Daily archives: April 7, 2015

STV Debate Unionist Fit-Up

It feels its like the referendum all over again. The STV debate had a very peculiar audience, where the Labour and Tory all join together warmly to applaud unionist points, and Jim Murphy got an enthusiastic round of applause before he even started speaking.

I wondered how on earth they got an audience so completely unrepresentative of Scottish opinion, and the answer was not hard to find. The audience has been selected “based both on current opinion polls and the last general election result.”

Not the Holyrood election, not the referendum, but an election five years ago where about 75% of the electorate voted for the Unionist parties, and where the Labour Party was polling twice as well as it is now. On top of which, STV do not reveal what relative weighting they have given to the last general election and to recent opinion polls. It certainly looks like the greatest weight was placed on the last election result.

So we have a stitch-up where Nicola is responding to an audience completely unrepresentative of Scottish opinion today, and where unionism, Labour and the Lib Dems are all vastly over-represented. Do not think this is accidental.

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I spent a few hours with Julian today in the Ecuador Embassy. It was the first time I had seen him since moving back to Scotland, so it was good to catch up and a great deal to talk about.

We had some good ideas for future projects, on which you will be seeing more as things develop. You will be pleased to hear that Julian himself is optimistic and very sharp, with sense of humour surviving, although obviously this close confinement, with no access to fresh air and exercise whatsoever, is becoming very wearing. It seems to me impossible to argue that the response to Julian is not disproportionate, especially the ludicrous waste of money paying so many policemen to stand around doing nothing 24 hours a day. How would it hurt the British government to agree to a protocol for daily exercise? Their position is vindictive and inhumane in the extreme.

I had not realised that Julian had so much Scottish ancestry or quite so recently. After independence, he will definitely be entitled to a Scottish passport!

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All You Need to Know

The Guardian reports that today Blair “did not pretend to be Miliband’s biggest fan, and he was notably more enthusiastic about Jim Murphy, the Blairite whom he described as the “great new leader of the Scottish Labour party”.”

How the right wing shill Murphy – a man well to the right of Thatcher on both economic and foreign policy – came to be chosen as Scottish labour leader will be a fascinating chapter in historians’ discussions on the strange death of that party.

I gatecrashed Murphy’s acceptance speech on becoming leader, at Surgeons Hall in Edinburgh, a few months ago. I discovered that his entire audience were paid apparatchiks of the Labour Party. I interviewed several as a journalist (I am an NUJ member – and none recognised me). Of the eleven I spoke to, not a single one had ever heard of the Henry Jackson Society. Which says something about the level of political education of Labour functionaries.

It also explains how we came to the remarkable situation that the result from Eastwood on May 7 will be awaited with much more anxiety in CIA HQ in Virginia and Mossad HQ in Tel Aviv, than it will anywhere in Scotland. That says something very remarkable about what has happened to the Labour Party.

I see that in “journalists” questioning Blair, nobody asked the obvious question, which is who was paying for this particular speech. Hitachi, my guess. He was asked why he is not sharing a platform with Miliband in this election. The answer is of course that not even Miliband is quite that stupid.

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