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Charles Bannerman

Kar Krash Kez

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Just where is the Labour Party's saga of incompetence, own goals and self harm going to end? The latest debacle is the already much publicised failure of Kezia Dugdale (or the Holyrood voting computer - judge for yourself) to register a vote after the Council Tax debate. And it gets worse... far, far worse. The upshot is not only the failure of the amendment which everybody but the SNP supported but also the loss of a high profile opportunity to remind the nation that the SNP no longer has an overall majority so is open to defeat. You couldn't make this up.... it maybe dwarfs even the one about Iain Gray in the sandwich shop; on which subject, it's Gray that Kez insists saw her press her voting button so it's got to be the Hollyrood system that's bust. Aye, right. 

All of this also takes place against a backdrop of the utter chaos of UK Labour and the inability of the party to express any unanimity about opposing a second Scottish referendum. Then there's Kez herself, lagging as she does miles and miles behind every other Scottish leader in popularity polling. I mean the poor woman just doesn't have a clue and holds herself up to ridicule every time she opens her mouth. She's meant to speak with the authority and persuasiveness of a party leader but the only thing she persuades us of is that she's some wee lassie failing to cut it at a school debating competition. It's a strange situation isn't it that neither Labour nor its leader can mount a prominent enough challenge in Scotland to the SNP to prevent opposition being led by the Conservatives, despite everything the Nats have tried to throw at them for years.

Labour also has another question to answer. In a very tightly balanced parliament with the SNP in a marginal minority, why on earth did they agree to one of their MSPs, Ken MacKintosh, having his vote neutered by becoming Presiding Officer? (Mind you, I suspect I know the answer - this is the only thing that anybody from Labour is likely to be in charge of for years to come!) But it's daft. MacKintosh, as Presiding Officer, only has a vote in the event of a tie and in that event is usually obliged to vote for the status quo. Hence it was MacKintosh's vote that saved the backsides of the SNP and against the preferences of his own party which protocol dictates he has to ignore and, one suspects, also against his own. In a wee parliament like Holyrood with a very tight balance, it seems daft to me that one of the parties should have one of their MSPs neutralised.

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I was expecting more on this on the news today but so far there is nothing new other than a bit of fallout.  It really is quite extraordinary and really does require an investigation.  It is important to note that both Dugdale and Iain Gray have said that not only did she vote, but there was an indication that the vote had been registered.  It is therefore not a case of simply not pressing a button hard enough and therefore genuinely thinking she'd voted when actually she hadn't.

Dugdale is either lying or she is telling the truth.  If she is lying then she should resign.  If she is telling the truth then there needs to be an urgent and thorough investigation.  I am not aware that in the history of the Parliament a vote has failed to register when the MSP concerned insists both that they voted and that the system had acknowledged that vote.  It seems quite extraordinary that the first time it should happen it happens to the leader of the Scottish Labour Party in a vote when had the vote been recorded the Government would have defeated in a vote of some significance.

It is also extraordinary that there seems not to be a process to correct the error.  Surely, if an MSP has voted but their vote is not recorded, they should be able to draw that to the attention of the Presiding Officer and have that vote added.  It is totally unacceptable that decisions are made despite a majority of members voting against them.

Dugdale should ether be jumping up and down today demanding answers or resigning.  She seems to be doing neither.  I wonder if the strategy here is to try and make Corbyn look dynamic, efficient and electable in comparison. 

 

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1 hour ago, DoofersDad said:

It seems quite extraordinary that the first time it should happen it happens to the leader of the Scottish Labour Party in a vote when had the vote been recorded the Government would have defeated in a vote of some significance.

I would think that the likelihood of this happening is somewhere in the same ballpark as winning the lottery or the referee not awarding a late penalty to allow one half of the Old Firm through to meet the other half in a cup final.

As I said earlier, you couldn't make it up.... this descent of the party that gave us the Welfare State and the NHS after the war into the current laugh a minute collection of comic cuts that we now have.

I really do wonder these days what the Labour Party is actually FOR. So probably do they for that matter. Part of their problem is that they have outlived the purpose for which they were formed. In an era of universal benefits, Victorian workhouse living conditions are long gone and trade unionism largely discredited itself in the 60s and 70s. It now seems that some of the Labour Party have woken up to this while the Corbynistas remain dogmatic Socialists for Socialism's sake. Hilarious, though, seeing the Blairite types still singing away at The Red Flag at Party Conferences!

The problem first appeared when Corbyn's spiritual and sartorial predecessor Michael Foot and his fellow travellers tried to hold on to Socialist principles which were no longer required and made themselves unelectable. Blair responded by pinching Tory policies and turning the tide in 1997. But since they lost power six years ago, the two fundamental factions have kicked off again like ferrets in a sack. Then you have to add in that they no longer have statesmen like Donald Dewar and John Smith to give them credibility so have had to turn to the likes of Miliband, Corbyn and Kar Krash Kes and all the comic cuts they have brought. That has been compounded in Scotland by two further own goals of people finally seeing through the arrogant complacency which led Labour to take Scotland for granted and Labour's own voluntary creation of a Holyrood soapbox which they have virtually custom built for the main beneficiaries of that complacency, the nationalists.

I wonder if the nats have a chorus lurking about somewhere which is the broad political equivalent of the football one about "Can we play you every week?"

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2 hours ago, IBM said:

It's a wonder you are not blaming this on the 'Cybernats' Charles :blush:

Only because I thought it was pretty obvious. They only hacked half a billion Yahoo accounts as a diversion from the real business of getting SNP legislation through by zapping Kar Krash Kez's vote!

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Charles said Part of their problem is that they have outlived the purpose for which they were formed. In an era of universal benefits, Victorian workhouse living conditions are long gone and trade unionism largely discredited itself in the 60s and 70s

Problem is that the Welfare system has possibly gone too far due to Labour Governments in the post-war years handing out benefits to win elections, and now, because expectations have been instilled, and we feel we are entitled, relative to what we had, we can be seen to be moving back to Victorian workhouse conditions.and while I am not a TU fan, they have been emasculated to the point of being next to pointless....and the Labour Right can't see that.   There is a happy medium....but the Labour Party of Blair thought and still thinks the only way to get elected (nothing about what is best for the bulk of the population) is the Tory way, differentiated only by the tweaks which have got us where we are.today. A choice is not two unionist parties both of which promote inequality, with the only difference being in how much inequality will be deemed acceptable.

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49 minutes ago, Oddquine said:

Problem is that the Welfare system has possibly gone too far due to Labour Governments in the post-war years handing out benefits to win elections,

... as opposed to SNP ones refusing to sanction benefits in order to win referenda.

WELCOME BACK OQ!!!!

Edited by Charles Bannerman

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A post by Oddquine which I almost agree with!   One of the big problems in this country is the dependency culture which has arisen out of the generosity and compassion of our welfare state.  Together with that is the attitude of people demanding their rights whilst being seemingly oblivious of their responsibilities within society.  And then there are those who simply abuse the system and I could give dozens of examples from my own personal experience.

I know Oddquine hates the Tories but I don't think they get the credit they deserve in trying to tip the scales back towards rewarding those who do take their responsibilities seriously whilst providing for those in genuine need.  They have also supported some of the poorest in society by significantly increasing the personal allowance and taking huge numbers of low wage earners out of paying tax altogether.  They have also enabled the economy in the UK to be one of the strongest and most vibrant in the world and have been effective in creating wealth in a very difficult economic climate.

What I don't like about the Tories and why I have never voted for them is that they fail to distribute the wealth created fairly.  The disparity between the richest and the poorest in society is too much and it is growing ever wider. A better balance is required.  I'm not sure what Oddquine or the left wing political movement in general mean by "equality", but if it means people should be paid the same regardless of the job they do then then equality is clearly a bad thing.  Work which is harder, requires more skill, carries more responsibility etc should be rewarded with higher pay otherwise, where is the incentive to do these roles?  As Oddquine says, there is a happy medium but the Tories don't see it that way.  They would just let market forces rip which is why we see these multi-million salaries in the private sector together with massive bonuses.

Corbyn's challenge is to identify a happy medium and to persuade others from left and right that we should work towards that.  I think he is an inherently decent and principled man but he has lacked the pragmatism required to compromise.  He has struck a chord with large parts of society who have felt disenfranchised by the politics of the last half century.  These include the left wing ideologists, the welfare state junkies and the "I know my rights" brigade.  These are not the kind of people to compromise but nor is their political message one which will resonate with the public as a whole.  Corbyn has his mandate but now he has to persuade those who voted for him that the only way to deliver some of what they want is to compromise and find that happy medium. 

The biggest mistake Corbyn could make now would be to use his mandate to squash the MPs who have opposed him (and there's precious few left who would consider themselves Blairites!) The reason they have opposed him, despite his popular support within the party, is because from their experience in parliament and local government, they know that success in politics requires compromise.  It was interesting watching Liz Kendall on question time this week.  She has strongly opposed Corbyn but it is impossible to doubt her passionate desire to make life better for the most disadvantaged in our society.  You can sense the frustration she and others like her feel when she knows that for all his fine principled words, Corbyn's obstinacy is making the prospect of a Labour Government less likely.  The compromise now needed is for the Parliamentary party to endorse Corbyn's leadership and for Corbyn to embrace their pragmatism and start focussing on political realism rather than political ideology.  If he can do that whilst persuading his huge party support to trust him, then he just might do it at the next election.  

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