Wanted: a political Super Nanny

Oh, where is Nanny McPhee when we need her?

In quick succession, we’ve had Ian Davidson (Labour) threatening to give Eilidh Whiteford (SNP) a doing, or telling her she’s had a doing, but not, like, in a sexual way.

Followed by an SNP National Executive member burnishing her rising star somewhat with an over-zealous appeal to the sisterhood to protest against Mr Davidson’s supposed history of bullying and intimidation.  Mr Davidson threatened to sue, his Holyrood colleagues demanded the SNP hold an internal inquiry.

We’ve had the Scottish Liberal Democrats dissing the prospect of an independent Scotland in a “cartoon” poster by suggesting that gay rights would be suppressed and the death penalty introduced for crimes against the state.  While Willie Rennie, their leader, was having a day off, no less.

Elsewhere, a very important SNP yoof person reckoned Lord Foulkes was probably “drunk again” and Labour reacted with “fury”.  Another internal inquiry was demanded.  Better that, I suppose, than a public flogging.

And in an astonishing valedictory address to the Scottish Labour faithful, Iain Gray threw his toys, and reason, out of the pram, warning his successor of the alleged “poison politics” of some SNP supporters.  I’m amazed none of them folded before nominations officially opened.

Spats, spats and more spats.  All of it puerile, none of it productive.  A bad dose of politicians behaving badly.  As @aidanskinner wailed on twitter, “it’s looking like a very long four and a half years”.  Indeed, only one set of council elections, a European election, a UK election and possibly/probably a referendum to go.  What fun awaits us.

Enough already.  Scottish politics is in dire need of a political super nanny to pull them all into line.  Auntie Bella, who is redundant come Friday, suggest the Tories?  Eh, no.  We need a nanny not a matron.

Imagine.  She/he could instil a little discipline and order to proceedings.

A naughty step, where all the miscreants could be parked – a minute for every year of life, meaning Ian Davidson could be on there a while – until they’ve learned their lesson and said sorry.  Like they mean it.

Time out.  Is a little silence from everyone too much to hope for?  No utterances, no emails, no pressers, no tweets, no retorts.  Golden indeed.

How about a reward chart?  A little shiny sticker for every politician who manages to say something nice about one of their colleagues.  And a great big smiley face for every courteous exchange with an opposing member.

Finally, seeing as how we’ve had twelve years of weekly Chamber sessions in Parliament being opened with prayer and faith-based homilies and appeals, I suggest we replace it – or add to it – with circle time.

For the uninitiated, circle time isa time for children to gather together to share their personal feelings and ideas about anything that is significant to them“.  It’s billed as a “very practical resource for creating positive behaviour“.  Good enough for bairns; could it work for brattish politicians?

It’s not like there aren’t a few pressing issues demanding our politicians’ fullest attention.  Remember the economy, stupid?  A Eurozone crisis recently narrowly averted, now increasingly looking like it’s back on?  Cuts?  Strikes?  Welfare reform?

It’s all far too depressing.  While our world threatens to crash and burn, politicians and their followers fiddle, making mischief with each other, when they should be much more focused on the stuff.  that.  matters.

Like this:

When my youngest daughter turns 5, I have been told I must attend an intervew on her birthday at the job centre and I will then have 2 weeks to find a job or I will lose my money for 3 weeks.  But there are no jobs and how do I live with 2 kids with no money for 3 weeks?… I cry myself to sleep and have now lost 2 stone in weight with worrying about how I will live with no money. I’ve been cutting back and we have been living on only beans and candle light for 3 months. I have turned all hot water off in the house so I can save money for when they stop all my money as i can’t get a job…”

Does Scottish politics really need a super nanny?  Of course not.  It just needs our politicians to grow up and get on with doing the job we pay them handsomely to do.




13 thoughts on “Wanted: a political Super Nanny

  1. Pingback: Sunday Supplement 13/11/11 | Tory Hoose

  2. Dirty politics are not going to go away.The examples above cannot be excused. And things are going to get worse, to the point that someone will be sued or possibly find themselves “helping the police with their enquiries”.

    The big problem is email, social media and the Internet. You never know who is listening or reading. People really need to think before they engage mouth/keyboard.

  3. Unfortunately this is what happens when policies are formulated with only the approval of the Daily Fail in mind. My fiancee has a list as long as her arm of all the strange & unethical things Jobcentre Plus advisers have asked.

    There are people out there who abuse the system, but there are also decisions made by various benefits agencies based on medical observations being made by people not qualified in medical matters. It seems to me that we still have some way to get the balance right. What doesn’t help is that the government is more interested in dismantling the safety net, and the mainstream media is more interested in flagging up abuses in the system (John Humphries recient documentery springs to mind).

  4. No point in a nanny for politicians if you don’t have one for the media. Because the media plays such a major role in forming people’s opinions, politicians are in thrall to it.

    All together in unison now: “Yes, we must all learn to think for ourselves!”

  5. I tend to agree.

    Scottish Labour, its dinosaurs and depressed, defeated leadership hopefuls alike, has serious issues, chief amongst which is their apparent failure to recognise that they are, together with an almost uniformly supportive media, wildly out of touch with public opinion. That they believe the public want to hear their obsessive negativity, attacks on each and every SNP initiative, self obsessed claims of libel or defamation, all spoken with the smug, sickly tone of entitlement that must be taught somewhere in party HQ is lunacy. You begin to wonder whether people with true Labour values might see independence as a route to reclaiming their party and restoring its absent pride.

    Meantime, there are one or two concerning individuals in prominent positions at the youth and student wings of the SNP, whose mix of arrogance and naïve ignorance is a cocktail of the most dangerous kind, leading to prejudice, aggressiveness and stupid arguments, often conducted in public fora.

    The SNP leadership would do well to remain aware of who purports to speak in the party’s name before their polished gameplan is hopelessly undermined.

    So, yes, I agree.

    • The thing is that some of our best performing politicians were young dafties in their time. It’sa bit unrealistic to expect young people to know where to draw the line, that’s something that comes with experience. I am sure the folk who have ended up in the press will have learned their lesson,

      And let’s remember some of the other young rebels that crossed the line to the extent of being chucked out the party. A certain Alex Salmond among them as I recall.

      I suggest the best tack is simply to say to people you don’t need to tweet your every thought. Less is more. But let’s not go OTT about it.

  6. “I will then have 2 weeks to find a job or I will lose my money for 3 weeks. But there are no jobs and how do I live with 2 kids with no money for 3 weeks?… ”

    Have you actually been told this? By Jobcentre Plus? Because I’ve never heard such nonsense in my life. You won’t lose money for 3 weeks just because you can’t find a job, all you need to do is LOOK for a job.

    • No, people can be penalised if they don’t accept a job or if the Jobcentre considers they are not looking hard enough.

      I know of a guy who accepted a job in a warehouse which he thought was manual, that was the basis he accepted it on, but then it turned out there was a clerical element to it as well which he couldn’t handle because he’s functionally illiterate. So he gave the job up and was penalised even though he only gave the job up because he couldn’t do it, it wasn’t that he didn’t want to – he couldn’t and his employer wrote a letter saying that he would not have been offered the job if they had known he couldn’t read and write properly and use a computer. It made no difference, he was still penalised.

      • No, the claim is that she was given 2 weeks to find a job or lose benefit for 3 weeks. That is plainly nonsense. Yes, there is a sanction regime to ensure people meet the conditions of entitlement for JSA but it’s doesn’t stretch to what this person is claiming.

        btw, your guy should appeal on the basis the employer withdraw the offer of employment. Should be pretty shooty in.

    • Plain to see you’ve never signed on, then.

      • I actually quite au fait with Jobseeker’s Allowance and the labour market regime that drives the sanction and disallowances that are a large part of it. In a formal incarnation, I’ve advised literally hundreds of jobseekers.

        Still refuse to accept that someone was told to find a job in 2 weeks or lose benefit for 3 weeks. It just wouldn’t be enforceable.

    • Yep this is what is happening – and with welfare reform it will get worse. Was also suggested to the woman that she could get a night job, and if her children were asleep in bed, it would be okay to leave them for a few hours. Not the first time I’ve heard that being said to single parents in job centre interviews….

      • We’ve spoken about lone parent obligations before over on Better Nation and how it goes a long way to explaining the disproportionate increase in the number of women claiming JSA in the last few years, despite Ann McKechin and James on Better Nation denying it has anything to do with the Labour party who introduced LPO.

        However, a jobcentre advisor would be sacked if they advised a lone parent to do something illegal such as leaving their children unsupervised. They also do not have the power to give ultimatums such as “get a job in 2 weeks or lose benefit for 3 weeks” and I simply refuse to accept that an jobcentre advisor, for all their faults, would demand such a thing. Since the sanction regime is dependant on the terms of a jobseeker’s Jobseeker’s Agreement, such a demand would be impossible to enforce since it just couldn’t appear on the agreement.

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