Thursday, 24 November 2011

Who I'll be supporting and why

This is a blog of two halves. The first half I wrote before I attended a Scottish Labour leadership hustings, and the second half I wrote after.


I have letters, emails, leaflets and a pledge card strewn in front of me as I type, and the faces of the three hopefuls for the Scottish Labour leadership smile and reach out to me in carefully selected photographs. And I'm torn, not just between each option, but between bothering and not bothering.

In truth I will vote - I consider it a responsibility of membership - but the curious supporting nominations process that goes along with a Labour leadership election leaves me unsure of my vote's worth. The blocs are already aligned but, more worryingly, the blocs were aligned even before any of the candidates stood up and said what they planned to do. These allegiances are more feudal than democratic, and all they let me know is which way the wind is blowing; which is to say they do not help me at all.

Johann Lamont looks to have sewn up the lion's share of affiliate and constituency nominations, and has a decent showing of councillors so far. She's also clearly the front-runner, because she is saying absolutely nothing to me about policy in her written materials. The pledge card (for it is hers) couldn't identify her more strongly as the continuity candidate if it had Iain Gray's photo on it instead of hers. It screams loudly in the voice of John Smith House, with six pledges which literally give nothing away. I don't know Johann, and I think I've heard her speak maybe twice, but she has the highest mountain to climb in the hustings if she's going to win my vote.

Ken Macintosh has an impressive set of nominations himself. More councillors than anyone else, but also a decent showing in constituencies and affiliates. His materials are more open than Johann's, presumably because he is coming from behind in this front-runners' race. His media savvy shines through in the shaping of his messages and, heavens be praised, he's actually setting out some differential policy positions on public transport and the economy, straying into reserved territory a little but as others have proven, that's okay. His website and social media presence looks like he's hired some people who are very good at those things, which is a deliberately backhanded compliment.

Tom Harris was always going to struggle for nominations, and so it has proved. MSPs don't want a King Over the Water, and CLPs and affiliates won't back an outsider. Tom clearly has less money to spend, and I have no leaflet, no pledge card with his smiling visog on it. But I do have an email which is bold, antagonistic and insightful, and if not littered with policy suggestions, is certainly clearer than either of the others on the direction he wants to take the party. Tom's pragmatic New Labour credentials, for which he is so often criticised, shine through in the message that what we need is to win, becuse unless we win we can't do anything else. It's a deeply imperfect but compelling argument. Tom also gets social media in a way that neither of the others do, which is why he is far less cautious online than the others. He also has little to lose. No-one expects him to win.

So as I await the opportunity to hear the three in person, which I'm really hoping will help me make a choice, I am genuinely torn. I want to see the sort of radical policy shifts that I don't think Johann can deliver; I want us to be led by a strong, confident, robust debater that I'm not sure Ken can be; and I want a united Labour party that I don't think Tom can create.

We shall see.

One quick aside: in the excitement of the Scottish Labour review and its talk of all-member constituency meetings and a new openness in party decision-making, I was disappointed if not surprised to find that my CLP was one of the first to lodge a supporting nomination, without having consulted me or, presumably, any of its wider membership. Although I understand that the delegates system is democratic, we need to starting walking this "new openness" walk, and all-member CLP meetings are a key requirement in my view.


So now I'm writing after having attended the Edinburgh hustings. It was surprisingly good; I had expected rather more rigidity and distance than there was, and I hadn't expected such interesting and thought-provoking questions to be asked.

I should do another aside, unfair though it is to put it in that way, and say that the warm-up act - the deputy leadership hustings - was deeply encouraging too. Ian Davidson was strong and impressive, and Lewis Macdonald said some terrifically well-considered things about how to move forward. He was the dark horse for me, and would make a cracking deputy. But Anas Sarwar really does have the whole package, and persuaded me that he would really do a power of reforming good in the deputy role. Anas has my vote for the deputy leadership, though I suspect he doesn't need it.

As for the main event, well it perhaps cemented some of my earlier views. The messages were markedly different. Johann and Ken couldn't help but reel off their main supporting nominations, but Tom's lack of them quite evidently freed him from the politics of patronage, and surprisingly it worked in his favour. He made the same virtue of being outside the Holyrood group - a position which everyone presumes to be a disadvantage - and though he didn't explicitly go as far as pointing out the culpability of the current MSPs in the disaster of the May election, he pointed the way.

I asked a question which was perhaps a little blunt, about the bizarre drawing up of a pledge card for the last election which contained unexplained u-turns and poorly thought-through policy, and what assurances I could get that that would never happen again.

Johann honestly explained how the leadership team had come to its decisions on the key pledges while defending the good parts of the last manifesto; she took responsibility for the mistakes, and she asserted how she had learned lessons from it. Ken said he was surprised at Johann's defence of the last manifesto which led to such a convincing loss and described a vision of a more fully devolved party dealing with manifesto creation in a more localised way. Tom weighed in with both barrels telling me if I thought we lost because of the pledge card or the manifesto I was wrong - we had lost the election years before either were printed.

In truth these are all good answers,and I was encouraged that our policy development will change whatever the result in December, but Tom alone had fire in his belly and conviction on his sleeve.

Other questions touched - inevitably - on independence and the referendum, and here again were clear differences. While Ken reinforced his devolutionist position, and Tom came into his own in his blunt unionism, Johann tried to steer a middle course, and didn't quite manage it. And despite it being clear that in the room and in the party it was Johann and Ken's messages that were gaining most support, Tom's admonishment that we need a leader to appeal to those outside the party not within it rang louder and louder in my mind.

I'm not alone in Scottish Labour when I say that quite a lot of the things Tom Harris believes, I disagree with. I am not of his "wing" of the party and judging by the room and the nominations many others aren't either. But the leader is not the policy-making arm of the party and Tom has been clear that his approach to policy construction will be consensual. On that key basis, I think he has traction.

Crucially for me, where I find I do agree with him more emphatically by the day is in his solid, pragmatic, independent-minded view of what we need to do as a party to win the next election. And winning the next election, when all is said and done, is what we need our leader to do.

Earlier this year, when I first started writing things that Tom categorically disagreed with for his LabourHame website, he asked me in an email whether I was on Twitter, and I had to admit that while I was, he probably wouldn't be able to see me because after several  particularly feisty exchanges in 2010 I was fairly sure he had blocked me. So it is with some surprise and a feeling of optimism based in fundamental change that I set out my support for his leadership bid now.

In the end, I am focused on three Ps: policy, principle and pragmatism. On policy alone, Ken is the man for me. His positions and his presentational skills would make him a terrific manager for team Scottish Labour. On the basis of principle alone, Johann has the strength, the history and the fight to be the sort of leader I could slog my guts out for. But for the pragmatism to know that neither policy nor principle are worth anything if we are not engaged with and electable by the Scottish people, and for his capacity to embody both the policy positions and the principles we need to succeed, Tom pips them both for me.

While I know that all three candidates would make good Scottish Labour leaders, I shall be voting for Tom Harris.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. An interesting insight - I appreciate your candour as I've been struggling to make a decision myself.

    A question: do you think, having seen her close up, that Scotland would vote for Johann? Or is she a classic inward-looking Labour choice?

  3. Thanks Dave. Honestly, while I think Johann is a formidable politician who would probably take the fight to Salmond more than Gray has been able to, I don't think she's someone who will win many votes from the wider electorate. I hope I'm wrong.

  4. How has it come to a point where, like you and Ian Smart, I'm thinking of voting for Tom "bomber" Harris?

  5. Interesting analysis, Duncan. I think you've encapsulated many of my own thoughts on the leadership race, and how while Johann might be what my heart says is right, and Tom is what my head says we need, I think that leaves me with Ken. I'm still undecided, but glad to see that others share my dilemma.

  6. Hi Duncan in case my posts on Labour Hame don't get through I will post my response here.

    I am sorry Duncan you are so wrong on this and as any past attempts to educate have been moderated out so hopefully this will pass.

    The Scotland-UN Committee

    The Council of Europe was thereby forced to abide by its own rules, whether it liked it or not. The Vienna Declaration subsequently issued by the 1993 Summit - quite obviously influenced by the Scotland-UN submission, which had proposed certain international sanctions against the United Kingdom in the event of non-compliance – expressed the Council of Europe’s determination to ensure that all of its member states adhere without reservation to the commitments they have undertaken under its auspices.

    The Thatcher government, whose corrupt manipulation of the 1979 referendum was by now clear to everyone, was not amused by the Scotland-UN activities, to put it mildly. In reply to a parliamentary question at Westminster in 1989 by Dennis Canavan, MP (the only Labour politician to cooperate with Scotland-UN) Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had stated that she did not consider the matter of self-determination for Scotland to be cognisable by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Scotland-UN's campaign at the CSCE had clearly begun to bite).

    The heat was on the UK by now, and there was no longer any possibility of putting off reform of the Scottish political and administrative structure. This hot potato initially landed on the lap of the Conservative government under Prime Minister John Major, who had no time to do anything about it before he was out of office at the 1997 election. He was no doubt extremely thankful that the matter immediately bounced onto the lap of his Labour successor, Tony Blair, who had had no intention of doing anything about devolution, but was now forced to take action, whether he liked it or not. The lack of serious political opposition to the devolution legislation may seem surprising, but it merely reflects the fact that all the party leaderships at Westminster knew the background and were aware that it was an obligation that could not be avoided.

    I trust that you will now retract your insinuations.

  7. Retract my insinuations? You are presenting the opinion of a nationalist blog as if it were evidence. It isn't. It's a pathetic rewriting of history full of convenient holes like how Major "had no time" during the term and a half that he was in office! The fact is that absolutely nothing the UN said was binding on the UK with regard to Scottish devolution, but in your desperation to paint Labour as the bad guys you are prepared to argue black is white. It won't wash here.

  8. The Scotland-UN Committee Papers

    A full report will be possible only when the records of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Cabinet Office become available, but for the meantime this remains the only authentic account of how the devolution of political power to Scotland and the restoration of the Scottish Parliament came about.

    As you wish to ignore the facts and to call the Realm of Scotland a nationalist blog shows how out of touch with the truth the Labour party is.

  9. National Library of Scotland

    Open for anyone to view if you are interested in the facts.

  10. So please explain how Major got away with "not having time" in 7 years of premiership, while Blair chose to act in the first months of his premiership? Just one of a litter of holes in this utterly laughable story.

  11. Sorry for delay.

    Major had plenty of things on his mind without having to bother himself over Scotland.

    Prime Minister

    Neither Labour or Conservative parties focussed on Scotland except for party or London gain.

    How black gold was hijacked: North sea oil and the betrayal of Scotland

    Memorandum to the Council of Europe 1980

    As an aside in case you think we live in a democracy.

    Elective dictatorship

  12. So your argument is that the UN was applying heavy pressure on Major, but he had a lot on, so they were fine about him not doing anything; but when Blair came in he didn't have much on, so they forced him to act on devolution for Scotland. And you make this argument with a straight face despite devolution having been one of the key manifesto commitments from Labour in 1997?

    I doff my cap to you, you take revisionism to new heights. You are absolutely, categorically full of crap.

  13. Denial of facts seems to be your forte and reverting to insults sums up the Labour parties policy.

    Diomhair prt1

    For the past 50 years, Labour and Conservative Governments have shared a common agenda,- stopping Home Rulers and Scottish Nationalists from breaking up Britain, and making Scotland Independent.

  14. Haha. Denial? You're clearly an expert. Now please stop littering my blog with links to unsourced nonsense.

  15. Duncan, you have lost it entirely. Some of us stuck up for you on NNS and you reply with this kind of crazy self-deluding mince. I am forced to go along with the prevailing opinion, you are just an arse. You embody all that is wrong with the Labour Party and you will wither away with it. It can't come too soon for the the working class of Scotland. Did Kim Jung-Il's death affect you that much?
    Oh and by the way if the working class of Manchester or any other part of England want any advance, let them get up off their fucking lazy arses and work for it. We are fed up waiting for them. you are nothing but a useful idiot for the Tories. Game over.

  16. So you think these links prove something too do you Davey? What's your answer to my question about how Major got away with 7 years of "having a lot on" but Blair's immediate action was merely the result of UN pressure?

    I'm sorry you think I'm such a terrible failure, and I'm sorry you think so little of the people who live just a few hundred miles south of you. I'm afraid for me you just became yet another strident, abusive SNP voice in the blogosphere.

  17. "I'm afraid for me you just became yet another strident, abusive SNP voice in the blogosphere. "

    Duncan on this thread alone it is you who kicked of the strident abuse.

    "you take revisionism to new heights. You are absolutely, categorically full of crap. "

    That was you in reply to cynicalHighlander, who was making a valid comment very politely. Previous to that I see no evidence of "strident abuse." So the old saying comes to mind, "if you don't like the heat stay out of the kitchen."

    Talking of hypocrisy, I tied to get a question published on Labour Hame several times to you but it failed to pass the censors. I wonder if you will allow it here.

    1) Do you think Johann Lamont should apologise to the Parliament for misleading them on the false rape case she brought.

    2) Do you think she should explain to Scotland what her position on Trident is, given that the vast majority of the Scottish public are against it. And she was one.

    3) Will the Scottish branch of Labour make a full disclosure of the votes for Johann Lamont, in here leadership election as has been done by all other leadership elections?

  18. CynicalHighlander was making the point he has been making repeatedly since the dawn of time. He was refusing to acknowledge the vast holes in his argument and the complete lack of credible evidence to support it. His story is simply made up, and I said so in blunt terms.

    As for your "if you can't stand the heat" comment, I'm not going anywhere. That's an aphorism more suited to those running from an argument. I'm bringing my argument forward. I'm still in the kitchen.

    As far as your questions go, 1 is pathetic muckraking, and you'd be better employed trying to address the real problem she highlighted than trying to discredit her. As far as 2 is concerned, I'm sure Johann will set out her view in due course, and as for 3, I've called for the same myself, and I imagine it will be forthcoming.

  19. OK Duncan, credit where it is due - You left my post up when I had expected you to delete it immediately. It was more of a message to you personally than a blog post as such. I stand by it all other than describing you as an "arse". That was unseemly and I apologise to you for that.
    I am sorry you and your party are such a terrible failure, but failure is undoubtedly what you collectively are. I think highly of my working class comrades a few hundred miles to the south, just as I think no less highly of my working class comrades throughout the world. As I said before, we cant do their job for them, they need to educate, agitate and organise a damn sight more effectively than they have done over the last 35 years of my political activism. Sorry, but we cannot wait forever and we won't. You personally and every single member of the Labour Party are a hindrance to the advance of the working-class in Scotland. You are part of the problem, not part of the solution and the Tories have been relying on you for many years to unwittingly do their dirty work.
    Politics is the art of the possible and it is not possible to build socialism or anything approaching it in the UK. We can do it here and we will. And it will be without any input from the Labour Party.

  20. I hope to have some more time later tonight to rebut your pathetic dismissal (see I can do invective too) of Cynical Highlanders points if he does not come back to you himself.

  21. you said at 14:21...

    "As far as your questions go, 1 is pathetic muckraking"

    Can you explain to me why it is 'pathetic muckraking'to ask a straightforward question about what was said in the Scottish Parliament by the new leader of the Labour Party?
    Are you saying that she never said what is being questioned?
    Are you saying she was correct if/when she said it.
    If not then what is the problem with her just making a sincere apology to the Scottish Parliament and then everyone can move on.

  22. To follow on from what jafurn has just said. Why is it "pathetic muckraking" to refer to something that actually happened? To bring to the chamber a totally false allegation about a rape case that happened in 2005, and make it sound as if it had just happened, is that really the standard of debate you wish for Labour and the Scottish Parliament?

    As to "and you'd be better employed trying to address the real problem she highlighted than trying to discredit her. " No one knows what exactly the real point was, lets remember who was in power at the time. Your defence of your position and that of Lamont is feeble and predictable. It does no credit to you or the Labour party and especially the new Scottish leader. A very poor and desperate beginning of the end.

    Your attempted rebuttal of "if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen" is just juvenile. You guys must have a special school for spinners.

    I see tom Harris has continued with the "strident abuse" you are so fond of on Labour Hame. He has pressed the censoring button again, what cowardice from one so loud and strident.

  23. Davey, I appreciate your apology, thank you. I can understand, if not agree with, your view of the Labour party, and I guess your support for the SNP must be of the hold-your-nose variety because they are no saviours of the working class. But you believe independence can help, so fair play to you.

    A question for you then: what happens when Scots vote against independence in 2014, or whenever Eck deigns to allow them their say? Will the Labour party and the UK still be dismissed by you as a route to your aim? Will you ally with a fully left-wing party, or will you stick with the SNP and live to fight for independence another day?

    I'd be genuinely interested to know.

  24. Jafern, Duncan Macn: Johann Lamont's point was that there has been a 14 per cent increase in the number of rapes and attempted rapes reported to the police while the number of prosecutions has dropped by 31 per cent. She referenced a newspaper story in good faith which later turned out not to be fully sourced, though neither the COPFS nor the Evening Times have stated that it was a false story, and such reporting is by necessity unable to reveal the identities or details of victims or alleged perpetrators in such cases.

    It seems clear to me that the woman in question was indeed real and suffered terribly as a result of failings in our legal system. I think it is right and proper that MSPs raise such cases in parliament. I think the use of this incident as a way to attack Johann Lamont is unfair, and I think both of you should consider the victim and stop using her pain as a political lever.

  25. " I think the use of this incident as a way to attack Johann Lamont is unfair, and I think both of you should consider the victim and stop using her pain as a political lever"

    I never attacked Johann Lamont I merely questioned your use of the term 'pathetic muckraking'.
    I only asked you if you felt she was correct in her statement and since you 'almost' agree that ,even in good faith, it was innaccurate then perhaps she could have offerred an apology and that would have been it.

  26. "and I think both of you should consider the victim and stop using her pain as a political lever. "

    No one but no one is using the victim on here, that is a juvenile attempt at smearing one which has become so prevalent in the labour dialogue. You if you were being honest would be the first to howl and wail if this story had been brought in to the chamber by an SNP MSP. Lamont should have the decency and honesty to apologise to the victim and to the chamber for misusing her case and for making a false statement in the chamber.

    The case was identified by the fact that she made an issue of the fact the victim was asked to hold up her underwear in court. The case was identified as having been heard in 2005 when Labour were in power. No howling was heard then. I am sure due to the publicity the victim would have been well aware of who they were referring to. Spare me the pious clap trap.

    If there are issues to be raised regarding the interpretation of crime statistic, that should be done by sticking to the statistics not attempting to use victims horrible experiences for political ends, with out verification and without the permission of the victims.

    Lamont was guilty of the lowest of the low muck raking which blew back in her face. She at the very least owes the chamber a full apology and the victim. No one will be holding their breath, especially on her Trident hypocrisy.

    Labour have made their name grubbing around in the gutters. Gray was a past master, and paid the price. If Lamont cannot raise her game she is finished before she has started.

  27. Here is a more balanced opinion on your 14% allegation.

    From the rape crisis centre:

    "The Scottish Government has today published new statistics on recorded crime in Scotland. These indicate that reported rapes & attempted rapes rose in the year 2010-11 by 14%. It should be borne in mind however, that the period covered by the new figures includes the first four months of implementation of the new Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act which came into force in December 2010. The new and wider definition of rape which is included in the Act means that it is likely that the rise in reported rape is due at least in part to the fact that some sexual crimes which would previously known under other offence headings are now considered as rape. While this may offer something of an explanation, any rise in the number of rapes reported is a matter for concern. The level of detail currently offered by statistics is not sufficient to offer an insight into the extent to which the changes the Act have played a part in the rise we see today, and Rape Crisis Scotland will continue to campaign for improvements not only in survivors' experiences of accessing justice, but also in a statistical picture which will allow us to gauge the extent of those improvements accurately."

  28. As an afterthought and just for the record.....
    you also say.....

    "though neither the COPFS nor the Evening Times have stated that it was a false story"

    The story raises two immediate questions:

    The first of course is where did the ‘fabricated rape case’ story come from and who wrote it? If it is the case that there was in fact no person called Louise and the story is an entirely fictitious account based on Lindsay Armstrong’s case then the Evening Times should say so and explain who wrote it.

    The young journalist whose name is attached to the Evening Times article is under 24 years of age and would herself have been a teenager when the tragic case of Lindsay Armstrong hit the headlines. The details of both stories though are so undeniably similar that it is surely inconceivable that the tragic case did not influence the fictitious one.

    The second question is why were no checks carried out by either the Evening Times or the Holyrood Labour group?

    The newspaper has already issued an apology, albeit qualified. The Labour party on the other hand have said nothing as far as we can tell. It is surely incumbent on the official opposition at Holyrood to check the veracity of stories if they are to be used in order to attack the Scottish government.

    In this case, should the Crown Office be correct and no such case actually exists, then Ms Lamont may well be guilty of unwittingly misleading Parliament. It would serve as a reminder to all in the chamber that newspapers, especially Scottish newspapers, should not be taken at face value.

    This was from the evening times...

    “Regrettably, the story was not subjected to the normal scrutiny or checks it should have received before publication in the Evening Times and we are unable to confirm details of the case.

    “The Crown Office has informed us that it has been unable to identify any rape trial for an attack in Glasgow which resulted in acquittal this year and which matches the details as reported.

    “The reporting of such cases is highly sensitive and we deeply regret any hurt or offence our reporting may have caused.”

  29. And you both continue to use the case as a political lever to attack Johann Lamont while excusing or ignoring the crisis in rape prosecutions which she was trying to highlight. Each time SNP supporters do so you make this just another punch and judy political fight when in fact it is a shameful failure of our justice system.

    Enough from both of you.

  30. I am questioning you about your derisory comment not attacking Johann Lamont.

  31. Duncan, thank you for your gracious acceptance of my apology.
    My support for the SNP is whole-hearted, no need for nose-clips. I see Scots working for ALL of Scotland and as we are a predominately working-class nation, what's not to like? The SNP is a vehicle, a movement, a one-trick pony that has had through circumstance to develop a set of policies and is now in a position to implement them. Remember the old SNP = Scotland Nae Policies jibe? That was a long time ago but the heart of the party is still there. We govern and govern well (opinions may differ) because a great lie had to be disproved, namely that Scots were incapable of running their own country. So a set of policies was devised and we stood up and offered these policies to the Scottish people and they liked then (I paraphrase). Nobody joined the SNP to get rich, nobody joined the SNP for a career. They joined because for various reasons, they wanted Scotland to be run by Scots for Scots. Not anyone else. The SNP started with no money, leaflets, posters were bought by running jumble sales, bring and buys, ceilidhs, raffles and pure sweat equity. Things are a little different now but the mentality of the party is the same, we are united on one goal and one goal only. The things that drive me to work for independence are perhaps not exactly the same things that drive Mike Russell or Fergus Ewing but we all know that we will see our desired outcomes a lot sooner if we work together for now. The SNP may well fragment after independence and some will move further left and some will move right. And we will part amicably (I hope) knowing that we worked together to get Objective One achieved. Objective Two is the general well being of the Scottish People. There will be differences about how Objective Two is to be achieved that will possibly or probably split the Party. But from there on in we know that any mistakes that we make will be OUR mistakes, there will be no-one else to blame and that alone will give us a far better and healthier politics in our country.
    As for the Scots voting against independence in 2014 or whenever, I doubt that very much. We will go on to win for one very simple reason. If there was a good argument as to why Scotland should NOT become independent we would have heard it by now. The Unionists would not be in such a dithering mess if there was one simple good reason why they were right and tthe SNP was wrong.
    Now to answer your question, which as Ive explained I think is a daft one, but anyway... were the SNP (and the rest of the nationalist movement, don't forget the Greens, the SSP) to be defeated at the referendum then I would go back to working with the SNP to achieve Objective ONE. I can see no other viable vehicle to independence. I can see no other viable vehicle that will achieve any form of socialist government in Scotland. As I said, we have waited long enough for the working class in England to anything other than be noisy at the odd demo, pass some ideologically pure motions in conference and actually deliver the square root of eff-all for the people.
    Hopefully our independence and success will galvanise them to action but that's up to them. I will support them every inch of the way but I can support them a damn sight better from a position of strength rather than feebly squeaking under the Tories as now. I for one would welcome your help in this struggle. I recoginise your idealogical attachment to "we are all one, no boundaries" precept, hell I shared it for long enough until I decided I wanted results, not resolutions. Come join us, the future can be a lot brighter for all the inhabitants of this island, but we can't do it within a UK context.

  32. "And you both continue to use the case as a political lever to attack Johann Lamont while excusing or ignoring the crisis in rape prosecutions which she was trying to highlight. Each time SNP supporters do so you make this just another punch and judy political fight when in fact it is a shameful failure of our justice system. "

    Try and stop lying, it does you no good what ever. What failures of the justice system are you trying to spin now. What crisis have you invented?

    Did you actually read the quote by the rape crisis centre?

    There is one person in all of this catalogue of lies and propaganda who sought to exploit a victim and that is Lamont and for that she should have the decency and guts to apologise, she will not which is why we see your utterly pathetic party where they are.

    To try and turn her duplicity around, against her critics is predictable labour party behaviour, you will never learn, like the rest of the dinosaurs extinction beckons.

    "Enough from both of you."

    What childish petulance. Will you now take your ball away?

  33. Davey, fair enough, I understand your position and you're right in your assessment of where we differ, though I'm reassured that we agree on more than we disagree on. We shall just have to see. All the best.

  34. Duncan, I don't think you have any grounds to accuse me of lying. 90% of reported rape cases are not prosecuted. If you think that's an invented crisis then you've clearly only ever read one paragraph of Rape Crisis Scotland's work, and I strongly recommend you read some more. Calling it an invented crisis is beneath contempt.

    Take a step back. In your determination to score a hit against the Labour leader you are trawling the gutter. Stop it.

  35. Correct Duncan, that is the most wasteful and frustrating aspect of the political landscape in Scotland for far too long.
    ### We agree on a lot more than we disagree on. ###
    But we are held back by Labour activists tribal loyalties to office-holders who patently do NOT hold the same basic views as us. Baron Ffoulkes and his Caribbean freebies, Devine doing 4 months out of a 16 month sentence, Mags Curran with her big house on the southside and the excesses of Michael Martin as speaker, to skim very briefly over the top. And every one of them doing all in their power to perpetuate Tory rule from England rather than a progressive government in Scotland.
    If these people share the same values as us, they have a very strange way of demonstrating it. You can do better than this for yourself, Duncan. Join with us in the SNP, hold your nose for a couple of years if you must and then work with us for attainble socialism in Scotland.

  36. I suggest to you that by failing to condemn Lamont for her lies to parliament you are part of the problem. Never able to say the word "wrong" in relation to your party. The simple fact is that she was wrong and she continues to be wrong by failing to apologise. Your juvenile attempt at deflecting that by accusing me of trawling the gutter is utterly beneath contempt. If I were to trawl the gutter it would be because that is where you find your politicians. Rape is a horrible crime, and should not be treated like a political football, as she did, if there are problems with the justice system where was her proposal to fix it? Like the rest of labours opposition. Opposition for the sake of it. Her dreadful performance today shows us how it is to proceed, more of the same. Utterly pathetic.