By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP have questioned whether Labour’s failure to oppose a Tory tax cut for millionaires on Monday evening was a “screw-up” or tribalism after a tweet by Labour’s shadow Scotland office minister Willie Bain MP revealed that there is “a long-standing PLP convention that we do not support SNP motions”.  The admission raises difficult questions for Labour’s shadow Scotland Secretary Margaret Curran, whose office was copied into the email exchange which was leaked yesterday.

Yesterday, an advisor to the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, claimed that Labour had made a “screw-up” by not voting with the SNP and Plaid Cymru against the cut to the top rate of tax for the highest paid.  The leaked admission revealed embarrassing efforts by Labour staff to spin the line that their abstention had been planned, and instructions to Scottish Labour’s press office to “hold off releasing line in Scotland just yet, in the hope that it is ignored” by the Scottish media.

The embarrassing Budget no-show followed vocal opposition and several pledges from shadow chancellor Ed Balls to vote against the tax cut for the wealthiest.  However due to the failure of Labour MPs to attend the vote against the tax cut, the Coalition Government won the vote on cutting the 50p rate to 45p by 319 to 22, a majority of 297.

The admission by Mr Bain apparently confirms the accusation often levelled at Labour party in Scotland that the party’s tribalism causes it to oppose all and any policies proposed by the SNP, irrespective of the merits of the policy.  

The Labour party in Scotland continue to oppose the SNP Government’s flagship policy of minimum pricing for alcohol, despite the policy being supported by major health organisations and charities, all the other major parties.  Even recent signals from the Labour party south of the Border that they now support minimum pricing on alcohol have not led Labour in Scotland to drop its opposition to the SNP policy.

Commenting SNP Westminster Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:

“Willie Bain’s admission is astonishing, and raises the question of whether Labour’s no-show on the Budget vote was a screw-up or tribalism.

“It is clear that Labour hates the SNP much more than it loves Scotland.  Even when it came to voting against a Tory tax cut for millionaires, Labour could not put its resentment of the SNP aside in the interests of ordinary working people.

“Mr Bain’s comments are a very sad indictment of Labour, and his party’s failure to put people before narrow politics will rebound very badly on them.

“While Labour abstains on Budget votes, the SNP will oppose the Tories unfair Budget which punishes pensioners and public sector workers and does nothing to stimulate the economy.  This was not a budget for Scotland and is proof of the urgent need for Scotland to have control over financial powers with independence.”


# Training Day 2012-03-28 16:05
But will the BBC or STV cover this story.. or will they demonstrate that they can indeed be relied upon to ignore it?
# Thee Forsaken One 2012-03-28 16:09
On Twitter, STV Tonight acknowledged the existence of Willie Bain’s tweet, but they were mostly nitpicking over it being referred to a ‘policy’ where they say it’s a ‘convention’. I don’t know if that’s them saying they won’t touch it, but figure I’d at least share.
# Training Day 2012-03-28 16:14
Cheers TFO – I have tried on several occasions today to phone Pacific Quay to enquire politely if they intend to acknowledge the existence of this story. The phone has rung out each time..
# Jediirnbru 2012-03-28 16:16
Just twittered them masel asking if they were going to bring it to peoples attention.
# J Wil 2012-03-28 16:43
It was mentioned on the BBC’s Scottish politics show this pm. They drew the poison when their tame pundit blamed both the Labour Party and the SNP for the shambles. Apparently the SNP were not playing fair!
# Angry_Weegie 2012-03-28 17:08
Still not on BBC or STV websites, but has got a mention in the Sun, Independent and Sky, as well as the Courier and the P&J;
# Jimbo 2012-03-28 17:28
Labour – Playing petty Party Politics with people’s lives and livelihoods.
# Edulis 2012-03-28 17:32
Just to add to JW, Hamish MacDonnell also indicated that it was not an abstention on Labour’s part – just that they had all gone home, inferring that the SNP were bering mischievous.So if it turns out that they did abstain, which seems likely, given Willie Bain’s tweet, then it is Hamish that needs to apologise. I am off to the Calmerc to tell him he is yet again showing his bias against the SNP.
# J Wil 2012-03-28 20:36
I reckon he was making sure he got another invitation onto the telly.
# Hirta 2012-03-28 17:42

I received this today from the BBC Trust regarding this article


Here is the reply:

Thank you for your email of 15 March to Lord Patten, Chairman of the BBC
Trust. I am responding on his behalf as a member of the Trust Unit
which advises and supports the Chairman and Trustees.

I note your concerns about BBC coverage of an interview with Nicola

I can assure you that ensuring the impartiality of the BBC is a key
priority for the Trust; it is essential to its independence that the BBC
retains the public’s trust as an impartial purveyor of news and
programming. The BBC is required to deliver duly impartial news by the
Royal Charter and Agreement and to treat controversial subjects with due
impartiality. The Trust is committed to making sure that the BBC fulfils
this obligation, which will of course be very important in the run up to
the Referendum on Scottish Independence.

However, while the Trust’s role is to set the overall framework, the
BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, which set out the values and standards that
all BBC output should meet, responsibility for the BBC’s operational
and editorial content within these Editorial Guidelines rests ultimately
with the Director-General, as Editor-in-Chief.

There is a BBC complaints process in place to deal with instances where
audiences feel that the BBC has not met expected standards of
impartiality. This requires that the BBC’s management have the
opportunity to provide a two stage response to complaints. The Trust’s
role in the process is to hear complaints on appeal, should complainants
be unhappy with the responses they have received from the BBC’s

You can access details of the complaints process on the BBC website

In the meantime, I have passed your comments onto Audience Services so
that they can respond to your concerns on behalf of the BBC’s

I hope this will be helpful, and thank you again for bringing your views
to our attention.

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Grogan
BBC Trust Unit
# mmarsattacks 2012-03-28 17:53
Utterly pathetic. They’d rather drop their own policies than support them when they’re proposed by the SNP. Such behaviour can be tolerated in small children but from supposedly responsible adults it is inexcusable.
# Davy 2012-03-28 18:32
I noticed that on the politics Scotland show this afternoon they are trying to deflect the situation by trying to say that Alex Salmond having tea with the Lottery winners is the same as the torys asking for money to meet and eat with the Prime Minster David Cameron. It was a pathitic attempt by Glen Campbell & co to explain it, and he was very unconvincing and even looked a little embarrassed.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-03-28 18:43
The attempt by unionists to smear the SNP with reference to the Weir’s donation is nicely dealt with by RevStu here,…/
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-03-28 18:45
Oh aye cos the Weirs are after a peerage or want the SNP te make life easier for their business…oh wait they have retired. This is in no way anything like what Labour and the Tories get up to with donations. If I had that kinda money to give away I’d do the same not expecting anything back.
# clootie 2012-03-28 19:34
I’m in a dilema. I don’t trust a word Willie Bain says and yet this sounds so true.

If it’s party policy he told the truth….Arrrrrgh!
# Old Smokey 2012-03-28 19:49
Are you actually surprised that its Labour policy not provide any support to anything the SNP put forward, regardless, if its even something that Labour should be supporting.
Labour’s track record over the last 20 odd years is in volumes!
Its a policy that is across all levels of government, including council’s
# J Wil 2012-03-28 20:40
To many Labour supporters Willie Bain must be like an enormous curbunkle on the face of an old friend, to coin a phrase. I’m not saying what the rest of us think about him.
# Guy Dreich 2012-03-28 19:38
I take it, then, that the SNP can completely nullify any Labour influence in Westminster by putting forward motions on everything they can? What a serious admission that this is a long standing PLP policy.
# scottish_skier 2012-03-28 20:07
They should put forward a motion saying Labour are the party most fit to govern the UK….
# From The Suburbs 2012-03-28 19:54
Get writing to letters pages on this subject … no point talking to ourselves
# clootie 2012-03-28 20:06
Write to them……….
Daily Mail page one today. Alex Salmonds hypocrisy on the donations issue – He had Colin and Christine Weir at Bute House before they gave a £1million pound donation.

Page one article comparing this to cash for questions/access.
# scottish_skier 2012-03-28 20:10
Aye, in the telegraph too. A ‘secret tea party’. Scandalous.

I wonder what Chris and Colin Weir have lobbied for – maybe for, erm, let me think about it, must be…hmmm..independence for Scotland? Well, I guess AS will do his best to ensure that happens for them. Aye.
# Legerwood 2012-03-28 21:09
yesterday in the on-line edition of the Herald one of the posters on the story aboyt Cameron’s donations was trying to tar the SNP with the same brush by questioning the £1 million donation from Edwin Morgan. Clearly they were trying to imply he had to be after something, Which is an interesting thought given that he left the money in his will!
# Boris Broon 2012-03-28 20:21
This is proof, if it were needed, that the Kool Aid at Labour HQ has definitely been spiked.
# roboftheburnawn 2012-03-28 20:54
O/T – Another cracker of a Unionist Myth scorched – See STV news online- “Expert says ‘no real evidence’ over claims Scotland would be blocked from EU.”
# Islegard 2012-03-28 21:07
This one again! EU lawyers issued a statement a few weeks back. Stating Scotland and England would be in an equal position following independence. Both would be able to rejoin seperately through majority voting rather than unanimous voting which is needed for new members. Importantly England would be in exactly the same position as Scotland. You are disolving the UK’s membership of the EU on Scotland gaining independence.…/…
# xyz 2012-03-28 21:27
Think we need a frequently asked questions section. Succinct and straight to the point.

The unionists just keep repeating the same nonsense over and over. I was almost surprised to read recently that the UK home secretary trotted out the same immigration and borders rubbish debunked some time ago.
# Islegard 2012-03-28 22:03
Your right I try to sometimes save links and comments. It would be great to have a repository of information for the common nonsense spouted over independence.
# xyz 2012-03-28 21:12
Nice catch ..…/…
# ButeHouse 2012-03-28 21:30
there is “a long-standing PLP convention that we do not support SNP motions”.

This stupid, arrogant remark simply highlights what we already know. That Labour have learned nothing from their defeat in 2007 and from their absolute thrashing in 2011.

They still think they are the bees knees and can do or in this case say anything and get away with it.

May 3rd will demonstrate just how wrong these people are. To say that ‘The times, they are a changin’ to quote Bob Dylan would be a major understatement.

Willie Bain and others will have their self satisfied smirks wiped off their faces with every Glasgow seat they deservedly lose come May.

# Jim1320 2012-03-28 21:34
Something fantastically infantile about Labour’s “Anybody but the SNP”.

It really is quite depressing. Then these same dipsticks will wonder why they get 35% turnouts at the council elections.
# weegie38 2012-03-28 22:07
I would doubt this PLP convention is unique to Labour and the SNP. I would suspect Labor also have a convention about not supporting Plaid Cymru motions, or SDLP motions, and will presumably be working up one regarding the English Greens, now Caroline Lucas is in Parliament.

This is as much about retaining the cosy 2-and-a-half party state in the UK as anything else. In the Labour mindset, not only are Labour “the only party who can defeat the Tories”, they are the only party who can be allowed to defeat the Tories! If Labour were to go around supporting SNP/PC/Green motions, it would lend these parties an air of credibility that Labour (and by extension, the British establishment) simply cannot afford.

Always remember that Labour are utterly embedded in the British establishment, and the defence of that is their first and some might say only real duty.
# raisethegame 2012-03-28 22:04
Reminding you that STV’s ‘Scotland Tonight’ (10:30pm) is an election debate. All the main parties in the studio including Glasgow Council leader Gordon Matheson)discus  sing the ‘Battle of Glasgow’.
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-03-28 22:37
‘Battle of Glasgow’.

Them UFO’s strayin awa fae Bonnybridge then ? The Smash tattie aliens make more sense than the Labour party :o)}
# oldnat 2012-03-28 22:46
The (very big) green men are unconcerned about any suggestion from Theresa May that there should be a border between Scotland and England.

They have infiltrated Yorkshire Labour…/…
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-03-28 23:07
He said: “Two green stick things came in. I was aware of some movement over my head. I thought, ‘they’re not mummy’s hands, mummy’s hands are pink’.”

Haha …how much here can remember things from when they were 8 months old let alone know what fingers are ? Ok you might know what fingers are since they are in your mouth most of the time but you wouldn’t know they were called ‘Fingers’.
# cynicalHighlander 2012-03-28 22:47
Labour councillor: ‘My real mother is a green alien’:…/…
# jafurn 2012-03-28 23:31
# raisethegame

Reminding you that STV’s ‘Scotland Tonight’ (10:30pm) is an election debate

Having watched that ‘debate’ I have to ask …is that really the best we have available for Glasgow? I found absolutely no one from any party even remotely like anyone I would want to represent me at anything…that includes the SNP guy. really is that the best of Scotland at council level? No wonder we are in the sh=-t.
I saw no politician there with any vision whatsoever.
# Early Ball 2012-03-28 23:53
I had a lib dem candidate at the door. She was a very likeable person and we had a 15 minute chat. However I was shocked at how little she knew about politics. I will watch with interest.
# Islegard 2012-03-29 00:29
A what! I’ve heard of them but never seen one. Where did she canvas Early?
# Early Ball 2012-03-29 01:00
North East.I do not want to be more specific because she was very nice and I recommended Newsnet to her!
# mealer 2012-03-28 22:55
Labour are only here to hate the SNP.Theyre certainly not here for the people.
# oldnat 2012-03-28 22:55
O/T, but two fascinating articles on the BBC News website.

On the Scotland section…/…

“More than half of S2 pupils are not doing well at maths, according to Scotland’s first national survey.”

In the GB Education section last month we had…/…

“England should look north of the border for answers to the problem of poor maths skills, says a report.”

I’m always happy to see Scottish education working to improve standards of attainment – but at the same time, we need to recognise strengths.
# call me dave 2012-03-28 22:58
Battle of Glasgow!

Same old bun fight stuff.

Labour’s to lose but nobody setting the heather on fire in the debate.

Portents favour the SNP being the biggest party.


Murray squeezes through into the semi-finals.
# Islegard 2012-03-28 23:43
Labour are attempting to win by cloning themselves.
# oldnat 2012-03-29 00:15
You are giving them far too much credit for political intelligence.

Labour in Scotland gave up clever campaigning strategies a long time ago. These internecine battles within “the ruling class” have happened several times in SLab history. Once it didn’t matter, because they could be assured that the dominant group would continue in power.

Now we simply see the death throes of a once reputable party, who have abandoned principles for personal advantage.

There will always be a place for a left of centre party in Scottish politics. Some of the current SLab membership will find a home in that party. Most of their elected members will simply scrabble to find elected office in any party that will have them.
# Islegard 2012-03-29 01:03
What concerns me is they will do anything to cling on to power no matter how undemocratic. They are akin to a party operating in regions of the world such as Syria. However it does make them dangerous.
# Displaced Patriot 2012-03-28 23:04
I think there are plenty of the Scottish labour mob that are from a different planet.
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-03-28 23:10
I have previously compared Murphy to the big tall guy in Men in Black but since this will be taken as rabid nat name calling I’d better behave now.
# oldnat 2012-03-28 23:20
Difficult, isn’t it? You couldn’t really compare Murphy to a big Green man, since the Greens favour independence, and getting rid of WMD.

Yet the relevance of Murphy’s ideas to Scotland’s future are no more than they are to the residents of Alpha Centauri.

Perhaps we could just thake the first word of his title? – “Shadow”.
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-03-28 23:36
Perhaps we could just thake the first word of his title? – “Shadow”

So thats where all the dark matters hiding.
# gfaetheblock 2012-03-28 23:13
This does seem to be an academic argument. The vote had no chance of being passed, should our politicians not be focused on more important things that using parliamentary time registering that they don’t like something we know that they don’t like?
# oldnat 2012-03-28 23:24
Any ideas as to how the SNP could use Westminster Parliamentary time more usefully?

Given the dismissive attitudes of the Unionist parties to anything useful to Scotland, there doesn’t seem a lot of scope!
# Islegard 2012-03-28 23:32
gae you’re absolutely right they should be taking a leaf out of the book of the UK Government in the lords. Working tirelessly 24/7 on amending a bill after they have been told their amendments are going to be abandoned following an “agreement” with the Scottish Government.

You state “The vote had no chance of being passed.” What do you base this supposition on? Knowing the Labour party are sell outs and would support the tories before helping the poor and Scotland. I take it you are suggesting helping the poor and Scotland are lost causes and no-one should bother to fight for them.
# call me dave 2012-03-28 23:35
The outcome of the vote may be academic but the debate and arguments made by those opposing the coalition are recorded and even reported in the media.

It exposes the coalition policies and also offers succour to supporters of the opposition within society.

It may even show a unity between opposition parties on certain issues which doesn’t bind them together for all time.
# daveniz 2012-03-28 23:31
Glasgow labour leader matheson says hes never opposed the council tax freeze!

so whats this…/…
# call me dave 2012-03-28 23:51
So what does that make him in the common vernacular which means

‘a stranger from the truth’

It escapes me at the moment!
# J Wil 2012-03-28 23:33

For anyone interested, they are showing a documentary on the American PBS channel on the Rupert Murdoch phone hacking story overnight, at 0:40am and 4:40am.

This from an American viewpoint.
# Macart 2012-03-29 07:07
Labour leadership standing orders – OPPOSE, OPPOSE, OPPOSE.

Don’t worry about merit, dont worry about aspiration, don’t worry about people. These creatures make me ill! Labour voters seriously need to wake up, their leadership are not about to turn back the clock and become the people’s party. They are tories who have just put on a different coloured rosette. Power for powers sake and opposition for oppositions sake, no more, no less.

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