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General Failure

Ever heard of Glittering Generalities? They are words and phrases used by politicians which mean precisely not very much and more often than not, the square root of hee-haw. Glittering generalities were much loved and often used in the heady days of New Labour. Perhaps the most often used one was ‘hard working families’ or hardworkingfamilies.

I wrote about a former Scottish Labour Leader’s use of glittering generalities here more than four years ago.

It seems that based on her success, current Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont is determined to follow in her predecessor’s footsteps.

From this morning’s BBC news:

I’m sure the SNP’s reaction will be similar to what it was to wee Wendy.


Which One of These Clips is Funnier?

I know it’s from a while back but………..

The Alexander Technique – All That Glitters.


Hardworking family wummin shows off the fruits of her Labour

“The Scottish Nationalists are penalising hard working families” – Wendy Alexander at the Scottish Labour Conference this week.

Ah yes Wendy, “hard working families” was perhaps the most over used phrase of the2005 UK election campaign especially by you and your Labour colleagues. What does it mean? well actually it means precisely hee-haw and is what is known as a glittering generality i.e. a vague term with positive connotations. This should be right up Wendy’s street because politicians in general and Labour politicians in particular are prone to using this sort of pish all the time.


The SNP leadership show their level of concern over Wendy Alexander’s performance at the Scottish Labour Conference

Here is a cut out and keep guide to glittering generality.

  • “Use attractive, but vague words that make speeches and other communications sound good, but in practice say nothing in particular.
  • “Use linguistic patterns such as alliteration, metaphor and reversals that turn your words into poetry that flows and rhymes in hypnotic patterns.
  • “Use words that appeal to values*, which often themselves are related to triggering of powerful emotions.

“A common element of glittering generalities are intangible nouns that embody ideals, such as dignity, freedom, fame, integrity, justice, love and respect.” (*and in Wendy’s case, excuse me while I stifle a guffaw, socialism!)

Wendy Alexander is the High Priestess of Glittering Generality. She is I believe presiding over the demise of the Labour Party in Scotland.

Today’s News


Today’s News


Ian Hamilton Q.C.

He was one of the students in the 1950's who took the stone of destiny from Westminster. He has had a colourful career in the legal profession and has a very entertaining and thought provoking blog. He is a committed Scottish Nationalist and a great wit.

I particularly like his blog entry on Wendy Alexander who could do with any sympathy that's going from whatever quarter.

The link is HERE

Also very much worth the read is Ian's view on the clueless cooncilors in Oban the link for which is HERE 


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The Murky World.

This blog only occasionally dips its toe in the political pool. However it is worth an overview of events in the UK in general and Scotland in particular over the last week. Without going in to the circumstances and details of Labour's discomfort at its dodgy donations on both sides of the border, I find it reassuring that having divested itself completely of any pretence of socialism, the peoples' party are still the most likely ones to be found with their fingers in the till.

Over the years the conventional wisdom was that if either of the two parties were drawn in to the inappropriate behaviour sphere of activity, the Tories would be the ones caught out by some sexual misdemeanour whilst your Labour and Trade Union men were the ones regularly dogged by financial (ahem!) irregularity.

This weeks revelations of the dodgy stuff by Labour's treasurer and Wendy Alexander's assistant have all added pressure to Gordon Brown to an extent that his position may become untenable. After a ten year wait as Labour's heir apparent, his first few months in charge must have been a personal nighmare for him. Teflon Tony managed to shrug off almost everything including illegal occupation of a foreign sovereign power but Gordon hasn't been so fortunate. He has gone from appearing calm and assertive to unlucky and unfortunate and lately hapless and bungling. Did I say untenable? I'd suggest that would describe the position Wendy Alexander is already in perfectly.

Alex Salmond must be cursing his luck that the Scottish Pariament has fixed terms. Can you imagine the result of a Scottish election held next week?

Anyway going back to the relative weaknesses of Tories and Labour, I remember in the mid 80's doing a limerick competition on a festival broadcast I was involved in. It was at the time of the Cecil Parkinson/Sarah Keyes affair. I threw out the first line: "Cecil, a prominent Tory". I remember the winning limerick:


Cecil a prominent Tory

Took part in an interesting story,

He did double quick,

Get his bird up the stick

In the back of a Mirafiori!


Anyone care to complete:

Gordon the PM of Britain


Wendy the leader of Labour 


This of course invites the usual number of replies. If there's nothing by Sunday I'll have a go myself!




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