Alistair’s My Darling

I was sitting in Nardini’s Café on Byres Road having an Americano and a pastry when I laughed out loud and turned heads. I was browsing on the iphone and read this on the BBC website.

Mr Darling added: “I’m always careful about what language I use because I think it’s important that we conduct this debate in a civilised manner and I do not use inflammatory language.”

Oh Alistair, how pride makes a fool of a man. Was it your self-denying ordinance on inflammatory language that led to this remark in Haddington at the John P Mackintosh lecture?  “With independence Scotland’s budget would have to be approved beyond the border.  That’s not freedom.  That’s not independence.  That’s serfdom. Serfdom! Scots in bearskins hewing at the unyielding soil to provide a meagre harvest for the tithe-owning master?  That’s not just inflammatory, it’s pantomime ludicrous, downright stupid for a man always careful with his language.

Or how about  this: “Your friends in Wales, your family in England and your workmates from Northern Ireland will, effectively and overnight, become foreigners”

A quasi-racist contrivance that defies all human logic. People, as opposed to emotionally-neutered politicians, decide who they regard as foreign and it makes no difference what the technical legalities say. Any person who can regard their own children as foreign needs counselling. This canard displays the Union at its vicious worse. Instead of the benign presence it likes to portray, it reveals instead a casual rejection of the entire concept of a family of nations as soon as one member decides to change the rules. (Also, why does the legislation approving the departure of Ireland from the UK specifically declare the Irish to be “not foreign”?)

Or on the careful use of language, this: “British music will no longer be our music.  British art, dance and drama will no longer be ours. British sporting success will be someone else’s to celebrate. 

Time for your tablets, Alistair. The idea that you and your political pals dictate what we listen to or enjoy or how we define it is the worst kind of nasty nationalism. Perhaps we should equally reject you too on the same basis – that you presumably will deem yourself British rather than Scottish.

I liked this from the same speech: “It is incumbent on both sides to present the people of Scotland with cold hard facts alongside the powerful cultural and emotional ties that bind. This cannot be about opinion or assertion.  Only the facts will do.”

At last, the civilized debate. Therefore will you now ask Cameron to request from Brussels the “facts” on Scotland’s EU membership so we can make our mind in a civilized manner? Will you ask Osborne to rule out absolutely before voting day a currency arrangement? (Better tell the bank governor too before he opens talks with Salmond). Today the UK parliament passed the legislation for an In/out referendum on Britain’s EU membership. I wonder if that’s causing Alistair any confusion over our future position?

Then we come to this: “Scotland’s banks were on the brink of collapse.  A calamity made in Edinburgh, not in London. The cost to the UK of supporting the banks during the financial crisis has been about 21% of our GDP.  The comparative figure for Scotland would have been 211% of GDP.”

Our old friend the Great British Bank Bail-out showing how only Mighty Blighty could save the day. Note how Alistair – in a civilized manner of course – blithely washes his hands of all responsibility. He wasn’t Chancellor. He didn’t along with Brown devise the soft-touch tripartite regulatory system that failed catastrophically by encouraging dangerous lending, massive profits and bonuses, didn’t scrutinize the RBS takeover of ABM and didn’t fail to act quickly enough. But here’s what the National Audit Office says about the bail-out. “Actual money is the smallest part, £123.93 billion provided in the form of loans or share purchases which required a transfer of cash from the government to the banks.” So this wasn’t a giveaway, it was buying the shares from which in due course the taxpayer should get a return and it was also in loans now being repaid. And that was the amount covering all the relevant banks not just the Scottish ones. The rest of the money – over £300billion was a guarantee, never actually paid out, so that if the banks get into trouble again – any bets? – they will have a second guarantee of bail-out. For this insurance policy the government charges the banks money, £16billion so far since 2008. The suggestion that vast sums were paid out to the banks is flatly wrong. They were underwritten with notional money for which they pay a big premium, and the actual money used bought their shares or was given as repayable loans. And the money from the government was borrowed on the markets at historically low rates of interest. Add in the hard fact that Scottish banks would only be responsible for about 10 per cent of  rescue as that reflects the amount of business done here, and it’s hard to rationalize Alistair’s scary picture as careful use of language.

Remember too that when Brown turned against him Alistair didn’t stick to the civilized front he is claiming today. “The forces of hell were unleashed”, he said.  Oh aye, that’ll be more of that non-inflammatory language, Alistair.

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0 thoughts on “Alistair’s My Darling

  1. You’re on form Derek – laughed out loud at this piece. Do you think Alistair realises what an ass he’s making of himself.

  2. Could Alistair be getting the teeniest bit scared do you think?

  3. To the knub as always. Fraser nelson in the Telegraph gives a rather worrying résume of AD’s performance for the ‘Tory government’ (sorry, BT), with other interesting asides. Wings have it covered as ‘a tonic for the troops’ . It may now, not be possible for BT to change; hopefully, Sarwar and Mcdougall remain – they may yet swing it for Scotland on their own.

  4. “I was sitting in Nardini’s Café on Byres Road having an Americano and a pastry when I laughed out loud and turned heads. I was browsing on the iphone and read this on the BBC website.”

    At last, a factually accurate statement on the debate. I bet it raises a few “eyebrows”.

    Brilliant. Thanks.

  5. AD knows that RBS and HBOS were not “Scottish” banks. HBOS policy made in Halifax and homoligated at a meeting in the building on the Mound. RBS business largely in England.
    Poor regulation allowed it all to happen, but no-one challenges him on this (or on flipping his houses to maximise his income). Legal,but morally despicable.

  6. I have just finished reading (on a Kindle) a political memoir, ex culpa, by Damian McBride the ex head of lying and press manipulation for Gordon Brown from The Treasury time on to 10 Downing Street. He was eventually forced to resign because, well he was caught out.
    He was particularly scathing about Douglas Alexander and revealed that it was he who dubbed his sister in and forced her to resign.
    But with Darling he was quite scathing about his ability and intellect, saying that the Treasury types found him (I paraphrase) as unable to get his head around briefs and unable to think numbers and understand economics.
    He was good at filling in his expense claims and flipping his houses.
    So, he really hasn’t changed much.

    • I have a feeling that the former PrimeMinister and ex politican Gordon Brown ‘was unable to get his head around briefs and unable to think numbers and understand economics’ as well. How else as Chancellor could he keep telling us ‘no more boom and bust’ and ‘we are practising prudence’ when every year from 2001 to 2010 Labour was spending £4 for every £3 raised in taxes.

      I reckon that is exactly why he gave Darling the Chancellor’s remit; he couldn’t put anyone in the position who would suss what he and Blair had been up to with money over the past years.

  7. Nice Derek, had a good chuckle.

    Keep up the good work.

  8. Superb, Derek. It’s Saturday morning most days now!

  9. Sums up Alistair Darling. I love it when he is scathing and sarcastic about Alex Salmond – he is a gift for the Yes campaign. I think he will turn ‘floating’ voters to the Yes campaign.

  10. Really enjoying the blog Derek. sorry to go O/T slightly but had to bring attention to today’s BBC news website . While looking for the very significant Mark Carney story re. his wish to have a meeting with Alex Salmond I had to scour the page and eventually found the story near the bottom of the Scotland news page, yet last week’s intervention by Carwyn Jones on Sterling, who has no power over the issue, spent all day as the top story underlined in red in the the unlikely event that anyone missed it. How could these stories vary so much in priority without conscious bias at play?

  11. I never trust a man that seems to spends money on dyeing his eyebrows but skimps on his head hair. I know it’s a silly rule, but it has served me well.

  12. I think that, come the Yes vote, we should send Alistair to negotiate the currency union and Johann Lamont to do the deal on EU membership. Of course, they’d make a pigs ear of it, but it would be worth it just to watch them squirm.

  13. @Andrew M – you’re surely taking this a tad too far unless you’ve signed up for a mass masochism event. We’re trying to remove these bampots from our lives not give them even a hint of wrecking authority. I do see where your coming from however!

  14. Oh for goodness sake Derek, you’ve got to move on.

    Still haven’t recovered from Mr Darling’s appearance on your Saturday morning show when he trashed you and your pet academics’ assertions about who takes responsibility for failing banks?

    No wonder, it was a virtuoso performance from Alistair, which if memory serves left you lamely asking Mr Darling if he would be interested in leading the better campaign.

    Disappointing to see you with the daggers out when there’s no chance of him defending himself.


  15. $640 billion paid by US to preserve failing British banks – Britain should be taken over immediately by the US clearly not fit to run any economy! Darling clearly unfit to run anything except of course a number of “homes” I would imagine the RED Tories among us would be delighted to be part of the US.
    Falkirk no more!

  16. “Today the UK parliament passed the legislation for an In/out referendum on Britain’s EU membership.”

    If Scotland’s people vote NO to independence because of the constant lies, fear-mongering and misinformation being peddled by Scotland’s MSM and London’s Jock politicians, I shall (and will encourage others to do the same) indulge in a bit of tactical voting, and vote to take the UK out of the EU. Scotland being plucked out of the EU should focus the NO voters minds for the next referendum.

  17. Someone should really tell Grahamski not to make things personal or we might have to ask him some more questions which would of course mean him running away again!

    He really knows about moving on.

  18. I must admit Darling is a smooth operator.Smoothly moving from one lie to the next without even a twitch from his eye brows.It must be very difficult for him having to deal with people who have integrity and vision,something he will rarely have come across during his time at Westminster.I am sure that the intention was and still is for the BT lot to run a media campaign fronted by a smooth operator who is a master of spin and the sound bite.Unfortunately for them,the spin and sound bites only last for a short period and are not really suited to a long campaign,where a consistent message is more effective.Not my Darling.
    Excellent,thanks Derek.

  19. Are there any attractive options for Project Fear when it comes to replacing the Angry Alistairs?

  20. Jackie Baillie and Iain Gray.

    Let it be.

  21. So many question to answer. So many questions that go unanswered. So many commentators who don’t want to ask the questions and so many people who don’t even know what the questions are.

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