Thursday, May 28, 2015

Maiden Scotland

English MPs seem to have been genuinely stunned today by the quality of the maiden speeches given by some of the new SNP MPs. You can see the whole day's proceedings and the reactions here (Joanna Cherry at 12:15:00 and Tommy Sheppard at 15:22:10).

But here's Tommy Sheppard. No notes. Just honest, articulate compassion, humour and intellect. Wonderful stuff. And then this:

"You will make a bad situation much worse in some of the areas in my constituency. You will push people to the margins. You will push people, at times, over the edge and you will complete their alienation from the society in which they live.

And I would implore you not to do it."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pooling and sharing

There is, apparently, "no business case" for extending HS2 to Scotland. An HS2 "source" explains:
"There are two things to know about HS2. One, it will terminate at Euston; two, it will not link up with HS1 or Scotland. HS2 is now looking at enhancements and there may be the odd bit of new track here and there, to reduce journey times between Scotland and London. There’s no business case."
But even if that were true, were we not told that the benefit of the Union was specifically the "pooling and sharing" of resources across the nations of the UK? After all:
"When the then Transport secretary Lord Adonis launched HS2 in 2009, he claimed it would be 'the union railway, uniting England and Scotland, north and south, richer and poorer parts of our country, sharing wealth and opportunity.' "
(For the original, see Lord Adonis's speech reported at the time here).

A history of the future

Paxman: Your starter for 10. Who masterminded the two political campaigns, conducted between 2014 and 2015, the tone and content of which political scientists now generally agree were responsible for the death of the Labour Party in Scotland?

King's College: Bzzzzzt!

Disembodied voice: King's College, Smith!

Smith: Alex Salmond!

Paxman [incredulous, dismissive, weary]: Noooo.

Smith: I meant Nicola Sturgeon!

Paxman: Noooo. Anyone from LSE?

LSE: [Rhubarb, rhubarb, mutter, not a clue, Jocks]

Paxman: You may not confer!


Paxman: I'll have to hurry you.

LSE: Bzzzzzt!

Disembodied voice: LSE, Brown!

Brown: Was it...Blair Dougall?

Paxman: I'll accept that, in the circumstances. "Macdougall".

Kings: [Rhubarb, rhubarb, of course, should've got that, c'mon concentrate]

Paxman: Your questions are on other disastrously inept political strategists.

Kings College: Bzzzzzt!

Paxman: What?

Smith: John McTernan!

Paxman: Hang haven't...not like the film?

Smith: No no no. Just seemed the most obvious choice.