Saturday, 31 May 2014


According to the Herald, the new BBC late night politics show for the referendum, billed as “cheeky and fun”, has so far been a bit of a disaster. It seems that Scots may have been a bit insulted by its lack of gravitas. 
Did the BBC think that a London presenter, and daughter of much loved
Labour leader, the late John Smith, would encourage unionist loyalty?
The show was first broadcast on Tuesday night with a not unreasonable viewing figure of 89,000, which they reckon to be 8% of the Scottish audience. (I’ve no idea how they work that figure out, because if 89,000 = 8%, then on rough calculations 1% would be 11,100 and the total potential audience 1,110,000. So, given a Scottish population of around 5.3 million, I am guessing that there must be a standard calculation for working out potential viewers at different times of the day, or for different styles of programming, or that they count one television = one viewer.) 

However it is calculated (any explanations of the system used would be appreciated), it remains a fact that the audience on Wednesday had dropped to 53,000, and on Thursday a mere 22,000 (or 2%) watched the programme.

To be fair STV’s late night political programme viewership decreased as the week went on. Tuesday 166,000, Wednesday 107,000 and Thursday 89,000, so we might conclude that as the week moves on people have other things to do with their late evenings, or perhaps that there was better, more exciting programming on one of the many other channels that even Freeview provides.

Nonetheless, the BBC lost 75% of its viewers over three days, whereas STV lost only around 50%... and by the end of the week had the number of viewers that the BBC had started with.

Not being a watcher of television as a rule, I saw none of the shows on either channel, so I can’t make a personal comment, but the Herald’s own commentators seem to feel that the show was dumbed down ( someone compared it to “The One Show”); that it was biased (they invited the most senior UK politician in Scotland (his own description), one Daniel Alexander, to give a case for NO, and there was no similar representative from YES), and it didn't go without notice that the presenter  had been imported from London, and was the daughter of one time UK Labour, John Smith, the memory of whom David Cameron has been trotting out in his efforts to stop independence. 
TV licence detection is now run by Capita
(or CRAPIA, as Private Eye would have them).
Never, regardless of your licence situation, let these people
over your doorstep. Unless accompanied by police,
they have no right of entry.
Once again it begs some questions:

In the days of multichannel possibilities, is the licence fee a reasonable way to fund the BBC?

Is it necessary to have a state broadcaster at all?

If it is, is it necessary to have such a massive organisation with so many tv channels, radio stations and such a high internet presence?

Should it not be drastically slimmed down so that people who don’t watch it, or watch it very rarely, don’t have to pay £145 a year for the privilege of having a tv set in their homes?

Could not modern technology find a way of turning off the BBC signal to televisions in homes of people who do not wish to receive it?

And, if we must have a state broadcaster, if it must be bigger than any other organisation, if it must cost so much to run, and if technology can’t block BBC signals, couldn't we demand that the organisation be forced (by law and under strict observation by a regulator) to be absolutely apolitical and unbiased?

Commercial organs of the press have the right to print any kind of material, be it biased, dumbed down, moronic, or whatever. You and I have the right not to buy the paper version or read the content online. In other words we have don’t have to pay for it.

With the BBC, if we find it biased and not to our taste for any reason, we can refuse to watch it or listen to it, but we are still obliged by law, under pain of imprisonment, to pay an annual £145, (or whatever sum the English Cabinet Secretary for Culture decides) to have a tv set capable of receiving it in the house.

That’s plain wrong.

Appropriate time to remind you of this event which Cynical Highlander highlighted yesterday. You might like to go along if you are in Glasgow.

Friday, 30 May 2014


It was the day for political yesterday's men to be interviewed on the Today programme which I half listened to this morning. The "star" was John Major, on the EU and Ukip threat interviewed by John Humphries.

But earlier we had the pleasure of the views of Lord Sir David Steel, ex MP, ex, MSP, ex presiding officer, and current member of the retirement home chamber, on the independence referendum, with the more junior Justin Webb.

So what did his nobleness and beknightedness bring to the table? Anything of interest?

In a word, nope.

The excuse for having him on was that he’s hosting a meeting tonight, in company with his colleague from the days of the Liberal/SDP marriage, Shirley Williams as she once was.

He says that the Liberals want, as they say they have always wanted, federalism, or devolution max. A Scotland that raises the taxes it spends.

I’m not sure if David Steel knows that his party is now in government and that the days of wanting things but not being listened to are (at least for the next few months) over.

I’m wondering if he is aware that it was a Liberal Secretary of State that went with Cameron to Edinburgh to agree the terms of the referendum. 

I’m wondering if it ever occurs to him that the time for settling a devo max, federalist option might have been back then, when his Liberal Secretary of State at the Scotland Office was sitting with the Prime Minister, First Minister and Deputy First Minister agreeing terms. 

I’m wondering if he knows that that’s not really what Willie Rennie is arguing for. I even wondered briefly if he knew who Willie Rennie was.

His arguments are, of course, the benefits of the union, and although he may have more up his sleeve for tonight, among the ones he trotted out this morning was that we were a fabulously successful union (and from his point of view one cannot argue that. With his K and his elevation to the aristocracy, it’s certainly worked well for him.).

He also repeated that we fought together in the world wars (but neglected to mention that we also fought alongside many other countries which don’t have their pensions, taxes and social security set by London.

He bemoaned the fact that this discussion had been going on for 3 years, although the official campaign was just starting. No-one of course pointed out to him that from the moment that the SNP majority government, with a referendum in their manifesto, became reality, the unionists never ceased demanding a date for that referendum, and that his coalition’s prime minister and his party’s Secretaries of State (all three of them) never talked about Scotland in terms other than the referendum.

Same old, same old, with no counter arguments from Webb, who had tried to hijack the interview before it even started, for something that clearly he thought was of more interest than Jockland (more of which later). To his credit Steel was snippy with him and pointed out that he had come on to talk about Scotland.

The interesting thing was Steel seemed to be rather less than interested in the finances of the matter and maybe, given Alexander's faux pas of this week that's not surprising. It was, he said, going to be expensive. Divorce always was. But it was not about the money; it was about the kind of country we wanted to live in, and no one wanted to live in a country that would want to break up a union…well, that’s what he said. Lady Steel anyone?

And so now we know the views of a man who has a pension from being an MP; a pension from being an MSP, and a Presiding Officer, a state pension, and £300+ a day tax free and as much subsidised food and drink as he wants for sitting around in a royal palace being referred to as milord. 

It’s not about money, eh David, erm I mean your grace and your sirhood.

No one thought to ask him what he thought of Danny's invented figures nor of his possible future in the House of Lords when he doesn't get himself re-elected.

But Justin did want to talk about something that his English listeners were interested in. Namely Lord Rennard and his mealy mouthed and obviously insincere apologies for his inappropriate behaviour. (As in…”OK OK, you’ve been going on and on about it for ages. I’m sorry I touched up the women. It was totally accidental. I didn’t mean it. Now can I be reinstalled in the party with my old position?”).

It seems that aristocrats are better sticking together, because Mr Steel thought that mr Rennard had apologised and should be given back the whip. Lord knows what he'll do with a whip. The mind boggles.

But then, you have to remember that this is David Steel we're talking about. ? Cyril Smith anyone?

Thursday, 29 May 2014


Labour has been obliged by law to register for participation in the Scottish Independence Referendum.

Although we forever hear about 'Scottish Labour' and the 'Scottish Labour' leader, and how much power and authority she has (at least in theory), and how they are all very Scottish (just equally British, which may suggests that they can only be half Scottish), the truth of the matter (as DougtheDug or Dubbieside have pointed out on many occasions) is that Labour is a London organisation. It doesn't exist.  

They just don't want you to know that so they continue with the myth that they do.

However, when faced with registering for something like this, they are, as everyone is, obliged to do so by the letter of the law.

The result is that 'Scottish' Labour doesn't actually have the word 'Scottish' in its title and its address is in London SW1.

Saor Alba agus Albanach gu bràth agus thig ar latha.



I don't know (or much care) what makes Baillie tick. She can't seriously expect to go to the House of Lords herself. I mean they've let some nomarks in, but there is a limit. So that's not the motivation for all the lies. And surely someone from her party in Scotland shouldn't be the gung ho Brit Empire type of Tory caricatures. So I give up. I expect it must be a blind loyalty to Gordon or Tony or whatshisname.

Further, I don't know what she considers to be a prosperous looking town. But from what I can see Helensburgh certainly isn't that! Closed and boarded up shops, charity shops, businesses gone to the wall or gone elsewhere.

The fact that the hotel (The Imperial) has closed is not surprising. With great respect to the inhabitants, the rundown state of the place is hardly very inviting to holidaymakers. Las Vegas it is not... Even Benidorm it is not.

And who wants to take their kids on holiday to place where there are leaky old submarines belching radioactive material, some lunatic shot off a missile by mistake a few weeks ago, the ships have faults and they don't bother with Health and Safety checks (which should at least please Mr Coburn)?

The video is good. Baillie shakes her head when the man from the audience challenges her, quoting figures from the site manager about people who live on base 4 days a week, then go home to their houses in England for the weekend; don't spend their money in local businesses and don't buy houses in Scotland; in fact are of no economic value to the area whatsoever.

She does this head shaking and smiling as if the man who runs the place doesn't know what he's talking about. Lord help us. She thinks the man in charge of the site where the nukes are kept doesn't know what he's talking about. And she's happy with that!!

I just wonder if Ms Baillie has ever wondered if these jobs, which aren't Scottish jobs at all, are actually worth the money they cost us. Would we not be better setting up some industry there. The kind that isn't involved in mass slaughter?

If this is what New Labour, One Nation Labour or whatever they are this week, considers to be prosperity, and sound economic sense... then heaven knows what they think poverty looks like, and no wonder they drove the economy into the tank last time people were daft enough to let them get their silly hands on power..

Wednesday, 28 May 2014



Or are you far too busy trying to save your silly little party from the terrible mess that it has got itself into by taking the Camergoon's and Gidiot's shilling, dispensing with most of your principles and having Mr Oakenshott show you all up for what you are... 


I apologise to Munguin's readers, and indeed friends, for going over the same ground again...but this is an out and out joke.

What is the Treasury response to this? Are they going to try to discredit Professor Dunleavy and the LSE?


"Financial Times"

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


Alex Salmond: "Our vision of an independent Scotland is one of a country engaging fully with the EU and the broader international community, co-operating closely with our friends and neighbours in the UK".

Jackie Baillie: “He should spend less time telling us why he hates the UK and more time being honest about the consequences of separation. Maybe if the first minister had credible answers about what would replace the pound, how our pensions would be paid and what would happen to the funding for our schools and hospitals if we left the UK, his separatist campaign wouldn't be trailing so badly in the polls.” 
Aye shut yer ears Jackie, and put your ear plugs in.
You could be all three wise monkeys if it were not for all the evil
that spews from your mouth.

Heaven give me strength.

OK Jackie. Mr Salmond is sick to the back teeth of having to explain this to slow learning I'll do it for him.

It's very simple. What will replace the pound is, er, the pound. 

Cabinet ministers from the London government have admitted it would be economic madness not to share the currency from the point of view of English business if for nothing else. The governor of the bank of England has said he can make it work, but that the decision must be made by politicians.

In any case, economists have pointed out that we can use the pound whether the UK likes it or not.  With their approval, we help pay off their massive debt; without it,  we don’t.

How will our pensions be paid, Jackie? Well, once again, the British government has explained this when your attention was wandering. They have said that it is responsible for pension for everyone who has paid into the system (that's National INSURANCE for you; you pay in all your life, then you get something back, not much I agree, but something). 

It has been said by ministers in the UK parliament. 

It has been written by the DWP (the DWP for heaven’s sake) in letters to people who have asked what would happen to their pensions. 
Evil place, full of hatred
From the minute we are independent our own government will be responsible for  collecting taxes to pay pensions. Just like other countries do.

How would we fund our schools, etc? We would fund our schools and our hospitals and all the other things that we have to fund in the same way that every other country does. 

I mean seriously, have you travelled, Jackie? 

Have to been to Iceland, for example? Tiny place: population of Edinburgh. They have schools. Yes, they do. They have universities too. Their people are highly educated, for free. Even the right wing parties in Iceland laugh out loud at the idea that in a modern technological age people would have to pay fees to go to school and college. Most Icelanders speak 3 languages, some a deal more. 

Have to been to Luxembourg? Tiny place: population of Edinburgh. They have a highly educated workforce and a brilliant health system. Their kids have to learn three languages just to live in their tiny country. And then they usually learn English on top.
Oh look, a small northern independent country that has buildings
University of Iceland

They have schools and hospitals and social security and all sort sf other things in other countries in Europe. Somehow, although it may be a mystery to you, they manage without the UK to show them how. It seems to me that Scots might be able to manage that themselves... you know, if Latvians and Italians and Danes can manage it, why not us. We aren't a sub-species.

Seriously Jackie. There are two possibilities. Either you are plain thick and you haven't understood all the answers that have been given and given and given again… or you are being deliberately obtuse and lying for Ed and David and now Nigel. You guys just love the the comfortable position that you are in any the likelihood of an aristocratic title at the end of a trough swilling career.

I hate to tell you, but in the eyes of “ordinary people” you don’t have a reputation for being particularly thick, so I guess… it seems like the second.

But while we have your attention, can we have an answer from you?
Glasgow maybe
You've been asked this over and over again but you've never come up with a good answer.

Why is it that you support the spending of £100 billion on mass killing machines to be stationed near Scotland’s largest city, when Scots’ share of that money could abolish child poverty and starvation within a few months, close soup kitchens and give people a new start?

Surely it's not because you relish the idea that one day one of your mates will get an instruction from the USA to kill millions of people in Moscow? 
Scotland today
If you won’t answer we must assume that in your book having “clout” is more important than miserable kids living in abject poverty. You and Mr Cameron. Two disgusting peas in a disgusting pod.

Monday, 26 May 2014


Here he is, your new representative in Brussels. Fit, huh?
If you need to contact him he lives in Kensington, England
Does that make him an immigrant here?
I dunno, damned kippers coming up here taking our jobs.
Anyway the fun thing is that he wants to debate
 immigration with Alex Salmond.
 Bring it on. It will make the dispatching of Carbuncle
look like a Sunday school outing
Well, it's a miserable day for Scotland that far right racists from London
have won a seat to represent us, but every cloud has a silver lining.
This result is likely replicated all over the country.
So this is where the shame can be apportioned
Remember this bloke. He apparently was Scottish,
although he didn't sound or look like it, but he didn't half hate us.
No National Collective. He's a Tory.
He probably is happy to have them on board
The perfect pair
You'll only get .25 of a litre in there Nigel... oh sorry
1/2  pint.
And finally...the two have become one.
I wonder if he'll keep his pint in his handbag!


There's something you never thought you'd see:
Nigel without a fag and a pint!
I imagine that the majority of Scots will be disappointed that there is now a Ukip member (not) representing them in the European parliament.

Some people are delighted, of course. Possibly some of the people who voted for them, but even a proportion of them must be aware that their protest vote has actually produced a representative from a party which doesn't actually believe in anything about Scotland and has no policies for the country. Indeed until recently it was their policy to scrap Holyrood until someone pointed out that Scots law was different from English law and there really was a need to a parliament in Edinburgh (otherwise a lot of important parliamentary time would be wasted discussing law in jockland).

Is the result surprising? Not really. 

The BBC seems to have been having a love affair with Farage over the last few years. For a man leading a party with no MPs, he seemed to spend a disproportionate amount of time on Dumblebum’s Question Time. 

Of course he’s good telly. A bit like Nick Griffin (ha ha ha ha*), he pulls the audience in. And the BBC seems uninterested in providing a balanced coverage of anything these days, commercially based as is it. So wall to wall Farage stories gave the party prominence it didn't really deserve. 
I wonder what Nick will do after next May?
House of Lords? International banking?
Write a book "How I wrecked the Libdems"?
The fact that the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK appeared in two television debates with the man will have raised his profile too. Not surprisingly for a man with apparently no political principles, Clegg lost badly against Farage who has very firmly fixed ideas. Now we await the UK Prime Minister's debate with Farage. Cameron will also almost undoubtedly lose to Farage. 

Is it a blow to Alex Salmond and the SNP? Well, although the Tories Murdo Fraser thinks so, I doubt it. It's certainly a disappointment that they didn't win the third seat, although they came close.

I’d say to murdo that it was a blow to us all, but probably mostly to the Liberals, who have been wiped out in Scotland (and only have one seat in the UK). 

It’s a blow to Scotland in that Ukip MEPs have a reputation for not turning up for work, so instead of its derisory 6 MEPs, Scotland will effectively now have only 5 representatives in Brussels. 

And across the UK it is a blow to every party because Ukip came first, pushing them all back a place (or, in the case of the Liberals, several).

Fraser, whom you would have thought should have known better, tweeted to the effect that the result disproved the theory that Scotland had a different political culture from the UK. 
Politicians should probably avoid tweeting late at night
I’m not sure how he arrived at this conclusion based on the result of the Euro election (on a small turnout), where UKIP won 10% of the vote in Scotland and 30% in the UK, and came in in 1st place in the UK, but 4th in Scotland. Maybe maths isn't a Tory strong point.

Fraser must also be aware that while the UK elected his party to government (albeit in coalition) and polls indicate that it will do so again, albeit with a different partner) Scotland elected them (even with the benefit of PR) to be the 3rd party in Holyrood far behind the opposition Labour party in numbers. There is, so fa,r no indication that that situation will change, solid as it has been since the first days of the parliament.

And while both governing parties in the UK had disappointing results after 4 years of government, the governing party in Scotland, after 7 years of incumbency, saw their vote hold up and indeed, came in first.

No. I don't see one political culture across the UK there Murdo. What is it you’re on?

There is a really amusing piece on the Euro results by Wee Ginger Dug which had me rolling about laughing at the ungodly hour of 6 this morning.
I wonder if there is anyone, except Griffin himself,
who feels sorry for him.
* Nick Griffin lost his seat, as did the other BNP member. Still, when Mr Griffin goes to the Job Centre on Tuesday he will doubtless be able to avail himself of some unpaid work stacking shelves at Poundland thanks to another right wing freak, Iain Duncan Smurf.

Sunday, 25 May 2014


Mark Coburn, who cycled from Rome to Scotland to raise money for the YES campaign arrived home last night. Munguin's intrepid reporter was on hand to catch a couple of photos of him. It's worth mentioning that he did the bike ride with a broken bone in his elbow and four cracked ribs.

Munguin's woman on the scene was none other than Arbroath to whom Munguin sends his sincere thanks for sharing the pictures. Expenses are paid, he reminds her, on the usual basis. (Anything over £500,000 is reimbursed fully.)
Mark, his bike and Arbroath's car!
Mark with Arbroath, her partner and a friend from YES.
More photos on Yes South Annandale Facebook page

The Euro part of the election results hasn't even been announced yet (counting can't begin till after the polls close in all countries... and even then Western Isles won't count on the Sabbath so we won't have the final results till tomorrow), but based on what, I'm sure UK politicians see as the more important elections (English local councils) the knives are out for all the party leaders.

It's been hilarious listening to them wriggle and squirm over the last few days.

The parties are turning on their leaders and factions are setting up. Conservatives like our old favourite Jacob Rees Mogg are urging a pact with UKIP; Labour MPs are calling Ed Miliband weird and there are widespread calls for Nick Clegg to stand down.

But fear not. None of them will go. It's far too near the UK elections and the Scottish referendum for that, so we will have all of them to laugh at for a while longer.

My favourite interview has been Gideot telling us he respects Nigel and the people who voted for him and that they/he must do more listening to and understanding "ordinary" people. (He'll have to meet some first.)

The phrase that keeps coming to mind is: "when thieves fall out, honest men come by their own".

Talking of which...
How useful this will be to the average person from Glasgow or Wick.
Will Londoners be helping to pay for new sewerage in Stornoway?
And isn't sewerage in England a matter from private companies?
How handy this train will be for people in Kirkcaldy, or  Keith.
Hop on and hop off.
Studies have shown that it has the potential to damage the economies of Eastern Scotland
and yet we will end up paying £& or £8 BILLION towards it.
Oh the benefits of the greatest union ever known to man or beast...
And, just a few months in they are starting to question whether
the will be able to sustain the universal delivery. Look out
fro massive price rises in all but the biggest cities in Scotland
It speaks for itself. Add in the BBC money taken from Scotland
to be spent in the UK. All the taxes from Tesco and its
 likes  that go to London. What a rip off.
This is what I just don't understand Labour.
What is their motivation?
Well, of course, there is this. Eh Robertson, ffoulkes, Martin,
Liddell, and Wee Jock (it's a kilt I tell ye) McConnell.
No daft Tory aristocratic titles in Scotland
Oh yeah... and that.
Doubt you'll do that in Edinburgh.
Actually, you have to travel every day. Tough!
Unless of course you like having the lowest pension
by comparison to average wage in the developed world, in
which case the UK is just superb.
In fact what you pay would buy a far far better set of public services
So, you read it in the Financial Times,
that well-known pro independence paper...?
They used our taxes to commission a report and when it didn't
 say what they wanted it to say they hid it.
Does that sound familiar?
Oh, I feel so safe with that big safety blanket of the UK's
broad shoulders and clout to keep me from harm.

Saturday, 24 May 2014


I saw this piece on this excellent and very amusing blog (which you may have noticed, joined the blogroll some time ago). It's an excellent letter asking Ms Baillie to explain some of the comments that she has made on numerous occasions highlighting why she thinks that, in order to maintain the prosperity of the Helensburgh area, she is happy for taxpayers of the UK to spend £100 billion on a means of wiping out entire countries.  

You might have thought that, as a socialist, she would have found this idea distasteful, and that she might even have come up with another way of creating wealth in the area. Not so.

Those of us who know the works of Ms Baillie will also know that she is not what anyone in their right minds would describe as being a stickler for the truth, and it turns out that, in fact, the area is not prosperous at all. 

So might we suppose that Ms Baillie support for these WMDs is based on a personal affection for mass destruction, or is it that she has been ordered by London to make up any rubbish she wants, but at all costs to support these killing monsters and their radioactive leaks less than 25 miles from Glasgow?

Thanks to The Misssy M Misssives and Mr Pollock for letting Munguin reproduce this letter.
Dear Ms Baillie,

Recently, I attended a meeting organised by the Helensburgh Advertiser in the Victoria Halls in Helensburgh. The meeting was interesting but it did not clarify an important issue, which is whether the Base at Faslane is a benefit to or a blight on Helensburgh.

Your assertion at the meeting that we only need to look around Helensburgh to see the beneficial impact that the Faslane Base has on this area surprised me. Central Helensburgh does not look prosperous to me. This is underlined by the large number of empty shops and by the charity shops in prime positions in the centre of the town. Charity shops have an important role but their number and location suggest that there is not much competition from conventional retailers for these shops. In addition to the numerous semi-derelict empty shops, there are major buildings, including former banks, a hotel and a filling station that appear to have been abandoned. If you doubt this, I’ll be happy to give you copies of the photographs I took recently in central Helensburgh. This situation is surprising in what should be a prosperous town, especially one that supposedly benefits from 11,000 people employed nearby. 

I noticed that Mr Young, in his letter published in the Advertiser (8/5/14), says that the number of "directly related defence jobs" is even higher (12,000), so the beneficial effects of the Base on commerce in Helensburgh should be even more obvious. It isn’t. At the meeting, you were very clear that 6,500 people are employed by the MOD and Babcocks at the Base and another 4,500 are employed in the supply chain supporting the workers at the Base. You were adamant that these numbers are "very real and not made up" and that you have consistently quoted these figures to justify your support for the Base. It is surprising that the potentially huge spending power of such a large and presumably well-paid workforce does not have an obvious beneficial effect on Helensburgh. Why is that? 

At the meeting in the Victoria Halls, a gentleman from the audience provided a possible answer to this question. He had learned that a large number of staff at Faslane live at the base from Monday to Thursday but return to their homes elsewhere in the UK at the weekends and they do not buy houses in the area or contribute much to the local economy. I was surprised when this information was revealed. I was even more surprised that you kept your head down and said nothing in response to this revelation. Your uncharacteristic silence was all the more significant, since, throughout the rest of the debate, you intervened vigorously, when you disagreed with anything. Do you dispute the information he provided or were you already aware that many of the staff at Faslane do not live here or contribute much to the local economy, because they live elsewhere in the UK for part of each week?

My second point concerns the calculation of the number of workers (4,500) in the supply chain that supports the 6,500 staff at the Base. I did not understand your explanation of how the number in the supply chain was calculated. I would be grateful if you could explain how the figure of 4,500 people in the supply chain was arrived at. As I recall, you said this figure was obtained "through use of an income multiplier, which is the amount you (ie we) spend in the local economy." 

 You were at pains to emphasise that these figures aren't made up, that they had been produced for Scottish Enterprise some time ago and that you have been quoting these figures consistently ever since. Frankly, your account of the calculation, though obviously well-rehearsed, did not make sense to me. I would be grateful if you would explain how the figure of 4,500 was calculated. It is incomprehensible how the cash we collectively spend in the shops can somehow be transmuted (by a magical "income multiplier") into the number of people employed in the supply chain for the Base. How is this possible? Moreover, how is this factor influenced by what we spend elsewhere - in Glasgow or Braehead for example? More importantly, how does the calculation take account of the transient nature of the staff, who work for the MOD and Babcocks at the Base but only live here part-time and leave for long weekends elsewhere?

It is no secret that the No Campaign, of which you are an active member, seeks to dissuade people from voting “yes” in the referendum, by trying to frighten the voters. This approach seeks to undermine the confidence of the voters by highlighting the alleged risks of voting “yes", whilst implying that there are absolutely no risks associated with voting “no.” Another undermining technique employed by the No Campaign is to disparage the idea that Scotland could be a successful independent nation that could, for example, defend itself. You used the latter technique at the meeting in the Victoria Halls when you sneeringly suggested that if the electorate voted 'yes' in September, the Scottish Navy would have only "seven frigates and half a submarine," the latter presumably being obtained as a farewell gift from the remaining UK. Very droll but not as absurd as the current parlous state of the RN. Are you aware that the RN now has many more commanding officers than active, major surface warships. When I last checked, there were 40 admirals and 260 captains but just 19 ships that are major surface combatants (13 frigates and 6 guided missile destroyers), not one of which is based in Scotland. This is disastrous for a nation with aspirations to be a major world power. 

Correction - for Westminster politicians with pretensions to pose on the world stage and, according to their favourite cliche, "punch above our weight." Even more absurd are the 2 aircraft carriers currently being built and for which the UK cannot afford to buy aircraft. It now turns out that there are questions about whether the flight deck of the single carrier that the Ministry of Defence can afford to retain, is strong enough for the aircraft to land on. I'll leave the submarines, including the abandoned hulks at Rosyth, for another day, when I hope you might clarify the logic, practicalities and morality of your position. This story requires a modern Gilbert and Sullivan duo to do justice to these issues and to the monumental incompetence and soaring self-regard of the Westminster politicians, including your labour colleagues at Westminster.

In conclusion, I wonder why you have apparently not noticed that the population in this area is falling and, according to the Sunday Times, house prices in Helensburgh are falling to a greater extent than anywhere else in the UK. (Google it if you haven’t seen this news.} Moreover, as the Advertiser recently reported, there are many unoccupied shops and a lot of charity shops in the centre of Helensburgh. Why is this? True to your Project Fear philosophy, you raised the spectre of falling house prices, depopulation and diminished prosperity which would inevitably occur in Helensburgh if the nuclear submarines were ever removed from Faslane. To emphasise your threat you pointed to Dunoon, where, when the US nuclear submarines were withdrawn, house prices, prosperity and the population all fell. You warned that a similar fate awaits Helensburgh. What you did not admit is that the dire (Dunoon-like) circumstances you predict already exist here in Helensburgh now, before any nuclear submarines have been withdrawn. Why is that? Is it possible that the falling house prices, the falling population and the numerous closed shops in central Helensburgh are related to the proximity of the Base and its nuclear weapons, from which many people would prefer to stay far away?

D. Pollock

Friday, 23 May 2014

Random Thoughts...

Leading economist and former Standard Life Chief Economic Adviser Professor David Simpson has said that we are “poorer together” as a result of Westminster’s failure to manage the economy properly and the handling of the UK financial crisis.

Prof Simpson’s evidence – which is published ahead of an appearance by Better Together at Holyrood - heavily criticises the debts run up under Labour at Westminster and lays blame for the financial crisis of 2007/08 firmly at the door of the Westminster establishment.

In a written submission to the Finance Committee ahead of his appearance tomorrow (Wednesday), Professor Simpson wrote: “Bank of England officials, Treasury civil servants and their political masters all share responsibility for having led the British economy into the financial crisis of 2007/8 and then allowing it to languish in recession for four more years.

He adds: “No politician or civil servant in the Treasury or the Bank of England has accepted responsibility for these mistakes. Instead, it is ordinary people who have been punished.”

He also states that as part of the UK in the last five years, average living standards in Scotland have fallen year on year, adding: “We have become poorer together.”
Fair, huh? And we have no representation at Commissioner level.

Holyrood Park has been defaced by a NO voter who spread
fertilizer on the grass to burn in his Vote No message.
Historic Scotland is stepping up patrols and police are taking the vandalism
seriously. Better Together could not be contacted for a comment.
I know people feel strongly about this, even at a European election.
But wanting to shoot independence voters is a bit steep.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


Mr. Kennedy represents Ross, Skye and Lochaber at Westminster and Mr Thompson Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch at Holyrood.

Charlie Kennedy

At the event billed as a Referendum Information Evening in Fort William students, staff and members of the public heard a friendly and good natured debate between the two elected representatives. After the opening remarks by Messrs. Thompson and Kennedy there was an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

Although the MSP and MP agreed upon many things on the night they, of course, diverged on the question of independence.

Dave Thomson
At the end of the evening the college conducted a secret poll of attendees asking how they would vote in the referendum in September. The results were:

  • 63 Yes
  • 25 No
  • 2 undecided
This was a very convincing win for Yes which we hope will be replicated in the real referendum.
The only way to keep Farage out in Scotland, is to vote SNP. The polls show that the Greens won't make it and the Liberals are finished. The last seat could go either to Ukip or the SNP. Let's make sure it is not Ukip.
Munguin's mates, Shona Robison and Humza Yousaf
in Dundee last night
Are you trying to stir up trouble Mr Kelly?
Would this suit your ends? What exactly are your ends?
Do you know any Scottish people?
That's the Tories for you.. soiling their "strides"...
Jeez, who's called trousers "strides" in the last 80 years?
500+ in Galashiels last night for Nicola
Dear old Nick got involved, which was a bit of a mistake
Especially as he was promising to guarantee stuff.
Why don't you get out a pledge board, Nick, you know
like you did with the student fees...?
Well, it's a long afternoon with no one to talk to.
Much more... infact every fibre of his being
(except a debate with the First Minister)
Do jellyfish have "fibre"?
Hmm, you work for the BBC?
Hilarious. Imagine the daft bat doesn't know how to spell where she comes from...
Try again Karen and choose a place you know. West Kensington maybe?
So grassroots you could feed it to George Osborne's horses.

Where were the Labour MPs fighting against this?
Respecting the traditions of Westminster?
Why can they shout over every other speech and not that one?
This is important. It REALLY isn't about England. It's about SCOTLAND.