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Showing posts with label Willie Bain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Willie Bain. Show all posts

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The sordid attack by Scottish MPs on Scotland's freedom - with help from English MPs

Here they are – the sordid little gang of high-road-to-England Tory, Labour and LibDem MPs (the SNP MPs participate in Westminster of reluctantly and of necessity while it lasts) who know their careers will vanish like snaw aff a dyke when the Union ends.

We have Margaret Curran, Labour MP for Glasgow East since 2010, formerly an MSP, now Shadow Scottish Secretary, and Willie Bain, Labour MP for Glasgow North East, now Shadow Scottish Minister. Both of them come from constituencies that are among the most deprived in Scotland, a decline and deprivation that Labour has presided over for well over half a century. Willie Bain is the successor in this Labour poverty-stricken fiefdom of Michael Martin, formerly the Speaker of the House of Commons who was forced to resign in disgrace after the expenses scandal, and who is now a  Lord, safely distanced from from the poverty and deprivation of Springburn, from whence he and Oor Wullie both sprang.

Margaret and Willie sit cheek by jowl on the green benches, smiling supportively at each other – a kind of fairy tale hybrid couple. Across the gangway from them sit Michael Moore, Scottish Secretary and David Mundel, Scottish minister.

Both of these MPs are entirely unrepresentative of Scottish politics today, although they both represent the bad judgement of those who elected them. Both are members of political parties who face near extinction in Scotland. In Michael Moore’s case, were there a general election tomorrow, he and his party would almost certainly vanish. David Mundel’s party is already in self-destruct mode, something an endangered species can do without, but in a general election, the electorate of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale might well continue to display the execrable taste in politicians that has characterised them for a long time, so he might survive. (Maybe they’re too close to the Border …)

These two joined-at-the-hip double acts collectively form a discordant quartet at Scottish questions, given that their parties detest each other, but are united in their common desperate quest for survival in the face of their county’s independence. In this, they get support from sundry backbench – and backwoods – Tories, in this outing Norman Bone, who fancies himself as a wag, a hard-faced Essex Tory girl and a Scot who is MP for the English constituency of Fylde, so he’s alright, Jock when independence comes.

But let them speak for themselves, and try not to feel nausea and utter contempt as you listen – it won’t be long …

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Independence – Newsnight Scotland

The UK Supreme Court will make a ruling at 10 0’clock this morning. The outcome will be significant, and it will say a lot about the UK’s relationship to Scotland and the ultimate fate of the Union.

Cadder – UK Supreme Court overrules Scots Law and Scottish judges

Fraser – UK Supreme Court overrules Scots Law and Scottish judges

Pleural Plaques – ?

If the UK Supreme Court does overrule Scots Law again – we hope it won’t - it will be a victory for cynical commercial interest over human values and the rights of vulnerable Scots whose lives have been threatened by forces beyond their control.

After the ruling is known, the Scottish Government will speak for Scots, either welcoming the decision of Scottish Judges being upheld, or against a decision that upholds the interests of big companies and profit against common humanity. In the latter case, the pseudo-Scots who call themselves the Unionist Opposition, with dreary predictability, will call this principled stance ‘Alex Salmond making mischief against the Union’.


The programme was one of those occasions when Newsnight Scotland rose to the issue and to the moment. This, however, was true only of the programme makers, and of Gordon Brewer, Eddie Barnes and Stewart Hosie. I never expect Scottish Labour, least of all Willie Bain, to rise to any occasion, but I had expected more of George Kerevan.

The programme was in three parts – a piece by Catriona Renton on the history of Labour’s negative campaigning against the aspirations of Scots to secure the independence of their nation, which was well-constructed, highly professional and crucially,  informative, in the way these scene-setting Newsnight Scotland pieces almost invariably are.

The second part was a debate between Willie Bain, one of the new Team Scotland group of Labour MPs set up to prevent their countrymen and women from gaining their freedom (I am entirely free of bias on the matter) and Stewart Hosie MP, one of the most economical and effective SNP spokespersons, with the ability to reduce a discussion to its essentials while remaining in command of the detail, a quality that is not universally displayed by SNP spokespersons, as George Kerevan later made evident.

Willie Bain was weak in argument – what little he had – and obscure on just what was new in the new Team Scotland, managing to sound like a bad Iain Gray tribute act.

Stewart Hosie was a model of clarity, as he patiently answered the questions that Gordon Brewer was obliged to ask about the exact meaning of independence, but clearly already knew the answers to.

The third part was Eddie Barnes of the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, who also displayed great clarity and insight into what was meant by independence and exactly where we were at, and where we might be at, come the referendum.

And then we had George Kerevan, journalist, commentator, former SNP candidate, and SNP supporter. I shot from the hip on Twitter exchanges last night on this, and thought the cold light of today might dispel my reservations about his input. They haven’t, but here are the clips – judge for yourself.

I will be back gnawing at the bone either later today or tomorrow …

I close with a reprise of Stewart Hosie’s definition of what the independence of a nation means, which is exactly what I hope the independence of my nation, Scotland, will mean.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Labour would Balls-up Scotland - the SNP won't let them

Iain Gray calls on yet another English MP to try to bail out his failing campaign. Whom does he choose, or perhaps more accurately, who did his Westminster bosses tell him he must have?

Why none other than Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, economic whizz-kid thrown out of power because he played a major role in Ballsing-up the UK economy.

Labour and Balls continue to flog their doomed notion that rubbishing Scotland's independence and the right of Scots to vote on it is an electoral winner for them. Poor old Willie Bain (successor to the disgraced former Speaker Michael Martin who presided over the expenses rip-off, but is now a Lord) and MP for one of the most deprived areas in Scotland, Springburn - wriggles uncomfortably under Andrew Neil's question about where he stands on independence.

Poor old Ming - unionist, Royalist establishment figure - tries to make a brave fist of the LibDem meltdown.

Stewart Hosie quietly makes nonsense of Neil's ridiculous question - a false assertion rather than a question - about the SNP's commitments to the Scottish people by explaining patiently that the budget figures and the costings have already been laid out and the commitments will be kept in full.

Ed Ball's won't give Iain Gray the cojones he plainly lacks, and which were evident by their absence in the Great Flight to the Sandwich Bar in Central Station.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

An appeal from a unionist comedian - Eddie Izzard - and my reply …

Hi Peter,

I'm Eddie Izzard, and I'm writing to you as a fellow Yes to Fairer Votes campaigner.

I probably don't need to tell you that this is a once-in-a-generation chance to change our electoral system. You are already helping us ditch our regressive and unfair first past the post voting system.
But I do need to ask you to make a donation to the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign, so that they can provide all the resources we need to campaign for better politics, loud and clear.

It's time for change. It's time for a better voting system. Make a donation today to make this happen.

My reply to Eddie Izzard -

I want nothing to do with Eddie Izzard or his campaigns. He campaigned for Labour in the Springburn by-election, ensuring the perpetuation of Labour venality, greed and neglect of the one of the most deprived areas of Glasgow. He used the UK and his celebrity to interfere in a political situation in an area he knows nothing about, Scotland and Glasgow.

Until Scotland is independent, get the hell out of our politics, Eddie. Your comic genius is always welcome, and if you want to to live, work and make your base in Scotland, you will be equally welcome to express your political views and campaign for Labour.

Until then, as a Glaswegian born and bred - I ask you to please stay away.

Saor Alba!

Peter Curran