Grow Vegetables Extensively!*

I was just about to do a piece questioning SNP policy on a health databank that could lead to identity cards and mentioning strict No Disagreement rules for new Nationalist MPs as well as the shortage of foreign language classes in primary school, when…along came another nut-job from Jim Murphy and, well, I can’t ignore it.


Tuition fees, eh? That irresponsible and incoherent SNP policy that bankrolled middle class students and drove money away from poorer kids aiming for college…the principle that was so important that Scottish Labour MPs voted to bring in fees for English students…is simply declared, North Korea-style, as a Crime Against Humanity.

Kim Jong Murphy, standing on the marble steps of his throne room, reversed the convention accepted by the masses and told them He had conferred with God and now decreed there Shall Be No Student Fees. Adherents hugged each other and wept openly in their thousands. Others threw rotten fruit at the austere statue to the fallen leader Dewar as a symbol of the old regime which abolished upfront fees but retained the dreaded post-education Endowment. All those who had supported university fees elsewhere in the UK were to be led through the streets with placards round their neck saying Traitor… ‘except Honourable Members who didn’t know any better at the time and were only doing their duty,’ added Kim.


All we needed was the Great Patriot to announce He was gratified that the failed enemy of the state Salmond had now fallen into line too and had the same no fees policy.

We’re fond of saying nowadays that politics has changed and that this is a new Scotland. By god, we didn’t know the half of it as Murphy re-writes every rule, twists every fact, distorts every position and – in another eerie echo of Pyongyang – has a compliant media to dutifully report every utterance without criticism. It may not be long before we hear there is Only One Jim Murphy

To be fair to Murphy, this is only the latest in a long line of Labour manoeuvres on this issue.

Before 1997, Labour was not explicit in promising tuition fees but hinted that the cost of student maintenance should be paid back after graduation and Blair was quoted using the Yes Minister weasel term: ‘We have no plans to….’

Then, a year in to government, Blair shocked many supporters and Labour MPs by bringing in the first fees – and replacing grants with student loans. A key objection was that he had not made clear the plan before the election.

The new Scottish Executive abolished upfront fees in 2000 and set the retrospective repayment endowment at £2000 (a backdoor fee).

In 2001 the Labour government was re-elected promising no top up fees. But before the end of the parliament and after a massive revolt, Blair finally got through a bill to allow fees to rise to £3000 – with the help of Scottish Labour MPs. (At this stage, the Tories are even against fees describing them, like the SNP, as a tax on learning).


Since then of course, the Tories, with the help of the Liberals – who also used to oppose – have put them up to £9000.

In 1998 MP Jim Murphy voted not to exempt Scottish students from fees.

In 2004 he voted to increase fees in England to £3000.

In 2010 he voted against Tory/Lib Dem plans to raise fees to £9000.

So his record has been that he is favour of fees but just not too high fees. His previous position was that free university education is ‘incoherent, indefensible and unrealistic.’ And yet that is today his new stance. Credible? Do we accept that a man can change his mind? Well, indeed he can, but what he can’t do is transform himself from Aladdin to Widow Twankey in the same pantomime. He can’t turn full circle from Blairite marketeer to patriotic socialist in the space of weeks and he can’t perform somersault after somersault until he’s cartwheeling across the stage. We would need the same suspension of reality that allows us to enjoy the panto in order to trust Murphy now.

His own judgment is surely now in tatters but the bigger question is where this leaves Labour. For a start Miliband is now rowing back furiously from the ludicrous English £9000 a year charge and splitting his party with a his call for a maximum of £6000 – popular with students and the young but removing the money to fund it from pensions. And if cutting fees is so popular, doesn’t that demonstrate how stupid Labour have been all these years by having fees at all?

Then, separately, in Scotland Labour falls into line with the Nationalists and tries to bury a campaigning target it has long aimed at. Or has it? Remember Iain Gray warning that free tuition was ‘not sustainable’ and saying some payment from students was necessary? Then, shortly before the 2011 election wipe out, Gray did a Murphy somersault on fees and declared he also agreed there should be no charge. It was opportunism then and it is opportunism now.

And where in this cringe-worthy mess is the ordinary Labour member? Where was he/she when Lamont announced univeralism was something for nothing – all those benefits that were brought in by Labour – free care for the elderly, free prescriptions, bus passes, written off as witless bribes we can’t afford. And here we are again – another leader, another U-turn, another Labour cock-up.

The question for Murphy isn’t: What do you believe?

The question for Murphy is: What do you believe TODAY?



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23 thoughts on “Grow Vegetables Extensively!*


  2. “Then, a year in to government, Blair shocked many supporters and Labour MPs by bringing in the first fees – and replacing grants with student loans.”

    I may be wrong, but loans were introduced in around 91/92 as I recall. I began my studies at the time. Do you mean to say grants were phased out completely by Blair?

  3. Better yet – What do we believe?

    Do we believe Mr Murphy is a born again patriot and people’s champion? Or do we believe he’s as cold and calculating a career politician as you’ll find under any rock? Someone who thinks nothing of causing societal carnage in pursuit of a goal? Someone who saw no problem with the BT/HMG narrative throughout the referendum, a narrative that actively sought to demonise and denigrate?

    Mr Murphy is still today seeking only one thing.

    The advancement of Mr Murphy.

  4. smiling vulture

    Jim Murphy would tell you he trained a kestrel falcon when in reality it was a budgie balancing one leg in a cage

  5. Cannot see Murphy without an imaginary cloud flashing above his head screaming ” LIAR”.

    We used to call folk like him ” Turncoats”.

    Every day is another Smurph day with the MSM giving him and the other slabs as much airtime as possible to lie continually to us.

    But it’s a wasted effort.

    No one believes anything they say and Murph is the biggest liar of all.

    Roll on May and watch the humiliation Labour face here.

    It won’t make up for the referendum. Only independence can do that but will be a small victory , one of many to come.

    Last polls show Tory’s in the lead down south. So vote labour and get Tory. Only SNP can protect Scotland.

    But we already know that. 100,000 activists on the streets , chapping doors and bringing the feel good factor of the YES movement to a polling station near you.

    Who says politics is boring ?? 🙂

  6. Macart… I read your comment as “Someone who thinks nothing of causing societal carnage in pursuit of a goat. Maybe my eyes are smarter than my brain.

  7. Bugger (the Panda)

    Gordon Brown is reported in Peter Obourn’s book, The Rise of Political Lying, that after the refusal to step down to allow Brown to take over, as per Brown’s disputed Granita conversation, he said “Tony, I now believe not a word you say”

    Dear Leader Kim Jim Dim, I believe not a word you say.

    I never did, but it is a continuing catharsis to realise that more and more people must be understanding that too.

  8. Bugger (the Panda)

    “The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide.

    Hannah Arendt

    Does anyone think, really think that Jim Murphy knows what a lie is and what he is saying is that?

    • To be a good liar you need to have an even better memory. I had an acquaintance whose every utterance I had to check, Dim Jim Murphy is yet another.

  9. Anyone taking bets on how BBC Scotland will report this?

    • I bet they either ignore it or point to the one big error in it and use that to undermine the strong points. Student loans actually came in before Blair and New Labour. I think they strarted about 1991.

      • HI. Yes the did. But the p;point being made is that Labour abolished all grants and replaced them with loans. Thus ‘David Blunkett, the Labour Education Secretary, announces the introduction of £1,000 tuition fees to be paid by every student in each year of study, beginning in September 1998. The student grant of £1,710 is abolished to be replaced by means-tested student loans.’

      • I am interested in the concept you sneaked in at the end of the article: “ordinary Labour member.” Do you have any evidence for the existence of such? I thought the confidential leadership vote suggested that only elected members and their nearest and dearest remained on the membership roll?

    • They’ll report it as now over to Eleanor Bradford ,( our BBC Freedom of Information fighter) . Eleanor your live from an A and E where only thoosands of folk have been treated , instead of thoosands of folk ,what can you tell us ?
      Well Jackie, thoosands of people have been attending casualty’s throughout Scotland as they have discovered the buttons that normally hold the back of their heads together are no longer functioning.

      This appears to have come about , following yet another press release from Jim Murphy, where he spoke ( vaguely) about tuition fees. My understanding is ,Mr Murphy’s latest intervention has raised concerns that , the vote of those who are considering attending university are not so easily fooled and even although the SNP Govt has been in charge of Scotlands education system for any bits we don’t like , the bad SNP Govt have been responsible for encouraging these potential students to think for themselves , hence the concern today , expressed by Jim Murphy.

      As you are aware Jackie, Mr Murphy was previously one of Scotlands longest attending students , so he knows how the system works and in fact in a published paper known in academic circles as The mendacious Mr Murphy , he sets out unclearly just how difficult it is to try to sell something if there is no principle behind it .
      In a bid to clarify his position he has invited an international team , known as Sean , who will attempt to not only track down the malfunctioning buttons but also sort your computer
      Back to you in the studio …

  10. When you have no principles beyond “vote for me and I will promise you anything you want to hear”,you can pretty well make it up as you go along.
    Almost all of Labour’s promises appear to be on matters controlled by the Scottish government and not due for debate for another year (maybe that is why).
    I suppose,now that he is standing again as a Westminster MP,Labour can elect another leader for the 2016 elections and reverse anything he promises and when they are trounced in 2016,elect another leader who will reverse the reversals and so on.
    You certainly can’t accuse British Labour in Scotland of not being “flexible” on policy matters but directionless definitely sticks.

  11. What bothers me most about Murphy is the fact that he helped himself to our earnings for 9 years, achieved nothing and then helped to thwart genuinely honest students.
    That, I’ll never forgive.

  12. And the electorate in East Ren. will still vote for him in numbers…

  13. Murphy, the gift that keeps giving!

  14. Creepy Jim should be invited onto the Board at Ibrox. Within a few short weeks he’d have the fans so confused by issuing several differing press releases every day, he’d have them begging Craig White to come back and lead them back to the 4th Division!

  15. Steve Asaneilean

    Can I ask a simple question? Why do we keep showing Murphy and his crew the respect of calling them Labour anything?
    They bear no resemblance to any Socialist party far less the Labour party.
    The best I can bring myself to call them is (Not) Labour.
    They have essentially done nothing for working class people for nearly 40 years.
    If enough people vote for Murphy and Co to let them in then we will have the disaster we deserve.
    They have taken artifice and deception to new levels. They care nothing for ordinary people. Their goal is to seize and hold power which they presume to be rightfully theirs – not ours.
    “Makes me sad how far we done fall”

  16. Put your questions to Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy,BBC webcast hosted by Brian Taylor,I doubt if my question will be asked and for that matter Murphy would not answer it anyway.

    As per WoS.
    Derek – Could you – or an old colleague at BBC – try to get an interview with Professor Midwinter to see how far he has got with Scottish Labour’s “Review”?

    “Prof Midwinter went on to say that he would devote at least two days a week for up to two years to prepare a series of reports for the commission, which is being co-chaired by Labour MP Cathy Jamieson and finance spokesman Ken Macintosh. He said that he would examine all the SNP government’s budgets since 2007 and the spending on free services as he warned Holyrood to “get real” on Scotland’s finances. “

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