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Ticket or Leave it.

The contest to captain the Titanic lead Scottish Labour, continues.

ian gray
Gray Man

I see my friend Fern Cake (see comments) has as always got his finger on the political pulse. According to The Times it could be that Ian Gray and Margaret Curran may stand as a “Dream Ticket”. There is still speculation that Cathy Jamieson will stand and she could team up with John Park standing as a “Hard Ticket”.

cathy jamieson

Who are you lookin’ at?

Tetchy old hack Angus McLeod says in the same paper that “Nelson Mandela could not win the next Holyrood election for Labour”. That statement would seem to work on several levels.

mandela cameron


C’moan Cathy Hen!

I hear Cathy Jamieson’s name being mentioned as a possible successor to wee Wendy. I can think of one person who will be hoping and praying that this happens. Two actually because obviously wee Eck would be delighted, but really he must be fairly confident of continuing success no matter who Labour come up with. No the person I’m thinking of is Jonathan Watson. In the video below, go to 3 minutes 22 seconds in.

Well Done Spain

I only saw Spain play three full games in UEFA 2008. The first was a rather frustrating affair as they edged past Italy in the quarter finals. The other night they beat Russia comprehensively in the semis and tonight in the final the 1-0 victory scoreline against Germany doesn’t tell the story of the Spanish domination of the game. They were worthy winners of the competition.

Motty didn’t even mention England or 1966 once, although there was a scary moment when Franz Beckenbauer’s name came up. And of course the goal was credited to Torres “of Liverpool”

Footnote: I note from the commentary tonight that tonight’s victory for Spain comes 44 years after their last trophy. As Motty might say – “Could this be an omen for England?”

Scotland Goes Pop! (2)

In 2005 Mrs. Bigrab and I went to Oran Mor in Glasgow to a charity night in aid of victims of the Tsunami. We had gone to see The Blue Nile make their first live appearance in Glasgow in 9 years. Some of the other acts on the night were strange bedfellows for TBN. For instance there was Chris Andrews (Yesterday Man), Middle of the Road (yes indeed Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep!) and the Marmalade. This incarnation of The Marmalade (about 35 years after their last hit) was in fact two of the original members playing unplugged and I’m not actually 100% sure of their names but they were the left handed guitarist on the left of the video below and the bass player on the right.

There is a very full and informative biography of the group HERE

When they came on I was wondering what we were in for as my clearest memory of them was their cover of the Lennon/McCartney (but mainly McCartney) composition Obla Di Obla Da which defined them in many peoples eyes and ears as a kind of bubblegum pop outfit. However it is worth remembering that they supported the likes of Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix declared the group’s “I see the Rain” as the best single of 1967.

On the night in question the two proceeded to play a set of what must be some of the finest pop songs ever to be exported from Scotland, just on accoustic guitar, accoustic bass and two vocals. This one was a particular stand out. Spot the now politically incorrect trade mark of Robertson’s Jam on the drums.

Wendy Truth Is Told

The Wendy Alexander saga has now entered the sympathy phase following her resignation. Of course much of it is of the patronising variety such as that expressed in Tory activist Ian Dale’s Diary
. Perhaps one of the most amusing aspects of this sympathy though is the idea that the rules on MP’s and MSP’s declaring donations are just a bit too confusing and it’s easy therefore for the poor old simple politician to be bamboozled by their complexity. Excuse me while I laugh out loud for a moment.

………………….. *laughs heartily*…………………..

Ah! that’s better. I have news for Mr. Dale. Complexity, rules, laws, legislation, regulation and red tape are politicians stock in trade! There is nothing they like better than to unnecessarily complicate the simplest of activities. This could be anything from a farmer moving a goat to a different field (45 pages of instructions contained in the Sheep And Goats (Wales) Order 2006) to a business trying to cope with the number of tax forms they have to fill in annually (the current average in the UK is 279) or arranging to accompany your child on a school trip.
A small business owner at work
A small business owner sorts out her paperwork for the day.

The average amount of pieces of legislation passed into statute in the UK each year numbers nearly 4,000. The height of this paper mountain is that of a typical double decker bus. I own a small business and have long since delegated the financial paperwork of my business fully to my accountant. It is really the only way to keep on the right side of the law. It costs me over £3,000 per year but it is worth it to keep on the right side of the myriad of rules and regs. Last year I had an Inland Revenue and a VAT bill to pay on the same day. The combined total of these bills was into five figures. I arranged to pay them by BACS but unfortunately had not realised that instead of taking three days to process, they would take four because of a bank holiday. Thus for the first time in 23 years in business my VAT payment was late (albeit by ONE day). They slapped a notice on me and said that if I was late again with a payment within the next 18 months this would lead to a financial penalty. I appealed pointing out that this was the first time I had been late in nearly quarter of a century. I felt that I conducted my affairs with them in an almost exemplary fashion and that whilst it was my error to not take account of a bank holiday I felt it was perhaps a little unfair to be penalised. The reply came and I’m sure you will forgive me for paraphrasing it slightly but it was along the lines of Dear Sir, Go and take a good running fuck to yourself.

Anyway getting back to wee Wendy. She is a university educated, bright and intelligent person. She has a staff at her disposal, paid for by the tax payer whose duty is to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. The rules and regulations she was subject to were no worse or more complicated than those inflicted on the rest of us. Those rules and regulations were voted through by politicians just like her.

Sure let us simplify rules and regulations as Ian Dale suggests. However lets do it for everyone and not just the political class.

Do They Realise They’re Doing It???

This morning on the way to work I was listening to Radio 4 on the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation. The host of the news programme had representatives from the German and Spanish embassies on to discuss tomorrow’s UEFA 2008 final which is for the avoidance of doubt between GERMANY and SPAIN. I may paraphrase slightly but here are the main points.

Presenter to German (opening question!!) – “So do you think this has been a poorer tournament by England’s absence?”

German (slightly puzzled) – “Er. no not really”

Presenter -” But what about the feeling, the atmosphere?”

German (by now annoyed) – “I don’t think there would have been much difference”

Presenter – “What do you see as the main differences between Germany and England?”

German – (laughs slightly) “We are in the final of UEFA 2008 and England failed to qualify!”

Other questions by the presenter:

“We all know that Germany v. England is one of the classic international contests , going all the way back to 1966, does Germany v. Spain have the same kind of feeling about it?”

“I suppose Germany play in a very similar way to England. Do you think the English will be supporting the Germans?”

I mean we all expect this pish from Motty and co. But on Radio 4?

Standards Committee Gets Tough!

Poor wee Wendy Alexander, suspended from parliament for ONE DAY for failing to declare ten payments to her from donors. Wendy should be grateful the committee didn’t get really tough. They could have sent her to bed early with no tea.