Lord Arsonist of Invergowrie

Setting a fire in an inhabited building is a crime of violence.

Mike Watson, Lord Watson of InvergowrieAt the Scottish Politician of the Year awards ceremony at the Prestonfield House Hotel in November 2004, Mike Watson got very drunk. He’d been drunk at the dinner, he got even more drunk at the VIP party after the dinner, and as the hotel staff were clearing up, he was “asking forcefully for more wine” and they gave him an open bottle, evidently hoping he’d go away.
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Filed under Justice, Politics, Unanswerable Questions

Pig Cam

You can imagine the Daily Express editor’s thoughts as he tasked Tom Parfit with writing this story.

David Cameron, pig semen“Wait: aren’t we smearing that Corbyn chap? But… THIS IS TOO GOOD. It may not be true… but it’s TOO GOOD NOT TO PRINT. Especially as we have so many photos of David Cameron cuddling pigs! SO MANY. Of David Cameron. CUDDLING PIGS.”

(Helpful subordinate: “Also there was that story a couple of years ago about Cameron getting pig semen from China!” – Daily Express editor “No, that was no relation.”)

The story is that during an “initiation ritual” for the Piers Gaveston Society (which David Cameron joined while he was reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Brasenose College, Oxford, between 1985 and 1988) the to-be-Prime Minister put a “private part of his anatomy” into the mouth of a pig.

The pig would have been dead and decapitated at the time, of course.
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Filed under George Orwell, Unanswerable Questions

A year ago today…

keep-calm-and-voteI voted No.

Am I sorry, ashamed, apologetic that I voted No?

Never in this life.

I don’t think anyone should feel apologetic or ashamed or sorry for how they voted in the referendum: we came together in the largest turnout since the 1950s, after two years of intense debate. Each of us voted, and. as agreed, we abide by the majority. Everyone who voted in the referendum voted rightly, whether it was Yes or No.

If I’d known on 18th September 2014 what I know now on 18th September 2015, would I have voted differently?
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Filed under Scottish Constitution, Scottish Politics

God Save Our National Anthem

Good thing we won the Battle of Britain.

Otherwise, people might be forced to join in singing patriotic songs to prove their loyalty to the regime.
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Filed under Other stuff on the Internet I like, War

Political Smearing: Project Islington, I

On Friday 11th September, David Cameron intended to launch Project Islington: a series of dirty-bomb attacks on Jeremy Corbyn based on weeks of research over the summer as the Tories realised to their horror that the backbench Labour MP from Islington North with all those dreary left-wing ideas might actually win.

Prime Ministerial staff have been trailing Corbyn round the country ever since the YouGov poll revealed on 22nd July that Corbyn had a solid lead over any of the three candidates the Tories would have preferred to be leading Labour today.

Unfortunately, Cameron was caught making a little quip about people from Yorkshire

“We just thought people in Yorkshire hated everyone else, we didn’t realise they hated each other so much.”

Welcome to Yorkshirewhen he didn’t realise the mike was live, and what should have been a resounding speech denouncing Jeremy Corbyn became an amused discussion of Cameron’s loose lips.
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Filed under Politics

So, Jeremy Corbyn won. What now?

Burnham, Cooper, Kendall, CorbynSo, it’s over: Jeremy Corbyn won.

Despite all of the attacks, personal and political, from Louise Mensch in New York to Liz Kendall in the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn is now Leader of the Opposition and leader of the Labour Party.

Atul Hatwal wrote in Labour Uncut on 22nd July: Sorry, that Labour leadership poll is nonsense. Jeremy Corbyn is going to finish fourth.

As the new deputy leader of the Labour Party wrote in the New Statesman a few days ago:

Good debate, above all in a process like this, should also be about listening. It’s easy to forget in the passion of one’s own beliefs, but you also have to listen to the others. All of them.

And you have to start from the position that, inside the Labour party, we are all good people with good motives – indeed, with the same motives – and nobody is right about everything. And nobody is wrong about everything either. Liz Kendall is not a Tory and Jeremy Corbyn is not a Trot, and saying either of those things – on Twitter, on Facebook or in real life – just plays into the hands of our real opponents – the Tories. And they hold enough cards at the moment as it is.
Tom Watson

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Borders Railway

Borders Railway UnwrappedYesterday, on Saturday 5th September, I took a train from Waverley to Tweedbank: today you can too, for £11.20: the whole trip from the centre of Edinburgh to Tweedbank in the Borders will take you 57 minutes.

A few months ago I was sitting on a bus and an advert popped up on my tablet: 35 Golden Ticket winners and their guests could win a Golden Ticket and be the first passengers to travel from Edinburgh to the Borders by the new Scottish Borders railway: just say why you want to go, in 50 words or less.

For about five years – I think from when I was about six to sometime before my 12th birthday – my parents rented a cottage in the Borders from the Buccleuch Estates. The rent was £5 a year, and the cottage had running water (which had to be turned off in the autumn, before the first frost led to burst pipes) but the only means of heating the water was to have a fire in the hearth in the living-room.
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Filed under Childhood, Trains, Travel