2007 - 2022

Baubles and Trinkets for the Faithful

It’s the season for gongs and medals for the faithful. And, if you think the overt patronage and cronyism we’ve already witnessed with the elevation of Michelle Mone, and the ennoblement of chinless wunderkid Danny Alexander was a thing to behold, we’re now entering new territory. It’s a joy to live in such a meritocracy. We all know the contribution to society that Michelle has made, and Alexander should not be underestimated. We’re told now heads up the schools cricket charity Chance To Shine. So he’s maybe found his level.

This is a country where you can lose your seat at an election by over ten thousand votes and get knighted within weeks to get catapulted back into Parliament bypassing those pesky voters. The failed Lib Dems have a ratio of 11 peers to just 8 MPs. They now have 112 peers which is 14 times more Lords than their Commons representation.  That’s British democracy, vote people out and they’ll pop-up a few months later in the feudal bit of your legislature you have no say in.

It’s a Patronage Class for Parody Britain.


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Danny joins ex MPs Alistair Darling, Ming the Meaningless, Sir Malcolm Bruce as Life Peers (see other as above courtesy of IndyPosterBoy). But at least we know that we’re getting our moneys worth. According to the latest House of Lords Annual Report, net operating costs for the chamber totaled £94.4m for 2014/15. Of this, a modest £20.7m was spent on members’ allowances and expenses

But surely the Crony’s Crony has just been appointed with Fracking enthusiast and Better Together propagandist Keith Cochrane as ‘Lead Non-Executive Director’ to The Scotland Office Board? No, we don’t understand either. BBC Scotland’s normcore Business presenter Douglas Fraser reported the appointment this morning with much glee.

Only in May this year Cochrane was whining that “the bid to create a fracking industry in Scotland is under threat from “propaganda and spin”. Yes it must be difficult for INEOS to combat the deep pockets of small communities resisting the environmental carnage his company is set to profit from.

Still, we can rest assured that with the Tories record on renewables and with the absolute separation between business and politics that the Weir Group will not be benefiting from this impartial appointment. Right?

And, there’s little trace of irony  in this fawning Telegraph piece outlining just what a Proud Scot Cochrane is: “Calling industrial pump maker Weir one of Britain’s biggest engineering businesses does the 143-year-old company a disservice. It is British, and FTSE 100-listed, but it’s proudly Scottish even though just 1,200 of its near 16,000 staff work in the UK, and only about half of them north of the border.”

But who’s been left out as the payout-for-sellout unfolds? I think John Barrowman, Sausage-Roll Boy, and Aidan Kerr can’t be far behind. And, if I were Gorgeous George or Trinny and Susannah I’d be picking out a new fedora and a bright new smock for the New Year.




Comments (51)

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  1. Matt says:

    Galloway? You must be kidding! He wouldn’t go near a gong from the British state.

    1. John Mooney says:

      No,but he damm well helped to keep it “United” the hypocrite and sellout cretin!

      1. Matt says:

        That is certainly true John. And he still wonders why his voters in Bradford West turfed him out at the election, despite him spending a year of his term as their MP touring Scotland!

    2. Bob McMahon says:

      They all say they’ll refuse the British state’s baubles…until they receive an offer of one.

    3. The House of Lords is packed full of former Labour socialists. Galloway is a con artist and a charlatan

      1. Anton says:

        It seems that because Galloway opposed Scottish Independence he’s a “hypocrite”, a “sell-out cretin”, a “con artist” and a “charlatan”. I’m always rather sorrowful when Bella opts for personal abuse. Insults are not arguments.

        I’m no particular fan of Galloway’s, but we shouldn’t forget that he put his reputation (and arguably his political career) on the line when campaigned loudly and passionately against the invasion of Iraq. So I feel he’s owed a hat-tip for that at least.

        1. Colin McNair says:

          Like most in labour they are in favour of a united independent Ireland, as I am, but for some reason, shock horror could it be votes, they do not favour a united and independent Scotland.

          Hypocrite, yes, not personal, just another toadie unionist!

          Ultimately it will sink in to labour, the uk will never be a left of centre decent country without patronage that looks after its poor and vilnerable, but Scotland can be!

          Vote accordingly!

          1. Common Sense says:

            Be honest now, Yes don’t want a “United and Independant” Scotland, just an independant one, by any referendum that you can drag yourself to 50% of the votes cast plus 1. So you can call that the forever settled will of the Scottish people, and merrily rewrite history to demonise all those with the gall to disagree with you.

          2. Calum McKay says:

            common sense, or lack it.

            Colin McNair may be referring to proposals by some unionists that Shetland, Orkney and other regions of Scotland remain with the uk post independence. Effectively promoting partition when they loose the argument as they know they will – the gall of it, said with heavy irony!

            Hence use of united.

            There are always winners and losers, we only need to win once and for you common sense the game will be over!

        2. Unfortunately Anton his credit rating for being anti-Iraq (as were most of Britain) doesnt absolve him of decades of behaviour.

          1. Anton says:

            @ Bella Editor: You are misinformed about public support for the Iraq war. The invasion was actually popular at the time. In 2003, YouGov conducted 21 polls from March to December asking British people whether they thought the decision by the US and the UK to go to war was right or wrong, and on average 54% said it was right.

            But hindsight is a wonderful thing, and ten years later only 37% of the public said they believed military action against Saddam Hussein was right at the time, instead of the 54% recorded at the time. This phenomenon was even more pronounced in the US, where 63% favoured sending ground troops into Iraq in 2003, but by 2015 only 38% recalled supporting the military operation. Wishful thinking or what?

            If you have a problem with George Galloway (and I personally have many), then at least make your case on the basis of accurate information. Getting facts wrong and relying on personal abuse is not what I expect from Bella.

          2. Not really ‘wishful thinking’ just the fact that people were systematically lied to as the Chilcott Report…oh no…wait a minute…

      2. Frank says:

        What an unfortunate comment editor? Galloway’s a con man because he disagreed with the yes movement, when in fact, he took a principled socialist position in the referendum, although I disagreed with his analysis. His intervention in the Syrian dispute – at a time when this site was promoting articles which were muddled and confusing – reminded me of why Galloway’s is a voice that needs to be heard.

        1. Anton says:

          Frank and Strategist – I completely agree. Galloway has many faults, but his socialist credentials are genuine. And though his preening self-regard is often distasteful, that’s an accusation that could be levelled against many politicians (no names, no pack drill).

          Bella Editor – I think you misunderstand my point about “wishful thinking”. The evidence shows that in 2003 most of the British public said they supported the invasion of Iraq, but that ten years later most of them say they didn’t. In short, they’re in denial about their previous opinions, presumably because it makes them feel better.

          In passing, I can’t see why your reply should reference the Chilcot report. What’s the connection with the matter in hand?

    4. Strategist says:

      >>>”Galloway? You must be kidding! He wouldn’t go near a gong from the British state.”

      I think it’s the other way round: the British state wouldn’t go near giving a gong to George Galloway. “Sell out cretin”, “hypocrite”, “charlatan” – all these are in many ways fair comment, but he pulls it all off with a rare panache that a lot of us enjoy, and which genuinely makes both the Labour party establishment and the British “deep state” establishment uncomfortable. So he deserves some kudos for that.

      But I think the genuine kudos he deserves (south of the border at least), and has never properly had, is for giving young British Asians a voice, and some kind of leadership and education in how to use free speech and the free vote in a country that is supposed to permit both. I think the Bradford spring was real in that sense.

      It couldn’t last, but just because it’s brief, it doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. Kylie Minogue was on radio this morning saying she learned a lot out of her whirlwind romance with an older bad boy when aged 21, and I hope there are some future honest politicians coming out of the British Asian community who would say the same thing. Salma Yaqoob, for example.

  2. Paul says:

    And to think that WE, the people could have put a stop to these corrupt practises affecting Scotland. Maybe we have become so inured to it that the masses no longer care?

  3. Robert George says:

    A knighthood will not entitle Sir Danny to sit in the House of Lords. If this were true there would be even more oxygen thieves claiming their £300/ day ‘allowance’ for doing sweet FA.

    1. True but its still part of a culture of patronage.

    2. Colin Dunn says:

      Rumour has it that Sir Danny was offered a peerage but turned it down, as he has half an eye on standing as an MP again.

  4. Eleanor Hunter says:

    Fair comment but just a point of information, I may be wrong but I understood (Sir) Danny Alexander has not become a Lord (yet).

  5. James Alexander says:

    Am reminded of the saying…..
    “Awards are like haemorrhoids, sooner or later every ars*hole gets one !”

  6. Nick says:

    It’s great to live in a world where people who don’t know the difference between peerages and knighthoods feel informed enough to comment on such matters. All power too you. I think informed commentary and thoughtful arguments are massively overrated. Why bother learning stuff when it’s much easier to wail ignorantly at the world. There’s certainly no risk idiotic blog posts might discredit perfectly sensible and progressive positions

    1. Hi Nick, as Ive said to previous posters, I am fine aware of the distinction. Why dont you read the post before descending with your condescending drivel? Danny Alexander’s knighthood does not elevate him to the House of Lords but it is a form of patronage. Is it not?

      1. Nick says:

        I had read your post and I salute your undeniable commitment to writing without any regard for reality. Brilliant stuff.

        Your point was that the electorate vote “people out and they’ll pop-up a few months later in the feudal bit of your legislature you have no say in”

        Not only has Danny Alexander not popped up a few months later in a feudal bit of the legislature but, and this bit really is great, none of the six Labour or Lib Dem politicians you’ve pictured were actually voted out. Each and everyone one of them retired/stood down to take another role. Bravo! Truly magnificent work.

        I love a bold writer. You could have chosen examples that supported your point (there are certainly plenty) but you threw caution to the wind and just wrote any old nonsense. I like to think of it as a test to keep your readers on their toes. You don’t want them to get too comfortable. Otherwise they might find themselves slavishly agreeing with deliberately poorly researched blog posts designed to undermine the independence movement

        1. I think we’ve covered the Danny Alexander point ad nauseam. My opposition to the House of Lords isn’t based solely on incidents when the electorate have rejected the candidate previously but the pattern of patronage that is an intrinsic part of British politics. The graphics from You Yes Yet illustrate this

  7. Broadbield says:

    The institution of the HoL is an affront to democracy and the people who sit there are beneath contempt as they put 2 fingers up to the democratic process and consider themselves entitled to legislate. Our democracy is an emasculated, pathetic creature devised over centuries by the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful with a voting structure designed to thwart the electorate’s wishes. Of course it starts at the top with the Ruritarian shower in the big house, representatives of the privilege, nepotism, wealth and inherited power that rule us and the HoL and the whole honours system is their way of co-opting the aspirational classes.

  8. john young says:

    It has served them very well for a millennia and continues to this day.They understand human nature much more than most,more so the hoardes of “working class” subservients from “up north”.Human beings are weak/greedy/self serving in the main,easily divided and set aside,we have a very long hard road ahead of us and I do not have much in the way of confidence,historically our leaders in Scotland have been all of the above and then some.

  9. Seumas says:

    I have reay your comment about Danny – I was glad that we got rid of him out of this constituency, and took great pleasure in telling him what an evil and corrupt person he was as he was responsible for the whole sanctions regime as he would have signed it off. He seemed shocked when he was accused of being evil and sinful – I was wearing my dog collar when I told him off.
    However you made so much of his knighthood that you really lost the plot. A Knighthood isn’t even useful for keeping your ears warm in bed, it is one of those baubles witch is handled to the socially vacuous. At least a peerage gives you free travel to London and £300 a day for being there, also spare Lords are always an ornament on the board of a dodgy business, a poor knight hasn’t the same kudos. Please writ out A knight is not a peer. I must not confuse a Knight Bachelor with a Baronet, The only person who wins with a Knight hood is the wife who is called Lady even if she isn’t

  10. Jim Alexander says:

    Unless Im missing something Keith Cochrane hasn’t been made a Lord and beyond publishing a report on the impact of independence on the Weir Group and siding with the No Camp Im struggling to see what he has done to deserve such vitriol

    Im well aware that the SNP have a “don’t disobey our Glorious Leader” Policy BUT in a democratic system people are allowed to disagree with you – The Weir Group with Cochrane at its head are a very successful Scottish Company – obviously Jim McColl was in the Yes Camp so he is a “Good Guy” – isn’t it about time there was some growing up – Democracy had its day – people voted No – time to accept that

    Now by all means fight for what you believe in but don’t deny the other persons right to do the same or start name calling because they aren’t part of your Gang – Yes2 is dead for at least another decade – price of Oil killed it – the SNP Leaders know that hence to commitment

    1. Jim – I havent mentioned Jim McColl. My point about Cochrane is that he operates in a highly contested field (fracking), and his appointment is deeply political and is part of a pattern of such appointments and patronage.

      1. Jim Alexander says:

        Im aware you didn’t mention Jim McColl which is exactly my point

        He was APPOINTED as an Economic advisor to the Scottish Government

        If the Market is right Jim McColl would have no issue supplying to a Scottish tracking Industry

        However the fact he is a Tax Exile living in Monaco is ignored or that there is no difference between him and Keith Cochrane ( apart from the fact Keith Cochrane pays his Tax in the UK ) but McColl was a high profile Supporter of the Yes Campaign – sure the Weir Group supply equipment to the Fracking Business but reality is the UK potential for fracking is limited the Market – your objection to his appointment was that he backed the No Campaign

        All governments have appointees – all governments pay back large Donors with “favours” – all governments get there buddies jobs when they get into power

        But Keith Cochrane backed the No Campiagn so we can ignore his contribution as a successful Business Leader for a Major Scottish Company

        You really have to stop this petty infantile nonsense – we have the Union for at least a decade or possibly 15 Years as Oil isn’t going to double in price soon – so the Yes Supporters and the SNP need to start dealing with the economic reality and stop attacking everyone that doesn’t agree with them

    2. Craig says:

      You call using fear to scare people into Voting No, democracy?

      1. Jim Alexander says:

        Has it never occurred to you that despite campaigning for a Independence fir 50 Years that the fact SNP hadn’t a cohesive policy on Currency might have been a key factor and people voted No because the economic argument was as weak as dishwasher

        Or the fact that they didn’t trust being dependant on one main source of Tax Income Oil

        Or the fact that they didn’t rate the SNP Leadership

        Or even the fact that the believed in the Union

        No No No – 55% of the Country are all stupid and we were all too scared -really ?

        50 Years of planning and no one thought – what currency will we use if we don’t get to keep the £ – scary stuff

        Have you ever seriously looked at the lack of substance in the Yes Campaign Economic argument it was weak weak weak

        1. ian says:

          Lack of substance!!!!!!!!!!!! The bitter together campaign consisted of endless negative,badmouthing of any positive message that could possibly arise out of independence.You were well backed by those other joyless souls in the BBC,press and establishment.You are obviously one of the “to small,to poor and to stupid”followers with no imagination and little love of your own country.We will have to disagree on the economic argument but as most of us know oil has and always will be the “icing on the cake”it has not and never will be the beginning and the end of Scotlands economy.Also the money from oil goes directly to our “masters” in WM to be dispensed with as they see fit.

    3. Broadbield says:

      The point about Cochrane is that his appointment is patronage pure and simple. Was there an interview process, were other candidates considered, was the appointment open to public or parliamentary scrutiny? There are far too many, (one is too many) appointments made on the basis of cronyism. I’ve mentioned the HoL above. Knighthoods are simply a way of initiating supplicants into the priesthood of the Establishment.

      1. Jim Alexander says:

        Jim McColl appointed Economic advisor – Interview – advertising of post – nope appointed – Yes Supporter – appointed – now I think its a good appiontment -but so is the appointment of Keith Cochrane

        McColl is a tax exile – can you imagine the vitriol if Cochrane lived in Monaco – its called double standards

        1. Broadbield says:

          Not double standards as far as I’m concerned. I am against all public appointments on the basis of patronage, and I am fiercely against tax avoiders swanning off to live in tax havens or stashing their wealth in secrecy jurisdictions to avoid paying their fair share. It’s simply despicable, while the ordinary citizen has no alternative, that some take the loot they have made in this country and hide it offshore. I don’t care who they vote for.

          The truth is, if we want a fairer, more caring, more just and higher welfare society then many of us will have to pay more tax. The sooner politicians start explaining this to voters the better.

          1. Jim Alexander says:

            This is the quote from the article -“But surely the Crony’s Crony has just been appointed with Fracking enthusiast and Better Together propagandist Keith Cochrane as ‘Lead Non-Executive Director’ to The Scotland Office Board? ”

            Weir Pumps supply to the tracking Industry as a Global Business – thats their job – same as Clyde Blowers supply to the Chinese Coal Power stations pumping out pollution second to none

            The objection to Keith Cochrane is that he supported Better Together NOT that he was appointed as Yes Supporter Jim McColl was appointed by the SNP to advise on Economics – difference is Keith Cochrane pays Tax in the UK

            The Hypocriscy

        2. ian says:

          Yes that would also apply to the press barons who own the vast majority of the UKOK unionist press but they still feel they should influence a democracy that they dont pay tax in!Any negativity re the likes of Cochrane would never see the light of day as the media lackies dont do Unionist bashing ,but you already know this.

  11. JG says:

    Galloway may be many things but “cretin” he is not.

    If you’re going to take him on you need a bit more incisive and informed comment than this, which I’ve no doubt he will read with relish.

    Mind you I liked the Muppets at the top – that on it’s own would have been comment enough!

    1. Broadbield says:

      I admire his indef*ckability.

  12. Colin McNair says:

    In terms of Scotland kinighthoods and peerages, etc are given on the basis that their will be a quid pro quo, we’ll a scratch your back if you lie to the Scottish people, simples!

    It’s the 21 century, people are not fools, what we need is a press and state broadcaster that points out the irony and democratic deficit of patronage that gives rise to the lords, we ain’t going to get that whist we are members of the uk.

    Can you imagine any other developed world country with an equivalent to the House of Lords?

  13. duncan says:

    I wonder what the net operating costs are for the supranational European parliament? I hear European politicians consume Crustacea on their daily allowances? In fact, seeking employment in the EP is now perceived by Europeans as one of the few lucrative lifestyle alternatives to seeking a corporate career. I bet the fish markets in Brussels are owned by a rich Luxo -centric business conglomorate too? One of the eight official German speaking countries in the EU. Europe anyone?

  14. duncan says:

    as with the generation “I remember where I was” when Kennedy was shot I recall fondly the day we all voted to be part of Europe.

  15. James Howitt says:

    A piece of pish. Factually incorrect which overlooks the copious gongs handed out to the righteous supporters of indy (Souter; Connery; Devine to name but a few).

    1. Fed up with the Lies and Propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

      ”A piece of pish.” What a classy remark.

  16. Stuart says:

    What no mention of ‘Sir’ Sean Connery’s services to Tax Avoidance?

    The House of Lords did a fine job recently in forcing George Osborne to revise his stance over Tax Credits, that is what the second chamber is for.

    If only the woefully inadequate Holyrood, with it’s committee’s packed with Nationalists slavishly following the party line showed the same spirit in rebelling against badly thought out legislation, ‘Named Persons’ anyone?

    But no everything in Scotland is wonderful, because folk like Mr Small don’t want to see the SNP’s shortcomings, as how dare anyone be critical of the SNP!

    1. “What no mention of ‘Sir’ Sean Connery’s services to Tax Avoidance?” No, the article wasnt about tax-avoidance. Nice diversion though.

  17. arthur thomson says:

    The House of Lords is clearly an anachronism. So too, in my opinion, are the ‘honours’ that are handed out at the wish of the establishment. That they are apparently much loved and have long been sustained by a large number of people who lay claim to being ‘socialists’ is a bit odd. Then again, maybe their socialist credentials are not genuine. Maybe they are not socialists at all. Yet they claim to be socialists. Why would they do that? What are they?

    1. Fed up with the Lies and Propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

      George Galloway, a snake oil salesman if ever there was one, who loves the sound of his own affectatious speech patterns.

  18. Fed up with the Lies and Propaganda of the London Media Industrial Complex says:

    ” The great and the good.” They’d sell their granny for 30 pieces of silver.

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