise to compensate.

I admit I knew next to nothing about Abellio but (stupidly) trusted the judgement of Keith Brown; after all he’s the person I think would be most suitable for the position of deputy leader of the SNP.

How wrong I was.  After reading Kenneth Roy’s article in his Scottish Review yesterday morning I have deleted my draft.  

Mr Brown insisted, in the Scottish Parliament last week, that his hands were tied by Westminster legislation and he had been forced to make a decision. Delay would ‘result in massive and unnecessary costs to the public purse’.  

Whilst I disagree with Labour’s sudden desperation to have a non-profit making railway in Scotland, I find, after reading Mr Roy’s well researched article, Mr Brown’s reasons for insisting he go ahead with awarding the contract to Abellio are perhaps less than accurate. 

Every country deserves an efficient rail service.  It seems Scotland is going to have to wait another ten years before there’s any chance of that happening.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Leadership, Taxes, Lighting and Powdery Mildew

Nicola Sturgeon has been appointed leader of the SNP.  She was unopposed and her status will be made official at the forthcoming SNP conference in Perth.  Three MSPs are in the running for the deputy leadership - Stewart Hosie, Angela Constance and Keith Brown.  My money’s on Keith Brown as I think he would make an excellent deputy leader and unlike Ms Constance, who has refused to also take the role of Deputy First Minister, Keith Brown would handle that brief well.  However, it’s not down to me to decide; the decision will be made by members at the conference.

There is a lot of talk about the Yes parties joining forces for next year’s general election. I heard a little of the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme yesterday and apart from the Patrick Harvie interview, I wasn’t too impressed.  Is it a good idea? Perhaps, but I don’t think it will happen.  Too many large egos involved.

Where is Scotland going to get the money to have this social utopia?  The SNP representative mentioned taxes. Higher taxes for those who in the middle-upper earnings bracket will discourage those we need to attract from overseas and perhaps result in some leaving the country to work elsewhere. It will also discourage employers from increasing their staffing levels. What we should be doing is raising our standards of education so as the young are better prepared to enter the workplace.  

It’s been a trying couple of weeks here.  At this time of year I attempt to display my DIY skills with varying degrees of success. This year most of the little tasks have been completed but I now await the third type of under-cupboard lighting for the kitchen.  The old lights were fine but I have been unable to buy replacements recently as ‘LED have replaced standard types’ I was told.  Cue my lovely electrician who suggested a roll of sticky-backed mini LED lights. ‘Low energy and should do the job’.  They didn’t.  The light level was extremely poor. They were removed and a block of LED lights replaced them. Not much difference in the light level but plenty in the price.  So now I await the next ‘modern', low energy and money saving fittings.  No idea what they will be but until now I didn’t realise how dependent I was upon the under cupboard lighting and how dismal the kitchen is without it in evenings.

Time for a visit to the garden centre to purchase some plants for a couple of winter hanging baskets.  I usually use winter flowering pansies but last year they were attacked by powdery mildew and they transcended from two delightful displays to dead within days.  Maybe I’ll chance them again this year but I must remember the skimmed milk. 
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