Friday, 31 May 2013


It is hard to imagine the kind of media storm that would erupt had this been a tweet from an independence supporter.

It's equally hard to imagine that this is from an educated man, a lawyer, if for no other reason, because the plural of 'party' is 'parties'. Surely an educated man would know that simple grammatical fact in his native tongue, as would a man who is politically aware know that there are a number of parties which support independence.

I've never once considered the idea that unionists might commit suicide over a failure to achieve their goal of continued subservience to England, but it says something that Smart considers that life will be so dreadful in the union after 2014 that people will kill themselves rather than go on living under David Cameron.

After all, whilst 100 years of Tory rule would be unlikely to be as kind to most of us as it would to the elite likes of Smart, it surely wouldn't be THAT bad, would it?

On reflection  I'm glad that this guy in on their side. Even if you assume that he was drunk when he tweeted that offensive nonsense, it's pretty vile stuff.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Alistair Darling, who is the leader of the Tory-Liberal anti independence movement, has been left facing accusations of hypocrisy after he attacked George Osborne over the state of the UK economy.

In the Daily Record  Darling attacked the chancellor because of stalled growth, the economy bumping along the bottom and the number out of work growing.

Kenneth Gibson MSP, said this was hypocritical of Darling who is trying to convince the people of Scotland they are ‘better together’ with a Tory finance minister like George Osborne than making decisions in their own parliament in Edinburgh.

Gibson said that one minute Alistair Darling was telling us that Scotland is better with Westminster making the decisions, the next he was attacking the damage being done by that self same Westminster.

He went on: “He can't have it both ways - but it is not surprising as we know this hypocrisy sums up the No campaign’s arguments.

“Anti-independence politicians are happy to attack the record of Westminster - but are still perpetuating the myth that Scotland is better with a Tory Westminster government that we didn't vote for.

“Scotland’s finances are consistently stronger than the UK's, over half of the North Sea tax revenues are still to come, and our oil and gas assets are worth £1.5 trillion or even more.

"With our abundant resources, only a Yes vote next September gives Scotland the powers to create the fairer and wealthier society we all want to live in.”

Not for the first time does Alistair get a bit muddled in his thinking...
Gibson has a point. If Westminster is all that Better Together (or apart or whatever they are these days) cracks it up to be, why on earth is the leader of Better Together so critical of Westminster?

It doesn't add up, but then our experience of Alistair Darling is that nothing he does, from being Finance Minister to filling in his expenses, actually does add up!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


I think someone may have sent me this at some time in the not too distant past.

It's an interesting article, made all the more fascinating by the fact that the writer, Rowan Bosworth-Davies, is a professional financial fraud investigator, originally with the Met, and later as a private consultant.

It is well worth a read. I reprint it here in full, without the author's permission but with full credits, having noted on his blog that I intended to do so. The illustrations are mine.

Why we face a bloody revolution on the streets in 2013 !

On the evening of Thursday 4th April, I was privileged to address an audience at the Friends' Meeting House in Manchester. The topic of my presentation, for which I have to thank Phil Duval, both for the invitation and the theme, was '...How the banks are stealing your children's future...'

I didn't realise it before I got to the venue, but it stands literally a stone's throw away from the site of the Peterloo Massacre, (or the Battle of Peterloo) which occurred at St Peter's Field, Manchester on 16 August 1819, when local mounted yeomanry charged into a crowd of 60,000–80,000 people, gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation and electoral enfranchisement.. 

The soldiers were local territorial volunteers, not regular army cavalrymen, and the local Yeomanry were given the 'privilege' of arresting the speakers. They were led by Captain Hugh Birley, (Birley owned a large textile factory in Oxford Road, Manchester. He had developed a reputation as an arrogant industrialist with highly reactionary political opinions);  and Major Thomas Trafford, (Sir Thomas Joseph de Trafford, 1st Baronet) and were essentially a paramilitary force drawn from the ranks of the local mill and shop owners, coupled with the local landed elites, who had active interests in suppressing popular local reform demands, despite the great distress of the ordinary working people in their community. 

The end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 had resulted in periods of great famine and chronic unemployment, exacerbated by the introduction of the first of the Corn Laws, legislation which  had been introduced to ensure that British landowners reaped all the financial profits from farming. The corn laws (which imposed steep import duties on cheaper foreign grain) made it too expensive for anyone to import grain from other countries, and thus maintained food prices at an artificially high level, even when the people of Great Britain and Ireland were literally starving, and needed the food.

Then, as now, the rich elites ensured their own hegemony at the expense of the poor and the working class, in a similar way to which the Tory-voting banksters today manipulate the financial markets through criminal activity and steal vast sums from their clients, while paying themselves vast salaries and obscene bonuses. At the same time, George Osborne and Iain Duncan-Smith cut working people's benefits, blaming the poor and those on benefits for the desperate financial situation the country faces, and set working class people in conflict against each other, while routinely ignoring the crimes of the rich and powerful.

 By the beginning of 1819 the pressure generated by poor economic conditions, coupled with the lack of suffrage in Northern England, had enhanced the appeal of political radicalism, and In response, the Manchester Patriotic Union, a group agitating for parliamentary reform, organised a demonstration to be addressed by the well-known radical orator Henry Hunt..

Shortly after the meeting began, local magistrates called on the military authorities to arrest Hunt, and to disperse the crowd. The Yeomanry charged into the crowd with sabres drawn, and in the ensuing confusion, 15 people were killed and 400–700 were injured. The massacre was given the name Peterloo in ironic comparison to the Battle of Waterloo, which had taken place four years earlier.

I was fascinated to have the privilege to address an informed local audience in such a setting, and I felt a strong sense of historical synergy as I talked about the crimes of the powerful today and the way they were impacting on the financial interests of ordinary people and how the crimes committed by the banksters would leave a legacy which our children and indeed our grandchildren would still be paying for in years to come. 

The day had started well with the news that the three main protagonists in the HBOS collapse had been impugned in a scathing report by the Parliamentary Banking Commission which had said that  "toxic" misjudgements led to the bank's downfall and the need for a £20.5bn bailout by the taxpayer at the height of the financial crisis.

The report concluded: "The primary responsibility for the downfall of HBOS should rest with Sir James Crosby, architect of the strategy that set the course for disaster, with Andy Hornby, who proved unable or unwilling to change course, and Lord Stevenson, who presided over the bank's board from its birth to its death."

There can be no escaping from  the realisation that the UK is in terrible financial trouble. Putting it at its simplest, the main High Street banks are to all intents and purposes, frankly bankrupt, and Government is vainly seeking to enforce higher levels of capital adequacy in order to give them sufficient capital in depth in order to be able to withstand another (the next) major financial crisis.

How we got into this desperate situation is an appalling story of arrogance, hubris, bullying and incompetence, a toxic mal-administration of both the banking sector, and its functions. It was orchestrated by a group of men, Bob Diamond, Fred Goodwin, James Crosby, among many others, men who had reached levels of power from which it was virtually impossible to unseat them, and whose arrogance was blinding them to the reality of their actions.

By overseeing a campaign of institutionalised financial crime (PPI fraud, LIBOR manipulation, as well as other offences of downright criminality such as drug money laundering), and coupled with a campaign of debt-creation on a scale unimaginable only a few years ago, these men oversaw institutions in which all the ordinary rules of prudent commercial engagement were thrown to the wolves and trampled underfoot.

A report into Barclays bank has blamed "cultural shortcomings" at the bank for problems that led to the Libor-rigging scandal last year. The report said there was a sense that senior management did not want to hear bad news. As a result, the bank had become too focused on profit and bonuses rather than the interests of customers. Barclays' rapid expansion in the years leading up to the financial crisis produced "cultural challenges" at the bank. "The result of this growth was that Barclays became too complex to manage, tending to develop silos with different values and cultures," it said.

The bank became increasingly dominated by the investment banking business, which possessed a strong culture of winning. This meant there was an "over-emphasis" on short-term financial performance, reinforced by a bonus and pay culture that rewarded money-making over serving the interests of customers and clients. 

In these few short paragraphs, the poisonous cocktail of mismanagement practices are laid bare; an over-emphasis on short-term profits, resulting in vast bonuses being paid to a small group of elites; the over-complexity of structure, leading to a focus on micro-management of specific profit centres, to the detriment of the wider institution, benefiting a small group of elites again; and finally the over-emphasis on investment banking (or casino banking, identified by gambling with other people's money), yet again, benefiting a small group of elites.

Reading between the lines, Barclays Bank, and indeed many other banks within the UK financial construct, had become the private playthings of a small group of spivs and chancers who were willing to put the rest of the banking structure at risk, all the time they were making vast profits and bonuses for themselves. 

They were happily undermining the entire underlying banking structure on which UK plc depended for its future development and the continued maintenance of its complex democracy and social infrastructure, for their own personal benefit and gain. They were mortgaging the future of the entire British community by engineering fictitious money out of thin air, secured on the deposits of their customers, to be spread around in highly risky securitised lending to every Tom, Dick and Harriet who knew enough to be able to find their way to a bank.

As they wrote and re-wrote loans running into billions of pounds, they spread the risk around to other risk takers - who took the chance to sell the risk on to third and fourth party risk takers, who in turn played the zero sum game by balancing their exposures to risk by hastily structured credit default swaps. It didn't seem to matter how many times you turned the money-making handle, the profits poured out, the salesmen's commissions flowed and the banks made more and more money.

The City entered into a Faustian pact with the Labour Government of Blair and Gordon Brown, who, bedazzled by the profits being declared and the taxes being paid on these vast fortunes, (Brown never once stopped to consider that these banks were only declaring a very small percentage of their vast profits for tax purposes) the rest was being quietly stashed away in off-shore branches of their institutions and moved on to other tax shelters. That is why Barclays and other banks provided departments that focused on tax-restructuring (or evasion on a massive scale). 

All the time Brown was believing the falsified figures, he could be prevailed upon to soft-pedal on the compliance brake, and insist that the regulators cut the boys in the banks some slack, while they were making all this money.

His Mansion House speech in 2002 is a masterpiece of hubris, the words of a man who had been taken for the biggest idiot in Christendom, and was the living proof of the greater fool theory.

The full text of the chancellor's speech at the Mansion House, London, June 26 2002 can be read here; - read it and weep! Here's a taste;

"...And, as you, Lord Mayor, have indicated this evening, the importance that the city attaches to integrity and the highest standards in the provision of financial services is the enduring means by which London's reputation as one of the world's leading financial centres is secured, and indeed enhanced..."  

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Yada, yada, yada, whatever!

And this nonsense is still openly subscribed to by politicians and citizens alike, so much so that the banking sector feels capable of holding the country to ransom with the threat that if they are brought to heel, they will simply leave and go elsewhere. The fact is they won't, but no-one seems willing to call their bluff. They believed it so much they poured tax-payers' money into shoring up the whole rotting edifice, and there is no doubt the banksters will need more recourse to tax-payer's funding before too long.

And thereby the seeds of the next harvest of damaging civil unrest are sown!

None of our political parties have the balls or the guts to take on the banks, because they still labour under the same misapprehension that banks aren't really organised criminal enterprises. 

They still want to be fooled into thinking that the crimes being committed daily by the banks are merely a minor aberration committed by a tiny minority of people who are misguided. They have simply failed to grasp the full implications of the ways in which a committed cadre of organised criminals have run the British banking industry into the ground, and literally stolen its assets through the simple expedient of organised criminality and paying  themselves their insane salaries, their obscene bonuses and above all their bloated pension funds. 

James Crosby alone, the now disgraced former boss of Halifax Bank of Scotland is sitting on a pension pot worth up to £25 million despite his central role in the mortgage giant’s collapse. 

This calculates his annual retirement earnings from the failed lender is estimated to worth around £700,000 a year, according to the Sunday Times. No other citizen of this country would be able to run a major bank into the ground, be publicly humiliated for being a total and utter incompetent, and still be allowed to hang on to sums of money of this value.

It is now clear that if you are a friend of the Tory Government, you can organise and run frauds in the City realising multi-billion pound losses; you can manipulate the world's leading interest-rate setting mechanism to your own financial advantage and you can launder billions of dollars worth of drug money, all of which are straight-forward crimes, and no-one will do a damn thing to prosecute you.

Ironically, this would not have been a true state of affairs under Margaret Thatcher's control. The death of the former Prime Minister has just been announced, and I am reminded of the time just before her second election, when she too wanted to take on the welfare benefit issue as part of her election campaign.

She was reminded by Cecil Parkinson that if the Tories wanted to go up against the benefit culture, in order to be seen to be fair and maintain their working-class vote at the same time, they would have to do something about the plethora of City Fraud which was fast becoming a national scandal.

Her response was somehow typical of her;

'Well. we'd better get the handcuffs on, Cecil!

Later that day, Ernest Saunders was arrested coming out of his solicitor's offices, and the Guinness prosecution was set in train!

Under Cameron's administration and with Osborne riding shotgun on the financial sector, things are very different. You don't have to be an outright crook however, if you are just irredeemably incompetent and you destroy a once-proud bank through your own outright stupidity and arrogance, you can still be allowed to keep all the loot your have squirreled away!

But God help you if you are a single mother on benefits, and your boyfriend chooses to stay over for the night; if you are suffering from serious health issues and are unable to work. Don't try to get a loan to build your business if you are an SME, and don't ask for a pay rise, because there are none coming, and don't get ill because the Health Service we once respected is now run by accountants, not doctors.

The real issue here is not what the politicians choose to tell us, it is what the people who are affected by the changes believe for themselves. As one commentator said to me in Manchester last week, 'It's not too bad for you down in London, in some places there it's hard to appreciate there is a recession, but up here in Manchester, there are many, many, areas where there is real hardship, and where the anger on the estates and run-down housing ghettoes is growing by the day.

People may choose to believe that what Cameron and Osborne are doing is in the best interests of the country, but until they start demonstrating a reality about all being in it together, and taking away from the banksters the proceeds of their rotten games, and locking up those who have committed financial crimes, then no-one, but no-one is going to believe that the austerity programme is 'fair'. 

This is the word that Cameron keeps parroting, that it is fair to attack the culture of benefit dependency, but if he really wants ordinary people to believe him, then he has got to start demonstrating that we live in 2013 and not 1819, because my evening in Manchester demonstrated to me that many in my audience believe that violent social unrest and street violence aimed at the elites is only just a stone's throw away.

Next time, it won't be the hit and run tactics used in Tottenham and copied elsewhere in the country, with gangs of young people just smashing shop windows and stealing designer accessories. Next time, the rioters will be standing their ground, and trading blows with the police, with everything to hand at their disposal. There is a real, tangible visceral hatred of the police in Manchester among the poor and the underclass, and some of the observations made to me about this dislike are very scaring.

Cameron and Osborne have got to demonstrate that there is only one law for all the people, not just the poor and working class, all the while their friends in the elites get away scot free, but that is what is happening. Their bankster friends have already effectively stolen our children's future, and there is a sizeable number of young and dispossessed people who are just waiting for the day to go and steal some of it back. 

Peters' Fields are quiet today, but it will not take too much to see them filled with rioters again, fighting for much the same thing as their forebears fought for, 200 odd years ago. That was the right to be electorally enfranchised - to be treated as equal citizens and guaranteed fairness in their social treatment, a fairness which is being swiftly eroded, by the way in which the elites are being allowed to commit financial crimes with impunity. I predict these events because for many working class people, they have nothing to lose, and a man who has nothing to lose, has everything to gain from his actions.

Monday, 27 May 2013


Data from 107 local authorities across the UK, shows 86,000 households have been forced to look for one-bedroom homes, of which only 33,000 have become available in the past year.

Inverclyde said 1,100 households would need to move into one-bedroom homes – of which just 96 had been free to rent last year.

The UK government's impact assessment last summer warned that 35% of claimants affected "would be quite or very likely to fall into arrears if their housing benefit were to be reduced". 
They went on to say that those losing out could make up the shortfall by "moving into employment, working more hours, or taking in a lodger".

So, what I would ask is that someone from the UK government, which is clearly so knowledgeable about these matters, should go to Inverclyde and explain the situation.

I realise of course that it is not the fault of the current UK government that Scotland did not overturn the "right to buy" legislation in 1999, when it could have, and direct councils to rebuild a stock of housing for the population that they are paid to serve, but it would be interesting to see them being 'better together' on this policy. The current government has taken these steps and building of social housing, no longer for sale, is underway. However, it is too little and much too late.

But, as London have their hands on the bulk of the economic levers, the pulling of which might ameliorate the employment (or unemployment)  situation, they may be able to explain where all these jobs (into which distressed householders could move) are to be found. I should come with a prepared list if I were them, because I doubt that the local jobcentre has any idea where they are, and local jobseekers will be most interested.

Maybe they would explain too, the best method of approach to ask your boss  for extra hours to meet the exigencies of  your own familial situation. Should these extra hours simply be provided by the employer by way of his/her generosity, or should a colleague lose some of their hours to compensate. (Warning:  Supplementary questions might arise as to how one chooses which colleague to deprive of hours.)

Finally, the UK government minister might want to give a personal and written guarantee (countersigned by several witnesses) that they have repealed the law which expressly forbids the tenant of social housing subletting all or part of their allotted property, and that the tenant may now do that with the blessing of aforementioned minister.

Anyone from Westminster up for Inverclyde...  tomorrow maybe?


How odd. There was I thinking that they were there to serve.

Saturday, 25 May 2013



Thanks to an article in The Independent we know the questions  for an Eton scholarship. We pass them to you in utter secrecy...

Please note that you need only do this test if you are poor.

If you are rich parents, you will be able to afford the fees.

Have a go.... just remember that (as Maggie Curren said this morning on 'Good Morning Scotland'), if your child goes to study in England, and Scotland becomes an independent country, he will become a foreigner. Can you live with that?

1.  Twenty-five protesters have been killed by the Army.  You are the Prime Minister.  Explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.

2. Consider the following sentences in Jangli (a made-up language) with their English translation:
Waldan razu - I am a writer; Had waldan razu - I am the writer.  Write down how you express the following in Jangli - the.

3. Applicants read a speech by inspirational teacher Zarathustra to his pupils and are asked what is meant by the following phrase:  "You are my believers: but what do believers matter"?

4. If today is Friday, what is the day that follows the day that comes after the day that precedes the day before yesterday?

Answers on a postcard to the usual address, together with a €250 registration fee. All cheques made payable to Tris!¬

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


STV is to broadcast a three-part series examining the history and development of the independence question in Scotland.
Road to Referendum will include exclusive interviews with the First Minister. Alex Salmond and a  range of politicians, commentators and well-known Scottish personalities along with David Cameron will take part in the programme which will be shown on STV from Tuesday, June 4, then 11 and 18.
STV's programmes  look at the past 70 years of Scotland's history  looking at how attitudes to culture and politics have changed over the years  using STV archive material, among other sources to put the history of Scotland's independence debate in context.
The first programme looks at 1945 to 1974; the second programme takens on the "Thatcher Years" , and the final programme starts with John Major's win at the 1992 general election and and the changes of the last 20 or so years which have led to the referendum.
A book to accompany the programmes  has been written by Iain Macwhirter.
On the basis that MacWhirter has shown himself to be among the fairest of the Scottish commentators, writing on the subject of independence, I look forward to a balanced programme.

Monday, 20 May 2013


Click on image to enlarge.

This is Ukip's ad in the Daily Telegraph.

I'm amazed he didn't have something to say about  the vile scum Fascist Scots who hate their country (UK) and insult the English by telling a democratically elected politician to stick the Union Flag up his jacksy! 

I see he did manage to imply that 29,000,000 Romanians and Bulgarians were going to leave their homes and arrive here on January 2nd 2014, (although in reality Nige, that's not actually going to happen, is it? Even your own research showed it was rubbish, but what they heck, makes good copy for the swivel eyed.)

I see he nearly forgot about the Labour and Liberal Democrats and how useless they are... and had to use a postscript. Yes, in a prepared ad in the form of a serious letter, he used a postscript to mention them. (Nasty, tacky 3rd rate gimmicky touch there Nige, and just what we'd expect from you.) 

I expect he had to get on with his next job of the day. 

If ever there was a man I would cross a continent or three to avoid meeting, this fellow is he! I can feel my skin crawling just looking at a picture of him.

That said, he's got the Eton boy on the run. According to an article in the New Statesman, polls have voting intentions between the Tories and Ukip more or less running even. The Liberals are 11 points behind UKIP. 

And possibly largely thanks to Farage and his kippers, Cameron is dans la merde with his backbenchers and may have to be replaced before the next election, according to this Guardian article

Still for all that we have this bunch of jokers leading us, we are apparently Better Together, although who knows because Better Together are actually apart these days... Oh it's confusing.

Sunday, 19 May 2013


The other day I wrote a piece on Norway's National Day, which received few comments, probably because there wasn't that much to say about it.

However I noticed this morning that a contributor called 'Mafia', otherwise known as Stuart Black, had written a post with some of his own experiences of Norway. When I thanked him for his piece, he added a few other reminiscences, and with his permission I now reproduce them here.

First post: 

Tris, wee anecdote, a few years back I was in Norway at a factory acceptance test, and on completion I had to get the bus from Arendal to Kristiansand for my flight. It happened to be National Day and -even at 7 am - the streets were thronged with families all in national costume, parents and children alike. As the bus wended its way through little hamlets the story continued, all were out in their finery, and the atmosphere seemed magical.

Nae nukes mind...

Anyway, the bus driver had been spending some time on a mobile phone, when he turned and beckoned me up front. Explaining that due to the celebrations, the route was bypassing the airport, I was told that I would be dropped at a layby, where a taxi would pick me up to complete my journey. Standing rather apprehensively in the middle of nowhere, I was relieved when a Mercedes turned up and shuttled me off to the airport. With 36 euros on the meter, I fumbled for my wallet, only to be gently told that the bus company would be paying the bill.


Can you imagine that happening here? Me neither. Beautiful country, great infrastructure, and a society to aspire towards. Love it.

Second Post:

I have worked in Stavanger since, but that was my very first visit to Norway. The factory where I was doing the inspection was a modern building set amongst woodland overlooking a fjord, and they insisted on taking me a tour round before we started, with very obvious pride in what they were showing me.

Everyone who started, from a wireman to an accountant, spent their first weeks working in every department, learning each stage of production and testing (they made sophisticated CCTV systems) before taking up their proper duties. 

At lunch everyone used the same (beautiful) facility, again overlooking the fjord, all sat together, no segregation of management and workers.

I was very struck by the spirit and enthusiasm of the staff, and with the realisation that it could be a pleasure to come to work in these circumstances. This allied to the tale above started something within me, a recognition that how we operated in the UK was all wrong, short termism and greed over-riding the kind of mutual co-operation and efficiency that I found embedded in that little factory. An accountant wielding a soldering iron, without complaint! 

I actually travelled home from there with a real sense of wonder, couldn't wait to tell my wife about this lovely country.

Vote YES in 2014 and we may just be able to replicate some of this, and build a society worth paying taxes for, and a society in which it would be a pleasure to participate and live.

What a lovely place Norway seems to be...  Now we might actually be better together with them...

...And thank you Stuart.


That is, more or less, as much of the article as I can read unless I'd like to pay Rupert Murdoch as little as £2 a week for a subscription to the Sunday Times. Not only would I not like to do this, I'd actually prefer gnawing my foot off than giving him 5p, so, as to the rest of the findings, I remain in the dark as they don't yet seem to be available from Panelbase.
However, it is interesting that the lurch to the right, and anti-European policy which is proving to be so very popular with the English, may not be going down so well with Scots. The last poll I saw put support for the Yes campaign at around 33%, so the "neck and neck" quoted above in today's poll is a huge movement in our favour.
I'm dubious about every opinion poll, and independence polls seem to be more volatile than most, so I take it all with  a hefty pinch of salt, but if it is anywhere near true, I'd like to thank Mr Farage from the bottom of my heart.

Saturday, 18 May 2013


Scots have been accused of being racist and fascist by Nigel Farage. 

Does he know the meaning of the words? Does his colleague Mr Northcott?

What does Farage think of the tweets shown above (click to enlarge) from Mr Northcott?

Farage accused Thursday's small crowd, some estimates said 20 people (Nigel had it at 50), of being anti-English because they told him they didn't want to see the union jack in Scotland again. 

Does he know what the flag of England is? 

Did he know that one of the organisers of the protest is English?

Nigel was launching his party's bid to take the by election seat in Donside.

Does he have any idea how far away from Edinburgh Donside is? (As Bella Caledonia said, can you imagine him launching an election bid for Leeds from  Birmingham?)
Farage and Thatcher. She's the one ON the mug

Farage was outraged that in a democracy he wasn't even allowed to make his point before being shouted down. I'd concede him a point there. We should have let him tell us what his policies were: policies like repatriating powers to Westminster, getting rid of women's and gay rights, abolishing our fairer system of elections, adopting English policies on education (£9,000 a year) and health (selling off the health service) and public services, before we told him we didn't want any of it. 

But Farage wasn't so keen to make his point when he was asked, politely, about his party's dismal showings in Scotland. BBC Scotland's telephone interview was relatively easy going compared with what SNP ministers have to handle. There were no hard hitting questions on some of the dodgier UKIP members, who earned the party the reputation for being clowns; no questions about Farage and his mates in Brussels and Strasbourg allegedly missing vital committee meetings where British fishing interests were in question, because they were allegedly drunk. (Interesting that Northcott above seemed to find it strange that a "jock" would be sober enough to string a sentence together. 
This is Mr Northcott. The one with the red nose

In his answers he conflated anti UK sentiments with anti English sentiments. And complained that he had been surrounded by people who wanted to take Scotland out of the UK. How on earth can he criticise an independence movement when his own party's name is the UK INDEPENDENCE Party.

But for all that, given his chance to put his point, he put down the phone in the huff because he sensed hatred.  Jeez, the man needs to get out more.

Can you imagine how Alex Salmond would have dealt with that?


Sorry Norway, I've been so busy, I missed it on the day. 

How nice to have a day that you could be proud of your country. Hopefully we will have one too very soon. A day of celebration and national pride. It's something that I've never experienced so far in my life.

Mrs Thatcher once told us to "rejoice at that news", but I seem to remember that that was because she'd managed to kill more Argentinians than Galtieri  had killed Brits. I don't celebrate death, so I couldn't join in.

Anyway, we hope you had a wonderful day in your wonderful country. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013


Nigel Farage's party has a plan for Scotland.

Nigel today,  in a pub, before he was carted off.
He said this week that Ukip was growing in Scotland, and today in Edinburgh, he called a press conference (in a pub) to promote the Ukip candidate in the Donside by-election caused by the death of Brain Adams last month. One might ask why he didn't do it in Donside... but that's Nigel for you.

In any case he may wish that he had. The conference, held in a pub in the Royal Mile was infiltrated by demonstrators and the press conference had to be abandoned, the pub cleared and Farage had to be smuggled out the back door and taken away in a police anti-riot van.

Farage's party's 2010 general election manifesto pledged to replace the 129 MSPs with Scottish MPs.

Edinburgh's parliament would be retained only on a part-time basis with MPs spending one week a month on ''devolved business'' in Edinburgh and the rest of the time in London. (I think he got the idea for Europe spending a week every month in Strasbourg.)
English MPs would sit on ''English-only days'' to give people south of the border a more distinct parliament.
Nigel some other a pub.
Ukip also proposes reducing Holyrood's power, arguing that all UK citizens should be entitled to equal treatment in health, education and public services. (So what exactly would the point of Edinburgh be?).
I imagine that under Ukip the English systems would be forced upon Scots, opening up further opportunities for friends of the Tories to make a lot of money as they privatise Education and health.
Ukip won 147 county council seats in England earlier this month, a gain of 131. At the 2010 election in Scotland they got precisely no seats with less than 1% of the vote.
Some Scots may not want an independent Scotland, Nigel, but there are very few that want the parliament to be downgraded to a talking shop to decide what colour to paint the park fences in Edinburgh.

Take the hint, matey, and concentrate your efforts on England. You're on more fertile ground there.


The protest was organised by Radical Independence Edinburgh who called an 'emergency protest' on their Facebook page earlier today. They told the Huffington Post UK: "Farage came up to Scotland to spread his racism and bigotry here - we showed he's not welcome.

"His party UKIP have always achieved a derisory vote in Scotland but Farage thought that could change after their recent local elections successes in England.

"In 2014 we finally have the chance to get rid of the political system at Westminster that pours fuel onto the bigoted fire of Farage and UKIP. Scotland wants to be a country that welcomes immigrants - but we need independence to make that desire a reality."

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Yes to an Independent Scotland have announced that STV’s current affairs programme, Scotland Tonight, will broadcast its first major TV debate on the Scottish independence referendum with Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore on Thursday May 16.

This is the first in a series of live, head-to-head Scotland Tonight Referendum Special debates examining key issues in the independence debate.

The subject for this debate is the economics of independence and whether Scotland will be better or worse off as an independent country. They will also have the opportunity to cross-examine each other.

Political 'experts' will provide analysis before, after and throughout the debate from a second STV studio, with viewers encouraged to interact by sending their own reactions via social media.

Gordon Macmillan, Head of News at STV, said: "STV is committed to providing a platform for debate around all the key issues ahead of the 2014 referendum and this series of Scotland Tonight specials will give viewers the opportunity to hear the arguments from both sides of the discussion, from Scotland’s biggest political players."

The debate will be streamed live on the STV News website ( and will be available for catch-up on the STV Player.

Congratulations to STV for staging this debate. In my opinion the state broadcaster  which we all pay around £2,50 a week to support in that luxurious position, should have been responsible for providing this platform. However, given their record, doubtless it would have been rigged against Nicola.

I went to the BBC site today to read the story about Christian Allard being sworn into parliament. Because Scottish stories on the BBC do not allow comment, I was unable to congratulate him. Strange that other "regions" of the BBC allow comments!


Thanks to Cynical Highlander for pointing this beauty out.

Monday, 13 May 2013


Why would we be surprised at this double standard?

I seem to recall exactly the same argument being used when Labour supporting Jimmy Carr was discovered to be a bit creative about paying his  taxes, in that he wasn't much doing it. 
Cameron was on him like a ton of bricks, and only remembered that prime ministers don't comment on individual cases when it turned out his mate, the Tory Gary Barlow, obe, from Take That, was also on the fiddle. 

At least their double standards are consistent. 

Now that BetterTogether are Better Apart, run by the Conservatives and the Liberals, we discover that the joke ex prime minister and part time MP, Gordon Brown, has renounced his North British nationality, which he so proudly trumpeted whilst on his first visit to the USA as prime minister some years ago, just before he saved the world. He has presumably applied for, and been granted Scottish nationality, of which he is also proud.

Cometh the day, cometh the appropriate nationality.
Has anyone told Alistair Darling that the Tories and The Liberals, are now running Better Together? Is there redundancy pay?