Tuesday, 31 March 2015



Dear Mr Murphy,

Maybe you could tell us, seeing that it is stated in  your campaign literature, where and when the SNP said that they would scrap the UK pension. 

I do remember that the NO campaign, in which you played such a prominent role, said that the UK would no longer pay pensions to our senior citizens if Scotland became independent. 

You may remember, though, that both the SNP, and the YES campaign rubbished that, and finally even the DWP was obliged to release a statement saying that it was not true, and that anyone who paid into the pension scheme would receive their due from it. 

Incidentally, from what I can make out, it was a very effective scare story. It managed to put real fear into the hearts of many old people, dependent for their existence on this, the second lowest pension in the developed world. (For your information, the lowest is that of Mexico. Proud boast, huh?)

So  when you get a minute, can you let me know when the SNP said that they would scrap the UK pension, in what circumstances they would do that, and how, indeed, they would be able to do it.

Thank you.

Grateful thanks to Anon, for finding this picture of
our mystery pensioner and sometimes contributor to
Jim's publicity back in 2008.

Sunday, 29 March 2015


Munguin kindly agreed to do some
publicity for Mr Salmond's book
...So he kept a copy for himself.
But, seriously, big thank you to Alex Salmond for being a great sport with Munguin, and for an interesting evening talking about this book, the referendum campaign, and the future. Even if you didn't agree with his politics, he has to be one of the most engaging speakers you've ever heard.





Saturday, 28 March 2015


Spring Forward

HUMZA: "We are nobody's branch office. Nobody puts Scotland in a box. No one puts Scotland in a corner."

Is this your first conference?
Depute Leader: Stewart Hosie.
Not bad for a Saturday morning in March.
HUMZA: Welcome to Glasgow. The city with only two seasons: 
taps oan an' taps aff.

Friday, 27 March 2015


Dear Mr Murphy,

Shortly after you were elected as the leader of the Scottish branch of the UK Labour Party, you said that you would not lose a single seat to the SNP.

If you should lose the odd seat to that party, will you resign your leadership?

Kind regards



Dear Mr Murphy,

If the Tories have 290 seats, Labour has 280 seats and the SNP 45 seats, will your boss allow the Tories to form a minority government rather than work with the SNP to promote left of centre policies?

Best wishes



Dear Ms Lamont,

As an elder stateswoman of the Labour Party, what do you think of the job Jim Murphy is doing?




Dear Labour,

The London Labour spokesperson on Work and Pensions has said that Labour is not the party of the unemployed, nor would it wish to be seen as such.

Whilst, of course, I was aware that the party was not exclusively dedicated to the unemployed, I thought that at least they had an interest in their welfare. Indeed I could be quite sure that they used to care about people who were out of work.

Would you care to indicate to the unemployed who they should now vote for if they wish to elect someone who gives a damn?




Dear Mr McTernan,

I've been reading that you have on numerous occasions praised Mrs Thatcher and indicated that a Tory revival would be good for Scotland.

Is that the general feeling of the Labour Party in Scotland?

Best wishes



Dear Mr Murphy,

Could you please let me know what would be your priority if Labour were to be elected to power in Scotland? (No, don't laugh.)

Would it be dealing with the number of people who are using foodbanks, or would it be making sure that Trident were renewed?

Your truly



Dear Mr Murphy,

In England you appear to think that £6 000 is a reasonable amount for students to pay each year to avail themselves of a bachelor's degree. In Scotland you appear to think that that sum is £6 000 too much.

Could you explain what is different between Scottish and English students?

Kind regards



Dear Mr Miliband,

It has been Labour policy for over 100 years to abolish the House of Lords.

It is SNP policy to abolish the House of Lords.

Is this something you could work together on, or would Willie Bain insist that 100 years of traditional Labour thinking on aristocratic rule be over turned because a wee lassie in a tin hat also happens to believe that?

Yours sincerely



Thursday, 26 March 2015


I'm no fan of John Bercow and I never have been. 

He's always come over as a pompous, trumped up little pipsqueak.

(That said, I've always had the deepest sympathy for the man being lumbered with the embarrassing Mrs Bercow.)

I understand from the likes of Pete Wishart though, that, pomposity aside, Bercow has, in fact, been a fair and decent Speaker and has tried to modernise at least some of the tomfoolery that passes for procedure in the House of Commons.

But he used to be a Tory and because he doesn't automatically take their side, he is much hated by most but not all, of them.

So it seems that, as a parting shot, their last piece of legislation in this parliament was designed to make the election of a Speaker a secret affair. Instead of going through lobbies to choose a Speaker, the Eton Boys wanted to have a secret ballot, which they felt would be more likely to result in Bercow being dumped.

Brought forward by the leader of the House, Mr Hague, as his last action in elected politics (I'm sure he will shortly re-appear as an aristocrat), the motion failed.


With Auntie
Britain is reputed to be one of the most secretive countries in the Western world. We should be working to make less and less of what happens in that mausoleum secret. Only a set of conniving, vindictive, nasty, over privileged Tories would have come up with a scheme to enshrine MORE secrecy into the way that they operate.

It comes, of course, on the same day that the Supreme Court ruled that Charlie Sax-Coburg-Gotha's black spider quill penned letters wasting ministers' time with his pet policy demands, should also be made public, despite the government ruling that he could have an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act, because he was... well, HIM.

Prime Minister Eton Boy obviously disapproved and called the ruling "disappointing". He said the government would now consider how best to release the documents. I'd suggest he just releases them like he's been told to. It was the Guardian newspaper that asked for them. The Supreme Court has agreed with them that they are public. Or maybe he'd like to go to Appeal at the European Court before he takes England out of the Human Rights legislation?

Cameron said: "This is about the principle that senior members of the royal family are able to express their views to government confidentially. I think most people would agree this is fair enough."

Charlie pretending to be Nigel Farage
Not sure about that actually. I, for one, don't agree on the basis that we pay MPs' wages; we pay ministers' wages; we pay for the royals. We are their bosses, their employers. We want to know what they waste our money on.

I know that some governmental discussions must remain secret. Those relating to wars, weapons and international intrigue perhaps, but the letter that Charlie sends to ministers demanding his views be taken into consideration? Absolutely not. He's a paid employee like the rest of them, and should have no special privileges of secrecy. He is NOT the head of state. 

Mr Cameron hinted, in typical Tory style, that the legislation could need tightening in the wake of the ruling. Just like when the courts ruled against the employment law relating to enforced work experience, and they introduced retrospective legislation to get round it?

In one day we have two blows for liberty against the obnoxious Tory and Liberal government (and yes, Clegg was against the publication of the letters too). We should redouble or efforts to ensure that we keep them out of power until such time as we can get the hell out of this union.

The cheering thought for the day though is ... what a way for Hague to bow out of front line politics... at least until the next time.

Disabled man gets benefits reinstated- A rare DWP story with a happy ending

We have heard, over and over again, sad stories of people being denied benefits that they need, particularly those benefits which are there for people who are sick or disabled. 

Almost invariably these stories have had a sad ending, often involving the death of the claimant.

But for once we have a story with a happy ending, and possibly we can learn something form this. 

Firstly the family concerned went to to the local newspaper with their story, and so got it publicity. 

Secondly, of course, we are but 40 odd days away from a General Election. The two may or may not be connected.

Anyone with a legitimate grievance against the DWP might think that this an appropriate time to air their views through their local press. And just to be sure, to do it before the election while politicians pretend to give a damn.

Here's the story:

A disabled 62-year-old man whose benefits were stopped because the DWP said he was fit to work, has had them re-instated after his story appeared in the Chronicle.

Richard Ashby, of Sandy Lane, Goostrey, has Pagets Disease, a bone disorder in which the normal repair process is disrupted. He also has osteo-arthritis, is diabetic and says he keeps falling asleep because of the medication he is on.
On January 6, following a medical inspection by Atos in December, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) stopped Richard’s £70 a week Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

“He was called in for the medical in December and on January 6 they sent a letter out to say they were stopping his money and he’s fit to work,” Richard’s cousin, Sarah Thorne told the Chronicle at the time.

Richard appealed against the decision explaining he was in constant pain and not fit to work but, despite repeated calls to the DWP, Sarah said they made no progress with getting the benefits re-instated, so she contacted the Chronicle.

The story appeared on January 28.

“Two days after they reinstated his money – after it had appeared in the Chronicle,” said Sarah.

“He’s got his money reinstated and they’ve now put back what he was stopped. I’m sure it’s to do with putting it in the Chronicle.”

Richard, who lodges at his cousin’s house, has also since had an apology and been told he is eligible for another benefit payment.

The former lorry driver who left school at 14 and had worked all his life until he became ill in 2011, said at the time he had been made to feel like a scrounger by the DWP.

“In the end it’s turned out better than we could have hoped for,” he said.

The emphasis and illustrations are ours.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Midweek Mélange

It won't stop them trying to blame Thatcher on the SNP, but it's nice to know the truth.
Right. So 105 years later... and the House of Lords is still there!
How's that working out?
Well, you won't be able to until we are independent, but you could help the Labour party fulfil their promise, if a little late...
Bizarre that there are so many Labour MPs decrying this budget, when Ed wouldn't change it at all...
As usual, nail hit firmly on the head.
Don't worry Rachel. We know that you metropolitan lot can't be annoyed with the unemployed.
Lynton Crosby or John McTernan. I get them mixed up.
Somebody tell Jim Murphy that this man existed?
Mark yourselves out of 100.
Poor old posh Ed.
|We know this. They know this. But they cling to the idea that the 'Great' in Great Britain means something other than
simply 'Large' by comparison to Bretagne (Brittany).
So how can this non legal entity be a separate party with its own leader and different patriotic Scottish policies
when it cannot even be sued for wrongful dismissal?
Isn't it funny...?
When will we see Tory Threat...? far far more worrying.
Amazingly, as they feel so strongly about it
they are going to make them illegal.
David Cameron is reported in the Daily Telegraph to have told friends he regards SNP leader Alex Salmond as "bagged, stuffed and mounted on my wall".  Might have been a tad premature.