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Will You Stay Up For Fluffy?

We all have our preferences when it comes to social media platforms. Even for those who are linked to all of them it’s impossible to keep abreast of everything. We depend on friends (virtual or not) to let us know about stuff we may find interesting.

What follows is a Twitter ‘thread’ written by Tam Jardine (@Tam_Jardine) which deserves the widest possible distribution in advance of the Dec 12th general election. At the time of writing (15.11) the thread has been retweeted 522 times, received 611 likes and 64 replies. This article is for the benefit of those who, for whatever reason, don’t ‘do’ social media. The author has told me that it took only an evening consulting Hansard (whose ‘search facility he recommends highly) to compile this overview of Mundell’s HOC contributions over the past 14 (!) years.

(Please note that I have transcribed only the text of the tweets. The original thread contains many screenshots and emojis – I highly recommend viewing the original thread: https://twitter.com/Tam__Jardine/status/1194421565619875840 )

Q: How do you measure the contribution of an MP? In his glossy election promo video David Mundell invites the electorate of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale to judge him on his record. His 14 year record as MP including 4 years as a cabinet minister. Let's take a look:

Raising matters in the house is not the only measurement of the contribution of an MP of course but it is quantifiable. Let's see what important matters David's been talking about in the House of Commons with regards to, say, the main population centres in his constituency.

Of the 7 towns I looked at, it's bad news for Biggar I'm afraid. If you live in Biggar or are out chapping doors in Biggar, it may be interesting to know that in 14 years Mr Mundell hasn't mentioned your town once. Everything must be just fine there I expect. That must be it.

OK- let's begin. 2006: Mundell marks the passing of Baron Monro of Langholm, former Dumfriesshire MP. In this he praises Monro's service to constituents following the Lockerbie bombing. Noble enough but of no tangible value to the townsfolk of Lockerbie. That's all from 2006.

2007: Mundell marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Telford. In his homage he mentions the M74 completion at Gretna and mentions Langholm a few times. In another debate he complains about ballot papers in the Holyrood election. He voted in Moffat. That's it.

2008: This is a bit more like it. A speech from a back bench tory (opposition) MP railing about the crap train service from Lockerbie. He points out rightly this cross border service (now TransPennine Express) is the responsibility of the UK.

2009: Another speech from Mundell about the crap service from Lockerbie. Fast forward 10 years-the service from Lockerbie is as bad if not worse than ever. My last trip to Edinburgh was completed by replacement taxi. The time before that was a replacement minibus. Massive fail

2010: The tories win the election and Mundell is propelled to Under-Secretary of State for Scotland. Now he can make his mark you'd think? Well, for the guid folk of Annan, Biggar, Gretna, Langholm, Lockerbie, Moffat and Peebles not a mention by David in the House of Commons.

(2011 is a GIF of tumbleweed…)

2012: Still no concerns or issues raised in the Commons from constituents in those main towns in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale. Nothing. Nada. No even a passing mention in *3 years*

2013: David's 3 year haitus finally ends on the 18th December 2013 where he marks the 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing. He also mentions that he was proud to open a food bank in Peebles. This is the one and only time he has ever mentioned Peebles in the House

2014: David had bigger fish to fry what with all the furious activity by the Scotland Office telling us we were shite, bombarding us with fear, lies & soundbites to get us to vote against becoming an independent country so I'm afraid those 7 towns didn't get a look in.

2015: Mark Lazarowicz complains about disruption to the East Coast main line. Something stirs in Fluffy and he remembers that Lockerbie station in his constituency. That was in January and he took a break from representing those towns. It lasted until February 2016

2016: Sue Hayman brings up disruption to the West Coast mainline. Fluffy recalls he's the Lockerbie MP again & is determined to have the line reopened. If you judge him on 1 issue, this is the only thing of substance he's brought up a few times. The service is still appalling

I almost forgot. On the 6th of July 2016 he invited a labour MP to visit his constituency and reminded the house that he had campaigned for a remain vote and had warned of a degree of uncertainty for the agricultural sector over CAP payments. What a hero

2017: Mair of that tumbleweed, bumbling along, carried by the wind like an out of depth Secretary of State unable to assert authority or control. Unable to stand up for his constituents, David allowed himself to drift about... those 7 towns don't get a look in in 2017 either

2018: In a recurring theme of his time as MP, Mundell marks the passing of construction firm Graham's from Langholm which went into adminstration. You can almost feel him shrug.. these things happen. Aye, Langholm's fortunate to have this local champion in the cabinet

2018 continued: He also marked the 30th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing.

2019: Folk in Annan may feel amazed the closure of Pinneys in 2018 ably assisted by a bung from the UK Government to move to Grimsby would warrant a mention by their swashbuckling local MP. Well- he does mention Annan once in his 14 years but only to attack the SNP on currency.

And that's it. That's Mundell's Commons representations on behalf of Annan, Biggar, Gretna, Langholm, Lockerbie, Moffat & Peebles. You can judge for yourselves what his 14 year tenure adds up to and I hope DCT will do so & elect a real local champion.

Best of luck @amshru x ENDS

Many words have been written about Mundell. I would happily spend a few hours thumbing through the thesaurus to find the best ones to describe him, but there’s no point - his own silence, evidenced in the official parliamentary record, damns him more than any diatribe.

At some point in the early morning of December 13th, many of us will wait up as long as required to see live coverage of the only decent action Mundell ever performed for Scotland – his long-overdue departure from public life. It’s now down to the voters of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale to make sure that happens.

Ian Brotherhood

I have been racking my brain trying to remember a clip of him saying that the Secretary of State was not there to represent Scotland ‘s interest in Westminster and that he was not elected as an MP to represent the view of his constituents and if they did not like his views they would vote him out next time.

Unfortunately I can’t remember enough detail to put a search into You Tube.  I have a suspicion that it was either on Wings or Border.  It needs to be plastered the length and breadth of his constituency.

Why do these Tory placepersons get votes? That someone so deeply uncharismatic and ineffective should be re-elected for 14 years is a puzzle wrapped in a riddle shrouded in mystery. I can understand that there is still a residual group of Tory sympathisers in Scotland who may vote for the Party rather than any individual. They are mostly older people who rely on the BBC for news. Or business people who don't want to pay fair wages and taxes. Selfishness and ignorance are the hallmarks of the Tory Party IMO. That explains why the Tory vote in Scotland was c 15% for years. Now it is over 20% but slipping back. 

In the North East many farming and fishing votes went Tory in 2017 in reaction to the BREXIT  propaganda and a fall in SNP votes. But in Fluffy's constituency there can't be much of a fishing vote and landowners can hardly be a majority.

So what is his secret in D&G? 

Capella my understanding is that it is linked to the very high proportion of the population of the area who have retired there from England and who continue to vote as they always have done.  I don’t know if this is true although it does sound plausible. I apologise if this comment upsets anyone who may think I am indulging in blaming the English for all problems, it is suggested as a possible reason.  I am not anti-English - I am half English.

By the way did you know that in Dumfries Mundell has always been pronounced to rhyme with bundle?

Ann B, you've touched on an area which has been preoccupying me of late.

It's one thing to be bigoted and have a dislike of a specific group of people, but it's quite another to form extreme dislike of an individual who appears to be acting on behalf of a group which is, ostensibly, 'the enemy'. It's hard to describe such a person without using the word 'traitor' - that word (like 'liar' and 'thief') triggers instant reactions which often cloud reason and make objective analysis impossible.

Very recently I did a Twitter poll in which I asked whether people claiming to be 'public servants' who have also publicly campaigned against Scottish independence should be allowed to keep their jobs post-indy. My wording was a bit clumsy and I didn't make it clear that I was thinking of characters like Mundell, Davidson, Dugdale etc , who appear to move effortlessly from politics to media to lucrative third-sector positions according to availability - it sometimes feels that it's a constant merry-go-round of the same faces popping up all over the place. (Just wondering if any have managed to hold down jobs in all three simultaneously!) The poll received 798 votes. The results - Aye, 13% Naw, 74%, Mibbe 14% . Of course, such polls are 'meaningless', but I find them interesting and they sometimes help others to think about certain topics in a different way. 

What I really wanted to ask, and was scared to do do because it mighty appear 'bigoted', was whether or not these characters (and we all know who they are) should actually be barred from holding any kind of public office. If the private sector wants to give them a shift, fair do's, but I honestly cannot countenance any situation in which someone like David Mundell should be given a role - paid or not - which involves any form of 'democratic' accountability. He has proved, over the past 14 years, that he is unworthy of such trust. When I received some angry responses to the poll, saying that post-indy 'we all have to work together' etc, I cited Mundell as an example of the type of person I was thinking about. No-one supported the idea that he would have anything positive to offer.

Another reason I held back from asking the question so explicitly is because none of us is immune to developing genuine disdain for those who exhibit qualities we find particularly repugnant. Mundell, for me, is the worst kind of bully - a Tory who hides behind bigger bullies. It's a sad sign of the sorry state of the political sphere generally that such despicable people can rise to such positions.

Ian Brotherhood

I see your point Ian but it would be awfully difficult to implement.  Who would decide the criteria who would identify the culprits, who would decide what evidence was admissible, who would judge. Who would decide what sanctions and for how long, would there be a right of appeal, who would police it and what penalties would there be for infringement?  I think we have all had enough of trial by media.   In other words I havna a clue.

You have really started something with your Twitter haven’t you.  Well done you.

Yeah, you're right.

If popular appeal was any yardstick then most of these characters wouldn't ever have gained public office of any kind. The vagaries of our bonkers electoral system just 'happen' to make it inevitable that they and their buddies occupy most of the the prime gigs at any given time.

I just cannot thole the idea of seeing Mundell cropping up in public discourse for decades to come, presented as some kind of 'elder statesman'. Likewise Dugdale, Davidson, Rennie etc. Dozens of them. They've gone out of their way to denigrate the Scottish parliament (and the First Minister specifically) and didn't care if that offended approximately half of the adults in the nation.

Mibbe I'm even more bitter and unforgiving than I realised!

🙂

Ian Brotherhood

I am just surprised that you stopped with the Politicians.  I am equally bitter about Pacific Quay 

Mundell's continued existence as an MP could be explained by three or four things: a significant number of dyke-loupers who find the SG social policies more attractive than England's but still need a Tory to repel the Nationalist Beast; a lot of dodgy money spent on his behalf on leafletting the electorate in the absence of sufficient foot-soldiers (and RM deliveries can be very expensive); workers on the big, landed estates in the county who feel disposed to vote Tory (supply your own cynical reason); a Green presence which split the anti-Tory vote in 2015 and allowed him to establish himself with the prestige (!) of a government minister.

There are members on this forum who live in D&G and will have a better grasp of what's happening in the constituencies but I hope after the GE next month we will be able to say to Peerie Munnell  and the other Unionists whom Ian rightly wonders about: "If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

Ouch! but then Samuel Adams knew a thing or two about perfidious  Tories, Benedict Arnold excepted, sadly. 

FWIW, I don't think the lapdogs will hang about  once their masters are finished here: ermine and doggy treats à gogo to be had for faithful service to The Raj afterwards doon ablaw, nae doot.

@ian-brotherhood Not sure if you used it to transcribe the above (use of the word transcribe suggests not), so I would like to draw your attention to https://twitter.com/threadreaderapp. 

Reply to a tweet in the thread by mentioning @threadreaderapp and using the word "unroll" will result - after a few minutes - in a response that generates a web page with the whole thread in one place, for easy reading, copying, dissemination, etc.

@Radio Jammor

Cheers.

I just did it 'old-style', copying/pasting text from individual tweets.

Not sophisticated, but I hope it helps focus attention on what Tam had excavated from Hansard.

🙂

Ian Brotherhood

Not sure whether Fluffy will get his just deserts, but his neebor Alister Jack could be my Teddy Taylor moment (for those of you that are old enough to remember him bring kicked out of Cathcart). Appointed by Boris and told where to go by folk that Boris will never understand.

 

Forum for discussion of Scottish independence and a second independence referendum.