jimtoggleJim O’Neill notices a striking lack of comment on key issues during the SNP conference and a deliberate muddying of the waters over a second independence referendum, and also pays tribute to a fine comrade.


Well that was the 2016 SNP conference that was.

A Sturgeon speech a day keeps the Tories away? I think not. What it did do was to muddy the waters, particularly on Indyref2:

  • Day 1: “We are launching the Indyref2 legislation next week.”
  • Day 2: “We are not rushing into Indyref2.”
  • Day 3: “We will go to Indyref2 if there is a hard Brexit.”

Admittedly it’s a change from “I will only go for Indyref2 if the polls guarantee I will win”.

Of course this obsession with independence made Sturgeon forget to make any mention of the 1 million pounds per day that has been cut from our NHS. Or the fact that, according to the head of the Police Federation, police cars are held together “with duct tape”. Or the crisis in primary healthcare. Or even the thousands of local government jobs gone as a result of the misguided Council Tax freeze.

Mind you, “an emotional Nicola Sturgeon” promised a root and branch review of the children in care system. As well she might. Who has been responsible for the children in care system for the last ten years? My goodness, the SNP Scottish government! And who has led calls for reform? Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. It’s about time Sturgeon noticed that something was wrong.

And then we had her sidekick, John Swinney, the failed leader, announcing that local decisions would be made by local people. I thought he was Education Minister, not Local Government Minister. Unfortunately, he didn’t define what he meant by that. Given his intention to bypass local government in the field of education, you will forgive me if I suspect that this is another way to bypass local government. Having failed to destroy local government through the Council Tax freeze and the failure to replace it, is he now trying another tack?

As a co-operator, I am very much in favour of empowering local communities to control things in their own communities, from tennis courts to small community shops, but this requires a strong element of capacity building. It doesn’t work by diktat. And there are some services that require accountability at local level, an accountability that can only be provided by an elected local council. So, Mr Swinney, let’s see your detailed plans for this, or will they just be like your detailed plans for the replacement of the Council Tax, a Local Income Tax, that fell apart as soon as they got any level of scrutiny?

Ministers also inexplicably failed to mention that Scotland’s growth rate was only 0.7%, as against the UK rate of 2.1%. Nor did the collapse in jobs in the oil industry and in construction merit a mention, despite the building of the second Forth Road Bridge, incidentally with Chinese steel, while the Scottish steel industry collapsed. Maybe some of these issues will come up in First Minister’s Questions some time soon? Maybe the First Minister might even answer the questions posed? On Nicola’s performance so far, I’m not holding my breath.

Finally, I’m going to indulge myself in speaking about a local comrade, Brian Brown. Brian, in his eighties, never missed a CLP, and few Co-operative Party meetings. He always contributed wisely, not by looking back to the past as many older people are wont to do, but by looking forward, and he took particular pleasure in engaging with our younger members. He was also very active in CND and the Socialist Health Association along with other causes. You will be much missed, comrade.

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17 thoughts on “Mibbes aye, mibbes naw

  1. In what way are the waters muddied? All Nicola Sturgeon has been since the Brexit result is consistent clear and concise.
    If the UK Government tries to pull Scotland out of the EU against its collective Democratic vote to remain in she will take the ONLY route available to her which gives her the ONLY chance to prevent it.
    She hasn’t changed from that position before the EU ref during the EU ref and after the EU ref.

    And then Jim Bob goes back trying to blame the effects of Westminster cuts to the Scottish budget on the Scottish Government in spite of the fact that SNP MPs voted against them while Labour abstained or voted for them.

    There are no public service crises in Scotland. Labour label everything as a crises because its the only political language they know in opposition.
    The public services in Scotland have never been in better hands.

    Children in the care system have a closer relationship with local authority than they do with central Government so yet again we see Labour in Scotland trying to abdicate its local authority failures onto the Scottish Government.

    When Labour get wiped out at local level and lose control over the local authorities they have now we will see dramatic even seismic changes for the better in every department of public service.

    Local decisions should be made a local level only not by corrupt brown envelope loving Labour party councillors acting and working under a mantra of Labour first last and everything in between.

    Jim of course has failed to mention that all the political powers that influence economic growth are still reserved and controlled by Westminster and will continue to be even when the last of the new batch of worthless token trinkets arrive at Hollyrood.
    The Scottish Parliament is still unable to do anything to influence economic growth because to give Scotland those levers would be to make it all but Independent and remove the benefit to Westminster of the Union.

    Seems ol Jim Bob still cant bring himself to post anything that isn’t total demented unrealistic pish.

    1. Aye Mike, see the John Curtice piece in the Herald. I genuinely despair for Labour in Scotland (I don’t care as much as I used to though). How many years did it take to build the movement up as the champion of the working people only to have the few dash it all to the ground in a searing fit of conservatism in a few short years?

    2. Absolutely spot on, but Labour in Scotland are averse to reasonableness..they appear to want to spend the rest of their existence carping from the sidelines

    3. In some ways it would be good if the SNP got control of most councils next year – then they will have to implement their own government’s draconian cuts to public services.
      Dramatic changes for the better – don’t make me laugh, especially if tax rates stay the same.

  2. John Swinney, as Education Secretary, has a problem with local councils – he wants to let them take local decisions but not when those decisions would damage education in Scotland. For example, he had to force councils not to reduce teacher numbers.

    Where I think he is wrong is in not removing education from local councils. Why should we have 32 directors of education, 32 HR departments, 32 sets of local agreements on teachers contracts etc – it would be far simpler, and more cost efficient, to have a national education service, just as we have a national health service.

  3. If you want to know about the steel for the new forth bridge, check out Johann Lamont’s car crash questions about the bridge during FM QT, when Alex was FM. Its still on y-tube, and I still pish myself laughing at it.

    As for the Scottish steel industry, theirs only one political party that saved it and it wasn’t the Tories little helpers – labour.

    Your lies are getting even stupider than normal.

  4. “second Forth Road Bridge, incidentally with Chinese steel, while the Scottish steel industry collapsed”
    Jeezo Jim are you trapped in a 2011 time warp?. Do you not remember that there were , in fact, no quotes submitted by Scottish steel firms because successive WM governments (of all colours) had shut down most of the capacity? No, of course not, because it doesn’t suit your agenda.

  5. Looking good for council elections, isn’t it?

    No surprising really when one considers Jim’s petty nonsense and Duncan’s logical fallacies are dialled up to 11.

  6. Muddy waters—sounds like a blues number, but as usual is more the sound of a Scottish Labour dirge.
    Sturgeon has proposed to the UK that Scotland be kept in the Single Market, as is proposed for London.—Don’t You agree, Jim?
    Sturgeon has proposed much wider and deeper economic, immigration and trade policies devolve to Scotland—Don’t you agree, Jim?
    All the “solutions” that Sturgeon has proposed to the UK government will be in advance of ANY move toward a new referendum—doesn’t that suit you, Jim?
    What does Scottish Labour want, Jim? Only for the Scottish Government to be embarrassed over Brexit? Or does it have proposals of its own? Has Scottish Labour spoken to anyone with authority in Brussels? Or in London?
    Could someone in Scottish Labour spell out WHAT IT WANTS TO SEE FOR SCOTLAND, FROM THE BREXIT SHAMBLES.

    Scottish Steel largely disappeared in 1992. The person who fought hardest to save it was George Younger, shamefully for Labour.
    Tata steel was rescued by the SNP. What tonnage of steel was used for the new aircraft carriers? How much of it is “Scottish”?
    Education is much too important to be left for council chiefs to divert funding for other “projects”. Why indeed did Labour set up Academy Schools down south?

    Sad news about your old stalwart, Brian Brown.
    I wonder how he felt when Labour gave in to the Yanks over Holy Loch, so close to population centres?
    Or when “our” Polaris was then sited on the Clyde?
    Or how he felt when Labour was so gung-ho for Trident, a missile system designed for first strike and for killing millions.
    I wonder how he felt when Labour started introducing the private element into the NHS in England ? Or PFI for hospitals?

  7. I think the SNP’s stance is quite commendable and if Labour in Scotland want to continue to exist I would strongly suggest that they understand the indyref is a necessary Plan B and that they backup the SNP wrt single market access.
    Labour in Scotland seem to be very quiet about about what they want but noisy about what they don’t want. Labour urgently need to focus on what the population want and that is clearly retention of all the EU benefits we currently have. If that battle is lost then an indyref2 it is. And deservedly so.
    If the union is as valuable to Labour in Scotland as they keep telling us it is then they had better start doing something about it instead of again carping from the sidelines.
    Sturgeon is playing this just about right and Labour is doing itself and Scotland a disservice by doing its usual, ‘nothing’

  8. He doesn’t seem to understand how the council tax freeze works. The freeze has been fully funded by the SNP Govt. Local authorities have recvd the funding. Householders in Scotland have benefited from the freeze, as intended.
    Employment by LAs has dropped from around 230,000 to around 200, 000 since 2008, following voluntary redundancy programmes…as reported in the Daily Record Sept 2015, a little out of date perhaps (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/researchers-rubbish-claims-scottish-government-6494004), but nonetheless makes the point..

  9. what we want is the snp tosort out things it took 2 hours to contact my surgery reception took my details an advanced nurse phoned me back I have a lung complaint so I got to see a doctor a student its called triage surgery was standing room only chemist the same so no more selfies get this sorted

  10. can I also say I need a follow up appointment I was told to phone Monday all appointments for a nurse or doctor are taken until the end of November after talking to other people its not just my surgery so come on Nicola fix this or come on here and tell us why you cant

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