Tag Archives: Gordon

Ellon hustings 17 April 2015

An evening with Justine, Part 3

On to the next question which is about salmon netting at the Ythan estuary.

Clark is first up and he doesn’t support it. He then goes on to attack land reform calling it class war. Here’s their website for reference. I couldn’t find any reference to land reform on there. Braden is against but he doesn’t seem to know too much about it (to give him his due neither did I until I got handed a flyer on the way in). He magnanimously agreed to support the case against. Justine doesn’t say very much about it, WeeEck says that the people who are netting have a heritable right to do it which is why we need land reform. That was news to me too. Clark hits back in his rebuttal, he makes the point that farmers do what they do so that they can pass on their farms to the next generation, land reform would stop that. WeeEck says that’s rubbish. Some guy cuts this one-off, which I was disappointed about.

I know that land reform worries the farmers around me, they will not rent any land out because the renter will end up with a right to buy the land. That doesn’t seem right to me, it also acts as a block to new entrants to the farming industry, something which it sorely needs. Here’s an interesting fact for you, there is only 3 days food supply in the shops at any one time. Any interruption to the supply and we all starve. The next time you take a drive through the countryside, take a look around you. All that stuff in the fields is our food, and there isn’t enough of it to feed us all. Farmers invest hundreds of thousands of pounds in growing crops, the value of which they cannot know until it’s time to sell it. Very often they sell at a loss and the only reason that they survive is through the subsidies.

Some guy gives us the nest question which is about Donald Trump, his golf course and the offshore wind farm in Aberdeen Bay. This one is a potential banana skin for WeeEck and he’s first up. WeeEck backs any development which creates jobs and he backs the Trump development, he also backs the wind farm (although it is an experimental project not a wind farm apparently) because they both create jobs. Justine agrees with WeeEck (michty) but accuses him of riding roughshod over the local cooncilors by calling it in when he was First Minister. Braden is particularly weak on this one, that’s what happens when you get parachuted in I guess. Clark claims that 70% of the money which is paid to wind farms by way of subsidies goes to foreign companies and tax exiles, although he backs farmers having them. This smacks of hypocrisy to me, tories decrying tax exiles. He also backs centralised strategic planning for wind farms.

Wind turbines are an emotive issue for me, for it is because of them that I ended up in local politics. We used to have a really picturesque view of Glen Ythan, but now it is corrupted by 20 wind turbines which are all different sizes and haphazardly arranged about the place almost always in the most prominent spots. All of these turbines are owned by local farmers. Why are we spoiling our countryside with these ugly machines?

Next up was a question from a young loon who I was very impressed with: how would you connect with the electorate?

Clark is first to go, he tells us all about himself and his family. It seemed like a load of waffle to me. Braden waffles on too, mentions social media and Twitter. But hang on Braden, you blocked me on Twitter, remember? How is that connecting with the electorate? Justine knows the questioner, she goes on to talk about going to community council meetings and surgeries on the weekends when she’s not in London. WeeEck mentions social media and his office in Inverurie.

The final question was about unpaid carers. By this time we had all pretty much had enough and so on to the closing speeches.

Clark goes first since he was last for the opening speeches. He says that the tories are committed to saving the NHS, but he doesn’t say how (privatisation perhaps?). He says that the Gordon constituency is conservative with a small ‘c’ (I don’t know how he works that one out). He harks back to the referendum and asks to be judged on the tories track record (aye we will). There follows an attack on the Lib Dems and Labour, only the tories stand up for the worker apparently. Eh? He then says that this election is a choice between Ed or Dave (that’s a lie right there Clark, there are 5 PPCs standing in Gordon). He gets a wee cheer and sits down again.

Braden tells us that he supports Ed, fancy that. He wants an end to exploitative zero hours contracts, but doesn’t tell us what the definition of exploitative is. He then comes out with the best joke of the night. “I may not drink with Donald Trump (a reference to WeeEck) or own a multi million pound business or…be a Lib Dem.” It was genuinely funny and a great dig at Justine, you could see her ire rising. He gets a wee cheer.

Then Justine is up, she was angling for a supporting role in Ed’s government> Claims that Lib Dems were a moderating influence on the tories (yawn). Invest in health. Aim high and dream big, she then goes on to tell us about her working class roots (which probably means that she is not working class) She gets herself worked up into a frenzy, getting the whip oot again and lashing it all ower like she’s some king of sadistic dominatrix. She takes credit for the Smith Commission (I’m not sure that’s a good idea) and finishes off with a final flourish of the whip, “I will be scary.” I agree. She gets a decent cheer.

WeeEck then gets up and immediately sticks a chib intae Justine ower tuition fees then moves on to austerity and how it is killing this country. He makes the point that all three of the other parties present want to increase spending and increase cuts. He says the SNP want to end austerity and have a moderate increase in spending. He also wants the vow to be honoured and he is the man to do it. I totally agree. He gets the biggest cheer of the night.

In conclusion, I thought Clark was too far up himself. He tried to connect with the common man but at the end of the day he is a tory who is only interested in profit. Braden is like a fish out of water whenever he is beyond tha party dogma, very weak on local issues. WeeEck was exactly as you would expect, rambunctious and a formidable opponent. He knew his stuff, from the geopolitical to the local.

Then there’s Justine. She is the unionists’ great hope to defeat WeeEck. My impression of her is that she is a dominatrix, she flails the whip around and lectures her audience. She spent time defending the indefensible i.e. tuition fees. She wants an end to the bedroom tax, but Malcolm Bruce voted for it! Her hypocrisy knows no bounds. She is also weak on local issues, but then she said that she wanted to go to London from where she can board the gravy train like her predecessor rode for 31 years.

All in all I enjoyed our date Justine, I only hope that we don’t have another one anytime soon.

Ellon hustings 17 April 2015

An evening with Justine, Part 2

“So the question was: How do you plan to improve support services?

Clarke’s first up, he says the councils are very hard up because of the council tax freeze and he would like to get rid of it and raise council tax. Is that a vote winner? Braden wants all carers to be paid the living wage, scrap the bedroom tax and pause the roll out of Universal Credit. Fair enough I suppose. Justine wants to devolve funding down to the lowest level, she is against centralisation. She appears to be offering more of the last 5 years but decides now is the time to pull the rabbit from the hat, “I’ll gie ya £800m for your NHS Scotland.” That’s a fat rabbit, but the LibDems voted with the tories for £30bn cuts. Where’s this cash coming from? WeeEck sets aboot defending the council tax freeze, he says abody’s benefited fae the freeze, afore it was frozen cooncil tax had shot up faster than a squib on bonfire nicht. A the auld folks had benefited too and a the cooncils hid been fully funded.

A this chat fae WeeEck fair winds up Justine. She his a go at the tories’ cuts, but yon Malcolm Bruce voted for all of them. The irony is lost on her. Noo she’s wanting to bin cooncil tax a thigethir, but she wid gie us a new local income tax. By this time she’s up tae high doe, ranting aboot the bedroom tax (irony again?). It seemed to me that WeeEck had pressed a button and set Justine off. Braden agrees with WeeEck about bedroom tax. Clark says zero hour contracts are magic, because without them some people wouldn’t have a job. He makes a pre prepared Freudian slip and calls the LibDems the Labour Democrats. It fell pretty flat.

For me I would like to see a local income tax, it would make the councils directly responsible to the electorate. I always thought that council tax was unfair.

Some bloke serves another course: When will we see home rule or devo max?

WeeEck’s got fire in his belly, gies us a stirring speech aboot vows and pledges beein honoured. “Send me tae Westminster an, wi ma pals, we’ll mak sure Scotland gets fit it was promised,” sort ae stuff. That went down well (with me anyway). Justine gies us a history lesson that  must hae been written by her pal @historywoman (get the tag right, all lower case). Then she says she wants Federalism within the UK. Braden gives WeeEck a dressing down about the costs of Full Fiscal Autonomy (FFA), he says we would end up with all of the costs of independence but none of the benefits (Wow, a Labour PPC admitting that there would be benefits to independence. He’s gone off message there.) Clark decides to have a go at Justine’s claim, “I’m not a Unionist.” That’s right, Justine claims to not be a unionist, “I’m a federalist,” she says. But I remember her dedication to the Union during the independence campaign. She stood shoulder to shoulder with the tories in defence of the union, but she’s not a Unionist? Come on. She even tried to deny that she had said any such thing, but all of the other panelists told her that they remember her saying it. Oh dear, sometimes it’s best to just stop digging.

ae finish aff this wee spell WeeEck cracks a joke, “The Smith Commission had to go at the speed of the slowest boat in the convoy, and with Conservatives, Labour and LibDems there were lots of slow boats.” It had me laughing. Then he said that Smith doesn’t come close to devo max. I couldn’t agree more, Smith was a giant fudge with every aspect of it reduced to the lowest common denominator. If we allow it, we won’t even get the powers in the Smith recommendations.

I’ll finish this one here, watch out for Part 3 soon.

Gordon Constituency Electoral Calculus

A letter from Justine

Well I got a nice wee surprise when I got in from work, a lovely letter from the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for the constituency of Gordon; Christine Jardine, or Justine to her boss.

I won’t bother talking about the first part of the letter, it was all SNP bashing anyway. What is it with these unionist parties? Why can’t they give us a positive vision of the UK? It all seems to be SNP BAD. Is that really the message that the Liberal Democrats want to send to the electorate?

Justine's Letter

Justine’s Letter

Anyway enough of the SNP doom porn, let’s take a look at the interesting bit at the bottom of the letter. Let’s deal with the PS first, pedants among you will probably say that there is a full stop missing after the “P” but I’m not going there. The message is that there are only 2 candidates running in Gordon. That is a LIE! There are 5 candidates standing so there is more choice than they are letting on. I know, I know. Picky, picky. But it’s important to get the finer points of your message right isn’t it? Otherwise how can people believe the rest of the message?

Then we get some more SNP BAD with the message that they “took their eye off the ball on local services”, but local services are devolved and this is a UK General Election. The local services that are being talked about are run by Aberdeenshire Council for the most part with a part of the constituency being located within Aberdeen City Council area. Just for the record Aberdeenshire Council is run by a coalition of Conservative and…Liberal Democrats! That’s right, Justine is highlighting the failings of her own colleagues. Aberdeen City Council is run by a coalition of Conservative and Labour, the makings of a grand coalition perhaps?

Then we get to the 2 horse race bit, here is what the people at Electoral Calculus think about Gordon Constituency.

Gordon Constituency Electoral Calculus

Gordon Constituency Electoral Calculus

Not exactly a 2 horse race is it? But we’ll let that one slide.

Then we get to the small print, handily resized for ease of reading (it’s for me really, as my auld mither says, “Auld age, it disnae come alone.”) Apologies for the scanner failure.

Justine Letter Small Print

Justine Letter Small Print

We can see that the letter is printed in London, a quick search of Google (other search engines are available) yields lots of local printers which could have been used to print the letter. Justine takes local money and spends it in London. That’s a familiar theme…

Then there is the “Gordon Liberal Democrats”, a quick search of the registered political parties at the Electoral Commission yields no results. They don’t exist. Then there is the biggest lie on the page:

"Scottish" Liberal Democrats Logo

“Scottish” Liberal Democrats Logo

Can you guess what it is yet? That’s right, there is NO SUCH PARTY! They are trying to fool the electorate into believing that the party is local. But it’s a London party, for London people.

It’s a party which enabled the worst ravages of the Tories over the last five years. A party which abandoned its solemn pledge on tuition fees just so that they could cruise around London in ministerial cars. Malcolm Bruce, the previous incumbent (for 31 years) voted with the tories for the increase in tuition fees, voted with the tories for the bedroom tax, voted with the tories for the benefits cap, voted with the tories for increasing VAT, voted with the tories against the top rate of income tax, voted with the tories against the banker’s bonus tax. He was, for all intents and purposes, a tory. Why would anyone vote for that?

Gordon Constituency Update

Is there an election looming? You wouldn’t think it in this neck of the woods. With only 83 days to go until one of the most closely fought general elections in modern times, life in Gordon is pretty well normal. There are no signs up, nobody has chapped on my door yet (they’ll have to find me first) and I’ve had no leaflets either. In fact if I hadn’t gone out and looked I wouldn’t know who the candidates are, apart from Alex Salmond but more of him later. Some people say that we shouldn’t bother with opinion polls, bookies odds are the best indicators of the future. That being the case here’s what Ladbrokes thinks will be the outcome of the next general election in Gordon:

Ladbrokes betting Gordon constituency

Ladbrokes betting Gordon constituency

Let’s compare that with the most recent Ashcroft poll:

Ashcroft poll Gordon constituency

Ashcroft poll Gordon constituency

As it stands it would appear that Alex Salmond is going to take this seat. So who are the other candidates and what have they been up to then.

Christine Jardine

Christine Jardine

In the orange corner for the Liberal Democrats we have Christine Jardine, or Justine as she likes to be known. Christine is the replacement for Malcolm Bruce, who is stepping down as an MP (and probably going to be ennobled soon). She has been out on the stump, leafleting, meeting with her prospective constituents and even having a bit of banter on Twitter with me! But I’m afraid she’s on a hiding to nothing, which is hardly surprising because we don’t know what she stands for apart from hating the SNP. Her party published a part of their election manifesto today, just the front cover though. Maybe there’s a clue or two there then:

LibDem Manifesto 2015 front cover

LibDem Manifesto 2015 front cover

But the biggest problem for the Lib Dems is a lack of credibility, who can forget the Nick Clegg pledge on tuition fees which was ditched at the first sniff of a ministerial car:

Nick Clegg pledge

Nick Clegg pledge

No one is going to forget that one, or the way that they enabled the tories ravaging of the sick, disabled and poor ever since. The standard refrain from Lib Dem apologists is that they curtailed the worst of the tory excesses but the truth is that if they had said no then none of them would have happened. However they are still in second place in the constituency race and there is some talk of tactical voting, but only from themselves and third parties who don’t have a vote anyway. I’m afraid that Christine is going to end up as an also ran, which is a shame because I quite like her and her predecessor. I wonder if she popped into the Labour candidate’s burger joint while she was out canvassing in Bucksburn the other day? That would have been ironic.

Next up is Labour and their candidate Braden Davy, who? He is the manager of a branch of a well-known fast food chain within the constituency, here’s a picture of him with the Scottish branch manager of the Labour party:

Feeling Braden Davy

Feeling Braden Davy

That’s him in the middle in case you didn’t know. So what’s he been up to then? Nothing since 6th December 2014 according to the UK Labour website. Check out the small print at the bottom of the page. There’s no manifesto from Labour yet either, they have identified some “Issues” on their website but that is about all. Apart from that I’ve got no idea what he’s been up to since he blocked me but he would appear to have a mountain to climb.

Back in 4th spot we have the tory candidate Colin Clark. He’s a local loon who went to Turra school with one of my cousins. He has a website and a Facebook page, he seems to be most active on Facebook. He appears to stand for the landed gentry, those who love blood sports and is against land reform (who’d have guessed). He has ruled out any kind of tactical voting on his website and on his Facebook page.

Colin Clark

Colin Clark

Out there in last place is the UKIP candidate David Coburn, who also happens to be Scotland’s only UKIP MEP.

David Coburn UKIP

David Coburn UKIP

He famously told us that we do not need immigration, we just need to breed more (except for him of course because he is openly gay).

So what of Alex Salmond, the man who strikes fear into the heart of the union? Not a lot really, there have been a few wee pieces of him canvassing in the local news. He also has his column in the P&J but apart from that next to nothing. If we were to compare the coverage of the scary nationalist to the coverage that Jim Murphy gets we would break the scales, the media is focussed entirely on Labour. But maybe, just maybe, this could be a ploy. After years of being monstered in the press the unionists foam at the mouth just at the mention of his name, so perhaps leaving it to Nicola Sturgeon to carry the SNP message is a shrewd move.

I hope things start heating up soon, perhaps once the weather gets a wee bit warmer?