Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Two Faces of Douglas Alexander

From yesterday's GLASGOW HERALD...

"Transport Minister Douglas Alexander said: "Research shows that talking on a mobile phone while driving affects your concentration and ability to react to dangerous situations. It's impossible to do two things at once and do them well."

How could one possibly disagree with Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for Transport, Secretary of State for Scotland, Chief organiser of Labour Party elections in Scotland...

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah but neither of the first two is a real job. he's basically paid out of the public purse to campaign to cover Tony Blair's backside in Scotland. Thankfully, he's no better at that than he would be if other people weren't doing his other two jobs and he had to try to do them.

Expat said...

In the case of Mr. Alexander, the two things he cannot do at the same time are talk and keep his brain in gear!

Anonymous said...

did you see the evening standard tonight then?

Iain Dale said...

No, why, was this in it?!

Anonymous said...

unfortunately so, great minds think a like

Anonymous said...

Also being discussed on Croydonian's blog.

Anonymous said...

He best do a good job In Scotland

Anonymous said...

Libertarian mong. Drivers talking on mobiles kill people quite regularly. The most horrific being the lorry driver a year ago who ploughed into the back of standing traffic on the M4 at 60mph. Police investigators found no evidence at all of breaking. Witnesses saw him engaged in phone conversation and his co-driver who survived confirmed it was hands-free. He killed 4 people and injured 18 others. One of the dead was a 19-year old girl and the another a 7-year old boy. But it's sound Tory policy to support this, at least according to Iain Dale. And the Daily Mail.

Anonymous said...

10:51 PM
please read the bottom two lines of Iain's front page it's called political irony
I think everybody already agree's with what you have said.

Anonymous said...

A deaf friend and I once sat in a stationary traffic queue while signing a long (BSL) conversation above our heads from adjoining cars. How does that freak out nulab's compulsive - obsessive neurosis? Exactly how could the police prove that rubbing under our noses and scratchng our ears was a conversation?

It's theoretically possible for BSL signers to have a primitive conversation of sorts using facial expressions only.

Police officers in my experience do not do signing. Once when I was stopped by two police officers because one of my headlamps had blown, they both blushed to their navels when I replied to them in BSL - and indicated is should beggar off.

I'd very much like the police to explain how they and their cameras aim to distinguish between hearing aids and hands free mobiles.

I can see some interesting human rights cases on the cards for nulab:)

Dr John Reid said...

You lot don't get it do you? By including both hand held and hands free mobiles the powers that be will be able to get everyone (cf TV Licences), without patrolling anywhere. Marvellous.

Anonymous said...

Dr John Reid said...



If you hadn't voted them in you wouldn't have 3000 other laws in the last 10 years to worry about.

Anonymous said...

Nothing to do with politics everybody knows that if you need multi-tasking a bloke ain't your best bet!

raincoaster said...

Great catch, Iain. Now do a post about how this contributes to unemployment...one man, how many jobs? Surely the backbenchers would like to see him throw one or two of these roles their way...could you possibly incite an uprising among the political classes? I might even hook up the tv for that!

raincoaster said...

Just a test:
18 doughty street link...change to Wordpress!!! Change to Wordpress!!!

Gus Abraham said...

Luckily the man/ boy is a luaghing stock in Scotland.

By the way has anyone else noticed the irony of the 'Britishness' classes being taught only in schools in England? Because broadcasting isnt devolved we have to watch English / British news - and because the English / British meeja are completely ignorant of the consequences of devolution issues like this are routinely ignored. Funny that.

Happy Burns Night, Gus @ www.1820.org.uk

James said...

You know, despite my Conservative roots, I'm quite looking forward to the SNP stuffing Labour up North. Do you think when they drag Tony and his vile wife out of number 10 they will throw him staright into a Prison Van or maybe they can lead him through the streets kicking his arse all the way....(although Cherie will probably be trying to sell signed phtos)

javelin said...

Douglas is part of a forlorn hope strategy by No 10. If he wins in Scotland Tony gets to renew his blagging rights over Brown. If he loses in Scotland then Brown is dead in the water anyway.

That is why Tony won't go until after the May elections. Brown is stuffed either way.

Anonymous said...

And from today's Glasgow Herald, when New Labour score an own goal, both the Tories and LibDems are sat back in the changing rooms:

Voting for prisoners

EDITORIAL COMMENT January 25 2007

The cadaver stirs. Since the Forfeiture Act of 1870, convicted offenders sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and accused people held on remand, have suffered the additional punishment of civic death, which involves the loss of citizenship rights, including the right to vote.

It has been known for some time that the blanket ban's days were numbered. Another nail was hammered in the coffin yesterday when the Court of Session, hearing the appeal of a former prisoner denied the vote in 2003's Scottish Parliamentary elections, ruled the prohibition was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This followed a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in 2005 that banning John Hirst from the polls while serving a life sentence for manslaughter had breached his right to participate in free elections.

There is a public debate to be had about lifting the ban and the case for and against, as well as the practicality of, limiting it to certain categories of prisoner. Electoral law is the responsibility of the Westminster government and it set the consultation ball rolling last month. This will run until March. Then the detail of how the law is to be changed will be worked out. The timetable is too tight to lift or restrict the ban before May's Scottish Parliamentary elections.

If these elections are incompatible with the ECHR, as the Court of Session has ruled, what are the implications? There are two. The first is to postpone the elections until the law is reformed. That is clearly a non-starter, given the unacceptably disproportionate impact the convention would have on a free election, which is, after all, democracy in action. The other is to press ahead with the poll and face up to the consequences.

These have already become apparent. Lawyers intend to seek an interim interdict against Scottish Executive ministers to stop the elections. If that fails, they will try for compensation for prisoners whose human rights were denied by the continued ban. Based on an earlier compensation award fought in Europe on similar grounds, the bill could be some £7m to the taxpayer as there are about 7000 prisoners in Scotland. There is, on balance, a case for enabling prisoners to exercise the franchise. Giving prisoners the vote could help with their rehabilitation and demonstrate to them that they can effect change. The community in its entirety votes government into power and its authority, as the legislature, is undermined by disenfranchising certain groups. But we have grave reservations about compensating prisoners who are disenfranchised. Given the likelihood that many will not be on the voters' roll, there would not be grounds for blanket compensation.

Compensation has been paid to prisoners forced to slop out while sharing a cell: a degrading, dehumanising and outdated practice. A voting ban is antiquated but neither degrading nor dehumanising. It seems insultingly vexatious to seek to put a monetary value on it.

continued...
Was this another example of the Westminster machine paying scant attention to Scottish interests after evidence of the marginalising of Holyrood's officials by their Whitehall counterparts in Europe? It looks that way. The Union dividend, trumpeted by Labour on both sides of the border during recent days, has been undermined as a consequence. Could Scottish ministers have done more, earlier, to avoid what has become a damaging embarrassment for the Holyrood administration in the run-up to May's poll? Given the executive's record in adhering to the ECHR, why were alarm bells not sounding louder among officials and their political masters? The eye was taken off the ball.

If the Tories are proving to be so ineffective in opposition, surely this is a good indication that they would be as equally ineffective in office...

Feartie said...

You also forgot constituency MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

Douglas's only claim to fame (notoriety?) is authoring a memo in 1998 saying that Labour should "engender fear" in the Scottish people to win the 1999 Scottish Parliament elections.

[Sarcasm on] Obviously a visionary with a lot to offer. [Sarcasm off]

Voyager said...

Why can't Solicitor Douggie alexander get his MSP Sister to do his Scottish stuff ?

Gus Abraham said...

Voyager - Wendy has the brains of her brother but sadly also the charisma, the political nous and the rhetorical verve too!

"Why can't Solicitor Douggie alexander get his MSP Sister to do his Scottish stuff?"

Oh - and cos he's Secretary of State for Scotland! Bt as feartie said his raft of policies involves trying to make Scottish people think their newborn will be born two-headed under an independent Scotland.

Happy Burns Night, Gus @ www.1820.org.uk

Anonymous said...

I heard that trying to keep the union together and running the Home Office "affects your concentration and ability to react to dangerous situations. It's impossible to do two things at once and do them well."