Saturday, June 28, 2008

SALMOND, WENDY, AND THE BLACK ARTS.

Nine years ago I had never met Wendy Alexander, I had heard of her of course in the small world of West of Scotland Labour Politics, anyway she and I met and I agreed to be her election agent.

She was of course elected which was down to her far more than to me, and indeed others who helped, as we seemed to get dragged along in her slipstream. We came from different backgrounds and did not share the same political space in the party but we shared a desire to see Labour succeed and we decided to do our utmost to win.
I think of that time and compare it to a favourite movie scene from "all about Eve" the great Bette Davis says in anticipation of a stormy party beginning "fasten your seat belts it's going to be a bumpy night" I didn't know the half of it.

She was young, well educated and opinionated, just like my own two daughters, I took to her instantly and spent the next 9 years encouraging her, helping her and on some occasions trying to reign her in, again like my own two.
Candidates are always resented by some members for various reasons, more often than not it's because they didn't get the job, in her case this was compounded by the fact that she was a woman and she was young and confident, this was only among a very small group of older male members who were a bit stuck in the past, I'm proud to say I was never of that opinion.
Within a matter of days everyone, even the grumps were admitting that she was something special she won them over with a mixture of good humour, respect and most of all by being "first in and last out" she was quite simply the hardest working candidate I have ever worked with, she led from the front at all times and never shirked any job no matter how menial.

I'm proud to have been her agent on two further occasions where her majority went up both times. I was particularly proud of her when she stood up to the bullying from so called Christians and the campaign run by Brian Souter over clause 28, she showed more courage than some of the senior male figures in the party at the time who wanted to cut her loose, she won because she was right, she believed she was right and, she stood firm, she was prepared to risk her career by doing what her conscience told her was right, an unusual stance which marked her out in my eyes.

Today saw her resign as the result of a witch hunt that would have made Senator Joe McCarthy proud, a partisan campaign of poison by the SNP supported by the reactionary elements of the Scottish media, particularly the Herald which was once a decent paper, many of these people suffered from the same attitudes of the Labour "old grumps" mentioned earlier.

Following a year of the most vicious attacks which were on many occasions horrible and personal she was then stitched up by 'the spiv'
A non whipped committee saw the SNP members voting as a block while the others voted across party lines, this usually means that the decision is not to proceed and people are searching at the moment to see if this decision is unprecedented, this was Salmond's dark shadow coming into play.

Astute observers will note that this business could and should have been settled 2 or 3 days before it was but, the SNP chair delayed his decision until the last day of parliament.

Why did it take him 3 days to use his casting vote ? Well, by doing this he ensured that any sanction, in this case a one day suspension would not be carried out in this session. This meant that the whole vicious farce would continue through the summer recess and the SNP and the press would be able to keep pouring petrol on the fire, I predict a political future for this very typical SNP rising star, I wonder which user of the dark political arts came up with that one ?
I reckon it will be party time in Bute House. Some have already described this as scandalous but, I think it is typical of a party which puts on the ballot paper "Alex Salmond for first minister"

Throughout my time working with Wendy, which I will continue to do, I have found her to be honest, courageous and completely without malice.
I remain confident that she has a big part to play in Scottish political life, Scotland is not so well off that we can ignore the talent and commitment of people like Wendy Alexander.

Scotland slipped backward today, this was not about the good name of parliament or for the benefit of Scottish politics, Wendy decided that it had gone on long enough and it was getting in the way of what parliament should be doing, which is addressing the real concerns of the Scottish people and pursuing this sham of a government, it was a personal vendetta by the SNP and that guy who casts the big dark sinister shadow, he has shamed us again.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

She broke the law and was caught. She is lucky not to be in court. She got off lightly. You or I could be in the jail by now. Why did she not put her hand in her own pocket to fund her campaign ? She should resign from the parliament and have a by-election - bring it on ! Will you vote for her this time ???

Anonymous said...

Wee stupid lassie. Caught with her grubby paws on illegal money. Salmond is streets ahead of her. Sorry she has gone, but there is such a wealth of talent to replace her - hah hah haha ..........

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 18:21

As I said, a partisan McCarthyite witch hunt, a disgrace by the SNP it will come back to haunt them.

I will vote for her and I will do everything I can to get her elected, she has been brought down by malicious political nonentities. Scotland is shamed by them yet again.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 18:36

Salmond (the spiv) and the SNP have brought shame on Scotland by the way they have conducted themselves over this.

The world must have some opinion of Scotland when they see a leader and a Govt. stoop to this level.

Macnasty said...

A nice eulogy, spoiled by the attempt to blame Salmond.

He didn't break the rules, she did and her public version of when she found out the donations were dodgy, doesn't tally with the 'thank you' note she sent.

With Jack going to Malawi, what price Wendy for Zimbabwe?

Wendy and Mad Bob - a marriage made in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Wee Wendy couldn't even manage her office, or keep her staff. How are we expeced to belive she could run the country. Pathetic. She must go - not fit to be an MSP.

Anonymous said...

Be honest for a just a second. She is the one who has brought Scotland into disripute. Alex S. is a statesman. Wendy is just a pathetic wee mouse.

Darren Wood said...

So Wendy breaks the rules and the law yet it is the SNP who have brought shame. What a bizarre world view you have.

Anonymous said...

"malicious political nonentities"

Oh the irony!

Anonymous said...

An arrogant wee woman. I don't think she knows the word 'SORRY'.

Big bad Alex did it and ran away - pathetic - no excuse for her actions.

Anonymous said...

There won't be a party at Bute House. She was usless. Alex S will be sorry to see her go. Only hope Andy K is just as bad.

mother abigail said...

Teryy,

Wendy broke the law and was found guilty.

Do you deny this? Yes or no?

Ron Grainer said...

Altogether now: Things can only get better....

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Macnasty) 28/06/08

If Salmond didn’t come up with the idea of spinning it out over the summer he certainly sanctioned it, a deeply devious and sinister man, a blight on Scotland.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 28/06/08

Brought down by parochial pygmies, a bad day for Scotland, what must the world think of us.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 28/06/08

Salmond is a spiv and an embarrassment to Scotland. This episode shows that clearly.

Scottish Ex-Pat said...

I think the big issue is not what Scottish Labour did necessarily - it is the lack of 'mea culpa'. It is disingenuous of Wendy Alexander and Scottish Labour to position this as a petty political attack where Wendy Alexander is an innocent victim. People really are not that gullible. She and Scottish Labour did wrong but should have put their hand up at the beginning, apologised and moved on. People would have respected that.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Darren Wood) 28/06/08

The rules were broken by the SNP members on that committee, it was a shameful episode. Parliament was ridiculed by them.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 28/06/08

Those nonentities have brought parliament into disrepute and shamed Scotland, again.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 28/06/08

Arrogance is when a parliamentary committee is coerced into acting as a slate when they are supposed to be non whipped.

Then the sanctions element is deliberately prolonged for political advantage. If you want to see arrogance look to the SNP leader, a man who can swagger while seated.

Bob Flowers said...

Terence, can you please explain whether the following is "legal" or within the rules of party fundraising:

A candidate receives 2 cheques of £950 each from a donor not resident in Scotland.

Questions: Do these cheques constitute separate donations of £950 even though received from the same donor?

Do these cheques constitute a single donation of £1900 and therefore should be declared?

Is it within the rules to receive donations of any amount from donor not domicile in Scotland?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 28/06/08

That’s the biggest lie in all of this, only idiots believe it.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(mother abigail) 28/06/08

She did not break the law intentionally, do you deny that ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Ron Grainer) 07:12
Very consistent Ron, did you lead the applause at SNP conference when the news broke about Mike Watson going to prison, you are lovely people aren’t you. You bring shame on Scotland.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Scottish Ex-Pat) 07:44
I don’t know whether you are being disingenuous or are misinformed but Scottish Labour and Wendy did on several occasions ’apologise’

The SNP dominated committee behaved in a partisan way and disgraced parliament by doing so.

I agree that people are not that gullible and they will be embarrassed by the SNP’s behaviour.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Bob Flowers) 07:
Bob when are you going to abandon your silly attempts to look clever, you are working with poor raw material.

Wendy Alexander did not knowingly break the law, that is the salient point here, if she had knowingly broken the law she would have appeared in court. The SNP have brought parliament into disrepute.

Oakwood said...

It is clear that Wendy Alexander did technically break the law with regard to to her electoral donations. She also, technically, contravened regulations about registering them.

However this saga has brought out the worst of the SNP and politics in general. The basics of this is that she sought advice from the person responsible and acted on the advice given.

When the advice changed, she acted on the change.

The procedure to investigate this was certainly abused by the SNP and the Liberal Democrats. It could have been concluded days earlier and it could have been concluded hours earlier in the day leaving parliament time to vote on its recommendation on the same day rather than drag this out over the summer recess.

It will be interesting to note how this recommendation will be viewed by the parliament as a whole and will the Lib Dems vote to ban Wendy Alexander along with the SNP?

Anonymous said...

You seem to forget (as usual)that this matter only came to light as a result of a LABOUR PARTY MEMBER (it wasn't you was it ?)handing over documents to the Sunday Herald.

Wendy asked for amounts under the £1000 limit to hide the identities of the donors. She only asked for advice on registering the donations AFTER the 30 day period was over.

Guilty as charged (oh no - I forgot she managed to avoid that somehow).

Anonymous said...

Salmond (the statesman) is not to blame for the failings of Wee Wendy. You will no doubt blame him for lots of other things but he can't control how daft Wendy is.

Bob Flowers said...

"Bob when are you going to abandon your silly attempts to look clever, you are working with poor raw material."

Ducking answering the questions, Terence?

Please answer the original questions.

Bob Flowers said...

"She did not break the law intentionally, do you deny that ?"

Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Scottish Ex-Pat said...

No being straight. I am not close to every news bulletin or the discussions in the pubs etc as I am not in Scotland. What I understand of the episode is what I read on the BBC, Scotsman and Herald websites and what I pick up on the blogs. My impression, rightly or wrongly, is that not a lot of responsibility was being taken or leadership shown over the issue. Essentially Wendy Alexander and Scottish Labour always left me with the feeling that they were annoyed and ticked off that they needed to apologise or acknowledge any wrong doing on their part.

Macnasty said...

Salmond says the charges were based on information 'supplied from within her own party.'

If this is true, bang goes your SNP conspiracy theory, so, either the First Minister is lying, (unlikely, because his version hasn't been challenged) or the coup was Labour inspired.

What with this, followed by Marshall's resignation, it hasn't been a good week for the Scottish Labour Family. Your lot are beginning to make the Corleones look like the Brady Bunch.

Allan said...

What she did was illegal, and while she would have got away with it in Westminster, like Henry McLeish and David McLetchie would have got away with their crimes, this is Scotland, this is Holyrood and we want to set the highest standards for our elected representatives.

New Labour are now in a hole of their own making, they have now left the people behind with their "we are all middle class now" retoric, the people are now seeing through the emporors new clothes.

Unfortunatly this will end in a Conservitive government under Comedy Dave and Boy George, but if we are being really honest, this is what we have had under Blair, Brown and McConnell anyway.

Hopefuly we are seeing a process which will see the rebirth of a Labour party re-discovering what it stands for, but under Kerr, Gray, Curran or anyone else in Holyrood i doubt it.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Oakwood) 10:02

“However this saga has brought out the worst of the SNP and politics in general”

This is not politics in general, I have never seen this, this is the SNP.
Politicians are entitled to complain / report each other but, this is something which has taken Scottish politics to a new low.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 10:26
1/ who brought it to light has nothing to do with how the SNP have behaved.
2/ people who donate money, sometimes for their own reasons do not want publicity and keep it under a thousand for that reason.
3/ 30 day period is also irrelevant she was given advice which she followed.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 10:29

Salmond is a disgrace this was a vendetta against her, nothing to do with standards at all.

Calling Salmond a statesman is a cruel jibe against the Scottish people.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Bob Flowers) 11:00
Choose your own answers Bob, choose any combination you like and then ask yourself this.

If the worst case scenario for Wendy Alexander were to be true what difference to the outcome would it make if those sitting in judgement decided it was done without her knowledge ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Scottish Ex-Pat) 12:53
I’ll say it again then, Wendy did apologise as did the man who solicited the donation Charlie Gordon. Both apologies were delivered live on national television at prime time.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Macnasty) 12:53

Can you tell me who in the Labour Party denied that it had come from within ? That’s why he wasn’t challenged, do try to keep up.

Where it came from is not relevant to the underhand behaviour of the SNP, this an accusation about what they did not who broke the story, you’re dodging the issue.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Allan) 13:23

You seem to be saying that Scots. are more honest i.e. they get away with it in Westminster but ‘this is Scotland’

OK I’ll accept that, if you accept that Scots. are the meanest people on the planet, is it a deal ?

What a pile of c--p

Bob Flowers said...

"Choose your own answers Bob, choose any combination you like and then ask yourself this."

Terence, why will you not answer the questions? I'm beginning to feel like Paxman on Newsnight.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Bob Flowers) 16:34
Bob if you look closely you will see that I’ve asked you a question which renders your questions superfluous so, you need to answer.

Macnasty said...

Kelly @ 3.50
Kelly, it is completely relevant who provided the tip off - the Brightest Button in Scottish Labour's Box was shopped by her own side.

The message is clear - Scottish Labour is imploding.

And if she feels she did nothing wrong and had the support of her party, why did she feel the need to resign?

Could it be that there is more to come out?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Macnasty) 18:09

You have moved on to a different subject, can I take it that you agree that the SNP’s behaviour in all of this has been a disgrace ?

Your inability to recognise her reasons to resign could only come from someone with no concept of loyalty or honour. People like you wouldn’t understand.

Macnasty said...

Kelly @ 6.17
Terry, she was caught telling lies about dodgy donations. She then had to be dragged off to the Naughty Corner to resign, kicking, screaming and blaming the SNP, so where does honour come into it?

And, I repeat, it was a 'colleague' who shopped her, so where is the loyalty?

Given their current incompetence and sleaze, your lot will be lucky to hold Glasgow East even with the help of an all-postal ballot.

Margaret said...

By her own admission she broke the law unintentionally. You're a socialist surely you don't believe that law breaking is acceptable if done by a nice middle class lassie?
Can I try that defence with my next speeding fine or parking ticket?

The SNP have behaved no differently than a Labour administration would have in in similar circumstances. There is a lot we can stick them on but it really would be best to let this one go.

I am a party member and I was delighted when Wendy became leader but I have not been impressed at all with her performance at all. Sadly political life these days involves knowing how the media works and in this she has failed. In an ideal world she'd be the next first minister but in the real world she had neither a clue nor a chance.

I think she's done the right thing for the good of the party though I cannot see any obvious successor. Out of the names mooted I think Margaret Curran might be the best choice but I haven't made any firm decision yet.

The SNP can and will be beaten. Your loyalty does you great credit but sadly Wendy just wasn't the woman for the job.

She is however an asset to the Labour movement and I hope she'll stick with it rather than swan off to her West End pile to play housewife but she's not our front woman by a long chalk.

Jock said...

'The rules were broken by the SNP members on that committee, it was a shameful episode. Parliament was ridiculed by them.'

Yes but they broke the rules unintentionally so that's ok!

If you doubt it was unintentional wrongdoing -prove it.

Big Terry Knew said...

Caught!

Margaret said...

I'd no more turn up at an SNP conference than a BNP conference but if they applauded when that scumbag "Lord Watson" went down then they're better than I thought.

I presume you've never had the misfortune to work with the man- an utter disgrace to the Labour movement. A loathsome little man who was rude to cleaners, admin staff and funnily enough any woman doing a menial job who he considered beneath him.

It probably wasn't the SNP applauding at their wee meeting but the sound of cleaners rejoicing.

I'd defend virtually any comrade in a fix but I'd turn the key to his cell myself.

Johnny said...

Don't let the bastards grind you down Terry all liberation movements have their set backs and innocent victims. Wendy is just another martyr.



Tiocfaidh Ar La

Alex said...

Once again the institutional sexism of the SNP is made clear. Name one high profile woman in the SNP. Now try and restrict yourself to naming only three from the Labour party in Scotland alone.

The labour party is somewhere where women can thrive and raise there voices, the SNP is a sexist boys club. Even the torries have managed to get a women leader but no the SNP. Why Not?

Tam said...

Even when Kinnock betrayed the miners I stood by thisd party. It was very difficult for me to take the decision to tear up my membership card during the Blair years. At one time I would have willingly laid down my life for the Labour Party.

For the first time in my life I find myself hoping we'll be annihilated at the ballot box. I say we but I really mean new Labour. I'd like to think we'd go into the political wilderness lick our wounds and return the strong working class party we used to be.

Unfortunately, Scottish New Labour will stagger on under new management. A successor will be chosen from the same talent pool in Holyrood deemed to be not good enough to produce a challenger to Wendy just 9 months ago. There will be lots of noise about the party appearing to be more independent of its British management, but always stopping short of any real transfer of power away from Westminster. The party will continue to push the same pro-business and anti-worker policies at home and abroad while the economy implodes around them.


The Scottish working class will continue to be taken for granted while their interests are sacrificed on the altar of neo-liberalism. The now imminent by-elections in the one-time Labour heartlands of Shettleston and Motherwell will show that Scottish workers are no longer prepared to put up with it.

Bob Flowers said...

"Bob if you look closely you will see that I’ve asked you a question which renders your questions superfluous so, you need to answer."

Ah, the age old political tactic of obfuscation. Avoiding answering the original questions by asking a question of your own.

Dear me, Terence. All I'm trying to do is ascertain the rules regarding political donations. Is there a website you could point me to instead? It would be less like pulling teeth.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Macnasty) 29/06/08

Do you think that repeating this nonsense will make it come true ?

Can you not say something remotely interesting.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Margaret) 29/06/08

Margaret a career awaits you with MI5 you really are talented at this stuff. Claiming to be a member gave the game away, we are not that desperate.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Jock) 29/06/08
You may have noticed Salmond (the spiv) - Swinney and Sturgeon heading for the hills over this today. Tell it to them. SNP members seem to be able to accept anything no matter how low.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Big Terry Knew) 29/06/08
Swindled.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Margaret) 29/06/08
Read my last reply to you and stop wasting my time.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Johnny) 29/06/08

I must confess that I’ve never seen Scottish Politics in such dramatic, romantic terms but, if it works for you then great stuff.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Tam) 29/06/08

Tam you could have cut all that c--p and said I’m a quitter and I don’t have the stomach for the fight.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Bob Flowers) 12:24
It’s not a great feeling when you get rumbled is it Bob, best to learn from it.

Bob Flowers said...

"It’s not a great feeling when you get rumbled is it Bob, best to learn from it."

Rumbled? Please explain.

And you still have not answered the original questions. Do you behave like this in the council chambers?

Macnasty said...

Kelly @ 4.10
'Say something remotely interesting.'

OK Big Man, how about three things?

Labour will lose the Glasgow by-election, the full facts behind your Leaderene's resignation have still to come out and yet more sleaze will be uncovered in the Scottish Labour Party.

Time to go off into the sunset humming 'The Minstrel Boy' you old dinosaur.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Bob Flowers) 17:11

Now now Bob you started this, it’s nothing to do with the council chamber.

You don’t need answers from me you can research the answers, you do need to answer my question though.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Macnasty) 17:23
We differ about what’s interesting you had better do better.

Bob Flowers said...

Well, Terence after much web searching I came across the following document at the Electoral Commission website. On page 2 it states:

"Regulated donees must report to the Commission all donations – whether in the form of money or goods or services provided without charge or on non-commercial terms – if they exceed the reporting thresholds. Donations over £5,000 to a members association or £1,000 to an individual regulated donee must be declared.

Multiple donations from a single source that aggregate to more than the threshold must be reported as well as aggregating loans and donations from the same source."

So the second para of the above quote really answers the question. If I receive 2 donations of £950 from the same person they must be treated as if a single donation of £1900.

So Wendy Alexander (or here team) are "ignorant" of the rules are they? It's on page 2. Even if they had the attention span of a GSCE student they could have at least gotten past page 2.

The entire episode smacks of incompetence rather than "ignorance of the rules" for which there is no excuse and no amount of your obfuscation and bluster can hide the simple truth: Ms Alexander either knowingly or unknowingly flouted electoral commission rules and as such is not fit to be leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Anonymous said...

Well said Terry. The SNP have now made the dish that will be served up to them, ice cold, in the years to come. It will be worth waiting for.

But like the man said, don't waste time mourning. Organise.