Opinion - Politics

2007 - 2022

Westminster Democracy Style


An extraordinary performance by Ian Davidson as Westminster passes its Section 30 order today, unopposed. A virtually empty chamber at Westminster saw a few bloated Labour and Liberal MPs pour complete scorn on the Scottish Parliament and its processes. The system would be rigged, the vote would be fixed, we’re all going to hell in a handbasket. In fact between the train stealing, the horse burgers, Michael Forsyth and the chimps addicted to porn, today’s one of the weirder days for news.

For those who called for a better quality debate this – from The Cradle (or is it the Mother I can never remember?) of Democracies – was dire. The discussion seemed to focus around Terry Butcher and a sort of deluge of insults. Here’s a few choice selected quotes:

Ian Davidson MP, Glasgow South West (Labour) and Chair of the ‘Scottish’ Affairs Select Committee:

The referendum will be timed to take place after the anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn, which is celebrated mainly because Scots slew large numbers of English people. The fact that those events will take place before the referendum gives people the opportunity to celebrate the politics of identity and ethnicity.

Anas Sarwar, Glasgow Central (Labour):

We have a majority SNP Government in the Scottish Parliament, but that is not a democratic place in the conventional sense; it is a dictatorship of one man.

Whilst some of this may be depressing, the important point is that none of these people actually challenged the process. What you were watching was a series of self-important men losing their power. The sense of self-entitlement was palpable and no doubt galling for some of these career politicians. But while the vitriol may be harsh the important thing to recall is ‘these people really don’t matter any more’.

But, as we await the authoritative and democratic input of the House of Lords tomorrow, and you reflect on today’s speeches, take a look at democracy Westminster style. Who is it that runs this Scottish Affairs Committee that’s so frequently quoted by the Scottish press and who’s Chair seemed to have the floor of the House for hours this afternoon?

These are some of the people who make up the Scottish Affairs Committee…

35510.jpgFiona Bruce (who we’ve to address as ‘Mrs Bruce’). She’s the MP for, er, Congleton (no I don’t have a clue where that is either). Her interests include ‘North Korea, Rwanda, Tanzania’ (and obviously Scotland!)

Then there’s Mike Freer  (Conservative) – who’s the MP for Finchley. His ‘Countries of Interest’ include: Cyprus, Israel, Middle East, USA (and Jockoland, clearly!). He was a Councillor for the London Borough of Barnet from 1990-94. Er, that’s it.

There’s Simon Reevel (Conservative). He’s been the Member for Dewsbury since 6 May 2010 general election. I don’t really know what else to say about Simon.

This system (rather than these individuals) may be embarrassing but the fact that the committee is packed with Tories and MPs who don’t even represent Scottish constituencies is a fixture of the Unionist past. From tomorrow the opportunity will be here for us to sweep this nonsense away. Besides that, the problem is not these random MPs and functionaries on committees, it is the absurd utterances of fellow Scots like Davidson and Sarwar that are the issue. Career politicians protecting self-interest, unable to envisage any better future for their country and emeshed in self-delusion and cultural malpractice. Their days are now numbered.

Comments (31)

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  1. Angus McPhee says:

    No surprise from Ian Davidson but Sarwar don’t strike me as daft enough to make a statement like that off the cuff. More likely a deliberate attempt to raise the hackles and dirty up the debate. They know full well there are people out there saying, “I’m voting no because I don’t like Alex Salmond” without any thought to the actual issues. Looks like bait intended to keep the discussion polarised to me.

    1. Ian Sanderson says:

      Sarwar also said the the ‘Labour for Independence’ group in Scotland is an SNP group…!

  2. Mike Vickers says:

    The yes vote is taking place after the 500th anniversary of battle of Flodden also 9 September 2013. Incidentally Congleton is in east Cheshire. I spent my formative years growing up there.

  3. Albalha says:

    How can Sarwar get away with what he said? Let’s say the same had been said of T Blair in parliament when he was PM? I’m guessing that would have been deemed unparliamentary language, like the recent stooshie over the use of liar. Of course Salmond is no longer an MP, however, between this Westminster outburst and some of the langauge used in Holyrood, surely something can be done, all very demeaning.

    1. Doug Daniel says:

      How can he get away with it? Two words: parliamentary privilege.

      Sarwar was like a silly little boy playing up to the school bullies who had adopted him as their mascot. I’ve never liked the guy, but for the things he said yesterday, I hope he never sets foot in Holyrood post-2014.

      But he wasn’t anywhere near the worst. The segment which can only be described as Ian Davidson Questions, was absolutely appalling. I was sitting listening to it at work and struggled to keep myself calm on the outside, because I was raging on the inside. He sounds like he’s just a stupid oaf, but he knows exactly what he’s playing at. To follow that up with 40 minutes of Eleanor Laing (Paisley-born MP for Epping Forest) giving us the full gamut of Tory Middle England’s ignorant prejudices about Scotland was just too much.

      Someone should condense the whole “debate” into a more manageable size and put it up for any undecided voter to see. Only the most hardline unionist could watch that and not be absolutely incensed. I’m going to have to watch I don’t accidentally spoil my ballot paper by marking my “X” in the YES box too aggressively.

      1. Albalha says:

        Parliamentary privilege doesn’t usurp unparliamentary language, I’m not querying that what he said is something he can be hauled for on the outside but surely, at the very least it can be deemed unparliamentary. As I said would the same been allowed to have been said about T Blair? Yes Salmond is not an MP but I’d be interested to know what other MP’s think. I agree the debate should be condensed, the don’t knows, many of whom won’t follow as closely as many of us who post here, are being fed a rich diet of malign stuff and nonsense.

  4. George Gunn says:

    It’s fascinating to see yet another instance of Scots within the British establishment in London turning their wrath on their own people and country. I’ve seen this at close hand in the BBC and in the theatre. I wonder what makes them do it other than self interest? I’ve often thought it’s some kind of unexplained psychological transference of anger, or is it because in order to survive they have to prove to their masters that they can be “trusted”? Also, I think, we are only just beginning to see the hostility to Scottish independence from the inner core of the British state. I wonder what bile will spew out after Alex Salmond delivers his remarks on a Scottish constitution?

    1. Iain Ross says:

      I think this is to do with the fact that these types believe in and have bought into the concept of ‘Britishness’. This is ‘Britishness’ a national identity, a means to allow those unfortunate enough to belong to the Celtic Fringe to buy into a shared sense of mother England. Holding this identity is obviously deemed preferable to holding a ‘parochial’ and ‘inward looking’ Scottish identity. I believe this necessitates the need to attack or demean Scottish identity, to make sure it is kept in its place. Interestingly, I think this position has evolved throughout the life of the Union from outright denial of Scottish identity, for example immediately post 1707 there was an attempt to reclassify Scotland as North Britain, to the position where it is now seems to deemed a regional identify akin to say being from Yorkshire.

    2. pmcrek says:

      Yeah they have “gone native”.

    3. DougtheDug says:


      “I’ve often thought it’s some kind of unexplained psychological transference of anger, or is it because in order to survive they have to prove to their masters that they can be “trusted”?”

      The most pernicious form of colonisation is the colonisation of the head. In all empires the colonies may be controlled by the colonising power but they’re run by the colonised.

      Once the local politicians and bureaucrats start to regard the colonising culture as superior to their own then they will self-police and oppose any attempts by their own culture to move towards independence or cultural parity. The colonising power can then just sit back and let them get on with it.

      The attacks from inside Scotland on Alasdair Gray for suggesting a knowledge of Scots culture was a good prerequisite when running the arts in Scotland is a good example of this.

      With Scots there’s also the issue of trust because to be truly British you’ve got to be English. If you’re Scots or Welsh or Northern Irish there is always a question about your loyalty to the British state that doesn’t arise with those from England so like all outsiders or converts to the faith the Scots have to show their loyalty frequently and publicly in case of doubt.

      The Scots in the British establishment are simply loyal to their masters and desperate to show it.

  5. Kat Frac says:

    The fact the turn on their own country, has to be down to greed, they want the expenses along with the home when retired called house of lords. I sincerely hope when Scotland does gain it’s independence, that none of these people are ever in the Scottish parliament, the one they so distrust

    1. Dallypal says:

      “turn on their own country”

      Majority of Scots do not want to break up the UK so they are speaking for Scotland not against Scotland.

  6. Very simply put is the Scottish MP,s have found the millionaires lifestyle suits them like many before them.Not representing Scotland just their party and themselves,greed is a terrible thing.On the backs of the worker has the Labour party lifted themselves into the middle-classes.

  7. Ken MacColl says:

    It is a well known axiom that Labour MPs go to Westminster to “settle down” whereas, as Winnie Ewing stated, the business of SNP elected members is to “settle up”
    As the Upper House is considering “Scottish Affairs today I spent a useful hour or so yesterday afternoon studying the CVs of Scottish Members of the House of Lords -there are more than 90 listed and no less than 29 are affiliated to the Labour Party.The red leather benches, generous daily attendance allowance with a job for life and no tiresome electorate to answer to are the ultimate goal for those who aspire to the utimate honour and a base in London and is often the reward for a career of unswerving loyalty and conspicuous mediocrity. While some acheive their enhanced status through a career in Law many others are kicked upstairs after being rejectd by the commonality and this must syrely account for so many of the names of failed Lib,Dem, Labour and Tory placemen and place women from yesteryear.
    It is to the eternal credit of the SNP that there are no SNP peers.

  8. panocorner says:

    Regarding the image used: Why is Shetland shown to be to the North West of the Hebrides? Surely it would be just as easy to show the main island groups in their proper geographical context by simply zooming out slightly

    1. James Coleman says:

      I agree. Or by doing what is normally done showing it in a seperate box. It really is important that we don’t make mistakes like that.

    2. Ken MacColl says:

      An elderly ex-soldier friend of mine swears that when he applied for a leave warrant to visit his home town of Kirkwall he was given a pass to Elgin as “that was the nearest railhead on themap” !!

    3. mutterings says:

      I have amended the image and moved Shetland to its proper position: http://my.mutterings.co.uk/politics/repository/who-should-decide-the-government-of-scotland (click on image to enarge).

  9. muttley79 says:

    Mike, when you say Scottish M.P.s days are numbered and they don’t matter anymore, does that mean you think a Yes vote is a certainty? Or do you have another reason or view for saying that?

  10. Patrick S Hogg says:

    Labour MP’s feel their posts and pensions are threatened and this insecurity shapes their outbursts and outpourings over their dominance animal territory they think they own – ie Scotland. They are the silverbacks beating their chests because they know a Yes Vote will take away their parliamentary stomping ground, status and deluded self importance. They dont realise they are distant, irrelevant and past their sell by date and represent only themselves NOT SCOTLAND. O how sad they fear the loss of their gravy train…………………….

  11. Albalha says:

    Just subjected myself to Politics Scotland on BBC2; other than a couple of references from S Maxwell and S Hosie to the carry on yesterday ….NO discussion, no clips, no analysis.

  12. Derick fae Yell says:

    The place of Shetland on the map is really bloody annoying. Get IT RIGHT! I say this as a Sheltie and SNP member for 24 years. Remember that a goodly proportion of Islesfolk have bought into the Liberal Unionist crap that we are not part of Scotland. Don’t give them ammunition!!

  13. Derick fae Yell says:

    Incidentally, Tavish is so bitter because his dreams of following ‘Lord’ Wallace to the sinecure in the Lords are evaporating before his eyes. Poor baby

  14. Robert Knight says:

    Typical of I D. I wonder if he’d be brave enough to claim that those in the USA only celebrate the 4th of July to commemorate the deaths of ten of thousands of British soldiers and militia men. Truly disturbing to think that we pay the salaries of such people.

    Nice to hear the Bitter the Gither mouthpieces now trying to couple the words “Trust” and “Salmond” together as often as possible. Wonder if they’re on a cash bonus for doing so?

  15. James Morton says:

    How do they get away with it; Doug was correct in identifying parliamentary privilege. The second reason is simply that the debate was a gathering of people whose opinion in how the referendum will be conducted, simply does not count. Their right to set the terms of the debate passed them by in 2007. Frustrated, irrelevent and unable to change the pace of events, they proceeded to abuse their privilege and piss in the well from which they drink.

  16. Macart says:

    Right honourable members?

    Plenty of things to the right in the commons and damn all that’s honourable.

  17. Andy Anderson says:

    It was sickening to watch these MPs play up to the gallery is such an ignorant and disgusting manner. Have they no dignity at all?

  18. kenny says:

    good points but where do you get the notion people will stop harboring self interest all of a sudden? When will this happen, in a democratic independent Scotland? Remember the saying “what cant be cured must be endured” is probably the best way to look at this human thing. But this is different from Scotland not taking its shot at the title.There will always be purists and radicals, and a good thing too but any healthy country must accept this. I think the debate lies squarely on the shoulders of every Scottish voter, which is not packed with tories and arshlocks -to stand up and be responsible for once. No hiding behind big Tommy the centre forward if yi’ ken what a mean.

  19. Alex Montrose says:

    Could we get more posters like the one above, easily printed and very effective.

  20. Christian Wright says:

    ” . . Michael Forsyth and the chimps addicted to porn . .”

    What an inspired juxtaposition. Masterful journalistic Feng Shui, if I may say so.

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