Daily Archives: 12 April 2007

He forgot the woad…

Either I’m psychic or Alex Salmond reads this blog and just does things to wind me up. Six weeks after being castigated for stating that Salmond launched his 2005 General Election campaign by standing in front of that ridiculous statue of Mel Gibson in Stirling on 6 April to mark the Declaration of Arbroath. I suggested this was dog whistle politics. It turns out I had misremembered this, and was instead standing next to an actor dressed as Robert the Bruce.

Well, two years later, he’s ditched the claymore, but he did indeed choose to mark the Declaration of Arbroath by standing in front of Hollywood’s most famous anti-semite (can’t find any useable photos online, but they’re all up on PA Photos if you have access).

No doubt my dear SNP friends will be quick to claim that this is irrelevant, that the SNP are civic nationalists not ethnic nationalists, and that I’m spreading lies again, but let’s be clear. By explicitly posing outside of this statue he isn’t merely associating himself with William Wallace and all the blood and tears that is associated with him – he’s associating himself with the film version of his story which was a pack of lies. Presumably we are to believe that the Queen is Wallace’s distant ancestor, and that’s why he is happy for her to remain the Head of State of an independent Scotland?

Oh, and lest I forget, Mel Gibson is an adherent of exactly the kind of ‘muscular christianity’ that Brian Souter is such a fan of. Are we starting to see a pattern here?

Labour’s hospital grab is somewhat overstated

There appears to be a small nugget of truth to this story, but it has been exaggerated.

One does not build a hospital overnight (at least I hope one doesn’t), so the 2005 General Election figures are irrelevant to the number of hospitals built over the last decade. Compared to the 1997 results, the picture is somewhat different:

Labour: 418 MPs (63%) and 33 hospitals (70%)
Conservatives: 165 MPs (25%) and 10 hospitals (21%)
Lib Dems: 46 MPs (7%) and 2 hospitals (4%)

In other words, Labour is indeed over represented, and the trend increases if you take into account the 2001 election results, but not by terribly much. Once you factor out the fact that Labour has the lion’s share of seats, it doesn’t add up to much. If the whole system of where to build hospitals were conducted entirely at random, you might very well end up with a similar result.

The article also does not make it clear what areas those 5 remaining ‘cross-party’ hospitals cover. If they are predominantly Lib Dem/Tory areas (Cornwall for example), then the trend is even less significant. While Labour would remain slightly over-represented, the Lib Dem and Tory areas might not be under-represented at all.

Nice try Andrew Lansley, but I’m not convinced.