Saturday, 28 March 2015

Friday, 27 March 2015

LETTERS TO LABOUR (IN THE TRADITION OF HRH)

Dear Mr Murphy,

Shortly after you were elected as the leader of the Scottish branch of the UK Labour Party, you said that you would not lose a single seat to the SNP.

If you should lose the odd seat to that party, will you resign your leadership?

Kind regards


Munguin.

++++++++++

Dear Mr Murphy,

If the Tories have 290 seats, Labour has 280 seats and the SNP 45 seats, will your boss allow the Tories to form a minority government rather than work with the SNP to promote left of centre policies?

Best wishes

Munguin.

++++++++++

Dear Ms Lamont,

As an elder stateswoman of the Labour Party, what do you think of the job Jim Murphy is doing?

Salutations

Munguin.

++++++++++

Dear Labour,

The London Labour spokesperson on Work and Pensions has said that Labour is not the party of the unemployed, nor would it wish to be seen as such.

Whilst, of course, I was aware that the party was not exclusively dedicated to the unemployed, I thought that at least they had an interest in their welfare. Indeed I could be quite sure that they used to care about people who were out of work.

Would you care to indicate to the unemployed who they should now vote for if they wish to elect someone who gives a damn?

Sincerely

Munguin.

++++++++++

Dear Mr McTernan,

I've been reading that you have on numerous occasions praised Mrs Thatcher and indicated that a Tory revival would be good for Scotland.

Is that the general feeling of the Labour Party in Scotland?

Best wishes

Munguin.

++++++++++

Dear Mr Murphy,

Could you please let me know what would be your priority if Labour were to be elected to power in Scotland? (No, don't laugh.)

Would it be dealing with the number of people who are using foodbanks, or would it be making sure that Trident were renewed?

Your truly

Munguin.

+++++++++++

Dear Mr Murphy,

In England you appear to think that £6 000 is a reasonable amount for students to pay each year to avail themselves of a bachelor's degree. In Scotland you appear to think that that sum is £6 000 too much.

Could you explain what is different between Scottish and English students?

Kind regards

Munguin.

++++++++++

Dear Mr Miliband,

It has been Labour policy for over 100 years to abolish the House of Lords.

It is SNP policy to abolish the House of Lords.

Is this something you could work together on, or would Willie Bain insist that 100 years of traditional Labour thinking on aristocratic rule be over turned because a wee lassie in a tin hat also happens to believe that?

Yours sincerely

Munguin.

+++++++++++

Thursday, 26 March 2015

TWO SMALL VICTORIES FOR OPENNESS...AND WILLIE GOES OUT ON A FAILURE!

I'm no fan of John Bercow and I never have been. 

He's always come over as a pompous, trumped up little pipsqueak.

(That said, I've always had the deepest sympathy for the man being lumbered with the embarrassing Mrs Bercow.)

I understand from the likes of Pete Wishart though, that, pomposity aside, Bercow has, in fact, been a fair and decent Speaker and has tried to modernise at least some of the tomfoolery that passes for procedure in the House of Commons.

But he used to be a Tory and because he doesn't automatically take their side, he is much hated by most but not all, of them.

So it seems that, as a parting shot, their last piece of legislation in this parliament was designed to make the election of a Speaker a secret affair. Instead of going through lobbies to choose a Speaker, the Eton Boys wanted to have a secret ballot, which they felt would be more likely to result in Bercow being dumped.

Brought forward by the leader of the House, Mr Hague, as his last action in elected politics (I'm sure he will shortly re-appear as an aristocrat), the motion failed.


Good

With Auntie
Britain is reputed to be one of the most secretive countries in the Western world. We should be working to make less and less of what happens in that mausoleum secret. Only a set of conniving, vindictive, nasty, over privileged Tories would have come up with a scheme to enshrine MORE secrecy into the way that they operate.

It comes, of course, on the same day that the Supreme Court ruled that Charlie Sax-Coburg-Gotha's black spider quill penned letters wasting ministers' time with his pet policy demands, should also be made public, despite the government ruling that he could have an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act, because he was... well, HIM.


Prime Minister Eton Boy obviously disapproved and called the ruling "disappointing". He said the government would now consider how best to release the documents. I'd suggest he just releases them like he's been told to. It was the Guardian newspaper that asked for them. The Supreme Court has agreed with them that they are public. Or maybe he'd like to go to Appeal at the European Court before he takes England out of the Human Rights legislation?

Cameron said: "This is about the principle that senior members of the royal family are able to express their views to government confidentially. I think most people would agree this is fair enough."

Charlie pretending to be Nigel Farage
Not sure about that actually. I, for one, don't agree on the basis that we pay MPs' wages; we pay ministers' wages; we pay for the royals. We are their bosses, their employers. We want to know what they waste our money on.

I know that some governmental discussions must remain secret. Those relating to wars, weapons and international intrigue perhaps, but the letter that Charlie sends to ministers demanding his views be taken into consideration? Absolutely not. He's a paid employee like the rest of them, and should have no special privileges of secrecy. He is NOT the head of state. 

Mr Cameron hinted, in typical Tory style, that the legislation could need tightening in the wake of the ruling. Just like when the courts ruled against the employment law relating to enforced work experience, and they introduced retrospective legislation to get round it?

In one day we have two blows for liberty against the obnoxious Tory and Liberal government (and yes, Clegg was against the publication of the letters too). We should redouble or efforts to ensure that we keep them out of power until such time as we can get the hell out of this union.

The cheering thought for the day though is ... what a way for Hague to bow out of front line politics... at least until the next time.

Disabled man gets benefits reinstated- A rare DWP story with a happy ending

We have heard, over and over again, sad stories of people being denied benefits that they need, particularly those benefits which are there for people who are sick or disabled. 

Almost invariably these stories have had a sad ending, often involving the death of the claimant.

But for once we have a story with a happy ending, and possibly we can learn something form this. 

Firstly the family concerned went to to the local newspaper with their story, and so got it publicity. 

Secondly, of course, we are but 40 odd days away from a General Election. The two may or may not be connected.

Anyone with a legitimate grievance against the DWP might think that this an appropriate time to air their views through their local press. And just to be sure, to do it before the election while politicians pretend to give a damn.

Here's the story:

A disabled 62-year-old man whose benefits were stopped because the DWP said he was fit to work, has had them re-instated after his story appeared in the Chronicle.

Richard Ashby, of Sandy Lane, Goostrey, has Pagets Disease, a bone disorder in which the normal repair process is disrupted. He also has osteo-arthritis, is diabetic and says he keeps falling asleep because of the medication he is on.
On January 6, following a medical inspection by Atos in December, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) stopped Richard’s £70 a week Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

“He was called in for the medical in December and on January 6 they sent a letter out to say they were stopping his money and he’s fit to work,” Richard’s cousin, Sarah Thorne told the Chronicle at the time.

Richard appealed against the decision explaining he was in constant pain and not fit to work but, despite repeated calls to the DWP, Sarah said they made no progress with getting the benefits re-instated, so she contacted the Chronicle.

The story appeared on January 28.

“Two days after they reinstated his money – after it had appeared in the Chronicle,” said Sarah.

“He’s got his money reinstated and they’ve now put back what he was stopped. I’m sure it’s to do with putting it in the Chronicle.”

Richard, who lodges at his cousin’s house, has also since had an apology and been told he is eligible for another benefit payment.

The former lorry driver who left school at 14 and had worked all his life until he became ill in 2011, said at the time he had been made to feel like a scrounger by the DWP.

“In the end it’s turned out better than we could have hoped for,” he said.

The emphasis and illustrations are ours.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Midweek Mélange

It won't stop them trying to blame Thatcher on the SNP, but it's nice to know the truth.
Right. So 105 years later... and the House of Lords is still there!
How's that working out?
Well, you won't be able to until we are independent, but you could help the Labour party fulfil their promise, if a little late...
Bizarre that there are so many Labour MPs decrying this budget, when Ed wouldn't change it at all...
As usual, nail hit firmly on the head.
Don't worry Rachel. We know that you metropolitan lot can't be annoyed with the unemployed.
Lynton Crosby or John McTernan. I get them mixed up.
Somebody tell Jim Murphy that this man existed?
Mark yourselves out of 100.
Poor old posh Ed.
|We know this. They know this. But they cling to the idea that the 'Great' in Great Britain means something other than
simply 'Large' by comparison to Bretagne (Brittany).
So how can this non legal entity be a separate party with its own leader and different patriotic Scottish policies
when it cannot even be sued for wrongful dismissal?
Isn't it funny...?
When will we see Tory Threat...? far far more worrying.
Amazingly, as they feel so strongly about it
they are going to make them illegal.
David Cameron is reported in the Daily Telegraph to have told friends he regards SNP leader Alex Salmond as "bagged, stuffed and mounted on my wall".  Might have been a tad premature.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

LET'S LOOK AT BRITISH VALUES

We should know what they are. Otherwise we might be infringing them, and making ourselves terrorists.

The expression says: Ughh Ordinary people!
I just read this comment on Wings from “Heedtracker” (to whom my thanks):

‘The Home Office defines extremism as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.” '

I always get a bit annoyed when I read about “British Values”. We often hear about how “fair play” and “decency”, “cricket” and all that sort of stuff, forms the very backbone of our society, and somehow is exclusive to people from these islands. 

I get even more cross when I hear British values defined as “democracy”, “the rule of law”, “individual liberty”, etc. What rubbish. Britain is a chancer nation. A SPIV.

We've talked about this alleged "democracy" so many times on Munguin’s Republic.  What democracy, we've asked!

We have no constitution. I know that they say we do, and that it’s simply unwritten. But in reality they make it up as they go along, citing tradition or discarding it, as and when it suits their purposes.

We have an unelected head of state whom we were brought up to believe had no real powers (the real powers having been ceded by custom and practice by Victoria when she took VERY extended bereavement leave after the death of her husband). But we've found out recently that she actually has authority to interfere with law making and that she uses it.
We are not amused!

A person above the law because she IS the law.

Additionally she has an heir who has powers to alter laws, in particular over the Duchy of Cornwall. 

Furthermore the entire royal family has vast privilege and huge influence over affairs of state with the authority, or influence, to summon ministers and to be listened to. These powers are frequently accompanied by an astounding lack of skills.

We have a chamber of parliament populated by: 
two hereditary aristocrats; 
90+ aristocrats self selected from within their own class of a thousand or so dukes, viscounts, earls and marquises; 
26 senior churchmen from only one religion, and at that, only one sect of that religion (where is the tolerance of different faiths there?), 
and hundreds and hundreds of placemen of political parties. 

These placemen are appointed by political leaders to sit in the upper house, for life, with aristocratic titles (with their children being granted junior titles). Some are ex politicians, in certain cases high ranking, but in other cases, dead-weights who have been bought with aristocratic titles because their seat has been needed for someone better connected, and sometimes people who were rejected at the ballot box and rewarded with a job in politics anyway. "To hell with what the public thought of you... have a Barony!" Sometimes of course the seat os bought by enormous donations.

Then there’s a Privy Council, a convenient way for a few selected faithful (it has a quorum of 3), in the presence of the queen, to pass laws as ‘Orders in Council’ without any discussion in parliament.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...£300 and bubbly ZZZZZZZZZ
There is a House of Commons elected on a first past the post system, capable of producing massive majorities, or elected dictatorships, on as little as 35% of the vote. Seventy-five percent of seats never change hands and many members have a seat for life. (Some even pass it down to their offspring, eh Anas?).

There is a whipping system within the chamber which guarantees party loyalty on pain of career collapse, or personal embarrassment (we'll tell your wife!), and there are a variety “lost in the mists of time” procedures which can stop a bill in its tracks.  

The “I spy Strangers” ploy!

As Jim and John pointed out below, there's the Remembrancer. Now there's something from the middle ages!

As for the “rule of law”. Oh please, this cracks me up!!

Would that be the rule of law that allowed the Hillsborough disaster to be relayed to the public in the way that it was, with backing from the very top, so as not to damage the incompetent police management, but happily destroy the reputations of football fans… because they could?

Would that be the rule of law that, time after time, saw child abuse investigations being closed down by the secret police, by senior police officers or by MPs themselves?

Would that be the rule of law that saw the BBC cover up Savile’s (and others) behaviour for decades; that saw the Civil Service lie and cheat for the UK government during the Scottish referendum (and how many other times)  and have the Queen voice an opinion against all her supposed constitutional responsibilities?

Would it be the rule of law that saw police colluding with the press in return for pay-offs to get red tops sensational stories and make HSBC quantities of money? 
Now, here's the plan LOL

Or the rule of law that found the senior management of these papers to be blameless, utterly unaware of where the sensational stories came from, or where all the money was going?

Is it the rule of law that saw Blair and his ministers lie to parliament and to the people so that he could go to war in Iraq, against the United nations advice, to support his friend, George Bush? (How did that work out Tony?)

There’s the rule of law for some, and a very different rule of law for others. 

The much vaunted respect for people of other faiths, of course, as well as favouring bishops and archbishops of the English church by giving them titles and a seat in parliament, excludes anyone who is not a member of the Church of England, from being in line to the throne.  Not that that affects many of us, but it remains incredibly disrespectful to other Christian sects, and and other faiths not considered good enough.

What about the rule that in state schools (depending on the country) an act of Christian worship is obligatory on a regular basis (once a day in England).

So what democracy? What rule of Law? What respect?

British values…?

Stop and ask yourself:  Who do you trust in the British establishment?

You're the most wonderful man in
the world Sir Jimmy
The members of the House of Commons who as recently as 2009 were shown by the Telegraph to have an inordinate number of cheats in their midst? And who, despite being shown up for what they were, continue to be found out by sting operations from Channel Four’s “Despatches” on a weekly basis?

The members of the House of Lords who were similarly shown up by the Times? The Noble Lord Hanningfield who, having gone to prison for fiddling, and managing to get out within days by having a nervous breakdown, went straight back to his old ploy of signing in for his £300 and buggering off home?

The police who took bribes from the newspapers or who demonised Liverpool fans, or who were described as “institutionally racist” by the Lawrence inquiry?

The newspapers themselves who would sell their granny into slavery for a story?

The BBC which, when it wasn't paying executives massive salaries to travel around the world in first class, like royalty, was turning a blind eye to depravity in its dressing rooms?

The City of London and the hallowed banking and insurance industry??

Do you… could you, actually trust anyone at all?


I sometimes wonder if people in the Home Office, and indeed other government departments, have ever stopped and listened to themselves, or if, living in cloud cuckoo land, they really actually believe the rubbish they spout.

Monday, 23 March 2015

WHY DO THEY KEEP TALKING ABOUT A COALITION THAT HAS BEEN RULED OUT?

Why do the Tories keep on about how unthinkably bad a coalition between Labour and the SNP would be for the UK?


As far as I understand, Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out any such coalition. Alex Salmond said the same thing yesterday on the Marr show. And Ed Miliband appears to have officially ruled it out too.



In the event of a hung parliament the SNP has said that it will not do a deal that will put the Tories into Number 10. 


It has not said that it wouldn't do a similar deal to put Labour in... and, let's be honest, one of them has to be there. Clegg, or his successor as Liberal leader, is not going to be the Prime Minister.


The reality, as I understand it, is that every government has to be able to get a budget through parliament.  That means getting it through the Commons as the aristocrats are not allowed to overturn a budget. That is the essential in whether or not a government will work.



An arrangement whereby Angus Robertson's team would negotiate and agree on a budget, is surely something that would allow Miliband to go to the Queen and say that he could command a majority in the Commons.



After that, without a coalition, any party can vote on those things with which it agrees, and vote against those things with which is does not. The SNP would vote on law which broadly met its social democratic principles and against law which did not.



Surely that is the way it should work in any case, unless you apply the Bain Principle, whereby you refuse to  back an individual policy on the basis that it has been initiated by a party you hate.

There is no rule that says you have to back a particular party all the way. Even within the present Tory/Liberal coalition there are issues where the parties have not backed each other. (Most notably the Tories refused to back the Liberal changes to the House of Lords, which would have seen some element of election, and the Liberals refused to back Tory changes to the House of Commons, which would have given them an advantage over Labour.)

Mr Miliband has not yet even been asked if he would accept this kind of arrangement. Perhaps it would be an idea for someone to ask him?


The SNP has said that it would vote on English-only matters where there was a consequence of these policies for the funding arrangements in Scotland. Surely that is only fair. If an England only policy is going to result in a alteration to the funding in Scotland, then that affects the Scottish population and Scottish MPs deserve a voice.



Equally it seems reasonable that matters which have no consequence in Scotland, should be left to English or English and Welsh MPs to vote on, as appropriate.

***********