Miliband apologises after triple Scottish gaffe


By G.A.Ponsonby
Ed Miliband has apologised to Labour MSP Ken Macintosh after a triple blunder in a radio interview saw the Labour leader unable to list all the candidates for the Scottish Labour leadership contest.
Mr Miliband also appeared to blunder by claiming that there was a single “shared” NHS in the UK and alleging that capital spending in Scotland was falling when in fact by 2014 it will have grown 25%.

Responding to the Labour leader’s mistakes the SNP’s Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP said that Mr Miliband knew as much about the Scottish economy as he did about his party’s Scottish leadership contest.

Accusing the Labour leader of making “glaring errors” Mr Robertson said:

“This was a triple disaster for Miliband.  He knows as little about Scotland’s economy as he does about the Labour leadership race.

“The SNP is investing in economic recovery, moving money into capital investment and squeezing every penny from every pound to boost the economy.

“And the action the SNP Government has taken not only won the support of the people of Scotland in May but means Scotland is the only part of the UK with rising employment and falling unemployment.”

Mr Robertson turned to Mr Miliband’s claim that the NHS was a single UK institution and said:

“On the NHS – voters in Scotland are relieved that the system is a Scottish National Health Service  where the SNP can protect public services from the privatised health care favoured by the Tories and Labour in England.

Mr Robertson added:

“If Ed Miliband wants to connect with Scottish voters the first thing he should do is take some lessons from the improvements in the Scottish economy, the protection of Scotland’s NHS and learn the names of his MSPs.”

Ed Miliband was giving interviews to the Scottish arm of the BBC as his party’s conference in Liverpool drew to an end.

Responding to a question on Scottish capital spending from Radio Scotland host Gary Robertson Mr Miliband said: “Well, but I think that – as I understand it, the actual proportion is going down further than the overall level that it’s going down across the United Kingdom.  So look, I don’t really understand what his [Mr Salmond] economic alternative is.”

In a throwback to former Labour leader Gordon Brown the new Labour leader argued that the Union was beneficial to Scotland because we are “stronger together but weaker apart”.  He cited the NHS, BBC and the army as institutions that demonstrated why Scotland should remain in the Union.

However Mr Miliband would not be pressed on whether he agreed with Jim Murphy on not sharing a platform with UK PM David Cameron in the forthcoming independence referendum.