Monday, 1 March 2010


The upcoming election to the Westminster assembly is much less important for Scots than for others in the United Kingdom. Much of my daily life is regulated from Edinburgh, and that’s the way it should be. However, as there are areas of my life that are affected by who sits in Westminster, like the elections for the Brussels assembly, I take this one seriously too.

Official electioneering hasn’t yet started but every day we are hearing the so-called leaders (I fail to see much leading) tell us how they will change things come May 7 (or whenever).

We can’t judge until we see the official manifestos, but I get the impression that little will change whoever wins the election, despite contrary claims. Much of the manifestos will be of no interest to Scotland, for example the Tories announced today that they will expand Labour’s Academies policies! Nothing to do with us as, fortunately, we have our own education system.

I thought it would be interesting to have a post on what I... and then we.... would like to see in the manifestos. I expect that David Cameron, Peter Mandleson and Nick Clegg read this blog and the comments avidly, so perhaps we shall effect some change by our efforts.

And as it’s my ball, I’ll take the first kick.... so to speak:

I’d like to see:

Root and branch reform of the Commons, making it smaller reflecting its reduced role, particularly in Celtic poss
essions; looking at salaries and conditions of employment of MPs (fewer holidays, fewer bars and restaurants); considering the role of whips and the strengthening of select committees; considering the introduction of some suitable form of PR. (Scotland would have to lose seats, and I’m happy with that) the setting up of an English parliament;

Abolition of the Lords and consultation about how and indeed IF it should be replaced, possibly including a trial period to see if England can operate without it. Scotland already does;

Selling off most of the BBC, leaving a core service in line with the original intentions of the founders;

An agreement to have a proper consultation about the future of all the Celtic nations and their relationship with England. The current situation is unworkable and the Calman commission, ignoring the possibility of independence in its discussions, was quite plainly the brainchild of a huffy irritable, childish prime minister, determined to stuff the SNP;

Finally (and this will never happen) the setting up a committee to look at the head of state after the death of the Queen. There will be difficulties when Charles becomes King Charles and his wife remains the Duchess of Rothsay, Mrs Parker–Bowles. I would like to see the monarchy abolished, but it’s not likely to happen, however the country cannot have this dysfunctional situation with the King and his “wife”. Additionally we are too poor to support the Windsor hangers-on with palaces and helicopters. It has to be slimmed down.

Not much to ask for is it? I’d be delighted to hear suggestions from others about what they would like to see in the leading parties’ manifestos.


  1. Cannae argue wi much of what you've said there, Tris, though i'm a bit worried bout kickin the BBC. Aye, it's top employees should be paid considerably less (as should top employees of almost every corporation and private company in the land) but it's still the best broadcaster and provider of impartial news on this dear wee planet.

    I'd like to see a commitment to withdraw from Afghanistan, destroy all nuclear weapons, dismantle the armed forces, promise not to get involved in any more silly wars but to actuall provide action (maybe even armed forces) to enact United Nations resolutions. There should be a small civil defence organisation risen from the best of our existing forces to support tht UN thing and to canoe old ladies out of their hooses when the inevitabe floods arrive.

    With all that money we'd save on the armed forces and all those people with nobody to fight against, i'd massively invest in public transport and renewable energy sources such as tidal turbines (or whatever they're called).

    Eh...that's all really.

  2. Nothing much there to disagree about. Not the PR we have here in Scotland that was designed to keep Labour in power, it worked for the first two terms. But the ridiculous nonsense of list MSP that have very little to do and in the worst case scenarios are simply toadying party apparatchiks, Lord Foulkes springs instantly to mind and most of the Scottish Tories (I think they only have three constituency MSPs). We should have proper PR not a half way house fudge. Lets hope that if there is a hung parliament the Lib Dems will insist on full PR. Lets face it the only good things done in Scotland by the first two parliaments were as a result of the Lib Dem influence, Labour left to its own devices would have done nothing different from what was going on in England.

    Far less whipping and voting at your parties call instead of the interests of your constituents as was intended. Abolition of the Lords and the Royal family are high up my republican agenda as are getting rid of all gongs, titles and honours from the British Empire. It really is about time we put the British Empire to sleep for ever and got over it, the royals are a huge block to that so in my opinion they should go.

  3. I am afraid I do not agree with the idea that the BBCs news is impartial. I have watched their Scottish news and really it is simply what is going on in Glasgow. I presume because that is where they are based and presumably where most Labour voters are. We never hear a thing about Dundee or Aberdeen yet get full details of the latest pub fight in Glasgow. The BBC does not consider Scotland to be a nation but a region and as such it can simply make do with news from Glasgow. Just the same as if you lived in Oxfordshire you would have to make do with news from Oxford. STV on the other hand do provide a Dundee bulletin and an Aberdeen one. And of course the BBCs main news is full of what’s going on in England, education, crime and so on with no mention of the fact that it does not apply at all to Scotland. I would get rid of it all together and spend the money on improving regional broadcasting. Why does everything in UK plc have to pay its way in the commercial sector except the BBC?

  4. Well, I knew you'd have sensible propsals Naldo, and I'd agree with all of them.

    What I mean about the BBC that there is no real need for it to be running, at fantastic expense, the likes of Radios 1 and 2; there's no need for all these TV channels. I know everyone's taste is different but now we have 100+ channels to watch we don't need the BBC to be doing Eastenders and Strictly and what have you. They need to do that because they cost us £140+ a year and people would revolt if all they did was provide news and educational programmes....
    But if they only cost at most £20 a year most people wouldn't bother.

    One radio service and one tv service and maybe some local stations is about what they need.

    I think the word news service is good, it may even be the best in the world, although France Inter is good and VoA too, but Scotland needs its own 6 o’clock news. I’m sick to the back teeth of listening to English news like it was happening here. And Jackie Bird needs to take the snarl off her lips when she says Alex Salmond. She is entitled not to like him; it's her business if she hates him, but we pay her to be neutral, and we all know they are not.

  5. Munguin: I agree. The sale of BBC assets would be fantastic. They would bring in money we desperately need. And of course all these people who tell us that they could earn more in the private sector would have their dreams come true. Doubtless they would earn what the market thought they were worth, and not what a bottomless pot of money could pay them regardless of the real word that the rest of us live in.

  6. I want to see:

    1. Financial sector reforms, placed out in detail.

    2. Spending cuts proposals layed out in detail.

    3. A pledge to restore the House of Stuart [yeh, a bit of a hopeful one!].

    4. A pledge to accelarate the harmonisation process with Brussels

    5. Full fiscal autonomy for Scotland, Wales, Northern and Southern England.

    6. Reversal of the 10p tax band

    7. reversal of Labours tax on jobs- the nat insurance contributions

    8. Reforms aimed at sliming the Beeb down to size, it is too large, too much of a money waster.

    9. Re-nationalisation of the rail industry, and English water

    10. Privatisation of the Government owned banks asap.

    11. A comittment to match MacMillans social home building record, and construct 300,000 new homes for sale/rent each year. [This would also help the contruction industry pay for this by suspending the trident project...for now]

    I live in a substantial amount of hope.

  7. I think we ought to have a written constitution, with a constitutional court to decide on changes. That way the various organs of Government would know what they can and cannot do. So we wont have the lunacy of a Monarch that has everything done in her name but does not do a thing about anything for fear of jeopardising her position and that of heirs and successors.

  8. Dean that's quite a list, I agree with almost all of it! (Not the restoration of the Stuarts clearly, by the way do you mean to the Scottish Throne or the British one?). Are you sure you are a Tory??

  9. A good number of that list ought to appear in Camerons manifesto, however the Stuart restoration is one I dont think is mainstream enough!

    Restored to the Scots throne at least- preferably the English one too as it is their right.

    ...Tory, yes? Thatcherite, No.

  10. A manifesto that Cameron would stick to, come what may, would be a step in the right direction. Does he not realise that he would not have to stick to it after the election? New Labour didn't.

    Bless Dean, the Stuarts restored to the British throne, that's even more unlikely than a Republic! It's nice to know that monarchists can have constitutional aspirations even more off kilter than republicans.

  11. Dean: That's not a bad wish list. I'm beginning to think along the lines of nationalisation for trains too. Can't really object to anything on the list although I think that you are clutching at straws with the restoration of the Stuarts... as you admit yourself. I'd prefer an elected head of state, but in the great scheme of things, I'm more worried about the problems of unemployment and illiteracy that whether the head of state is called Your Excellency or Your Majesty.

  12. Munguin. I'd like to see a written constitution too. These twisters use the fact that it is not written to make it say what they want it to say.


  13. Really none of my business on this side of the pond, but I'm finding this interesting.

    It seems that you have "manifestos" to "stand" on. We have "platforms"....and we "run" on them...go figure.

    In a presidential election year here, each party's nominating convention passes a "platform" for their presidential candidate to run on. As far as I can tell, nobody subsequently pays any actual attention to the party platforms at all....least of all, the candidates.

    In an off-year this year....there are no platforms. No party leaders for that matter, except for the president....sort of an informal party leader I guess.

    Back to the manifestos, Dean's restoration of the Stuarts was a bit of a jaw dropper. Suppose there's still a Stuart pretender to the throne running around Europe somewhere?

  14. There is indeed Danny, currently the HRH the Duke in Bavaria, de jure Francis II King of Scots, His Grace King of England, and heir of the Commonwealth realms.

    For more check out this Jacobite forum, full of modern day jacobites like myself, still holding up the flag for HRH, the TRUE monarch.

    I myself am a member of the forum.

  15. Thanks for this information and the link Dean. Really very interesting.

    The Jacobites are alive and well! The Duke of Cumberland must be spinning in his grave. :-)

  16. Ah really dinnae ken whit yez ar aw gaun oan aboot ristorin' the Stuarts like it wis a slap-oan-the-heid moment. De yez no think aboot it aw the time? Coz ah dae.

    Mind, ah wid only bring Mary back, an mibbe her faither, but ye can chuck the rest o' them, aye an' that puffed-up pansy Chairles the first wan, ye can cut his heid aff, again. If ye ask me, they were awright, up until Mary goat hersel sired by that English creamcake and sometime music critic Henry, then they aw went tae live in London toon, got fat, made a midden o' everythin, endin up as a Duke in Bavaria.

    Ah wia gaunnae write aboot the manifestos, but ah cannae mind wit ah wiz gaunnae say

  17. Munguin

    Quite right Edinburgh Council does indeed regulate much of your life..

  18. Aye. The two prospective governments in Westminster share one thing. Neither of them can do anything about the economy, and neither of them will bring about the necessary changes in the constitution. Ah know, that's two things. Neither will they reform themselves, not so long as they shuffle about in Pugin's gothic coffin on the Thames.

    Westminster will not be broken, because the English nation will not let it. They are rightly proud of their Parliaments held there for centuries. Let them decide its future.

    And let us decide ours.

    Which of the parties will give us a say in our nation's future? Which of the parties are even speaking about our nation's future?

    (Some of our parties are so committed to our nation's future they are willing to risk it by siting Trident submarines up the Clyde. Now there's a future for you.)

    I would also like to see manifestos printed out black type on white paper, A4 preferably. Nae gloss, nae tints, nae photies. It wid be easier oan ma een.

    Ah want the lads brought hame, ah want a National Railway, ah want mair pension an' less jail. An' ah want separate Eurovision entries.

    An' ah wid sell the Falklands oot-ah mean off!

  19. Sophia Pangloss

    stupid boy all Westminster elections are about our nation's future

  20. Oh for God’s sake restoring the Stuarts would just be substituting one bunch of useless unelected German wastrels for another. What we need is a democratically elected President, with power in a properly constituted republic. Hell why not have a bill of rights as well?

    Mr MixedPickle: I don’t recollect saying anything about Edinburgh parish council as your ex-glorious leader Ant would have had it, but for the intervention of the Council of Europe. Still that did not stop Ant and later old glass ball taking all the credit for devolution. I think you want to direct that to Tris.

  21. Dean, man you sound as much of a Tory as Tony Blair's a socialist.

    Is Sean Connery no the latest Pretender to the Stuart throne? He doesnae live here so he's as well qualified as yer Marys and yer Chairlies.

    I'd prefer an elected heid bummer masel though. And a written constitution.

  22. Oh aye, and Sophia, your comments made me giggle/think and yer profile's awfy interestin. You really should write yer ain blog (an i should stop tellin cats howta lead thi lives).

  23. Danny... If you run on a platform aren't you likely to fall off the end and break your leg/neck or something?

    On the other hand, standing one’s manifesto probably makes it all dirty and squashed....

    In either case it matters very little as it is destined to be forgotten the minute that the end goal of Downing Street is achieved and the Nokias are yours to throw, and the staff yours to bully.

    I seem to recall Mr Blair promised electoral reform (that’s RE-form Danny not PLAT-form) when it looked like he would need the Liberals to make up the numbers.... and then when, by some fluke or counting accident or whatever, he won a massive majority, he quietly forgot the whole thing.

    Ah, elections must be very expensive for Labour.

  24. Dean: You're not related are you? I mean, in an independent Scotland you wouldn't be Prince Dean, would you?

  25. Danny: It's small wonder we don't have large earthquakes in Scotland the amount of spinning that should be going on 6 ft below the surface.....

  26. Sophia, light of my life, none of them can do anything about anything, except feather their own nests, mainly because that's what they do best, and the doing of it leaves them very little time for anything else.

    Your suggestions seem reasonable... I think you deserve more pension, but I'm not sure about less jail. I mean you really have been told about standing on Rose Street with these fishnets on.... now you have, haven't you?

    We all know that the only party that will fight for Scotland is the SNP. This nonsense that it’s all about Labour and the Tories is just that. Nonsense. We don't have a presidential system here yet. Until we do, all the parties in parliament matter.... as I think we may be about to find out.

  27. Naldo: Sean has his work cut out pretending to be an actor, never mind pretender to the throne.

    I'm for the elected bloke or wifey too. Ireland's done well with Mary and Mary in my memory, it's a reasonable model for us to follow

  28. Sopia sweetie... have you thought about writing condensed history texts for Standard Grade cramming?

    You could make yourself a wee fortune! You've got talent!

  29. Niko:

    Remind me, why do we vote in Westminster elections?

    Does anything Scotland says make any difference in London?

    It's what the English MPs say down there in that foreign capital that matters.

    We might as well save our money and put our 59 to work cleaning tables in Micky D's

  30. Tris,

    Related? I wish. But seriously no, I'm just a Jacobite..fighting the good fight. et etc

  31. LOL Dean: I just needed to know if I was supposed to call you "your majesty".