Don’t trust Labour on devolution

Power devolved is power retained – or so the old saying goes.  The UK Government can always over-rule a devolved government, forcing them to do as they want rather than want the members of the devolved parliament prefer.

79refThe British Labour Party is a reluctant supporter of devolution, it was their MPs who, in 1979, created the 40% rule which effectively killed off the devolved Scottish Parliament which Labour has promised to create.  The 40% rule – where 40% of the electorate had to vote in favour of devolution – had never been used before or since.  This was at a time when the electoral rolls were not as up to date as they currently are and it was accepted that the 1979 referenduminformation they contained could be as much as 18 months out of date.  This meant, for instance, that people who had died but hadn’t yet been removed from the electoral roll were effectively counted as ‘No’ voters – making the 40% target a very difficult one to reach.

When Scotland did eventually win its devolved Parliament, Labour insisted we didn’t scotexecemb1have a government – we had an ‘Executive’, a very bland description of the body of MSPs who were charged with the responsibility for a whole host of public services.  Labour’s record (supported by their Lib Dem lapdogs) was unambitious.  Everyone knew of the housing problems following the destruction of council housing via the ‘Right to Buy’ policy but Labour’s reaction was to build a grand total of 6 council houses across Scotland in their last four years in power!  The only thing they excelled in was dumping massive debts on the Scottish ‘Executive’ via their dodgy PFI scam, resulting in around £30 billion of debt as councils and the NHS had to pay exorbitant rates for new public buildings.  For instance, £100 million worth of new schools in Renfrewshire will cost the council tax payers in Renfrewshire over £530 million when the contract eventually finishes.

Labour don’t want a powerful Scottish Parliament; they don’t want devolution to work as it only highlights that decisions made in Scotland are better for the people of Scotland.  Let’s not forget it was a former Labour Minister, Lord Foulkes, who complained that the SNP Scottish Government were deliberately making public services in Scotland ‘manifestly better than south of the border’.

scotgov logo

Labour only want to create a feeble Scottish Parliament that is used to offset what they don’t like coming out of Westminster – even though their own MPs don’t do enough to criticise or even vote against such policies!  Why vote when you can abstain appears to be the motto of Labour under Corbybn!

Even though Corbyn recently echoed the comments of a UN investigator who said that, “it is outrageous that devolved administrations need to spend resources to shield people from (UK) government policies” that hasn’t stopped a Labour MSP from claiming (wrongly) that the SNP Scottish Government could mitigate the rape clause. Instead of attacking the Tories for introducing such changes, Labour decide to use this appalling legislation to attack the SNP.

Labour can never be trusted with our Parliament again and their constant bickering about mitigating Tory cuts should only serve as a reminder of just how useless this political party has become.

Three Strikes and you’re out!

 

Or the Prime Minister Theresa May should be, but she’s still hanging on in (so far).

But the time is up. Not just for Theresa May and trying to save the UK from itself over Brexit. Theresa May has had her third knock back in a row from the House of Commons and it’s clear her Brexit deal will never be passed. The MPs in the House of Commons are split and can’t find any alternative solution that they can all agree on. They have run out of time – mainly because Theresa May was allowed to run down the clock, aided and abetted by Jeremy Corbyn and his ineffectual opposition.

It’s now clear that the UK is heading for a no deal Brexit despite all the dangers it brings to the economy, jobs and even supplies of basic foodstuffs and essential medicines. The UK is unwilling to be saved from itself, it’s time we walked away. I’m sorry for those in other parts of the UK who don’t have any other option, but we do.

That option is Independence.

We are all aware of the ramifications of a no deal Brexit so preparations must be made now for the people of Scotland to assert their desire for Independence. That can either be with another referendum or by having it as the main (or perhaps only) item on the SNP’s manifesto if another snap general election is called.

It’s time we stopped interfering in the politics of the UK and focus on the future for Scotland.

Indy nothing less dark

 

Yet more evidence of the Rigged EU Referendum

The Electoral Commission has fined the Vote Leave campaign £40,000 for sending out around 200,000 unsolicited text messages.  Vote Leave claimed they had the relevant permission but destroyed them after the referendum.  What a load of nonsense, every campaigner knows you have to keep records for a certain period of time and Vote Leave either ignored that or simply didn’t have permission to send out these text messages.

This is the latest in the long saga of electoral laws broken by the Leave Campaign.  From ignoring electoral laws to dodgy donations, this campaign team has managed to subvert the rules whenever they felt like it and are only now getting a small slap on the wrist!

It is clear that the EU Referendum was flawed, it was riddled with cheating yet UK politicians like Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn insist the result must be respected!  Any normal democracy would have cancelled the result of the referendum and held a full public enquiry into how a referendum could so easily be manipulated.

By allowing the decision of this referendum to stand the British establishment is clearly saying we don’t care if you cheat in a vote – as long as we get the result we want.

The only hope for Scotland is we get -and WIN – a new Independence Referendum as soon as possible.  There is no democracy in the UK.

It’s Still Scotland’s Oil

chancellorThe condescending comments by the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond that ‘Scotland gets its fair share, and precious little thanks we get for it’ are appalling but they highlight the mentality of the British Government.

Thanks to the National a lot more Scots are aware of the lost generation of Scots who were robbed of the investment that our extensive oil and gas resources could have generated.  The McCrone Report clearly shows that successive Labour and Tory Governments connived to keep the truth of the extent of Scotland’s natural resources from the Scottish people.  Instead they claimed such resources were worthless and were running out anyway; simply lying to the electorate to keep our resources to prop up a failing UK economy.

thatcher oilAnyone who has read the McCrone Report will be aware of just how much Scotland has lost out on and how the two main British political parties worked to deny a generation of Scots the benefits of our natural resources.

Yet instead of an apology we’re treated to comments like that of the Chancellor – as if we’ve to be grateful for them hoovering up all our resources and then flicking a few crumbs in our direction!

It’s good to see in today’s National (http://bit.ly/2Hu7SYT) that former Scottish Office statistician Jim Cuthbert is calling for an Independent Scotland to get compensation from the UK Government for £100 billion worth of misappropriated oil revenues.

“Securing adequate resources to back a new Scottish currency will be critical. In this context, the question of compensation for the oil revenues which were effectively misappropriated by Westminster has to be addressed,” Jim Cuthbert

scotlands oilWe need to use this line to highlight to those that are currently undecided how much we have all been lied to by successive UK Governments.  The publication of the McCrone Report will help but not everyone will take the time to read it, but if we can highlight its relevance through our demand for compensation then let’s do it.

Let’s not waste any more resources, time or energy waiting for the UK to treat Scotland as an equal partner – it’s time we demand our independence.

 

 

… and for those who do want to read the McCrone Report – simply click the link below:

https://www.thenational.scot/news/17461406.this-is-what-westminster-doesnt-want-you-to-read-the-mccrone-report-in-full/?ref=mr&lp=1

 

Brexit End Game

Image result for brexitThis week – assuming the Prime Minister doesn’t pull another stunt – will see the final votes on Brexit. The Prime Minister has failed to convince/ bully/ bribe (delete as appropriate) a sufficient number of MPs to back her deal.  If she sticks to her promises (there’s always a first time) we could end up seeing a number of votes that could see a ‘No-deal Brexit’ ruled out and potentially an extension to Article 50 – giving the Westminster Parliament more time to come up with a deal (or even scrap the whole stupid idea). Of course, the EU would only sanction an extension if they felt there would be a significant change and something positive would happen other than the usual dithering and back-tracking we’ve seen from the Tory Government ever since the EU referendum.

The Brexit zealots are getting agitated, shouting about respecting the will of the people – yet they’re too afraid to test the current will of the people with a second referendum.  The people have spoken – or so the Brexiteers claim, as they look for other ways to protect themselves (and to hell with the rest of us).

Yet we all know that the referendum was a fraud. The Brexiteers broke just about every Image result for election fraudelectoral rule they could think of, including dodgy donations and busting campaign spending limits. But apparently anyone who complains is merely a sore loser! As is typical in the dodgy democracy called Britain – the rich get away with it, only some minor hireling is being prosecuted to make people think that the legal system works. And let’s not forget that the referendum was only an advisory referendum and the result did not have to be implemented. Yet the Tories went head first into Brexit without working out how it could be done and what the consequences would be. We’ve already seen companies closing down and moving their European headquarters out of the UK, ironically including EY (formerly Ernst & Young) who are the UK Government’s advisers on Brexit!

But it’s not just the rich Brexit backers and the Tories to blame for this. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – aka the Labour Party – have managed to let the Tories off the hook as they are too busy fighting with one another. Labour MPs spend most of their time sitting on their hands in Parliament, abstaining from one vote to another – including a recent SNP motion which would have stopped a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. Yet up pops Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell saying Labour will oppose a No Deal Brexit – but somehow they couldn’t support it last week, simply because it came from the SNP. McDonnell really is turning out to be as useless as Corbyn. Any half competent official opposition could have made mincemeat out of the current Tory Government but Labour MPs prefer to turn their fire on themselves, resulting in the breakaway New Independent Group. The fact that half a dozen or so former Labour MPs could so easily merge with former Tory MPs highlights how ideologically close these two parties have become.

It’s clear that Scotland’s interests are not being served by the failed politics of the UK. Our future as part of a post Brexit UK will be to provide our oil, gas and other resources to support a failing economy. Our resources will be drained as the UK tries to make deals with any nation that will speak to it. We know from the McCrone Report that a generation of Scots were cheated out of the oil wealth that could have transformed Scotland into an extremely rich nation. Instead we got the Winter of Discontent followed by Thatcherism, Blairism and now Brexit.

Image result for winter of discontentImage result for thatcher and blairImage result for brexit

Scotland, and the people of Scotland deserve so much more. Don’t let our resources be squandered again, let’s use our assets to build a stronger yet fairer Scotland, one where people don’t have to rely on foodbanks to feed themselves and their families. Let’s launch the Independence Lifeboat and start rowing to safety now.

SNP Civil War 2: MSM Lies continue

Last year the mainstream media, led by BBC ‘Scotland’ decided that there was a Civil War within the SNP. They tried desperately to construct this story, looking under every rock to find something, anything to prove their theory.  Unfortunately for them they faced ridicule across social media as SNP members and supporters started to take the piss out of the Civil War claims.  We heard rumours of SNP branches holding out against their foes, stacked up with original recipe Irn Bru and awaiting fresh supplies of tablet to keep their troops fighting fit!  The SNP Civil War posts got longer and more hilarious as the MSM journalists struggled to make anyone believe their fantasy claims.  Eventually they dropped the ‘civil war’ comments.

However, on Sunday 13th January Sarah Smith (the BBC’s Scotland Editor and daughter of former Labour leader John Smith) tried to start the SNP Civil War story all over again. Using no more proof than the last time the BBC launched into another SNP bad story as the last vestiges of credibility and journalistic integrity at the BBC quietly sank into the Clyde outside the BBC offices at Pacific Quay.

Both Civil War claims arose by the decision of senior civil servants within the Scottish Government to investigate alleged sexual harassment claims against former First Minister Alex Salmond; claims that he strenuously denies. The case brought forward by the civil servants spectacularly failed at Scotland’s Court of Session on Tuesday 8th January when it was revealed that the civil service had breached its own guidelines by appointing an investigating officer who had prior involvement in the case (some reports imply she encouraged the complainants to submit a complaint).  The comments from the Judge in this case were particularly scathing, stating that the civil servant’s actions had been ‘unlawful in respect that they were procedurally unfair’ and had been ‘tainted with apparent bias’.

There is still an outstanding police investigation on the claims but the role of the senior civil servants involved in this case, particularly the Permanent Secretary, Leslie Evans, certainly raise concerns over her abilities.  The legal costs alone have been estimated to be anything between £350,000 to £500,00 – add in staff time etc and the final bill will certainly exceed £1 million.  That is £1 million that will be denied to the NHS, local councils and other public services which are all desperate for investment.  Who else gets to waste £1 million and retain their job?  There is also the question of who leaked the original story to the Daily Record -as expected the civil service investigated this and cleared themselves of any blame!  Salmond has quite rightly asked the Information Commissioner’s Office to investigate this – so there may be more bad news coming to the civil service in Scotland.

This whole sorry saga seems to be an indication of civil servants acting with impunity and a thorough independent investigation into the whole case needs to be carried out to find out if there was any truth to the allegations and whether senior civil servants have abused their powers to target a former First Minister, using the press to spread malicious stories and undermine his credibility.  It goes without saying that the civil service shouldn’t be involved in such an investigation.

There have been some interesting articles on this issue with the most surprising support for Alex Salmond coming from Labour activist Ian Smart.

ian smart blog

Iain McWhirter produced an excellent article on the issue:

mcwhirter salmond

Former UK Diplomat Craig Murray also had some interesting points to make:

craigmurray salmond

The CaltonJock blog also raises some points:

caltonjock salmond

And this other blog took the opportunity to raise some background information on Leslie Evans:

evans and vac

 

i-survivedd-the-civil-war-yellow-416x234And Finally, one benefit of the SNP Civil War is the enterprising move by the people behind the Scots Independent newspaper who have been selling ‘I survived the SNP Civil War’ mugs.  These are an essential memento of the SNP civil war and can be ordered online at: http://scotsindependent.scot/FWShop/product/i-survived-the-snp-civil-war-mug/

 

 

Are you talking to me?

There is a very interesting blog on the Random Public Journal called, “Quit talking to the BBC” that is definitely worth reading.

Quit talking to the BBCThis blog examines the historic role and mission of the BBC and how this relates to the way this organisation frames any political debate that is counter to the BBC’s support for the British establishment.  Instead of reading my views on it why not click the link here: https://randompublicjournal.com/2018/08/01/quit-talking-to-the-bbc/ and read it for yourself.

Another Hiccup for Mundell!

loch fyne gin
One of the many gins produced in Scotland but ignored by the Secretary of State for Scotland!

I don’t drink gin but I know someone who does.  They like to try as many as possible but particularly favour trying Scottish gins, after all Scotland now produces something like 70% of all the gins made in the UK.  You would think that many Scots would favour their local produce, after all it helps to promote jobs and the economy in Scotland.

However, there is one person which this doesn’t apply to, David Mundell MP – the Secretary of State for Scotland!  His department have been busily promoting Forest Gin – made in Macclesfield Forrest, Cheshire, England via their UK Government in Scotland social media channels.  They used to be the Scottish Office but that sounded to ‘nationalist’ for them so they had a quick rebrand (at taxpayers expense) to emphasis their role as part of the UK Government.

Surely Mr Mundell’s department – which was criticised for failing to intervene to save 450 jobs at the Youngs Pinney site in Annan while the UK Government gave the same company a grant to create 200 similar jobs in England – could have found at least one Scottish gin producer?  Are we now in the situation where a UK Government department which is meant to bring benefits to Scotland actually uses its time and resources to promote English competitors?

Yet again this will leave many people asking – what exactly is the point of David Mundell MP – and his ‘UK Government in Scotland’?

 

Devolution is Dead: Dissolve the Union

The past couple of days have highlighted the contempt in which Scotland is held by British Nationalist politicians. All the promises of the infamous Vow of 2014 have been abandoned as have the calls for Scotland to ‘lead not leave’ the UK.

The shambolic Brexit debate severely limited the time allowed to discuss the implications Brexit would have on Scotland’s devolved Parliament, allowing only 15 minutes to discuss the Tory Power Grab – 15 minutes which were then taken up by a Tory minister. Contrast this to the debate in 1998 when the Scottish Parliament Bill took over 350 days to debate within the House of Commons, yet those devolved powers have been clawed back in around 15 minutes. This isn’t some hypothetical situation – this is the Tory Government in Westminster now grabbing powers over farming, fishing, the environment, food standards and a host of other devolved issues. Scotland’s ban on GMO’s could go as could our blocking of Fracking – it will be up to a Tory Minister in London on how these, and many other, issues will be decided.

And when the SNP’s Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP asked the Speaker what options are available (referring to Scotland, devolution and the lack of debate) a Tory MP – Ian Liddell-Grainger – shouts out ‘Suicide’! That is the contempt in which our representatives, and in turn the people of Scotland, are held by the British Nationalists within Westminster.

SNP walkout
SNP MPs walkout of Westminster Parliament

The latest fiasco of the Speaker refusing to allow a division (vote) during Prime Ministers Question Time which sparked the walkout of the SNP (the 3rd largest party in Westminster) is treated merely as a stunt. Democracy is under attack. Scotland, which hasn’t elected a majority of Tories since 1955, is about to see it’s Parliament over-ruled by Westminster.

And what of Labour and the Lib Dems. As expected the Labour MPs sat on their hands and abstained – they sat back and let the Tories do as they wish – again! Corbyn is no saviour for the working class in either Scotland or the UK, he is no more than a Tory stooge, happy to play the role of opposition leader without having to oppose their policies!

As for the Lib Dems, surely the most bizarre reason for not backing the SNP’s defence of the Scottish Parliament was given by Jo Swinson MP who claimed that she was abstaining from voting as she couldn’t support the motion of the power grab as the Scottish Parliament was against it but couldn’t vote against it as it would mean denying the Welsh Assembly what they wanted! In case Jo Swinson has forgotten she is the MP for East Dunbartonshire – in Scotland, yet she seems to have more concern about what people in Wales want rather than her own constituents.

With devolution now in its death throes its time to up the campaigning to dissolve the union with Scotland and the UK.

The SNP has launched a petition to protect the powers of the Scottish Parliament – please click the link and sign this, as well as getting involved in local campaigns to persuade more voters that devolution is dead – we need our Independence Now!Hands Off Petition

Sustainable Growth Commission: towards Independence or Infighting?

The Yes campaign was not, is not and will never be a movement where everyone agrees on everything. How could it be? From those who favour a left wing socialist Scotland to those who align with the more conservative ideals of Michael Fry, the movement for Scotland’s Independence covers a wide array of political viewpoints – and that should be respected.

Sustainable Growth Commission reportIt was obvious that the Sustainable Growth Commission, or any report from any specific body, couldn’t appeal to everyone who supports Scotland’s Independence. I’m sure there were a few raised eyebrows at Common Weal’s ‘How to start a new country’, if not the same level of opposition to it.

The point is the independence movement – if it is truly to be a movement – has to capture the hearts and minds of a wide range of people. From unskilled workers to high flying executives, from teenagers just old enough to vote to pensioners who have been voting for decades – we have to connect with everyone. It has to embrace the foibles of the rights and the opinion of the left, the environmentalism of the greens to the determination of those who want to use all our resources for Scotland’s benefit. A movement can’t be narrowly defined, following a strict set of policies and aspirations. It has to be a bigger tent that allows everyone in who supports the single, basic premise that decisions made about Scotland should be taken here in Scotland; that Independence is the only future for Scotland.

Sometimes I worry that we are too busy trying to figure out what we want to see in an independent Scotland that we’ve lost sight that we haven’t yet won our independence.

The Sustainable Growth Commission is a valuable addition to the debate about independence – as were documents from Common Weal and others. It is about independence and the possibilities that independence can bring but it is not a prescribed route to independence any more than Common Weal’s recent paper, or other ideas currently doing the rounds such as Land Value Tax (Aggregate Ground Rent) or a Citizen’s Income. These are contributions to the debate that we can sit down and settle when we get to vote for our first Independent Scottish Parliament.

In some ways I’m wary of reports like the Sustainable Growth Commissions – in the same way as the 2014 White Paper gave too many options for disagreement and too much latitude for opponents to find issues that they could attack Independence with.

Independence to me is not about economic or currency – as important as these issues are – its about having a fully functioning democracy in Scotland where our votes count. It’s about choosing a government, of whatever political flavour, that is favoured by the majority of voters in Scotland, one whose sole focus is to make an Independent Scotland prosper.

Maybe instead of long winded reports we should simply paint a few slogans on a bus instead!