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Showing posts with label The House of Lords. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The House of Lords. Show all posts

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Baron of Aikwood – man of steel …

The Scottish Government and the First Minister have to be polite to David Steel, as a former Presiding Officer of the Parliament – but I don’t

Scotland’s two dying ‘quality’ dailies, The Scotsman and The Herald are in a state of high excitement over Lord Steel’s belated statement on the reason’s for his resignation from his role as one of the two independent advisors who consider complaints on alleged breaches of the ministerial code. No doubt some lazy television producers will also pick up this non-story to save them the trouble of sending someone out of the studio to find some real stories that haven’t already been trailed by the press.

David Steel professed himself “appalled” at Alex Salmond's and Kenny MacAskill’s remarks on the judiciary in the Supreme Court debacle, and rather discourteously described the First Minister’s letter of thanks for his services as polite and “effusive”. He could have said fulsome, because that is what he clearly meant, but the chances of the partially-literate gentlemen of the Scottish Press understanding this word in its proper meaning of cloying and excessive were small, so effusive had to serve.

OED: Effusive: gushing, demonstrative, exuberant.

The Baron of Aikwood is an elder statesman of a party that has regularly betrayed the voters – he kept Labour in power in 1977 in the infamous LibLab pact, for which the Liberals got zilch; when he was elected as leader of the Liberals in 1979, their fortunes took a nose dive, then in 1981 came the farce of the SDP-Liberal alliance, and after the 1983 general election, the country laughed at farce that was the Two Davids – David Steel and David Owen, with Steel being treated with barely concealed contempt by Owen, a relationship memorably sent up in Spitting Image.

At last he got out of UK politics (unless you count the House of Lords!) in 1997, retiring from the Commons and becoming a life peer. He was elected to the Holyrood Parliament in 1999 and became the first Presiding Officer in the same year.

David Steele is a member of a party totally opposed to Scotland’s independence, a party that is now a sad, small group within the Scottish Parliament, after the LibDems' betrayal at UK level of every principle they ever had by entering the Coalition with the Tories, one that effectively destroyed Tavish Scott and his party in Scotland, and a betrayal that would destroy the LibDem UK party if they had to go to the electorate right now.

The LibDems in Scotland eagerly went into coalition with Labour in the Scottish Parliament, but refused, on anti-independence grounds to go into coalition with Alex Salmond’s minority administration of 1997/2011.

Two Scottish LibDem MPs in this benighted incompetent Coalition at Westminster, Danny Alexander and Michael Moore have been busy doing their worse for the UK and Scotland respectively.

Baron Steel of Aikwood is solidly embedded in the UK Establishment, in the Union, in the unelected and undemocratic House of Lords and has a vested interest in the continuation of both of these unelected power groupings. He is unsurprisingly hostile to the referendum and the independence of his native land.

I do not regret his resignation from the offices he held at Holyrood, and I would not regret his passing from Scottish politics entirely to retirement in his Borders home, and a cosy seat in the House of Lords - while it lasts. He has as little to offer Scotland as his party has – he is a highly typical representative of what I see as being wrong with Scottish and UK politics.

What I do value is politicians such as Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill, and I especially value their vigour of expression in defending the interests of Scotland. The electorate clearly agreed with me in May 2011, and neither they nor I will shed any tears for the Borders Baron Aikwood.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Ross Martin of the CSPP on Labour - Moridura’s response …

Ross Martin has advice for Scottish Labour on the Centre for Scottish Public Policy website. So have I - see my comment on the site (reproduced below).

Ross Martin: The red rose has to go, for starters


Scottish Labour's problem is the two iron balls shackled to its ankles - one labelled U and the other K. 'Scottish' Labour has only one purpose - to keep Westminster Labour in power in the UK.

Ross Martin says "The Scottish Labour Party must be all three of these things: Scottish, Labour and a proper political Party." It can be none of these things while Scotland remains in the UK and Labour is a unionist party. There was no "mass civic movement that campaigned for and designed devolution" - it was a Blair/New Labour stitch up designed to draw the teeth of Scottish Nationalism, as George Robertson so clearly stated, and was so badly wrong about.

The Scottish independence movement is committed to a constitutional monarchy, sensible shared arrangements on defence - excluding the obscenity of nuclear weapons and WMDs in Scottish waters - and an intelligent, sophisticated relationship of friendship and trust with the residual United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland - UK Minus.

What ragged standards have Scottish Unionist Labour got left to cling to?

The outmoded and lethal doctrine of nuclear deterrence?

The right of a Westminster Parliament, dominated by a south east power bloc of money, privilege and corruption to decide when the flower of Scottish youth is sent to die in foreign adventures at the dictat of US foreign policy, which at any time could fall back into the suicidal lunacies of the Bush era?

To almost 1000 unelected Lords in a second chamber that is always destined for reform but never will be while the UK lives?

Scottish Labour must indeed do three things to survive and regenerate - embrace Scottish independence, reject the nuclear deterrent and perform an act of public contrition for the egregious crime against humanity that was the Iraq war. Then, and only then, the party might rediscover its values, its identity - and its soul.

Nothing points up Scotland's situation in relation to the UK more than the nature of the present government - a Tory government, when the Tories were decisively rejected in May 2010 by the Scottish electorate, a Coalition deal negotiated by Danny Alexander, a LibDem who would have been thrown out of office had he stood for the Scottish Parliament.

The LibDem have provided two Scottish Secretaries to replace the awful Jim Murphy - Alexander briefly, and now Michael Moore, both representatives of a party that has been humiliatingly rejected by the Scottish people, and would be destroyed at the UK ballot box in a general election if one were called tomorrow.

These latter-day colonial governors had and have no real mandate of any kind, even in their non-role, yet the lugubrious Moore pontificates on matters fundamental to Scotland's economic recovery.

When the great divide between the Scottish electorate's verdict in May 2010 and the rest of the UK became known, worried Westminster media pundits commented that "it made us look as if there were two nations". There are - that's the whole point, and the point will soon be made even more forcibly.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Baroness Warsi is just not up to the job - says Charles “She’ll be sacked in a year’s time…”

Bye bye, Baroness - Charles Kennedy's prediction. “She’s just not up to the job …

Please let it be soon ...  If I have to listen to that unstoppable torrent of words for much longer, I don't think I could stand it. Even David Dimbleby had trouble shutting her up on Question Time last night.

How many members did you say the Tories had, Sayeeda? Still don't know? How strange! Funny, the Labour Party in Scotland has suffered the same confusion, even amnesia.