Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Doesn't Glasgow NE Deserve Parliamentary Representation?

At his press conference, Gordon Brown was asked by a Scottish journalist why the people of Glasgow North East have to wait five months for a by election when the people of Norwich North didn't. Brown's reply was incredible...
In the manner that the Speaker resigned his seat, it is not possible to move the writ during the summer vacation so it will be moved as normal in due course.

In other words: we have our reasons but we're not going to tell you what they are. The SNP tried to move the writ in parliament yesterday to ensure that one of Britain's poorest and most deprived constituencies didn't go without parliamentary representation until November. It may have been a stunt but the media is now saying the SNP is on the front foot and that Labour look pathetic. And they're right.


Anonymous said...

My guess is the people of Glasgow will thrive without parliamentary representation. Do they get a rebate?

Gaelic Con said...

I'd love to see the Cons put a bit of welly into the Scottish Cons effort in Glasgow.

May be a long long shot but a great op to raise the Cons profile in the city somewhat.

I'll be over from Belfast for this one.

Will anyone be up from London though?

Anonymous said...

McDooM lied to the press. The SNP proposed the writ, parliament had to vote there is no option. The Labour party voted against the writ. McDooM is an outright LIAR.

Oliver Drew said...

What was the timeline on the resignations? Didn't Speaker Martin resign before the Norwich North MP? Or was it afterwards? I thought they were fairly close together.

What this proves is that we need a FIXED time between the resignation of an MP and the election of a new MP. I suggest 6 weeks.

To go without Parliamentary representation for 5 months ostensibly because the government either couldn't be bothered or because they thoguht they would lose (they likely will now...) is a disgrace.

"Avoid an election" Broon said...

Was Gordon wise to have ducked this election?

If he lost it now then that would have been forgotten about by the end of the summer break. Instead in a defeat in Nov he will be reminding people about why he is a failure - especially with unemployment still rising.

My wife got made redundant a few days ago - from one of the very high-tech businesses as well. So much for all the high-tech jobs for the future of the UK Brown blathers on about.

David Boothroyd said...

Unfortunately the Recess Elections Act does not permit a writ to be moved in the recess if the vacancy is caused by a resignation. It might be nice if it did, but it doesn't.

If the issue of the writ had been voted down yesterday, then no writ could have been issued until after the Queen's Speech opened the next session of Parliament in November. Instead the vote was to pass on from debating the writ and move to next business.

Jonathan Cook said...

Is this now the third election that courageous Gordon has ducked?

1. He chose to deploy his thugs rather than face a Labour leadership election.

2. The General Election that never was.

3. The Glasgow NE by-election duck.

Mark M said...

On anonymous comments - I think you'll have to go with preregistered.

Of course, people can still abuse it by registering different accounts but why would you when there are lots of other blogs out there to spam?

Oliver Drew said...

But David Boothroyd, this resignation occurred almost exactly one month ago (21st June). A whole month before the recess began.

Government has ducked it. Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

David 2:58 The wording of the Writ WAS amended by Harriet the Hypocrite so that it was bypassed. Thus the writ was VOTED DOWN. read Hansard and stop doing ZaNULab spin. McDooM LIED FACT, get over it.

Uncle Bob said...

Why? Because one loss is a disaster, two would be a catastrophe. Hopefully the media keep on top of events during the recess so that nothing is allowed to slip out un-noticed. The 2007 conference season was a game-changer. This year could see some political blood spilt on the carpet as far as Labour is concerned. They've started ramping up the smear tactics again but dissenting voices are once again being heard of from within.

Who here thinks the Government has made any progress since the euro elections? I would argue they are going even further backwards. The big question is whether anyone in the Labour Party (Other than Andrew Mackinlay and Frank Field) have the balls to fix the problem. Purnell is back on the scene, Clarke, Milburn and Byers are waiting to attack, Johnson like a 2nd class letter is waiting to arrive at his target destination and Brown only has Balls and Overlord Mandleson (master of all that he surveys) protecting his flanks. It's what Darling does that will be interesting, he's fundamentally a decent man and has proved his loyalty above and beyond the call of duty but the question he more loyal to Brown or his party and his country? We shall see.

Anonymous said...

Iain, this is not related to your post directly but i felt i had to give you my views on anonymous posters.

1) As has been remarked by someone else recently, the quality of your posts has dropped considerably in recent months (not just the last month but the last several).

2) I realise it is time consuming but you must allow freedom of expression in whatever form that takes - i would not be posting if there were no "anonymous" option. Besides, you really don't have that many comments to deal with anyway, which links back to my first point.

3) Get over yourself, man. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Iain, when is your site going to get its referal back to LIVEJOURNAL working. I want to stop using anonymous.


wapping boy said...

When the ashes of Nu Labour are scattered to the four winds, what the "project" will be remembered for, after Iraq and the largest public debt in history, is its cavalier disregard for the democratic process. Blair marginalised parliament; minsters announce policy to the press; the public was denied a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty; an ever-increasing number of ministers are un-elected peers; reform of the House of Lords was shambolicly mishandled; overuse of spin and regular, blatant lying to the electorate and media.

After all that, it's but a small step to deny one set of constituents their right to choose a new MP if they might decide to vote "the wrong way". What's next I wonder.....?

Iain Dale said...

Pete S, I have no idea what you mean.

Mrs. Iain "Hissy Fit" Dale said...


You only have a problem with anonymous comments which you don't like e.g. in response to posts which you make that include unsubstantiated claims and ill-informed analysis (not to mention your penchant for issues or stories with considerable camp value)

Turn the anonymous thing off if you want, but it will only act as a catalyst in cementing your site's demise in terms of visitor numbers.

Cloyingly Sanctimonious said...

You live in a complete bubble and have no idea what's going on in the real world. If you did, you'd be mentioning issues like immigration, street crime and personal debt instead of how much you like to cry when watching Coronation Street or Fern Briton's last appearance on This Morning and gross homosexual innuendos. And before you start, no - I'm not a homophobe or racist.

David Boothroyd said...

There are actually official guidelines on timing of byelections, agreed in the Speaker's Conference in 1973. See F.W.S. Craig's "Chronology of British Parliamentary Byelections 1833-1987", p. 11. They state that the writ should normally be moved within three months of the vacancy occurring. This vacancy occurred on 21 June so that gives until 21 September. They also say that byelections should not be held in August and that the timing is relaxed so that they aren't.

Anonymous 3:06, the writ was not voted down. The House voted to move on and talka bout something else; it did not vote against issuing the writ. A crucial difference.

Hawkeye said...

If there is supposed to be "No taxation with representation", does Glasgow get a tax holiday for 5 months?

It could be a temporary tax haven with substantial investment and a booming local economy.

Anonymous said...

Iain When you submit a entry to your site with LiveJournal as your reference. The comment goes to liveJournal to check you are a member several weeks ago I started getting the error bX-m9h15s. I know it can work as i have used it on your site and I still use it on others.


Oliver Drew said...

David Boothroyd - so given that it has to be done in 3 months (which it won't now because of the recess), surely it should have been done in the last month to avoid Glasgow NE being without an MP for nearly half a year? Surely that would have been better for Parliament?

1 month is plenty long enough, given the vacuous nature of this parliament, for a writ to be issued.

Anonymous said...

From Hansard

3.52 pm

Stewart Hosie (Dundee, East) (SNP): I beg to move,

That the Speaker do issue his Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown, to make out a new Writ for the electing of a Member to serve in this present Parliament for the Borough Constituency of Glasgow North East in the room of Michael Martin, who since his election for the said Borough Constituency has accepted the Office of Steward or Bailiff of Her Majesty’s Manor of Northstead in the County of York.

3.57 pm

The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): I beg to move, To leave out from “That” to the end of the Question and add

“this House do pass to the Orders of the Day.”

clear to see that ZaNULab stopped a valid Writ being voted on. Thus McDoom LIED.

Iain Dale said...

Pete S, all that us controlled by Blogger, not me I am afraid.

Anonymous said...

I thought Brown's performance today was an utter disgrace.

As with the by-election issue he didn't answer any question, but went into his tractor production statistics mode.

According to him he DID solve the world's banking crisis, cleared up the parliamentary expenses single-handedly, cured unemployment, provided aid to Africa, etc.

He had the effrontery to claim that giving the Bank of England additional regulatory powers wouldn't work! No journalist present was brave enough to point out that his tripartite system was hardly a model of success.

I sometimes do wonder "if he's all there" (as they would say in Kikcaldy). Surely he doesn't actually BELIEVE what he's saying?

GGaann said...

leave in anonymous - essential

Sympathetic, balanced view of expenses scandal - too early - don't go there yet

Your site has a strong personality ( yours) keep it as it is.

lets keep focused on the terrible Brown cabal - and keep a wary eye on Cameroon

Anonymous said...

well I for one think that after the letter to the editor post, the posts have increased in both quantity and direction. I'm happy, keep it up Iain!.

PS: that actual post topic - one could be forgiven for thinking that having foistered mick on us Glasgowe NE will have to do without for a trougher for a short while.

PPS: I like the way Carswell doesn't give a stuff about MP 'holiday' tracking etc, and thus decreases any sympathy I would have for the likes of Nadine et al.

haddock said...

Isn't the seat being saved for our future PM, Mandy ? I thought that was the idea of him being ennobled and the law being changed on Monday so that he could jack that in and go back to the Commons. They could not move the writ until the required legislation was in place.

Uncle Bob said...

Yes to the end of anonymous posting. Too much rubbish has appeared on the comments since it changed (And the majority of it not with registered bloggers)

Victor, NW Kent said...

The voters of Glasgow NE have been without effective Parliamentary representation for many years. Another two or three months makes no odds.

Brown is frit. He will not be less frit by September but then he will have no choice but to accede to a writ.

Anonymous said...

Just checked Hansard - that the election won't be held in August as the last possible day (13th) is incredible.

I would suggest constituents in Glasgow NE would be leaving new school uniforms, stationary etc. a little a late if they only returned back from holiday the weekend before the new term.

However, it may not be all bad news - I believe it's convention that the MP for the neighbouring constituency deputises in these situation - step forward John Mason of the SNP to put his party in a good light. Perhaps an early election would have benefitted Labour?

Anonymous said...

It may have been a stunt

No, the stunt lies in Labour's attempts to deny the voters of Glasgow NE a right to choose their representative.

The SNP is merely standing up for what is right, in the most basic sense.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous posts: you either allow them or you don't; you are either committed to freedom of expression on your blog or you aren't.

Neither one is necessarily more or less morally "right" - after all, it is your blog and you can have what you like on it - but it is legitimate to point out the contradiction between your supposed and largely theoretical commitment to free discourse and your actual tendency to piss your pants with rage and start screaming abuse at everyone whenever anyone disagrees with you.

Think on it like this: if you walk into a bar and the people there beat you and throw you back into the street, it is likely the people in that bar were assholes. If you walk into thirty bars and the same thing happens in all thirty, maybe you're the asshole. Maybe - just maybe - the 99.99% of people who are disagreeing with your point over expenses are correct, Iain. Maybe you're wrong. Maybe your response is wrong. Maybe the people reading your blog are shaking their heads with disbelief as you label anyone who disagrees with you an "idiot" because maybe the overwhelming majority think you're the idiot. Maybe they're not all part of an evil conspiracy against you. Maybe they're just being honest.

But, really, do as you please. The quality of this blog has been in freefall recently. Your own attitude to commenters has, over the past six months or so, sunk to depths that neither I nor many of your other readers ever expected. Of particular concern is what seems to be a nascent bout of paranoia combined with a disturbing level of self-aggrandisement and arrogance. If you ban anonymous comments, it will, as others have said, achieve nothing but the further decline of a blog that once upon a time actually mattered.

Jamie said...

The Hansard for the debate on moving the writ is very interesting indeed.
The argument about whether Martin stood as an independent it a bit fatuous. Harman made a good-ish point about the school holidays, but didn't try to address why it wasn't moved before, and the House divided.

So, Brown's answer is an out and out lie.
And the real shame is that the constituents won't have any representation. What a betrayal.

Anonymous said...

Never expect to get a straight answer or the full truth from Brown on ANTHING and that way you'll not be dis-appointed. His monthly "news conference" was as usual a complete waste of an hour of everybody's time

Oliver Drew said...

I don't understand how not allowing anonymous posting limits freedom of expression? You would be free to post the same things, but you would have to register that's all...not a big deal unless you don't want people to know who you are - in which case perhaps you need to look in the mirror at what you're posting?

And, if I may say so, the only people Iain has "had a go at" are people who have been abusive in their posts, either towards other people or himself. It is quite possible to disagree with someone, and to rail against MPs without some of the stuff that was said (unnecessarily) in the comments of the other post.

BrianSJ said...

Glasgow NE is of course quite different to Glasgow E; resignation 30th June, by-election 24th July. You have to be Boothroyd to understand the difference, and nothing is worth that.

Polly Toynbee's Hairdresser said...

One of the poorest and most deprived constituencies in the country?

At least Michael Martin doesn't have to go there any more.
It must have been positively ghastly for him having to mix with all those poor people.

John M Ward said...

Interesting article and comments thread, on several levels…

However, to bring a slightly different angle to this: it does highlight yet another difference between the accessibility of local representation and the remote do-as-we-like parliamentary side of politics.

We just had a councillor resign; and all it took was requests for a by-election from two electors in that former councillor's ward to require a by-election to be held within 35 days.

Now that is where the people have a say, which is one of the many reasons I have long considered local politics to be vastly superior to and more relevant to the people of the country, rather than just to insider "bubbles" and "villages".

David Boothroyd said...

There were very many complaints at the time of the Glasgow East byelection that it was inappropriate to hold it in late July, schools having broken up at the beginning of July in Glasgow. Those complaints arose before the result of that byelection was known.

Cruachan said...

Some of the London based media may be acknowledging SNP's approach to trying to allow Glasgow North East to have an election this side of Christmas, but elswhere, as highlighted today by Wardog the ultra-Unionist "The Scotsman" paints it rather differently.

BrianSJ said...

The objections to a by-election were steamrollered by Supreme Leader in pursuit of political expediency. Now he knows the result, he is back to ditherism in pursuit of expediency. Stupid really, it just puts the by-election right before the conference season.

Not a sheep said...

What is the record for lies told in one day by a Prime Minister? Just wondering.

This will wind him up said...

Iain Dale - Hissy Fitter extraordinaire

trevorsden said...

Anonymous 4.34 --- 'quality in freefall' ?

What rubbish. And in any case so what? Start your own blog if you want your pears of wisdom (and your name) to be known.

Its not difficult to register to make a comment. Otherwise how do we know that all th people in pub 1 are not following your mythical drinker around and throwing him out of every pub he goes into??

I can spot the asshole all right.

Bernie said...

One month after the the Speaker resigns his seat and no by-election, does Mr Brown not realise that he is destroying Labours political base in Scotland?.

Liam said...

"Brown scared of election shock!"

This is typical of Brown, and of Labour, the party where working class voters are only relied upon when the going is good. Remember, Glasgow East slapped Labour across the face, you don't go back to the scene of a fight! (not even in Glasgow!)

I find Brown's attitude on these sorts of matters so frustrating, and so obviously partisan, it drives me mad.

If the Conservatives want to modernise parliament, here's an idea - change the rules to ensure a by-election must happen within so many weeks of a death, and so many weeks of a resignation. Take election dates out of the Party machine.

You'd make a fair amount of people happier making that change.

Anonymous said...

the snp attempt to move the writ was not a stunt but an attempt to ensure that the area has representation. The conservatives could have attempted to move the writ but didnt because they dont care about scotland.

Salmondnet said...

Anonymous 6.22 the Consevatives "don't care about Scotland". Oh how I wish that was true.

Anonymous said...

Probably to give them time to register a large number of postal votes just like Glenrothes where the register mysteriously vanished afterwards. Have not heard any more about that enquiry does anyone know what happened?

Anonymous said...

The intersting thing about the register, is that with the refernce number and the votes, you can not only find out who voted but also who they voted for.

jamesmanning said...

I've blogged about this, here:

Have a gander. If you wish.

J R Hartley said...

Anon 9:07 has it right - it's about fixing the postal vote.

What do we know from the last Glasgow by-election Glasgow-East??

The local party was so complacent and contemptuous of it's electorate that it had failed to keep any form of membership records for year - they had no idea who was voting for them, just assured that they always blindly did.

So..... this time around they find the same shambles and complacency in Glasgow NE and need extra time to "Glenrothes" the postal stuff.

If it was happening in Africa we'd call it a a banana republic.

I think they've miscalculated badly though - they'll lose this one too and the fall-out will start again !!

Anonymous said...

What rubbish.

Ah, someone need to explain to you the difference between that which is subjective and that which is objective.

And in any case so what?

Do a google image search for "facepalm.jpg" if you really want to know how I respond to that comment.

Start your own blog if you want your pears of wisdom (and your name) to be known.

You're not very bright, are you, Trevor? The issue is not my name, blog or wisdom. The issue is Iain's blog. You are a very stupid person and would best serve yourself and Iain Dale by being very, very quiet because you embarrass yourself when you speak.

subrosa said...

I've no proof whatsoever but a feeling that labour are waiting for the fall-out of Norwich, which they seem resigned to lose, to settle before the Glasgow NE by-election.

Somehow they think people have very short memories.

Tormod said...

Labour's dirty tricks already started last weekend and will no doubt continue over the summer.

Labour have lied about the writ and the Glasgow and school holidays, no change there then.

In Scotland they have the press in there pocket.

Anonymous said...

The government have not just ducked a by election they have actively contrived not to have one for as long as possible because they fear the result.Simple.

As someone siad all by elections should be at a fixed time - say a month-from the seat becoming open- no exceptions.

Anonymous said...

by november gordon may /will not be p.m. this could win them some votes,michael