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Showing posts with label Andrew Marr. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andrew Marr. Show all posts

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Last Prime Minister of the United Kingdom–Ed or David?

Important message on the continuity of the State during a political hiatus made here. (The role of the State as opposed to the Government is not well understood by the electorate).

But the real insight into the mindset of the bewildered British Establishment comes from The Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield, distinguished historian, not a typical member of the British Establishment but assimilated effortlessly by it.

"Specifically, the northerly wind coming from Scotland .. we haven't really caught up with the way that that northerly wind is the weather maker ... It could produce a lot of resentment on the part of the English, who would feel that we are 80% of the country, we have 80% of the economic activity and we have this endless drizzle of complaint from north of the Cheviots."

Although Lord Hennessy puts these words in the mouths of the English electorate, he chose them. One gets the feeling he stopped just short of saying "north of Hadrian's Wall" and that his choice of words, "drizzle of complaint" etc. reflects his view and those of his class.

In response to Marr saying that either Ed Miliband or David Cameron could be the last Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he responds

"I find that very difficult to contemplate - but you could be right."

He's astonished that "this most stable of political societies - where you have the occasional domestic row, really -  where liberal capitalism jostled with social democracy as the basis of the electoral contest - would be so complicated that we'd even be contemplating the last Prime Minister of the UK. What have we done to ourselves?"

Lord Hennessy demonstrated by his utter insular bewilderment the dictum, often quoted by Sir Tom Devine, another distinguished historian, that a historian's province is the past, not the present or the future, and that his insular southern bubble view of this disunited kingdom is badly out of date, and has been for a very long time indeed.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Andrew Marr forecasts the end of the Union within lifetime of 2015-2020 Parliament. YES, YES,YES!

ANDREW MARR: "We are in circumstances right now, where during the lifetime of the Parliament at Westminster that we are about to elect, it's perfectly possible at least, that Scotland and England will finally go their separate ways." 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A Marr interview with Alex Salmond, marred by simplistic questions – and a gaffe …

Marr, after trying to damn the YES campaign with faint praise on the polls, jumps in with the simplistic Better Together yah-boo mantra - Plan B!

He gets it partially right with "they're so hostile to Scottish independence that it's not bluff and bluster - they just determined to spike your guns" It may well be bluff and bluster (if it's not it's profound economic stupidity, allied to a craven fear of UKIP and their own badly-riven party and doubtful LibDem allies) but it most certainly is driven by hostility to independence and a desire to spike guns. He also observes that  there isn't good will on both sides. Again, Marr is half right - there is goodwill, albeit sorely tested on the Scottish Government side and a total absence of it on the UK side.

Marr's next point is that because "no one can say what's going to happen after a YES vote - if that's what happens - and therefore,  Scots are going to be left in the situation where they don't know what currency they will be using afterwards. Do you think it's sensible to have a Plan B ..." etc. He asks what's wrong with having a pound Scots or - and this is the mandatory Better Together sneer - "a groat, or whatever it would be called?"

Marr ignores completely the answer he got on his first outing with 'Plan B', and dutifully plays the BT broken record soundbyte. He gets a weary but patient repetition of the FM's first answer on the range of viable currency options, and a reiteration that 'Plan A' - a currency union - is in the best interests of both parties. The FM also reprises the requirement of the Edinburgh Agreement for politicians on both sides to act in the best interests of Scotland and rUK after the referendum.

It all falls on deaf - or uncomprehending - ears. "So why not a Scottish currency?" Any interviewer with any claims to professionalism would have had the Fiscal Commission report in front of him, or at least a key summary - but not Marr. Why bother when you can ignore detailed answers and repeat simplistic questions?

Marr conjures up Barroso. He claims that Barroso was "absolutely adamant in private and in the studio that it would not happen." In fact  Barroso said no such thing, since he is unable to speak for all the countries of the EU, and indeed he has been challenged by other heavyweight EU figures on what he did say. He then makes the extraordinary statement that Barroso "has no particular dog in this fight." No 'dog' except the Catalonian people's burning desire for a referendum on their independence.

The FM is too polite - or circumspect - to invoke Catalonia, but he does detail the reality of Barroso's current status and what his ambitions viv-a-vis NATO might be.

Marr then astonishingly offers his own opinion on Scotland's EU membership. "I think it will be quite hard to get back in, I have to say - but let's move on ..."

Let's not, Andrew- you don't get away with that so easily ...

FM: "This is what the Andrew Marr analysis says, as opposed to ... “

Marr: "Having talked to Mr. Barosso of the European Commission ...

FM: "As opposed, Andrew, to the weight of evidence that's been presented to the Scottish Parliament and its committees at the present moment. Is that the individual expression - or the BBC ‘s”

Marr blusters frantically, aware that he's in deep merde. "I've got no views on this, nor has the BBC.."

I'll leave the immigration bit - Marr was similarly simplistic on this topic.

A sad, sad performance from a once incisive political editor - in days gone bye. Long gone bye ...

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Marr and Mandelson on Miliband: trades unions, Iraq and the Chilcot Inquiry


"Ed Miliband faces a big test of his leadership in relation to the trade unions - he's got to win the fight that he started - and, quite rightly, to reform the relationship."

"He's got to navigate his way through what could be a very difficult minefield - that is, The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War"

Chilcot Report expected "somewhere in mid-year"

Just in time to bury Blair, Brown, Mandelson and the reputation of Scottish Labour before Scotland's Referendum on September 18th - unless Chilcot is a whitewash, which is unlikely but possible, given the high stakes for UK involved.

Ed Miliband is not up to any of these challenges.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Nuclear power - inherently unsafe. Scotland doesn’t have to be part of this global lunacy

Another Three Mile Island threatens in Japan, and as ever with the nuclear industry, the lies emanate as insidiously as the radiation, poisoning the political debate.

Greenpeace observed yesterday that the first instinct of the managers, politicians and apologists for the nuclear industry is to lie.

Scotland doesn’t have to be part of the nuclear lunacy - an industry joined at the hip to its twin, the nuclear ‘deterrent’.

And in Scotland, the UK’s nuclear playground, the MOD secretly bans nuclear subs from berthing in Loch Ewe, near Ullapool, because of fears that the public would be at risk from radiation leaks.

The Scottish police demonstrated an admirable instinct for self-preservation by refusing to join naval commanders in the Aultlea co-ordination centre for fear of radiation contamination and prudently set up a control centre well away from the hazard area.


There appears to be be an astonishing sea change in the Sunday Herald’s view of Scottish life today, who knows, perhaps a recognition of what we are in danger of losing on May 5th - the only non-nuclear party in Scotland - and the UK - apart from the Greens and tiny Socialist parties, wholly committed to the interests and future of the Scottish people, and bluntly, the only competent party in the UK at this time.

How else to explain these paragraphs in the Sunday Herald’s editorial -

The first Nationalist government has proven itself sure-footed, competent and more innovative than its predecessor. It has removed bridge tolls, ended prescription charges, frozen council tax, recruited an extra 1000 police officers and restarted council house building.

Its support for the construction industry has helped secure jobs through the downturn.

As the First Minister acknowledged yesterday, some things could have been done better.

But taken as a whole, it seems to us that Scotland has benefited from a change of administration and Salmond’s enthusiastic leadership.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Snow in England - but why no demands for resignations? Three Scots on Andrew Marr Show

England gridlocked by snow - snow headlines in Sunday papers - travel paralysed - motorists stranded. But the Andrew Marr Show tries to laugh it off.

Three Scots in a row - Marr, Charles Kennedy and Rory Bremner - all invited to keep the tone light and humorous by Marr. Bremner goes along with it, but Charles Kennedy - ever direct - reminds them of the uncomfortable fact that the Scottish Transport Minister was forced to resign over snow problems.

Andrew Marr moves swiftly on. Serious problems in England, transport disrupted - people may die, but nothing must suggest that the Scottish Unionist Opposition were wrong in their contemptible witch hunt against Stewart Stevenson, and God forbid, that anyone should call for resignations at Westminster.

 That would never do ...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

War, the monarchy, the poppy – blood, death and glory?

I had, in common with many others, a wonderful day in Edinburgh yesterday, courtesy of Political Innovation, Slugger O'Toole, Mick Fealty and Paul Evans. I hope to cover it in more detail shortly.

This morning, Andrew Marr interviewed the new Chief of Defence Staff UK Sir David Richards, in the news because of  a Telegraph headline today, Al Qaeda can't be beaten. Military chiefs make a rapid appearance on television after such press headlines to protest that they never really said it, or that it wasn’t quite what they meant. Sir David is no exception to this rule, as the interview shows.

(Just before this interview, we had heard from a Battle of Britain veteran, 90-year old Peter Ayerst, a former spitfire pilot, bright, alert, and looking no more than seventy to my eye. This fine, unpretentious man -who had fought in a just war, a war that was truly a war of defence of the nation against an undoubted evil, Nazism - clearly did not see himself as a hero in 1940, in spite of the fact that, if that much misused word has any meaning left in 2010, he was a true hero. When asked if he had anticipated the war when he joined the RAF as an enthusiastic amateur pilot, he said, light-heartedly, that if he had anticipated a war, he probably wouldn’t have joined … But when the challenge came, he rose to it, and placed his life on the line daily in defence of the nation.)

Sir David Richards, resplendent in khaki dress uniform, sprouting gleaming buttons, medal and insignias of rank everywhere about his person, nonetheless managed to look like a friendly bank manager, or headmaster. He slid quickly from Remembrance Day and just wars (WW2) into celebrating the monarchy’s role in militarism, then segued even more smoothly into Afghanistan, re-casting expertly his unfriendly Telegraph headlines, and managing to claim a link between the sexism and brutality of the Taliban, offering this as some kind of justification for the war.

Back to yesterday’s excellent event mounted by Political Innovation in Edinburgh. In the plenary discussion and two sub-group discussion I was involved in, among the key questions on the new media’s (blogging and Twitter) impact on politics and political awareness, we debated fruitfully the significance of hit counts, what made for high visibility, were we preaching to the converted, and was a low hit count to real opinion formers more important than high hit counts that could be meaningless in terms of political impact?

There was no mention of YouTube in any of the discussion I was part of (except by me), something that puzzled me in the light of the very active political sector of YouTube and video blogging. I freely admit that my blog hit counter often baffles me, and my YouTube hit counter (TAofMoridura channel on YouTube) even more. My current recent YouTube viewing figures range from low double figures (typical) to 8,438 for Living with the Taliban – Afghanistan Conflict and 5,817 for Douglas Murray and the delights of living in Gaza.

Among the possible explanations are of course the traditional techniques for increasing hit rate – catchy title, key words in title, good tags, etc.

A key choice, however, for any blogger or YouTube poster is how to handle comments, which sometime become threads – a topic that turns into a debate. Early on, I took the decision to pre-moderate, i.e. have the ability to review and approve comments before publishing, together with the necessary verification procedures for identity to deter the spammers and the frivolous or malicious. I had seen what post-moderation did to, for example, the Scotsman’s online postings – good comments buried alive by an abusive, superficial and sometimes incestuous rabble. As for no moderation …

(Some bloggers clearly love this kind of attention, because no moderation or post-moderation clearly increases the hit rate.)

But another problem – a conundrum – remains -

Why is it that post-moderation of my YouTube channel seems to permit a reasonable volume of comment and vigorous debate and post-moderation on my blog almost kills comment stone dead?

One possible explanation, which I will investigate, may be that my blog comments are not visible under the main blog – they have to be selected by clicking on a link. I may change this.

The other is that the YouTube audience is a very different audience from the blog audience. Based on yesterday’s debate, this seems plausible on the face of it. I know I have many blog readers who never view the YouTube videos on YouTube, but on my blog, where I also place them. (If you simply click play on the blog video, it will play on the blog – if you double click, it will take you to the YouTube channel.)

Whatever the explanation, here is an example of the contrast – my blog and YouTube video on

 Does the poppy glorify war? Has the poppy been hijacked?

The comments on the blog are two in number – one comment and my reply. But here, reproduced below, is the comment dialogue to date on the YouTube video. If you have any thoughts on the disparity, I would be delighted to hear them …

EXTRACTED FROM YouTube video comments -


It's a good point- people say that we should remember soldiers fighting 'for our freedom', but it's a pretty big stretch to say that soldiers in Iraq are fighting for our freedom - obviously they aren't, they're just fighting because of a flawed government policy. Should we therefore not remember them, or not?



replying to @rickelmonoggin

Our illegal and immoral involvement in Iraq is over. The the soldiers who died or were maimed didn't start the war - they did their job. Of course we should remember them - the dead, and the survivors, whose lives have been affected by their injuries. We, the UK electorate, put the war criminal Blair in power, and returned him to power twice.

England, sadly, has three warmongering, nuclear-obsessed main parties to choose from. Scotland however has a choice in 2011 - the SNP



replying to @TAofMoridura

I agree we should remember them. But we can't say that we are remembering them because 'they fought for our freedom', because they didn't. So why make a distinction between 'good' wars and 'bad' wars. Soldiers don't get much of a choice which ones to fight in.

Much better to say, let's remember soldiers, but without all the British imperialist window dressing.



replying to @rickelmonoggin

I am in full agreement (read my blog moridura.blogspot)

The soldiers died, not for Blair and the UK but for their regiment, for their comrades, for their duty as soldiers. We mustn't make their deaths meaningless - they died because the UK electorate betrayed them. I don't want any soldier or civilian anywhere in the world to die in vain, but I can't achieve that now by a UK vote. I want out of the UK. I can ensure that Scots don't die, by my vote for the SNP in May 2011.



Well done to Celtic for calling out the war machine.

Blood-stained Poppy.

I'll start wearing a Celtic jersey next poppy season.



The only way to stop war is not to have it!


69salford69 replying to @kellystone84

"The pioneers of a War-less world are the youth who refuse military service" - the current economic crisis means ARMED FORCES offers higher-than-average salaries and training opportunities that cost thousands in society. The fact that every job vacancy out there has 10x as many applicants is forcing Army recruitment up.

The Government has done EVERYTHING possible to ensure it has plenty of recruits for the future



replying to @69salford69

I am not a pacifist, and believe in defending my nation - Scotland - and in the concept of a just war. I have only seen one just war in my lifetime - WW2. It was truly a war of defence - the nation was under attack – and the attacker was the truly evil creed of fascism and racism. Such circumstance are relatively rare.

I do not support empire, foreign adventures, involvement in American imperialism nor do I support wars over resources, e.g. oil. I believe in defence forces.

  • 69salford69

    replying to @TAofMoridura

    "I do not support empire, foreign adventures, involvement in American imperialism nor do I support wars over resources, e.g. oil. I believe in defence forces."

    - Didn't Glasgow airport nearly go up in flames a few years ago after an ATTACK by Muslims?

    So defend your country. Your Scottish, I'm English - I understand why being English would make you want to stamp my head in but what about the Muzzies?

    Someone you know could have been killed in the Glasgow attack



    replying to @69salford69

    There were no such attacks in the UK before Afghanistan and the illegal war in Iraq. The UK's ill-conceived, and illegal wars led directly to terrorism in Britain.

    Secondly, aircraft carriers, WMDs, and nuclear submarines would not have made any difference to such attacks - they are a police and security services matter.

    I have no animosity whatsoever towards the English - I have friends and family who are English.

    Lastly, your use of the term 'Muzzies' points to a racist mindset.


    replying to @TAofMoridura

    So on one hand you are standing up for our country by speaking against those who are doing harm to it. But on the other hand every ex-service man who survived the War has been deeply offended.

    Yes I'm racist, I also don't like gays and my favourite colour is red.



    replying to @69salford69

    Don't post here again - find a BNP site to express your views - bigots homophobes and racists aren't welcome here. Red is the colour of blood - and the Labour Party. It used to mean something different for Labour, but now they are steeped in it. For fascists, red and black have always been the colour choices - blood and death.



    Blood Stained Poppy



    deeds that would shame all the devils in hell, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ireland. Keep your blood-stained poppy off our hoops.



    replying to @gregsyswilly and Rochie2K8 and kellystone84

    The poppy once meant something to a generation that fought and died in a war - WW1 - that they came to see as meaningless. WW2 was a just war.

    The poppy has been hijacked by the UK establishment, and they have distorted its meaning, as they do with every thought of remembrance, of pity and of sadness, and of support for servicemen and women. But the Parkhead protest did no service to any cause - it was badly misjudged and harmed the cause of peace.


    replying to @TAofMoridura I couldn't care less about the British army or their regiments. I care about the people. The British state and its politicians have blood on their hands as far as I am concerned, but they have hijacked Remembrance day so that it's about paying tribute to them rather than to the people who died.


    Replying to @rickelmonoggin

    Well, I do care about them, especially since there are a number of Scottish regiments serving the UK, as they have always done. Soldiers are people, and a very special kind of people - we need them, we will always need them. That's why we mustn't allow ambitious and greedy politicians to sacrifice them needlessly.
    I want out of the UK so that Scotland can concentrate on sensible defence forces and a sensible defence policy for its own independent nation, incl. EU deployment.

    Replying to @TAofMoridura

    I do care about the soldiers, I don't care about the military paraphernalia that goes with them.

    Sunday, 14 March 2010

    Andrew Marr, Steven Purcell, The Politics Show Scotland and the BBC

    I have tried to give Steven Purcell the benefit of the doubt over recent weeks because I have always felt that he was an essentially honest politician, committed to his native city, Glasgow, and a victim of the pressures of the corruption, venality and sleaze that have been present in the city’s politics for the last half century or more.

    But as the facts emerge, and the more negative critics of Purcell and the City Council look as if they may be right, I realise that I may have to eat crow, as I promised the online Scotsman readership, if I am proved wrong.

    What is certain is that events in Glasgow constitute a big story – the big story in Scottish politics, but one that has ramifications far beyond Scottish affairs as the general election looms. So I looked to the papers today, and Scotland on Sunday did not disappoint, giving it pole position on the front page and very full coverage inside.

    I followed this up by watching the Andrew Marr Show, with some hopes – but not high ones – that this former chief BBC political editor and reporter would give it some coverage and analysis.

    What I was not prepared for was his casually ignoring the story in his review of the Sunday papers.

    Andrew Marr goes through a selection of papers, and in every case quotes the headline and lead story, but with one notable exception. When he gets to Scotland on Sunday, he smoothly ignores the headline and the main story - INQUIRY CALL OVER 'SECRETS' OF PURCELL and goes on to quote two minor stories.

    Such is the treatment of Scotland by this BBC star, their former chief political editor and reporter, now a celebrity presenter for the Beeb.

    He manages to ignore the story that is convulsing Scottish politics, that of the spectacular fall of Labour's star, Steven Purcell and the emerging questions over just what the hell is going on in Glasgow City Council - Glasgow, the heart of Labour's heartland, Scotland.

    Such are the priorities of the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation as we approach a critical general election for the future of the country and the Union, one where Scotland is the key. Is it any wonder that the BBC wants to deny the people of Scotland the right to hear their First Minister in the forthcoming Leaders' debate?


    I wait eagerly for The Politics Show, also on the BBC, and for its second half, The Politics Show Scotland.

    The first part, with Jon Sopel, is even more boring than usual, because this week it is a special, featuring “the main party leaders” appearing before a constituency audience. Gordon Brown leads off – if leads is the word – and he is utterly leaden, boring, and comes across as an already beaten man. My impatience grows, and I endure forty minutes of this, sustained by the thought that the Scottish second half will follow soon, with Glenn Campbell.

    At last, the glad words - “and now to the Politics Show where you are …”. But I am confronted with London, which ain’t where I am. Initially, there is no apology or explanation. A southern presenter drones on about London matters, then eventually, a red strapline appears saying The Politics Show Scotland will follow as soon as possible.

    After another twenty minutes or so of this, during which I come close to spontaneous combustion, The Politics Show Scotland finally appears, and a rather embarrassed Glenn Campbell makes an apology for a “technical hitch”, and we get about ten to fifteen minutes of two worthy, but peripheral pieces, with a general election imminent - one about Anne Moffat, MP for East Lothian and her ongoing war with the Labour Party, and a piece on the Tory Party’s proposals for independent but state funded schools.

    Nothing about the general election, nothing about the Scottish Parliament, nothing about the SNP’s dispute with the BBC over the “main party leaders” debates, and nothing about Glasgow’s political meltdown.

    Scottish viewers were therefore denied more than half their allotted time from The Politics Show Scotland, and we can be sure that it will never be compensated for.

    Faced with this kind of thing, and a choice between a conspiracy or a cock-up as the explanation, I almost always prefer the cock-up.  But whatever the explanation it reflects one thing – the innate bias and complacency of the BBC, and of British establishment figures when it comes to Scotland, Scottish viewers, the Scottish electorate and Scottish affairs in general.

    They just don’t give a shit about us, indeed, they are largely oblivious to our existence until events force them to confront the reality – that one of the two “main” parties, the one that is in government for the moment, exists and survives only because of its Scottish power base.

    When that goes, Great Britain goes, the Union goes, and the rump of this faded old empire will find it harder to strut its stuff as a global player in international politics, and may have to stop sending its young people to the killing fields.

    And Scotland will stand proud and free – free at last, as Martin Luther King once said, and as the genie in The Thief of Baghdad (played by the wonderful Rex Ingram) said as he flew blissfully away from his long captivity in the bottle.

    (Did you know that Cleo Laine played a street urchin in that film, with Sabu?)