The art of misinformation

An SNP press release yesterday headlined the shocking fact: ‘Scots now elect only 4 per cent of the UK Parliament following the expansion of the House of Lords.’

This is a classic example of sleight of hand misinformation, trading on the universal disgust at the pork-barrel politics involved in swelling the House of Lords – in return for political and financial favours – to a completely indefensible figure of over 1,000 members in an unelected upper house.

It is that word ‘unelected’ that is, of course, the key to the deception in the press release.

No one in the UK elects the upper chamber.

Scots are not being singled out for unique disadvantage here.

Scotland;s population represents 8.44% of the overall UK population.

The reality in the current elected House of Commons if that Scots have elected 9.1% of the members of the national government.

With 3 out of 22 Cabinet Ministers, Scots have 13.6% representation at this level.

In Margaret Thatcher’s first Cabinet in 1979, there were 3 Scots in the 22 members – 13.6%. In her second Cabinet of 1981, there were 2 Scots in 23 members – 8.6& representation.  Her 1983 Cabinet had 2 Scots in 22 members – 9%. In her last Cabinet of 1989, there were 3 Scots in 23 members – 9%. Throughout her Prime Ministership, the Deputy Prime Minister was a Scot.

In John Major’s first Cabinet in 1990, there were 4 Scots amongst the 24 Cabinet members – 16.6%.  There were 4 Scots out of 25 -  16% – in his second Cabinet of 1992. In his third Cabinet of 1993, there were 3 Scots out of 24 members – 12.5%. There were 3 Scots out of 24 in Major’s fourth Cabinet of 1994. His last Cabinet of 1995 had 5 Scots in 24 members – 21%.

In Tony Blair’s first Cabinet in 1997, there were 7 Scots out of a membership of 22 – 31.8%. In Blair’s second Cabinet of 2001, there were 6 Scots out of 22 – 27%. In his last administration of 2005, there were 6 out of 21 Scots in Cabinet – 28.5%.

Gordon Brown’s first cabinet of 2007 had 4 Scots amongst 22 members – 18%. His second Cabinet of 2008 had 4 Scots in 23 members – 17.3%.  His third Cabinet of October 2008 also had 4 Scots in 23 members – 17.3%. – as did his last Cabinet of June 2009, wiht 4 out of 23 or 17.3% representation.

Scots have never been under-represented and largely have been represented at Cabinet level well above their percentage of the overall UK population.

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4 Responses to The art of misinformation

  1. Very well said , though personally I find this Scottishness test on everything ,even for the milk we buy a dangerous and corrosive nationalist poison

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  2. Unionists Cabinet ministers who happened to be Scottish did not represent Scotland. They were selected by the PM of the day to undertake a UK government function. Their nationality had nothing to do with. I’m sure that electors in Plymouth or Hull would be rightly aggrieved if that was the basis of their appointment.

    The real scandal which the recent elevation of more peers highlights is the ease with which Unionist parties ignore the spirit of democracy.

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  3. This is the same sickness that is endemic, especially, in the banks and financial industry but is now appearing everywhere – the “Apprentice” syndrome.

    The reason why many contestants on the “Apprentice” tv show are so unappealingly sleazy in their approach to business is because mis-selling and underhanded sales tactics are now the “order of the day” whenever we try to buy anything which involves direct human contact. They know no other way.

    They think they are being clever but they only catch us out once and then we don’t come back.

    Politics is no exception and the level of deceit and general bovine fall-out from politicians is nauseating, I’m saddened that we simply cannot take anything we hear now at face value and I often wonder how some politicians can bear to leave their houses after some of the stuff they spout as if they’d researched it in the Ark of the Covenant.

    Little wonder “Newsroom’s” official default position is cynicism, mine is the same.

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