It Came From the North

Written By: - Date published: 4:41 pm, September 29th, 2015 - 54 comments
Categories: elections, International, Jeremy Corbyn, labour, Politics, uk politics - Tags: , , ,

The Blairites in UK Labour, if Lord Mandelson was to be believed, kinda sorta issued a détente over Corbyn’s leadership. Anyone surprised to learn that they, erm, lied?

When Corbyn became leader I said that SNP support could well get dented. But I also commented that Corbyn didn’t seem to have his head around Scottish appetites for more devolved powers or independence.

In developments, it seems he’s been getting advice on Scottish affairs from that redoubtable or incurable, depending on your perspective, Blairite from Scotland, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale (and her crew).

That means Corbyn is making unsubstantiated and rather stupid claims about the SNP that will win him and the Labour Party absolutely no support in the up-coming Holyrood elections. Now, I doubt that any SNP members in Westminster will bother to set him straight before those elections in June. Why would they? The Mandleson mob must be fair sniggering up their sleeves if their ‘pull the plug now chaps!’ plan is to wait for a Corbyn led Labour Party to tank in either bye elections or more substantial elections.

Corbyn has repeated his claims that the SNP aren’t really anti-austerity. He’s pointed to the privatisation of both rail and Calmac ferries as proof of these claims. He also – among other one-liners – pointed to a lack of house-building (flags don’t build houses ) and falling numbers of college students to reveal the apparent disingenuousness of the SNP.

Okay. Rail was privatised in 1993 before the Holyrood parliament even existed and it’s now against the law for the Scottish Parliament/government to contest tenders. (Alex Salmon, the then SNP leader in Westminster spoke against the initial privatisation)

Calmac (the ferry service for the Western Isles) was put out to tender because it had to be under EU Community guidelines on state aid to maritime transport. It’s still owned by the Scottish Government.

On college places, the Scottish Funding Council reported that –

A substantial fall in student numbers was expected as SFC moved away from funding very short programmes of study (under 10 hours) and leisure programmes in favour of more substantial courses designed to improve the student’s employment prospects.

The actual fall in total numbers has been less than 0.5% a year for 7 years alongside the scrapping a £2000 ‘graduation endowment fee’ in the context of a shrinking budget allocation from the UK parliament.

A snap-shot on housing – the SNP government built 1232 council houses (ie, called state houses in NZ) during 2013 while the previous Lib/Dem-Labour government built 6 over their entire time in office. Or by way of further contrast, official data apparently shows that the Blair and Brown governments built 7,870 council houses in England and Wales over the course of 13 years.

Meanwhile, in spite of Corbyn claiming that the SNP is cutting local government expenditure, it transpires that they overfunded local authorities by £165 million through compensation for Scottish government policy that froze the council tax.

Finally, it seems that no-one can pinpoint the privatisation of services Corbyn claims the SNP is pursuing.

Anyway, as someone who wants to see Jeremy Corbyn succeed, I can only concur with the advise offered by the website ‘Wings Over Scotland’

Maybe check anything Kezia Dugdale tells you before you go on telly with it.

Update. Things we don’t remember. An ill-advised ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ by shadow Chancellor John McDonnell at the Labour Party conference. The comments below the vid offer insight to where Labour in Scotland are headed with this type of nonsense.

54 comments on “It Came From the North ”

  1. papa tuanuku 1

    not sure why such a detailed article on scottish politics published here. could it have been more succinct? how does that effect nz politics? is there a paralell with something happening here?

    [lprent: Authors write on what they feel like writing about.

    We really don’t give a damn once they have a login provided they don’t put the site into court (and we don’t count legal idiots making up their own law for that). However if you want to dispute that philosophy, then I’d suggest you read the policy first and do your criticism very carefully in OpenMike.

    My first instinct for idiotic critics like yourself is to give them a a good long ban. That gives them the time they need so they can consult a dictionary as they read about the site. Something they should have done before they dropped their trousers to show their innocence, and started waving their dick around to show how simple they are.

    Does that answer your questions? (think carefully about answering) ]

    • Bill 1.1

      It ain’t about Scottish politics, it’s an ‘not overly detailed’ piece about UK politics and what is about to happen.

      Given that Corbyn’s election is seen as the possible beginning of a resurgency for the Labour left internationally….then does that point you in the direction of enough potential parallels?

      Outcomes there will have an impact there. That’s how it is in the inter-connected portion of the world governed by social democratic structures that share a common past.

      Could you have used capitalisation? Could you have engaged a small portion of critical evaluation? Can I be bothered with you?

      • David 1.1.1

        “Given that Corbyn’s election is seen as the possible beginning of a resurgency for the Labour left internationally”

        It can also be seen as it’s death knell.

        • aerobubble

          Given democracy is about having ready to go governments when incumbents fail, then its surely obvious that the present dominance of a failed tightly ideological governing class. Then it could be much worse than a return to a older Labour as rising fascism parties. What’s fascinating is you cast that change is going to be a possible death for the left, like people will just give up to global corps, or run to the right.

          There is obvious need to move away from neolib politics, and also obvious needs for a moderate left party, that even moderate right knows will be better than ukip or worse.

          So sure Murdoch will put the evil eye on Labour, and maybe oust the leader but the Labour party ain’t going back to neolib politics. It can’t, it won’t, and even its opponents dont want lab to collapse and ukip to take off.

    • weka 1.2

      doesn’t strike me as being overly long. Bill’s been writing about the SNP and Scottish politics for a while, heralding some interesting changes by actual left wing government in a country not too dissimlar to NZ. Many in NZ are following what is happening with Corbyn, and now thus the SNP. Parallels? See my comment at 2 😉

      • mickysavage 1.2.1

        I think it is fascinating and you have to remember that UK politics and NZ politics are very similar, and the CT influence on both needs to be studied as much as possible.

        • Pat

          there are undoubted parallels NZ/UK….not sure we have an area with 10% of the population with the will and the means to pursue a different idealogical model however.

        • North

          Yeah…..I don’t have the time to do other than a quick flick over stuff available on UK websites. But Bill I trust and I’m grateful for his stuff. We could just overfocus on Richie for archetypal ‘Kiwi’ stuff I guess but…..ah……..nah ! It’s all relevant to NZ.

    • Lanthanide 1.3

      Personally I find Bill’s posts on Scottish democracy pretty irrelevant. So I just skim them and don’t comment. Each to their own.

      • Bill 1.3.1

        Am I hallucinating? Or is that a comment I see?

        It’s fine that you to find UK politics irrelevant. Like you, if I see a post that doesn’t interest me I skip it. Oh wait…that hallucination again 😉

  2. weka 2

    Labour trying to headbut its natural allies, now where have I heard that before?

    • Bill 2.1

      It’s a bit stranger than that. Corbyn votes alongside the SNP (and previously, often against Labour) in Westminster on many issues (Iraq, Syria, refugees, austerity, privatisation…to name a few). Then we get this…

      Labour will tank even worse in next year’s election than they did in the one just past if they proceed down this path. And when they do, the Dugdale’s and the Mandelson’s will rush in with picks and shovels…

      I find it all kind of depressing given that it will impact on possible future directions of travel for the NZ Labour Party.

      • Lucy 2.1.1

        Bill unfortunately Corbyn has never been near the top before and so is getting the worst advice possible! Happens hopefully he will figure it out but not sure we will ever know as the MSM is determined to oust him. There is one way that the future will be changed if he continues to do town halls as this will keep him in touch with Labour voters not the drooges in Parliament!

        • Bill

          If he keeps on the track he’s on, then Scottish town halls jam packed with bugger all Labour supporters are on the cards. In the middle of next year he faces his first major, and maybe crucial, electoral hurdle and he looks to be falling over before he’s even reached it.

          Both he and his deputy have lied about the SNP (all picked through and dissected in major Scottish newspapers and demolished on the wings over scotland web site) – and while it might wash ‘down south’ it’s only going to mightily piss people off ‘up north’. The only people in Scotland who will be buying his nonsense are those who already vote Labour – and that’s precious few.

  3. weka 3

    What’s the upcoming Holyrood election? Is it a byelection or general? (still don’t quite get the whole Scottish parliament thing).

    • Bill 3.1

      It’s a general election. The SNP are currently a majority government. The opportunity was there for Labour to bounce off the back of a leader espousing genuine politics. All that’s going to be bouncing at this rate though is Jeremy’s head from the well aimed kicks of his own party’s members.

      I guess I’m looking at it terms of a general election being worth 100 bye elections in terms of voter intent. The Blairites and the press won’t compare any result from next year to Labour’s general routing in Scotland at this years UK general election, but in order to magnify the likely woefulness of the result, in relation to the last Holyrood election.

      And it’s bye-bye Jeremy.

      • weka 3.1.1

        So what should be be doing in relation to the SNP and the election next year? Isn’t that a rock and a hard place?

        • Bill

          Well, seeing as how you ask…if I was in Corbyn’s shoes, I’d have put the winning of Scotland ‘back to Labour’ on the back burner and let Dugdale and the other Blairites go to hell in a wheel-barrow next year. Then I’d have trundled their political corpses into some even deeper hole. 😉

          In the meantime I’d have forged good working relationships with the SNP in Westminster to bolster progressive possibilities in a house that has a government hanging by a slim majority.

          Two things.

          Scotland doesn’t need to vote Labour for Labour to form a Westminster government. The SNP would give a vote of confidence to a minority Labour government and work on an issue by issue basis (this all ties in again with the Fixed Term Parliaments Act)

          And Corbyn definitely doesn’t need to be seen to fail in next year’s election. He could have signaled a detente with the SNP and got on with building progressive alliances instead of falling back on the tired and stupid old SNP bashing that UK and Scottish Labour seem addicted to.

          • weka

            ok, so the relationship building with the SNP over time would counter any bullshit from the right or the MSM when Labour misses out on seats in the Holyrood election next year? (again, sounds familiar in a potential solution elswhere).

            • Bill

              Possibly. But only possibly. I mean, lets face it, the whole demonising of the SNP in the run-up to the UK election only worked because of pre-existing bigotry within sectors of the English electorate towards Scots and Scotland. Sadly.

            • Bill Drees

              The SNP is effectively a popular “Labour” party in Scotland. Most of its support was formerly Labour. Dugdale is a moron. Corbyn should tell Scotis Labour to stop focusing ALL of their efforts on slagging SNP and to rebuild with solid left values.
              The SNP has offered the hand of friendship in Westminster and Corbyn should accept.
              SNP has 56 out of 59 Scittish seats
              Tories have 1
              LibDems have 1
              Labour has 1 in a very middle class Edinburgh electorate.

              Corbyn should never listen to Dugdale.

    • dukeofurl 3.2

      Its for the full Scottish parliament, the last one was in 2011, so this one is well overdue as its supposed to be every 4 years. It was postponed because of the UK election this year (may 2015) so will be held in May 2016.

      Thats not the only crazy thing, in spite of being a so called proportional MMP, much like ours, its not and SNP have a majority , 69 out of 129, but only won 44% ( they should be minority government with say 57 seats)
      The losers of the “not MMP” are the Greens and the Lib Dems

      • CJess 3.2.1

        The “kind of” proportional representation system (Additional Member System) in Holyrood was intended to preclude majority government for Scotland, and indeed there wasn’t one until 2011. (2007-11 the SNP ran a minority government, the first two governments were Labour & LibDem). There have been particular changes in the political landscape which have meant that the SSP have disappeared, and the Greens left with only 1 MSP – but that’s not necessarily down to the electoral system. The LibDems (until 2016?) have done all right out of the system though – and until 2007 were partners in the Executive with Labour. Part of the 2011 outcome is down to low voter turnout too – Turnout in the election was 50.4% in the constituency vote and 51.1% in the regional vote. The constituency of Eastwood had the highest turnout with 63.2% and Glasgow Provan had the lowest at 34.8%. (from the Scottish Parliament website.)

        I don’t think the AMS is any less “proportional” than MMP. Unless a parliament was going to be made up purely of “list” type MPs on the basis of proportion of the vote then “true proportional representation” is not going to be found. There had been decades of discussion (in constitutional law, lobby groups and political parties) of the possibilities for PR type reform in the UK prior to the Scotland Act – and I know that the discussion included reference to the parliaments across Europe and how proportional (or not) they were). The Scotland Act was the result of a lot of research, and a lot of arguments and discussion. The only form of Parliament not on the table was first past the post!

        The problem is trying to find a balance between constituency (73) and list based (56) MSPs. Unlike NZ, the list works on a regional basis, and is designed to let the “small parties” top up their vote. In Glasgow region, for example, in the first two Parliaments Labour had so many constituency MSPs that they did not receive the proportion of list seats they *should* have had to reflect the actual vote – they reached the maximum number then dropped out of the list altogether. That meant that the SSP got some MSPs for that region.

        I don’t now why the Greens are showing a bit more of a bounce in the polls for May 2016 – Patrick Harvie got a lot of good exposure during Indyref, and seems generally well thought of. I would like to think that the Greens might, once the campaign starts proper, get some of their support back from the SNP and gain some new support for the list vote too. Interesting times.

        • dukeofurl

          Not sure you have seen how ‘our MMP’ system works.

          Not having majority government is a bit of a red herring. Since no party doesnt get a overall majority of the votes they shouldnt have a majority of the seats. Thats the whole idea. Its not some perverse side effect.

          For the major parties NZ is definitely fully proportional, some smaller parties have ‘overhangs’ due to them winning seats but not having the list votes to cover that. The non proportionality in NZ is very small ( ACT 1 , NZ Future 1)

          In Scotland it strangely seems perversely to be the reverse, the newer Green party not having any seats but still losing out proportionally. The Conservatives and Liberals have traditionally held seats in mostly rural areas but they too are less than they should.

          We have a mix of seat Mps and list Mps, an overall parliament very similar in size ( 121 vs 129) a slightly smaller population ( 4.5mill vs 5.4 mill) and yet Scotland has a markedly strange result
          SNP gets 44% of votes but gets 53% of the seats.

          Yet in only ONE region did they get over 50% of the vote and under 40% in the Glasgow region.
          Each region seems to have 16 Mps in total ( 1 spare ?)

          Its clear the whole thing of having regional seats AND regional lists gave this unbalanced and non proportional result.
          We dont have regional lists here but parties do spread their lists around, especially the larger ones.

      • Bill Drees 3.2.2

        This proportional system was selected to stop the SNP ever getting single party control. It failed due to the popularity of SNP and the laziness of the Labour hierarchy in Scotland.
        Labour big wigs decided that the real action was in Westminster and that Holyrood was of no import. While they became cheap cannon fodder for the Blairites in Westminster their second and third division players did a shite job in Holyrood.
        That is one of the reasons Labour lost all of its Westmibstet seats, will soon loose more Holyrood seats and in 2017 will loose most of its Local Council seats. It will only get worse under Dugdale

  4. Anne 4

    Bill, I bow to your vastly superior knowledge, but I find it hard to believe Corbyn would take advice from “Blairites” even if he thought it was sincerely given. We have our own Blairites in NZ and their woefully inadequate cognizance is plain for all to see. Surely Corbyn is way to savvy to fall for any of their tricks. He’s had 32 years to observe the UK political system and so there can’t be much going on he hasn’t seen before.

    Anyway that’s the thoughts of a ‘woefully inadequately informed’ commenter who does nevertheless have relatively recent hereditary links to the UK.

    • Bill 4.1

      As a London based politician he’ll have bugger all knowledge of Scotland. It’s just the way it is. Maybe ( I dunno) it kind of corresponds to NZ pakeha politicians and maori politics?

      He doesn’t have anywhere else to turn for advice. There are no Labour mps from Scotland left in Westminster, well – there’s one. So he turns to the Labour mps in Holyrood who were always second stringers toeing the Blairite lines on everything.

      Now, he might not be aware of the powers the Scottish parliament has with regards nationalisation (none) , but he knows that rail was privatised in ’93 and he knows that the SNP voted against it.

      And yet he earnestly spouts shit about the SNP privatising rail.

      Did Dugdale (and her cohorts) spin over the tender process that saw Scotrail go to the Dutch? (There were heaps of misleading headlines and commentary at the time) It’s the only explanation that makes sense to me.

      The rest of it (the college places etc) dovetails seamlessly with Dugdale’s desperate and time worn attacks on the SNP.

      • dukeofurl 4.1.1

        Not so fast. There was the little problem of what SNP were promising during the referendum and people other than Corbyn have seen this a hasty sellout ahead of increased devolution powers that could have brought a hugely state subsidized service back into public operation.

        “But rail unions and socialists who supported independence said the SNP had betrayed their promises.

        RMT leader Mick Cash said: “It is scandalous that just a few weeks after the referendum, and promises from all quarters that the Scottish people would have an increased say in every aspect of their lives, that the continued privatisation of Scotland’s railways has been bulldozed through with the SNP colluding with the political elite in Westminster to deny the opportunity for this franchise to be brought back into public ownership.”

        The RMT had united with train drivers’ union Aslef and white-collar staff union TSSA to call on MSPs to postpone the decision until after powers over rail franchising are transferred to Holyrood.
        Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “It’s a particularly perverse decision by the SNP government, which was arguing for independence, and is getting many more devolved powers, to embrace privatisation rather than wait a few months, take a fresh look at the opportunities for rail services in Scotland, and make a considered decision next year.”

        • Bill

          Yeah. That’s in line with a lot of the commentary of the time. The fact is that it was illegal (or unlawful) for the Scottish government to bid for and run public services. There is and has been no transfer of powers as yet.

          The commentary appears to have been based on the premise that independence was a given or that home rule was a given. As we know, neither of those has eventuated.

          So they couldn’t ‘do a Calmac’ (I can’t quite figure how that one worked btw) – and I think those bstards Serco are in the current tender process – and came up with a five year option to kill (re-tender) the Scotrail contract instead.

          • dukeofurl

            You are soft pedalling that so much Bill, are making a pavlova out of it ?

            • CJess

              I think your article and comments are all spot on. I do know some pre-2003 Scotlab members who are considering rejoining (not SNP members btw but Yes voters). They were not remotely impressed with Corbyn on the SNP, and while it won’t dent their decision to “come home to Labour” there are probably many for whom it will.

              re Calmac & railways. The issue with the tendering for Calmac is that this is a requirement of EU laws, whereas the Scotrail franchising rules are a result of the Railways Act 1993. The EU rules do not preclude the public sector tendering for and running services (many EU countries have basically nationalised rail) but the Railways Act 1993 does.

              Hence Calmac can be bid for and run by the public sector whereas Scotrail lawfully can’t. Add to that that railways is a matter reserved to Westminster, so the Scottish Parliament can do nothing to change this.

              If the Labour MSP are so bothered about it why did they do nothing while Labour was in power at both Westminster and Holyrood to change it? That’s right, cos until Corbyn they weren’t in favour of nationalising rail. I agree with you on what I would advise Corbyn to do re Scotland too. May 2016 is way too soon to recover.

              • Bill

                Thanks for commenting CJess. I get the impression you are a bit closer to the state of play than I am.

              • dukeofurl

                Thanks for your ‘ on the ground’ observations.

                Are you saying the Island ferries ( now run by CalMac a major ferry operator to 22 island destinations, state owned for 60 years) is allowed by EU rules to have a public sector operator but SNP put it out to tender anyway ( Serco is likely winner – but no decision announced until after Holyrood elections)

                “THE £1billion privatisation of the lifeline CalMac ferry services should not have gone ahead, according to an economic expert who quit as a transport adviser to the Scottish Government.
                Economics professor Neil Kay has backed the RMT union in claiming the tender process that could leave west coast ferry routes in the hands of the giant outsourcing firm Serco was completely unnecessary.

                While the ScotRail tender wasnt allowed a Scottish public sector operator under UK rail rules but ended up with a Dutch owned public sector operator instead ?

                • Bill

                  CalMac had to be put out to tender because (from the post) “EU Community guidelines on state aid to maritime transport” and from Cjess’s comment “The issue with the tendering for Calmac is that this is a requirement of EU laws..”

                  Hardly a case of the government “putting it out to tender anyway”.

                  Scotrail. Your last para would appear to be accurate, yes.

                  • dukeofurl

                    The jury is still out on had

                    The vessels and ports are state owned btw .

                    “Along with RMT, he[Economics professor Neil Kay ] believes there are legal examples across the EU that show other lifeline, state-run services do not need to be opened to market forces.

                    The point is about EU rules, once you open it up to tender, it MUST be best deal.
                    The experts and RMT were saying , use EU loopholes and not open tenders in first place.

                    But too late for that SNP seemed to have ignored the best chance of keeping it in public sector operation ( never mind that they own the vessels anyway)
                    Im sure Cjess would agree ?

                    • Bill

                      CalMac was split into two separate entities in preparation for the tendering process in Oct 2006.

                      The Scottish government in 2006 was a Labour and Lib/Dem coalition that dissolved in May ’07.

                      In Oct 07, the tender process concluded and CalMac got a 6 year contract.

                      edit: Here’s a link to Neil Kay’s own work and words as opposed to ‘the daily record’ tabloid. Note the name Tavish Scott (the minister responsible for the tendering process)

                    • dukeofurl

                      Thats how it should be done to keep it as a public sector operator.
                      As Calmac explain in their own words

                      In 2006 the then Scottish Executive, decided that under EU rules ferry services were required to be put out to tender, but this presented an issue as the vessels required to operate the services, and many of the ports to which services ran, were owned by Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd, giving it an unfair advantage over potential competitors.

                      The solution was to rename Caledonian MacBrayne Ltd as Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) in order to retain the vessels and ports in state ownership, and a separate ferry operations company, CalMac Ferries Ltd, was created. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of David MacBrayne Ltd, which is wholly owned by Scottish Ministers. (CMAL also retained ownership of the Caledonian MacBrayne brand, which CalMac uses as a trading name under licence from CMAL. The lion rampant device is also used by CFL with the permission of CMAL.)

                      CMAL is also wholly owned by Scottish Ministers and is based in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde. CFL and CMAL are two entirely separate entities. CFL provides certain services to CMAL under contractual arrangements.

                      In 2007 the contract to provide services under the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service (CHFS) was awarded to CalMac Ferries Ltd for a period of six years. CMAL leases the vessels and piers to the operator of the Clyde Hebrides Ferry services (currently CFL) and is also responsible for the procurement of new ships and the maintenance and development of port facilities in its ownership. (Some ports are owned by local authorities or private harbour trusts/ authorities.)

                      In 2013, Transport Scotland, which is part of Scottish Government, announced it was to extend the period of the CHFS contract by a further three years, and go out to tender for a new contract to commence in October 2016. This process is now underway.”

                      We see here the process to keep in state sector operation, notice the short extension ( all though that was for SNP political purposes to move the date after the Holyrood election.)
                      What the noise is about from unions , Scottish labour and others, is under EU rules loopholes, not to go out to tender.

                      Maybe that reverses their previous stand, but hey its politics, SNP are the government and THEIR decisions are open to scrutiny. Its not like some think, they are the Kirk and beyond criticism.

            • dukeofurl

              Just checked the recommendations of the Smith Commission ( set up to make recommendations for devolved powers)


              it is on the list of recommendations. And its section 49 of the proposed Bill.

              The Scottish Government will have power to allow public sector operators to bid for rail franchises funded and specified by Scottish ministers.

              So your belief that these sort of devolved powers arent in the pipeline is unvarnished baloney.
              “Can you honestly see the Scottish parliament getting any substantial powers devolved before the next UK election”

              No wonder the rail transport unions ( and Corbyn) are all hot and bothered about it.

              Bill you need to have better information than just repeating stuff from ‘Kiwiblog with a Kilt’ – ( wings over Scotland) especially when its totally debunked by a kiwi sitting in NZ.

              • CJess

                Given that the Westminster parties’ “vow” in September 2014 was that there would be a new Scotland Act by the end of January 2015, the fact that a date for the Committee of the House and third reading has yet to be laid down a full year later, I am not sure I put too much store on the promised further devolution actually happening; and it certainly won’t b before the elections in May 2016.

                • dukeofurl

                  Really ?

                  The draft proposals for legislation were announced in jan 2015

                  And here is what Brown said would be the timetable

                  “The former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, made a speech on 8 September, at a Labour Party event, where he set out a timetable for action on further devolution. This was given as:
                   work to begin on the new legislation on 19 September, the day after the
                   a “command paper” to be published by the present UK government setting out all
                  the proposals by end of October.
                   a white paper to be drawn up by the end of November after a period of consultation
                  setting out the proposed powers
                   a draft new law to be published for a new Scotland Act in January [2015].7
                  [This is very comprehensive listing of what the politicians backing the Union said]
                  Sunday 25 January—Legislation published by Burn’s Night. A new Scotland Bill, ‘ready to be voted on’ by UK Parliament.

                  Ready to be voted is clever wording for waiting to be passed.

                  So it seems that the draft laws presented by Jan 2015, which is what happened.
                  Nowhere did it say the laws would be “enacted by jan 2015.”

                  Somehow those people in Scotland get their kickers in a twist over things that arent true. Sure there is an element of politicians weasel words to make it ‘seem’ it would all be done by jan. But sorry Cjess, you are wrong.

              • Bill

                You don’t seem to understand that a cross party committee found that the Smith Commission proposals were not being delivered by the current UK government.

                That leads on (in part) to the suggestion or threat by the Scottish government that they might block the proposed devolution of powers as they currently stand.

                The five year kill clause keeps the option open for government control, yes? What some unions wanted was for nothing to happen until…whenever. I suspect that wasn’t a viable option. (ie – who would be running Scotrail right now if that course of action had been pursued?)

                But I think I’m going to back to not engaging with you seeing as how you exhibit such an obvious lack of nous beside an over abundance of rather infantile passive aggression.

                • dukeofurl

                  You mean this :
                  Draft Scotland Bill “falls short” in some “critical areas”- Devolution Committee
                  ‘The previous UK Government’s draft legislative clauses for the new Scotland Bill do not meet the “spirit or substance” of the Smith Commission’s recommendations on welfare and benefits, and require extensive redrafting in other key areas, a Scottish Parliamentary Committee said today.”

                  No mention of major problems with public sector rail franchises ?

                  AS for the unions, they seem to have pushed for an extension of existing franchise for up to 2 years ( as has happened before). Thats a long way from ‘doing nothing’

                  You seem to be digging your hole deeper .

                  To me it seems the SNP is playing political games over the devolved powers bill until after the 2016 election, if they do as you say and refuse consent. Much better to campaign on some trumped up assertions they are being shafted by Westminister

  5. Ad 5

    Seeking some conspiracy that forgives any future Corbyn failure is typical of those with a Corbyn-Crush.

    So when he loses, it wasn’t his fault reeeeeeealy, it was, oh, dem nasty Blair Capitalist Roaders.

    Corbyn either leads as a superior leader, on his merits, or he loses.

    Fall out of love, Bill.

    • Bill 5.1

      heh – you missing all those comments that call me for a Labour Party basher? What about the ones entreating me to give up on Sturgeon and the SNP? 😉

      If Corbyn falls over the head of the Holyrood election results, it will be his own fault for being so stupid as to take Dugdale at her word. But I’ll personally be a bit depressed at the reactionary right wing backlash rushing to bury left leaning social democratic policy platforms for good in England and Wales. And the wave that will hit NZ shores to the same end.

      Still. At least Scotland will then go solid left and independent.

      • dukeofurl 5.1.1

        I think it you that’s taking SNP at their word.

        Its not only Corbyn who are talking out about the new long term rail franchise deal.
        Amoung those against it are RMT- the rail and maritime union, Aslef and TSSA unions.

        Who would have thought Corbyn was supprting the unions involved.

        You have been misleading us Bill.

        ” it will be his own fault for being so stupid as to take Dugdale at her word.” – indeed ?

        • Bill

          Yes, indeed, in relation to your last sentence.

          And as I commented up thread, that Scotrail deal has a five year ‘kill’ option built in. So hardly ‘long term’. Can you honestly see the Scottish parliament getting any substantial powers devolved before the next UK election in 2020 or even, should Labour win that election, any powers devolved afterwards?

          • Ad

            Agreed there.
            SNP so far as I can see have not had the further devolution that Cameron and Brown promised them in return for the No vote.
            I’d be pissed if I were them.

            • dukeofurl

              Its only been 6 months – with a general election in between. Were you expecting a 5 min rush job.

              Never mind, lets write it all off now, never mind that THERE WILL BE increased powers for Scotland. After all they have health, education ( incl tertiary) and police ( a complete reorganization has been done).

              Surely a bigger say in regional Scottish passenger trains isnt something Westminister will want to die in the ditch for. The existing British long haul services arent covered, as the services are entirely within Scotland ( except for a service to the border town Carlisle)

              Never mind, as instead of a say 2 year extension of existing contract, while they organise ( arms length) public sector based bid, thats out of the question as a 7 year contract has been let to a new provider.
              Westminister managed to bring the railtrack franchise back into the private sector, so its not impossible under current rules, let alone the higher flexibility that increased devolution will bring.

              Its a funny world when the SNP has rapidly foll lowed the neo liberal prescription ( with their apologists saying “there is no alternative”) while Corbyn who is supporting the transport local unions, is somehow be led up the garden path by the rump Scottish labour Blairites ?

              • Bill

                Duke. The proposed extra powers may be blocked by the Scottish government. That might sound odd to you. But when the powers on offer are inadequate and akin to a gin trap, then only a fool would accept them. A cross party committee in Holyrood agreed that the previously promised powers are not on offer and that far too many hooks are attached to the ones that are on offer.

                It might be worth noting that not one amendment to the Scottish Bill (the bill containing the devolved powers) was accepted by the current UK government.

                If you wanted to be serious in your argument about Scotrail, then it would help if you read the links provided in the post that in turn contain links the ‘official record’ that shows SNP opposition to rail privatisation.

                For the Blairite ‘gaming’ of Corbyn, read ‘Normal Service Resumed’ at It lays it all out with references and links to the appropriate Holyrood debates and discussions.

                If and when you read that, feel free to offer intelligent and informed comment.

                • dukeofurl

                  I can see that SNP have policy opposing rail privatization but in practice want to rush into a long term contract. ( 10 years) Go figure.
                  As for your 5 year break point- aint going to happen as we know with all these private sector deals.

                  My knowledge of the finer details is small ( probably the same with you ) but its significant those unions in Scotland who are involved in the rail system feel they have been shafted.
                  And the Morning Star cant be brushed off as some sort of Blairite rump .

                  For goodness sake the winner Abellio is a Dutch government fully owned SOE.

                  “Our parent company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, has a concession for operating the core rail network in the Netherlands.”
                  And had a history of of carrying Jews to the extermination camps.
                  Too add to it they run their finances through an Irish subsidiary NS Financial Services to avoid taxes.

                  And its laughably that you refer to “wings over Scotland” website, which you seem to have done a cut and paste, its more like a Kiwiblog with a Kilt

  6. greywarshark 6

    I really don’t know why the politicals who want to get a fresh clear idea of what thinking people have in mind about the country and policy don’t host a post, set up a question and invite people to discuss. Why go to the Labour leader and cronies in Scotland.
    Why sit in a circle in NZ and play pass the parcel with some old worn-out thing thats not worth peeling off the brown paper to get. When the prize is likely to be something odd like a whoopee cushion.

    If you open to discussion, amongst all the different opinions there will be clear trends, that is if the question is open enough to invite all.

  7. RedLogix 7

    Somewhat tangential to the OP, but another interesting read:

    The entire landscape of post-crash Britain is littered with zombie ideas that should have been killed off after 2008, but instead march relentlessly on, throttling our politics. Let me list some: the sanctity of the City; the rightness of austerity; the law of political gravity that says tax rates must only ever go down. Before the meltdown and its ensuing slump, all of these things could have been questioned. After them, none can be defended. Yet what Orwell termed the “smelly little orthodoxies” of Britain’s political economy continue to reign.

    • Ad 7.1

      Very true, but I haven’t yet seen the left in say Spain, Greece, Britain, Australia, Canada and NZ unite behind singular and coherent policy alternatives, even by degree.

  8. Had Corbyn not won I suspect that many Labour activists In the North would have created a new party on the model of the SNP.
    McCluskey and other Unionists were not going to have another period of Red Tories. In polling prior to the General Election there was significant support for the SNP in ENGLAND! There is a significant appetite throughout England for wholesale reform of the Westminster system. Corbyn is the only hope in the Labour Party for those who want to see real reform and real reversal of Tory policies.

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    If those elected to the Māori Seats refuse to take them, then what possible reason could the country have for retaining them?   Chris Trotter writes – Christmas is fast approaching, which, as it does every year, means gearing up for an abstruse general knowledge question. “Who was ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago
  • BRIAN EASTON:  Forward to 2017
    The coalition party agreements are mainly about returning to 2017 when National lost power. They show commonalities but also some serious divergencies. Brian Easton writes The two coalition agreements – one National and ACT, the other National and New Zealand First – are more than policy documents. ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Fossils
    When the new government promised to allow new offshore oil and gas exploration, they were warned that there would be international criticism and reputational damage. Naturally, they arrogantly denied any possibility that that would happen. And then they finally turned up at COP, to criticism from Palau, and a "fossil ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • GEOFFREY MILLER:  NZ’s foreign policy resets on AUKUS, Gaza and Ukraine
    Geoffrey Miller writes – New Zealand’s international relations are under new management. And Winston Peters, the new foreign minister, is already setting a change agenda. As expected, this includes a more pro-US positioning when it comes to the Pacific – where Peters will be picking up where he ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the government’s smokefree laws debacle
    The most charitable explanation for National’s behaviour over the smokefree legislation is that they have dutifully fulfilled the wishes of the Big Tobacco lobby and then cast around – incompetently, as it turns out – for excuses that might sell this health policy U-turn to the public. The less charitable ...
    1 week ago
  • Top 10 links at 10 am for Monday, December 4
    As Deb Te Kawa writes in an op-ed, the new Government seems to have immediately bought itself fights with just about everyone. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Here’s my pick of the top 10 news and analysis links elsewhere as of 10 am on Monday December 4, including:Palau’s President ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Be Honest.
    Let’s begin today by thinking about job interviews.During my career in Software Development I must have interviewed hundreds of people, hired at least a hundred, but few stick in the memory.I remember one guy who was so laid back he was practically horizontal, leaning back in his chair until his ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: New Zealand’s foreign policy resets on AUKUS, Gaza and Ukraine
    New Zealand’s international relations are under new management. And Winston Peters, the new foreign minister, is already setting a change agenda. As expected, this includes a more pro-US positioning when it comes to the Pacific – where Peters will be picking up where he left off. Peters sought to align ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    1 week ago

  • First step to flexible labour market
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to repeal the Fair Pay Agreement legislation by Christmas 2023. “We are moving quickly to remove this legislation before any fair pay agreements are finalised and the negative impacts are felt by the labour market,” says Minister van Velden.  “Fair pay agreements undermine ...
    49 mins ago
  • Extending 90-day trial periods to all employers
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to extend the availability of 90-day trial periods to all employers.  “Extending 90-day trial periods to all employers gives businesses the confidence to hire new people and increases workplace flexibility,” says Minister van Velden.  “Whether a business has 2 or 200 employees, bringing ...
    49 mins ago
  • COP28 National Statement for New Zealand
    Tēnā koutou katoa Mr President, Excellencies, Delegates. An island nation at the bottom of the Pacific, New Zealand is unique.          Our geography, our mountains, lakes, winds and rainfall helps set us up for the future, allowing for nearly 90 per cent of our electricity to come from renewable sources. I’m ...
    2 days ago
  • Ministers visit Hawke’s Bay to grasp recovery needs
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon joined Cyclone Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell and Transport and Local Government Minister Simeon Brown, to meet leaders of cyclone and flood-affected regions in the Hawke’s Bay. The visit reinforced the coalition Government’s commitment to support the region and better understand its ongoing requirements, Mr Mitchell says.  ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand condemns malicious cyber activity
    New Zealand has joined the UK and other partners in condemning malicious cyber activity conducted by the Russian Government, Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau Judith Collins says. The statement follows the UK’s attribution today of malicious cyber activity impacting its domestic democratic institutions and processes, as well ...
    3 days ago
  • Disestablishment of Te Pūkenga begins
    The Government has begun the process of disestablishing Te Pūkenga as part of its 100-day plan, Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills Penny Simmonds says.  “I have started putting that plan into action and have met with the chair and chief Executive of Te Pūkenga to advise them of my ...
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change Minister to attend COP28 in Dubai
    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts will be leaving for Dubai today to attend COP28, the 28th annual UN climate summit, this week. Simon Watts says he will push for accelerated action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, deliver New Zealand’s national statement and connect with partner countries, private sector leaders ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand to host 2024 Pacific defence meeting
    Defence Minister Judith Collins yesterday announced New Zealand will host next year’s South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting (SPDMM). “Having just returned from this year’s meeting in Nouméa, I witnessed first-hand the value of meeting with my Pacific counterparts to discuss regional security and defence matters. I welcome the opportunity to ...
    4 days ago
  • Study shows need to remove distractions in class
    The Government is committed to lifting school achievement in the basics and that starts with removing distractions so young people can focus on their learning, Education Minister Erica Stanford says.   The 2022 PISA results released this week found that Kiwi kids ranked 5th in the world for being distracted ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister sets expectations of Commissioner
    Today I met with Police Commissioner Andrew Coster to set out my expectations, which he has agreed to, says Police Minister Mark Mitchell. Under section 16(1) of the Policing Act 2008, the Minister can expect the Police Commissioner to deliver on the Government’s direction and priorities, as now outlined in ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a strong and stable ETS
    New Zealand needs a strong and stable Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that is well placed for the future, after emission units failed to sell for the fourth and final auction of the year, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says.  At today’s auction, 15 million New Zealand units (NZUs) – each ...
    5 days ago
  • PISA results show urgent need to teach the basics
    With 2022 PISA results showing a decline in achievement, Education Minister Erica Stanford is confident that the Coalition Government’s 100-day plan for education will improve outcomes for Kiwi kids.  The 2022 PISA results show a significant decline in the performance of 15-year-old students in maths compared to 2018 and confirms ...
    6 days ago
  • Collins leaves for Pacific defence meeting
    Defence Minister Judith Collins today departed for New Caledonia to attend the 8th annual South Pacific Defence Ministers’ meeting (SPDMM). “This meeting is an excellent opportunity to meet face-to-face with my Pacific counterparts to discuss regional security matters and to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the Pacific,” Judith Collins says. ...
    7 days ago
  • Working for Families gets cost of living boost
    Putting more money in the pockets of hard-working families is a priority of this Coalition Government, starting with an increase to Working for Families, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says. “We are starting our 100-day plan with a laser focus on bringing down the cost of living, because that is what ...
    1 week ago
  • Post-Cabinet press conference
    Most weeks, following Cabinet, the Prime Minister holds a press conference for members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery. This page contains the transcripts from those press conferences, which are supplied by Hansard to the Office of the Prime Minister. It is important to note that the transcripts have not been edited ...
    1 week ago
  • Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme scrapped
    The Government has axed the $16 billion Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme championed by the previous government, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says. “This hugely wasteful project was pouring money down the drain at a time when we need to be reining in spending and focussing on rebuilding the economy and ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ welcomes further pause in fighting in Gaza
    New Zealand welcomes the further one-day extension of the pause in fighting, which will allow the delivery of more urgently-needed humanitarian aid into Gaza and the release of more hostages, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said. “The human cost of the conflict is horrific, and New Zealand wants to see the violence ...
    1 week ago
  • Condolences on passing of Henry Kissinger
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today expressed on behalf of the New Zealand Government his condolences to the family of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who has passed away at the age of 100 at his home in Connecticut. “While opinions on his legacy are varied, Secretary Kissinger was ...
    1 week ago
  • Backing our kids to learn the basics
    Every child deserves a world-leading education, and the Coalition Government is making that a priority as part of its 100-day plan. Education Minister Erica Stanford says that will start with banning cellphone use at school and ensuring all primary students spend one hour on reading, writing, and maths each day. ...
    1 week ago
  • US Business Summit Speech – Regional stability through trade
    I would like to begin by echoing the Prime Minister’s thanks to the organisers of this Summit, Fran O’Sullivan and the Auckland Business Chamber.  I want to also acknowledge the many leading exporters, sector representatives, diplomats, and other leaders we have joining us in the room. In particular, I would like ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Keynote Address to the United States Business Summit, Auckland
    Good morning. Thank you, Rosemary, for your warm introduction, and to Fran and Simon for this opportunity to make some brief comments about New Zealand’s relationship with the United States.  This is also a chance to acknowledge my colleague, Minister for Trade Todd McClay, Ambassador Tom Udall, Secretary of Foreign ...
    2 weeks ago
  • India New Zealand Business Council Speech, India as a Strategic Priority
    Good morning, tēnā koutou and namaskar. Many thanks, Michael, for your warm welcome. I would like to acknowledge the work of the India New Zealand Business Council in facilitating today’s event and for the Council’s broader work in supporting a coordinated approach for lifting New Zealand-India relations. I want to also ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coalition Government unveils 100-day plan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has laid out the Coalition Government’s plan for its first 100 days from today. “The last few years have been incredibly tough for so many New Zealanders. People have put their trust in National, ACT and NZ First to steer them towards a better, more prosperous ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand welcomes European Parliament vote on the NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement
    A significant milestone in ratifying the NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was reached last night, with 524 of the 705 member European Parliament voting in favour to approve the agreement. “I’m delighted to hear of the successful vote to approve the NZ-EU FTA in the European Parliament overnight. This is ...
    3 weeks ago

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