sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland

(Don’t) stand by me

Posted on June 17, 2012 by

We were intrigued by a piece we read on the Sunday Mail’s website today. It centred on last Thursday’s session of First Minister’s Questions, when Labour MSP Michael McMahon used (rather improperly) a constituency question to make a political attack on Alex Salmond. The FM slapped the question down, angrily noting that McMahon’s allegation about Salmond calling HMRC on behalf of Sir David Murray with regard to Rangers was categorically untrue, and later issuing a statement pointing out that his only call to HMRC came eight months AFTER Murray sold the club to Craig Whyte.

In the Mail’s story McMahon’s subsequent posture was full of bravado, insisting that he wasn’t about to apologise. “I stand by my comments and Alex Salmond knows they are true, as his response showed how much the truth gets under his skin”, he retorted, but what he said next demonstrated an admirably bold and inventive redefinition of the term “standing by my comments”. See if you can spot the difference.


“The First Minister was quick to call HMRC for his friend Sir David Murray


“The First Minister has shown in the past that he is happy to come running to the aid of his bigwig friends when they are in trouble. For example, the way he tried to pressurise HMRC to apply special treatment in the wake of the damage caused to Rangers by his pal Sir David Murray.”

Keen students of the English language may have spotted a subtle alteration there. In the first version, Salmond was allegedly trying to use his influence for the benefit of Sir David Murray personally, on account of their supposed close friendship. In the second, the First Minister was allegedly trying to assist Rangers Football Club, owned by Craig Whyte, to recover from damage CAUSED BY Sir David Murray.

(This would presumably imply that Salmond was also a friend of Craig Whyte, an assertion which must be sailing fairly close to defamation in the current climate. And since Murray has repeatedly publicly claimed that both he and Rangers were “duped by” Whyte, it’s rather stretching the bounds of plausibility to imagine that Salmond could have been helping Whyte at Murray’s behest or on his behalf.)

Wings Over Scotland would like to applaud Michael McMahon for his bold and courageous refusal to back down on this issue, and that furthermore we’re standing by those comments when we point out that in fact he’s a contemptible liar who even lies about his lies in an impressive illustration of the fine art of meta-lying, in order to cover up what was in reality a weasel-worded and entirely craven retraction of them. And you can, or possibly can’t, quote us on that.

EDIT 18:42

The story is even more interesting than we thought, because after we initially published it an eagle-eyed viewer dropped us a line to tell us he was sure that the paragraphs containing McMahon’s “defence” of his comments hadn’t been present when the story was originally published on the Daily Record site on the Thursday, but had apparently been added later without any acknowledgement of the fact.

We had a wee rummage around the internet to see if we could find any evidence for that claim, and sure enough we turned up this piece in the Record’s sister paper the Dumfries & Galloway Standard, which is identical except for the last five paragraphs, where McMahon performs his reverse-ferret. Perhaps the member for Uddingston & Bellshill would have been better advised to, in the words of the old maxim, keep his mouth shut and been thought a fool rather than open it and remove all doubt.

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25 to “(Don’t) stand by me”

  1. Back. Of. The. Net.
    Bravo !


  2. molly says:

    As someone who does’nt live in the west of Scotland, I thought his point was basically trying an unsubtle “he’s on their side” message. I may be totally wide of the mark but listening to FMQs that was the impression I got.
     There’s no place for this . 


  3. MajorBloodnok says:

    He obviously forgot which lie he’d told when he was given the opportunity to say it again.  That’s the problem with Labour – easily confused by everything, including facts, the truth, their own record, what they’ve just said and anything outside the box that Milliband puts them in.


  4. James Morton says:

    This is what labour has come to – a cartoonishly inept array of chancers and bloviating windbags talking complete and utter keech. I have no love for conservatives, but at least you know what they stand for and they are straight up about it…but labour has become a haven for belligerent imbeciles. I don’t know whether I should laugh, cry or throw up in a corner.


  5. Colin Dunn says:

    Tweet “A small grammatical inexactitude from Michael McMahon MSP”

    But it’s worse than that, he used ‘pressurise’ when he meant pressure. Tsk. Tsk. 


  6. Tris says:

    Petty bickering and attempts at point scoring. When will these people realise that we pay them to look after their constituents’ needs.

    We know that they hate the SNP; indeed they probably hate the Scottish people because they chose the SNP, but this kind of stuff simply makes them look small, stupid and peevish.


  7. Dál Riata says:

    It’s just another throw-some-shit-and-try-to-get-some-to-stick-somewhere attempt by the decaying carcass of what used to be a once-proud party: a party that used to actually try to represent the people who elected them into office, but now stands for nothing, its main objective being to oppose the SNP on everything, no matter should it be for the betterment of the Scottish population.

    The Scottish people have long memories – they won’t forget this betrayal of the democratic process by Scottish [sic] Labour. They will get, and deserve, no sympathy when their time is up.


  8. Deirdre Harte says:

    As someone who resides in Mr McMahon’s constituency, indeed live on the same road as him, I can confirm that he is fooling no one (except the die hard labourites) from his constituency with his lies and in Bellshill, if you need to get hold of your labour MSP, you’ll find him in the queue at Greggs, waiting on the sausage rolls coming oot the oven!

    I voted for this man.  Shame on me


  9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I voted for this man. Shame on me”

    We don’t get many Labour voters here (which is a shame). Would be genuinely interested to know why you did.


  10. Domhnall Dods says:

    picky i know but i have to point out that Scots law doesnt recognise libel or slander. in our legal system something is simply defamatory (or not) regardless of the form it takes.


  11. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Good point. Changed.


  12. Domhnall Dods says:

    and having dealt professionally with michael in the past he’s basically a good guy. solid constituency MSP. spouting the party lies though is in the nature of the labour beast. sadly.


  13. wulie says:

    We know that they hate the SNP; indeed they probably hate the Scottish people. Yes Tris you are nearly there, probability does not come into it, there is an organised hate campaign by the unionist parties and all of the British/English /Scottish media and barely any bbc radio or tv programme no matter what the subject matter happens to be, some way will be found to throw in sniggering sneering comments about Scotland via the SNP. The SNP are the conduit, its the people of Scotland they are really getting at.


  14. Macart says:

    Mr McMahon basically used the time alloted for his constituents to play, and I do mean play, at party politics. He let his constituents down badly and quite selfishly. He can feel free to leave the building anytime. He and the tunnel visioned Kezia Dugdale felt perfectly comfortable accusing the FM and the SG of neglecting their duties for self interest and clearly intended to assault the FM and SNP using parliamentary privilege to cover their butts. 

    Politics is a dirty game, clearly some people enjoy that. Some of us actually prefer that our parliament and our elected representatives use it for the purpose of bringing our concerns to the majority government in the hope that they may be able to either ease or resolve these concerns. What we don’t expect is that our dearly paid for time is wasted by grandstanding politicos only interested in party before populace rhetoric.

    You feel the urge to kick in the chamber doors and shout grow up! 

    PS. They’re lucky the only thing the FM was able to dish out was a damn good dressing down, they deserve a lot stiffer punishment than that.


  15. Arbroath1320 says:

    Just a wee question from your local naive visitor.
    Taking Domhnall’s point that there is no libel or slander in Scotland how about one of our MSP’s doing a reverse on Labour?
    What I mean is that Labour are always keen to raise questions about the SNP and parliamentary code. I just wonder how they would feel if it was “one of their” own who was “up in front of the beak” so to speak.
    Could Michael McMahon’s actions be construed as bringing Holyrood into disrepute?


  16. Seasick Dave says:

    Is that his twin sister to his right?


  17. Macart says:


    Johann, Willie and Action Krankie all making speeches (no questions mind) based around their disappointment that the FM after disclosing every single meeting and phonecall didn’t produce evidence to incriminate himself of any wrongdoing. McMahon and Dugdale, ditto in constituency questions. Willie grandstanding on a question about contract tied bonuses introduced by his own party and Labour without seemingly knowing that the appointee in question had waved said bonus to be in line with the current SG policy. Mock horror from Johann about using parliamentary questions as a means of personal abuse. Wee Ruthie firing accusations of self interest at the FM whilst apparently negelecting to declare party donations herself.

    Construed as bringing Holyrood into disrepute????????????

    The horse has already well and truly bolted there bud, Jeez the stable door is wide open and swingin’ wildly. :) 


  18. Macart says:

    By the by Arb, that wee ditty ye left me on NNS did make it up there and is still sittin’ loud an proud. Well done, needs tae be said. Humour is the best medicine. :)


  19. Arbroath1320 says:

    Trouble is Macart, I left a second wee ditty as well. and as far I could see at the time it didn’t pass muster. :(
    I guess I shouldn’t have questioned the possibility of it making up onto the comments in the first place. Remind you of a certain Blubber with Flubber site? 😀
    Ach, who cares anyway. I’ve given up on NNS, at least as far as putting up any posts. They don’t like humour, then they are the losers! 😀


  20. Macart says:

    Saw both of em Arb, before the whole item disappeared. Hopefully they’re awa tae huv a rethink on that one. :)

    Jeez ye’d need a sense of humour when ye cover FMQs. Watching the three stooges on Thursday was beyond belief.

    Check this oot in the Daily Labour:

    Alastair Campbell, remember him? Spin doctor (liar) in chief tae our Tone. Apparently Rupert Murdoch managed to apply pressure to TB at George Dubbyuh’s behest to influence Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war.

    Uh Huh?!?!

    So what yer sayin’ Alastair is that Rupert Murdoch determined British policy, yes? Had nothing to do with St Tone. A big boy did it an ran away. Wait for it though, it gets better……. Since Rupert is the prime mover in this attrocity, then the FMs dealings with NI and Rupert Murdoch are evidence of double standards and purely party motivated. Bit of a leap from one to the other but ………..

    Uh Huh?!?! 

    So remind me again, just what was Alastair Campbell’s job?……………….Spin Doctor 


  21. Arbroath1320 says:

    Ah Labour, I remember when………..NURSE! 😆
    They try, unsuccessfully, to smear the F.M. yet at the same time this is going on:

    Something they were unsuccessful at trying to hide and then to top it it off this happens:

    Sometimes you just wish they’d stop digging and just die, as a party I mean. Mind you it can’t help when you have this as your party anthem! 😆


  22. Suth says:

    Macart, that one makes me feel like we’ve stepped through the looking glass.


  23. Macart says:


    Could’ve sworn I’d left a reply earlier Suth. Anyhoo, definitely agree Labour’s ability to spin and conflate issues simultaneously is a wonder to behold. They rewrite history to suit all with the presumption that nobody is paying attention.



  24. Suth says:

    Great. A million pound contract deliberately denied by SCOTTISH Labour? If we needed any more evidence that they hate the Scottish people and want to drive us into the dirt then we’ve just been handed it. These people, if they were honest at all, should have been fighting tooth and nail to get that contract for Scotland. I hope these people are named and shamed and remembered for all time as the self-serving traitors they are.


  25. Richie says:

    I probably shouldn’t say this but is it just me or does the boy Mcmahon look like Jackie (almost wrote jakey) Bailley. He also looks like that fat wifie sitting behind him. Do Scottish labour have a mould for these things? Lamont looks like a slightly less inflated version.
    CyBOS (Cybernats Black Op Squad 

    ) could really help the cause by stealing some of these moulds. I would pay a hefty price (£40 sorry £1) for a Jenny Marra or a Kezia Dugdale. I’d even pay a few pence for one of the fat wifie.
    As for the article, I read it a couple of days ago and I cant quite remember what it was about. Something to do with Scottish Labour being c##ts. I knew that at the time and I haven’t forgotten.


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