Corbyn and Sturgeon at Same Event Today

The Tories’ main, barely believable attack line this election is that if you vote Labour you’ll get a “coalition of chaos” with the SNP. So, naturally, Jeremy Corbyn is heading up to Scotland to address the Scottish TUC conference this afternoon, when Nicola Sturgeon will be there giving her own speech. The SNP say there are “no plans” for Jez and Nicola to meet, but imagine the reaction in CCHQ if there was a chance corridor brush by. Incidentally, while Jez is up there the Scottish TUC congress will be voting on a motion to “reiterate its opposition to Trident renewal”…

An aside, senior puerile Tories have taken to using an acronym for their election attack line. They have been privately joking, “If you vote Labour, you’ll get Corbyn’s CoC”…

SNP’s Controversial NYC Visit: Timeline of What We Know

A row is brewing over allegations that the SNP used ‘short money’ – taxpayer’s cash given to opposition parties for parliamentary activities only – to fund a trip to New York City. Reports say four SNP MPs – Paul Monaghan, Joanna Cherry, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and Corri Wilson – travelled to the big apple on the public purse. Foreign trips by MPs are common, but questions are being asked as short money is subject to strict rules saying travel expenses must be incurred only “in relation to the party’s parliamentary business”Concerns were raised when the MPs were spotted holding an SNP banner during the city’s Tartan Day Parade…

The Scottish Daily Mail reports that the SNP has refused to release the full itinerary for the trip. Paul Monaghan and Corri Wilson do not hold a front bench portfolios. Joanna Cherry is SNP Spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh is SNP International Trade spokesperson. Have they been undertaking activities relevant to the party’s parliamentary business or to their remit? 

Thursday April 6 – Group begins to arrive in NYC. Joanna Cherry travels from Montreal:


Friday 7th April – Attending launch of a musical album at the exclusive private members Norwood Club, Manhattan:

Saturday 8th April – Visiting the New York Times building

Saturday 8th April  – Attending a reception at the St Andrew’s Society of New York State with Nicola Sturgeon

Sunday 9th April – Meet UN bodies: UNDP, UN Women and UN Youth Envoy

Sunday 9th April – Attending a ceilidh at the New York Caledonian Club

Sunday 9th April – Attending the Tartan Day brunch

Sunday 9th April – Waving an SNP banner at the New York Tartan Day Parade

This is not a complete timeline and is not necessarily indicative of the substance of the entire trip. That remains unknown…

An SNP spokesman said the MPs were “representing the SNP Westminster Group” and that the trip consisted of:

“High level talks with representatives from UN Women, UNDP and UN Youth Envoy discussing work on gender and equalities, people living with disabilities, and international youth engagement”.

The MPs now appear to be back in the UK…

SNP Ring Around Played Down Referendum Chances

Scottish government ministers spent yesterday afternoon ringing around companies and trade bodies to discuss Sturgeon’s announcement on IndyRef2. One recipient of such a phone call reports that the SNP minister they spoke to was keen to allay business fears. The minister conceded that a Scottish referendum before Brexit is unlikely – despite Sturgeon’s demand for a vote by Spring 2019 – but they privately hope for one “shortly afterwards”. There are obviously significant obstacles to another Scottish referendum before Brexit is sorted, one being that Theresa May is hardly going to want one before, say, 2021. Almost as if the Nats aren’t being entirely honest with the public…

Sturgeon Calls For #IndyRef2

“It is clear that our voice and our interests can be ignored at any time and at any issue. This is where we stand today… I cannot pretend to the Scottish people that a compromise agreement looks remotely likely… I will now take the steps necessary to make sure that Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process. A choice of whether to follow the UK to a hard Brexit or to become an independent country… The Scottish government’s mandate for offering this choice is beyond doubt.”

She will next week seek a Section 30 order from the UK government to give Holyrood the power to hold a referendum between autumn 2018 and spring 2019…

Corbyn: ‘Well Done Our SNPs’

His allies have been talking up a “progressive alliance” but “our SNP” may be a bit much for Scottish Labour. Pressure is getting to him…

SNP Sing Ode to Joy as MPs Vote For Brexit

Sad!

UPDATE: Nigel Farage tells Guido:

“I thought John Bercow would win hypocrite of the week, but the SNP last night have shown themselves to be a fraudulent party who would rather be governed by Brussels than Scots.”

SNP Fall Out Over Castro

kerevan

The Scots Nats are engaged in some internal fisty cuffs over whether Castro was a hero of independence or a homophobic “monster“. Comrade Angus MacNeil reckons he was

“a nationalist symbol of regional pride and defiance against the gringo superpower”

SNP MP George Kerevan agrees in bonkers fake newspaper the National:

“There are great lessons to be learned from Castro’s Cuba. He managed to link national identity and national independence with a progressive, socialist project”

But Kerevan has been slapped down by his SNP Westminster colleague Stewart McDonald:

“Nothing progressive about the imprisonment of gays, incarceration of those with HIV or locking up trade unionists and political opponents.”

Fellow SNP MP John Nicholson has also laid into Kerevan:

“Castro was a monster. No hero he”

One fought against imperialism by a western superpower, ruling a one party state with an army of vicious ideological followers, the other was Fidel Castro…

SNP MP Faces Probe Over £88,000 Taxpayers’ Cash Paid to Her Company

respectable-snp-mp-corrie

SNP MP Corri Wilson is facing a standards probe over allegations that £88,000 of taxpayers’ money was paid into her company and then spent on her election campaign. The allegation, made by Tory MSP John Lamont in today’s Scottish Daily Mail, is that former SNP MSP Chic Brodie used his expenses account to fund Caledonii Resources, a company 90% owned by Wilson. The firm then played a key role in providing resources for Wilson’s election campaign. Readers will remember Wilson is the Nat who got her son AND daughter on the public payroll. What is it with SNP MPs and expenses troughing?

Clive Lewis in Sturgeon’s Pocket

sturgeon-lewis

The seed planted in voters’ minds that Ed Miliband would be in the SNP’s pocket was widely seen as a major factor behind the Tory victory in 2015. Time and time again Miliband failed to convince the public that he wouldn’t do a deal with the Nats. Today Clive Lewis, Shadow Business Secretary and possible future leader, is now openly backing working with the SNP:

“I’m simply saying that we want to see a Labour government in Westminster and that means asking some hard questions about how we’re going to achieve that, especially if the boundary changes come in … If that means working with the SNP then we have to look at that.”

Means a quick and easy redesign of those Tory election posters…

Sturgeon Threatened EU Nationals in Scotland Would Lose Right to Stay

nicola

Nicola Sturgeon is coming down to London today, showing some admirable mental gymnastics as an independence campaigner arguing for sovereignty and self-government who wants to remain in a Union governed outside her country. One of the things the SNP are outraged about is the status of EU nationals (who the government has said “100%” will be allowed to stay). Yet back in 2014, Sturgeon herself threatened that EU migrants living in Scotland would lose the right to stay if an independent Scotland was kept out of the EU:

“There are 160,000 EU nationals from other states living in Scotland, including some in the Commonwealth Games city of Glasgow. “If Scotland was outside ­Europe, they would lose the right to stay here.”

The only leader who has explicitly threatened EU migrants’ right to stay is Nicola…

SNP MP Gets Son AND Daughter on Payroll

wilson

Full troughing marks to SNP MP Corri Wilson, who has only been in Westminster for a year yet has managed to get both her son and daughter on the public payroll. She’s hired her wee bairns Kieran and Shannon as“personal assistants” on taxpayer-funded salaries of up to £34,000 each. A handy top up to mum’s £75,000 salary, sending the Wilson household income from the taxpayer well into six figures. No doubt a full, open interview process was carried out.

Natalie McGarry Charged in Connection With Fraud

mcgarry

Suspended SNP MP Natalie McGarry has been charged by the police in connection with alleged fraud offencesOch.

UPDATE: The charges are for embezzlement and breach of trust.

Storm Greets SNP Rap Against “Ruth Dykey-D”

At an SNP event attended by Alex Salmond a comedy rap was described by the MP for Edinburgh South West Joanna Cherry* as hilarious. Guido thinks the rap was dire and toe-curling even before they dissed Davidson. Scottish Tories say:

“The nationalists are always the first to scream offence at anything that even mildly upsets them. But when it’s a joke at the expense of pro-UK campaigners, it’s suddenly harmless and hilarious. The SNP should be lambasting this, but instead its elected representatives are praising it on social media.”

Scottish politics as calm as ever…

*Joanna Cherry is the SNP Spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs, she describes herself as a feminist and a lesbian who’s been out for over 30 years.

Anti-Nukes Nat Made Case For Nuclear Deterrent in 2005

kerevan

The attention-seeking Nat who asked Theresa May if she would “kill a hundred thousand innocent men, women and children” yesterday was George Kerevan. The SNP MP has today written a long piece in the National explaining why the nuclear deterrent has been a disaster “for decades”:

“For decades, maintaining the so-called independent deterrent has detracted from delivering a successful civilian industrial policy… Instead, let’s spend the £100bn Trident 2 will cost on revitalising industry for civilian and export purposes. And finally end the pretence that Britain’s nuclear deterrent is anything but Labour’s long-time vanity project.”

Of course, in 2005 the very same George Kerevan wrote in the Scotsman about his support for keeping Britain’s nukes:

“Nuclear proliferation is a fact of global life. Anyone who really thinks Britain giving up its nuclear stockpile will persuade the Iranians to play ball is hopelessly naive and probably lives in New Zealand (which no one is going to nuke anyway). For that reason, Britain should hang on to a minimum nuclear deterrent until there’s enough democracy around to feel safer.”

Former Scotsman editor Iain Martin recalls how “George was v hawkish post-9/11” and remembers him being “v pro nuclear deterrent” in leader conferences. Usually CND types like George grow up and ditch their unilateralism, not the other way round…

UPDATE: David Roach, the Tory candidate who stood against George Kerevan in the last general election says that he advocated that the UK should set an example to the world and unilaterally disarm.

“I used to repeatedly ask him in hustings how long he thought it would be before Russia, North Korea and Pakistan would follow that example. Suffice to say he never answered. Just kept dodging it and would say he had a Damascus moment while researching for a piece on America’s nuclear capability when he was a journalist at The Scotsman.”

Nothing to do with it being a pre-requisite for would be SNP candidates hoping for selection…

£1,800 on ‘Social Media Strategy’, But SNP MP Has Just 6 YouTube Subscribers

anne mclaucghlin

Have you ever heard of SNP MP Anne McLaughlin? Guido hadn’t either. So it’s perhaps forgiveable that she’d want to boost her profile by claiming £1,800 on expenses for “Social Media Consultancy” as part of an attempt to build a “Social Media Strategy”. What’s less forgiveable is that, despite this taxpayer cash, her Twitter account has just a few thousand followers, her Facebook just a couple of thousand likes, and her YouTube channel – inactive for five years – has just six subscribers. Your money well spent.

SNP Celebrate England Out of Europe

According to the EyeSpy.MP Twitter account, this video purportedly shows Scots Nats celebrating England being knocked out of the Euros last night. Happy with us leaving Europe…

Political Party Richlist

January Loans Graph merged

2016’s first quarter saw a bumper month for parties vying for local election funds, with the Tories raising £6,744,212 and Labour £5,486,345. This represents around 50% less than last year for both major parties in the same period (the larger ammount is to be expected in election year). Meanwhile, the SNP’s sighs of relief at not losing the Scottish Parliament are palpable, with the party only beating UKIP in donations due to the latter’s refusal to take public short money (the SNP received nearly £80,000 less than UKIP in private donations). More importantly, however, is the Nat’s massive outstanding loans: £1,165,553 all told, significantly above any other party. Guido’s sure those hefty government contracts north of the border will quickly help them recover…

Electoral Commission on Jock-‘Copter Campaign

sturgeon+hendry

Above are images which, as the Getty captions say, show Nicola Sturgeon on May 2 last year in Portree and Inverness on her helicopter tour campaigning for local candidates. You can tell that she is because it clearly says behind her “Vote Drew Hendry”. People were excited to see her turn up in a helicopter and it pulled in large numbers for the candidate’s election rally. She’s definitely campaigning for the local candidate’s election…

CyberNats are tweeting that this is fine by the Electoral Commisssion. The SNP press office promised us a statement from the Electoral Commission confirming this was the case – so far nothing seen. Here is what we got from the Electoral Commission when we inquired about the SNP’s Jock-‘Copter campaign:

“If the travel promotes both the local candidate and national policies, then a portion of the cost of that bus should be allocated towards the candidate’s spending limit and a portion towards the party’s national spending limit.”

Bang to rights, these pictures don’t lie…

Sturgeon Ducks Chopper Question

Nicola Sturgeon faced a grilling from Kay Burley this afternoon following Guido’s revelations about the SNP’s helicopter spending during the general election. Sturgeon didn’t answer the key point that the chopper was used to campaign for local candidates…

SNP MP Swerves Questions About Own Party’s Spending

Pete Wishart is the SNP MP who wrote to the Met demanding a full investigation into Tory election fraud. Yet Pete had no answer when the Daily Politics asked him about Guido’s story on the Nats’ own spending:

Jo Coburn: “It’s been alleged that Nicola Sturgeon’s helicopter tour at the last election included some local campaigning.

[…] Read the rest

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