Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Where's Wee Dougie Alexander?

On the day he is accused of making decisions for "partisan political interests" in the conduct of the Scottish elections earlier this year, Wee Dougie Alexander is nowhere to be seen. It seems he has learnt at the feet of MacAvity Brown and done a runner. And yet this is the man in charge of Labour's general election campaign. In any normal political circumstances, where politicians are held accountable for their actions, he'd be collecting his P45 tonight. What a shower this government is. And some people were naive enough to think they would be different to Blair's administration. Some hope.

26 comments:

David Boothroyd said...

The Gould report accused all parties - that is, not just Labour and Liberal Democrat ministers but SNP and Conservatives too - of taking decisions for party advantage. How pathetic to see this report being twisted for party advantage. That's part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Iain Dale said...

David Boothroyd, you and I go back a long way. I have great respect for you generally, but if you really think you can spin your way out of this one, think again. ALexander is to blame here and no one else. That's not being party political. It is a fact. He was the one who approved all the changes in the system and he did it for party political advantage. He was in power. The Conservatives and SNP were not. How on earth you think the Conservatives can be blamed for any of this is beyond a joke. Be serious. Can you really defend Dougie's actions? Admit it. Just for once. They've been caught red handed and banged to rights.

Diablo said...

And Brown nearly went to an election on the basis of his competence? Everywhere you look that has been touched by Brown and Co the evidence of their endemic incompetence is piling up.

IanP said...

Was there not something said a few months ago to say that he was going to be in Australia to help them with their elections.

If true, God help them.

strapworld said...

Iain,

Unlike you I have no respect for Boothroyd. He has shown himself incapable of logical thought. He obviously believes that his political masters can do no wrong. He should read about the holocaust, as attitudes such as his allows such attrocities to occur.

Alexander should be sacked. If he had any moral fibre he would have resigned. BUT never forget who is the architect of this. BROWN. It was he who thought up this 'wheeze' to attempt to stop the SNP and that failed as dramatically as the voting saga proved to be disastrous.

Boothroyd would be best to consider that his political masters have reduced this fine country into a Banana Republic. Never forget the scandal (which was allowed to slip away almost unnoticed) of the postal votes in the Midlands but operated elsewhere by his party...another Brown wheeze I would not be suprised to learn!

I do hope Cameron makes great play on this at tomorrow's PMQ's..

Alexander is a dead man walking.

marcia said...

The blame lies with Douglas Alexander and David Cairns who were in charge of this fiasco. It was they who decided on a one page voting paper instead of the previous 2 voting papers for Holyrood in the hope of maximising Labour votes for the List. Instead the SNP went one better than them by putting Alex Salmond's name on it, so maximising the SNP vote just as the former SSP did with Tommy Sheridan in 2003. Sometimes things do backfire. Alexander seems to have a track record of disasters lately

johnny bagpipes said...

The Herald says:

The blame is expected to be shared around the Scotland Office, for its decision on the new, single ballot forms; the Electoral Commission for its advice on the voting forms; the former Scottish Executive for defying widespread advice that it should not hold the Holyrood and council elections on the same day; on returning officers for poor co-ordination; and on the company that ran the electronic counting systems.

The report does not name anyone, which will be a relief, in particular, for Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary who was at the Scotland Office when key decisions were taken. Although he moved jobs in early summer, he has been the individual under the most pressure for his role.

Alfie said...

Duggie can be found hiding in Gordon's back pocket.... he will remain there until required to chuck himself under a bus to save his beloved Boss - Bugsy Brown.

David Boothroyd said...

I've read the report. Important decisions on the election were given to the Scottish Elections Steering Group which had membership of all parties. It does not matter that the Conservatives and SNP were not in power because they were still responsible for making a decision.

The principal criticism of the Scotland Office is that it delayed taking decisions, but Gould seems to want the Scotland Office to have undertaken even wider studies on ballot paper design. And the report does not personally criticise Douglas Alexander at all.

Gould himself has just been on ITN saying everyone was to blame, including the media.

Marquee Mark said...

David Boothroyd, just stop your vacuous spin and for once - just once - acknowledge that this was a Labour-inspired SNAFU. The way that you are being held up to ridicule and contempt will be as nothing compared to the way the electorate are going to judge Labour at the next election. I suggest you acquire some humility and would advise your party to do likewise.

The way that Labour has degraded democracy in one short decade is inexcusable and indefensible. So don't even try.

chatterbox said...

I agree with everything you say about wee Dougie Alexander and the Labour's part in this fiasco, but don't let the Libdems get off Scot free on this.
The accusations about putting partisan considerations before the voters is valid when it was the Libdems, who pushed through the STV voting system in the local elections.
And before any of their lot start bleating about how the STV ballot paper was not the problem on the day, just remember WHY we had to have the two Holyrood votes on one ballot paper in the first place! Which party would hope to gain the most advantage with STV voting??
Over 140,000 people had their votes discarded in Holyrood, its a disgraceful scandal, and the Scottish office and their cohorts the Scottish Labour party and the Libdems should hang their heads in shame!

farago said...

marcia (10.36pm) - another one of your multiple personalities, Chris?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Oh, God, its Mavis Chankroyd again. Tell her to piss off, since all sensible discussion will be interupted by this farcical troll.

Zac's Pezt said...

David you must think people are stupid like Gordon if you think this report is equally blaming all the parties equally.

People are a bit more savvy when Labour is bang to rights and try and latch on to twisting minutae to say it's all politicians at blame.

It's quite clear that it is highlighting the partisanship of Douglas Alexander who was also directing Labour's election campaign. Shades of Katherine Harris in Florida anyone?

Page 17 - "What is characteristic of 2007 was a notable level of party self interest evident in Ministerial decision-making (especially in regard to the timing and method of counts and the design of ballot papers)."

Page 30 - "it became clear that both the Scotland Office and the Scottish Executive were frequently focused on partisan political interests"

Page 40 - "The final version of the combined ballot sheet was devised by the Scotland Office...This caused problems because the Scotland Office worked independently with DRS on this issue without adequately communicating its decisions on the combined ballot paper to Returning Officers"

Page 45 - "...timetable slippages due the Scotland Office’s requests for DRS to investigate variant ballot paper designs which Ministers seemed keen to pursue."

Page 49 - "In our view, the Scotland Office (working with the Electoral Commission) and the Scottish Executive were remiss in not commissioning a much larger and joint study on the impact on the voter of the ballot papers and mixed marking requirements."

Now go off an find as damning quotes about the other parties.

Next you'll be trying to argue Labour really won.

Anonymous said...

The hilarious thing about the LibDems wanting STV is that it did them little favours. They came out with roughly the same number and proportion of seats that FPTP gave them.

And in some notable areas where they held power they crashed and burned spectaculraly.

They're now so directionless and in a sour modd that they're crashing in the polls too.

Diablo said...

Wrinkled Weasel - Who is Mavis Chankroyd?

I think we should be told.

Zac's Pezt said...

And Douglas Alexander should not escape questioning in the House just because poor Des Browne had to deliver his second apology (and this time it wisnae him!)

Alexander's current Ministerial responsibilities include helping developing countries with their electoral systems.

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/pubs/files/elections.pdf

Can he really escape the Gould report when he still has such a responsibility? Shouldn't he come to Parliament to make a statement so MPs can probe him on his suitability and competence for such a role?

judith said...

I recall when NuLab changed the absent/postal vote regulations we predicted it would end in chaos - or fraud - and it has.

It was my understanding that the Electoral Commission recommended against holding two ballots on the same day in Scotland - whoever took that decision holds the responsibility for its success or failure, ie Alexander.

Anonymous said...

ridiculous comment by Boothroyd there.

Labour were in power, pal, and made all the decisions. As I recall the only thing the SNP did was support the ballot for local elections being held on the same day.

The rest is down to Alexander and that wee numptie McConnell, both of whom have vanished.

Paul Linford said...

Wee Dougie is turning out to be rather accident-prone. When that happens, not even being a prime ministerial favourite can save you in the end. Ask Peter Mandelson.

hatfield girl said...

The important thing is that Labour lost Scotland. That all and any means were tried to make sure they did not is unsurprising, where there are ballots there s ballot-rigging.

What was surprising is the open vulgarity of the ballot-rigging, and it is encouraging that it ended in failure and the end of dreary Labour hopelessness in Scotland and all the dreary Labour policies of wage and benefit dependency.

Conservative and Liberal politicians should support the continued development of devolution built into the devolution procedures for Scotland and undermine the authoritarian Labour regime in Westminster built in part on earlier Scottish Labour political party subserviency and its extension to all of the Scottish people.

England and Scotland can have a wholly advantageous relationship modelled on other Commonwealth ties, without their links being subjected to Labour regime necessities.

David Boothroyd said...

Ahem.

David Boothroyd said...

So are you going to apologise or not?

Iain Dale said...

Oh do get a life. Alexander was banged to rights and you know it. Read the bloody report. He was the Minister in charge. The buck stopped with him. He buggered it up. He's apologised now. Are you saying he had nothing to apologise for?

By the way, what exactly would you like me to apologise for? I have re-read what I wrote and I stand by every single word.

David Boothroyd said...

You haven't followed the link then? Ron Gould refutes your line, exonerates Douglas Alexander, and reiterates that he was criticising all parties and not Ministers in particular.

Frankly it's you and your insult-filled un-named commentators above, who are trying to turn this into a party issue, who are falling into exactly the behaviour Ron Gould condemns. You're behaving in a partisan way when you should be thinking of the voters.

Josh said...

And when is Labour going to apologise for Black Wednesday? They were more enthusiastic than anyone for us to enter the ERM. But no, even 15 years on, Labour cheerleaders still bang on about Black Wednesday as entirely the fault of the Tories.