John McNally 114

John McNally has been selected by the membership to fight Falkirk for the SNP. I was able to congratulate him yesterday and offer any assistance I can give in the campaign. I spent a total of ten hours locked in various small rooms with John as we waited to take our turn at each of the four hustings meetings in the constituency, and he is a genuinely decent man who will make an excellent MP. He was not just courteous, but markedly kind and helpful to me as a newcomer to the constituency. It was evident he was not only a Councillor, but a man deeply rooted in his community. There was nobody we met during the process of whom John could not tell me not just who they were, but about their family for several generations.

I will not pretend that I am not still stunned by the strength of hostility of the SNP highheidyins towards me, and my removal from the ballot. But to put that in context, here is the email I sent to the leader of the SNP group on Falkirk Council on 12 November:

Dear Cecil,

[Name deleted] …gave me your email address. I believe she mentioned to you that I am looking to stand as an SNP candidate at the forthcoming Westminster election, and very interested indeed in the prospect of campaigning in Falkirk, which I strongly believe we can win.

But I would like to make absolutely clear that if there is a hardworking and qualified local person who wishes to be the candidate and who would have a good chance to win, I would not want to come in from outside and spoil somebody else’s hopes. Does that make sense?

As you may know, I am a former British Ambassador and former Rector of the University of Dundee, and campaigned very hard during the referendum campaign both speaking at meetings and online. I have been an SNP member since 2011. Before that I was a Lib Dem but resigned in disgust! My application to be approved as a candidate is lodged with SNP HQ. I realise they are swamped at the moment and hope we will be able to find a way to get that dealt with in good time. I contacted [name deleted – a MSP] who suggested that if I could get definite interest from a constituency, that may help prioritise processing the application. That seems a bit chicken and egg as to which comes first (not a Jim Murphy reference)


The reply of the same date was:

Dear Craig,

Thanks for your e mail, it is good to know that there is interest in Falkirk, as it will in deed be a key seat.

We are in a very different position this time round for the Westminster Elections, and would not discourage giving members a choice of potential candidates


I therefore went forward despite my strong reservation, on the express understanding that the members wanted to have a wide choice. But from the first time I met John McNally, I was having qualms of conscience about standing against someone who is the kind of local citizen, not a career politician, who ought to be an MP. That is why I can say, that irrespective of my continuing concerns about the values of some of the central SNP establishment, the local outcome is the right one for the people of Falkirk. I shall certainly be back there occasionally to campaign for John McNally.

PS By coincidence today is the anniversary of the victory of the great Lord George Murray against the Hanoverians in the Battle of Falkirk, 1746. I don’t think the family had been back since, until this campaign. 🙂 There is an old stained glass window installed in the shopping mall in the centre of Falkirk, one level down. It includes a large portrait of George Murray. The interesting thing is that this portrait, from the 1830’s – which is a fantastic piece of glasswork – shows in great detail his kilt, which is identical in absolutely every respect to the Murray of Atholl tartan in my own kilt. One of the anti-national myths perpetuated in Scotland is that kilts are a recent romantic invention. They are not, they date back at least seven hundred years and the modern “small kilt” at least 240 years. Part of the myth is that the clan tartans were invented by weaving mills in the 1890’s. This window is incontrovertible proof that is not true either.

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114 thoughts on “John McNally

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  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    “When it comes to business and personal debt, Greece is actually in pretty good shape; much better shape than the UK, where personal debt is through the ceiling.”

    I half agree with that: UK personal debt is probably higher than Greek personal debt but the real point is whether people are able to keep up with repayments. This is broadly the case in the UK but less so in Greece given that (mainly) public sector salaries and pensions have been cut in nominal terms. The same probably applies to business debt.

    You are correct in saying that it is essentially the Greek state which is effectively bankrupt; your post overall echoes what many Greeks (and others) say about Greece, ie, “a poor country with rich people”.

  • Komodo

    NOOOO…don’t try that! Put it into the address bar and delete ‘s’ from ‘https’. I’ll swear I copied the working link and it changed. Aaargh.

  • Puzzled

    “Then this lame attempt in projection with the “villager” et al signature trademark, we all know who are the sick agents stalking this blog and elsewhere on the internet.”

    CM may just be allowing these satanically cunning devils to out themselves, seeing that people are now able to see through an sos rifkind thundering away in the Commons about an al-Ghouta false flag.

  • Puzzled

    BTW-I have to concede, I have also been made a je suis right Charlie. They always Zapruder for posterity, like those breakdancers in the NY car park.

  • BrianFujisan

    ot..For this Page….. I tried many groups..For Rabbie Burns. All had full Bill…including a certain Lady.. Whom seen Craig Speak at a Burn’s all of fucking places, Ghana…What

  • Mary

    Netanyahu and Europe’s Far Right find Common Ground after the Paris Attacks

    by Jonathan Cook / January 19th, 2015

    Israel has been having its own internal debate about the significance of the Paris killings this month, with concerns quite separate from those expressed in Europe.

    While Europeans are mired in debates about free speech and the role of Islam in secular societies, Israelis generally – and their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in particular – view the attacks as confirming Israel’s place as the only safe haven for Jews around the world.

    The 17 deaths in Paris have reinforced Israeli suspicions that Europe, with its rapidly growing Muslim population, is being dragged into a clash of civilisations it is ill-equipped to combat.

    More specifically, the targeting of a kosher supermarket that killed four Jews has heightened a belief that Jews outside Israel are in mortal danger.

    If surveys are to be believed, such anxieties are shared in Europe’s Jewish communities. One published last week, and widely publicised in Israel, found that 56 per cent of British Jews think manifestations of anti-semitism in Britain are comparable to those of the 1930s.

    As one calmer Israeli analyst pointed out, the findings suggested “a disconnect from reality which borders on hysteria”.


  • Ba'al Zevul

    One published last week, and widely publicised in Israel, found that 56 per cent of British Jews think manifestations of anti-semitism in Britain are comparable to those of the 1930s.

    This is the Gideon Falter production I referred to earlier. More details here. Whatever its propaganda value to the Israelis, there is much doubt about its validity even among Jews.

    The CST is generally speaking a pretty gungho pro-Jewish group, which amounts to a community police force on occasion. Antisemitism is pretty well its business.

    Community Security Trust deputy director of communications Dave Rich dismissed CAA’s poll as ‘essentially repeat[ing]… the findings of last year’s ADL Global 100 Survey: a stubborn minority of British people – between 10 per cent and 20 per cent – clings onto stereotypical ways of thinking about Jews’. ‘This does not’, he added, ‘necessarily translate into conscious or active dislike of Jews… So much for the numbers’. He emphasised, as against CAA’s alarmism, that ‘most of the time, most British Jews do not encounter antisemitism and are able to live whatever Jewish lives they choose’.[30] In a radio interview, CST director of communications Mark Gardner commented of the survey that ‘the methodology is not perhaps as good as it should be’. He continued:

    The survey asks seven different questions, and it says if you answer ‘yes’ to one of them, then that makes you some kind of antisemite’… and 45% of British people are therefore antisemites. And that’s not the case… For example, ‘I would be unhappy if a family member married a Jew’ [this was one of the statements polled]. Is it antisemitic if you say ‘yes’?… If a Jewish person says, ‘I would be unhappy if a family member married a non-Jew’, would that make that Jewish person a racist?’

  • Republicofscotland

    Should you not be asking “Silvio” to put the above post (on Charlie Hebdo) on the appropriate thread and in the meanwhile mark it as being under moderation?

    After all, that’s what you did to me when I posted a couple of items wrt Charlie Hebdo on the wrong thread.

    Yeah you would want it removed, being an establishment shill.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Republicofscotland (re. Silvio’s post)

    “Yeah you would want it removed, being an establishment shill.”

    No, not removed – just put onto the correct thread. Do you have a problem with that?
    Surely you’re not in favour of diversion and deviation?

  • Republicofscotland

    “Surely you’re not in favour of diversion and deviation?”

    Oh that’s right we wouldn’t want to stray on to the subject of Israel now would we.

  • glenn

    @Robert Crawford: “And, only one shop. Not exactly a budding entrepreneur.

    Odd comment, Robert – coming from one of the few people around here with whom I would not usually disagree.

    Given the current crop are entirely of the professional, political class, never having done an useful, honest day’s work in their collective lives, are the skills of an entrepreneur really such a political necessity ? Such that a single business owner (all other things being equal) should be rubbished by you in this fashion, by dint of that fact alone.

    It’s very hard to see where you’re coming from here. Is endless, preferably exponential growth such a given requirement, that anyone failing to demonstrate such abilities in business should be excluded?

    Appreciated, you have taken some flak over it, but it’s a rather fundamental position – and you apparently are defending it.

    Or are you of the GW Bush’s frame of thought, that if you haven’t already even made your first million or so, you can’t really be trying.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    True RobG , UK has massive levels of personal debts. Number of people declaring bankruptcy is just the tip of the iceberg. Greece , Ireland, Portugal and Spain are still in worse economic trouble than the UK though because they don’t have their own currency.

    Because the UK does have its own currency it can change interest rates and issue more money (which has the side effect of devaluing the currency and so any of its debts denominated in pounds sterling).

    If Greece gets into more debt it has to ask Germany and France to either give it loans or grants in Euros, or to get the European Central Bank to issue it with Euros. And Germany and France have imposed extremely harsh conditions for doing so, which have made austerity for Greece even worse than for Britain. Not that i believe half the “welfare reforms” are necessary – they’re about ideology and cutting taxes for big donors to party funds, not necessity.

  • Johnny

    I think they were scared you would suss them. Let’s face it the SNP are a party of big business and are favourable towards secret trade agreements. I wonder how long it will take for the mask to slip.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Talking of parties of big business, here’s Blair with Timmermans yesterday. Just long enough in Brussels, to get photographed grinning with all the EU’s grey eminences before fucking off to the WEF Davos financial-political circle jerk. There he will be addressing the awestruck masses on religious tolerance* (in the company of three speakers who actually know what they’re talking about) about an hour after this comment.

    For the manifestly lunatic Blair, it’s one long party, of course. Looks as if he’s just heard that Chilcot’s been delayed again. It has.

    *Make your cheque payable to: Tony Blair Faith Foundation, please. Not Windrush Ventures No.3 LP. Thank you.

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