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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  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    You are obviously unwilling – or unable – to answer the questions I put to you.

    You are a complete and utter fraud.

    Furthermore, I do not believe that you read Greats at Oxford, nor that you served as an officer in the US Navy.


  • lysias

    I will make an exception, and respond to you this one time.

    Why should I — or anybody else — care what you believe?

  • Mary

    Get lost troll. You don’t give a stuff about the NHS. You are here just to divert and distract, even to the extent of destroying the blog and intimidating any newcomers who might be thinking of commenting.

  • Anon


    “They must have some agenda to demonstrate to us, the 99%, how the 1% are rich and getting richer.

    I watched neither.”

    If you had watched then you would know that the only agenda was to show how revolting they are.

  • glenn_uk

    @Habbabkuk , 22:00 “

    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?

    While not being a self declared expert, perhaps I could take a stab at this. This situation – and those which you identify as related – are perhaps due to targets. Targets which require nobody to have to wait more than a certain period following the booking of their appointment, and rewards for a practice based on these metrics.

    Those targets would be compromised if someone asked for an appointment, only to be told they would have to wait X number of days. But the same indicators would be made against these targets, if someone asked for an appointment in a fortnight. The figures would indicate that 14 days passed following the booking of an appointment. The targets do not seem to allow for deferred appointments at the choice of the patient.

    As a result, the GP setup is rewarded for seeing the patient as soon as possible after booking. The consequence of that, is nobody is allowed to book appointments in advance.

    If you want an appointment it must be for the same day. Tell them you’d actually like it tomorrow, they’ll say call back at 8am the next day. You call back, and either the line is engaged, or when you get through the only appointment is at an inconvenient time (if one is available at all).

    Just briefly, since the rest more or less follow:

    2/ The target-driven, management results orientated processes within the NHS. Targets will end up driving the entire system, if not meticulously thought through with the best intentions (rather than the most impressive figures) being sought.

    3/ Allow for appointments at some suitable conjuncture. Only measure how far away people were from their required appointment, rather than the time between booking and seeing the patient, if that is included as a target.

    I’ll leave 4/ to those with proper information, rather than my mere intuition and attempts at reasoning.


    Just to add – GP practices can show impressive targets, even if nobody gets to see them in a timely fashion, because all patients who successfully make an appointment will see a GP that day.

    If a GP is not going to be available, you do not get to make an appointment at all, and have to try your luck the next day – immediately as the surgery opens. This is not terribly convenient for anyone unable to continuously call in between 08:00 and 08:20, at which time all that day’s slots (regardless of how suitable the time might be) will have gone.

  • glenn_uk

    @Lysias : “Naomi Klein’s new book does not make Branson look very good at all.

    Nor does Tom Bower’s book, “Branson: Behind the Mask”. This only came out in 2014, yet was being sold off (cheaply!) by my local library already. Wonder why they got rid of this new hardback so fast?

    Reading Naomi Klein’s latest book right now as it happens, there are some good interviews with her about it on The Majority Report ( http://majority.fm/ ) . You can find it in the archives, together with a lot of interesting stuff – it’s consistently excellent.

  • Tony M

    There has been a ‘trash the NHS’ story, per day, from the Broken Broadcasting Corporation, in the ship-wrecked ‘Flagship’ Mis-Reporting Scotland too, for so long now, that the ‘News’ is easily mistaken for a Repeat of Casualty. But this anti-NHS sickness is seriously impinging on far more important coverage of football; over-grown kids and their homo-erotic ball play, and those profiting from it, have slipped down from occupying their ‘normal’ allocation of up to three-quarters of ‘News’ air-time, to just slightly more than half. One solution for the BBC’s hard-pressed scrofulous and scurvy galley-slaves, bent over the spinning machinery, in uncharted waters with such broad diversity of subject matter, might be to have the Weather sponsored by the Nu-Lab Mafia and presented by that other BBC fixture Prof. J. Murphy BA (Failed) – he’s pathetically football-daft, and highly dangerous to the nation’s health certainly – how lucky could they be finding all that seems to matter to them, all their obsessions, personified in this one lugubrious plank.

    The BBC is incapable of reform, it just becomes more despicable with every day that passes, it’s conduct is disgraceful and unforgiveable, I expect the staff know now that the end will come soon, and are simply looting the public purse for what get fro it, for the axe must soon fall, and the much-relieved people will not mourn its passing.

  • lysias

    ‘Sex slave’ who claims she was forced to sleep with Prince Andrew was ‘promised to be looked after if she kept quiet’:

    The ‘sex slave’ who claims she was forced to sleep with Prince Andrew was promised she would ‘be looked after’ if she kept quiet, bombshell court documents allege.

    Virginia Roberts said she was contacted by lawyers acting for billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein just a week after she was interviewed by the FBI about allegations of sex abuse at his Florida mansion.

    Epstein’s legal team ‘tracked her down’ to Australia, leaving her ‘terrified’, before apparently trying to secure her silence, according to a transcript of a telephone interview she had with lawyers in 2011.

    Miss Roberts said she was warned any of the victims who did not comply would be smeared as ‘drug addicts and prostitutes’.

    Think Epstein’s lawyer Dersh was involved?

  • OldMark

    I have the impression that, for you, Mr Dershowitz’s views on torture makes it more likely that Ms Jane Doe #3’s allegations about him are true.

    Or am I mistaken?

    Habba-the veracity of Ms Jane Doe #3’s allegations about Dershowitz and others are not yet proven, but some of Dershowitz’s explanations of his actions made in his counter claim don’t exactly ring true. Take this for example-

    Second, Jane Doe #3 has alleged that she had sex with me in Mr. Epstein’s house
    in New Mexico. That is a deliberate lie. I was in that house only once while it was under
    construction. My wife, daughter and I were driven there by a New Mexico businessman and his wife, whom we were visiting. Mr. Epstein was not there. Nor were there any young girls visible at any time. We were shown around the house for about an hour and then drove back with our friends.

    For someone like Dershowitz to waste time like this on such a pointless excursion to a building site seems most unlikely.

  • giyane


    As in Prescott’s Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s 3 jags, Cameron is also Prime Minister to the Board of Deputies.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “I will make an exception, and respond to you this one time.

    Why should I — or anybody else — care what you believe?”

    No need for you to care.But you should care about explaining what your posts mean when asked.

    My first question was why it was “obvious” to you that the former PM mentioned in the under- age sex scandal was Tony Blair and not Ehud Barak.

    A perfectly fair question which you seem unable to answer.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Dershowitz’s views on torture show that he is rather elastic about his principles.”

    but do not prove in any way that he was involved in under-age sex.

    Or have I missed a blindingly obvious connection, Lysias?

    PS – don’t bother to answer if too difficult. 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “For someone like Dershowitz to waste time like this on such a pointless excursion to a building site seems most unlikely.”

    Come on, OldMark, be serious. You would have to know Dershowitz personally in order to make that claim.

    And anyway, the question is not whether Dershowitz knew/knows Epstein, it’s whether he engaged in under-age sex or not.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “Get lost troll. You don’t give a stuff about the NHS. You are here just to divert and distract, even to the extent of destroying the blog and intimidating any newcomers who might be thinking of commenting.”

    And you fuck yourself, you hypocrite.

    Glenn_UK, although he doesn’t keep going on about OUR NHS, at least essays an answer. You, on the other hand, are unable to do so.

    Or perhaps unwilling – probably because you know that the shitty system for getting an appointment with your GP – which is at the bottom of the current chaos in Accident and Emergency – has NOTHING TO DO with the “creeping privatisation” you’re always going on about.

    The wonderful “OUR NHS” you’re always on about is – as far as the frontline GP service is concerned – SHIT.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    Thanks for your thoughts – it’s rather typical that you should respond whilst others – usually so eloquent on the subject of OUR NHS – keep silent or merely offer insults.

    But a question: can I take it that in the UK you cannot just go along to a GP’s surgery and wait to be seen?

    Now, in Continental countries, GPs usually operate in the following way: thye have a surgery for a few (fixed) hours every day- usually for two or three hours – and in addition you can ring up your GP and ask for an appointment which you will get if he is not already full for that day (in which case you can biik for the next day or the day after or simply go along to his surgery during those two or three hours I mentioned.

    I would add, furthermore, that there are also specialist GPs in a number of areas, eg, in pediatry or gynaecology; whereas in the UK, if I understand correctly, you have to try to see a “general” GP who will then refer you to a specialist pediatrician or gynaecologist in a hospital if he/she thinks it necessary (which means that you lose more time).

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    Pigs will learn to fly before Mary is weaned off her pet obsessions, attempts to answer cogently instead of shouting “troll!” and expresses willingness to admit that others may have a point.

    So “winning friends and influencing people” doesn’t come into it. In any case, there are others who read my posts besides Mary and your good self.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    I do hope that, with the general election approaching and the political parties apparently having started their election campaigns, there will henceforth be much more discussion on here of internal UK political, social and economic themes.

    More difficult than ranting on about foreign policy issues but of rather more relevance to our everyday lives and those of our children.

  • lysias

    Sydney Morning Herald: Bill Clinton drawn into Prince Andrew sex scandal:

    Washington: Former US president Bill Clinton has been drawn into the scandal surrounding Virginia Roberts’ allegations she was instructed to have sex with Prince Andrew by American financier Jeffrey Epstein.

    Court documents show Mr Clinton was one of many high-profile friends of Epstein to visit his private island and fly on his jet, and that Epstein’s phone directory showed he had 21 phone numbers for Mr Clinton or his aides.

    The documents suggest no wrong-doing on Mr Clinton’s behalf, but they have set off speculation – particularly on the part of conservative online media – about the potential impact of the scandal on Hillary Clinton’s presumed run for the White House.

    “Bubba and the Palm Beach Pedophile” screams a headline on the Drudge Report, the conservative blog made famous by its Monica Lewinsky scandal revelations, in a headline today.

    “The [flight logs] clearly show that Clinton frequently flew with Epstein aboard his plane, then suddenly stopped – raising the suspicion that the friendship abruptly ended, perhaps because of events related to Epstein’s sexual abuse of children,” says a statement lodged by Ms Roberts’ lawyer in a civil case.

    “This information certainly leads one to believe that Clinton might well be a source of relevant information and efforts to obtain discovery from him were reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence,” it went on.

    In an interview with the Daily Mail in 2011, Ms Roberts, who was 17 when she met Epstein and claims she became his “sex slave”, describes meeting Mr Clinton while with Epstein, but says she was never “lent out” to him, as she says she was to Prince Andrew.

  • Iain Orr

    I’m not sure that a blog like this is the best place for detailed answers to the questions Habbabkuk has been putting repeatedly. Most of us are not expert in the details of institutional changes to the NHS or in medical economics; but most of us have some personal or family/friends experience of good and bad aspects of care within the NHS. Few of us are in a position to assess international comparisions.

    Glenn’s was a useful reminder that targets applied mechanically unfailingly result in perverse incentives. Stupid consequences flow from people and institutions being judged purely by targets, with no attention to values – see Onora O’Neill’s Reith Lectures on Trust and Accountability. One of many examples from my time in the FCO: when in charge of a £1 million fund for small environmental projects, there was considerable pressure to approve a project with demonstrable weaknesses because if I did not do so we would be “underspent”.

    Here’s a personal and recent NHS example. Before Christmas I was in an A & E department and was not seen by the people who mattered for 6 hours. I was told at 19.00 that on balance they thought it best for me to stay in overnight for further tests. It then took a further 6 hours before they found me a bed (precisely at 01.05 am). Clearly targets were not met and the system was under pressure. But, as a result of “delay” I got the right diagnosis and the right treatment. I could have been dead if the decision had been not to keep me in for tests to avoid breaching “getting out of A & E and into a ward” targets.

    I’m delighted at the treatment I had, but worried at the strains in the system.

    Amongst the reasons for the strains are: PFI hospital projects (some in the wrong places and pushing NHS Trusts towards bankruptcy); failure to train enough UK doctors and nurses and finding that we need to bribe those from developing counties to come here [leading to considerable cultural dissonance between East End patients and Nigerian consultants]; reducing social care budgets so that people are stuck in hospital when they could be healthier, happier and more cheaply at home.

    We do well internationally on health care (much better than the USA), but we have our faults. Who but a fearing-fat-cat-media Brown-led government would ever have agreed to the last GPs contract? Wanting to do better is more productive than trumpeting how good we are. The same goes for many of our institutions. Our armed forces and intelligence services are great – think of WW2 Tommies and “The Imitation Game” – but wouldn’t they be even better if not tarnished with (ocasional) racism and complicity in torture?

  • Macky

    Iain Orr;”I’m not sure that a blog like this is the best place for detailed answers to the questions Habbabkuk has been putting repeatedly”

    LOL!! I’m beginning to suspect that all ex-FCO people are not too hot on perception !

    But yes this Blog is not good enough for Habbakuk, so best he goes elsewhere !

  • Herbie


    Alan Dershowitz claims in his declaration:

    “that Jane Doe #3 is a serial liar, whose uncorrobrated word should never be credited. She has claimed to have been with former President Clinton on Mr. Epstein’s island. She has provided specific and detailed information about Mr. Clinton’s activities on the island. Yet, on information and belief, I have been advised that Secret Service records would confirm that President Clinton has never set foot on that island.”


    “Court documents show Mr Clinton was one of many high-profile friends of Epstein to visit his private island and fly on his jet, and that Epstein’s phone directory showed he had 21 phone numbers for Mr Clinton or his aides.”


    There are many other news media accounts saying the same thing. They may not be accurate. Dunno.

    It’s not absolutely clear whether these flight records just show that Clinton flew in Epstein’s plane or that they specifically show that Clinton flew to Epstein’s private island. Presumably there’s a destination in the flight logs.

    The flight logs were supposed to be attached to this record of the original case as MM but can’t find them.

    But it should be a simple matter to see whether they say Clinton flew to the island or just flew more generally.

    WARNING: Some graphic detail:


  • Tony M

    GP Surgeries in Scotland (I’m extrapolating from one example), cannot fund enough GP posts, at salaries many would be prepared to work for, they have vacancies but few takers. Out of hours cover has been mostly withdrawn. Retirements, suicides, stress and depression have all taken their toll on former GPs at this practice, and the underlying reasons for difficulty in finding replacements seem mostly financial.

    It is no doubt also the case that very many people are experiencing real physical ill-health, mental health problems and complex combinations of the two. What the NHS seems to lack, and which would aid GPs is specialist diagnosticians, diagnosis seems a rather hit and miss affair, serious conditions, easily identified if the right test is done can go for years undetected, there is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing for specialist testing of blood samples for example, on a process of elimination, single-test basis, followed by another different test, rather than several likely, possible or related ones being carried out at once, so there’s an appointment, wait, results appt, appt, wait, results appt, cycle. Also too, and this is a big factor in patient and GP stress: if left alone to manage their known health problems, with a sufficient income to merely exist and stay alive, with a modicum of dignity, and not harassed at every turn by the DWP and parasites like ATOS, many would not be driven to besiege their doctors in something close to existential terror for help to get these sadistic people and agencies off their back. A significant part of GP practice patient throughput resulted from the fact that many felt obliged to keep in regular and unnecessary contact through appointments with their GP, as the DWP quite bizarrely assume that if someone is not a regular attendee at the doctors, despite lifelong conditions or poor prognosis, they cannot be quite so ill after all, and have been sanctioned or had their benefits peremptorily stopped, simply for not having seen there doctor for a while. Even if such were not still DWP policy, the memory of it does and will still linger. Many of the present crises in the health service no doubt have their origins in the barking-mad and vicious policies, when at the the DWP, of James Purnell particularly but also Ian Duncan Smith, which seemed calculated to put the system, hospital staff, GPs and patients under maximum, and intolerable stresses.

  • OldMark

    ‘Come on, OldMark, be serious. You would have to know Dershowitz personally in order to make that claim.’

    Read again Dershowitz’s excuse for his visit to Epstein’s incomplete New Mexico pad; one can quite reasonably judge it to be highly implausible without knowing the man personally.

    Do you really think a man as busy as the one described in this puff piece would waste a couple of hours just dawdling around, and travelling to and from, a building site owned by his dodgy friend ?


  • John Goss

    Glenn Uk, and Iain Orr, regarding postal ballots – my concerns too. But even worse is computerising registered votes. This was what allowed George W. Bush to be elected despite losing, thanks to some ingenious software introduced by Karl Rove. I think all the scrutineers should be vetted to make sure they do not have interests outside the party they purport to support.

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