Thursday, 8 October 2015

The internet remembers

Today at First Minister's Questions Kezia Dugdale again chose to pursue the matter of Michelle Thomson's business dealings.  She said:
Michelle Thomson’s company boasted that the increase in the number of people struggling to pay their mortgage during the recession was, and I quote, ‘a great opportunity’, and that if people were ‘emotionally distant’ they could ‘make a huge profit’.
So could I ask the First Minister – is preying on desperate people ever an ethical way to run a business?”

It didn't take an alert reader of Wings over Scotland long to find the original texts from which Ms Dugdale took her quotes, which paint a very different picture to the one Ms Dugdale was trying to portray.

So, very much business as usual for Ms Dugdale and the Labour party in Scotland.  Nothing of substance, no attempt to question the Scottish government on matters that would be important to their constituents, just smear tactics, and pretty hypocritical smear tactics at that.

The whole debacle tells us two things.  One is that Labour needs to wake up to the fact that pulling selective quote from articles on the internet will never work.  Someone will always find those same articles and prove that you have lied by taking things out of context.

Secondly, why is Ms Dugdale harping on about this matter at Holyrood when she is perfectly well aware that the matter is outwith the control of the Scottish government as it concerns a Westminster MP?  She would no doubt argue that it is legitimate to ask Nicola Sturgeon about this as she is the leader of the SNP, and there is merit in this argument.  However, Holyrood at First Minister's Questions is not the right setting, given that it is the opposition's chance to challenge the Scottish government on matters over which they have devolved control.  So, for the second week in a row Ms Dugdale has wasted an opportunity to hold the SNP to account over their record in government in favour of yet more smear tactics from the 'SNP Bad' school of politics.

The second thing also suggests that Ms Dugdale, despite her protestations, is still being controlled by Labour HQ in London, who don't appreciate the nuances of Scottish politics.

Clearly Labour HQ think that the way to avoid another wipeout at next year's Holyrood elections is to rely on good old-fashioned 'SNP Bad'.  However, like the boy who cried 'Wolf!', they will find that a large proportion of the electorate will have stopped listening to them, which is not going to help their cause any, especially if it turns out that they actually do have an alternative plan for governing Scotland in their manifesto.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Oh so subtle

It's Thursday so it must be First Minister's Questions at Holyrood.  Here's what happened:

Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson both spent their allotted time asking questions about the issue with Michelle Thomson, despite being told by the Presiding officer that it was inappropriate as does not relate the responsibilities of the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament. Both also referred to the investigation into the actions of Fiona Hyslop regarding a grant of £150,000 to the company who runs T in the Park.

Both Ms Dugdale and Ms Davidson behaved disgracefully and with all the subtlety of a flying brick, in a pathetic attempt to score political points.  Who exactly were they trying to impress? 

Ms Dugdale was playing host to Jeremy Corbyn today, who was visiting Scotland with the express intention of attracting voters back to the Labour party.  Does she really think that potential voters will be impressed by today's display of bitchiness?  Or maybe she thought Mr Corbyn would be impressed?  Quite frankly I would have thought he'll be on his way back to London despairing at the lack of talent in his party north of the border, and perhaps reconsidering his decision to allow Ms Dugdale a free reign to decide policy for the Scottish branch.

As for Ms Davidson, as Nicola Sturgeon pointed out, she represents a party who claim to be the party of law and order.  Why, then, did she drive a coach and horses through the presumption of innocence pending the results of an investigation?  Again, ordinary voters are not likely to be impressed by this little display.

I have not yet made up my mind on the Michelle Thomson case, or indeed that of Fiona Hyslop.  However, it's safe to say I won't be relying on most of the mainstream media to report the facts accurately, given that most of them display an apparently visceral hatred of the SNP.  Apparently, however, Ms Dugdale and Ms Davidson accept whatever the newspapers (or indeed their advisers) tell them, which is not a desirable quality in a leader one might think.