Jim and Severin 194

Like star-crossed lovers hugging as they plunge into an abyss, Severin Carrell whispers sweet nothings to Jim Murphy. The Guardian has given up all pretence of balance in not just its commentary but also its news coverage of Scotland. Carrell’s puff piece is the seventeenth Guardian article on how Jim Murphy will save Scottish Labour, and is based on nothing but an advance copy of a Murphy speech.

Carrell fails to ask any of the obvious questions. Murphy claims Labour are to contact 190,000 Labour voters, mostly elderly male and Glaswegian, who voted Yes. They will do this by “personal letters” and phone calls. This begs the question of how they identify these voters, and who will do the work. The Labour membership in Scotland is now tiny. My source in a Labour MSP’s office tells me the paid up individual political membership – excluding social clubs – stands just shy of 8,500. I find that believable. Largely thanks to Carrell that figure is similar to Guardian sales in Scotland. It is also interesting that a significant proportion of those dwindling Labour members are there because, one way or another, they are on the payroll. Councillors, council officials in “hidden” political posts, MPs and MSPs and their staff, HQ staff, union officials etc.

Labour were far from a full canvass in the referendum campaign. The ballot was (hopefully) secret. They simply cannot identify those hundreds of thousands of ex-Labour SNP supporters. Are these “personal” letters and phone calls just going to anyone who seems mature, male and Glaswegian? The entire claim of a targeted Murphy “campaign” is plainly a simple nonsense. It stands not a moment’s journalistic analysis. Only a brain-dead Labour acolyte like Carrell could promote it.

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194 thoughts on “Jim and Severin

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  • Alan McMahon

    Jim, as Carrell extravagantly likes to promote him, is ‘energy incarnate’, and might therefore yet surprise us all. Then again, maybe not.

  • nevermind

    He’ll pay the local curry/kebab shop £30,- who has a man who does 1000 drops/day, to deliver his leaflets, that way his supporters can sit round smile and admire Jim Murphy’s mug whilst drinking champagne.

    As long as the leaflets don’t come with a kebab, they are guaranteed to make people sick.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I think it’s very telling, and in a way tragic, that Murphy isn’t setting out a stall with the extensively devolved powers that Brown was, er, promising when the referendum was looking bad for the unionists, but instead chasing up his core constituency – as was. The Vow/Pledge/Deniable Bollocks seems to have been pretty successfully swept under the carpet as the election approaches, in fact.

    I think the mere existence of Miliband, and the Blairite ideology of Murphy, should be enough to dissuade all but the most doctrinaire geriatric Red Clydesiders from voting at all. Perhaps the SNP should poster selected Glasgow postcodes with pictures of Miliband eating his bacon butty, and of Blair’s Christmas card, for maximum effect. Words would then be unnecessary.

  • Sam

    I’ve just caught up with your blog after Christmas. I’m genuinely saddened to see you were barred as an SNP candidate, although not surprised. What evident to me throughout the independence campaign was that the SNP were using the energy of the grassroots, radical independence movement, for their own ends. If Scotland had become ‘independent’ the SNP’s first move would have been to distance themselves from any even vaguely radical ideas.

    I love your optimism and passion. You believed in the Lib Dems, then realised they were just in for their own ego and power. You believed in the SNP, then realised they were just in it for their own ego and power. My opinion is that any political movement which does not provide a spiritual basis for tackling our own inflated egos is ultimately doomed. Whether this is borne out of the energy created by the independence campaign, or a wider movement in response to savage austerity measures, remains to be seen.

    It disappointed me to see that so many people joined the SNP after the campaign. I think this energy would have been better harnessed forming a new political force which was not necessarily aligned with the SNP, which strove to be more democratic in structure, and which was able to keep the SNP in check.

  • Mary

    Mil(l)ipede Jnr was singing the praises of Murphy this morning. Yuk.


    Watch out. Electioneering politicians are out in force today just like a Summer plague of flies.

  • A Nonny Mouse

    The more I see and hear of Mr Murphy, the more I am convinced that he is a borderline sociopathic who lies and changes his story at the drop of a hat (far more so than other politicians at any rate). Sadly, he is allowed to do this unchallenged and unchecked because the shadowy powers that be will protect their ‘preferred’ candidate at any cost (e.g journalistic integrity).

    Perhaps there is a need for an Independent/Independence candidate to stand in East Renfrewshire in May this year 🙂

    They’d be in the perfect position to shine a light on all the inconsistencies in what he says and what is true, what he professes his policies are and what they actually are. A gentle reminder to those who are unaware of his less than commendable past in the NUS, his dubious associations and sponsors etc. etc.

    They might not win the seat, but it would be worth it for the sake of standing up for democracy and truth and against media manipulation. They wouldn’t have to follow any party line and could campaign on what matters to people in Scotland.

    I’m not a fan of the Labour Party but I don’t have a problem with any of their other politicians on a personal level, by and large they seem like decent people who just have a different view on the world than me. But Jim Murphy scares me, the thought of him being in a position of power in Scotland fills me with dread. He has no morals and will pursue whatever policies are his or his sponsors priority with no regard for his voters wishes.

    So, any ideas on who would make a good opposition candidate in East Renfrewshire???

  • Ba'al Zevul

    …the SNP were using the energy of the grassroots, radical independence movement, for their own ends. If Scotland had become ‘independent’ the SNP’s first move would have been to distance themselves from any even vaguely radical ideas…

    By which time it wouldn’t have mattered a jot since a new hand would have been dealt, probably with radical representation being achieved . I can’t agree with your objection to the SNP ‘using’ the grassroots radicals; the SNP’s main objective has always been independence, and it is just as arguable that (a) it fuelled and supported the grassroots and (b) had access to organisational and PR resources the radicals lacked.

    Face it, in the 80’s, where were the radicals? SNG were posting fireworks to people they didn’t like, and the SWP was supporting Labour. Greens? I didn’t hear them supporting independence, either. Credit where credit is due, the SNP did most of the hard graft. By which I do not mean waving saltires in George Square.

  • Clark

    Patrick Haseldine, do you still run a cafe in Ongar (source: Wikipedia)? If so, I’d like to drop in for breakfast and a chat some time. I’m near Chelmsford, and my contact page is linked from my name under my comment.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    There’s hope yet:

    …even though Mr Murphy may be keen not (to) spend too much time talking about his backing for Mr Blair in key Commons votes during the New Labour years, such as the Iraq War, the introduction of tuition fees and a cut in single-parent benefit, it’s highly likely his presentational style will continue to be strikingly similar to that of the former prime minister.

    And that’s from the Scotsman. Shouldn’t be too hard to convince Clydeside Old Labour that the man’s a fraud, should it?

  • Iain Orr

    This is not off-theme since it relates indirectly to how Jim Murphy and other Labour MPs are likely to vote on the third reading of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. That has been discussed in more detail by me, Technicolour, Habbabkuk, Nevermind, Clark and others on the “Happy New Year” thread.

    The latest links that matter, to the Bill as amended in committee, to the amendments tabled up to today (by Labour) and the timetable for the report and 3rd reading stages on 6 and 7 January are http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/counterterrorismandsecurity.html http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2014-2015/0127/amend/counterterraddednames.pdf

    Having now studied these in some detail, my view is that the new provisions of this bill are either unnecessary (existing legislation is adequate to deal with real threats) or undesirable. Even with the rather minor Yvette Cooper et al amendments, it leaves the Home Secretary with the power to determine who is an “extremist” for the purposes of banning campus speakers. That term is vague in common usage; but it is not beyond the wit of lawyers to define it for the purposes of this legislation, if such powers were needed (they are not). The power to deny return to the UK of UK citizens looks to be bad law and probably incompatible with the UK’s international treaty obligations. I will be emailing some MPs to urge them to vote against the bill – and to explain why they are doing so – whatever their whips instructions are. Others might like to provide their MP with the temptation not to disappoint a constituent in an election year.

    I understand that Cageuk.org will be issuing a comment about the bill later this afternoon.

  • Herbie

    Well, if it keeps us all safe, eh.

    “nuffin to hide, nuffin to fear innit”

    “Nursery staff and childminders are given ‘duty’ to report toddlers they suspect of being at risk of becoming terrorists under new Home Office measures”


    ” A Home office spokesman last night said: “We are not expecting teachers and nursery workers to carry out unnecessary intrusion into family life, but we do expect them to take action when they observe behaviour of concern.

    He added: “It is important that children are taught fundamental British values in an age-appropriate way. For children in the early years, this will be about learning right from wrong and in practitioners challenging negative attitudes and stereotypes.

    “We would expect staff to have the training they need to identify children at risk of radicalisation and know where and how to refer them for further help if necessary.”

    It is understood ministers will expect nursery staff to report for example, anti-Semitic comments made in front of them by toddlers.

    “We would not expect this behaviour to be ignored,” said a source. Other examples of children at risk of radicalisation include instances where a Muslim child might tell a teacher that he has been taught at a religious school, or madrassah, that all non-Muslims “are wicked”. ”

    Yes. I feel safer already.

  • Republicofscotland

    Wings estimates that the Scottish branch of Labour’s membership, could be as low as 7000, and their campaign funds aren’t, in any better shape, than their membership.

    The deputy leader of the Scottish Labour branch,Kezia Dugdale, has come out and said publicly on Radio Scotland (Crossfire show) that Labour would be willing to do a deal with the SNP, referring to the coming GE.

    The National newspaper, claims Miss Dugdale, is contradicting the manager of the Scottish branch, Jim Murphy.

    Murphy is constantly pushing the old chestnut, A vote for the SNP, is a vote that weakens Labour and allows the Tories into Westminster.

    Of course if Murphy had bothered to check his historical facts, he’d see that only on 4 occasions over the last century has the Scottish electorate, managed to sway the vote, one way or the other.

  • Porkfright

    Labour made into toast in Scotland, Libs and Cons made into toast in Westminster, is my prediction for May.

  • Mary

    Miliband on BBC Breakfast this morning.



    HoC business today.

    2:30pm Oral Questions
    Home Office, including Topical Questions

    Urgent Question – Michael Dugher
    Major disruption to Britain’s rail network over the Christmas period

    Statement – Mr Jeremy Hunt
    UK Ebola Preparedness

    Serious Crime Bill [HL] – Second reading

    Adjournment – Diana Johnson
    Diagnosis of children on the autism spectrum in Hull

  • Mary

    Murphy was recognised by 53% in an ICM poll.


    That was from Carrell’s earlier piece entitled

    Scottish politics: who are the leaders and how are they doing?
    As poll shows some party chiefs on the election campaign trail are far from well-known, Guardian writers compile a who’s who
    Tom Clark and Severin Carrell
    26 December 2014

  • Clark

    Herbie, being brought up as a Jehovah’s Witless, I was taught that all non-Witlesses “are wicked”. It was inculcated into me several times a week.

    Of course state intervention wouldn’t have helped me if they were only checking on brown children.

  • jermynstreetjim

    Alan McMahon: Alan, Murphy (Carrell portrayed) “energy incarnate”….. ???……Please….more like analogous to a mere anaemic, acerbic acolyte, and Junior partner of a moribund mésalliance, with the former Haberdashers’ Aske’s, hapless, Rubik’s Cube absorbed, Bacon Bagel eschewing, Athol Brose (in need of), Broth of a Boy… 🙂

  • giyane

    Now that we know that elections are rigged, they have to put up some kind of plan to have caused the mysterious massive swing to New Labour in GE 2015.

  • Republicofscotland

    GRASSROOTS No campaigners are planning to defy the leadership of UK parties by getting together behind a “stop Alex Salmond” candidate in Gordon.

    Despite the Conservatives and Labour ruling out a deal to thwart Salmond’s general election ambitions, local party activists say they will back the Lib Dem candidate Christine Jardine, because she is the former first minister’s nearest challenger.

    Jardine, a former journalist, is defending Gordon for the Lib Dems following the retirement of Sir Malcolm Bruce.

    Although Jardine is defending a majority of almost 7,000, Salmond has been widely tipped to win the seat as Lib Dem support plummets and the SNP benefits from a post-referendum surge.

    But the strong No vote recorded in the area has given local Better Together activists hope that they can work together to keep Salmond out.


    It would appear the acolytes and sycophants are more worried that Alex Salmond will do well, rather than vote for their respective parties, the hatred of Mr Salmond, runs so deep, that, tactical voting is on the cards.

    It seems some Scots, hate the thought of a strong Scottish presence at Westminster, so much,that they’re willing to cut of their nose to spite their face.

    I loathe to call these folk my fellow countrymen and women.

  • Herbie

    Jim Murphy, the leader of Scottish New Labour, is a member of right-wing think tank the Henry Jackson Society which is closely associated with the American neoconservative movement.

    Let’s see what they say about the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill:

    “Measures in the Bill are wide-ranging, from passport confiscation and temporary exclusion orders designed to mitigate the Syria-related terrorist threat to plugging a legal loophole over insurance companies reimbursing ransom payments. The Bill also strengthens TPIMs – Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures – by reintroducing locational constraints and mandates more long-term counter-terrorism responsibilities for universities, internet service providers and aviation companies.”

    “The Henry Jackson Society commends the government’s efforts to legislate for a comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy that remains up to date with evolving jihadist terrorism. In particular, it reflects the heightened danger posed by home-grown self-starters such as Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killers, the threat from whom yesterday’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report suggested could be more accurately assessed if internet companies cooperated more with the government on counter-terrorism.

    Such far-reaching legislation must be accompanied by effective delivery. Many of the sectors now facing a legal responsibility to counter-radicalisation, including schools, universities and local councils, for example have long been identified by HJS as both vulnerable to extremism and, at times, reluctant to challenge it robustly.”


    Yes. They’re absolutely ecstatic.

    I think it’s fair to conclude that voting for Scottish New Labour and Jim Murphy will ensure Scots fully benefit from the American Neocon way of life.

    At least the SNP intervention makes a point about civil liberties, consulting locally in terms of devolved matters and the “other” terrorism which emanates from western govts themselves, but.

    There isn’t the strident opposition one would expect in a democracy. I know UK isn’t a democracy. It’s technically a Const. Monarchy, but still.

    Too much detail and not enough on the big picture and challenging the neocon narrative on terrorism. This is unfortunate, because it’s total bollocks.


  • Herbie

    Hi Clark

    I’d agree that some children have a problematic upbringing.

    I’m not sure that the answer is to hand programming to the state

    I think that’d just result in all children having a problematic upbringing.

  • Patrick Haseldine

    Clark Killick @ 2.57pm

    From the date of my dismissal (without compensation) by John Major in August 1989 until October 2000, I was proprietor of the very busy but not very profitable Clock Tower Cafe in Chipping Ongar. I believe it is now a pizza parlour that unfortunately doesn’t serve the full English!

    Have since retired to the sea-side where, as Emeritus Professor of Lockerbie Studies, I lose no opportunity to point out that UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, was the target on Pan Am Flight 103. Although it’s frustrating that 26 years after the Lockerbie disaster the truth is yet to emerge, I am heartened by last week’s announcement that a UN Panel of Experts is finally being set up to look at the 1961 plane crash in which UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld was killed.

    Please feel free, Clark, to update my Wikipedia page accordingly (I was banned from editing WP seven years ago).

  • Republicofscotland

    Ms Davidson said: “I don’t want to see Britain being run into the ground by a Labour-SNP pact. And I, for one, didn’t fight to secure our future last year just to see Ed Miliband or Nicola Sturgeon throw it all away.

    “The truth is that the Scottish Conservatives are the only option in Scotland if you want to keep the UK together and keep Ed Miliband out of Downing Street.

    “That’s why we need to people like you to vote for a strong pro-Union party and for a Prime Minister who won’t do a deal with the SNP that puts our country at risk.”


    So Ruth Davidson doesn’t want to see the UK run into the ground, and she didn’t even have a smile on her face when she said it.

    I wonder if Davidson actually knows whats happening in the UK today, as we head into another round of austerity, from her heartless party.

    As her Chancellor Gideon Osborne’s professes that another £55 billion will need to be chopped from public spending, a figures that has caused both the IFS and the OBR, to reel back in horror, as even they can’t see where such steep cuts will come from.

    I imagine Davidson doesn’t actually care about such severe cuts, to the public purse, no Davidson, cares more about an alliance between Labour and the SNP, which in essence would leave her precious David Cameron on the outside looking in.

    And no amount of austerity of Dickensian,cuts would make up for such an affront to her and her party.

  • Abe Rene

    Presumably the records of the Labour party in Scotland show how many have ceased to pay their subscription during the past 5 years. There’s your ex-members; I would post the individually tailored circular “personal letter” to them.

  • Vronsky

    The SNP is a curate’s egg – only bad in places. In some parts of the country, and at the top, an old guard has ruled the roost for a long time and they won’t easily surrender their privileges. The new membership, drawn heavily from the Yes movement and its anarchic enthusiasm, will see off the dinosaurs. It may take a month or two, is all. My patch is North Lanarkshire, and all over things are stirring. I’ve just read an email from our branch convener complaining of people behaving badly. He doesn’t know the half of it.

    Craig was just a little too early (and that might be my fault). He was a very obvious threat to a cosy club. But the scenery is shifting. Let’s see where we are twelve months from now.

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