Too Little Too Late

The Chancellors long-awaited support for the self-employed is far too little and far too late.  It will do nothing to persuade those who are self-employed to stay at home and stop the spread of the virus.

Basing the support on the average profit on three years tax returns ensures that a significant number of self-employed will not be eligible for this support.  Some estimate as many as one third of those self-employed with fall through the gaps in this useless system of support.  By basing the payment on profit the Chancellor ensures that the running costs of the self-employed such as car/ van, computer or any specialised equipment needed to perform their work will stay have to be paid from the government support, impacting on how much they would have left to pay for food.  Delaying payment until June is inhumane.  Most small businesses survive on a shoestring, they can’t hold out until June for money – they need to feed their families now!

Similarly, telling everyone else to simply sign up for Universal Credit is useless.  The DWP have massive backlogs of people phoning for hours trying to get registered – why have more resources not being deployed to tackle this?  And still the Chancellor expects people to wait 5 weeks to receive any benefits -how are people meant to survive during that period?

It wasn’t that long ago research highlighted that too many people in Scotland and the UK have insufficient savings to survive a loss of income. They have no safety net, yet the Chancellor expects them to wait 5 weeks for benefits or until June if the manage to be able to claim the limited support for the self-employed.

This of course, follows on from the sham support for businesses – with loans offered to keep them going, but it turns out this wasn’t support for businesses but – yet again – support for banks!  It comes as no surprise that the main banks have already started raising their interest rates to make as much profit as possible from this current crisis.  It really is time to follow George Kerevan’s idea and nationalise the banks!

The key to simply surviving the coronavirus is to stop the spread of the virus.  The UK government wants people to stay at home but its support packages are simply not enough.  If you were self-employed, say working on a building site, wouldn’t you take the risk of continuing to work so that you could get enough money to feed your family and pay your bills?  The UK government’s support will lead to more cases of coronavirus.

You only have to look at how other countries have responded to the coronavirus.  They’ve frozen mortgages, rents, utility bills etc but in the UK it’s all about making sure the banks can make extra profit!

It’s time for the Tories to put the people first not the banks.  If you want people to survive this crisis (and I’m not sure the Tories do) then you have to get them to stop going out but ensure that they can survive and buy food for their families.  It’s well past the time some form of Universal Basic Income was introduced.  It’s not enough to ask people with nothing to hang on for pitiful benefits and jump through hoops until June for some funding.  Introduce a Universal Basic Income now.

 

We’re not all in this together!

Don’t travel, don’t spread the virus

Save the NHS, Stay at Home

We’ve all heard these messages, repeated daily on all news channels but spokespersons from Westminster and Scottish Government.  There was a concern at the weekend about the number of campervans heading to the islands – no doubt helped by the Daily Heil (sorry Mail) encouraging people to get away to self-isolate) – putting pressure on local services and threatening the capacity of the NHS in rural areas.  The Scottish Government were strident in their comments, this is no time for tourism.  The virus must be contained and the best way of doing that is to stay at home.

Ok there have been quite a few idiots who think they’re fine and have been out in crowds ignoring the official advice.

However, when the heir to the UK Crown decides that he’s above the rules, and decides to travel to Scotland to bring his infected carcus to Balmoral that is despicable.  Not only should he know better but he should be setting an example.  Yet again the Royal Family show they don’t give a damn about the rest of us.  The BBC are at it again trying to play down this story pretending that every suspected covid-19 case over 70 in the Aberdeenshire area will get a test to see if they’ve got the virus – b*llsh*t! There’s not enough test kits for all the essential NHS and care staff so how come suddenly this overpaid, over-privileged layabout manages to get tested?

Yet again, the UK proves there’s no such thing as ‘all being in this together’.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52033845?fbclid=IwAR3agrkZ1q3Kptf9LkJIEEP1Db0aggAIzZXV8pq1eyezN8ixKXx6_mzgPcI

bigEars
Big Ears breaks guidance on travelling – how many others has he infected?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Callous Prime Minister

It comes as no surprise that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, doesn’t give a damn about anyone else but his comments on the coronavirus really do sum up what a self-centred, callous individual he really is.

Despite almost every other country facing the threat of coronavirus quickly going into a shutdown, Johnson is happy to take his time before deciding to act.  He even suggested 88965955_4209833309034191_1563464586479271936_non ‘This Morning’ that one possible theory would be to ‘take it on the chin’ and allow the disease to spread through the population. Obviously, he is more concerned about the impact the virus will have on the stock market than the impact it will have on the public.  He even followed this up with a warning that the public should prepare ‘to lose loved ones before their time”, contrast this with the statement from the current Irish Taoiseach , Leo Varadkar, who instead said ‘Together we can save many lives’. While Ireland try to protect lives, the useless, ineffectual Tories simply warn us to expect many deaths.89229238_231664071561841_2046673880730304512_n

88416923_1416307238542382_5989909666157559808_nOf course, Johnson found some support for his views from the right-wing Telegraph newspaper where one of their senior journalists stated that the coronavirus might be beneficial to the economy by culling elderly dependents.  I hope the mainly elderly Tory voters are paying attention! Do elderly voters who backed the No campaign in 2014 still feel safer with the UK?  Your vote not only maintained your access to the worst pension of any developed country but also now singles you are as acceptable losses to be sacrificed to protect the stock market.

No doubt Jacob Rees-Mogg is currently dusting down his father’s book on how to make 89212049_2834468289977174_5814735731318325248_nmoney out of a crisis – finding another way to profit from other people’s misery.  He won’t be alone.  There is a high number of Tory MPs and Ministers with shares in private medicine and they will all be rubbing their hands in glee at Johnson agreeing to pay out £2.4 million per day to use beds in private hospitals.  Typical Tory – a national emergency and they see a way to boost the profits of private medicine (and the share value at the same time) instead of simply requisitioning them as required and worry about payment later.

Johnson has been slow to react to this crisis because he hasn’t a clue what to do.  When the public is looking for information and reassurance his bluster and buffoonery just won’t do.  His ambition was to be Prime Minister but now he has the keys to No.10 Downing Street he hasn’t a clue what to do.  Of course, he’s also really just waiting for his handler – Dominic Cummings – to tell him what his masters in the city want.  Killing off thousands of mainly elderly or vulnerable people would always be their choice if it meant keeping the value of their shares high. That’s why Johnson and his cronies were so angry when Nicola Sturgeon announced her plan to block gatherings of 500 or more people.  It made Johnson look weak and he’s now probably going to have to follow her lead.

90267097_1090443804671574_8027350251964727296_oWith extremely low Statutory Sick Pay, a lot of people are going to risk going to work and potentially further spreading this virus. Too many people are stuck in the gig economy, on minimum pay or zero hours contracts – they can’t just take time off, they have too many bills to pay.  Of course, other countries can find a way of supporting not just businesses but also their local population; whether that’s stopping mortgage payments or other bills.  The Tory government won’t want to give out money to the public but their friends in businesses are already lining up with their hands out – not least Richard Branson and his Virgin Empire looking for £7.5 billion for the airline industry. Apparently, capitalism only works when they screw the public over with high fares and then get government handouts when there’s a danger to their inflated profits.89587159_1893287214136367_116775663947481088_o

The crisis shows yet again that we need the powers of an independent country, one that can co-operate with its neighbours, one that can protect all its people and not just the mega-rich.  It’s time to self-isolate ourselves from the Tories and Westminster rule.

The Unelected Prime Minister

BRITAIN-EU-BREXIT-POLITICSThe brutal sacking of Savid Javid as the Chancellor of the Exchequer highlights the power that resides with the Prime Minister’s special adviser Dominic Cummings.

He had already crossed swords with Javid when he sacked one of his treasury advisers, Sonia Khan, and had her unceremoniously escorted out of the building by police officers.  And as if to underline the move the media were well placed to observe this and report on the power struggle within the top of the Tory government. However it looks like this might come back to haunt him according to this report in the Guardian.

It was clear that although Javid thought he may have had a good working relationship with Boris Johnson, he clearly wasn’t liked by Cummings.  This was underlined by Cummings referring to him as ‘Chino’ – Chancellor In Name Only!

cummings johnsonCummings was hired as Boris Johnson’s special adviser but it seems he is the real power behind no.10; wandering in whenever it suits him, making diktats and bullying his way through cabinet ministers and civil servants alike.  Fresh from his ‘victory’ leading the Vote Leave campaign – with all the lies, smears and disinformation that drove that campaign, Cummings was quickly installed as the main player behind (or driving) Johnson.  Despite breaking electoral spending laws and being held in contempt of Parliament, Boris Johnson simply didn’t care what others thought of Cummings being appointed his special adviser.  With previous stints as an adviser to both Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove, Cummings was well aware of the how the Conservative party worked.

On the day of the cabinet reshuffle Javid walked into 10 Downing Street believing his position was secure as Chancellor, it was but only if he became the puppet of no.10 – and Cummings.  Given the option of sacking all his advisers and being seen as a mere figurehead (or Chino) at the Treasury, Javid decided enough was enough and resigned.  It was a classic piece of political manoeuvrings by Cummings getting himself rid of a Chancellor by totally undermining his position and credibility.  However it also places a huge question mark on the incoming Chancellor – everyone now knows that it’s No.10 (and Cummings) who control the Treasury.

A real Scottish Labour Party?  Maybes aye maybes naw

The extremely disappointing UK general election result for Labour has led to some in their Scottish branch office to look at the option of creating a separate Labour Party in Scotland.  Leading this charge has been Labour list MSPs Neil Findlay and Monica Lennon, with the latter highlighting her thoughts on the issue in the Daily Record recently.

monica lennon splitTheir theory is that the British Labour party in Scotland was tarnished by the policies of the London based Labour party, which resulted in them losing all but one seat in Scotland.  Their concern was that the Scottish leader was isolated and his policy statements were often contradicted by Labour spokespeople from London, including Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.  Their solution is to split the Scottish section from the London party and form an autonomous Scottish Labour Party, one that can form its own policy ideas.  This would mean raising their own funds, persuading trade unions to affiliate and voting with their sister party (London Labour) – if persuaded.  It would be seen as a bold move but will the current Labour leadership go for it?   Ms Lennon has submitted these proposals to the Labour party’s review of last month’s elections but already she’s stated that this isn’t about supporting independence (which she opposes) but about having decisions about Scotland’s future taking place in Scotland rather than Westminster.

Some Labour sources have already dismissed this argument, fearing that advocating separate structures within the party lessens any credibility in supporting devolution rather than independence.  The British Labour Party in Scotland has had some form of devolved structures within the London Labour party, with its own executive committee and its own policy making body, however any policies made are routinely ignored in UK terms.  It seems Labour is struggling to adapt to devolution and, after 20 years of the Scottish Parliament, appear to have hit the buffers when it comes to offering distinctive policies for the Scottish electorate.  For instance, during the UK general election the London led Labour party was pursuing a policy agenda which simply lifted SNP policies which Labour MSPs had repeatedly campaigned and voted against!

It’s unlikely a review led by the same people who were in charge of Labour’s disastrous general election campaign will amount to much. The idea that the Labour party in Scotland could attempt some greater form of separation is fanciful, the Scottish branch office relies too heavily on its income from London – and during Scottish elections it also relies heavily on Labour members from other parts of the UK to come up to campaign for them.  It is however, ironic that at least some Labour politicians (and I suspect more of their members) are now effectively arguing not for further devolution of the Scottish branch from London Labour but are effectively suggesting independence for their branch!  At least now the argument that decisions made about Scotland’s future should be taken in Scotland is taking hold within the Labour party.

Whether this move is a genuine attempt to reflect modern Scotland and the desire for more powers or whether its simply a feeble attempt to raise profiles and perhaps simply save the jobs of current politicians we will just have to wait and see.

Rewarding Evil

The flawed ‘honours’ system hit a new low this week when it was confirmed that Tory MP and former leader Iain Duncan Smith was given a knighthood.  Duncan Smith was responsible for the shambles that has turned the DWP into one of the cruelest government departments, an organisation which hurts those most in need, an organisation which encourages an aggressive attitude to those who turn to the state for help.  Depending on which sources you use, thousands of people have died after being incorrectly assessed by the DWP as fit for work!  In any other country this would be a scandal and those overseeing such an organisation would be in court to answer for such an abhorrent regime.  But not in Tory Britain, instead the architect of all this misery is rewarded, after all, all those killed off were unlikely to vote Tory!

EMz1MSbXsAIHIFe

80588452_1532430283561924_8034640654007009280_n (1)As if attacking the unemployed and the most vulnerable in society weren’t enough, Iain Duncan Smith’s latest political idea is to increase the state pension age to 75 years old.  Irrespective that many working-class people won’t live long enough to reach the pension age, the Tories are looking at how to bring this in. Their usual claims of the strain on the Government’s budget by paying out the state pension are the same old fake news we have come to expect from the Tories. There’s always enough money to cut the taxes for the rich or to bail out the bankers but the never enough for anyone else.   In contrast, France is undergoing a national strike over plans by the French Government to increase the pension age from 62 to 64.  Public support in France for strike action remains high, yet in the UK this would be unheard of.  Then again how many in the UK are aware of what’s happening in France as the BBC continue their blackout of the French strike.

The UK’s ‘Honours’ system is a bad joke, often rewarding senior civil servants and members of the establishment for simply doing their jobs.  Rewarding Iain Duncan Smith for all the misery his policies have caused is an insult to those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, under his policies.

How dare you be happy!

The BritNat media really do know how to work themselves into a lather over any little thing!  Their latest outburst was over the reaction of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP when the SNP’s Amy Callaghan won her election in East Dunbartonshire.  Amy had come from behind to beat the sitting MP who also happened to be the Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson.  Normally you would expect a political party to throw its whole weight behind its leader, to ensure that they win, so this would have made it an even tougher battle for Amy, irrespective of how close the gap may have been between the parties at the start of the election campaign.

PRI_109814319

However, as Jo Swinson found to her cost, the advantage of constant TV coverage started to work against her as the voters started to realise just how bad a candidate she was. Every time she appeared on a leaders debate her approval rating plummeted.  The fake accent, the phoney bar graphs and the outright lies of being the largest remain party started to take its toll.  Add in the reminder of the LibDems propping up David Cameron’s Tory Government along with the bedroom tax, the rape clause and constant austerity saw Lib Dem support fall rapidly.

Is it any surprise that the leader of a political party would celebrate one of their candidates winning an election – especially if this victory wasn’t expected?  Of course not, its entirely natural.  If the media were upset about Sturgeon’s reaction then I would hate for them to realise the reaction across the rest of Scotland where there were massive celebrations about Swinson losing!

It may also be worth remembering the reactions of BritNats when Alex Salmond, Angus Robertson and co lost their seats in 2017.  Was there any condemnation of BritNat politicians by the media? was there hell!  They joined in with the BritNat celebrations. The same happened in 2014 after the Scottish Independence Referendum.

So if the BritNat media are concerned about a party leader celebrating a great victory tell them to get stuffed. Its just another typical two-faced attack on the SNP and Scottish Independence Movement by the hypocritical BritNat media.  The vast majority of Scottish voters – and not only independence supporters – enjoyed seeing Swinson fail, it was our Scottish ‘Portillo’ moment and we’re not going to apologise for enjoying seeing an absentee MP lose her seat, in fact I’m going to watch it again online for the sheer thrill of it!

 

They just can’t stop lying!

So, in a poor campaign where Boris has hidden from scrutiny whenever he can, including hiding from Andrew Neil and even running away from an event where 5 protesters were in attendance., things got even worse yesterday and today.

79342551_10157861702473007_2253036596762771456_n

Questioned by an ITV reporter about claims of a four-year-old boy lying on coats on a hospital floor in Leeds as there were no beds or even trolleys available, Boris panicked.  Initially he tried to talk over the reporter and bluster about Brexit and how everything will be sorted once Brexit is ‘done’.  When that didn’t work, he grabbed the reporter’s phone, which he was using to show Boris the photo, and stuffed it into his own pocket and walked away.

ELVXn7FXUAACTVl

When his media team realised what was happening an instruction went out to the English Health Secretary to visit the hospital in Leeds and sort it out.  When the Health Minister left the hospital a handful of protesters were shouting at him, one of whom was gesticulating towards the Minister’s car as one of the Ministerial aides walked into this waving hand.

The Tories then had their cue for changing the story.

76944508_1501471693324450_820224662024749056_oInstead of outrage at the poor treatment of the 4-year-old boy, the story was spun that while the Health Minister was trying to sort out the problem his aide was struck (or some stories said punched) by a ‘Labour’ protester.  Right on cue the chief Tory propagandist Laura Kuenssberg repeated the Tory claim without checking any facts and her twitter feed echoed the Tory claim.  Then Peston of ITV followed in line and repeated the same unsubstantiated claims.  These two – Kuensberg and Peston – are meant to be the best political journalists of the BBC and ITV but here they are wilfully repeating a Tory lie without any fact checking whatsoever!  How can they claim to be journalists, let along political journalists, if they simply act as an echo chamber for a political party?  This is not the practice of real journalists; this is the practice of public relations acting on behalf of an interested party.

Then when videos started appearing online both Kuenssberg and Peston realised that they had been lied to and were being played by the Tories to set up a new spin on this story. No longer was the poor healthcare the issue, it was about the thuggish behaviour of Labour supporters.  But the videos showed no punch, no assault, simply a ministerial aide not looking where he was going.  Eventually both Keunssberg and Peston retracted their tweets and apologised for misleading the public (although not much of an apology from Kuenssberg).  Why did they not realise the Tories were lying, why don’t the release the names of the Tories who tried to spin their way out of this issue, who else are they protecting?

And just when you thought the Tories couldn’t get any lower, out come the ‘bots’ with the same story repeated across numerous twitter and facebook pages, alleging the original story was made up by the 4 year olds mother!  These people have no shame – instead of addressing the original issue of a lack of healthcare facilities, they spin until everyone is dizzy, creating confusion and hoping no one will remember the real story or trust anyone involved in the whole affair.  However, the fact the hospital apologised to the child’s parents should be enough to prove the story was true and everything else has been the Tories using every dirty trick they can think of to distract people concerned about the failing NHS in England. It is to their eternal shame that Kuenssberg and Peston were so easily caught up in this fiasco. It is actually almost unbelievable that they could so easily believe a couple of Tory spin doctors that you have to question whether they knew the truth to begin with and were wilfully using their positions to help the Tories out. After all, Kuenssberg has definitely got history for this.

EKjqpmUW4AAT8-2

Shhh! Don’t talk about Swinson and the ‘Fracking’ donation

The pressure of the general election is starting to tell on current Lib Dem leader, Jo Swinson, as she goes running to a Scottish Court to try to block her SNP opponent – Amy Callaghan – from issuing her election address.

Ms Swinson claimed that the £14,000 donation from a director of Warwick Energy – a company which holds licences for fracking – was made in a personal capacity to her constituency office.  She claimed this has nothing to do with her position as leader of the LibDems and her criticism of fracking.  Nothing to see here.  Aye, right!  She’s been found out; she’s panicking that her constituents – who barely see her – will be upset if they find out via an SNP election leaflet that she is being a hypocrite!  The SNP are currently considering appealing the decision by the Court to rule in favour of Swinson – and so they should.

76648979_2619958478087159_5831457774168440832_n
a typical LibDem bar graph

Swinson and the LibDems have a cheek to complain about the accuracy of anyone’s election material considering their long-standing position of attempting to fool voters with their dodgy bar graphs!

The campaign for Jo Swinson has got worse the longer it goes.  Initially she was touting herself as the next Prime Minister, then there was the bloodlust in her eyes as, without hesitation, she jumped at the opportunity to state that she would gladly press the button to launch a nuclear attack.  No time take to consider who the bombs would be aimed at, what could possibly be achieved with nuclear annihilation or even a concern that her constituents (but not her and her family) would be some of the first people targeted in any retaliation. 76714085_10157116104834794_6411005078949330944_n

72192560_2496899610633127_9207132237227622400_nWith the public getting to see the real face of Swinson, the support for her and her party has started to fall.  Ruling out an alliance with Corbyn but not one with Johnson has made people realise the LibDems are simply the Tory b-team – and you can all guess what the ‘b’ stands for. Swinson and the LibDems track record of supporting the Tories – especially the coalition with David Cameron has started to get more publicity and the public (especially in Scotland) aren’t liking what they now see.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1197808222796734465

So, whatever you do don’t share this or any of the news reports on Ms Swinson alleging that the £14,000 donation to her constituency office from a director of a company which has fracking licences is in anyway dodgy or an attempt to change the LibDem’s apparent opposition to fracking.  After all  if the SNP aren’t allowed to highlight this in their election address then we wouldn’t want all her constituents in East Dunbartonshire finding out about this from any other source!  Would we?

70727307_431393637476899_4379919751955087360_n

 

 

Leaders Debate – I’ve got my letter ready!

It is unsurprising that the SNP lost its legal case to insist on Nicola Sturgeon taking part in the so-called Leaders Debate.  Yet again Scottish voters are treated with contempt.  However, this time I’m not going to simply moan about it – this time I’ll be taking a note of all the companies who advertise before, during and just after the debate.  These companies are now my target.  By taking out advertising during this programme they are hoping to increase their sales, well I’m going to point out that they won’t be getting any sales from me. Without the advertising revenue from these companies the debate would be unlikely to go ahead.  So if we can’t influence the courts to ensure fair treatment for the SNP let’s target the businesses who think they will benefit from the Leaders Debate.

Below is the draft letter I’ll be sending – obviously I’ll adapt it to include the names of the companies and their products/ services.  Feel free to copy this and adapt as you wish. These companies have the right to advertise when they want but equally us consumers have the right to choose.

Dear Advertiser,

I am writing to make you aware my concerns regarding your company running an advert during the so called ‘Leaders Debate’ on ITV/ STV.  Although this broadcast was meant to enlighten voters in the forthcoming UK General Election it was in fact a denial of democracy to voters in Scotland.

In case you were not aware, the ‘leaders’ in this debate represent two political parties which respectively poll around 20% and 15% in Scotland whereas the SNP – which has won every election for a decade in Scotland polls at around 43%.  In deciding to buy advertising during the ‘Leaders Debate’ there is a danger that many viewers in Scotland will regard your company as partially responsible for denying Scottish voters the chance to hear the leader of the SNP in these debates. 

May I also remind you that the SNP with over 120,000 members is the second largest political party in the UK.  There are many more who support the aims of the SNP who will all be perturbed that Scotland’s voice is excluded in these debates.  Whether your company has a political viewpoint or not is not relevant now, because by advertising during the Leaders Debate, you will be judged to have taken the view that Scotland’s voice is not important. 

For this reason, where possible, I will now look to any alternative company for any of the products or services you supply. If you can dismiss the views of your potential customers so easily then I see no reason to show any brand loyalty to your company.

Yours sincerely,