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As everyone else is looking forward to a fascinating Holyrood election in May we will just briefly glance back to last year's Westminster contest. Professor Philip Cowley, of Queen Mary University of London, had been conducting interviews with senior Labour politicians as research for his co-authored book on the 2015 General Election. Prof. Cowley was quite taken aback by the response from a current Labour Shadow Cabinet member:
Ad's so bad even Better Together didn't use them
The New Zealand government is currently running a referendum process which will decide which flag the country will use in the future. The first stage of the process asked for people to submit their ideas and designs for a possible new flag. The second stage of the process asked voters to select one of the five shortlisted designs. The second stage has now completed and the selected Silver Fern design will go up against the existing Union Jack based flag in a postal referendum in March 2016. The two flags are shown in the image below.
We didn't expect many positives from the Scotland Bill debate in Westminster today but it didn't even live up to those lowly expectations. As we have reported previously the turnout for the debate was truly abysmal and had it not been for the SNP MPs the chamber would have been near empty. We present the two images of the House of Commons chamber, the first taken on the first reading of the Scotland Bill (June)
A Westminster bill which would have ensured that out of patent drugs could have been provided cheaply to the NHS has been talked out by the Conservative Minister for Health. Alistair Burt MP spent twenty seven minutes talking which meant there wasn't enough time for a vote to be taken. Burt did this intentionally which suggests he thought the government would lose the vote.
There has been much speculation in the press as to whether Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn would attend today's Privy Council meeting (Thursday) and whether he would bend his knee and kiss the hand of the Queen. In the end he announced that he had a "prior commitment" and wouldn't be attending the meeting. The nature of the "prior commitment" has not been disclosed.
Parties supporting independence for Catalonia have won an absolute majority in the Catalan parliamantary elections held yesterday, Sunday, 27th September. The largest Yes supporting group was the coalition, JxSí, which is comprised of: Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Democrats of Catalonia (DC) and Left Movement (MES). JxSí achieved 62 seats which when combined with the 10 seats won by the radical Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) gives the Yes parties an overall majority in the 135 seat parliament.
Come on chaps, cheer up, it coud be worse you might have lost the referendum.
The new Labour leader experiences what Project Fear II feels like. Just as we predicted Jeremy Corbyn is discovering what it is like to be lambasted by the English press on his first working day as the leader of the opposition. Prepared by the exceedingly long leadership contest the newspapers haven't lost time getting their knives stuck in:
The photo above is of some street art taken in Lerwick on Saturday.