Tag Archives: betray

If Johnson is ready to renege on EU withdrawal agreement, what’s the point in a trade deal?

Brexit lies: Boris Johnson said he had an “oven-ready” Brexit deal waiting to slot into place with the EU.HE LIED.

Boris Johnson seems to think that negotiations are proceeding too slowly – and is pushing the EU to give him the ‘no deal’ Brexit he wants.

That’s the only interpretation that can be put on the revelation that he is planning to break the withdrawal agreement that he merrily signed in January.

EU negotiators will see that no deal struck with the UK under his leadership will carry any weight. This Writer would not be surprised if they walk away from the negotiating table in disgust.

On the eve of negotiations resuming, the Financial Times reported that the Internal Market Bill would “eliminate” the legal force of the Withdrawal Agreement, struck less than a year ago, in areas including state aid for business and Northern Ireland customs.

As part of the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the region is expected to continue to follow some EU rules after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020 to ensure there is no hard border.

But Mr Johnson is expected to say later that if no agreement is reached by 15 October, both sides should “move on”.

The prime minister will tell EU counterparts that completing the UK’s exit from the bloc without a trade deal would still be a “good outcome”.

It won’t be.

We have already learned that huge numbers of UK farmers are likely to go out of business if there is no deal and now Johnson is practically guaranteeing it.

This Site has already said we should not necessarily sympathise with them because the vast majority of farmers voted for Brexit, no matter what it meant.

But this latest move is likely to mean tariffs of 40 per cent on UK goods being sold into the EU – a huge extra cost that means most of them will be unable to trade in that bloc in the future.

The economy is not strong enough to weather this, so it seems the hedge fund bosses who (may or may not have) supported Johnson in his bid to be prime minister will get what it’s been said they want: an enormous recession and the collapse of big name UK brands.

https://twitter.com/Beaker64625289/status/1302915231010762754

Make no mistake:

By legislating to cause this, Boris Johnson is signalling that it is what he has wanted all along.

Tory elected representatives are already misrepresenting the facts:

Oh, and for all those who voted Conservative in December last year, basing their decision on the slogan that Johnson would “Get Brexit Done”… How does it feel to be betrayed?

This is a complete u-turn on the plan and a betrayal of every Tory voter who thought Johnson would achieve an advantageous Brexit:

How do you feel about this betrayal?

Source: Brexit: Ministers plan laws overriding part of withdrawal deal – BBC News

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How many Labour members will follow this councillor’s example – and demand refunds?

Labour now has an existential problem.

More than half a million members have heard that party staff spent years working to stop the party from winning at elections, and to foment distrust by – for example – failing to do anything about anti-Semitism.

They have been told that the party they joined – and into which they paid subscriptions – has been actively working against their wishes.

And over the last week, they have seen the new leader of that party doing his very best to protect the perpetrators of this monumental betrayal.

So it seems likely that many of them – huge numbers, in fact – will follow the example of Sarah-Jane McDonough and demand the return of the subscriptions they rightly feel were taken under false pretences.

If enough of them do that – and many may band together to demand it through the courts if the party tries to deny them what they want – Labour will run out of money and cease to function.

So Keir Starmer is likely to be facing a choice – either now or in the near future.

He can make explicitly public efforts to clean up the Labour Party – or he can learn to live with being the disgraced leader who killed the Party of the People. It’s up to him.

A Labour councillor is demanding that the party fully refunds all her membership fees and donations following the revelation that senior HQ staff conspired to sabotage Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Stevenage councillor Sarah-Jane McDonough has written to request a refund of payments from May 2015 to the present day on the grounds that they were taken “fraudulently.”

Her letter was sent after an internal Labour report, titled The Work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in Relation to Antisemitism, 2014-2019, was leaked last weekend.

Management and staff on the right of the party were found to have used abusive language in WhatsApp chats to disparage Mr Corbyn and his supporters, along with other left-wing MPs and party employees.

The culprits also boasted of doing no work for months and conspiring to sabotage election campaigns and Labour’s attempts to deal with anti-semitism complaints.

Source: Labour councillor demands refund from party after leaked report exposed sabotage of Corbyn | Morning Star

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These are the Labour MPs who ran away when their constituents needed them

MPs debate the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, July 20, 2015.

MPs debate the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, July 20, 2015.

This is a roll call of shame.

The Conservative Party has launched yet another attack on the poor, the disabled and the disadvantaged in the UK and – rather than stand up for those people – all but 48 members of the Parliamentary Labour Party just stood aside and let it happen.

Apologists for these so-called representatives say there will be time to oppose particular measures in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill during the Committee Stage, but they conveniently forget that it is easier to push objections through if one has not already stood aside to let the legislation reach that stage. In short: Nobody will take these objections seriously.

Here is the list of Labour MPs who betrayed their constituents:

Heidi Alexander
Rushanara Ali
Graham Allen
Jon Ashworth
Ian Austin
Adrian Bailey
Kevin Barron
Margaret Beckett
Hilary Benn
Luciana Berger
Clive Betts
Roberta Blackman-Woods
Tom Blenkinsop
Paul Blomfield
Ben Bradshaw
Kevin Brennan
Lyn Brown
Nick Brown
Chris Bryant
Karen Buck
Richard Burden
Andy Burnham
Liam Byrne
Ruth Cadbury
Alan Campbell
Ronnie Campbell
Sarah Champion
Jenny Chapman
Vernon Coaker
Ann Coffey
Julie Cooper
Rosie Cooper
Yvette Cooper
Jo Cox
Neil Coyle
David Crausby
Mary Creagh
Stella Creasy
Jon Cruddas
John Cryer
Judith Cummins
Alex Cunningham
Jim Cunningham
Nicholas Dakin
Simon Danczuk
Wayne David
Gloria De Piero
Stephen Doughty
Jim Dowd
Jack Dromey
Michael Dugher
Angela Eagle
Maria Eagle
Clive Efford
Julie Elliott
Louise Ellman
Bill Esterson
Chris Evans
Paul Farrelly
Frank Field
Jim Fitzpatrick
Rob Flello
Colleen Fletcher
Caroline Flint
Yvonne Fovargue
Vicky Foxcroft
Mike Gapes
Barry Gardiner
Pat Glass
Kate Green
Lilian Greenwood
Nia Griffith
Andrew Gwynne
David Hanson
Harriet Harman
Harry Harpham
Helen Hayes
John Healey
Mark Hendrick
Stephen Hepburn
Meg Hillier
Margaret Hodge
Sharon Hodgson
Kate Hoey
Kate Hollern
George Howarth
Tristram Hunt
Rupa Huq
Huw Irranca-Davies
Dan Jarvis
Alan Johnson
Diana R Johnson
Graham Jones
Kevan Jones
Susan Elan Jones
Mike Kane
Barbara Keeley
Liz Kendall
Stephen Kinnock
Peter Kyle
Chris Leslie
Emma Lewell-Buck
Ivan Lewis
Ian Lucas
Holly Lynch
Fiona Mactaggart
Justin Madders
Khalid Mahmood
Shabana Mahmood
Seema Malhotra
John Mann
Gordon Marsden
Chris Matheson
Steve McCabe
Kerry McCarthy
Siobhain McDonagh
Pat McFadden
Conor McGinn
Alison McGovern
Catherin McKinnell
Alan Meale
Ed Miliband
Jessica Morden
Ian Murray
Melanie Onn
Chi Onwurah
Albert Owen
Matthew Pennycook
Toby Perkins
Jess Phillips
Bridget Phillipson
Steve Pound
Lucy Powell
Yasmin Qureshi
Angela Rayner
Jamie Reed
Steve Reed
Rachel Reeves
Emma Reynolds
Jonathan Reynolds
Geoffrey Robinson
Steve Rotheram
Joan Ryan
Naseem Shah
Virendra Sharma
Barry Sheerman
Gavin Shuker
Andrew Slaughter
Ruth Smeeth
Andrew Smith
Angela Smith
Jeff Smith
Nick Smith
Owen Smith
Karin Smyth
John Spellar
Keir Starmer
Wes Streeting
Gisela Stuart
Mark Tami
Gareth Thomas
Nick Thomas-Symonds
Emily Thornberry
Stephen Timms
Jon Trickett
Anna Turley
Karl Turner
Derek Twigg
Stephen Twigg
Chuka Umunna
Keith Vaz
Valeria Vaz
Tom Watson
Catherine West
Alan Whitehead
Phil Wilson
Rosie Winterton
John Woodcock

(Thangam Debbonaire also abstained, but this was because she has been diagnosed with cancer and was in Bristol having chemotherapy. She was ‘paired’ with a government MP so her absence did not affect the outcome of the vote.)

(Natascha Engel and Lindsay Hoyle could not vote because they are Deputy Speakers and are automatically paired with government MPs.)

(Fabian Hamilton was, we’re told, recovering from surgery. Otherwise, according to a commenter, he would have voted against the Bill.)

(Lisa Nandy was on maternity leave.)

(Christina Rees was abroad on an all-party working group, according to a commenter to the blog.)

If your Labour MP is among the above, then This Writer encourages you to contact them and request an explanation for this betrayal. You may also ask them to explain why they think they should be trusted to fulfil the role expected of them in Parliament, which is to oppose the Conservative Government’s destruction of the Welfare State and the fabric of British society. You may even wish to request their resignation (although this is only likely to succeed if enough people in the same constituency make the same demand together).

The cowardly rejection of responsibility by the above-named Labour MPs has already earned the contempt of many very well-known figures in the Left of politics.

Harry Smith, the 92-year-old who spoke movingly in support of the NHS at last year’s Labour Conference, tweeted: “To abstain against austerity is to accept austerity.”

He added: “During days of Thatcher Labour fought her tooth & nail & stood up for the vulnerable but today we washed our hands of them.”

Owen Jones, the 30-year-old Leftie columnist, tweeted: “Abstaining on the Welfare Bill means saying you are on the fence about driving the kids of low-paid workers further into hardship.”

You can have this, from Green MP Caroline Lucas: “Labour frontbench defends indefensible & accepts principle of arbitrary benefit cap – how much extra child poverty are they relaxed about?”

Even Abby Tomlinson, the teenage creator of ‘Milifandom’, had to speak up against the abstention of her idol: “Really worries me that MPs would compromise their principles just to toe party line. If they think the bill is morally wrong – oppose it.”

Fortunately for the future of the Labour movement, there were some who were prepared to stand up, not only against the vile Conservative legislation but also against the wrong-headed complicity of their own party leadership – 48 of them.

Leading the rebellion was Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn. He made his views clear in a statement: “We introduced tax credits to fill the gap between wages and the cost of living. Osborne’s proposals do nothing to close that gap, while taking away the vital lifeline that tax credits have provided.

“Research by Savills shows that the lower benefit cap would make all of London and most of southern England uninhabitable for families – based on three-bed properties at market rent.

“Disabled people were hardest hit by welfare cuts in the last Parliament. Reducing ESA rates to JSA levels will send more disabled people into poverty at a time when poverty in disabled households has hit record highs.

“Freezing working-age benefits for four years will mean more homelessness, more people using food banks, more child poverty and more misery. This Bill is the unspeakable attacking the vulnerable. It is indefensible.”

In contrast, Twitter user David George King told another leadership candidate, Andy Burnham: “You’ve a bloody cheek claiming you think this tax credit cut is wrong then abstaining – total copout.” Burnham, like fellow leadership candidates Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, abstained and let the Tory Bill proceed.

Debbie Abrahams, who has done such sterling work keeping my Freedom of Information request on benefit-related deaths in the public eye, said, “This is a wicked Bill.”

And John McDonnell made his own feelings even more plain: “I would swim through vomit to vote against this Bill.”

What a shame so few of their fellow MPs were prepared to take a principled stand. Labour desperately needs a leader who will purge the party of its dead weight – and only one candidate had the courage to stand against the tide this week.

Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall need to discover that they can’t expect the support of the people if they are happy to stab the people in the back.

If nothing else, this vote has shown that Jeremy Corbyn is clearly the man who should be leading Labour out of the dark.

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Burnham’s anti-welfare stance will lose him my vote

Will somebody from the Common Sense wing of the Labour Party please stand for the leadership?

Today The Guardian is reporting that leadership favourite Andy Burnham has decided to pander to big business rather than stand up for the common people.

He said he was prepared to support cuts to social security in order to counter claims that Labour gives scroungers an “easy ride”.

What stupidity!

He would do better to counter the claim that all political parties give an easy ride to lazy business bosses who exploit the working classes and hide their massive profits in tax havens – especially as he was making his speech at the HQ of tax avoidance tzars Ernst and Young.

The company, now branded EY, is one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms that have been helping the Tory Government rewrite tax law to make it possible for big business to use tax havens and avoid paying.

Regarding benefits, the simple fact is that the fraud rate is 0.7 per cent – a miniscule amount. People claiming benefits deserve to have them – especially as they have paid into the relevant fund for their whole lives; the money belongs to those people, not any government – Labour or Tory.

If Burnham really wanted to bring down the amount of benefit claims, he would have been telling businesses to buck up their ideas and start paying the living wage, rather than scrounging the rest of the money their employees need from the government.

He would have been telling landlords to start charging reasonable rents, rather than pushing them up and up and expecting the government to pay what tenants cannot afford in housing benefit.

And he would have been proposing a strategic remodelling of the system to prevent people falling into the kind of difficulties that force them to claim benefits – including a revamp of Health and Safety regulation to ensure that people do not fall prey to long-term illness caused by conditions at work.

Most important of all, he would be pledging to roll back the plan initiated by Margaret Thatcher, Keith Joseph and the rest of them back in the 1970s, to impose poverty and insecurity on the working people.

This Writer doesn’t see him doing any of that.

Will somebody step forward who can actually do the job?

Labour leadership favourite Andy Burnham has indicated he would support further welfare cuts, including government plans for a £23,000 cap on benefits if it has adequate safeguards.

At a speech in London, the shadow health secretary said he wanted to counter the perception his party wants to give “an easy ride” to people who do not want to help themselves.

“Labour does need to win back those people who have that feeling about us,” he told business leaders at the headquarters of EY (previously Ernst & Young) on Friday. He added that the party would not be re-elected unless it showed people it was on the side of those who wanted to “get on” and succeed.

Source: Labour’s Andy Burnham suggests he might back further welfare cuts | Politics | The Guardian

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The SNP’s great poverty betrayal

Scotland's economic disaster [Image: SNPfail - it's a Liberal Democrat-run site but the figures are accurate].

Scotland’s economic disaster [Image: SNPfail – it’s a Liberal Democrat-run site but the figures are accurate].

The poorest Scottish people are losing public services due to a Council Tax freeze by the SNP-run Scottish government, while £1 billion provided by the Westminster government to alleviate poverty has been used to patch over cuts in local authority budgets.

Scotland’s 32 local authorities have still racked up a record £12-15 billion worth of debt as a result of the council tax freeze – but the SNP still claims it is a socialist party, and still claims it is economically responsible.

The SNP has kept council tax frozen every year since it took power in Holyrood in 2007. The party claims this helps all households – but of course it helps some more than others. The richer you are, the more you have to pay if council tax is increased, while the increase on poorer people is less. Therefore, if council tax is frozen, the rich see more benefit from it. Add in the fact that average wages have been stagnant for almost the entire period of the Scottish council tax freeze and is becomes clear that poorer people have seen little or no benefit at all.

Meanwhile, council services that benefit everybody are being harmed, with 50,000 jobs lost since the freeze was imposed and another 60,000 set to go.

Scotland’s local councils have borrowed billions of pounds to help survive the swingeing budget cuts from the Scottish government – and now owe more than twice as much per head than English and Welsh local authorities, equal to debts of £6,166 per household, compared with £3,100 per home in England and £2,825 per household in Wales.

And rather than spend £1 billion of money from Westminster on alleviating poverty – as intended – the SNP gave it to councils who used it to lessen their borrowing requirements. There was no scrutiny or management of how the money was spent.

The SNP is increasing poverty among the Scottish people, while continuing with giveaways to high-earners – there can be no doubt about that.

Yet that party is still claiming support from more than half the Scottish electorate. How?

Surely Scottish people are more intelligent than that.

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The SNP’s great education betrayal

Some facts about education in Scotland. SNPfail is a Liberal Democrat site but the information is accurate.

Some facts about education in Scotland. SNPfail is a Liberal Democrat site but the information is accurate.

That’s right – betrayal. For all its bluster about free University tuition, the SNP government at Holyrood seems more interested in providing cheap education for the already-well-off than helping the disadvantaged achieve their potential.

Holyrood abolished tuition fees for Scottish universities – but who did that help? According to research by Edinburgh University in 2013, it helped those who were already wealthy.

The report on widening access to higher education was submitted to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) after Ferdinand von Prondzynski, the university principal hand-picked by SNP ministers to review higher education, said abolishing tuition fees has mainly benefited the middle classes.

The report found the lack of fees in Scotland has meant initiatives to widen access have had “lower priority” and less funding.

The amount of grants available to poorer Scots has fallen and the funding packages offered north of the Border are virtually the same, regardless of the student’s wealth.

Meanwhile, there has been a huge drop in the number of students attending colleges since the SNP came to power in Holyrood and inflicted “savage spending cuts”, axing part-time courses which MSPs derided as “hobby courses”. The figures came from the Scottish Funding Council and show that 130,000 college places and teaching staff have been lost.

Those most affected by the cuts are young people who are less academic and are looking for vocational qualifications, and women returners – it was said that 100,000 fewer women were in education as a result of the SNP’s cuts.

And almost 4,000 teachers have been lost since the SNP took office in 2007. The party froze council tax that year, meaning local authorities were forced to make cuts in their spending.

As a result, instead of reducing class sizes to 18, the loss of enough teachers to fill 50 average-sized secondary schools has pushed class sizes to more than 30.

Again, the well-off are the winners. They benefit more from the council tax freeze because it leaves them with more disposable income; lower earners still have to spend most – if not all – of their income on the bills. And wealthy parents can afford to supplement their children’s education with extra, private, tuition – or opt out of the state system altogether and send them to private school.

So the SNP’s education policy is to penalise the poor and reward the rich. So much for that party’s left-wing credentials!

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‘If you vote SNP, you can’t expect a Labour government’

Don't they look cosy together: Remember when the SNP was vilifying Labour politicians for appearing in photographs next to Conservatives? How do you think they'll justify this little gem?

Don’t they look cosy together: Remember when the SNP was vilifying Labour politicians for appearing in photographs next to Conservatives? How do you think they’ll justify this little gem?

Scottish voters have been pulled hither and yon over the past few months – mostly by the claims of the SNP.

It is good, therefore, to have clarity from the Labour Party.

The message is clear, as reported by the BBC: “Labour leader Ed Miliband has told party members in Edinburgh … that ‘every one less Labour MP’ made it more likely the Conservatives would be the largest party” after the general election.

The much-maligned Jim Murphy added: “The biggest risk of Scotland getting the government it didn’t vote for is to believe you can get a Labour government while voting for somebody else.”

We’ve had a lot of SNP spin about Scotland’s relevance to the larger picture in general elections. “It doesn’t make any difference,” according to that party and its followers.

In that case, why are they hoping for a minority Labour government that needs SNP support to pass its policies? According to their own argument, this should not be necessary because Scotland “doesn’t make any difference”.

It is obvious that this argument is “pish”, as SNP adherents like to describe anything they don’t like.

Nicola Sturgeon has dropped demands that a minority Labour government must abandon the Trident nuclear weapon system if it is to have SNP support, indicating her own desperation for a deal (although, in reality, it may not make much difference; 75 per cent of Labour Parliamentary candidates oppose Trident out of principle).

The Tories are stupidly calling on Labour to rule out a deal with the SNP on the grounds that Labour would be relying on a party that wants to weaken the United Kingdom and eventually break it up altogether. Grant Shapps said: “Ed Miliband and the SNP have signed the pre-nup and are now half-way up the aisle.” Rubbish, of course.

But Murphy pointed out that the SNP brought down a Labour government in 1979 by opposing it in a vote of no confidence. That is what led to the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

Labour hasn’t forgotten that betrayal. When somebody comes calling who has stabbed you in the back, you don’t welcome them with open arms.

Meanwhile, the SNP has been stupidly claiming that Labour is considering a coalition with the Tories, based on the flimsy evidence of a tweet from a now-departed Scottish Labour functionary and an off-the-cuff comment from an MP.

That silliness has also been dumped unceremoniously into the grave.

“We’ve got so little in common when it comes to the big issues that that is never going to happen,” said Murphy.

So if you’re Scottish, you’ve got the SNP claiming Labour will do a deal with the Tories (ha ha), and the Tories saying Labour is “halfway up the aisle” with the SNP (ha ha).

Only Labour is making any sense at all.

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UKIP’s ‘party of the people’ claim in tatters as Farage backs Tory policy

Farage: Does this look even remotely like a man of the people? Or is he a man of means, who intends to be meaner?

Farage: Does this look even remotely like a man of the people? Or is he a man of means, who intends to be meaner?

Does anybody still support UKIP on the basis of all that guff about being the “party of the people”? If so, they’ll be leaving the party at speed after Nigel Farage said he would betray them in Parliament.

Speaking ahead of the party’s spring conference, Mr Farage said UKIP would back future Tory budgets if they helped eliminate the current deficit by 2018, according to the BBC.

Most damningly, he said George Osborne had failed to meet his deficit targets since 2010 because he had shirked “tough choices”. He means the choices that harm your quality of life while ensuring that the rich can still enjoy theirs.

Farage said far-right Conservative plans – that would really hit working-class and unemployed voters hard, let’s bear in mind – had been hampered by the Liberal Democrats, in a clear appeal to David Cameron. He might as well have jumped up and down, shouting “Choose me! Choose me!” in the event of a hung Parliament.

Here is a man who criticises the Conservatives – not because they have hammered the poor too hard, but because they haven’t hammered hard enough.

Why do poor people continue to support his crackpot party?

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Scottish devolution – why are the nationalists still complaining?

scots2

For months now, the rest of the UK has had to put up with incessant Scottish Nationalist complaints that their country has been betrayed over the independence referendum.

If it’s not Gordon Brown lying to them about pensions (he didn’t), it was Labour being in cahoots with the Tories (it isn’t) or all of the unionist parties bribing the voters with a big lie now known as The Vow – except, after the Smith Commission reported back, we now know that The Vow is being kept.

The Vow, made on the eve of the Scottish independence referendum, promised that the Scottish Parliament would be permanent, that it will have extensive new powers including tax-raising powers, NHS funding in Scotland would be decided by the Scottish Parliament, and Scotland would continue to benefit from the Barnett formula (which governs the distribution of tax revenue).

The Smith Commission recommended that the Scottish Parliament would be permanent with powers on how it is elected and run, that it should be given the power to set income tax rates and bands on earned income and will retain all of the income tax raised in Scotland, that 10 per cent of VAT raised in Scotland should be assigned to the Parliament, and Air Passenger Duty fully devolved, that the Parliament should be given powers to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in Scottish elections, that the Barnett formula would continue (taking into account the changes necessitated by other measures granted to the Scottish Parliament). NHS funding does not appear to be mentioned, but the level of its funding in Scotland is decided by Holyrood anyway.

Any right-thinking person would take the Smith Commission report as indicating the fulfilment of The Vow.

How did Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) react? “It’s not so much the home rule that was promised – in so many respects, it’s continued Westminster rule.” Bizarre!

Did she not realise that Scotland voted against “home rule” and for remaining with the United Kingdom? Nobody promised home rule by the back door. Yet Scottish nationalists are leaping up to claim that this means The Vow has been broken, when in fact it is being kept.

Perhaps the reason for this has been best defined by Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland’s political editor: “The SNP strategy was to seek to maximise the gain from Smith – while simultaneously preparing to declare that the ultimate package is insufficient.”

That’s exactly it; the SNP has been so determined to convince the Scottish people that Westminster has been lying to them that, faced with incontrovertible proof of the opposite, leaders like Nicola Sturgeon have had no choice other than to lie about what it means.

If you are Scottish, think very carefully about what the nationalists are telling you. Check the facts for yourself, if you have to.

If you voted for independence, don’t let yourself be deceived by the nationalists, just because you didn’t get the result you wanted, and if you voted against it but had your head turned by all the anti-Westminster propaganda that has been aired since, maybe it’s time to think again.

Do any of them give two hoots about what’s best for Scotland?

Postscript: Nicola Sturgeon’s reaction leaps from bizarre to hypocritical when you read the Smith Report and discover that all five main political parties in Scotland – including the SNP – have agreed its recommendations.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Who will Labour choose to follow Gordon Brown?

Gordon Brown: Even in retirement he'll be a better prime minister than David Cameron.

Gordon Brown: Even in retirement he’ll be a better prime minister than David Cameron.

It seems Gordon Brown is to retire from his career as a member of Parliament at the 2015 general election.

This presents a challenging dilemma for the current Labour leadership, which has announced that it wants to take over the selection process for replacement Parliamentary candidates if MPs stand down late.

You see, Mr Brown is MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – in Scotland.

Labour is extremely unpopular in Scotland at the moment, where the SNP has whipped up a belief (rightly or wrongly) that the party betrayed the people by siding with the Conservatives – even though, as a supporter of the union, Labour could not do anything else. Mr Brown, who raised concerns over the future of state pensions in an independent Scotland, has been singled out for special criticism.

In these circumstances, will Labour’s London-based leadership really be so insensitive as to ‘parachute’ an ally of the leader’s office into the constituency? This would be someone who is unlikely to bear any resemblance to a traditional Labour candidate, and is more likely to be a privately-educated Oxbridge graduate who has spent their entire career at a thinktank or working as a SPAD (special adviser) for a sitting MP.

Such an appointment would be entirely inappropriate and would signal that Labour is not interested in retaining the seat; the mood in Scotland means voters would take it as an incentive to support another party, most probably the SNP.

It is possible that Labour would leave the selection open to the constituency party, as its declared intent was to take over selections from the middle of next month; again, the course of action that is chosen will determine the response from the local electorate.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath would be far better-off with a Labour candidate chosen from local residents, with a deep knowledge and understanding of the area and what it needs, having lived and worked there for his or her entire life.

This strategy succeeded with Liz Mckinnes, the newly-elected MP for Heywood and Middleton and should offer the best chance of success elsewhere.

Postscript: Readers are reminded that Gordon Brown is the other recent prime minister who has had a disabled child.

We all know how David Cameron rose to the challenge of his late son Ivan’s cerebral palsy and epilepsy – he used it in a series of photo opportunities and then, after Ivan’s death at a tragically young age, went on to use his memory as a shield whenever his ill-treatment of the National Health Service or disability benefits were raised in Parliamentary debate.

In contrast, Mr Brown chose to suffer in comparative silence. His daughter, Jennifer Jane, died after suffering a brain haemorrhage, on January 7, 2002, just 10 days after her birth. His son James Fraser (born in 2006) was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, but Mr Brown would have kept this information private if The Sun had not published an intrusive report. Years later, he said the publication had left him “in tears“.

Whose behaviour would you describe as more dignified; more prime ministerial; more statesmanlike?

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