Saturday, 27 December 2014

What Side Are You On?

One of the post truly depressing twitter threads I've seen recently contained this image -

Fairly clear isn't it? There's the Yes multitude on the right with a gorgeous woman hoist aloft, facing the neo-nazi thuggery of the No campaign.
Let us step back - I remember a few decades back when those of us on this side of the North Channel used to look across at Northern Ireland and say thank God that our working class wasn't divided by religion or sectarianism. The economic interests of the working class were the same whatever your creed. You were a wage slave, and your only hope was in solidarity. Whether that was housing, National Health or Education; it didn't matter.
But here we have a movement delighting in division. Triumphantly calling it out.
Well, surprise, surprise, there are Loyalist forces within the working class. And the Orange Order is a big part of Scotland. And that's the point - the people above are all Scots. But what force has come and divided them? The politics of identity driven by our National Party.
I know what side I'm on. No to division, hatred and intolerance. And that's called Nationalism.

Kevin's postcode nationalism

May I be so stupid as to comment on a throw away piece by Kevin (kerrr-chhing!!! 400 words, where's ma cheque) McKenna in The Observer, on Sunday 21 December 2014? A reasonable piece in many ways, though this commentator isn't quite sure why a piece that praises Glasgow Council should end up naming the villains of the piece as the Lab-Con alliance, whatever that is.
What I want to comment on is this part -

This is the most lovely convenient tosh. And it illustrates beautifully the foolish mindset of the Nationalist. Because Nationalism of course can only exist if we can partition people and their ideas with boundaries. So - there's a line across this island where the, morally bankrupt values of neoliberalism hold sway. Now Kevin knows that he can't draw this lovely line along the border as much of Northern England doesn't cleave to morally bankrupt neoliberalism either (but supposedly the majority of the English (booo hiss!!) do, of course). So, Kevin, loudmouth genius has constructed a line. The McKenna line. Like Sykes-Picot - certainly drawn with as much thought.
But.... errr.... south of the line there are plenty radical areas (Brighton and Bristol to name but two) and North of line plenty morally bankrupt neoliberalist areas (Milngavie and Morningside anyone?). In fact, people with totally distinct and opposing views can live in neighbouring houses! And their views can change over time! I'm a bit lost here.
Don't worry Kevin with details, please. He has a Nationalist Project to put his shoulder to. Leave your intelligence at the door.    

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Contradiction and Incoherence - same old SNP

"SNP welcomes record level of female employment and record low in youth umemployment"

Leaving aside the unfortunate typo, one must wonder why exactly the SNP are trumpeting this. They lost the referendum; we wouldn't have our hand on the famous 'levers' to deliver change and 'grow the economy'. In fact - quite the opposite - Westminster (yes, those evil bastards once again) were going to crush 'us' with their austerity drive. What's going on?

A difficult one, maybe - but surely not beyond Ms Joan McAlpine. She simply has to say that it's all the Scottish Government's doing! And if we had more of the doings of the Scottish Government, we'd have even more bigger better news! 

Joan - always close to Salmond

Commenting, Joan McAlpine MSP said:

“Today’s record employment figures are very encouraging indeed. With the limited powers it has, the Scottish Government is making progress on tackling unemployment across all groups – in the face of the UK Government’s ongoing austerity agenda (amazing how the Scottish government with its limited powers has done this. Can anyone explain it? And how long can we continue this?)  
“Female employment is now at a record high of 1,288,000 – and this is welcome evidence of the Scottish Government’s on-going work to tackle inequality (yes! welcome evidence! on-going work! Let's keep this as vague as possible.)
“Only a strong team of SNP MPs will ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard at Westminster so we can deliver the best possible deal for Scotland with more powers to create more jobs, grow the economy and allow us to build a more prosperous and fairer country.”

So, more powers will create more jobs and grow the economy. Interesting. Let's hear what these powers are. Presumably every sovereign independent country in Europe has these powers. Only poor old Scotland is lacking them. Spain, for example, must have them. Jeesus, I wonder why half their youth are unemployed? Presumably none of their political parties are campaigning for more powers as they have them, so maybe they don't know how to use them, the clowns. Johnny Bloody foreigner. Let's send McAlpine over there to teach them how to use those powers properly. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Vow

It rumbles on. First the yessirs were alleging that the time scale was going to slip. Having delivered the Smith Commission report timeously, the allegation moved on and is now that the vow hasn't been met - as devo-max (whatever the eff that might be) it ain't.
Let us remind ourselves what was promised: extensive new powers for the Parliament will be delivered. Now, is that clear and woolly enough? Hard for that not to be delivered!


Of course we all recall that ex-premier Salmond (sheds tear) was going to haud wir feet to the fire for this vow, which sits somewhat uneasily with his response to the pledge before the referendum, which was to call it, "a last minute desperate offer of nothing."

Let us not forget that this Vow was the Unionist trick by which the referendum was stolen from the 45. That's the narrative. Has anyone actually been found who switched from Yes to No because of the vow? I think not.

But let's move on - for if there is something which totally overshadows the ridiculous assertion that the Vow tricked people into voting NO, Let us consider the monumental trick by which people were tricked into voting YES.

That's right. This pile of taxpayer funded nonsense. We'll use the pound! Our research institutions will still receive UK wide funding, and we'll still receive the BBC. Oh yes and we'll just seamlessly become an independent member of the EU. As Brian Wilson says, this was white paper, funded by taxpayers and written by supposedly neutral civil servants, rather than a party tract. Yet it has been clear from the day it was published, and is even clearer now, that this crucial statement on which so much depended – jobs, schools, hospitals – was a complete and utter fabrication, concocted for purely political purposes.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Alan Taylor - a choob

Anent (good Scots word) the latest diary entry from Alan Taylor in the Sunday Herald (a Scots Comic publication).

A man who really should know better

"REMEMBER the referendum, when lies, damned lies and statistics were thrown at Yes folk by naysayers ........ we were told that oil was about to run out and that to base our wellbeing on it was barmy. And lo! What have we here? Less than a month ago a new oil field was discovered east of Aberdeen. Why that was not announced before September 18 one can only wonder."

Clearly, Mr Taylor is joining the Nat throng that loves nothing better than a good (or even pisspoor) conspiracy - especially if it's poor old Scotland that is being done down. This is not dissimilar to Cameron's "secret" visit to Shetland and the huge hushed up Clare field. 
One might expect of course that Mr Taylor, esteemed and learned journalist as he is, to have managed to shed some light on all this. The engineers must have been told to go slow in their exploration despite promising rock formations? Or did they know before September 18 but managed to get everyone sworn to secrecy? Everyone. 
Or is it that small finds are actually still quite common and that this is just more of the same irresponsible and dishonest "reporting" that one should expect from the deep wellspring of Nationalist paranoia?

OK Mr Taylor - here's another one - announced on 13th November -

"A MASSIVE new gas field has been discovered ... the discovery of the Pegasus field has just been announced to industry experts who will now work out how best to develop it.

The new field is in the same area as the Cygnus development which, at its peak, will produce enough gas to meet the needs of 1.5 million UK homes...  tests carried out at the Pegasus West area of the new field...indicated a combined, sustained flow rate of more than 90m standard cubic feet of gas per day which is the equivalent of 15,000 barrels of oil"

Oh shit, sorry, my mistake - this is off the Tees Coast. As Mr Taylor would say, why that was not announced before September 18 one can only wonder.

Monday, 17 November 2014

NHS not doomed after all - despite NO vote!!

From the SNP's media Centre -
One of Scotland’s top surgeons has urged people in Scotland to vote Yes to save the NHS .... Dr Philippa Whitford - a consultant breast cancer surgeon - has made clear that a Yes vote in September is the only way to protect Scotland’s NHS budget from Westminster's cuts agenda.

But.. but.... Nicola has just pledged....
  • The revenue budget of our NHS is set to rise in real terms for the remainder of this parliament.
  • If I am re-elected as First Minister in 2016, I pledge today that it will rise in real terms for each and every year of the next parliament too.
Surely all that vote YES to save the NHS wasn't just scaremongering was it? 

Alan Cumming - Village Idiot

Suits You!

Oh dear. Wit and wisdom. And the very opposite. From the interview with Decca Aitkenhead 14/11/2014:

“All those people who voted no because they thought that devo max was going to happen, they’re now furious, and I think there’s a great energy of a lot of people thinking, ‘Dammit, we got screwed again’. And, of course, I’m like, ‘Well, what did you think was going to happen, you stupid fuckers?’

To repeat: All those people who voted no because they thought that devo max was going to happen, they’re now furious.

They are? And why? Has anyone met the furious no voter who feels that they voted no because of 'devo max' (whatever the fuck that might actually be)? Obviously Mr Cumming has. Unless of course he's just a loud-mouthed airhead who holds forth for effect.

Salmond - the bitter end nears

What a joy it was to see Salmond on Andy Marr on Sunday November 2nd, 2014.

(this may not be the actual 2 November show but you get the picture)

As a bit of a backdrop, we are all too well aware that one of the most used weapons in the Nationalist toolkit is a well sharpened sense of grievance. Let us recall that diminutive Nicola, had already stated that the "Westminster parties are already backsliding on the delivery of new powers".
(Aye, she wishes!)

So it was no surprise that Marr confronted 'eck about the timetable of delivery of the new powers.* Of course, to his credit, Salmond felt obliged to tell the truth ... he had confidence that new powers would be delivered, but, gasp, get this... they weren't being delivered willingly!
The duplicitous Westminster bastards! We want willingness! And we want it now!! And if we don't get that, we'll hold your feet even closer to the fire, presumably.

*so fooking essential to our well being.

Alas, poor Johann

Nothing in her life
Became her like the leaving it.

The reluctant leader has departed the scene. In truth, although an honest and decent person, she was too small. Inspirational? Hardly. 

But she didn't go quietly. She was greatly quoted as accusing UK Labour colleagues of treating Scotland as a "branch office". 

Well, this member got a communication from Johann from the Glasgow Office on 25 September. I am so pleased to be writing to you to say: "We did it."
And enclosed was a leaflet - Sick of Waiting For a GP? Tell 10 of your friends about Labour's GP appointment guarantee. 
Now, unless this blogger is very much mistaken, that policy, which was announced by Milliband in May, refers to NHS England. Why would Johann send me it? Why would she tell me to tell of my friends about it? Truth is, poor Johann couldn't run even a branch office.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tom Devine and Nationalism

The great Tom Devine (who this scribe has a great deal of time for) on the Guardian Politics Weekly podcast posted on Sep 19, 2014  reacting to the referendum result, summed up the result thus...

Alan Massie has made a fundamental error by referring to this dynamic as Nationalism .. I'm not a Nationalist. Many, many thousands of Scots who voted Yes are not Nationalists. This was a movement of the people for what they thought was the possibility of more control over their life...

Clearly that's how it seems to him. And he's an honest man. And yet if it looks like Nationalism ... and sounds like Nationalism..

Let's be honest, if we stumbled into a square in Poland or Lithuania and found huge crowds noisily brandishing their national flags, what would we think? Would we think... great .. this looks like the future? Clearly nothing to do with Nationalism? What if it was in Serbia or a Serbian populated area in Bosnia? Or a large French crowd in Paris? All good? Do we ever see crowds with UK Union flags? And if we did, what would our view be?
Nationalism may just be a bit invisible when you're inside it. It's just 'our' people. Isn't it?

In Bed with the Tories

Much anger has been directed at Labour post-referendum for being 'in bed with the Tories' during the referendum. Some facts. It seems that the Edinburgh Agreement .. yes .. stitched up between Salmond (SNP) and (gasp) that bloody Tory Cameron was quite clear...

PPERA (Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000) gives the Electoral Commission responsibility for:
  • designating lead campaign organisations
That is, the referendum was to be run with two organisations .. a YES and a NO.
And how was that imposed? Through a series of lead campaign group benefits which are:
  • A higher spending limit than other registered campaigners
  • Free distribution of their information to electors
  • Referendum campaign broadcasts
  • Free use of certain public rooms

    Free distribution of information and campaign broadcasts are hardly negligible benefits, are they?

    So get this, The Electoral Commission officially designated the two main referendum groups Yes Scotland, which is fighting for a yes vote, and the pro-UK group Better Together as the official lead campaigns in the contest. Read it here if you've forgotten. 

    Funny that! Now of course none of that should really be surprising apart from to members of the swivel eyed fraternity. Here's another shocker for them. Did they know that during the Second World War Atlee (yes, the Labour Leader) served under Churchill who was... yes.. a Tory!      

    Friday, 3 October 2014

    Voice of the People or Nut Job?

    Honestly, what are sane people supposed to make of this from the Sunday Herald? 

    Above is the Voice of the People (only some of them of course - let's not forget the majority) rally organised by Melissa Moore, a "full-time mum" from Midlothian with no background in politics.
    Her whole face painted as a Saltire (that'll get the undecideds vote, eh?), organiser Moore said she believed the ballot was rigged, and the true result was a Yes, but added: "My message to everyone now is don't dwell on that. Look forward and let's get independence another way. We're not going to get a revote or recount."

    She honestly believes the vote was rigged - but we've not to dwell on that?? What greater charge can there be against our democratic process? Why bother with a referendum if it's that easy to rig? How was it done? If she believes it was actually a yes vote (why?) then over 200,000 votes (at least) have been altered from Yes to No. No one noticed? Were the council employees recruited from the No ranks only? And sworn to secrecy, presumably. And we've not to dwell on it? I think the Sunday Herald's spotlight should be shone a bit more brightly into the dark recesses of the Nationalists' psyche. Barking. 

    Bar the shouting

    Yes, it's all over. The quiet No voters came out and sank the most brilliant and successful campaign ever. How could that have happened? The Yes campaign was streets ahead, wasn't it? It was inclusive and positive! It was, wasn't it? The National Collective! Women for Independence! Common Weal! The No campaign couldn't hold a candle to them.
    Or are we maybe evaluating things wrongly? Is it possible that self-centred groups of shouty people with flags was actually counter-productive? And that they actually caused the defeat of Yes?
    It's somewhat ironic that the losing camp are now taking pride in calling themselves the '45'. We all know of the original '45' - the crushing and final defeat of the Jacobites which directly led to the destruction of so much of the culture of the Highlands and Islands.
    A Proper Charlie
    However, if we were to evaluate the 1745 Campaign according to the criteria of Yes Scotland, it was actually a stunning victory. What style! What panache! Can anyone remember any Hanoverian songs? Absolutely not. The songs of the Jacobites still raise the roof. And the battles! Prestonpans! Johnny Cope - how we still laugh and sneer at him, fleeing awa in the morning. And Charlie and his men made it all the way to Derby. A tremendous achievement.   

    I was reminded of this whilst watching Scotland Tonight of 30 September - supposedly a discussion on why Scotland didn't vote Yes with some key activists. Let's leave the last word to Stephen Gethins, in reply to a point made by Carol Fox about the 'bottom up' nature of the campaign, he stated  "that was key to the success of Yes".

    Pass me the smelling salts!

    Tuesday, 16 September 2014

    Now this IS funny!

    This is probably one of the most wonderful pieces to have been written in the Guardian by a pro-independence activist.
    Ms Moyes
    I do believe that the exotically name Vonny Moyes is actually, "an arts journalist and social activist (whoah!). She is comedy editor for The Skinny Magazine and columnist for National Collective and Bella Caledonia"

    Now read on! What does Ms Moyes have to say. So much comedy potential... where to start?

    "Capitalism is guilty of fostering the attitude that if we throw enough money at it, a problem will magically disappear. "

    Get that one, Karl! You missed that theory, didn't you? Now read on....

    "That’s not to say the economy is unimportant. Let’s not kid ourselves: without it we’d be stuffed. "

    This is insightful stuff! But, but... I'm waiting to find out what difference that new Scottish Passport will make.

    "We’re living in a first-world country where policy causes toxic structural poverty – where people rob houses for food, and families are punted from their modest homes over a tax. "

    Lumme. This is clearly not good! Does the Scottish Government know about this? What can we do about it all, dear Vonny??? I'm beginning to worry that a new passport won't be enough!

    "We need the freedom to dismantle the system completely."

    Yes! Yes!! That'll work!! I can't wait to vote YES nooo!! When can we start??

    In Praise of Edinburgh and Labour

    Let us go back to early 1980s Edinburgh - a bit of a sleepy small 'c' conservative place, despite the festival. And yet, not long after the first Labour administration was elected in 1984, things changed for the better, transforming the City and its economy into the International City that we have before us today.
    And where better to start that with Terry Farrell and his plans for the new financial district at the West End which commenced in 1989.

    Of course, that wasn't all that was happening - the South Gyle was opened up to massive new investment in the City.

    And now.... all of this is at risk. Does anyone believe that Tesco Bank, Sainsbury's Bank, Virgin Money and the Green Bank amongst others would have located HO Operations in Edinburgh if Scotland had become a foreign country to those organisations' customers? At the first whiff of a yes vote even our 'indigenous' Banks are preparing to be off (and where HO goes, the rest will follow without doubt).

    Real people, real jobs. And yet if you were to spell this out to the Nats what would their reaction be? They're simply not interested. 

    Monday, 15 September 2014

    It's been a while

    Yes, your scribe has been off to foreign parts (I'm not including England in that just yet), and on returning the polls have narrowed and the atmosphere has grown even more febrile and poisonous. Sorry! I mean peaceful and joyous, of course.

    One of the things which is skated over in this debate is the obvious outcome of a yes vote - we'll live in a small country rather than a medium sized country. Are there no implications to that at all? Maybe it's simply too prosaic for people to comment on... and yet....
    Let us be that simple commentator. Compare Lanark and Edinburgh. Edinburgh has a couple of arthouse cinemas. Lanark has no such things. Not because there is no one in Lanark interested in watching the latest release from Iran, but simply because there aren't enough people who are. It's a small town.
    And you can carry that analogy into Scotland vs the UK. As part of the UK we can share in a community which is much larger than Scotland. Will there be room for a Radio 6 Music in Scotland? What about the New Statesman magazine? What's its Scottish readership?
    How many people in Scotland take part in activities which are organised UK wide because only then can the numbers reach critical mass? You may of course say that there is nothing to stop them still taking part, post independence. But then again, you've just built a border and created a foreign country... to what end? 

    Wednesday, 27 August 2014

    Scotland's future in Scotland's hands

    Well that's fairly straightforward isn't it? 

    "Decisions on Scotland’s future are taken by those who care most about Scotland – the people who live and work here.”

    Briefly, and as a summary, at the moment we have four tiers of elected government -
    1) the local council, delivering local services such as street cleaning and lighting (yes, yes & much more)
    2) Holyrood, managing matters devolved to Scotland such as education, health, policing, and transport etc
    3) Westminster (booo! hiss!) managing UK wide issues - the economy, foreign affairs, defence etc
    4) Brussels managing EU wide stuff - justice, trade, agriculture, fisheries and environmental regulation & etc

    Now, obviously, decisions in tiers 3 & 4 are currently taken in concert with others; indeed - decisions on Scotland's future can be taken by those who don't live here (e.g. decisions on fracking made at Westminster, decisions on Scottish fisheries made at Brussels). 
    So, the Yes case as stated must be to repatriate all the powers currently exercised by Westminster and Brussels.
    But no! It seems it's only Westminster that grieves us. That's strange isn't it? Are we happy to let Brussels (with majority voting widened following the Lisbon treaty) make decisions on Scotland's future? 
    Why can that be? It's illogical, Captain. Perhaps at heart it is still just an anti-English crusade after all?

    Tuesday, 26 August 2014

    The Asymmetrical Nature of the Referendum

    I've sounded off about this before, but a tweet from the great Edi Reader (yes, I am joking) about the fact that Salmond was up against Alistair Darling rather than whoever she felt she Eck should be debating with (Cameron? Boris? Satan himself?) gives me the opportunity to set out my views (yes, lucky you).
    The proposition before us is that Scotland should be independent. That is, there is a proposal to change the constitutional settlement. It is proposed by the Scottish government. If it passes muster on Sep 18th, that will be enacted. If not, it falls, and we're back to the status quo.

    The onus is therefore on the proposers to make the case and win a majority. In a healthy democracy we'd obviously expect interested parties to question the case being made. Need there be a 'better together' campaign unifying opposition? No, of course not. There could be three or five opposition groupings... or none, for that matter! And yet the Yes campaign are obsessed with the No campaign. Why isn't Cameron debating? Why is it called project fear? Why are they scaremongering?
    That's none of the Yes business - they should be making the case and convincing people. And they are so far from doing that, that they are reduced to thrashing around at the No campaign and scorning and abusing Alistair Darling. Talk about missing the target!

    A Mandate!

    A new argument in the currency debate! Well, rather let me re-phrase that - a new way of avoiding the answer. Now, by voting 'yes' we are giving Alex a mandate to insist we use the pound. That's right - you thought you were being asked a straightforward question on independence. No, no. As Michael White shrewdly observes in today's Guardian -

    Salmond duly asked for "a mandate from the people at home" for a currency union with what refo-nerds call rUK – the rest of us. He challenged Darling to "respect the will of the Scottish people" in the event of a yes majority among its 4.2m voters on 18 September – as if 55m voters in rUK would feel obliged to write an open cheque on his spending plans. Greek voters now know better.

    Monday, 25 August 2014

    Save Our NHS

    You couldn't make it up. Here's the latest nonsense from Project Indy Fear. A Welshman, the great Labour politician Aneurin Bevan - one of the founders of the UK's National Health Service, being used to break up the UK.

    Of course, the sudden and cynical emergence of the NHS in the campaign does show that time is running out for the Nats. Women in particular, seem to be more sceptical about the great advantages of inflicting division and chaos on our country - so what about some scare stories?
    But surely this targeting of the NHS won't get any traction - after all, health is devolved, the funding of Scotland's NHS isn't ring-fenced and will rise along with spending overall at the UK level (and could always be augmented by varying income tax under existing powers) and we're all aware of the specialist units and research which we share UK-wide. 
    Ooops, sorry, I let some rationality in. Tsk. Not long till the next debate. I wonder if Salmond will try and pedal any of this NHS nonsense tonight? Or will he stick to his strong suit... the currency aliens!

    Wednesday, 20 August 2014

    The Beeb

    What does that Lord Birt know anyway?
    "The bold assertion in the Scottish government's white paper that a new Scottish public service broadcaster will work with the BBC in a programme-swapping joint venture is make believe," Birt states. "One way or another, after independence, Scottish viewers would have to pay to receive BBC services."

    Another one of the bastards! The White Paper is quite clear what is in Scotland's best interests. We want our cake and we're going to eat it - with jam on it. Jam today and jam tomorrow.
    Luckily we have Fiona Hyslop who will surely step up to the plate (no, sorry, enough about cake) ... she'll set the record straight! 

    Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish culture secretary, declined to comment on Birt's criticisms and his claims BBC programmes would be sold to the highest bidder in Scotland. Her spokeswoman repeated the position taken in the white paper, saying a joint venture between the BBC and SBS would "give continuity of supply to the BBC and continuity of programming to the SBS, such an arrangement is in the best interest of all concerned and will ensure that decisions about broadcasting in Scotland are made in Scotland".

    Tuesday, 5 August 2014

    Delusional George

    A split from the UK would not threaten Scottish banks 

    Ignore the unionists’ scaremongering about the financial sector

    What what?? Who is spouting this? Step forward George Mathewson - the mentor of Fred Goodwin and now an advisor to Alex Salmond. So a man of impeccable credentials with no axe to grind. Ahem. And yet the Yes camp have been reacting to this 'Opinion' piece (online only) as if it was the Holy Grail. It's the FT, after all!!
    In one particularly deluded passage, George writes...

    Independence will bring new opportunities for Scotland’s financial sector – which is one of the country’s strengths, though it is neglected by the Westminster government and its London-centric policy. 

    Neglected? What Chutzpah!! What have the Romans ever done for us? George, they pumped £45Bn into bloody RBS. Onto the public balance sheet! Largely paid for by English taxpayers. Quite incredible. The man has no shame at all.

    Oil !

    Yes, let's talk about. Must we?
    It's an earner, isn't it? A good thing.
    On the basis that thereabout 90% of the stuff on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) lies off Scotland and the Islands to the north, and imagining that 'we' input that to the UK Treasury, then Scotland is a net contributor to the UK's coffers! Well, most years. All good.
    And even better, if we kept that to ourselves post-independence, as we surely will, then we'll be in the money. Hence lots of stories circulating that the UK is downplaying new oil finds (until after a no vote), and overstating the depletion of the oil reserves, the bastards, once again.

    Well look here, 'we' have never lived on the seabed (for a few epochs anyway). We're lucky that there is oil out there. And yet we propose to draw a line in the sea out from 'our' border (the place where we stopped fighting the English 500 years ago) and say that anything north of that is 'ours'. We'll have the Shetland stuff too, thanks, although they're a bit of a recent addition to the Kingdom. And those people that just live down the coast a bit - those prosperous souls in Seahouses, Newcastle, South Shields, Sunderland.... they're not getting any of it! Nor their wee weans. That's because we're the wonderful social democratic Scots, the enemies of inequality. The champions of fairness. And we'll fight you for it, just as we did 500 years ago!
    Progressive politics, indeed. Back to the new world order.

    Wednesday, 30 July 2014

    Project Indy Fear

    If your 'umble scribe's FB page is anything to go by, the Yes campaign may be beginning to get desperate in finding something that could a 'game changer' in the great (yawn) referendum debate.
    Yes, negative campaigning! Who'd have thunk it? Stooping to such depths.
    I've a pal (true) who has posted a front page on the Sun from down south about the crisis in the NHS with the comment : This is England's NHS today. If we vote No it will be Scotland's NHS tomorrow.
    Hmmm. No mongering of scaredom there. Nooo! It's a fact! Incontrovertible (aye!) fact!
    And another titled, 'Thinking of Voting No?' (yes, actually, I am) which puffs itself up to full importance and gravely intones how, 'you have to be comfortable with the marginalisation and victimisation of the poor'  (you bastards!) 'your vote at Westminster will make no difference to the outcome' (work out that logic) 'when the full calamity of your decision is revealed to you' (Jesus, this is the book of Revelations, right?). Desperate, hysterical stuff.
    And another (yes another deluded FB 'friend') who has posted a link to Priti Patel's speech about the Barnet formula and added the apocryphal words, 'There you go..' 

    All very understandable of course. Yes is still stuck pretty much where it was when the campaign began. It's going to get more desperate yet...

    Tuesday, 29 July 2014

    OK, one last pop, honest.

    "CONTROVERSIAL plans to scrap Scotland’s centuries-old principle of corroboration have been delayed amid mounting criticism from the legal establishment. Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill yesterday said he had accepted a proposal from opposition parties to delay the passage of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill until a review being led by Lord Bonomy reports back next spring"

    That was was back in April 2014, of course. However it was also reported ....

    Mr MacAskill said: “The Scottish Government remains firmly committed to all aspects of the criminal justice bill, including our proposals to abolish the requirement for corroboration..."

    Leaving aside all the other arguments against this move, such as possible miscarriages, and police sleight of hand, oor Kenny has made much of the need to abolish corroboration to allow victims to "have their day in court". 
    It'll certainly do that of course (whether the courts can cope is another matter). Just a single day. Any jury will still be asked to make their decision based on the case before them being proved, "beyond reasonable doubt." One person's say so, with no supporting evidence? How long would you give that case?

    Him Again

    MacAskill added: “Some people expressed legitimate concerns about single services, on centralisation, governance and accountability. Centralisation will not happen. We will improve local services and strengthen links with communities."
    Yes, yes, you read it here. That's right. That's how the polis gate crashed the Edinburgh Saunas against the de facto policy of the old LABP Board and local councillors. And now of course, the teuchter councillors are up in arms (not literally) after armed police attended a Saturday night rammy. The man will say anything. 
    Toom Tabard - except that the empty coat is on a shoogly peg

    Monday, 28 July 2014

    Let's Get this Straight

    As the date for the great referendum approaches, the intensity of pish and waffle and wishful thinking has multiplied. Today I once again hear of 'getting the government we voted for'.
    Just as a bit of background to all these arid discussions, we should remember that in 2010, (in Scotland), just over 1M voted for Labour, just under 900K for the Coalition parties, and about 500K for independence. So, perhaps, we didn't get the Government 'we' voted for, but leaving aside the vagaries of the first past the post system, it could quite rightly be claimed that actually we did.
    That is, 1.9M voted for parties who accept that the party of Government of the UK is that party that wins across the whole of the UK.