Category Archives: Politics

Here’s what Jim Murphy was doing in the run-up to Iraq

From the BBC News archives in March 2002…

Murphy Iraq

A fine head of hair. Still quite sinister though…

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Can we put the “largest party forms government” thing to bed now?

Surely this must be the final word on the ongoing “Vote SNP, get Tory”, “Vote SNP, get a UKIP-Green hybrid” and “Vote Green, get lucky with an unwashed activist” nonsense.

Here is the government’s own Cabinet Manual, released in October 2011, subtitled “a guide to laws, conventions and rules on the operation of government”. If you’re so inclined, you can read the whole thing here, but I’ve picked out the important bits below.

You might notice a distinct lack of anything stating “the largest party gets to be the government”…

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We held the world in our arms

So, this has been one of my favourite songs for most of my adult life. Now, a week after the referendum, it’s taken on a whole new meaning.

It’s always been a bittersweet tale of forgotten dreams and lost aspirations, but listening to it in the context of post-ref Scotland it’s become an achingly poignant portrait of a generation’s lost hope. It’s spooky how well it fits, 12 years after release.

That didn’t take long

The last-minute pledge of more vague, unspecified powers by the No campaign leaders did, after all, make it through parliament the other day. The motion reads:

“That this House welcomes the result of the Scottish independence referendum and the decision of the people of Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom; recognises that people across Scotland voted‎ for a Union based on the pooling and sharing of resources and for the‎ continuation of devolution inside the United Kingdom; notes the statement by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition regarding the guarantee of and timetable for further devolution to Scotland; calls on the Government to lay before Parliament a Command Paper including the proposals of all three UK political parties by 30th October and to consult widely with the Scottish people, civic Scotland and the Scottish Parliament on these proposals; further calls on the Government to publish heads of agreement by the end of November and draft clauses for the new Scotland Bill by the end of January 2015.”

Wait a minute. Surely there’s something missing there? What happened to the bit about preserving the Barnett formula?

The original vow included this passage:

And because of the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources, and the powers of the Scottish Parliament to raise revenue, we can state categorically that the final say on how much is spent on the NHS will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

So what happened? That part of the pledge can’t have been broken already, can it?

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Well, this is awkward.