After Alex Salmond’s complete over-reaction last week, RICHARD BAKER MSP looks at how the SNP treat those who disagree with them.  


There is something faintly ridiculous about a politician complaining about not been invited on to television to talk about rugby, but the First Minister’s hysterical outburst after not being given the slot is embarrassing. The BBC is not a state broadcaster – it is our national broadcaster. A national broadcaster does not exist to give government ministers a platform, and no politician, short of a national emergency, has the right to demand the BBC broadcasts what he or she wants.

Personally, I didn’t see why the first minister was invited to be a commentator in the first place. He has not been previously distinguished for his rugby skills, either as player or observer. I do not detect that he has vast quantities of original thoughts on the state of the Scottish game, but if he does, he has ample opportunity to talk in the Scottish Parliament, or he could write an article like this one.

In fact, I am prepared to place a large bet that most rugby fans would rather he got behind the team than tried to get on television.

But for the first minister to accuse BBC journalists as acting like ‘tinpot dictators’ and accuse them of being Gauleiters – a deeply offensive term given to regional leaders of the Nazi party – crosses the line of acceptability and demeans the office to which he was elected. A chief characteristic of a tinpot dictator is surely that he thinks that he can pick up the phone to the state broadcaster and decide what is shown that evening.

It is not the Scottish way, it is not the democratic way and – thankfully – it is not the BBC’s way. Alex Salmond had the chance last week to apologise for this disgraceful slur at FMQs – and he failed to do so, insteading trying to justify his unreasonable position.

The BBC Charter, the baseline of probity in national broadcasting, is clear and simple: “The BBC exists to serve the public interest”. The output is decided by journalists and policed by an independent trust. Politicians and ministers, with all their vested interests, must stand back. The fact that the BBC has withstood political pressure, by and large, for the best part of the last century is a testament to the professionalism of the organisation. Don’t get me wrong: there are some things I think the BBC does wrong, particularly the way Scottish politics is reported north of the border in a number of instances, but my overriding view is that if the BBC is not displeasing politicians from all parties at least some of the time, then it isn’t doing its job.

But behind his shrill and ugly over-reaction, this episode speaks to two much deeper traits in how Alex Salmond’s political operations work. His natural suspicion of the BBC as a UK-wide institution amplifies his automatic response to anyone who disagrees with him, which is to denigrate their character in the most unpleasant way he can muster.

This is, of course, not the first sortie Mr Salmond has dispatched against the BBC, and nor is the BBC the only target. Shortly after being elected five years ago, he established the Jenkins Commission with the explicit intention of it recommending the break up of the BBC and the creation of a separate broadcaster just for Scotland. Much to his chagrin, it recommended no such thing, reflecting the trust and love for the BBC shared by experts and audiences alike. During the most recent UK general election, Alex Salmond used £50,000 of his party members’ money to fight an action at the court of session because he was not invited onto the prime ministerial television debates. The court, recognising that Alex Salmond was not a candidate to be the prime minister and not even standing in the election, dismissed his case in terms as scathing as a court of session judge is generally permitted to be. So there is no love lost between the SNP leader and the UK’s national broadcaster.

I would be the first to acknowledge politics is a tough business – personal criticism is an occupational hazard. But recently the SNP have taken this to a new and disturbing level with increasingly personal, negative attacks on individuals who disagree with Scotland separating from the UK. Scottish MPs are told they have no right to speak on the constitution. Joan McAlpine MSP says it is for “others to judge” whether Anas Sarwar, the deputy leader of my party, is “anti-Scottish” or not. Michelle Mone expresses her view on separation and she is branded a traitor. Professor Arthur Midwinter, one of Scotland’s leading experts on public finances, is vilified for speaking out about how the SNP misuse statistics. A Labour activist from Aberdeenshire, born in England, is told he is a “white settler” by SNP canvassers. The cybernats are alive and well online, either tacitly or openly encouraged. Only last week, the Education Minister again branded fellow Scottish MSPs as “anti-Scottish” for disagreeing with his education policies. If it were not so serious, it would be a case of telling some people to grow up.

But this is deadly serious. This is not an episode of The Thick Of It. This is about our country, our future, our civic life. It is an organised and calculated attempt by the SNP to, first, impugn the integrity of anyone who disagrees with them. Playing the man rather than the ball – in the circumstances an apt cliché – is now the default option in Scottish politics. Second, the SNP seeks to monopolise people’s love of Scotland by equating support for the SNP with support for Scotland. This is a cold attempt to delegitimise and question the patriotism of everyone in Scotland who does not share’s the SNPs plan for separation.

And that is partly why I am convinced it will fail. Despite the rhetoric, behind the mask, nationalism is a political philosophy based on difference. At heart, Scotland is far more pluralistic, far more open, far more tolerant. Our Scotland, the home of the enlightenment, the land of learning, is a country that thrives on debate and reasoned argument. Reasoned argument requires the arguers to be reasonable. Donald Dewar, in his magnificent opening speech of the Scottish Parliament, warned that it is about more than the laws we pass. It was, he said, about who we are and how we carry ourselves. Never has his warning been more urgent or more profound. The debate about our future must be an adult one.

Richard Baker is an MSP for the North East of Scotland Region and Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment.


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73 thoughts on “Reasoned argument depends on reason

  1. The fact is I have no idea whether Sctland is better off independent.
    The screeching from both sides is offputting.
    I would say the fearmongering on one side, and the overt patriotisn that everything is rosy on the other side is probably wrong on both counts.
    If both sides told a factual, dare I say balanced story instead of ranting the other side is wrong and not providing reasons why then I would have more respect.
    Salmond is getting 5 out of ten and the labour party about 3 and dropping as they get more ridiculous with Davidson’s passport comments and Glasgow’s meltdown bringing the mark down recently. Neither is a passmark.
    Everyone get real. Tell the facts, stop exaggerating, and stop making out the other side are pariahs, whoever they are. They are not.

  2. Richard Baker you seem to misunderstand why the FM was entitled to be make a statement about the behaviour of the BBC. The BBC said there were ‘tensions’ between Scotland and England and in light of the council elections coming up they decided not to let him speak. This is all complete nonsense with the elections 3 months away and regerendum years away. What does this political bias say about the BBC when other politicians speak regularly about sport on it’s channels. Why do you focus your outrage on the FM when it’s the BBC who has been out of order?

  3. Is this the best that Labour can do?

    What is it about negative that you don’t grasp?

    I am an EX labour voter,who has jumped off the bus and joined the real world

    I would advise others to do the same,and look where labour have taken this country.
    Perhaps Mr Baker needs to view comments on other articles here and answer some serious questions being asked, instead of this false indignation.

  4. Is this it?
    Is this the best you can do?
    Have you any political thoughts or ideas at all?
    The Labour Party got thrashed at the the elections last May because it exhibited a complete lack of any coherent or constructive political thought and an almost total lack in its ranks of any significant political abilities.
    Nowhere were these debilities more evident in than in the underwhelming efforts of the author of this piece.

    Keep on playing the man.
    Big Eck can just shrug it all off.
    The mair ye curse me, the better Ah’m kent.
    Meanwhile the actual case for independence and support for it grows virtually unchallenged

  5. There are so many distortions in this article that its hard to know where to begin.

    Very poor, Richard.

  6. Dear Richard Baker,
    Why do you think that Scotland is better governed from Westminster by alternating Tory and Labour administrations, that it would be by governments of our own choosing?

  7. Dear Richard Baker,
    Alex Salmond does not own independence; the SNP does not own independence. If the people of Scotland choose independence, it is not because of a political leader or party. They simply provide us with the mechanism. The idea belongs to us, the sovereign people of Scotland.

    1. Try telling that to the SNP and Alex Salmond. Apparently Scottish MPs have no right to discuss it, because “only the SNP have a manadate to talk about independence”.

  8. BTW Richard

    As an insider, are you able to illuminate on us on the Labour Party’s thoughts on the intimidation that has been going on at Glasgow Council?

    The BBC has let us down badly here and I know you like to bring bullying to our attention.

  9. I certainly agree with Richard Baker on this one. If you ask me, Alex Salmond had only two reasons to appear on that programme and neither of them had anything to do with rugby. He wanted to score political points without being contradicted by Unionist giants such as Johann Lamont or Willie Bane, and he was going to flagrantly advertise various consumer products in order to earn some money for his flagging campaign. The man knows no shame. Well done BBC, I will now reconsider my decision to withhold the license fee.

    1. Unionist giants….haha…thanks for making me laugh!

      Well, I guess everything is relative – giants among political pygmies maybe?

    2. I’d like to ask Mr Baker some serious questions – I live in Fife. We know you know!

  10. This is so boring. Labour members have variously likened Alex Salmond to Slobadon Milosovic, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. Jeremy Paxman – that bastion of BBC impartiality – very recently compared him to Robert Mugabe. Other Labour MPs have called the SNP neo-fascists and similar descriptions. So really you ought to get a grip.

    As for someone being called a white settler – do you think that’s just an SNP term – or something that is just an issue in rural Scotland? It’s just as much an issue in rural England. Call them white settlers, call them incomers, call them townies, call them whatever you like but don’t pretend that Scotland is the only part of the UK where there exists a rural resentment against wealthy outsiders buying up property and pushing up prices so that local youngsters can no longer afford to stay in their own villages etc. It happens everywhere.

  11. I think the SNP and their activists have read this all wrong. They have an inbuilt hatred for the BBC – I guess the reason why is in the name – the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation. They see it as one of the few things in our lives which is British in outlook and design.

    But thats not how the majority of Scots – nor indeed English people – see it. Sure, they might grumble about it, moan about the licence fee, complain about repeats, but you attack the BBC, and they will tell you “Its the best in the world”, “unrivalled news coverage”, “fabulous wildlife documentaries” etc, etc.

    So when the SNP attack the BBC in this way – regardless of the rights and wrongs, its not something that rings true with the public. And that could mean this is one of the first big mistakes the SNP have made.

    1. Nonsense. There are as many SNP peeps who have worked for the BBC as Labour peeps you know, possibly even more. And Alex Salmond has not attacked the BBC – he attacked some jumped up type who decided to stick his oar in where it didn’t belong.

      But overall when people think of Alex Salmond and the BBC they are likely to think of Alex Salmond on the TBBC, on programmes like Have I Got News for You, the One Show etc or the famous IM Jolly skit. Alex Salmond is basically good on telly, unlike almost anybody in the Scottish Labour Party I can think of, so it kind of reinforces how silly it was for whatsisname to get into a state about him being invited on to speak about the rugby.

      Comments like Ruth Davidson’s and Richard Baker’s here just show how much they don’t get it. Alex Salmond wasn’t invited on because he is good at rugby. He was invited on because he is good on the telly. That’s why you hate him isn’t it? Be honest now.

      1. Did I mention anything about people who had worked for the BBC?

        I was talking about ordinary people – you know the ones who dont think about politics morning noon and night!

    2. what a load of crap John, my goodness you are one sick cookie lol.
      You make a couple of assumptions that the SNP hate the BBC and give the reason why as ‘they have British in their name’
      So lets look at this, when the BBc announced job losses recently who was quickly on to the Scottish media to campaign against this ?
      Yes that’s right Alex Salmond !!! kinda shoots holes in your assumption John.
      Who made similar comments from the labour party ?
      Please fill in the blanks…………… ……………..

      You think most people in Scotland think the BBC are fair !!! really ?
      Recently their was a campaign by one of the biggest organisations in the whole of the UK with one of the most members, the membership of this organisation would dwarf all the memberships of political parties in Scotland.
      The organisation was Glasgow Rangers and they recently banned a certain media organisation from Ibrox because of biased reporting.
      this was a huge media story and Rangers were offered an apology from this organisation because they eventualy admited that they had strung two unrelated film clips together to make it look like the manager of rangers had said something he hadn’t.
      Now John can you name the media outfit I am speaking about ?
      Can you find a single person in Scotland that does not know about this story ?
      Would you agree that the credibility of this media organisation will have been shot to bits ?

      Oh and BTW John and also Richard…As has been indicated in another place with close links to the independence movement the Dosier handed to Chris Paten about BBC bias, was not just put together for the sake of Chris Paten. You will soon know all about the close links between the labour party and the BBC.
      Your days of deceiving the good people of Scotland will soon be over…enjoy it while it lasts.

      1. So, at first you say the SNP dont hate the BBC, then you go on to prove that you do?

        By the way, there are a large number of Ranger’s fans now who realise why Craig Whyte didnt want the BBC investigating the club. Perhaps banning them should have been a wake up call that there were things to hide.

    3. Well John,
      The problem is we’re no so gullible noo, we Scots have had to learn the hard way about how the media and the way certain political parties have used the media with their blessing to mis-inform the people of this nation. But na mair thats now finished, and you can shout and bluster all you want, we know how the BBC works and so does more and more Scots every day.

      Also from the last line in your posting, I see your admiting that the SNP have not made any mistakes during their term in office, well done .

      1. First big mistake.

        Bear in mind, you actually have to DO something in order to make a mistake. The SNP have managed to avoid doing anything in particular, so that they can then blame everything on Westminster.

        Taking responsibility is something the SNP try very much to avoid. Just look at the licensing issue.

    4. Thats a very good interpretation of the feelings towards the BBC. It may seem contradictory but its the same with the NHS. People moan about the service but they love the instiution itself and love the potential of that instiution.

      Kind of the same with their feelings towards Britain. People might complain at some things Britain does wrong but they understand the reasons behind the retention of the union and don’t see the problems in our country as being directly or indirectly caused by being in the union.

      Its just the warped SNP members who think all our ills are the cause of being in a successful partnership with our neighbours.

  12. Dreadful, dreadful rubbish-substantially a rehash of what Sheridan said to almost unanimous contempt a week or so ago.

    As for “Gauleiter”-if, as is the case here, you have to explain to someone why they should be offended by something, it is pretty much a certainty that the sense of offence is merely feigned.

    If Salmond wanted to call someone a Nazi (which I am sure he did not), he would have used that word, not one which very few people would equate as meaning the same thing in modern usage (which it does not).

    1. How naive!

      Are you honestly saying the wonderful, glorious, magnificent FM didn’t know what he was saying?

      If there was a derogatory term in Scotland about a particular race or nationality, and you went to a group of people of that race/nationality and called them by that term and they had never heard it… would it not be offensive as they don’t understand it?

      What a ridiculous attempt to defend an outrage remark.

      What we’ve come to expect from the SNP though.

      1. GMcM-Sadly for you and the declining influence of the “Scottish” Labour Party, I suspect that my interpreation of what happened is nearer the truth than yours-if I am wrong no doubt the people of Scotland will flood back to the “Scottish” Labour Party-however I advise you not to hold your breath 🙂

      2. This is getting into angels on the heads of pins territory but while I agree that gauleiter is not a term that is in common usage in Scotland it IS in common usage down south and is thrown about with gay abandon by Labour as well as Tory MPs. The evidence of that is all in the public domain – check Hansard. You have to remember that Alex Salmond was an MP for over 20 years, clearly he picked up some of the cultural references that permeate the place.

        We have even seen the amusing spectacle of journalists condemning Alex Salmond for using the term when they themselves have used it in previous articles in much the same context. Eggy faces all round I think.

  13. Well now –welcome back..! I thought you were going to re-name this site ‘Labournaybodieshame’ given the deafening silence over the past few days.

    And what do you come back with….the ‘rugby’ issue…well, what a surprise!

    There is something faintly ridiculous about a new labour msp on a new labour site, who has nothing to offer labour supporters following the recent embarrassment in Glasgow chambers! Once again try to deflect the real issue facing labour in Scotland today. It would not have been so bad if you have come up with this stuff just after the event, but did it really take you, how many days, to write this?

    Nice of you to come here and defend the BBC with ‘its not the Scottish way’….good grief – desperate stuff indeed even for you Mr Baker!

    So nothing about the alleged bullying tactics of your councillors, nothing about your leader in Scotland who has nothing to say on the issue? And nothing about the break-away group of labour councillors – Dont you think that is important enough to merit a comment?

    I feel very sorry for true labour supporters, you know of the pre ‘things will only get better’ or pre ‘blairs babes’ variety’

    Once again you end with a ‘stirring’ ‘Our Scotland, the home of the enlightenment, blah blah, blah….’ Did you give yourself a standing ovation after that one??

    Stop writing speeches on here and tell us what new labour will do for Scotland – we are all listening but we hear nothing about policy just more anti-snp bile. Do you really think that is what will win you a single vote?

  14. Each time the word ‘seperation’ is used instead of ‘independence’, someone, somewhere in Scotland sighs and finally decides it is time to leave negative politics/the party they were once deeply loyal to behind and vote ‘yes’ to independence.

    1. Every time someone uses the word ‘seperation’, a pedant kills a kitten. So think on.

    2. Totally agree, Skier. I just couldn’t believe the new report was called “Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Unanswered Questions”. Talk about making it easy for the SNP to dismiss as partisan and “shoddy” and as an “embarrassment to the authors”. Now, the report does contain (some) good content but by insisting on such a title, it’s been a virtually pointless exercise, a complete waste of money.

      Now, Scottish Labour dominated the committee that produced this report and have completely squandered yet another great opportunity. Anyone would think they actually want us to vote for independence.

    3. “Each time the word ‘seperation’ is used instead of ‘independence’, someone….decides …. vote ‘yes’ to independence.”

      In which case, if you believe in “independence”, you should always say “separation”. Give it a try……

    4. Except thats not what is revealed by the polling evidence, is it?

      Use of the word “seperation” reduces support for independence, while use of the word “independence” increases support for seperation!

  15. I just googled ‘Scottish separation’. Returns a lot of stuff about divorce counselling, lawyers etc with only a couple of articles relating to the forthingcoming independence referendum, unsurprisingly from the Tory-leaning Telegraph.

    In contrast, searching ‘Scottish Independence’ returns a multitude of articles, blogs and other information about what’s going on.

    Just thought I would make you aware of this.

  16. Brilliant post by Nigel Ranter. ha ha.

    Richard Baker brings forward the labour parties positive vision for the nation of Scotland…..oh wait. we still haven’t had one single unionist politician give us the fast becoming Mythical thing called ‘the positive vision for Scotland’

    can it be that it’s not true ? can it be we have all been duped for all these years ?
    can it be that only half of us have discovered this and the other half are slowly but surely wakening up to ‘The Myth’ ?

    What would people like Richard Baker do if the people voted for independence ?
    Is it this that he’s really frightened of rather than anything to do with how well the people of Scotland would do out of independence ?

    I will leave it up to you to decide….I know I have…….Vote YES !!!

  17. The truth of the matter is that both sides are now being negative and as Rob Davidson says above, untruthful.

    According to the arguments, independence is either utopia or hell – and the same applies for remaining in the Union.

    With regards to the BBC, I agree that Salmond should not have been invited in the first place, but the BBC does have a built-in bias when it comes to politics.

    Everyone comes out of this looking like idiots basically.

    Perhaps some mature and truthful dialogues from all sides might help.

  18. OMG – is Richard Baker the Time Traveller ? We had this out away last week with Jim “leather bed” Sheridan. A week’s a long time in both politics and rugby. Move on please

  19. PLEASE…

    let’s have some sensible debate about REAL issues.

    Has Labour got nothing to say other than personal attack and negative smear?

  20. Guys, I really want to stay loyal to Labour but I’m struggling enormously and this kind of drivel drives me demented. Is it too much to ask for some intelectual rigour in some of these pieces. The above item takes the biscuit. Surely, someone involved with Labour Hame, or the Scottish party in general, realises that we need to up our game. It’s just……………. words fail me. This stuff makes idiots like Richard Littlejohn look balanced and well-informed.

    1. What has Richard Baker said that is inaccurate?

      I’m sorry Perth but it is part of being opposition to hold the sitting government to account. If they act in a manner that fails to meet the standards expected by the people of the country then they should be pulled back into line.

      The SNP did the same thing to us and now that they are the government they cry foul anytime someone does so or just plain disagrees with them. It is somehow ‘negative’ and ‘anti-Scottish’.

      The point Richard is making is that they cannot handle criticism in some cases and in others they actively push the message that SNP=Scotland. It is not so and no-one should believe it is.

      The SNP are all about independence and there is a real threat to Labour values if independence is achieved. It is necessary for Labour to point out the failures in the SNP’s plan(s) and show the people of Scotland that the rhetoric doesn’t match the reality.

      If you are unhappy with the opposition holding the government to account can I ask what you want Labour to do? Is it wrong to speak up for your values and say ‘no’ to the governments reckless plans? Is it wrong to shed light on some of the nastier aspects of the governments line of attack? Is it wrong to say you disagree with independence because you believe that true Labour values can be achieved across the UK and working together is the most effective way of bringing about this change we seek?

      What exactly do you want to see from Labour? In what ways are the other parties meeting your needs politically (ie tackling social injustices, representing the values of Labour)?

  21. Aye Mr Baker as they say up this way, yer full of it.
    Whats this “refecting the trust and love for the BBC by experts and audiences alike”, do you honestly think we cant see the unfairness in much of the BBC reporting. Where is the BBC reporting on the current situation within the labour councilors melt down in Glasgow ?, infact where is yours and your Scottish labour leader’s reports on that situation or cant you get the script right.
    And as for Moaning MONE why are you worrying about her, why are’nt you worrying about her staff in Scotland. She will offski with herself and her company down south na bother, but what about her staff what did her statement say to them, ” basicly they dont matter ” she is nothing but selfish B.
    If this is the best you can do, na wonder Salmond kicks yer arse’s every week on FM question time.

    1. I think you nationalists need to get out in the real world a bit more. Speak to real people – you know those people who sometimes dont even vote!

      Straw poll in my office shows that the vast majority of people think the BBC is fair (most of the time) honest, and pretty damned good. Since I live in Angus, I assume that theres a good number of those people who voted SNP. Attacking the BBC IS a dangerous attitude to take, mark my words.

      1. John –
        Have you ever watched PMQs then read Brian Taylor’s blog on the BBC
        And wondered why reality and B. Taylor’s comments differ so much ?
        It is called BBC bias. Question Time and Call Kaye are other examples.

  22. Oh Dear! This is pathetic stuff from no-mark Baker. To say that nationalist politics is about difference and by implication that it is wrong has to be judged against the view of British nationalists who operate the same paradigm. In fact every nation in the world wants to distinguish itself in terms of its national pride – so what? You could even say that it is an empowering thing. What country or business does not want to highlight its USP. It is what you do with that USP that matters. Scotland escaping the smothering, blocking and self importance of Westminster is the best thing that could happen to this country. Westminster is broke. It is dysfunctional and needs to rebuild from the grouind up to become a real democracy. Scotland’s independence is the catalyst which will help the rUK to come into the 21st century.

  23. I am English and this attempted smear on Scottish people is becoming embarrassing for labour, change the record Mr baker, there are far more important issues to concern yourselves with, like why so many people are becoming hacked off with labour and switching to the SNP, i used to vote labour and now vote SNP, why is this??? should you not be trying to find out why there are thousands like me who are doing so? I could give you lots of reasons, but you dont care, all you care about is trying to smear the SNP and the people who voted for them? Go on ask me why?

  24. 9 mentions of the SNP in this article Richard. 1 mention of Labour.

    Anyone would think you were doing their work for them.

    However, I see that you have accepted the fact that Salmond was invited to appear as a pundit on the program (the program subject matter itself is irrelevent), and that his contribution was vetoed by a BBC employee in London simply because his very presence may endear voters to his political preferences and sway them for elections coming sometime in the future.

    This is a worrying precedent that the BBC have now set. In effect, it means that any non-political event cannot be commented on by or have a political figure in attendance because of the inherent dangers of subliminal percption.

    You seem agitated by Russells labelling of those not in agreement with him as being ‘anti-scots’. I am sure that you are well aware that Scotland has a long tradition of the provision of free education. Other Scottish traditions include the wearing of tartan, the celebration of St Andrew, Burns etc.
    I would certainly call anyone attempting to rid us of any of the above as being ‘anti-scots’. The fact that you don’t, speaks volumes for where your loyalties really lie.

  25. Well now –welcome back..! I thought you were going to re-name this site ‘Labournaybodieshame’ given the deafening silence over the past few days.

    There is something faintly ridiculous about a new labour msp on a new labour site, who has nothing to offer labour supporters following the recent embarrassment in Glasgow chambers! Once again try to deflect the real issue facing labour in Scotland today. It would not have been so bad if you have come up with this stuff just after the event, but did it really take you, how many days, to write this?

    Nice of you to come here and defend the BBC with ‘its not the Scottish way’….good grief – desperate stuff indeed even for you Mr Baker!

    So nothing about the alleged bullying tactics of your councillors, nothing about your leader in Scotland who has nothing to say on the issue? And nothing about the break-away group of labour councillors – Dont you think that is important enough to merit a comment?

    I feel very sorry for true labour supporters, you know of the pre ‘things will only get better’ or pre ‘blairs babes’ variety’

    Once again you end with a ‘stirring’ ‘Our Scotland, the home of the enlightenment, blah blah, blah….’ Did you give yourself a standing ovation after that one??

    Stop writing speeches on here and tell us what new labour will do for Scotland – we are all listening but we hear nothing about policy just more anti-snp bile. Do you really think that is what will win you a single vote?

  26. I refer the honourable Gentleman to the following links in reference to his comment on the word “Gauleiters”
    I didn’t notice the word ‘offensive’ in any of these definitions. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
    Surely you don’t think it’s half as offensive as these comparisons?

  27. OMG is Richard Baker the Time Traveller ? This is last week’s news and done to death by Mr “leather bed” Sheridan. A week’s a long time in politics or rugby. Move on please

  28. Where,s Lamont hiding out.

    Does she condone bullying in the work place or not, Mr Baker?


    I think you are of no use to Scotland, and should go get a real job.

    Pathetic would be a compliment on your achievements in politics,

  29. I see the moderator is back…!
    I thought you guys had grown up and welcomed open debate, it appears not!

    1. I’m not admin but you lot should have a look at your comments that have been approved.

      It is utterly laughable that you can say Labour use negative campaigning when all you do is throw insults around (ie ‘no-mark Baker’).

      I love how none of you have really addressed the issues raised by Richard but ask US to answer questions. Really nonsensical ones at that (why do you want perpetual Tory govts – I mean get a grip).

      Anyone looking at this site would be appalled at the tone that comes across from many of your (SNP supporting) comments.

    2. ‘Welcome opened debate’ – Brilliant.

      Debate: A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.

      Now when debating it is necessary for each argument advanced by either party to be backed up so you can generate greater support for your position.

      I suggest if you want an open debate, or any kind of debate, you should put forward arguments that can be verified rather than just making snide remarks.

      Snide remarks do not an argument make. It’s clear you don’t want an argument, you just want to say how bad Labour are, and how evil our party must be. Why not put forward something constructive that will create a debate – you never know people might debate with you if you do.

      1. My point is (as you well know) there is no such thing as open debate if the moderator chooses to delete the posts he does not like – more like censorship dont you agree?

        But, since you asked here are a couple of questions you and mr baker could debate:

        1. What is your views on the breakaway labour group in glasgow council?
        2. How do you feel (as a new labour socialist) about they way democratically elected labour councillors have ben deselected by party officials in london?
        3. What is your view on the treatment of anne-marie miller?

        This is a serious subject for new labour in Glasgow, yet everyone, including baker and lamont do not want to deal with this? These are serious question which labour MUST be addressed – any comment?

        1. and a fourth question…

          4. Do you, as a new labour socialist, believe camerons ‘offer’ to Scots is good enough, i.e. ‘vote no and i MIGHT consider GIVING you more powers?

  30. David Cameron goes to Edinburgh today, to spout his condescending message about keeping a seat on the UN security council and how volatile the price of oil is, so Scots cant handle it! I mean, is he serious, will anyone be taken in with this? This UK and renewed seat in the UN will cost Scotland dear.
    Why does the Labour party in Scotland continue to represent London in Scotland and punt Londons point of view, which is David Camerons point of view.
    But get this.

    1. Ohhh you sad little person.

      Why are union members having to go to a TORY PRIME MINISTER to get help because of the actions of a Scottish FM?

      Why are the SNP decimating the college budgets which provide a second chance for many people (sit Highers, train or re-train to open new paths) and is a major boost to the economy?

      Why are the SNP cutting housing budgets?

      Why are the SNP undermining local democracy?

      Why are the SNP firing civilian police staff and moving the ‘1000 extra officers’ into admin roles?

      Why are the SNP doing so little to tackle unemployment, especially youth and female unemployment?

      Labour are fighting to make the voices of these groups heard but the SNP are not listening. They are too busy talking about the land of plenty that we will become.

      Also David Cameron to be fair to him didn’t talk Scotland down, he talked the UK up – only a nat would see someone talking their side up as talking Scotland down. Why when told of David Cameron’s speech did the SNP spokesperson fail to address any of his points? Why did they resort to the type of comments we see above: ‘is this the best you can come up with’ and the like.

      If that is your only retort then you have no argument and all you are trying to do is create the impression that those who oppose you are pathetic – why not provide some answers/details that will make it certain in the publics mind that the non-separatists are wrong and you are right.

      You all seem to believe that the people of Scotland are sick of the UK and are agreeing with the SNP that all our problems are caused by being in the union? Where is your evidence for this? There is none because people like being part of the union. The people of Scotland like looking outward and builidng on our friendships, not driving divisions to the fore and trying to create a feeling of resentment against our friends and neighbours. For all Salmond says when he pops down south, his words are not so warm up here and the underlying message is clear: we are being held back by the rUk and they are suffocating our democratic voice.

      P*sh and nonsense!

      1. Ok!
        So you ve gone all Tory now?
        Yes agreed, Cameron did put the gloss on it, and it wasnt about talking the Scottish down, which makes a fine change.
        It really depends what you want out of your life as to what you ll vote for.
        I m not up for Trident, nuclear Scotland, invading countries with oil, being run by a victorian parliament which is bordering on the corrupt.
        Scotland has a lot going for it, I dont agree with paying £100s of billions to be a super power, which the UK cant afford anyway!

      2. May i remind you that if you really are interested in open and honest debate you would add at least some acknowledgment they we, the Scots, work within financial implications given to us by westminister?

        THEN we cab debate what we spend this money on. It is no use unionists like yourself listing what money is not spent on while failing to identify where this money will come from – discuss!

    2. Strange how you seem to know what is in Cameron’s speech before he gives it. As it happens, he’s given it now. He spoke for over 20 minutes, if he mentioned the security council, I didnt catch it.

      I dont live in London, and I dont take orders from London. Are my views irrelevant? Is it merely the case that only people who agree with you are relevant?

      1. Your right, I didnt know his speech before he said it, but he did say this today anyway.
        I didnt say you were irrelevant or your views, but Labour is irrelevant in the debate, or were they tucked away quietly in the corner of the meeting?

        And yes, Labour does take its orders from London.

  31. Excellent piece Richard.

    The question seems to be: why do the SNP members/supporters not condemn this pattern of behaviour?

    Is it because they don’t see anything wrong with the low-blow personal attacks? That they can’t see anything wrong as they are blinded by the FM brilliance? That they are unable to condemn him for fear it will undermine the push for independence?

    I think there are many nats who are ashamed of the Alex Salmond/Joan McAlpine/Mike Russell outbursts but don’t feel they can condemn them. They either do this for selfish reasons (ie undemining independence) or because they aren’t allowed to disagree with the party. If that is the case then it simply adds to this pattern of attack and propaganda.

    That’s me being generous. It is quite clear from the comments above that many in the SNP just don’t see anything wrong and are brainwashed into thinking that any criticism of their party must be ‘negative’ campaigning and a conspiracy of the unionists to attack them.

    You lot always seem to be on the defensive. Why can’t you take criticism? Why can’t you criticise the failures of your party?

    The Labour commenters on here do it often with no reprisals. We are comfortable pointing out the failures of our party. I can’t wait for the day you lot are kicked into touch because none of you will know why. The actions of your leadership will be just one part of it.

    1. “I can’t wait for the day you lot are kicked into touch because none of you will know why.”

      Do you really believe that? Surely not. We are, after all, much much more used to losing than you lot. I have literally decades of losing under my belt! Countless counts to coin a phrase. Maybe after 30 or 40 years the SNP might become as complacent as Labour and if that happens we will deserve to be taken down just as you have been.

    2. So Salmond uses a word that is used regularly by Labour MPs to describe tories, but Salmond’s wrong and the Labour MPs are okay. Labour Councillors in Glasgow bully and intimidate other councillors, using threats against their disabled children but, hey, that’s okay too. It must be, after all, because not a single labour supporter on here (you know, all those who fear no reprisals) has condemned either the Labour MPs or the Labour councillors.

      Perhaps Baker and Sheridan would have more credibility if there wasn’t such a hypocritical (and opportunistic) stink about their comments. Lord Robertson is in exactly the same boat, crying fowl because cybernats had the audacity to disagree with his description of SNP supporters as a “toxic mixture” as part of his call for “grown up debate” (because that’s really grown up). That’s the problem Scottish Labour have had for some time now. They are so used to freely outpouring their vitriol and negativity that they no longer realise they are doing it, thinking it’s fair comment and reasonable. It’s not. So before calling on the SNP to condemn cybernats, Labour should get their own house in order.

    3. As usual GMcM you have got it back to front, we can take criticism it’s yourselfs that seem to have a few problems in that direction, hence the lack of any comment about the “Anne Marie Miller” situation.
      And as for the “We are comfortable pointing out the failures of our party” I would hope you are, you have had lots of practice, and there’s no sign of it stopping.

  32. Ok Vidkun, you dont like the word “Gauleiter” .. mild in comparison to what has been said of A.S. over the past few months.
    Perhaps Kommisar suits you better!

  33. I voted labour, once, about 35 years ago and then gave my vote to the SNP on the basis that once Scotland became independent we would then get the goverment that we voted for and hopefully it would a labour/socialist goverment that would be in power.
    Unfortunately labour lost any socialism they had left in the movement during the Blair years, and so now they may have lost any chance of getting my vote back, especially if this is the best that their leading and senior members can come up with. It is negative in the extreme and tries to score petty points.The referendum debate needs a more mature and grown-up debate, not more of the usual from Baker and Co.

  34. Cant believe that you wrote this Richard; what a pathetic attempt to smear the opposition!!! The only thing labour seem to devote time to is attempting to smear the SNP.

    Where are your policies? your plans for Scotland? your proposals for devo max?

    Are you not embarrassed to publish this? As a politician is this your level?

    And GMcM…… your party have become an obstacle for the people of Scotland.

  35. If Richard Baker is so naïve he is cannot figure the real reason there is very serious concern in the minds of a majority of Scots due to the BBC’s action, he really has no right even standing for office. The fact he thinks fit to assume WE don’t know that he DOES know, but attempts assumes we don’t, is good reason never to vote Labour ever again. We do not zip up the back, Richard. That is why Labour are on the same path as the endangered species of Tory and LibDems in Scotland.

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