The Politics of a Pandemic

Anyone watching the daily reports on the pandemic would almost be forgiven that  politics had been suspended, journalists and politicians are almost bending over each other to appear to all be supporting each other and everyone is pulling together to get through all this. Almost, but not quite, it is not that suddenly politics has disappeared, it has merely become understated. Underneath it all, it is politics as usual, and there is far more going on than meets the eye.

I commented recently on the sneaky underhand attempt by a Westminster government department on Scots Law, but that is not all thats been going on while we have been distracted.
At a time when we are more reliant than ever on workers from elsewhere in our health service and other key areas the Home office decided it was a good time to update its guidance on its new immigration system, ” There will not be an immigration route specifically for those who do not meet the skills or salary threshold for the skilled worker route”
In the midst of the Covid pandemic crisis they have felt it necessary to state that care workers, auxiliary nurses,hospital porters,cleaners, logistic workers, postal workers and garbage collectors among others will not be able to apply for a work visa from January.
The only low paid workers the UK government envisages to allow staying are agricultural workers, plane loads of Romanians being flown in over the past few days.

A leaked Home Office recording which the BBC marginally reported was explosive, but the BBC only focussed on the part where the home office insisted staff turn up for work in the passport office. The Byline Times covered the most alarming parts of it.

“leaked recordings of a Home Office conference call on Tuesday, exclusively obtained by Byline Times, reveal that the Government has all but given up in its fight against the Coronavirus and is intent on simply finding “a method of managing it within the population”.

The recordings show Home Office Deputy Science Advisor Rupert Shute stating repeatedly that the Government believes “we will all get” COVID-19 eventually. The call further implied that the Government now considers hundreds of thousands of deaths unavoidable over a long-term period consisting of multiple peaks of the disease.”

“Shute repeatedly insisted that “we can’t hide away from it forever, but we can manage the way in which we are exposed”.

The Home Office refused to provide any further clarification on the modelling the Government was using to justify this projection.

UK Government strategy, he confirmed, is not attempting to contain the spread of the virus, but simply to slow down “the rate at which we get this virus [which] has direct impact on the NHS. It’s vitally important that we don’t get it at the same time. But that does not mean we won’t still get it at some point… We’ve got to keep functioning our lives, go out for food and medication, and go out for work”.

“Reflecting on the “reality of the situation”, he said that “we will all be exposed to it at some point”. According to the “current modelling we are working on, 80% will get it – of that, a large portion won’t notice that they have it. Another substantial portion will have very, very mild symptoms. And a small portion will have a very significant reaction”.

 

So in effect what this appears to tell us is that the UK government has never really moved away from their crazy herd immunity plan. If so, that is truly worrying.

Meanwhile the Mirror reported :

“A leading infectious disease scientist claims the Government recklessly allowed tens of thousands of people to catch coronavirus

Professor Helen Ward, of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London has warned ministers “there will be a reckoning, and it will not be forgiving”.

The academic tweeted: “It’s very sad that so many people have died, and so many more are desperately ill because politicians refused to listen to advice.

“We said lockdown earlier, we said test, trace, isolate. But they decided they knew better. There will be a reckoning, and it will not be forgiving.”

Professor Ward told the Mirror the decision in early March to stop community testing and contact tracing was a “big problem” which meant we “lost sight” of the pandemic.

Prof Ward said: “The Government instituted the lock down on March 23.

“Ten days earlier it was clear to many major epidemiologists and public health experts like myself that we needed stringent social distancing. Those ten days were lost.

“On March 16, the Government reacted by saying people shouldn’t travel unnecessarily but didn’t institute any regulation of that.

“That was a major error that lost us seven days at least. In those seven days there could have been tens of thousands of people infected as a result of the delay to the lockdown.

“The World Health Organisation and other countries were recommending it at that time while the UK was still pursuing ‘we know better’.”

Asked why Britain’s epidemic was worse than countries like France and Germany, she said: “The decision in early March to stop testing and contact tracing in the community was one of the big problems.

“When that happened we lost sight of the number of new cases and were only able to trace people when they became sick enough to need hospital treatment.

“That was related to the lack of testing capacity, I accept that. That was then compounded by the ongoing transmission in hospital because of inadequate PPE.

“So there was a lack of testing, lack of PPE, lack of ventilators and the lack of hospital beds and NHS capacity in general.

“There are a result of ten years of cuts to the Health Service, a lack of investment and a lack of preparedness.”

In the meantime the British Media had as its headline news every day was not how many had been effected or died, but as Boris Johnson as some sort of heroic Churchillian figure for catching the virus, with some Torys asking the nation to clap for Boris like people have been clapping for the NHS workers. Utter nonsense!

Meanwhile there were other reports of marines coming to remove a couple of high tech robotic testing machines and relocating them to Milton Keynes, followed a couple of weeks later with news that Health England had instructed the 4 major suppliers of PPE in the UK not to allow any orders to go to Care homes in Scotland or Wales and only to supply England. What was that about being better together again?

The Tory Health ministers idea of rewarding the under siege health workers is to provide them with a garbage badge which they have to pay for rather than ensure they have the correct provisions or to,  give them a well deserved pay rise… I am sure they would rather
be properly rewarded than be given the Clap!

Certainly in amongst this pandemic politics has not gone away, we see it for what it is, even if it is more understated than usual.
At the end of this crisis there will be a reckoning, and part of that reckoning will be the peoples judgement of the state of the Union and how we have all been  served by it.

 

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When the War is Over

A regular description used by those in power has been to describe this pandemic as a War, with the NHS as our front line against the virus enemy.
The expression of the Tory government on Boris Johnson and his stay in Intensive care has been to say that he is a fighter and will get through this.
The Queen used the expression “We’ll meet again” a clear reference to the World War 2 song.
All of this is rhetoric to ramp up the War time spirit, and we are British, together we will win this war.

Whatever it is, it is not a war, and we are not all in it together.
Yes, this virus does not distinguish by wealth, class or position who gets it, we are all risk from getting it, but not all of us are equal in risk. The poor, the workers, the homeless are all in far greater risk than those of wealth and privilege.
Nor is it a war, for it to be a war the virus would have to be actively choosing to make war on humanity.
What this is for all of us is a matter of survival and finding a cure.
Our health workers are not trying to kill life, but to save lives.

One thing for sure is that when this pandemic has finally passed, hard questions will have to be asked, and hard answers will have to be given.
Governments in 2008 were well warned that a major pandemic was to be expected and to plan appropriately for one. It would appear however that the UK government prepared itself for a flu like pandemic and stock piled vaccine in the event of one.
What they could not be as prepared for at that time was the possibility of a virus for which there was no comparable vaccine.
Questions arise though on how they originally responded, this ridiculous notion of herd immunity for one.
Their own advice on isolating cases and testing they have not been at all prepared for, unlike countries such as Germany who did thoroughly prepare, and also maintained their health service sufficiently, unlike the UK government which has for years been undermining the NHS and selling off chunks of services in England and Wales.
Questions arise on why unlike other countries who closed their borders they have not done so, with even today flights coming into Heathrow from virus torn countries like Spain and Iran, with passengers not put into quarantine on arrival.
In one report I have read from 2009, there seems to be a balance of health and economic cost, with saving one human life in Intensive care given the price of £1.5 million!
So how much of a factor was the economy in their original assessment?
Many more questions like these will be asked once this is all over.

One thing for sure, the world will be in an entirely different place once this pandemic has passed.
The worlds economy will have been severely damaged, things that we understood last year will not be seen the same way now.
Vast changes are coming, and those that survive this will face a new reality in their daily lives.

So much for billions of pounds spent on nuclear arms, they are useless.
Expenditure will have to be placed where it rightly belongs, and not in some Global game of Risk.

In the meantime…. keep safe, keep well

 

 

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When You Are Not Looking

When you are not looking as your attention is fixed elsewhere, that is exactly the time that you need to be looking at what is being done and slipped through behind your back and out of your sight!

An article by a Scottish Solicitor in the Scotsman grabbed my attention.
The matter it pertains to has not been commented upon elsewhere in the media as far as I am aware. Yet it is such a matter that potentially could drive a coach and horses through a major part of the Acts of Union! That of the Independence of Scots Law!

Michael Sheridan, a Glasgow solicitor says in the article
“Last week, the CMA launched an astonishing attack upon the solicitors profession in Scotland. According to reports, I and my colleague solicitors may not be delivering good outcomes, need to do a better job, do not provide high quality, good value legal services, short-change clients, do not make price information available in an accessible manner and provide information which exacerbates the complexity of legal services. What a bunch.”

These groundless allegations were published two weeks into the coronavirus emergency while most solicitors affected by these allegations were struggling to close down their offices while continuing to provide emergency services from home to the public and to meet the stringent requirements of professional practice including safeguarding clients’ funds, papers and information without the benefit of the staff, superior internet efficiency and office equipment normally available.

Moreover, the CMA is fully funded by taxpayers in publishing these allegations, while solicitors in Scotland have to rely upon private resources to examine and respond to these allegations at a time when the income from their practices is all but drying up. Is it possible these factors were not taken into account by the CMA when choosing the time to launch their broadside ?”

 

Now lets take a moment to consider this, who are the CMA?
The CMA are the Competitions and Marketing Authority, a branch of the UK Government responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing and reducing anti-competitive activities directly reporting to the Department of Business.

 

Michael Sheridan goes on to say

“It is clear the CMA seeks to recast the Scottish legal system in the mould of the system in 
England and Wales without insight or regard to the different tradition, size and nature of the Scottish jurisdiction and, incidentally, without regard to the 
Treaty of Union of 1707 in which articles XVIII and XIX guarantee in all time coming the separate entity of the Scottish legal jurisdiction.

That Treaty may be very old but has been regularly visited and, for the most part, faithfully applied throughout the three centuries since its creation. The CMA seeks to replace the Law Society of Scotland with a new statutory regulator along the lines of the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales and to make the ownership of solicitors’ practices available to non-solicitors including commercial entities subject to shareholder ownership.

Perhaps the most extreme contravention of the Treaty of Union is the proposed replacement of Scotland’s most senior law officer, the Lord President of the Court of Session, with Parliament as the head of the regulation of the solicitors’ profession.

This last proposal contravenes also the doctrine of the separation of powers in arguably the most savage attack by the legislature upon the 
judiciary since the removal of the head of the judiciary (Charles I) by the (English) Parliament in 1649. Hence the need for the CMA to find fault with the current system in Scotland and, in particular, with the solicitors’ profession in Scotland.”

 

Lets be clear about what is being said here. This is a direct attack on the Independence of Scots Law and an attempted power grab by Westminster.

 

“Perhaps most unwelcome to Scottish solicitors is the fact that, while the Law Society of Scotland has responded to the iterations of CMA, it is reported to have offered no challenge to the inaccurate, damaging and, at places, irrational assertions made by the CMA against Scottish solicitors.

As these solicitors struggle and strive to keep going under the pressure of the coronavirus emergency, they might ask why they do not have any institutional means of standing up to assaults such as this by the CMA”

 

Be in no doubt that this is an extremely serious attack on the Independence of Scots Law and possibly the first stage of attempting to make our Justice System and Laws answerable to Westminster control.

It is chipping away at the Acts of Union to make Scots subservient and answerable to English Law. It is an assault on all of us, not just Scots Solicitors.

 

 

 

 

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SNP Civil War

In recent times there have been some references by journalists alluding to a civil war taking place among some in authority in the SNP.
As I don’t necessarily take what journalists say verbatim, and often look at their pronouncements with a great deal of scepticism, my initial reaction was that of disbelief.
I merely looked at these statements as being wishful thinking in some of their parts, designed to cause unrest amongst the SNP and by extension also much of the Yes movement.
Unfortunately it would appear that I was wrong.

In following comments on twitter by some reasonably well placed people within the SNP it has become evident that there is indeed very serious disagreements taking place and some pretty nasty stuff going on.
Not being an Insider in the SNP, and not even currently a member, but with some knowledge of the SNPs workings having been in a past life a branch convenor and on the executive of a CA , I am more than aware of some of the political manoeuvrings that have taken place, and no doubt are continuing to take place, by those who place their own self interest above that of the common good and the Independence cause in general.
Of such happenings no one should be surprised. Such things happen in every political party and in every organisation to some extent or another.
No matter where you go in life there will always be those who choose selfish self interest and positions of power above all else.

What I have been seeing in recent times among groups of the SNP membership has been nothing short of toxic!
This has most recently been brought into sharp focus with revelations from the Alex Salmond trial, but most certainly was ramping up long before that.

What we are seeing currently is some sort of proxy war going on between Sturgeon supporters and Salmond supporters, some of it quite disgraceful.
I do not mean for one second that such a war has either been instigated or promoted by either of these figures, but some followers have taken it upon themselves to propogate it.

During the Salmond trial it became evident that it had been instigated and pursued by some in a relatively senior position within the SNP, and with what appears to be some collusion by someone in the SNP HQ. The real story of what exactly has gone on here has yet to properly unfold, but rest assured the truth will out!
There have been strong suggestions that this was engineered, at least partly, by the desire of some to ensure at all costs that Alex Salmond did not make a political comeback.

What became even more evident before, during, and after the Salmond trial was that some of those involved in the plot, and those who supported these divisions were siding with uncalled statements by Unionist supporters attacking Salmond.
Who would have previously thought such a thing possible? Yet this was exactly what happened and continues to happen.
The Unionists are of course delighted with this situation and will of course encourage such division within the SNP. Its a win win situation for them, and a gift from heaven.

One such attack came as recently as last night from an office bearer in North Berwick where they maligned Craig Murray for his blog on Salmonds trial.
Craig Murray on looking at their twitter feed was baffled as to why he should be subjected to such an attack from someone who appeared to share his political viewpoint?
In the course of this exchange someone questioned if this persons real sole objection ws that he didn’t like Alex Salmond.
The reply was shocking and totally uncalled for. The individual responded with “I am not a Rapist”

All of this is not a one sided attack on Alex Salmond or his supporters, there now appears to be as many who are continually attacking Nicola Sturgeon and those they consider to be aligned to her.
She is being attacked as being soft on Independence and her real motives questioned, with many saying that she has more real interest in the British state than seeking independence.
Add into this highly toxic mix, and you have those whose main interest seems to be arguing over gender recognition and other similar issues, with nasty insults being thrown back and forward.

All of this has got to come to a halt!
If this utter nonsense does not stop, all thoughts of Independence will be forever lost!

Once this virus crisis is all over, I suggest that Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond combine together, resolve any differences they may or may not have and then  knock this nonsense on the head stone dead, by making clear such behaviour is unacceptable, and those who have created the most trouble dismissed out of the party.
If the prime motivation of those within the SNP is not Independence, frankly they do not belong there.

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Vultures

I am quite sure that many journalists and media reporters were absolutely salivating at the prospect of the Alex Salmond trial.
They would have been rubbing their hands together in glee at the thought of placing him in the worst possible light, and doing many opinion pieces once the trial was over and he had been found guilty of being a sexual predator on the scale of Harvey Weinstein,as they were sure he would be.

How awful then that along should come the corona virus and knock any possibility of Salmonds trial so far off the front page that it almost disappeared into an irrelevance. However there was always the hope that they would be able to make the most of destroying the man and his character once the trial was over.
Unfortunately for them it did not happen. Instead he was found not guilty on all of the charges bar one, and that one was found to be not proven.
How could this have possibly happened with a jury that consisted originally of almost double the women than there was of men?
From their perspective this must have been an unmitigated disaster!

During the trial itself, reading most of the reports, they seemed to primarily focus on what Salmonds accusers were saying whilst brushing over the defence witness statements as much as they could. There seemed to be a very deliberate effort to report in such a fashion that it would have seemed to their readership that the only possible conclusion to the trial would be Salmonds guilt. Such device would ramp up to a frenzy equivalent to the result of a medieval witch trial, with Salmond head on their literal pikes at its end.

Having been found innocent in the eyes of the Highest Court in the land, one might have expected that would be the end of the matter, at least for now, until the Scottish parliament enquiry, or at the very least until the current much more serious matter of the pandemic was over.
Not a bit of it unfortunately. For barely had the verdict been delivered the knives were back out by some of these scribes. These vultures had been deprived of the sizeable carcass they so much desired, and Corona Virus or not, they were determined to extract as much poison as they possibly could.

They set about endeavouring to cast doubt on the jurys decision. They tried to implicate that whilst Salmond had been found not guilty, he must still surely be guilty.
This culminated in a hatchet attack on Salmonds character in a piece sponsored it seems by the same Tory backers who had given Ruth Davidson a sizeable offer to work for them whilst still an MSP.
The piece was written with the cooperation of 5 of Salmonds accusers and backed by Rape Crisis Scotland, with which one of the accusers seemingly has close connections with.
These same 5 accusers seemingly colluding again as they had done when they were part of a WhatsApp group comparing notes prior to the trial, as was reported in the trial.
The journalist paid no heed whatsoever to the women who had been  defence witnesses and who had refuted the accusers claims.
Instead this piece was a vehicle which claimed that these accusers voices had not been heard!
No sooner than this piece had come out, a bunch of journalists and those within some SNP circles were applauding the hatchet job.
This in itself shone a light on the journalistic integrity  of supposed journalists and reporters who are more polemical political activists than genuine reporters.
A classic rebuttal by Craig Murray in his blog was met with a howling of ravenous starving outraged pack of biased press hounds, and then the knives came out for him.

 

Moving on from there, we come to the Catherine Calderwood debacle.
Here we have an entirely different scenario.
Catherine Calderwood the Chief Medical Officer who was the person who was the face of the Stay Home campaign was caught out breaking her own message by going to her holiday home in Fife, on not one occasion but by her own admission two weekends in succession.
The story broke on the Saturday night and the First Minister was made aware of it at that point.
By the time we came to the First Ministers daily briefing on the Sunday, the story had changed from her making a single visit to admitting herself that in fact she had made a visit with her family the weekend before too.
She apologised for her actions and offered no excuse for them. She had betrayed the very message she had been insisting that everyone else follow.
The First Minister was thus placed into a totally horrendous problem not of her own making, and it showed as she appeared extremely rattled throughout that briefing.
Obviously she endeavoured  to shield the Chief Medical Officer as much as she could as she herself said that she didnt want to lose the Chief Medical Officers valuable input and advice.
The Press was understandably baying for the Chief Medical Officers resignation.
Later that afternoon the Scottish Government announced that the Chief Medical Officer would remain in place but would no longer be seen at daily briefings nor seen in the previous media adverts which had featured her.
By 10pm that night the news came out that Catherine Calderwood had resigned.
In todays briefing naturally the issue came up again, and despite the First Ministers pleas that the journalist not continually the same questions one after another if the question had already been answered, many of them did just that, but in this instance they
were going after the First Minister and not the Chief Medical Officer, laterly demanding that she should apologise for not acting immediately to sack Catherine Calderwood. Suddenly the narrative was to blame the First Minister!
Half a session taken up on this issue rather than the much more important matter of dealing with the Corona Virus.


These are two different stories and two different approaches by the press and media.
The latter approach of persistent questioning is one which we would expect of our press and is perfectly legitimate in order to get to the truth of a matter.
Even so, the question remains, why were they so keen to pursue this rigorously yet absolutely ignore the story of The Prince of Wales and his retainers travelling from London to Balmoral while knowingly being unwell? No suggestion that he be held to account, far less asking any difficult questions about it.


The former stinks of political expediency and polemics in order to bring a man down.
A man who at 65 who if found guilty would very probably have ended his life in jail and had his reputation irredeemably destroyed.
It also stinks of collusion, not only by some of the accusers who have done serious damage to those who have genuinely been raped and abused and seek justice, but also collusion between some high up in the SNP and Scottish Civil Service working closely with the government, the Crown Office and possibly the Police who went on a mass trawl through around 400 people, and Indeed the narrative of some of the Press and Media.

However, what is increasingly noticeable and has been for some time, is that many of our journalists are not reporters in the strict sense of the word, they are for most part polemicists and write from a stance of political bias who seek to stand in judgement as judge and jury and to pass sentence in whatever way they see fit.
Challenge them at your peril, for at the least you will be called a zoomer for having your own valid opinion, or you will have a picture of your house taken, leaving you as an open target for nutters, or at the worst, maligned falsely to such an extent that you will be made a pariah in the publics mind, even if you have found not to be guilty of any crime in the Highest Court in the Land.

 

 

 

 

 

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Political Ball Tampering

The news really is a load of balls these days. The news is absolutely full of it,cricket ball tampering that is. It is almost as if it were a matter of extreme importance which has to be given precedence over everything else.
Then we have Bungling Boris being accused of sexism because he called the Labour shadow foreign secretary by her married title rather than the name she chooses to call herself.
We have an on going saga about these awful Russians seemingly making an attack on Britain and being accused of using a nerve agent which seemingly can only come from Russia to bump off one their former spies who had turned into a double agent but released in a spy swop previously. This has turned into a European wide expulsion of diplomats from all sides.
The EU has had an issue with Russia for a while now, so it has only been too keen to jump on the bandwagon. Yet the EU has consistently refused to deal with the fascist actions of Spain in relation to Catalonia.

All of it is really just political ball tampering set to disguise and deflect from real issues which both Westmister and the EU wish to deflect us from. It is a case of…look at this hand, not the other one which is stuffing a card up its sleeve.

I suppose there is only so much Brexit nonsense which we can take, but one thing for sure, the public is being shafted once again. Cambridge analytica is merely the sacrificial lamb, the real players are the governments and big business, and they have been at this game for much longer and to a far greater extent. Just look at the Scotland Office massive increase of expenditure and personnel since 2014, and their extensive use of facebook and twitter alongside their press and media releases.

One conclusion all this has led me to is that I am no longer interested in an Independent Scotland remaining in the EU, we would much better be served following Norway into EFTA and making our own course.
If you want your Fake news? Just watch what Westminster is directing at us.
It is nearly all Balls.

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NO IndyRef2 Allowed

bitter

It is almost like Theresa May has become flushed with her minority government achieving total domination over the Westminster parliament and the modern dictatorship of Spains right wing government using extreme measures in denying the Catalan people a say over their self determination, that she has become dictatorial enough to openly say that the people of Scotland will not be allowed to have another say on the matter of Independence.

The following exchange happened  during Prime Ministers Question Time.

From Hansard:

ROSS THOMSON (ABERDEEN SOUTH) (CON)

“Following our successful Offshore Europe exhibition last week in Aberdeen, can the Prime Minister assure me and my constituents that support for the oil and gas industry will be at the heart of the industrial strategy so that we can maximise economic recovery in the North sea? Does she agree that the biggest threat to the industry would be the instability of a second, divisive independence referendum?”

THE PRIME MINISTER

“My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We have already given significant support to the oil and gas industry. I was pleased, some months ago, to visit Aberdeen and to visit the technology centre for the oil and gas industry. It is doing really interesting work looking not just at existing fields but at decommissioning work and how it can export its knowledge and expertise across the world. He is absolutely right that what people and businesses want is the certainty of knowing that Scotland will remain in the United Kingdom and that there will not be a second independence referendum.”

That response from Theresa May, with the spoken emphasis on the part highlighted certainly had more than a few Scots who wanted to be masochistic enough to watch Prime Minister Non Answers on TV spitting their coffee out all over their screens and shaking their heads in disbelief. Indeed there may have been a few TV sets which joined the endangered objects list.

However, all is not as it seems…..
While Theresa May most certainly uttered these words, taken in context of the whole sentence it is something entirely different… There is no denial of Scots to have a second referendum but an assertion without any evidence that the Scots people want the certainty of knowing Scotland will not have a second Independence referendum.Oh sure some would want that, but about as many would certainly disagree with that statement.

Indeed If Theresa May actually really did officially come out and say such a thing, then the one sure certainty is that not only would Scotland most certainly have one, and we will assuredly do so in any case, but she would just as certainly absolutely guarantee that Scots would by a large majority stuff the words right back down her throat with a resounding ….. OH YES!!!!

Indeed, that would be the one credible scenario where UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) could occur, thus proving her words prophetic, but not in the way she intended.

 

 

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Now comes the Winter of our Discontent

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From the Nightmares of Summer to the Winter of our discontent.

How short a time it seems since early summer, and how much has happened since.

To begin with we had the vote and the announcement in the Scottish Parliament from which the First Minister proclaimed that there would be a second Independence referendum after the Brexit negotiations were settled and before Brexit itself took place.
The mandate for this vote came about because of the significant change in circumstance which would see Scotland being taken out of the EU.
At this juncture there was no way that Nicola Sturgeon could possibly have predicted that Theresa May was about to endeavour an attempt at political suicide by calling an early and immediate General Election.
Although the vote to have another Independence Referendum had the will of the Scottish parliament and thus the people of Scotland, all the Unionists parties, Labour, Conservative and LibDems chose wilfully to ignore it and set about defying that Will.
What followed was literally Mayhem!

General Election

Theresa May against all expectations called an early and Immediate General Election despite proclaiming often enough that she would do no such thing.
Why did she do it?
She did it because the Polls were telling her that the Torys were as much as 30 points ahead of Labour. A Labour party which had been in total dissaray since Jeremy Corbyn had been elected as its leader. It had endeavoured to sack him and preventing him from standing in the ballot after the parliamentary labour party had by a large majority expressed a vote of no confidence against him. However they too misjudged their own membership and a movement called Momentum was born and which organised itself to such an extent that the hapless Jeremy seemed like a modern day British Che Guevara suddenly.
Theresa May then managed to stage the worst ever election campaign by any leader anywhere at any time ever, and the gap rapidly closed to the extent that Jeremy looked like he might even win.
In Scotland however there was a different story.
The SNP ran a completely insipid campaign, almost threatening to usurp Theresa Mays woeful effort. They actually tried to run a campaign on normal election policies, when their opponents were doing something almost as unheard of themselves, only a lot more effectively.
Ruth Davidsons Tory party ran with no policies whatsoever other than a slogan which said NO to Indyref2 , and to vote for them to get the SNP out!
Kezia Dugdale meanwhile headed Labours campaign along similar lines, to the extent that they even advocated voting Tory in areas that the Tories were most likely to be the SNPs main challenger. Labour voting Tory? Unbelievable!
The Libdems did something similar but much more low key, and didn’t stand candidates in many seats thus allowing their possible vote to vote for one of the other Unionist parties.
It worked…. The SNP took a hit but still retained the most Scottish seats, but with huge losses of Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson in the North East.
No policy had won over actual policies…. who said Scots were clever?

Labour were reasonably content, they basked in having by their standards in recent times a reasonable campaign season and won back a handful of seats, had managed to stitch up with their Tory Brothers some Councils in the Council elections, and had succeeded in cementing their place as the 3rd Party in Scotland.
The Tories while horrified at their Westminster showing were cockahoop in Scotland at becoming the winners of the General election here….. well so the BBC said anyway…and they are the prime political influencers in Scotland….. So it must be true.
The SNP went home to think again.

Recess

Finally after years of constant campaigning it was time for the MSPs and MPs in the respective parliaments to have a holiday, and for the rest of us to have a breather.
But not before Theresa May, who really should have gone, managed to bribe the DUP from Northern Ireland at the princely price of £1.5 Billion of our money from her magic tree to prop her up. We haven’t heard the last of that grubby deal by a long chalk yet.

Marching Season

With Racism and sectarianism having been given free rein in Mays Brexit Britain, and with some reportedly dodgy backhanders going on between the Scottish Tories and the Orange Order and the Ulster unionists along with the Scottish Tories having been encouraging and ramping up sectarianism for quite some time, the Orange Order were out in force all over Scotland banging their big drum.
Senior Labour politicians from England were over to observe the Celebrations in Northern Ireland too. On top of that sectarian abuse occurred on our transport system, online and in public more so than for quite some time.
Make no bones about it… while most Scots rightly are proud of Scots inclusive reputation, we too have our share of bigots and racists, and while their views have been subdued for long enough, they now feel confident to spout their bile and have their views spread more openly in Brexit Britain as it has seemed to be encouraged more and more from right wing views down South.

YES HARI KARI

With possibly an element of boredom setting in with the sudden cessation of political activity… The moribund YES campaign, or that which remains of it On Line decided to get in on the Summer Madness..
There really hasn’t been much of the YES campaign since it was officially stood down after the Independence referendum. Not in the way that Better Together reorganised themselves anyway… While they continued both politically through their parties kept banging on about the SNP forever banging on about another Indyref and not getting on with the day job, with the full intent of scunnering the general public by forever hearing about it. And the SNP duly obliged by barely ever mentioning it until they announced the vote on it, thus appearing to have been going on about it all along! The activist side had got itself going with huge handouts to Scotland In Union and other groups to continually trash the idea and keep hammering home the message that Scotland is rubbish.
The YES side apart from a few well attended marches, and some local groups coming to life have really been nowhere other than YESsers chattering away to themselves on social media.
So what did they do….. They all started fighting with each other on line and created further division between various factions.. In truth….to use a Prof Curtis phrase they had been sniping at each other since 2014 as they have squabbled on issue and party lines and forgot the overriding goal needs to be achieved together or completely lost.
We might not always agree, and we don’t necessarily need to personally like each other, and indeed we might even have different expectations of the Independent Scotland we would like to see. But one thing for sure is that we will see none of what we would like to see without Independence.

Other Things

There was a raft of other things too, but I am not going to have a look at them right now in depth.
Corbyns Blunderland visit where he literally said that Scotland was a Country of England, and that we didn’t have our own separate legal system.
Ruths racist Torys being further more exposed and readmitted with their sectarian and racist views unchallenged….and Ruth suddenly going into hiding and then seemingly interviewing herself for the BBC whilst falsely claiming that these people were repentant and had agreed to sessions on diversity training and had been in touch with Nil by Mouth. This after telling Trump he should bow his head in shame for similar.
The letters which gave deportation orders to EU citizens from the Home Office followed by a leaked 82 page document detailing that post Brexit Britain would operate a quasi apartheid system.
The Brexit negotiating shambles carrying on at snails pace with indications that the British government are ready to bale out on the hardest possible brexit… Corbyn and MAY showing their true colours by both wanting out of the EU and the Single Market and on immigration.

Mays Full Hitler

And now that they are back to business…
May is pressing ahead with her GREAT REPEAL BILL ….sometimes called Henry the 8th powers which are for the purpose of bypassing parliament, and stacking up the committee which chooses these statutory instruments with Brexiteer Tories… It is almost carbon copy of how Hitler took control of the German parliament and well on the way to becoming a fascist dictatorship. That taken with the other actions of that government and how they are taking away the lifelines of the most vulnerable in society, their actions/inactions on employment legislation, the intent to remove human rights legislation, the selling off of the NHS by piece meal, and her governments alignment with Trumps Right wing America are all part and parcel of it.
I don’t wish to be alarmist or a prophet of doom, so thankfully I can say that she and her government cannot fully ape Hitler as Little Britain is not that strong. But she and her kind can do irretrievable damage to those living on this Island.

There is currently a Panelbase poll doing the rounds and what it asks is alarming from a Scottish point of view. Given that these polls are not just a snapshot of opinion but can be used to shape opinion. It asks roughly if you would a) want an Independent Scotland b) prefer Scotland to be continued to be part of a devolved UK or c) to end devolution and be fully part of the UK…   I don’t have the exact wording at hand at the moment but that is in effect what it asks. This is the first time we have seen devolution being removed suggested!
Which all ties in of course with what the Scottish government have been suggesting, that the Great Repeal Bill is about to be used to remove these previous areas of devolved competency that were part of the EU legislation and taken back to Westminster… In effect a power grab… But that question goes further and gets people to think about removing devolution entirely!
I don’t know yet who has commissioned this poll but it will be interesting to see.

and so on we go into the winter of our discontent with the Brexit scrambled eggs about to hit the fan.
Hang on in… It is going to be some ride!

Posted in #Scotref, Brexit, Change, Council Elections, EU, Europe, General Election, Human Rights, independence, Manifesto, Nicola Sturgeon, politics, scotland, Theresa May, YES, YES2 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

In Praise of the Apathetic, the Brain Dead and the Bigots

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One might have thought that with all the relative positivity about Scotland recently in the face of the dire news coming from all across the Unionists camp that Scottish voters in 2 council wards in Glasgow Cardonald and Fortissat North Lanarkshire might feel encouraged to vote in numbers and positively in their local bye elections yesterday.
Unfortunately that seems not to be the case. In Cardonald a meagre 23% turned out and in Fortissat not much better at 30%

At the end of the day Labour were absolutely thrilled as they won both. Cardonald was a seat held and Fortissat a Gain from the Conservatives. The Labour resurgence continues, or so it would seem.

Lets have a look at the Cardonald result first..
In May the SNP had most of the first preference votes in this seat but lost out in the vote transfer, so they may have felt they stood a reasonable chance of taking the seat this time…and they certainly put a fair bit of work into trying to do so in the run up.
What happened instead was the following.

Cardonald
Labour 48.6% (+10.1)
SNP 36.7% (-7.5)
Conservatives 10.3% (-1.7)
Greens 2.7% (+0.2)
Liberal Democrats 1.5% (n/a)
Scottish Libertarians 0.2% (n/a)

That is a swing of 8.8% from SNP to Labour
Labour HOLD

Fortissat

Labour 38.5% (+2.0)
A Better Britain – Unionist 23.3% (+12.2)
SNP 20.6% (-8.4)
Conservatives 11.5% (-1.8)
Independent – Cefferty 5.0% (-5.1)
Greens 0.7% (n/a)
UKIP 0.5% (n/a)

That is a swing of 5.2% from SNP to Labour
Labour GAIN from Conservative

SNP lost 7.5% of its vote in Cardonald and 8.4% of its vote in Fortissat so the question is where did that lost vote go?
In Cardonald it could have conceivably transferred over directly to Labour with returning former Labour voters as labour increased their vote by 10%
In Fortissat that is definetly not the case because Labour only increased their vote by 2%
What we see in Fortissat is an entirely different picture because the SNP were beaten into 3rd place…..by the Better Britain Unionist Party!
WHO?? Yes I know, I hadn’t a Scooby who that was? I had to Google them to find out.
In any case they increased their vote by a whopping 12.2% giving them 23.3% of the vote.
Well the missing SNP vote certainly didn’t go to them!
This did have at least one Labour MP crowing with delight at that result.
The Conservatives who had previously won this ward only dropped 1.5% of their vote and that is despite the scandal of their previous winning paper candidate refusing to take up his seat!
Indeed with All the scandal and allegations of fraud and misappropriation of £20million being aimed at the previous Labour leadership and the shouts of Cover UP at the stitched up current Labour/Conservative coalition one does wonder at the electorate in this area voting as they have.

With only a pitiful 23% turn out at Cardonald, voter apathy seems to be the main culprit, and certainly a bit of disillusionment with the SNP given their loss of votes across the board at the General Election. There is no real evidence that Labour are generally making gains on them, but rather the SNP falling back. This cannot have helped any by the constant bickering which has been going on within the YES movement in recent times not the SNP failing to Inspire until very recently.

The more worrying aspect is the seemingly gain in confidence by the Bigots and Racists in Scotland which have been Inspired by and given voice by the Torys. They now feel that it is perfectly ok to express these views and it is Societally acceptable so they are becoming more brazen and confident in spreading and expressing their Bile. Our Media must take their share in the blame for encouraging them by not taking the Torys to task and Indeed actively promoting Ruth Davidson and her party full of racist bigots.
We need to put a Stop to this fast, and being apathetic is not the answer!

Going back to this Better Britain Unionist party in Fortissat, who are they and what do they stand for?
founded in December 2015 by activists from the Better Together campaign it is against Devolution and sees it as the slow road to Separation, and is vehemently opposed to any further Independence referendums ever.
It has called for both the British and Scottish parliaments to work together to pursue closer union. In addition to this, it proposes several pro-UK cultural policies such as flying the Union Flag from every Council Building.It has also called for Trident & Faslane Naval Base to be retained at their current location. It is Pro Brexit, Anti EU and Anti Single Market.

“it is equally important that the government recognises that the Brexit vote showed many peoples’ discontent with the broad trend of globalisation and the move towards a world of open borders and all that comes with it: multinationals, mass immigration, and so on. These are genuine concerns and must shape the path that we forge following our exit from the European Union. It is time that voices within the pro-Brexit camp began to emerge which could make the case for a more balanced approach to trade, recognising the place for both free trade, and where appropriate, measured protectionist policies. This was historically the British way, and we ought to consider pursuing it once again.”

Unlike some of their fellow Unionists they hold some left of center views too. Their candidate here was a former Labour man and had this to say ” It’s also a good unionist ward; the SNP only took one seat out of four here in May, so they know their nationalist agenda isn’t wanted.”
Unlike the other Unionist parties, he was well known as he actually stayed in the area all his life. So a mix of left and unadulterated Unionism here.

So there we have it…. All in all a disappointing night with Apathy the biggest winner and encouragement for the Unionists the Racists and the bigots…

Report Card: Must do much better and cut out the carping and knuckle down to more effort.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

To Live in the early days of a Better Nation

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The plan for government introduced by the First Minister yesterday caught everybody by surprise, both her detractors and her supporters. Nobody but nobody was expecting it,and it caught everyone on the hop with its vision, its breadth of intent, its boldness and might we say even a bit of Scottish gallusness and audacity. It really was quite breathtaking, almost like the glow of the lights of the Saltire bridge was reflecting off it.
Who would have thought that in the midst of a Brexit calamity which threatens to tear apart the whole of these Isles that such thinking would be thought possible? Certainly not the floundering opposition who could only come up with feeble worn complaints about the constitution.
I wont trawl through all of the proposed 16 bills which have been widely reported elsewhere, but rather look at the implications of it all. In particular that of the development of a Scottish Investment Bank, for right there we see another intent and preparation altogether. We see the groundwork being prepared for a Scottish Central Bank and a new Scots currency for an Independent Scotland.

To quote the First Minister:

“This Programme for Government is our plan to seize those opportunities.

To build the kind of Scotland we all seek – an inclusive, fair, prosperous, innovative country, ready and willing to embrace the future.

It is a Programme to invest in our future and shape Scotland‘s destiny.”

Only once during this plan for government did the First Minister allude very briefly to IndyRef2, and that was to say that It would be looked at again after the result of the Brexit negotiations were known. As far as the Brexit process was concerned, any attempts to remove Scotland from the European Convention of Human Rights would be firmly resisted and steps taken to codify it in Scots Law. Otherwise it was a full on programme of innovation and promise.

Of course the Brit Nats who had already been spitting feathers through clenched teeth at the praise and worldwide approval and coverage the Saltire bridge had been getting were not in the least happy, and certainly it wasn’t too long before the BBC sought to downplay it, and the chattering press began to spout sour grapes at it, however the damage had already been done because the whole of Scotland already had been speaking about it. Organisations in every field were singing praises.

This of course is ultra bad news as far as the Proud Scots Brit Nats are concerned, and the howling on Social Media has been delightful to behold.
As an aside… Isn’t it funny how these Proud Scots must proclaim they are Proud Scots….But.
When every real Scot who is actually proud of their Country never ever feel the need to pronounce they are Proud Scots, because it is taken as a given that they are. So absolutely no need to make any such pronouncement as they are the Real Deal.
Whereas Proud Scots hate the Saltire and want it removed at every opportunity and replaced with the Union flag and joyfully cheer on any perceived Scottish failure and deflect and dismiss claim of any Scottish success. They really are a strange bunch.

As if the Saltire Bridge was not bad enough, they had been confounded by a whole load of other Scottish successes in quick succession.. The World tidal energy record generation on the Pentland Firth, The success of Glasgows satellite technology sector, Glasgow University coming up with potentially better ways of combating cancer than radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Edinburgh University with a whole body scanner which can see through the whole human body. The opening of the National Sports Training Centre at Inverclyde. And Now this programme of government…. And of course being voted the most beautiful Country in the world.
How they must have hated it!

And just when they maybe thought things couldn’t get any worse from their perspective, what happened? The leaking of the Westminster governments secret draft plans with regards to European Citizens is what happened. The contents of that 82page draft document proves how despicable they are, and the imposition of effectively a Nazi type apartheid regime which will cause untold damage to us all if implemented is not worth contemplating.
Not only that but European citizens who have long since made their life in this country and married and settled down may find themselves being asked to leave.
The damage which these measures alone will inflict on the Scottish economy, particularly in sectors like our hospitality and tourist industry, food processing, our NHS sectors alone are incalculable.
On top of that is the news that many of us suspected, the Government officially did the dirty on the promise they had made to the Clyde ship builders on the remaining 10 frigates they were assured of if they voted NO to Independence..these are now to go out to contract piecemeal across the UK.
Ruth Davidson gave an Interview where she stated that Brexit could do irretrievable damage to the British economy, but she still will not oppose it.
David Davies the Brexit minister again refused to meet with the Scottish and Welsh governments to discuss the negotiations.
What they assuredly will be extremely unhappy about is that Michel Barnier the EU chief negotiator is coming to meet with Scottish MSPs to discuss Brexit negotiations, that really is a 2 finger salute to Westminster and a clear indication that the EU are not prepared to leave Scotland behind and adrift.

So all in all… 2 very different sides to the Scottish constitutional coin..

Where  is all this leading?  I would suggest straight down the road to Independence.
For Scotlands own sake we have to get out of this British Union which is threatening to strangle us and throw us all over a cliff edge and the way to do that has already begun.
By showing that Scotland is both humanitarian and progressive and “To build the kind of Scotland we all seek – an inclusive, fair, prosperous, innovative country, ready and willing to embrace the future. ”

“It is a Programme to invest in our future and shape Scotland‘s destiny.”

In my opinion Indyref2 will be sometime in the next year or 18 months…no later.
We all know for all our sakes how we must vote then.

*I hadn’t realised until I published this, that this is my 500th article here… It seems like an eternity since I began in 2011. How appropriate that this should be that article for that milestone….. The early days of a better nation has begun*

Posted in #Scotref, Brexit, EU, Europe, Human Rights, independence, politics, scotland, YES2 | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments