Tuesday 30 November 2010


Well, as you know, I’m all for a bit of plain speaking.

As you also know, I treat myself to a good loud guffaw when politicians, who are fond of the same, forget that not everyone (including their party leaders/bosses) is quite so keen on it.

You see, I think that, whilst plain speaking is the best way to make sure that no one can possibly be in doubt as to what you mean, it can also be extremely offensive.

For example, this afternoon I was obliged because of the snow, to make use of a bus, something I almost never do in Dundee because of the horrific cost (£1.20 for a couple of bus stops that would have cost me about 10p in the car), not to mention the rude staff, awful driving, and less than agreeable company. So whilst I was being fleeced by National Express this afternoon this utterly enormous woman barged past me (a skinny wee thing) standing on my toe in the process and plonked her not inconsiderable girth onto a double seat leaving no room for anyone else. Now plain speaking would have involved the words, fat, ugly, ignorant, foot, ouch, and a few expletives. But as her rolling on me would likely have seen me confined to Ninewells Hospital (a place no one in their right mind would ever want to be) I made do with “excuse me” muttered sotto voce and smiling in her direction.

In short, there are times where plain speaking is the right thing to do, and times when, frankly, it is not. As I’ve said elsewhere Old Lard Young made a dreadful mistake pooh poohing the recession. “Some have never had it so good”, he ventured, but Nick Cameron was at least mindful of the fact that some people, whose votes he wanted badly, were hurting like hell, and it was OK for that old fool sitting there in the upper house without a thought for people who actually have to be elected. The same could be said of dear Howie (big gob) Flight, who having secured his income for the rest of his miserable, went about making poor old elected politician’s lives hell with his belly rumblings about the lower orders and their breeding habits... Ah how quickly the aristocrat forgets the ways of the ordinary man.

Now we hear about another person who won’t be too worried about losing his seat, or his job, because there ain’t gonna be any bailiffs waiting to take away his Ikea. His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew appears to think that any kind of investigations into British Aerospace paying princes loadsamoney for favours, was all a damned nonsense, that the son of the head of state of the country he was in was dishonest, and that the French “en generale” were corrupt. All said towards the end of a lunch in Kyrgyzstan. (Ah, that explains a lot about his plain speaking; he was pissed).

Ho bloody ho Andy you big fat twerp (well, I know you appreciate a bit of plain speaking), that’s rich coming from a prince of the country where over half Mummy’s MPs and a good number of Mummy’s ministers were on the fiddle, not to mention a very sizable number of Mummy’s Lords.

Now I don’t know if the French are corrupt. My impression is no more so than most others (Chirac excepted), but coming from a Brit, it’s a bit on the bloody thick side.

Incidentally, why exactly was it, you privileged knob, that Timur Kulibayev, the son of the Kazakh President, bought your house, after it had been on the market for years, for £15 million, 3 million over the asking price? Nothing erm dodgy there Andy? No deals or anything?

Bloody idiot.

Pics: (1) The Noble but Unemployed Lord Young, who doesn’t have to worry about voters. (2) Something went wrong here. I Googled Howard Flight and got Howard the Duck, but as he was prettier, I just kept him. (3) Prince Tubby, making the kind of fool of himself with women 1/3 of his age, that he is best known for. (4) Well with such a depressing load of ugly old things, I thought a nice pic to cheer us up. This is Kirgizstan, and it looks good enough for a holiday, don’t you think?

Monday 29 November 2010


The police officer filmed pushing Ian Tomlinson to the ground during the G20 protests is to face an internal misconduct hearing. Mr Tomlinson died after inadvertently being caught up in the demonstrations in London in 2009.

The English procurator fiscal, known as the CPS, decided not to press charges against Simon Harwood, the police officer who pushed him to the ground, precipitating his death.

Instead he will face a disciplinary hearing charge for gross misconduct. If he is found guilty he could be sacked.

Deborah Glass, the IPCC deputy has directed that the hearing be held in public because of the gravity and exceptional circumstances of the case. The incident was caught on video which showed Mr Tomlinson being struck with a police baton and pushed to the ground. (Didn’t they make it illegal to photograph of video police officers around that time?)

The guy wasn’t even involved in the demonstration. He was walking home from work.

The Allegations against Harwood are that:

a) he struck Mr Tomlinson on his left thigh with his baton;

b) he pushed Mr Tomlinson so he fell to the ground;

c) such dangerous actions inadvertently caused or contributed to the death of Mr Tomlinson;

d) the use of force was not necessary, proportionate or reasonable in the circumstances.

I have never understood why he didn’t face charges of murder, apart from the very obvious reason that he is one of “us” and Mr Tomlinson was one of “them”. But the official reason was that there was "sharp disagreement between the medical experts" about what caused of death, after 3 post mortems.

Personally I would have thought that being hit with a baton and pushed to the ground a few moments before you died would have had a pretty strong connexion to it!

You would think too, that given the importance of this case, and the interest that was shown across not just England, but the world that the Home office would have been able to provide a pathologist that wasn’t dodgy. But no, with their usual level of incompetence they put up Fred Patel to do the post mortum. He found that the man had died of coronary artery disease.

Strangely (or not so strangely) he missed the massive internal bleeding as the result of a being hit with a blunt instrument along with cirrhosis of the liver. I wonder where he trained.

He must be really thick. Even if he was a stooge set up by the home office to protect one of their own, he might have noticed that Mr Tomlinson had cirrhosis of his liver.

A third PM agreed with the second one.

The hearing will be presided over by two senior police officers from Harwood’s own force (that’s fair then), and an independent member of the public selected from a list appointed by the Metropolitan Police Authority. (It just gets fairer and fairer)!!!.

So, am I dim, or is being a London police officer enough to save you from being charged with murder or manslaughter if you beat an innocent bystander to death?

Pics: (1) Ian Tomlinson going about his business of walking home after work, a concept most of us can understand having done it; (2) Ian Tomlinson being helped to his feet having been beaten by PC Harwood; (3) The aforementioned PC Harwood in civvies, and fortunate not to meet a policeman in a bad mood an d in possession of a truncheon; (4)Protesters (yes I know, the government doesn’t like them, nor, it appears do the police), who think, as I do, that although police may find themselves in special circumstances relating to their work, they do not necessarily have the right to beat innocent men to death in the street, when all they wanted to do was go home for their dinner.

Sunday 28 November 2010


Some interesting news from Telegraph columnist Alex Singleton regarding Mr Howard Flight.

And it throws up an interesting question about the House of Lords. Old Howard is standing in his living room here doing his best to show off how rich he is by cramming in all his art, including his wife, who must be wearing that dress for a bet... (I’m sure he won’t mind my saying that. He believes in straight speaking, and he probably thinks that I’m some hideous little prol who shouldn’t be allowed to breed for fear of contaminating the blood line, or whatever.)

Anyway Howie, as I like to call him, has been being courted by the United Kingdom Independence Party, who were hoping that he would be elevated to the Lords so that they could manage to get another peer into the House by stealth. And Lo, because Dave can’t take back what has been given by Letters Patent (letterae patentes), will just have to let him go forward as a working peer, only to find that he won’t be working for Dave. Still Dave can always put another one in to make up the numbers. In fact he may have to put two in, one to make up for Flighty, and one to make up the numbers.

And so it will go on, and if (hum) and when (hum again) the Lords next stage of reform comes in and a few hundred more are elected, they’ll have to get a bloody great portacabin out the back to put them all in. (Only of course, it will have to be a portacabin of very special construction, for blue blood and ordinary people’s portacabins don’t go together at all.

Nick Cameron, or Davie Clegg... (whichever, I can barely tell them apart these days), has said that those Lords who are in the House at present will be allowed to stay there till they die. (Interesting fact: it is illegal to die in parliament on the basis that if you do, you have to be given a state funeral, and that costs money.) So if the 750 odd stay until they die, and the lot make more peers and then we elect 400... at some stage the whole place may just burst. And wouldn’t that be a shame...


On the one hand there is probably a very strong case for the fact that confidential communications of governments should remain secret.

No one would deny that details of military capabilities or planned exercises can only be in the public’s domain, if they are equally in the domain of the enemy. On the other hand, what little bit of information we have got recently courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act (an Act Labour must regret passing more than any other), which still leaves the U
K as one of the least informed countries in the West, tells us that our “lords and masters” are a sack of lying, cheating, self serving, horse manure. Incompetence is legend, stupidity is habitual and greed endemic.

So, what of the WikiLeaks that the American government is so almightily scared about now? Leaks, as far as I can make out by some ex-senior people in the American government, they are reputed to be full of candid assessments of personnel and efficiency from America (and sometimes British and other) representatives all over the world.

Although it would take a complete moron to assume that the diplomatic words that pass between representatives are anything other than complete bullshit, I expect that no one wants to have what people REALLY felt about them made public!

According to pundits embarrassments for the Americans may include candid assessments of Gordon Brown and David Cameron and details of mistakes made by both Brits and Americans in the wars we have engaged in since the beginning of the century.

Well, no prizes for guessing that they will have assessed Brown as mad as a hatter and as creepy as Uriah, and his Cabinet as a bunch of fag days
’ loser ministers. Whilst they probably haven’t labelled Cameron as mad (yet), they will undoubtedly be concerned about how naive he is, and how little he knows or understands of international diplomacy beyond which way the port is passed.

And before anyone accuses me of leaving him out, they may well be painting a picture of Alex Salmond too, not because the government of Scotland is important to them in the normal way of things, but they will have found Alex neither mad nor incompetent, and that very fact may worry them. Smug, oh yes, found of curry, oh yes, but sharp as a tack, and right on to them over Megrahi.

So I was impressed by this post from a man I much admire and respect. Ian Hamilton QC.

"UK Government has issued a “D-notice” warning to all UK news editors, asking to be briefed on upcoming WikiLeaks stories. 9:13 AM Nov 26th via web”.

A “D Notice” is a press censorship notice.

This particular D notice is thought to refer to emails passing between governments about the Megrahi case and how he was stitched up.

This blog will not be silenced by a D notice.

So you thought we had a free press.

AS a QC I once took an oath of loyalty to Queen Elizabeth as head of state. I no longer wish to be loyal to a state which uses press censorship. I repudiate my oath.


It’s a sobering thought that ‘D Notices’ could be used to save the backsides of people who collaborated to provide American families with closure at the expense of an innocent man’s life.

But it doesn’t shock me.

I’m not a QC, so I have never made any oath to the Queen. Nor would I ever do so. I have nothing to repudiate. I’m just with Ian.

Pic: WikiLeaks, Gordon March Hare Brown, Ian Hamilton, QC.

Saturday 27 November 2010


Jackie Baillie, Labour's health spokeswoman, has launched an attack on NHS Scotland for the number of people it employs currently earning more than the First Minister.

Some 800 people in Scotland’s Health Service receive more than the £140,000 which Alex Salmond is paid, and there are more than 3000 whose income is above the £100,000 mark.

I agree with her. It is absolutely ridiculous that at any time we have managers and consultants whose pay is so out of touch with that of the people that they serve and who work under them.

Jackie proposed a massive reduction in the number of these highly remunerated managers and administrators. Although she continued with a suggestion to reduce the salaries of other high earners, she didn’t specify who she meant by that. Would it be doctors and consultants?

She quite rightly stated that it was wrong to continue to pay so many people such high salaries when health boards across Scotland are expecting to have to make over 4000 people redundant in the next year, including nurses and midwives.

Ms Baillie also criticised the fact that there are too many health boards in the country. As with police, the management and administrative functions could be shared over far wider areas with massive savings. Fewer boards, fewer chief executives, managers and administrators: all sounds sensible to me

It may seem populist to say that we need to be reigning in money spent on non essentials, and concentrating every halfpenny on frontline patient care, but it is also utterly true, and that’s why I am delighted to hear Jackie Baillie say it so clearly.

But it is also true that the 22 health boards did not spring up like magic mushrooms over the last few years since Labour left power, nor did the contracts that were signed off by the McConnell administration for silly money for doctors and consultants. The GP contracts which were organised in England and simply adopted here reduced doctors’ hours and responsibilities and bumped up money. Mad.

But Ms Baillie will doubtless be aware that many of these highly paid people have watertight contracts they may take some moving!

However, I am to see that Jackie will now want to work in concert with the government to bring forward as many sensible changes to NHS Scotland as possible.

Would it be too much to hope for that Labour will also be co-operating on other areas where management and administration functions could be rationalised, boards amalgamated, and the resultant savings invested in front line services that affect you and me.

Mind you, Jackie does seem to be calling for the government to implement the Tories cuts for them. Does her ... ha ha ha... “boss”... know about that?



Mungin's Republic's poll on the future title and status of Mrs Parker-Bowles has now closed.

I’d like to thank everyone who took part. It wasn’t open for long, but I hate these polls that go on and on, and by the time they close everyone has forgotten what they were about, or indeed how they voted...well particularly when it's on such a daft and trivial subject as this.

It goes without saying the results are hardly representative of anything.. other than the views of the 45 people who voted on royal matters on a blog with the word “Republic” in its title! But it was all a bit of fun and Mr Yougov need not worry that Munguin’s Republic will be taking over from him anytime soon.

The outcome, given the parameters, was predictable, although I was surprised that 11% of voters (all of 5!) favoured Mrs P-B being called Queen. (Did you vote 5 times Dean?)

The full result was:

Queen: 5 votes, 11%
Princess Consort: 5 votes, 11%
Duchess of Rothsay: 1 vote, 2%
Duchess of Kernow: 2 votes, 4%
FMDIDGAD: 32 votes, 71%

There you go Charlie. According to the readers of Munguin’s Republic, you can call her what the hell you want.

So he should be happy. Just one small drawback. I remember reading that Charlie’s dad once said that the moment that people lose interest in the royals is the moment that they might as well pack up and go.

If they cease to provide entertainment for the people, the people may start wondering why they cost almost as much as a banker to keep!

So, maybe we should have a poll on where they should set up home?

If you do have any ideas for polls that you fancy would work on the blog, let me know. (Sensible ones please, Niko!)

Pic: Joking aside, what in the name of all that's right is Chic wearing. I mean was he on a fancy dress party the night before, got blootered and stayed over at a mate's place and had to put his fancy dress back on. I mean not a thing matches. I'm no snappy dresser, but I wouldn't change a tyre looking like that. And as for that pheasant, I know they are stupid birds, but that's about the last place it would be sensible to build a nest.

Friday 26 November 2010


The London government is apparently seeking backing from the EU for new bank bonus rules.

So what happened to the pre-election promise to be "tough on banks"? Has there been pressure put upon them from the City or was it just a wee story they spun to make us think that they meant business.

The legislation is in place; it was put on the statute book by Alistair Darling with the backing of the Tories and Liberals. There is nothing to stop the UK implementing the laws except for lack of will. Even the author of the report that recommended the tougher regulations, David Walker, ex-Morgan Stanley banker, has advised that the UK should go it alone but the chancellor appears to think that if we make bankers do anything that they don’t want to do, then the best of the talent; the ones that make billions (and clearly lose it too) will go elsewhere.

It seems to me that the bankers have been threatening to do that for as long as I can remember, and it would seem that if they are worried about publishing the details of big earners it may be that the big earners have something to hide. Are all their tax affairs in order?

The government’s delaying tactic comes just as it has emerged that their officials are talking with banks’ management about a possible donation of about £1 billion to a "Big Society bank". It has been suggested that if the banks co operate the government will quietly forget about silly old regulations.

Dave, it seems, is determined that his non-starter Big Society (the thing Mrs Thatcher said didn’t even exist, never mind in large size) will not “non-start”.

The Treasury said that Osborne would be writing to his European counterparts this week, but taking time over the discussions with all the EU countries means that nothing would be agreed this year or even next. Business Secretary Vince Cable called for greater openness earlier this week, but he’s only a Liberal and no one listens to anything they say

Senior bankers are said to want to ease tensions with the public which they know is not exactly pro bankers at the moment. They seem to think we will be pacified by money put into Dave’s "Big Society bank. I have to say I doubt that very much.

The insufferably patronizing Angela Knight, of the British Bankers Association, said: "We have said repeatedly that the banks understand the public mood with respect to remuneration, and the banks also understand their societal responsibilities. It is not surprising therefore that we are talking with the Government. The banks are aware of the role that they must play."

I don’t think that they have the foggiest idea Angela. Not the foggiest idea. Otherwise they would all be hiding under their beds or heading for other shores, whether or not details were being published. They need to remember what happened to Fred Goodwin’s house and be aware that people are only now beginning to feel the pain. There is a lot of red hot anger out there.

(PS: Would you believe that the Royal Bank is still insisting to its customers, me for example, that they would be delighted to help them with their financial planning? I’d sooner ask Viv Nicholson!)

Pics: London; Old Georgie there, skipping his responsibilities; Angela Knight. Now I knew she was a monster, but I didn't think she was that bad, and I have no idea who the bloke is Subrosa, so don't ask!! Viv Nicholson and her ill fated husband. Actually both of them were pretty ill fated. They won the equivalent of around £3 million and it brought them nothing but misery.

Thursday 25 November 2010


I’d have a lot more time for the Tory foot in mouth approach, which is “only good humoured joshing” according to their supporters, if they were a little more adept at taking what they are happy to hand out.

But the sensitivity when they are portrayed as a bunch of chinless wonders who went straight from Eton up to Oxford and from there into a safe seat in the shires knows no bounds. ‘That doesn’t mean anything’, say Tory supporters. ‘Just because they are rich it doesn’t mean that they don’t understand the plight of the poor; just because they went to Eton it doesn’t mean they don’t understand what it is like to be at an inner city comprehensive’. But they can’t half dish it out.

I mean, I don’t hold with all this political correctness myself. I have no problem with the Prime Minister calling the Speaker a dwarf, as he apparently did for a cheap laugh, according to David Hughes (of the Telegraph). As a Scot I am not insulted in the least when as part of his speech he mocks Danny Alexander, his Chief Secretary for wearing a skirt. I frankly don’t give a thought to the fact that in discussing Ian Gilmour’s career his summation is “shit happens” (certainly does).

I’m not bothered that one of his rather dubious new appointees to the House of Endless Treasure has shown what he thinks about poor people “breeding”. After all, I doubt very much if there are a large number of people anywhere who give a stuff what Howard Flight thinks about anything at all, much less anything to do with breeding!! Even Michael Howard took steps to stop him from standing as an MP. And if Old Young (ha ha, I actually didn’t mean that) thinks that we’ve all had a great recession and doesn’t think that 500,000 redundancies adds up to a hill of beans, fine. Again, he’s just not important enough to bother much about. (Isn’t it lucky for him, though, that his resigning in disgrace means that he can still collect three hundred and odd quid a day, but this time for doing sod all!!?)

But they really have to accept that if they can say insensitive things about people, so can we lesser beings about them.

So wise up you bunch of toffee nosed posh Bullingdon boys and learn to take it like men... of course I said that with love, and I mean it in the nicest possible way.

Perhaps in the interests of fairness and balance it would be an apt time to point out that even the uber politically correct Harwoman thought herself above the rules when she called poor old Danny (he gets it from both sides... OK that’s enough!) a ginger rodent.

Politically incorrect pics: (1) Dave. I can see why he has his own photographer with his soft focus, and touch up facilities. He looks a bit rough and wrinkly and is that grey hair I see after only 6 months? (2) Howard is another one who could do with a face lift, now he’s got £300 a day coming in maybe he’ll at least get some botox. Too much breeding perhaps? (3) What untidy handwriting Howard. You’ll need to smarten up now you’re..bwa ha ha ...aristocracy... and thus must have (wait for it) BREEDING. (4) Ging: OK, I know it’s not a rodent. It was the best I could do. Wonder what he looks like in a skirt. (5) Well I’d say that Harry was looking drunk as a puggie here, but she’s only a girl and would probably cry.

In keeping with accepted political practice I now unreservedly apologise for any hurt I caused and withdraw my remarks completely.

FMQ on SVR by SR

The account of today's First Minister's Questions can be found over at Subrosa's place, and a damned good one it is too.

Warning: This post may cause people to wonder about how much time can be wasted on trivia by highly paid public servants.

Someone told Tavish yesterday that his attack on John Swinney had been statesman-like. (I think it may have been Tavish as he was shaving this morning.) So, he resumed this afternoon where he left off yesterday. A forensic examination of that part of FMQ can he found here at Scot Goes Pop.

Warning: This post may cause uncontrollable mirth.

Pics: Alex Salmond's reaction on
hearing that Tavish Scott was out to get him...

Wednesday 24 November 2010


It was surely only a few weeks ago that Nick Clegg was telling us that the policies of the government, were the policies of ALL the government. The Conservatives and the Liberals were at one. There are only government policies, not Liberal policies; not Tory policies.

Well that didn’t last long because his U-Turnness, the Deputy Prime Minister, on Tuesday tried to calm student anger (surely the last man who should have tried that malarkey), by saying that the students’ fees increase was not Liberal policy. But he tried to defend it nonetheless.

He urged students: "Listen and look before you march and shout. Our plans will mean that many of the lowest income graduates will repay less than they do under the current system." He explained that there were safeguards; that universities would have to take on poor students; that Oxford and Cambridge would be obliged to take on more people who hadn’t gone to Westminster or Eton....

Yeah, well it obviously didn’t work Nick, because all over England students were out today protesting or sitting in.

Because, you see Nick, when you hawk yourself and your party around all the university campuses in England telling them that if the Liberals get in there will be no increase in student fees... and then you, and your MPs sign a pledge to that effect, it sits badly when, as the Deputy Prime Minister you have to admit that that was actually a pledge made when there was as much of a chance of you getting into government as there was of Sarah Palin knowing the capital of...oh I dunno, Canada?

And frankly I don’t blame the students, and the lecturers and the parents and 6th formers, all of whom were marching and protesting today. As always there were some that went too far. A police van was wrecked and people were injured. Injuries to people from either side of the argument, is to be deplored. Peaceful protest isn’t about people getting hurt.

But, it’s not always the fault of the protesters, as recent events in London have shown. Police beating innocent bystanders, as a result of which they die of heart attacks, is also not what we pay them to do, especially when they have purposely hidden their badge numbers.

The London demonstration has resulted in 68 arrests so far and police continue to scour hours of video footage and thousands of photographs in a bid to identify those responsible for crimes. The police would get a lot more respect if they put that much effort into finding police officers guilty of beating protestors some of whom were only guilty of filming the events.

So Nick, this is what you get when you do 180 degree turns in policy. Your generation got your education courtesy of the taxpayer, you promised it to the next generation, and you lied.

I think there will be a lot of this kind of protest over this winter and well into next year. It isn’t ideal; it disrupts people’s lives, but the alternative is for us all to lie down and let the government run a steam roller over us, while the people who caused the problem debate whether or not to reduce their multi-million pound bonuses.

I’m right behind you lads!

Pics: Nick "the gentleman is for turning" Clegg, showing that he is in no way like Mrs Thatcher; Invitation to wear something red (what would you do if the only thinkg you had that was red was underwear?); someone doing a Michael Jackson impersonation.

There are points for suggesting what Mr Clegg might have been saying in the pic at the top, his hands so far apart... Answers on a post card.

What do points mean?

Tuesday 23 November 2010


And certainly beware of chain letter that don't seem like chain letters!

Well...as you can see from the comments below, my old friend has misled me (probably not on purpose) but none the less, this post was pretty much a load of twaddle... There may be a scam going on, so beware, but Monty has come up with a site where you can check phone numbers you might be doubtful of


I’ve left the post up so you can see what a silly Billy I am, and also to advertise the site!

I just received an email with this information from an old friend. I have no idea how serious it is, but it won’t do anyone (in the UK) any harm to be cautious.

He’s what it says:

Postal Scam:

Can you circulate this around especially as Xmas is fast approaching -
It has been confirmed by Royal Mail. The Trading Standards Office are
making people aware of the following scam:

A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel
Delivery Service) suggesting that they were unable to deliver a parcel
and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a Premium rate

DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize .

If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you
will already have been billed £315 for the phone call.

If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 020 7239 6655.

It's better to be safe than sorry.


When I heard that Wills and Kate were to marry so soon after the coalition took power, I was reminded that Charles and Di did just the same thing the last time that the Tories were doing nasty things to us.

It is, as it was 30 years ago, a way of distracting attention; it’s a way of promoting the ‘feel good’ factor among vast numbers of the population. And of course, for those of us that don’t give stuff about weddings of rich kids with mediaeval titles, there is the advantage of a bank holiday, which according to the BBC reporter was announced in ‘Britain and Wales and Northern Ireland’. (That may just give us an insight into the thinking of the BBC.)

(Public Holidays in Scotland are a matter for the Scottish Government in conjunction with the Queen, and the Government’s proposals to the Scottish Parliament are expected shortly.)

But in choosing the week before the Scotland’s General Election, and of course the UK wide referendum, is William being used by the Prime Minister to divert attention away from an extremely important decision on the future of voting in the UK and of course the choosing of the government of our country.

It is widely reported that William and Kate have made all the decision themselves and they haven’t allowed anyone to interfere, but we all know that that is simply not true.

These events have to be coordinated by the Government, the Palace, the Church, the Commonwealth, the Security Services. The invitations have to be at least vetted by the Foreign Office. No one of importance must be left out. Pecking orders, seating in the abbey and at table, where people will be billeting. All has to be co-ordinated by the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshall of England and the Marquess of Cholmondley, the Lord Great Chamberlain and their thousands of staff.

In any case they are protesting far too loudly that it’s all been the couple’s decision.

Blanket tv and newspaper coverage from now until the event will mean that there will only be days left for politicians to get their message across the UK for the referendum... and of course our own General Election campaigning will doubtless be relegated to the bottom of page 17 in what passes for newspapers in Scotland.

Events such as royal weddings have the effect, at least on some people, of encouraging a flag waving national pride. A contentment with the good old ways; the fine old traditions of fair play and first past the post... maybe... uh Dave?

The Scottish General Election (and indeed the Welsh and Irish elections) will be demoted to an event of secondary importance, which of course to the Tories, not expecting to win them, they are. Local elections in England, where it is possible the Tories and their little helpers will suffer large losses, will be quietly forgotten while the papers report on tales from the honeymoon.

The Respect Agenda takes yet another dive out of the window... and David Cameron has stuck it to Nick Clegg, yet again.

But never mind Nick. AV wasn’t worth having anyway (you said so yourself), because it’s not PR, and in any case you still have your title and the car. Enjoy them while you can.

Monday 22 November 2010


"No Sire, I promise, there will be no increase on Duchy Originals. No one could possibly consider them a luxury unless they were a registered sadist." Prince Chick enjoys a cup of tea, while wee Osborne is only allowed a glass of water and the guy at the back stifles a yawn.

So from January 4, VAT is set to rise from 17.5% to 20%. It will push up prices of a wide range of goods and services.

There are some things which are VAT exempt such as most food items, books, newspapers, magazines and children’s clothes.

But the increase will apply to items which the government considers to be luxuries; for example chocolates, ice cream, biscuits, etc.

Of course, when the last government reduced VAT in order to try to stimulate the economy by reducing prices, we all laughed at them. It was, we said, a matter of a few pence here and a few pence there. A t-shirt from Primark came down 6p; one from Next by 15p. A pair of shoes was maybe 40p cheaper. Even on big items the price difference was small enough not to make a huge difference. If you were going to spend £1000 on a tv, the saving was only around £20. Not much on that level of expenditure. It certainly wasn’t going to persuade you that, yes, after all you could afford it.

It’s the same kind of rise. A few pence here and there added to the price of ordinary items and even with big items, it’s not an earth shattering amount. Even a car which was priced at £15,000 will now have a price tag of £15,300.

However, in as much as the last government maintained (and was backed by figures) that the VAT reduction stimulated the economy, the VAT reduction will serve the opposite purpose.

The government reckons that the move will bring in around £13 billion... and that’s money that will now not be used to purchase other goods, keeping other stores and businesses alive. Another downer is that there will be an upward effect on inflation.

Of course if you go to France you’ll find VAT is already around the same percentage at 19.5% and in Germany it is at 19%. In some of the more prosperous countries of the Union VAT is far higher. However, it should be remembered that in different countries, different levels of other taxes may make up for this for example income tax starting at a far higher level or charged at a smaller percentage.

One question I have always wished to know the answer to is: there are items here which are exempt for the tax: essential foods and children’s clothes I can understand. What I do not understand is why books, newspapers, and magazines are VAT free.

It’s not that Mr Murdoch wouldn’t like it, is it?


I was amused by reports in the ‘Press and Journal’ today that said that two homeowners Mark and Gillian Hewison had asked for £2 million for their home which is situated between the Trump Organization’s planned luxury golf resort hotel and the sea.

“It’s all about money and greed,” said Trump’s spokesman Mr Sorial, without a trace of irony!

He went on to say that the price was ridiculous and landowners were attempting to hold the organization to ransom.

Well that’s something the Trump organization would never do now, would it!

“We have never overpaid for a piece of land, and we don’t inten
d to start at Menie,” said Mr Sorial, boxing himself into a corner he might wish that he hadn't gone anywhere near.

The golf resort comprising a 450-room hotel, 950 villas along with 500 other homes in expected to be open in 2012. It will cost around £750 million and is expected to contribute around £50million a year to the local economy.


Pics : !) DonaldTrump, who looks like he could be Boris Johnson’s dad with a home permanent! 2) Welcome Mr Trump signs have appeared all over the area. 3) Isn’t the countryside nice around there?

Sunday 21 November 2010


Despite a promise, from all the large UK parties, that politics would be cleaned up, in an effort to give us confidence in our, erm, “masters”, it appears to me that nothing much has changed.

Yes, there are a few of the troughing pigs facing a trial, but far too few, and almost none from the so-called upper house, where it seems that the rules allow for fiddling.

Mr Cameron, in an effort before the election, to appear tough on fid
dling and tough on the fiddlers, seems to have backtracked a little, and now that all that horrid nonsense about cash for peerages has faded into the background, some of the people who were turned down last time have found their greasy way to the red benches, so that for the rest of their lives they can join the select few who are entitled!

Cameron also came to the election with plans to change the House of Lords, one of the most ridiculous concoctions in the Western world, particularly for a country that finds itself lecturing anyone who will listen on “democracy”. Somewhat bizarrely then the change that he presents is, well, the addition of a further 50 members, meaning that the total membership will now be over 750.

It’s just as well this country is just bursting at the seams with cash, for each of these people is entitled to well over £300 a day, for just turning up. When you think that the retirement pension is £104 a week, it makes you laugh
that these people can collect three times that and a bit more for turning up, signing in and going to the bar. £1600 a week for getting drunk in bars that we subsidize.

How bloody daft are we?

Well very, if this lacklustre lot are examples of the new recruits:

Robert Edmiston, car salesman who is a hefty Tory donor and whose nomination was turned down previously because of concern about his tax affairs, gets his reward. Edmiston was embroiled in the cash-for-honours scandal and was questioned by the police in July 2006. He secretly lent the Tories £2 million before the 2005 general election, and then converted the loan into a donation contravening the rules. He was involved
in collecting money from rich businessmen for onward transmission to the Tories, thus concealing their identities and in funding their hi-tech call centres in Birmingham. He’ll fit in nicely I suspect. But why would the House of Lords need a car salesman? What does he have to offer, except cash?

Michael Bishop another millionaire donor to the Tories is now Lord Bishop (ha ha) and Stan Fink, one of the big City financiers, who has given more than £2 million to the Tories, is also ennobled. Handy having as a donor someone who has bonuses in the 6 fig
ure bracket.

To Mr Miliband’s credit he refused to nominate some Labour donors, who may, I suspect look for somewhere else to put their money in future. Brave man. However another cash for honours suspect Gulam Noon, will be ennobled for Labour.

Before the election Cameron said that he was concerned by the "suspicion" that "money buys honours". Now it’s no longer a suspicion Dave, huh? You know it does.

In a separate story we now hear that MPs' expense receipts will not be published, because it would cost too much money. That’ll be another 650+ people rubbing their hands together with delight, and they try to work out other ways to make money out of us.

When will we get a government that will get to grips with this scandal? I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely zero confidence in any of them.

Full list of the new appointees here.

Pics: (1) Nice understated little room, cheap to upkeep and clean. Not; (2) Lord Fire Raiser of Invergowrie. Since being released from prison appears to have spoken once in the House but collects hundreds of thousands in expenses; (3) Our Dave snapped by someone other than his personal photographer, and look, the wrinkles are back! Now you see why he needs his own man! (4) Lord Car Salesman, he looks like he may well have snake oil too; (5) The Telegraph’s logo for anything to do with expenses. Love the homeless duck!


I opened the Telegraph to discover that there are ministers, including the Welsh Secretary, a Cabinet Minister, who have pledged to vote against the high-speed railway, the route of which is due to run through some of England’s finest countryside. (Scotland isn’t getting a high speed railway; we have to manage with diesel trains, so no need for any Scottish Tory MP (Mr Muddle) to worry about our countryside.

Cameron has said that the route between London and Birmingham hasn’t been finalized yet, but it is known that, because they expect to have trains that will travel about twice or three times the speed that the UK is used to, the lines will have to be quite straight, and the gradients quite low. (I’ve been on TGVs in France that went up through the mountains and round corners, but that is France and this will be in England.)

The great laugh is that the work is not due to begin until 2017, by which time the rest of the continent will doubtless be travelling at 350 mph, and this government will be in opposition, so their resignations won’t matter diddly! The price tag at present is some £17 billion , so you can just imagine what it will be by the time they get around to doing it... I’ll take offers over 40 billion, and 5 years late.

One of the great problems is that they intend to run up to 18 trains an hour on the line (that should be a laugh), through the back gardens of rich people who live in that area, and that is causing some Tories consternation. Strangely the Speaker has also said that he will campaign against it. I wouldn’t have thought Sally Bercow would be in the least interested in rich people’s woes. (As an aside, did anyone see the stupid woman on “Have I got News for You?” What a fool they made of her.)

Anyway, I turn to the Observer and I discover that there’s a split in the Cabinet over the fact that that silly little man Gove, who has yet to get a single thing right since he was appointed, has slashed £160+ million from schools sports spending in England, just as England is about to hold the Olympics, and one of the conditions on which that was won was that there would be a sporting legacy for the population. And in the same week that Cameron is flying out to Zurich to put his weight (!) behind England’s bid to get the World Cup in 2018. The word that comes to mind here is “Duh”.

The Observer says: “Gove's decision to end all ring-fenced funding for sport – which would threaten most after-school clubs and severely reduce the number of trained PE teachers and sports coaches – has also caused dismay among MPs, leading athletes and the teaching establishment. Many sports co-ordinators have already been told they will not have a job after the end of the financial year in March.

Well, that makes sense. Sport is their priority, but they’re getting rid of most of their sports co-ordinators.

Clegg seems to feel that the liberals haven’t been consulted over this, particularly as it seems the Tories are intending carry on with Labour's policy and sell off school sports facilities. Lunitics and Asylum are the words tend to come to mind here.

Thank heavens have our own government and are spared a fair percentage of the incompetence of this bunch of amateurs.

Pics: Top, (1) Cheryl Gillan, the Welsh Secretary with a constituency in England; (2) What trains in other countries look like; (3) The high speed rail link route, even with binoculars you won't be able to see Scotland, still we have horses and carts, what more should we expect?
Bottom: (1) The towering intellect that is Michael Gove (pause for laughter); (2) A sight that will soon be as rare as spinsters cycling to church on Sunday mornings, or the sound of cork on willow (oh sorry, got carried away and misty eyed about John Major there), yes, lads having a kick around after school. (They'll probably still do it, but it will be other lads that they will kick around instead of a ball!)