Monday, 31 December 2007

Far, far away.

So, "Far north MSP Jamie Stone has apologised for not being present in the Holyrood debating chamber for the final session before the festive break. Mr Stone had tabled a question on improvements to the A9, but there was silence when his name was called. His absence from last Thursday afternoon's proceedings earned him the wrath of Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson."

Pretty big miscalculation Mr Stone, given that you've been around for several years in the Scottish Parliament.

Must have been up to something better at the time then? But is the "far north" further away then the Far East? He still looks like Harry Potter aged 53 and a half.

Happy Birthday.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Hello ... ?

"GORDON Brown was accused of being "stuck in the Downing Street bunker" after it was claimed that there has been no personal communication between the Prime Minister and the First Minister for almost five months."

So Alex Salmond and Gordon Brown haven't "spoken" in months.

Mr Smith wonders who has lost out more in that process? Answer: .... It isn't Mr Salmond.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Most Meaningless?

And courtesy again of Drumlanrig, the Mr Smithstonian Award for Most Meaningless Quote of 2007 goes to Des McNulty MSP

"The Scottish political bible, Holyrood magazine, has published quotes of the year at the Scottish Parliament, including a special category of the "Good soundbite, but what are you talking about?!" award. In third place was Labour MSP Des McNulty. "We are here for the Budget process. I have been long enough in politics in a series of settings to know that simply mouthing the word 'mainstreaming' butters no parsnips," he declared recently."

This is the kind of political rhetoric that it is worth paying these characters £60,000 a year to come up with.

Most Pointless.

And courtesy of Drumlanrig, the Mr Smithstonian Award for Most Pointless Question of 2007 goes to John Wilson MSP.

"CASH FOR QUESTIONS ... On the subject of awards, congratulations to new SNP MSP John Wilson for asking the most pointless parliamentary question of the year. The Central Scotland politician decided to waste his own party colleagues' time by putting down a question asking how much it cost to ask a question. The answer is £65.18. Hopefully, Wilson will now offer to reimburse the taxpayer."

Friday, 28 December 2007

Tis' the silly season.

It is well seen that it is the festive season with politicians of all parties unleashing on the great Scottish public all the ridiculous stories that they've been saving up all year safe in the knowledge that with so many journalists on holiday that there is a great chance that they will get some coverage that they otherwise wouldn't.

Two examples from today:

"THE Scotch pie is under threat because of a shortage of master bakers, it has been claimed. Bridies, butteries and plain loaves could also be threatened by a government block on food industry training grants. Labour finance spokesman Iain Gray said: "Traditional Scottish baking icons like the pan loaf, the plain loaf, the buttery, the bridie and Scotch pie could be threatened as the skills to bake them are not passed on."

"A call was made last night for Scottish banknotes to be legally protected in England. Alistair Carmichael, Scottish spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, revealed he had received a letter from Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, confirming that at present there was no requirement for shopkeepers and businesses to accept Scottish banknotes."

Do politicians think anyone except Mr Smith reads newspapers at this time of year, let alone cares about these stories? Journalists deserve holidays too.

Truth hurts.

Mr Smith reads that "The Scottish Government came under fire yesterday for the number of reviews and consultations it has launched during its first seven months. The LibDems' Tavish Scott took aim at the administration, claiming it was "heavy on spin and light on action".

For a second Mr Smith thought Mr Scott was referring to himself ... very apt description really.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Most Boring of 2007.

Mr Smith notes that in the current edition of the McLaughlin Group which presented the programme's traditional "awards" for 2007, that former US Presidential candidate and Nixon political adviser Pat Buchanan nominated British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for the accolade of "most boring" of 2007.

Mr Smith finds it hard to disagree. After ten years of a build up, PM Brown has proven to be something of a disappointment. Here's hoping he has a better 2008 ... for everyone's sakes.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas from No 10.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Shopping hours to Christmas.

Just a few shopping hours left to Christmas and if you are still looking for that special gift for that big fan of Gordon Brown or general political anorak, can Mr Smith suggest the "Gordon Brown 'Stand and Deliver' Jug ... A fantastic china jug of the great highwayman himself - Gordon Brown. Limited edition from Bairstow Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent" all at a cost of £95.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Breaking the rules.

Mr Smith is amazed at how little coverage the conclusion of a Sunday Herald investigation into the illegal sublet of office space within Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP's Kirkcaldy office has generated.

The article published in Sunday's Sunday Herald highlighted the apparent admission by staff working for Gordon Brown that a sublet of office space to MSP colleague Marilyn Livingstone, as well as the local Labour Party, breached House of Commons rules with the result that the sublet has been modified to be from Ms Livingstone to the local Labour Party with the PM not involved any longer in the deal.

Given the current political climate, you would have thought the story would have merited further coverage somewhere, but it didn't even make it onto the Sunday Herald's website. Why we wonder?

And given similar difficulties experienced by former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish several years ago which lead to his eventual downfall, why is that it is apparently acceptable for a Member of the Scottish Parliament to sublet space to her local Party, but not apparently OK for a Westminster Member of Parliament to do exactly the same? Strange. Very strange.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Wendy's latest.

So, Mr Smith reads that Wendy Alexander has appointed a new adviser, or should that be not so new adviser to her team. "Wendy Alexander has turned to a former Labour minister to help revive her leadership. Allan Wilson, the former deputy environment and enterprise minister who lost his seat in May, has been given a temporary job as an aide and adviser." It's a bit of a come down for Mr Wilson, but he doesn't have many career choices open to him these days.

Of more interest to Wendy is the apparent development that "Election watchdogs will not issue their findings on the illegal donation made to Wendy Alexander's leadership campaign until the New Year."

There has been a lot of media coverage over the last few days of the problematic relationship between Scots and alcohol. Here's hoping that the further delay in finding out her fate doesn't drive Wendy into the arms of the local "offy."

Thursday, 20 December 2007

He's in the money ...

So, "Grampian Credit Union welcomed its 3,000th member at the weekend, none other than the first minister. Alex Salmond joined staff at their premises in Belgrave Terrace, Aberdeen, on Saturday. On joining the credit union, Mr Salmond, said: "Credit unions play an important role in our communities."

Given that the First Minister is raking in well over £100K a year between his MP, MSP and Ministerial salaries, not to mention the automatic pension when he stands down from Ministerial office, does he really need to join a credit union?

Perhaps he is looking for the best rate of interest for his not unsubstantial savings? And this is one Union that Mr Salmond seems happy to support.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Quick fixes.

The Herald diary says "FERGUS Ewing, Community Safety Minister, says the Scottish Government is taking a fresh look at how to tackle the country's drug problem. But he stressed a long-term solution would be needed, saying: "This is one of the greatest problems facing us as a nation - it's a long-term problem, we need long-term solutions - not to look for quick fixes." Hmmm, I would have thought those quick fixes were exactly the problem."

It would appear that Mr Ewing's boss' legendary "misspeaks" (one Mr Kenny MacAskill), are beginning to now rub off on Mr Ewing.


Drumlanrig says, "WHO'S WORTH MORE? Jonathan Ross has survived many brickbats, but can he cope with the fury of the Scottish Parliament? Newboy MSP Stuart McMillan is, rather bizarrely, calling for Parliament to censure Ross, left, after the floppy-haired one declared, when defending his £6m salary, that he was "worth 1,000 BBC journalists". McMillan suggests that "the Parliament notes with concern the crass remarks by Jonathan Ross". McMillan is paid north of £50,000 a year to indulge in such matters, which Drumlanrig considers to be roughly 1,000 times more wasteful than Ross's annual pay-packet."

Nuff said then. Wossy is better value than ex-researcher Mr McMillan ... any day.


"FIRST MINISTER Alex Salmond's plan for a referendum on independence has received a boost after a new poll showed a surge in support for a separate Scottish state. The latest snapshot has revealed that 40% of the population want the Scottish government to negotiate independence with the UK government, a figure that is up 5% in three months. This contrasts with 44% of people who do not want Scotland to pull out of the UK, which is 6% down from August. "

Mr Smith isn't convinced of the merits of independence. He is also not convinced of the merits of the status quo, especially given the almost universal lack of political leadership which is being displayed by all of Scotland's politicians.

We deserve better.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

On the NHS. Not.

"SCOTLAND'S LARGEST quango is set to use £500,000 of public money to buy health insurance for its staff."

It says it all about the modern NHS in the modern Scotland.

More money than ever before is being on Scotland's NHS, but still major organisations feel the need to give their employees a better deal. But at the expense of the taxpayer, who pays for the lesser service and lumps it?

Monday, 17 December 2007

The X-Factor.

Rock on Tommy.

It is subjudice so Mr Smith is limited in what he can say, but ...

"Former Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan has been charged with perjury after a police inquiry into his defamation case against the News of the World. Speaking outside a police station where he was held, Mr Sheridan, 43, vowed to prove his innocence, claiming he was the victim of a "witch-hunt".

Mr Smith thinks this is the end ... after the book deal, a few Edinburgh festivals and a return to politics in 2011 .... assuming of course he isn't in the clink.

Missed the boat?

"WENDY ALEXANDER, the Scottish Labour leader, faces a new crisis after it emerged that she and senior colleagues have given thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to a company that helps with campaigns for the party. She, along with eight senior colleagues, used parliamentary allowances to pay £5,000 to Computing for Labour (CfL), a company owned by the party and based at its London headquarters. It provides IT services that are offered free by the Scottish parliament."

It's tough Wendy ... we know ... but have you missed the last boat?

Time to go.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Treaty of Union.

ALBA in the Scotsman says "Train of thought for Nationalists .... TOM Harris, Labour's UK rail minister, will rename a Virgin tilting train "Treaty of Union" in Glasgow on Monday as part of the 300th anniversary of the event. Strangely, the SNP has decided not to attend. Would they have preferred the train to have kept its old name instead – Virgin Queen, after Elizabeth I, who ordered the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots?"

Virgin on the ridiculous?

It's Christmas!

Who said the process of government wasn't rivetting and political power addictive?

Mr Smith notes one of the latest consultations which is being under taken by the Scottish Government on "the Eggs and Chicks (Scotland) Regulations 2008."

Mindless bureaucracy? It isn't Easter ... it's Christmas. But what did come first?

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Some entrance.

Mr Smith reads the latest insight obtained by Labour MSP Lord George Foulkes in the House of Lords.

"Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour) asked the Chairman of Committees: What is the total cost of the new visitors' entrance to Parliament; and when it is expected to be opened."

Lord Brabazon of Tara (Crossbench): The forecasted cost of the visitor reception building is £11.2 million split 60:40 between the Commons and Lords. It is expected that the building will be opened in early 2008."

That's some entrance ....

Friday, 14 December 2007

Save the whale.

"A North-east politician is getting behind a campaign to stop Japanese whaling, by adopting a humpback whale.Sir Robert Smith, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, has adopted Bluebell, one of the species which the International Fund for Animal Welfare says is being targeted by whalers in an internationally recognised whale sanctuary.Sir Robert said: "I am very happy to support IFAW's campaign to protect the whales by adopting Bluebell."

They say there is a tendency for pets to begin to resemble their owners, or is it the other way around. But what is the resemblence between Sir Robert and Bluebell?

My name is Shamu ... and I'm a killer whale.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Tony and Barney.

Mr Smith wishes to highlight the latest example of the "special relationship" between former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush ... the annual Whitehouse Barney Cam footage.

During the clip, Tony even owns up to something which the average Scot probably knew but wished to dis-believe namely his comment to Barney that "As someone born in Edinburgh, Scotland, it's always good to see the Scots doing well. (Barney looks at the camera, tilts his head and a "boing" sound effect is heard. Barney's daydream ends and he's sitting with Miss Beazley on Mrs. Bush's lap in front of the Christmas tree in the Blue Room.)"

Cheesy. But one thing is very certain, it is very unlikely that current British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will feature in W's last Barney Cam spoof next year. They may share some initials in their names but that is about as far as the "special relationship" goes between George and Gordon.

Law breaker.

So, MSPs are apparently queuing up to join Scottish Labour's Leader Wendy Alexander in declaring themselves law breakers.

The latest is Conservative MSP and Deputy Leader, Murdo Fraser who is the subject of the story ... "Seventeen years after the man himself walked free from prison, the Nelson Mandela TV Lounge plaque is also free. The deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives has finally made a belated contribution to the truth and reconciliation process by admitting stealing a university memorial to the former ANC leader."

For "appropriation" read theft ... can law breakers (even in student jest) ever be law makers? Especially if they are members of the party of "law and order." Flog him.

Write off.

Mr Smith reads that "Highland Liberal Democrat MSP John Farquhar Munro is celebrating his escape from a road accident, but mourning the loss of his trusted car.He and his wife Celia were rescued unhurt when their car skidded off the road near Fort William then careered down an embankment into two feet of water.But the crash left the MSP's 20-year-old Mercedes Benz, which had completed more than 578,000 miles, in "a bit of a mess", resulting in it being written off by insurers."

578,000 miles. But how many of those were run up using the Scottish Parliamentary mileage rate?

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Dreaming of a white ....

Mr Smith had never fully appreciated just how much of a non-traditionalist Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond MSP actually was.

"The First Minister's official Christmas card is based on a specially commissioned painting by the artist John Lowrie Morrison, with the original to be auctioned for a children's charity in the New Year. It shows a JoLoMo painting of Linlithgow Palace reflected in the loch, depicting Alex Salmond's home town. The town was also the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots."

The again it might have something to do with the fact that our Alex still lives in Linlithgow, and the less well known fact that Linlithgow is populated by a very large number of Scottish Government civil servants. It's a bit too contemporary for Mr Smith.

Happy Holidays.

Mr Smith reads that "Holyrood authorities were accused of "outrageous" pandering to political correctness by scaling down the religious content of the Scottish Parliament's annual carol service. Murdo Fraser, the Tories' deputy leader, said the "PC brigade" were "taking Christ out of Christmas" without consultation with MSPs or staff."

Murdo was just hoping to be able to "appropriate" a few mince pies at the event.

What about a bit of brotherly love (unless of course it involves a Nelson Mandela plaque)? Or is that too PC?

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Scots Natty Party.

Sometimes you can't better the story. This time it is Mark Aitken in the Sunday Mail. The story is reported in other newspapers but you can't beat Mark's slant, if a bit Labour biased towards the end for no good reason.

"NICOLA STURGEON'S haircut for the Holyrood election campaign cost more than £300 and designer suits for Alex Salmond came to more than £3600. The SNP also spent £420 on a taxi for Salmond from his home in Strichen, Aberdeenshire, to Hampden and back to watch Scotland beat Georgia 2-1 in March. Styling and make-up for Salmond and Sturgeon for political broadcasts cost another £700. Overall they spent £1.4million on their election campaign. Electoral Commission figures show Labour spent £1.1million. That included £50,000 for chartering private jet planes to bring Tony Blair to Scotland to campaign. The SNP ran a slick, professional campaign to beat Labour by a single seat at the Holyrood election. Their campaign was funded by donations from bus tycoon Brian Souter, businessman Sir Tom Farmer and Sir Sean Connery. A Labour spokesman said last night: "It's good to see that Brian Souter's cash wasn't wasted - every penny spent on making Alex and Nicola seem more presentable was money well spent."

Taxi for Salmond? For £420? Did that include the tip? But Nicola really needed that new hair do.

Christmas drinks.

ATTICUS says "Holyrood's hacks were amused to received their passes to Christmas drinks at Bute House with the first minister. The event is traditionally well attended, and equally well lubricated. "It would be helfpul to know if you require wheelchair assisted access" said the invites. No, came the massed reply from the parliament's press tower, however "wheelchair assisted egress" is another matter ..."

Should be a fun party.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Flying visits.

So, "SCOTTISH Labour spent a staggering £48,520 flying former Prime Minister Tony Blair to Scotland during April's election campaign."

As the article points out each of Tony' three visits to Scotland probably cost the Scottish Labour Party more votes than it won them. And he was on his way out anyway.

Very expensive way to make a meaningles point, and what about the carbon footprint?

The people have spoken.

Mr Smith notes that in response to the current online poll on the Sunday Herald's website, "Should Wendy Alexander resign?" that 87% of respondents say "Yes" and just 13% say that Wendy should stay. Time to go Wendy.

And what's this about losing another spin doctor? This time before he had even started ....

"Wendy Alexander has lost her third spin doctor in three months. Kerron Cross, 29, had accepted the offer of a job. But yesterday it emerged he is NOT joining her team - and a union is to fight the case. An SNP spokesman said: "To lose one spin doctor may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two is carelessness. To lose a third is a calamity".

Not again ....

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Mr McLaughlin.

Given his previously declared American predilections, Mr Smith highlights the "prediction" from US American political commentator of longstanding John McLaughlin on his programme the McLaughlin Group that "in this coming year, 2008, Scotland will declare its independence from the United Kingdom ...."

This is probably not unrelated to recent visits by Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond to the US, but Mr Smith feels obliged to point out the prediction of the self same Mr McLaughlin in advance of May's Scottish Parliament elections during his programme broadcast the weekend of 29-29 April 2007 that "I predict that nationalists in Scotland will fail in their attempts to create an independent nation."

.... Er ..... emmm .... Mr Smith thinks he got something wrong somewhere ...

Any honour? Left?

"A defiant Charlie Gordon made clear last night that he would not be resigning as an MSP, dismissing breaches of the electoral law as no more than "a fuss". The former Glasgow Council leader also defended his conduct in civic life as he implied that his past performance in the city was now being used against him."

No .... really?

Not Mr Gordon .... who in 2007 solicited a donation from a businessman he had previously nominated for an honour, despite being allegedly advised two years before that a previous attempt to obtain a donation from the same person would breach the law, which it then did, refusing to resign from his post as an MSP, carrying a salary of £60K per annum. It would never happen in Scotland. Never. Never.

The Alexander camp seem to believe that all they have to do is huncker down and in four years at the next election everyone in Scotland will have forgotten ... they underestimate the Scottish voter. What about honour?

Friday, 7 December 2007

The best democracy ....?

"Alex Salmond's SNP outspent Labour for the first time in May's Holyrood elections by more than £280,000 as the Nationalists almost trebled their campaign spending to a record £1.4m, not far short of the statutory limit. Figures released by the Electoral Commission yesterday revealed that the four main parties spent a total of £3.4m this year, more than double the £1.6m they spent in 2003. Backed by wealthy donors such as transport tycoon Brian Souter, who, according to the commission's register, gave the Nationalists £625,000 in the first part of the year, the SNP spent £1,383,462 in May's poll, up from £473,107 four years ago, which represented a rise of 192.4%."

Mr Smith thinks .... the point is ... that all of it was within the law ... and declared.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Lucky Jack.

Drumlanrig says "One Labour MSP who doesn't seem to be overly concerned with the chaos engulfing Wendy Alexander is her predecessor Jack McConnell. After spending the last six years of his life under the spotlight, McConnell was seen happily wandering around the Scottish Parliament on Thursday last week, chatting to friends and generally enjoying himself. One hack shouted out to him that he should stay by the phone just in case a new leader was required. McConnell was about to offer a reply before thinking better of it and grinning - a smile which said it all."

He must be glad to be out of it.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Spirit of Scotland.

ALBA highlights "ALEX Salmond could not resist a bit of a tease when he took the stand at the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards, hosted by Kirsty Wark. It is not that long since the BBC apologised for the "rude and dismissive" treatment of the First Minister in her Newsnight interview with him. "Well it's fantastic to be here, ladies and gentlemen, with Kirsty; particularly great to be introduced by Kirsty and get a word in edgeways," Salmond joked, as the two stood at opposite ends of the stage. Minutes later, he drew some shocked but amused gasps when he talked about the votes for the Top Scot award, which he handed out to charity businessman Mick Jackson. "The voting was close," Salmond said. "As close as a Scottish election - but this time we counted all the votes."

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The temperature's rising.

Labour MSP Charlie Gordon is obviously feeling the heat over the Wendy Alexander donations furore.

"LABOUR MSP Charles Gordon was warned TWO YEARS AGO it was illegal to accept donations from tax-exile Paul Green. Green offered to support Gordon's by-election campaign in Cathcart in 2005. Gordon turned him down - but later took two donations from him, including one for Wendy Alexander's Labour leadership campaign. Asked to comment last night, Gordon snapped: "Jesus Christ! Give me a break will you?" He then slammed down the phone."

No need to swear Charlie.

Meanwhile over at the Scotsman they happily name the donors to Wendy's non-campaign:

"A total of £16,600 was raised for her fighting fund, including ten contributions of £995 and one of £950 - all just below the £1,000 threshold, above which donors have to be named. The £950 came from Paul Green. One of the £995 donations, thought to be organised by Mr McCabe, came from David Pitt-Watson, of private equity firm Hermes Focus Asset Management. He had previously given money to Gordon Brown's leadership campaign. Mr McCabe also raised money from other business people, including Neil Davidson, the former solicitor general, and Willie Haughey. Mr Whitton is understood to have organised donations from John Lyon, a former Labour MP, while Ms McNeill brought in a donation from businessman Brian Dempsey, and Ms Baillie organised a donation from Harry Donaldson, a senior union official. Seven Labour peers - Lords Robertson, Maxton, Boyd, Elder, Sewel and Moonie and Baroness Adams - gave £2,500 between them. Ms Alexander is understood to have been responsible for securing a donation of £400 from long-term Labour supporter Mary Goudie. Nick Kuenssberg, a Glasgow businessman and also the part-time deputy chairman of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, was also a donor and is thought to have given £995 to the campaign."

Some interesting names on that list.

Cell culture.

Staying on the theme of the Police ...

"POLICE officers across Scotland are spending hours driving suspects around in patrol vehicles because there are simply not enough cells for prisoners to be held in."

And then we wonder why the public have such little faith in this country's policing system? In Tayside the cops involved would probably get an even bigger bonus for having to "interact" with the public at the same time as driving.

Maybe we should just bring back the Stocks.

Picking up the Bill.

"THE Christmas pay packets of more than 100 Tayside police officers are set to swell by £2000 each because of the demands of “direct contact with the public.” In total, 141 lead constables pick up the ‘special priority payment’ in their December wage in recognition of their work in “particularly demanding areas” such as public interaction."

Hang on. There was Mr Smith thinking that interacting with the public was a bit of a given for the average copper and can "interacting" with the public be any more "demanding" than pursuing or arresting someone? This seems ridiculous to Mr Smith.

Monday, 3 December 2007

The Curious Case of Wendy.

Mr Smith has to do a lot of things he would rather not do in the name of blogging. The latest was to look at under siege Scottish Labour Leader Wendy Alexander MSP's website,, which features amongst other things a very amusing picture gallery of our Wendy in various poses out and about with the lumpen proletariat of Paisley and beyond.

Strangely enough given her recent illegalities a number of the pictures feature Wendy with the cops wearing a rather strange and forlorn facial expression.

But Mr Smith also noticed that one link on Wendy's website entitled "Donate" takes the clicker to the Scottish Labour Party's secure donation webpage,, where it states very categorically in the Terms and Conditions that:

"In compliance with party funding laws, if I am donating more than £200, I understand that my details will be checked to ensure I am registered on a UK electoral register (this applies to overseas residents as well as UK residents). If I donate more than £1,000 to a Labour Party unit (e.g. Constituency Labour Party) or more than £5,000 to the Labour Party nationally in the course of a calendar year, I understand that my name and the amount of the donation will be reported to the Electoral Commission for publication on their public register of donations to the Labour Party."

Curiouser and curiouser. As well as writing a thank you letter to a Jersey resident businessman who couldn't lawfully make a donation, and having her husband question the donation on an email database for Wendy's campaign, we now also have the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party from her own website referring donors to a website where the law which Wendy herself broke is clearly explained to anyone who can read. Time to say goodbye Wendy.

Oh no she isn't ...

So, Labour's Scottish Leader has spoken.

"Wendy Alexander intends to carry on as Scottish Labour leader, despite continued pressure for her to quit over a donation to her leadership campaign. It follows suggestions in the press that her campaign team knew there were question marks over a donation from Jersey-based businessman Paul Green. Ms Alexander rejected any suggestion of "intentional wrongdoing" and was "confident" of being exonerated. She said she still had a contribution to make to the lives of fellow Scots ... In a statement, Ms Alexander, ... said: "I deeply regret the damage which recent publicity has brought to the Labour party. However, I reject any suggestion of intentional wrongdoing on my part. I intend to address these matters with the Electoral Commission, with whom I am co-operating fully. I am confident when all the facts are known I will be exonerated of any intentional wrongdoing."

You broke the rules Wendy. Do the decent; the honourable thing; and go. Otherwise you will become the laughing stock of Scottish politics. More than you already have. Starting to feel the heat from the boys in blue yet?

Sunday, 2 December 2007

She's Toast.

Today's newspapers are full of calls for Labour's Scottish Leader Wendy Alexander MSP to resign, following further disclosures about the dodgy donation by Jersey business man Paul Green to her Leadership Election campaign and the fact that Labour MSP Charlie Gordon had already nominated Mr Green for an honour which he did not receive.

The only argument for Wendy not resigning is that if she does it will probably inevitably lead to Labour's UK Deputy Leader Harriet Harmen MP having to do the same.

That isn't really a good enough reason for Wendy not to go when whatever else happened she clearly broke electoral law. Ignorance is no excuse, especially when the law places the onus on the person receiving a donation to satisfy themselves the law has been complied with.

Mr Smith was no great fan of Wendy Alexander and her "non-election" as Scottish Labour Leader. But is she has any principles left she should do the decent thing and resign. It is then for others to consider their own positions.

Never ending elections.

So, "ELECTIONS in Scotland might be held over several days under a plan being considered by the Electoral Commission" according to the Scotsman.

Isn't having a campaign of several weeks and voting on one day enough? After all we have too few people at the moment turning out to vote. Do we really believe that giving people even longer not to vote is a good idea?

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Adults only.

Mr Smith reads that "CITY MP Nigel Griffiths today announced he will put a Bill before the Westminster parliament to ban junk food advertising aimed at children. He wants a 9pm watershed for television advertising of items such as burgers, crisps and fizzy drinks, and an end to the promotion of unhealthy food to children in magazines and on websites. Mr Griffiths, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, won seventh place in the annual ballot for Private Members' Bills, which gives him a good chance of getting a new law on to the statute book."

But hang on ... most kids are tucked up in bed anyway at 9 pm and therefore they won't be able to see any advertising full stop. Is that what Mr Griffiths wants? Presumably so.

But the effect will be that adults won't be able to see any of these adverts either before that time, along with their kids so that they can talk to them about food issues, and anyway who gets to decide what is "unhealthy." The calorific and sugar content of a smoothie is probably just as bad for kids as anything else.

Does Mr G really have nothing better to do with his time? Nanny State here we go ... again.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Fawn. Fawn. Fawn.

Mr Smith read the profile piece by Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times on the Leader of the City of Glasgow Council, Steven Purcell, in which very little insight was offered into the views and life of Celtic supporting, bus taking, man from Yoker, Councillor Purcell.

"We don't have a Labour administration in the city (of Glasgow)," he (Councillor Purcell) says. "We have a Glasgow administration ...." Eh ... sorry Steven ... you may not have noticed ... but you do actually lead a Labour administration in Glasgow.

And then our Gillian concludes with the lack of a killer question to Councillor Purcell about the issue of fatherhood, given that he is by his own admission gay. "He says he's never thought about having children of his own. Just now, it is not an issue as he is single. Any future relationship will have to take into account that Purcell is a man who is married to the job." Actually Gillian, there may be a few more significant issues than that. If he wants a kid then fine, but glossing over the real issues with schmaltz really isn't good enough.

You scratch my back.

So the party funding scandal has touched the new Leader of the Scottish Labour Party Wendy Alexander MSP with her campaign manager at the time Tom McCabe MSP admitting that a donation to her campaign from Jersey-based businessman Paul Green was "clearly illegal."

The disclosure also forced the resignation of Labour MSP Charlie Gordon as a party spokesman following revelations that he initiated the donation by approaching Mr Green.

This is really getting ridiculous ... we have politicians tapping wealthy business people for money and we are told that this will result in no expectation of a pay back. There's something rotten in the body politic ... and it stinks to high heaven. But how many more times can Wendy Alexander and her acolytes put their foot in it before they are told to take a hike?

Thursday, 29 November 2007

No change.

"MOST Scots do not think devolution has given them a stronger voice. Of those questioned last year, 55% said their influence over government had not changed as a result of the parliament being set up."

Eight years after devolution was established, this finding should cause our politicians to hold their heads in shame. So much for the four principles which were meant to underline the operation of the Scottish Parliament of "openness, transparency, accessibility, accountability."

Time for a change? The Scottish Parliament seems to be missing an X-Factor ....

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Saving The Union.

Mr Smith will be intrigued to see if political pacts between the SNP and the Scottish Conservatives come to pass.

"THE SNP is to pave the way for a historic coalition pact with the Conservatives by scrapping a 20-year old ban barring it from working with the party. In a move which will be seen as a totemic shift in Scottish politics, the Nationalists will agree this week to allow their elected members to enter government with the party of Margaret Thatcher."

Surely this will not happen? Unionists propping up a Nationalist administrations. Welcome to the "new politics," but Mr Smith has his doubts about the veracity of this story.