Friday, 4 May 2007

Douglas Alexander and the Election Shambles

I'll get to our own performance in a later post once it all sinks in, but for the moment I can only say that I am very disappointed by the result. TKMax has held on to his place, but the People' Princess has gone. Labour and the Nats are tied with 17 seats apiece on the council, so we will need to wait and see how coalitions form, if they do.

The real problem is that we now have an electoral problem that I thought could only exist in a third world dictatorship. If an election in an African country had resulted in 100,000 (yes 100,000) spoilt papers we would be screaming electoral fraud and demanding that they re-run it. The Electoral Reform Society has called it unacceptable in early interviews, but no doubt when pressure is applied from the big parties it will be accepted.

The real story to come out of all of this is that Douglas 'Duggie' Alexander has really blotted his copybook. The golden one and future anointed presides over what can only be reasonably described as a total effing fiasco. This system of holding 3 elections simultaneously was a Westminster decision by his office. A man of honour would resign, so no doubt he wont, but it wont be because nobody asked him to. I can see Smirky Salmond foaming at the mouth already aboutWestminster's involvement, except that he is, of course, part of the Westminster system

Duggie has made Scotland a laughing stock throughout the whole world and he should be hung by the chads


Clairwil said...

How did the SSP end up doing at council level?

Obviously the last couple of years didn't do you any favours but I think all the small pro-independance parties lost out to the SNP because people saw an SNP vote as the best chance to get Labour out.

Gutted about Terry Kelly though, still he only got about 550 votes. He won't be there forever but what next for Rayleen?

red mist said...

I don't have results from all over yet, but in Renfrewshire we failed to take a council seat. I know Jim Bollan held his seat in West Dumbartonshire despite being suspended at the time of the election. I don't suppose the suspension carries over. He blogs at

As for Rayleen, I've only spoken to her once and she seemed reasonably pleasant. She should find something easily enough. 'Would you like fries with that.'could be the new slogan.

The Cynic said...


I am sure your comment about Rayleen was meant to be flippant - or do the SSP (or at least some of them) see workers in certain service jobs, such as fast food restaurants, somewhat inferior. I am sure you don’t really

Despite what we read in these blogs and the myth that the SSP and other left of centre parties love to perpetuate there are still Socialists who support the Labour Party; despite serious misgivings about the Blairite agenda that it has followed over the past 10 years. However, perhaps we are eternal optimists but we live in hope that the party might eventually rediscover its conscience.

To some extent this election result might be a salutary warning to Labour that it cant take for granted its traditional supporters and that issues like our involvement in Iraq, etc; its vitriol against benefit claimants; attacks on civil liberties; its dogmatic obsession for PFI/PPP will simply not be tolerated

Okay, these were not the issues for the Scottish parliament or local Councils but it was an opportunity for some to express their dissent. and (hopefully) a wake-up call for the incoming leader.

The factionalism within the left-wing alternatives to Labour have clearly resulted in electoral meltdown. I can understand your bitterness towards Sheridan but did the SSP not come into being on the back of his personal popularity? Sorry Red Mist but as far as outside observers can see the SSP did try to stitch TS up good and proper. If these obvious flaws had not come to light and the SSP-Solidarity split had not transpired then the election result might have been that bit different.

Until there is a viable Socialist alternative I will stick with Labour – a viable alternative is one that doesn’t just jump on bandwagons .simply to boost its own profile. I believe that certain SSP/Solidarity figures were involved in the campaign to block the Housing Stock Transfer in Renfrewshire – and for that matter in other areas. Certainly a worthy cause but don’t you think that many Council Tenants might object to being spoken at by people who are not even Council Tenants but owner-occupiers. I have no problem with people campaigning on issues or expressing their opinion but sometimes, such as in the Anti Stock Transfer campaign it comes across rather patronising if not sanctimonious. The left will not recapture the imagination of ordinary people unless they stop this incessant internal bickering and get real!.

red mist said...

cynic-- It's difficult to know where to start.

Yes, my comment in respect of the peoples princess was flippant and meant to reflect on the obvious affinity that she has with the wrong foods rather than on the minimum wage slaves who work in the U.S. fast food industry, but I can see how it might read otherwise and for that I apologise.

Many in other faiths have waited thousands of years for a messiah, so I suppose 10 years isn't that long, but do you really see any possibility or sign,however slight, of a leftward shift in the Labour party. The real clue is in the language you yourself use to describe the situation--'eventually' and 'eternal' don't really denote short time scales.

The policies which you describe are the planks of the executive's programme. The only place that they will not be tolerated is outside the Labour party. You are about to have a coronation of a leader who expressly supports the war, reins in the benefits system in the name of prudence, thinks PFI/PPP is the bee's knees, and wants identity cards and increased detention without trial. He has voted for all of these over and over again, indeed some of them (like PPP) are his own babies so they will not only be tolerated, but actively endorsed.

I agree that without the split the election result might have been different, but that was only a small part of our disaster. All of the small parties suffered, and tangoman lost his own seat. Remember that the electors are not stupid; they loved seeing the News of the World get bneaten in court, but that doesn't mean that they don't know tangoman is a 'blaw' and a self publicist. He was largely responsible for creating the party, but it wasn't his personal vehicle and leaving it was his choice. Remember that Colin Fox even tried to bring forward the conference to give tangoman an early opportunity to stand against him. Tangoman decided instead to brand the SSP as 'scabs'and go on to form his own party even although his dispute was only with a few of the executive, but he knew he could never bring the rank and file of the party
behind him and couldn't face being beaten for the leadership of the party he created. The lesson there--Stalinism and the cult of personality is only fun if you are Stalin

The housing stock transfer ballot is interesting. It was completely contrary to Labour's own policy, but the conference doesn't bind the executive, so they do as they like. I live in a council house and work in a manual job and my objection was exactly the same as the one you raise. The housing association that never came true issued a video to us tenants with Shareen Nanjani and Dougie Vipond telling us to vote to privatise our landlord.It was part of a multi million pound campaign, with high heid yins at every turn. When the fork did Vipond or Nanjani last live in a Council House. We are being characterised by certain opponents as being a party of rich middle class left wing intellectuals talking down to working people and trying to tell them what is best for them. That is a myth. We are out on the streets in stalls every week, whether there is an election or not, listening, not dictating to people. The issues we raise are their issues and we campaign so that they can have the same choices as those who would deny them, not so that we can screw them over like other parties we could name. Only two final points--remember that if the supply of wealth is fixed (and with growth at 2-3% it is for practical purposes)then if the millionaires which the two major Scottish parties have been parading think they will be better off then someone else has to get poorer. That can only be those who are not millionaires. That's arithmetic, not rocket science. It is a zero sum game.

And lastly the left can only be united when people like yourself, whose sympathies are clearly with the left in some form or other, decide to oppose the right. That can't be done from within the right wing Labour party. As I told TKMax in an earlier post, that is like trying to fight racism from within the Ku Klux Klan

The Cynic said...

Red Mist,

It might well be a myth that the SSP is a party of rich middle class left wing intellectuals talking down to working people but, frankly that’s the way it does some across to people. at times. If indeed it is a myth then it is on par with the idea that people who support the Labour Party, as members or as voters are essentially right-wing. I know you haven’t said as much but it has on previous occasions been said to me by people who might (or might not) still be members of the SSP.

It is also on par with the myth that fighting the right from within the Labour Party is like “trying to fight racism from within the Ku Klux Klan”. That is an overstatement to say the least

What really p*sses me off RM is their arrogance – the idea that only members of the SSP (or perhaps Solidarity) are “true” Socialists. I am sure that you are not like that but sadly there are a number of your party colleagues who are.

On the issue of bandwagons is that not exactly what TerryWatch is –I do not particularly agree with TK on a number of issues but the level to which some contributors sink really is quite appalling.

That doesn’t absolve TK for some of his personal abuse towards people but while I see much in common with some of the contributors I do fail to understand what ground some others, such as yourself, really can share with them.

Take poor Rayleen for example – she gets called names like “fat heffer” coupled to allusions about the nature and volume of the food she must consume. That aint politics, right, left or whatever – that’s just downright nasty. I appreciate that you have not been anywhere near as scathing as some. However, does it not occur to people that Rayleen might just have a health problem that causes the weight to pile on.

I don’t believe in political correctness for political correctness’s sake – I do avoid being racist, sexist or in any other way bigoted because I believe that it is intrinsically wrong and morally indefensible. However, if I happened to make an inflammatory comment about some minority or other the PC brigade would no doubt condemn me – and rightly so. Accordingly, I feel that the same applies to Rayleen’s proportions. To that extent RM I am surprised that you would go for such a cheap jibe such as you did in your earlier post You seem a decent enough guy so I am disappointed that you let yourself down like that. If that sounds patronising it really wasn’t meant to be but it had to se said

red mist said...

OK cynic, I'll try to talk straight.
Firstly it is easy when you feel that every hand is against you to come to believe that you are the chosen protector of the one true flame. We are as prone to that as any other minority and we might, just might, on occasion talk to people as if they didn't understand, when in fact, they understand our message perfectly well, but disagree with it. As confessions go, that's all you get.:)

I know that there are many parties which have left leaning members and voters and that includes the Labour Party, but you have allowed careerists to take charge, and if you believe that having your party in government is the best thing for the country, then as a careerist you can justify your own actions legal or illegal, moral or immoral, as being in the best interests of the country. The divide between the Labour party and its parliamentary leadership is wide and widening.
As for the KKK bit being an overstatment, it's used for emphasis, and I won't apologise for a bloody good metaphor.

Terrywatch is a bit of a bandwagon, but the people who run it enjoy it, I was invited to join in the early days when Terry first barred me from commenting on his blog. I refused then on the basis that I thought it unwise to form alliances around things we oppose when we have little that we support in common. I stand by that view although I do now and then post a comment on the site. I do not initiate debate on that site, and I'm sure that since they tend to come from the right, they might not extend the same invitation today now that my views are better known (although you would have to ask them about that).

As for Rayleen, she has accused my friends and my party, which must include me of every sort of cheating, lying, and hypocrisy. I won't say that she deserves all she gets, but she can look after herself when it gets rough or she wouldn't be Terry's daughter. She has barred me from her blog as well. The other thing to remember is that this is blogging, not a debating society, and even although I try (as you noticed) to be reasonably decent, the rules of decency are a bit rougher here.

Surreptitious Evil said...

We would still be happy to have you as a contributor.

As far as our affiliations go, we have at least 2 gNats, that party seeming, at least from my admittedly-right-wing viewpoint, to be somewhat further left than Nu-Labour. It is Terry who confuses (or just claims to?) right wing and nationalist, although as he famously linked your mob in as well I suppose we can be forgiven for not accepting that as divine writ.


The Cynic said...

Red Mist,

I can see where you are coming from and, believe it or not, we are probably not poles part on the political spectrum.

Mind you on the good old political Compass I am Economic Left/Right at -5.25 and on the Social Lbertarian/Authoritarian Scale at -4.10 so take of that what you will :-)

Whether that ranks me as a socialist or simply "left-leaning" remaisn to be seen - personally I would consider myself the former.

Perhaps those in Terry's electoral ward loved following TerryWatch so much they decided to vote him back in rather than lose such a valuable insight into Renfrewshire politics.

I wonder if the result had been different and TK was out while RK was re-elected if they would have relauched it as RayleenWatch or hedge their bets and rebrand it "KellyWatch" just in case he made a return at a by-election?

I do not subscribe to the view "My party right or wrong". From time to time I do re-examine my position and make a concious decision whether I can still lend my support to Labour. I freely admit I have wavered several times but so far have not yet deserted Labour entirely.

Accusations of cheating, lying, and hypocrisy fly about all the times in political circles - as it does in blogs - this might not be indicative of or conducive to good, healthy democratic debate but we are ALL prone to human failings more often than not

Sadly, blogging reflects real life more than we would probably like to admit - the rules of "decency" have rather gone by the way in politics as well as in most other spheres of life.

Almost ten years on since the "bullying" and subsequent sad death of Gordon McMaster and the level of politics in these parts is still firmly in the gutter.

Those in parties such as the SSP and Solidarity should not view Socialists or those who they view as simply "left leaning" who still happen to support the Labour Party with so much disdain. Mind you while the SSP and Solidarity are clearly in so much conflict with each other that might just be a vain hope on my part.

Even if at some point my position with the Labour Party becomes untenable, at least at the moment, I really have no viable or credible alternative
which I could support. I am surely many other disillusioned Labour supporters share this view.

red mist said...

cynic--I'll improve my blogging manners and try to stop all this 'those who are not with us are against us' stuff, but if being nice to each other gets boring we'll blame you. I sincerely hope that we will come roaring back, both viable and credible trying to appeal to the discerning mind of the disillusioned Labour supporter.

s-e thanks for the offer again, but I'm happy blogging on the Red Mist site. I'll still post comments to Terrywatch if I think you might find them interesting.

Terry loves to argue with the right and with the nats. It's his bread and butter and he has been doing it all of his adult life. He doesn't care if you slag him off because he has little respect for your views.
On the other hand, if I slag him off from the left he knows that all of his socialist posturing is exposed as just that. He supports New Labour even if he believes in old Labour only because he stayed when those with courage left, and he is ashamed of himself for his lack of courage. As a socialist I remind him of that, and that is why I am barred from commenting on his site. He will not face up to the questions I ask because he knows that the answers will show him up for what he is. He is an elected councillor and as such part of the Labour heirarchy, not the rank and file,many of whom still long for the days of real social optimism rather than this continuation of Thatcherism that Bliar has us believe is a 'third way'. As I said in an earlier post, the gap between the leadership and the rank and file in the Labour party is wide and widening.

The Cynic said...

Red Mist

If it wasn't sometimes for perpetuating the fallacy that the terms "Labour Supporter" and "Socialist" are mutually exclusive your manners would be impeccable LOL.

While I am sure that the "debates" will still go on I am sure it wont get boring

red mist said...

Cynic-- Thanx, I can't sustain nice for very long, it's too much of a strain, but I'm trying (according to the missus, very trying).

No doubt we will correspond again..good luck