Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jack - 'Out Of All My Top Priorities, This Is The Top One'

So now we know. 'Education, education, education', the infamous pre-1997 Blairite mantra, is to have yet another comeback tour if Labour get back in (watch out Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt). After jostling with a range of issues to be the 'top priority' for Labour over the past few years, it will now take pride of place, even ahead of health, with, according to McConnell, all other departments being forced to 'cut their cloth' in consequence.

But we've been hearing this for the past 9 years, so what is Labour planning to do that it couldn't have done earlier? What's that, Jack? Get more children to learn modern languages? That sounds like a good idea, but tell me Jack, wasn't it your Executive which removed the requirement for Scottish pupils to learn a language up to the age of 16, leading to a 13% reduction in the numbers presented for examination? So would that mean that your promises on education are a case of déjà vu, or when it comes to delivery, perhaps even jamais vu? Oh dear, Jack, and you a former maths teacher and all. Go to the bottom of the class...

But licking her wounds this morning must be Cathy Jamieson. Given the task of explaining how Labour's plans to introduce extra council tax bands might work on Newsnight Scotland, she turned in an excruciatingly abject performance. She couldn't give elementry answers on how many people would be affected at each end, or explain how the numbers would add up. As it happens, by introducing a new top band and a new bottom band, Labour are expecting 11,000 householders to bail out nearly 500,000 others.

In the Orkney Islands, for instance, there are only two homes in Band H, so the entire burden will fall on either one or two householders! Labour's position yesterday was a bit of a mess, but to describe it today as shambolic would be an act of irrational charity.

Newsnight Scotland clips only stay online for 24 hours. Get it while its hot, and marvel at how Cathy could ever have been let loose on the government of Scotland. Remember - she's one of the better ones!

UPDATE: Now that the Newsnight clip has disappeared into the ether, here's a transcript of the exchange between Cathy Jamieson and presenter Gordon Brewer. My commiserations to the poor SNP press officer who drew the short straw and had to type this out!

UPDATE 2: Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, her performance has been saved for posterity!

No comments: