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.

194 thoughts on “Jim and Severin

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  • nevermind

    @ puzzled. Anybody who wants to get elected in May, make sure to ask the local council when they release the postal voting forms for the GE, then download a few hundred, or thousands and target all those who previously voted by post with your best and freshest looking helpers/candidates.

    This is the secret of the main parties, they know that those who ernable voters to stay home and vote without going to the ballot box will most likely vote for the nice young man who brought the form round, politics seems a side issue, the fact that they feel enabled ensures that at least 80% of these postal votes are in your favour.

    This is actual deception and it undermines the campaign to follow, but it is legal and thats the only thing that counts for them.

    I call postal voting fraud without legs, because it distorts the issues and in reality, political parties get to know days before the count what these votes are, they then can adjust and target specific areas.
    In Ireland they have no postal votes, people who can’t walk or have disabilities can ask for a voting attendant who then comes round with the form and a ballot box, you make your cross and put it into the box done, next client, etc.etc. they are showing us how to cut down fraud.

    Thanks for the link to that video Homeneara, there is talk a plenty but not much resolve and action, we shall see what happens if these campaigners eschew all electronic means, wrap foil around their phones and and send each other homing pigeons…;)

  • giyane


    Lest we forget. When David Cameron shuttles off to see rogue arms dealer Turkish President Erdogan, supplier to ISIS et al, we should not forget that he has form in arms dealings.

    “It became apparent in later years that the supremacy of white power in South Africa was about to finish and so they had to open up discussion with the Americans and British as they feared these weapons getting into the hands of the blacks. It was during this time that a decision was made to ship all nine bombs to Chicago for de commissioning. However, our dear “Iron Lady” Maggie Thatcher decided that it would be a good idea to maybe acquire a few of the weapons for possible use against Iraq in the event Saddam did not toe the line.

    Thatcher then ordered her Page Boy, David Cameron, to go down to South Africa along with what was believed to be the only technical man available (non other than the now( Sir) Kenneth Warren'”
    The story is well known. Google Cameron and the missing South African Nukes

  • glenn_uk

    @Neil Barker: A “legend”? You call a Blair lackey who’s never done a real day’s work in his life, who backs nuclear weapons, the invasion of Iraq, tuition fees, attacks on the poorest in society, a “legend”?

    What – exactly – has this “legend” of yours done that you find so laudable?

  • jermynstreetjim

    @Glenn_uk 7:12pm: Glenn, further to your query to Patrick Haseldine, concerning Lockerbie, and Private Eye’s treatment and bona fides, re’ it’s coverage, here is another additional article from the late Paul Foot, culled from Patrick’s Facebook Page.. 😉 ….. 1 November 2011 at 08:58 · Like

    Patrick Haseldine LOCKERBIE: PIK ‘N’ MISS

    [Article by Paul Foot in ‘Private Eye’ magazine, 2 April 1999]

    Looming over the prospect of the trial of two Libyan suspects for the Lockerbie bombing are two dreadful questions which haunt the intelligence communities on both sides of the Atlantic.

    1. Why has Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, shown such a lasting and dedicated interest in Lockerbie? True, he was for some of the time head of the Organisation of African Unity. True, he feels he owes the Libyans a debt for their long opposition to apartheid. But on their own these explanations can’t explain the enormous amount of time and travelling Mandela has devoted to talks with the Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.

    2. Why has Gaddafi conceded, and released [for trial] the suspects in what seems like a climbdown? True, he was irritated by UN sanctions; but these hardly explain his uncharacteristic bowing the knee to the hated Americans.

    Could the answer to both questions have anything to do with the most enduring mystery about Lockerbie: the warnings received before the bombing of a likely attack on a US airliner in revenge for the shooting down by the US Navy of an Iranian airliner in the Gulf, with the loss of many lives, a few months before Lockerbie?

    The most persistent of all the ‘warning’ stories comes from South Africa. On 21 December 1988, the day of the bombing, the South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha was in London with a large entourage. The rumour was that they had planned to go to the US on Pan Am 103. But at the last moment had switched to a later flight. Had they been warned off?

    Could it be that President Mandela has more information about this last-minute switch and that he has passed on the information to Colonel Gaddafi?


  • Iain Orr

    As someone who has never met Jim Murphy and only became aware of him during the referendum and Scottish Labour leadership campaigns, I was interested to hear how he performed when asked on the Radio 4 One o’Clock News today about his proposal to fund more NHS nurses in Scotlsnd from the proposed Mansion Tax. I found him unconvincing and unpleassantly strident in his comments about his fellow MP, Diane Abbott.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    What – exactly – has this “legend” of yours done that you find so laudable?

    Done a deal with the Daily Mail, evidently…


    One of Dacre’s admirers, Neil is. And even I have to admire the sheer determination behind the Mail’s anti-Blair campaign; all the more mystifying that it supports the similarly slippery Murphy.

  • Mary

    Diane Abbott was speaking on WATO and was outraged that Murphy is spending the mansion tax on Scottish nurses long before there has been any legislation to levy any such tax.

    Murphy is an odious NuLabour specimen.

  • nevermind


    Some seriously low temperatures which we might get a fraction of in the coming three weeks.

    And then there is this inside view into IS criminal and shady economics, from robbing banks to extortion, kidnap, drug and porn peddling.
    By prof Louise Shelley.

    “Shelley: At the moment, the group makes so much money with oil that they do not need cyber crime. But of course it possesses the capabilities. You only have to look at how professionally they use computer technologies, the Internet and its social network capabilities for their public relations activities and recruitment. Additionally, these groups are connected globally, exchange information and learn from each other. Therefore, the past experience of al-Qaida is available to them.


  • Ba'al Zevul

    Additionally, these groups are connected globally, exchange information and learn from each other.

    Ohhh….that’s globalisation, isn’t it? Menteurs sans frontiers…as promoted to hardworkingfamilies (TM) by any rich bastard you care to mention. If they’d give up the beheadings, they’d be as respectable as Donald Trump…

  • Mark Golding

    6 Jan, 2015 – 2:31 pm – Thanks, not quite ‘page-boy’ agent Cameron secured the nuke deal. Sadly Dr David Kelly had the down pat, crossed the bridge and paid the ultimate price.

  • Mary

    Prince Andrew too is partial to the delights of Azerbaijan.

    Like Blair, note the use of private jets. Arrogant so and so. Spending our money. He is supposed to be his mummy’s favourite son and was obviously raised to believe he was god.

    ANOTHER date for Airmiles Andy and his despot friend: Prince secretly flies to Azerbaijan for meeting with country’s billionaire president
    Duke of York flew by private jet to meet Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev
    Billionaire despot has been accused of appalling human rights abuses
    Prince Andrew will stay in capital, Baku, during his ‘private’ four-day trip
    He was forced to stand down as a UK trade envoy after years of criticism
    14 November 2014


    Similar links for visits in previous years.

    Aliyev’s daughter is married to the son of a Russian oligarch and lives in a penthouse overlooking Hyde Park.

  • Republicofscotland

    This so called “Mansion tax” must be wonderful things, why? well firstly we have Jim Murphy claiming it will employ a thousand nurses north of the border if you vote for him.

    Now we have Ed Miliband saying he’ll use monies from the “Mansion tax” to employ thirty six thousand, doctors and nurses and midwives.

    I wonder if the “Mansion Tax” could wipe out the national deficit? or cure cancer? or even solve world poverty and injustice?

    A panacea for all things the “Mansion tax.”


  • Mary

    Not that Save the Children will take the award off Blair. Funny that the originator of the petition is Miranda.

    Dear Friends,

    We now have over 123,000 signatures and I believe the time has come to have one last push and then to present the petition to Save the Children UK on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

    If it had been possible for those without UK postcodes to sign the petition as well, we would have achieved many more signatures, but this is still a very good result and the petition has certainly made its point. I doubt Save the Children or any other charity will act quite so irresponsibly again – at least I hope so.

    Although Save the Children UK claim no responsibility for the award, that is sadly not entirely true. Justin Forsyth, the Chief Executive of Save the Children UK, was a former adviser to Tony Blair and was asked by the American branch to pass the award onto his former boss. He therefore had the opportunity to advise the USA that it was inappropriate and chose not to do so. Even had the US branch acted autonomously, it was a very unwise action for an international charity.

    The saddest part of giving such an inappropriate recipient an award is that had Save the Children given it to someone like William Pooley, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29680400, for instance, it could have done itself a great deal of good and would have generated positive publicity. This is what I intend to say to STC when I present this petition.

    I have tried to respond to all those who have written to me, though one or two emails bounced back for some reason. So I am sorry if you were one of those. Thank you for all your support. If we can give this one last effort I can then work out when and how it would be best to deliver the petition.



  • Ba'al Zevul

    Footnote to Andrew/Aliyev: In April 2013, the Mail reported that he had flown out to Azerbaijan ten times in the previous 7 years. Since then he’s been there at least twice more, despite no longer having any official reason to do so. On the last occasion, he met there with Bob Dudley, CEO of BP. Coincidentally, one of Dudley’s visits to Baku – I think this one- coincided with a trip by Blair’s former charter jet – at the time almost exclusively used by him – G-CEYL. If Blair accompanied him, he was remarkably quiet about it. Blair is now advising the consortium, including the Azeri government, putting together the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, bringing Azeri oil to Italy.

    Just sayin’.

  • Republicofscotland

    In the deranged, world of Jim Murphy, he promises 1000 more nurses over and above what the SNP propose,(In Scotland only)if you vote Labour, but what Murphy has forgotten is this.

    This is a campaign for a general election in London, Westminster, the UK, call it what you will. The Scottish Health Service is funded and overseen from Holyrood by an entirely separate parliament and government which will be come up for election in 16 months’ time.

    So how can Murphy promise a 1000 more nurses, when health is a devolved matter, and the Labour branch in Scotland aren’t in power,the answer is he can’t.

    Its a complete fabrication, aimed at fooling the public into believing Labour and Murphy actually care about, the NHS.

  • Iain Orr

    Puzzled @ 7.58 am raised the important issue of postal ballots and the next election. My impression is that under current electoral rules there is no requirement to record numbers of postal ballots by subdivisions within the constituency (wards, individual polling stations) or to show the number of postal ballots cast for each candidate (just the total number of postal/ spoiled ballots for the constituency as a whole). I assume that any changes would require legislation, of which there is no chance until the next parliament.

    I predict that in a number of constituences the percentage of postal ballots will be unusually high; and losing candidates may feel they have been beaten by those with more efficient shenanigans than their own resources or lack of morality allowed them to organize. In order to have a better-informed and less partisan post-election debate on our voting system,I hope pollsters will start to include questions about whether voting will be in person or by post (and, if the latter, why?) Exit polls should also include a selection of postal voters and ask them how many days before 7 May 2015 their ballot was posted. Last minute revelations or arguments cannot affect votes that have already been cast.

  • Mary

    Perhaps Murphy would like to apply his powers here as he appears to be in charge.

    6 January 2015
    Rise in Scots NHS staff absent due to mental health issues
    The RCN wants more investment in the future of Scotland mental health workforce

    Thousands of Scottish NHS staff have been signed off work with mental health problems, figures reveal.

    A total of 8,540 staff were absent in 2013/14 – up 7% on the 7,975 signed off in 2012/13.


  • glenn_uk

    @Iain Orr: The postal ballot rule bothers me too – almost as much as having a personally identifying number on each ballot, so that they can be x-ref’d by the poll-workers with my personal registration details.

    At the last election, where I was invigilating the count, postal votes were all mixed in with the rest of ballots, making them indistinguishable from regular cast ballots. This appears to be the standard practice (introduced by Neo-Labour).

    In some patriarchal households, measures could be taken to ensure votes were cast the “right way”, and this should be of serious concern. In particularly tight-knit communities – dare I say, some of those with an ethnic persuasion – entire sections might be given over to a favoured candidate. Particularly if the “Community Leader” had come to an understanding with that candidate.

    But the way postal votes are deliberately mixed in, ensures we can never work on stats to appreciate the extent of potentially undemocratic practices.

  • Iain Orr

    @ Glenn_uk – You spell out some of my concerns very clearly. I have no doubt that postal ballot fraud was a factor in the 2005 election in Blackburn. Craig, as a candidate, may have better recall than I do of the worryinging signs. There was, of course, the confirmed evidence of postal ballot fraud in earlier local elections in Blackburn, leading to prison sentences for (if I remember correctly) two Labour Councillors.

  • lysias

    I think it was already pretty clear that the “well-known prime minister” to whom Virginia Roberts had been pimped out was Tony Blair, but I think just about all doubt has now been removed. New York Daily News: Attorney Alan Dershowitz ‘categorically’ denies sex with 17-year-old in move to ‘protect his reputation’:

    But the scandal churned up a report by The Daily Mail on Tuesday that Epstein kept a little black book containing contact numbers for powerhouse pols like Michael Bloomberg and Bill Clinton, ex-British prime minister Tony Blair and jailed Israeli leader Ehud Olmert, as well as A-listers like Mick Jagger, model Angie Everhart, actress Elizabeth Hurley and Donald Trump’s ex-wife Ivana.

    To be fair, Olmert was also a prime minister, but I think it’s obvious that Blair is the one who could be called “a well-known prime minister” in a filing to a U.S. court.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    There have been a number of posts on here about the NHS. Moreover, the travails of some NHS hospitals have been hitting the headlines over the last couple of days.

    It has been said that those hospitals’ problems are due to unprecedentedly heavy calls on their Accident and Emergency departments, due to some extent to people experiencing difficulty in getting timely appointments to see their GP.

    I have a couple of questions for this blog’s self-declared experts on the NHS:

    1/.Why is it so difficult for people to get to see their GP in timely fashion?

    2/. Who or what is responsible for this state of affairs?

    3/. What suggestions are there for remedying this state of affairs?

    4/. What connection – if any – do commenters see between this state of affairs and the alleged creeping privatisation of the NHS?

    Thank you.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Lysias (19h59)

    “To be fair, Olmert was also a prime minister, but I think it’s obvious that Blair is the one who could be called “a well-known prime minister” in a filing to a U.S. court.”

    You think it’s “obvious” it’s Tony Blair.

    Could you explain your reasoning, please?


  • Herbie

    Order out of chaos.

    Run the thing down using shit managers. Plaster the chaos all over media. Sack doctors and consultants who speak out.

    Suggest that the only way to restore order is to privatise it.

    Trebles all round.

    Did the same thing with the railways.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Lysias (19h59)

    I read the following in the link (the New York Daily News)you provided with your post at 19h59:

    “Roberts, identified in court papers as Jane Doe #3, claims Epstein pimped her out to “many other powerful men, including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders.”

    But Roberts cites just two names in her request to be included in a six-year-old lawsuit against Epstein brought by two other women who claim they were forced to become his sex slaves — Dershowitz and the Duke of York.”

    Do you have any ideas as to why Ms Roberts should mention only the Duke of York and Alan Dershowitz and none of the other alleged “powerful men”?

    Why – do you think – did she hold back from naming some or all of the people falling into those other categories of “powerful men”?

    Thanks for your insights.

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