26 December 2009

The Hypocrisy Vortex

Andrew is peeved at the criticism made by the SNP to the four MSPs who are seeking mandates at Westminster next year, given that Alex Salmond still possesses a dual mandate.

Now, one could argue - and Bill Kidd does - that it was clear to all and sundry when Alex Salmond sought re-election to Westminster that he would be seeking to return to the Scottish Parliament. The voters of Banff & Buchan still re-elected him, and the voters of Gordon elected him to the Scottish Parliament despite LibDem howls of protest that he'd be representing two different areas (which, in reality, overlap). Conversely, the voters of Glasgow Baillieston, Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley and Roxburgh & Berwickshire were not given such clear intentions from Margaret Curran, Cathy Jamieson and John Lamont. I think we could have guessed that Alex Johnstone would try again for Westminster, and in any case, he hasn't actually won any constituency election. Ever.

And Andrew flags up the Kelly Review, citing the abolition of the dual mandate, but still overlooks that it would not take effect until 2011, by which time Alex Salmond's mandate at Westminster would have expired.

Nevertheless, sometimes, things aren't about what they are, but what they look like, and this doesn't look good. Perhaps Bill Kidd might, in retrospect, view that declaration as a bad idea: it's an open goal to opponents.

But wait! What's this, lurking in the mists of time, amid those LibDem howls of protest back in 2007? This is what I had to say back then:

In actual fact, the first parliamentarian to [represent two different set of constituents] was Donald Gorrie, who was MP for Edinburgh West when he was elected as an MSP for the Central Scotland Region (which does not contain Edinburgh West) in 1999. Gorrie did not stand down from Westminster until 2001.

I do not recall the LibDems complaining (at least in public) that Gorrie would be either a part-time MP for Edinburgh West or a part-time MSP for Central Scotland.

Oh dear! It may well be that the LibDems consider that they have exposed hypocrisy, but in so doing, they themselves are being hypocritical about hypocrisy, having committed it themselves when Alex Salmond sought election in Gordon. Little wonder that they are in danger of entering the Hypocrisy Vortex.


Stephen Glenn said...

Of course Donald Gorrie didn't have on the list papers across Scotland, Alex Salmond for First Minister at the time as well.

But as I have mentioned in the past all three of the devolved Parliaments or Assemblies did understandably have dual mandated politicians when they were being set up. In Scotland that was from 1999-2001. This was across all the colours of politics.

After 2001 the dual mandates outside of Northern Ireland have been scarce, but in 2007 of course there was a spectacular exception.

The fact is of course that Alex Salmond is actually a triple manadated politician, while the people of Gordon as you said were aware that he would not stand down as MP for Banff and Buchan, the people of Scotland who voted Alex Salmond for First Minister were not as fully aware of that pledge. On the list votes it didn't say Alex Salmond for First Minister and MP for Banff and Buchan.

Fact is the SNP were making hay of the fact that there are a current crop seeking a dual mandate, when their own leader has three. Little hyopcritical I'm sure you will agree no matter what the intent at the start.

Stephen Glenn said...

I meant Donald Gorrie for First Minister in the first paragraph above.

Not the Messiah said...

It was so much funnier the first time Stephen.

It's amusing to see just how lowly the Lib Dems have sunk, reduced to recruiting daft students and flip flopping about on policy.

Seriously, how much longer has Tavish got before the Vikings in Grey Helmets come a knocking?

Will said...

Stephen, are you actually saying that people in Scotland didn't realise that a) Alex Salmond was an MP and b) AS didn't make his intentions plain when this matter was brought up so frequently?

And the point about Donald Gorrie was this: despite LibDem complaints that Alex Salmond would represent two overlapping constituencies, Gorrie was the first and only politician in the devolution era to represent two completely separate areas and two totally different sets of constituents at the same time - excepting, perhaps, a hypothetical bunch of students from, say, Kilmarnock or Falkirk who for reasons passing understanding, had opted to rent a flat in Corstorphine.

And I don't recall anyone voting "Jim Wallace for Deputy First Minister" either, but that's what Scotland got in 1999 and again in 2003.

Andrew Reeves said...

Will, I am aware that Donald Gorrie held a dual mandate back then.

And, if had put out a press release yesterday I would have had a pop at him.

What frustrates me is that the SNP make out they are holier than though and attack Labour and the Tories but they have the worst offender, Alex Salmond.

I know they all have until 2011, and I also know Salmond gives a lot of the extra income to charity.

What will he do with the massive pension and the "pay-off" he will get?

The difference is all five of them could stand down now?

I know 4 of them are only candidates not MPs, but again the principle stands.

Will said...

Andrew, the LibDems spent the first half of 2007 attacking Alex Salmond for wanting to represent two different areas despite a LibDem being the first politician to do just that. Did you or did you not 'have a pop' at your party then?

Besides, while you're right to say that Donald Gorrie didn't put out a press release complaining, neither has Alex Salmond - this came from Bill Kidd.

So either Bill Kidd can complain just as LibDems in the North East complained in 2007, or the whole of the SNP should be quiet about this just as all LibDems should have been in 2007 and should remain so, having been the pioneers in this regard. Which is it?