Friday, 5 February 2016



For the full list of fresh new talent, which looks uncannily like the full list of stale second rate numpties, see Stuart's hilarious piece on the leaked list.

Thursday, 4 February 2016



This programme seems reasonable.

Looking at his proposals individually...

Why would you call a wage you can't live on a "living wage"? And why should the taxpayer subsidise employers who refuse to pay enough to live on? Corporate welfare, while they tear welfare away from the sick and the poor.

Why do big companies get away with not paying tax? So that government ministers can secure lucrative directorships after they get their seat in the Lords? If not ...why else?

Austerity takes money out of the system. Usually money that would have been spent, not stashed away in a Jersey bank account or a British Virgin Islands trust fund. It doesn't work. In any case it's only austerity for some. I don't see Charlie Windsor Saxe Coberg on the bus! His income has gone up, as has his mother's. 

Investing in infrastructure has many advantages. Firstly you are improving the infrastructure... (and heaven knows, it needs it). You're building new bridges, better roads, faster communications, 21st century railways (fuelled by electricity, not diesel), less congestion, better internet speeds... 

And then it provides jobs. These things don't just happen. People have to design them, build them, conveyance the contracts, sell the workers tea and bacon rolls... These people earn money; mostly they spend that money and create other jobs which in turn...well you know. And all the material has to come from somewhere, be shipped and transported. That's all work.

It's a joke that some parts of the UK the average wage does not cover the cost of renting a modest home. Why are we paying out benefits to landlords for excessive rents, sometimes from slum properties? More corporate welfare. But then, ask yourself how many MPs and Lords are landlords.

I'm not advocating taxing people who are making a modest but decent salary. Most of them, in Britain, have student debt and mortgage debt not to mention credit card debt already and struggle. 

But when people earn really high salaries I see no reason why, on that part of their salary that is over around 6 times the national wage, they should not pay 50% of it in tax. That won't make them poor. Their kids won't go without. In any case many will just give themselves another pay rise.

Some organisations can be run by private companies, but essentials should be owned by the people. Utter necessities must be under the control of the elected government, even if private companies have minority shares in them. 

Water, Electricity, Gas for starters. Then let's look at the Post Office, telecommunications, the railways. And there should be no private ownership of the health service or for the services of the Department of Work and Pensions. It's madness.

We're not endorsing the Labour Party here. At least we would NEVER endorse the the bunch of numpties they have in Scotland. But Corbyn's people have some good ideas for the 90% to take back the country from the 10%.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


At Munguin's Republic, we're very much for increasing public spending to the point where our services operate efficiently and provide safety and security for all Scots.

We are wary of raising taxes to do this, but agree that sometimes it is the only way to provide the wherewithal, especially in a country where the state assets have already been stripped to the bone and sold off cheap. Anybody ever wonder what Harold Macmillan would have thought of the fact that we are now down to selling off the family's clothes, never mind silver?

Anyway, clearly we'd like to see education better resourced, along with more generous funding for healthcare, social care, policing and law and order in general, roads, transport, decent pensions and benefits, getting rid of the need for food banks, etc..

Saving money on unneeded expenditure is clearly a much better way of providing funds for necessities than taking more money from individuals, so before taxes are raised, every possible way of saving money should be explored.

We'd like to see less waste and less money spent on things we really don't need. From big things costing the earth, to little things that add together to make big sums.

'So what would you save money on, Munguin', we hear you ask, and 'isn't that exactly what Westminster is doing?'  Well, in a way, but Westminster has got it all wrong. It's trying to save money by destroying the very public services that we would raise money for. We would do it differently! Trident might be a good starting place. What on earth is it for? What would happen to us if we didn't have it? 

We reckon it is there to make Britain look like it is still an important world power which we really don't think it is. It's there to guarantee Britain's place as a permanent member of the UN Security Council (itself an outdated body representing the world as it was in 1945, not as it is 71 years later.) It has no place there. Britain can't afford it. it has £1.6 trillion of debt.

Along with that there is a vast amount of money that could be saved in the MoD in general. Planes without ships; ships without planes; 260 captains for 19 ships;  more admirals than ships; equipment that is useless before it's done a day's work; light bulbs in the MoD at £22 a shout, more admin staff than soldiers.... and on and on.

But there is so much else that is wasteful. £7 billion and rising to do up Westminster has got to be near the top of the list, and don't get us started on one über-rich family living in 6 palaces in the London region and one in Edinburgh. 

That's only a couple of departments, and there are many more.

But if taxes must rise, then they must. The trouble is that to make tax rises fair a government have have control of a wide range of them. It's not much of an asset to simply be able to vary income tax, without balancing that with other large yield taxes like duty or VAT. That is the Scottish government's problem, and always has been.

That said, in the early days of Scottish devolution, the SNP proposed "a penny for Scotland". It went down like the Titanic, with Labour being its chief critic. Strange then that they appear to have had the same idea, using powers which the Scottish government does not yet have... and indeed may never have. 

Many questions remain to be answered about Labour's "Penny for Scotland", not least how they would make a rebate to people earning under £20,000, when they have no powers to do so, either under tax or social security powers (yet to be granted to them) and whether their proposal of a £100 rebate paid by local councils (which have no information on which to base their calculations) would itself attract tax, whether at 20% UK rate or 21% Scottish rate, or indeed a reduction in any in-work benefits paid to them. And who would pay for the admin?

There will be a great deal of analysis done over the next few weeks, I'm sure, but at the moment it doesn't sound like its a practical proposal and it already seems to be unravelling.

And Niko, before you say it, yes, I know they are proposing to put up the tax on those earning over £150,000 and I think that that is a very good idea, but people are already saying that they can simply change their taxable addresses to England or Wales to avoid it. Remember when the French put up their top level of tax, didn't Mr Cameron offer an open invitation to rich French folk to go live in London? Won't he just do that with Scots?

If you've got a few bob spare, you might like to consider this crowd funder from our friend and blog roll member, The North British News. Shaun is a seriously nice and funny guy, and his satire is biting.

Saturday, 30 January 2016



2: Not sending you for the shopping again!
3: Lichtenstein Castle.
8: Lake Chiemsee, Bavaria. (Thank you, David.)
12: Arashiyama, Japan.
14: Thanks Jim.
16: Kids, huh? They just come back and bite you on the butt.
18: Paddle Steamer with a difference.
21: Edinburgh Castle with a bit of an omen in the sky.
25: Don't worry, Panda Paws... :)
Thanks to Jim and David for sending pictures for inclusion.

Thursday, 28 January 2016



Admirably, Ms Baillie, in this tweet back in June, shows her concern and support for women who suffer from breast cancer. 

Rather less admirably, today she takes part in a Daily Mail Tory hate fest against Dr Philippa Whitford MP, whom the Mail accuses of being on the make becasue, over Christmas she did a few days work at her local hospital while fellow surgeons were unable to work, because of ill-heath, I believe. (Staff illness is something that would be avoidable even if Ms Baillie were cabinet secretary for health. No one wants a sick surgeon wielding a knife over them and regulations on this are pretty strict.)

Prior to being an MSP, Ms Baillie was employed in administration work with East Dunbartonshire Council and Strathkelvin District Council. She may therefore be unaware that medical doctors and surgeons are require to keep their skills honed in order that they may be able to continue to work in their speciality.

It seems not to have occurred to the Mail that, had Dr Whitford not been prepared to take these shifts, there is a real possibility that sick women might have had to have their operations postponed. Presumably then they could have counted upon Ms Baillie to roundly condemn the government for cancelling operations.

Stuart Campbell covered this very fully with his customary competence this morning, and of course we can't add anything to that. Nonetheless, such was our contempt for the article that we just couldn't let the subject go with out expressing our disgust.

The fact that Dr Whitford claimed a salary for operating is seen as a issue. That that salary is some £50+ per hour was seen as a further issue. But surely that is what surgeons earn. We seem to remember that Ms Baillie's erstwhile colleague, Mr Straw, demanded far more for using his influence, whilst a member of another place. The Editor of the Daily Mail wouldn't get out of bed for that kind of money.

We wonder, incidentally, if a Labour government in Edinburgh would slash top doctors' salaries?

No, thought not.

By all means oppose, Jackie. By all means have a go at what you see as inadequacies in the Scottish government's programme and how they implement it. It is far from perfect and we need good opposition. 

But this isn't good opposition.

This is you being crass, cheap and nasty. SNP bad no matter what they do, because they have our salaries and our positions, eh?

Update: I've just seen this blog from Craig Dalzell, who knows Philippa Whitford personally.