Monday 31 January 2011


Mr Osborne has called unions the "forces of stagnation" and blamed them for holding back Britain's economic recovery. Gideon has also said that he will change union law if his deficit-reduction timetable was disrupted by strikes. Nice one. The hard fought for rights that we have to withdraw our labour will finally be nailed by George Osborne.

This has doubtless been brought on by the fact that Osborne fears that union leaders are planning strikes against public spending cuts. The TUC has already organized a protest in London on 26 March, three days after the budget. It hopes that the protest will attract a million demonstrators.

"I completely understand” said our George, “that trade unions want to represent the interests of their members” ...and then went on to tell them what the interests of their members were.

Well, it’s good to know that someone as high and important as Mr Osborne knows all about the needs and aspirations of the ordinary working person of this country. It had worried me that, being as rich as Croesus, Mr Osborne might have difficulty in understanding what it was like to live on a couple of hundred quid a week. But no. He knows what we need and want.

Osborne showed this understanding by saying that he hoped growth would come from debt reduction, cutting corporate tax rates and reforms to English health and English education. Right, well that’s going to help Mrs McTavish put food on the table when inflation on necessaries is running at around 10% and pay rises at about 0.5% (except for bankers, MPs and the Queen). And as many English doctors are predicting utter chaos as they are removed from doctoring and put in charge of vast budgets; and almost no schools, teachers or parents support Gove’s muppet ideas on education, I’m having some difficulty in understanding how this will put food on tables.

Osborne said he felt a "huge responsibility" to make the right decisions for Britain. He said that he was fulfilling this responsibility to the best of his ability. Perhaps a comment from me there would be unhelpful. He said he realized things were not easy for families. There we go again. It’s only families that are having it tough, not just under this government; the last one was just as bad; single OAPs are having the time of their lives. And the 20+% of young people that are unemployed are thoroughly enjoying it.

George was asked on yesterday’s “Politics Show” why he did not modify the deficit-reduction timetable and he replied: "If I went to parliament and got up at the dispatch box in the House of Commons and said, 'I am abandoning the deficit-reduction plan that Britain set out last year.' What do you think the reaction would be? Within minutes Britain would be in financial turmoil. I'm not prepared to let that happen.

Actually he was asked why he didn’t modify it, not abandon it. But his answer shows that, no matter how wrong it is, and it doesn’t look good at the moment, he can’t go back, because he thinks that financial turmoil would follow. What exactly does he think we are suffering at the moment?

Oh for the courage of the Egyptians.

Pics: Gideon George Osborne: All at sea; very smug; catching flies and asleep at the helm. All dedicated to Somepapfaedundee, who loves pictures of our Chancellor. (Weird bloke.)

Saturday 29 January 2011


We believe that the best way to combat terrorism is to prosecute terrorists, not give away hard won British freedoms. That is why we will: scrap control orders, which can use secret evidence to place people under house arrest (Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2010, page 94.)

Yet another U-turn today that leaves the Lib Dems looking stupid. Hello TPIMs. T
hat’s what the Tories are having instead of Control Orders, those nasty Labour things that the coalition (and the Lib Dems in particular) promised to abolish. But they ended up only abolishing the title. Well, at least they got rid of the curfew and replaced it with a ROS... a Required Overnight Stay, which is a kind of curfew with a warm cuddly, liberal, politically correct name.

And that is today’s U-Turn!

Sneaky Tories, though (today was clearly a good day to bury U-turns) they sneaked another U-turn out more or less on the same day. That’s the one where Caroline Spelman wanted to rake in some money for DEFRA by selling off all England’s forests and getting a cool £100 million for them. But she reckoned without the intervention of Boris Johnson’s sister, Rachel {and 85% of the population of England}. It seems that Clan Johnson are very active catalysts for U-turns, after he himself precipitated one over the changes to Housing Benefit. Anyway they are not now going to just flog off the trees to the highest bidder but are now going to have a consultation after which they will only sell the wood off the highest “nice” bidder.

So waiting for the favourite media catchphrase the U-turn is rather like waiting for a bus. You wait 13 years and then loads come along all at once, sometimes twice in one day.

Thursday 27 January 2011


The First Minister announced that he would be having meetings about the *dualling of the A9 during the afternoon. He knew that the whole chamber would be delighted! He was wrong. No one much, except the SNP members, even smiled.

Elmer, aptly nicknamed “the snarl” by blogger James Kelly at Scot Goes Pop, was suddenly very worried about redundancies in Aberdeen Council: 900 of them, including teachers, who, even in Thatcher’s day, snarled Elmer, had been safe from cuts (something to do with fewer children, you half wit?). He was, apparently, concerned that Aberdeen had been let down by the SNP.

Of course as usual he had only half the facts. Eck pointed out that under a local government funding formula initiated by the Labour/Liberal “Executive” Aberdeen had received only an average of 84% of the funding per capita of Glasgow. When the SNP had tried to correct this, one Glasgow politician (a certain Steven Purnell), had publically called it a bribe! Seems you can’t please Labour.

The encounter took 11 minutes, and somewhat unfairly I thought, before the last answer, the Presiding Officer asked the FM to be brief, although he had neglected to ask Snarly Fudd to be brief in his question.

And so to Annabel, and although I may disagree with her politics I have to say she is a professional politician. She asked about the lack of availability of cancer drugs in Scotland, which are available in England. The issue, as Alex pointed out, is incredibly sensitive. Decisions are made independently by the SMC... doctors, who have to balance effectiveness against limited resources, despite the NHS budget being maintained. You could see that she listened carefully while Alex gave the answer, and then asked if he would meet with her to discuss the matter further. Alex agreed.

That’s the way to handle FMQs Gray, you idiot.

Poor wee Tavish asked about bonuses in the public sector and got an answer to his last week’s question about salary increases... It seems that the Liberals thought they had found a £50 million saving that could be made, but Alex was able to point out that to achieve this they would have to sack 450 consultants. It was a bit weird if you hadn’t seen last week’s questions. The FM pointed out that on bonuses, they were obliged to honour contracts which had been instigated by the Lib/Lab Executive, but that teh Health Secretary had asked for voluntary restraint from bosses.

Joe Fitzpatrick asked the FM about the Digital Network report, and whether it brought a “Scottish Six” closer. (A question close to my own heart as I tire of seeing English regional news on the BBC’s main news, and then a magazine programme of insultingly puerile nonsense which is offered as the BBC’s best efforts on Scottish news.

Alex agreed with Joe that it indeed did bring a Scottish 6 closer, and pointed out that it was a cross party desire to see a proper news programme on a channel funded by the licence fee in Scotland. He also paid tribute to Ted Brocklebank, the Tory Broadcasting spokesman (who used to be a tv presenter), for his assistance and expertise. In response to concern from Labour’s Pauline McNeill that money for existing BBC Scotland could be reduced, Alex suggested that BBC’s spend on Scotland ran short of the per capita equivalent in the UK.

Richard Baker (Labour), Robert Brown, who the FM acknowledged had been helpful in assisting the government to pass laws helping reduce crime to a 30 year low, and Sandra White, asked about domestic violence. The FM told them that it was totally unacceptable and that there had been a 40% increase in the budget to tackle it, with more help going to a wide range of agencies.

And so to lunch.

Alex, who agreed to meet Annabel behind the bike sheds. Snarky Elmer, who nobody wants to meet. Annabel, who could show him how to make friends and influence people. Joe, who represents Dundee West as a superb constituency MSP. Richard who doesn’t know the difference between the EU and the Council of Europe...

* Greatful thanks to my proof reader (on minumum wage) for pointing out the difference between dualling and duelling... Touché!!

Wednesday 26 January 2011


The economy shrank last quarter, but according to Mr Osborne it was because of bad weather. So that will be fine, you’d think. When the warmer weather gets here everything will be back to normal.

But you’d be wrong, according to Mr King, the governor of the Bank of Britain (or that part of Britain that counts). This is going to be a hard year, says he. Inflation will raise and wages will fall again (except for bankers, MPs and the royal family), unemployment will soar, apart from the aforementioned people, who appear to get a by on that too.

We need to tighten our belt and support the government on this, says Mr King (why has he not yet got a title?), because he thinks both they, and he, are right in these matters.

I, of course prefer the theory illustrated so effectively by his own people in the banking industry. When they were worried that there would be no bonuses for them, they arranged for pay rises of up to 50% to compensate; then when they found that the government had only been joking about the bonuses, they kept the pay rises and the bonuses as well.

So with higher fuel, higher taxes, higher domestic fuel, higher food prices, higher clothing prices, higher prices on imported good (almost everything) because the pound is falling faster that the snow that so upset the economy, and lower wages, life in looks like a real holiday (and even they will become more expensive as the pound plummets) as the warmer weather comes our way. A spokesman for the government said that we all have to buy into this because we are all in it together.

You could not make this up.

Pic: Poor wee Georgie can't even afford a hair cut.

Tuesday 25 January 2011


It now costs around £70 to fill an average family car with petrol, and that this is worrying for a “hard working British family”, who may only have around £250 disposable income, and with rent of £80 and council tax of a further £60 this can make life difficult. You could see the pain in the prime minister’s face. He really feels for us “hard-working British families”. He hasn’t said how he feels about spinster ladies and single people. I wonder how he feels about pensioners whose only way of getting shopping is to use their car. How does he think they manage with the most expensive fuel in the world in this oil rich nation? Indeed how does the poor man manage himself?

Mr Richard Baker is starting to campaign for re-election by bringing up the case of Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al Megrahi. He wanted to know how many letters and emails were received (and has been told) then he wanted them broken down into how many were for and how many against, and then he wanted to know how many civil servants were on the “Lockerbie team”, and then he wanted to know how many man hours had gone into dealing with the matter, and then he wanted to know how much it cost. (He’s very inquisitive, isn’t he?) He appears to be very concerned about how much this particular item has cost the Scottish taxpayer. I wonder if he’s considered how much time it would take and money it would cost to provide him with all this information so that he can go electioneering on it?

Mr Gray has started his election campaign, 100 days before the election, by highlighting (predictably) 100 SNP broken promises. They included promises which the SNP had not made. He also misquoted the SNP manifesto at least 20 times and mentioned items which are the responsibility of other parliaments. Moreover he included things that the SNP had brought forward and had been voted down by parliament. So as usual Mr Gray got his facts all wrong and mixed up promises broken with policies voted out by parliament. God help us if he is ever First Minister, but if he is, he will be able to rely on me to point out every single promise he breaks.

Our senior police officers were given bonuses amounting to more than £400,000 across the country last year, at a time when police forces are having to slash money from their budgets. Colin McKerracher, CBE, QPM, LlB, Chief Constable of Grampian Police, has suggested that part of the money confiscated as proceeds of crime could be used to subsidise the police in future. Could this be because he was one of only two Chief Constables that accepted his bonus? It seems to me that, like in every other walk of life, those at the top will always look after themselves, regardless of the effects on other people. Me me me me me is the motto of the senior people.

John Taylor has been found guilty of stealing over £11,000 of public money. As a barrister surely he must have been bright enough to realise that the “advice” given by fellow peers that “any family connection with an address” was enough to justify claiming that it was a first residence for the purposes of claiming expenses, especially as if he had never even been to the house, never mind lived there. I hope his lordship will have time in the pokey to reflect on his limited understanding of the legal system, and perhaps do some revision. He is safe in the knowledge, however, that even if he gets more than a year’s sentence he will still be able to resume his seat in the House upon release, and restart his expenses business.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Some random thoughts that flitted through my mind....

On average, figures suggest that there are around 120 murders a year in Scotland. Why then have our newspapers and news channels been so full of one murder in Bristol? It is likely that, in the time that this has been being reported, 10 people have been killed in Scotland, and apart from the one at the bottom of my street, which I only heard about because I have very nosey neighbours, there’s been no mention of them. Strange!

Isn’t it wonderful what money and a title can do? His Nobleness Strathclyde, the Tory leader in the Lords, looks like something you would see in the ring at a cattle market. No one in their right minds would call him aesthetically appealing, and yet he managed to arrange a series of sexual liaisons with Brigit Cunningham, who is a bit dishy, even if she is 48. Of course she has been round the block a few times, but even so. Someone with Strathclyde’s looks would have, without £10 million found it difficult to pull a dead rhinoceros!

Richard Lochhead, our Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, is working hard to get America to lift a 40 year old import ban on Haggis. US import laws ban any product which contains sheep’s lungs (I didn’t know that!), but with the vast number of Americans who have Scottish ancestry, a huge market could open up for Haggis manufacturers if he is successful. Good work Richard. Another example of the government of Scotland working for Scotland.

Didn’t Her Nobilityness Warsi make a bit of a twerp of herself with her rant about Islamaphobia? She has embarrassed the government for the second time in a few days. Dave was forced to distance himself from the comments she made on dinner party conversations about Islam, and of course she put him in another difficult situation when she put the boot into the right wing of the Tory party for not making much of an effort in Oldham and Saddleworth. One of the pitfalls, perhaps, of appointing inept ministers because they tick boxes as representing a couple of minorities?

When Alex Salmond appointed his first cabinet in 2007, he reduced the number of Cabinet Minister (and therefore the cost thereof) to 6, including himself. By contrast the Labour shadow cabinet contains 10 members plus a parliamentary business manager and chief of staff, and a chief whip, who also attend shadow cabinets. Should Labour win the General Election in May, can we look forward to a doubling in the cost of the top level of government?

Gordon Brown apparently fears that journalists may have hacked his phone. The number of times it was flying across the room and smashing to pieces against a door, wall or fireplace, I should imagine no one much left him any messages. Who’d want to speak to him anyway? How incredibly dull that would have been.

Pope Benedict must lack an irony gene as he called upon the Italian government to show a strong moral example to the public following on the scandal of Sylvio Berlusconi and the underage prostitute. Who was it again that said “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Oh yes, Jesus wasn’t it? Have you heard of him Papa?

Pics: Tubs to his friends (and lovers) Strathclyde, the answer to a maiden's prayer, specially a maiden that's short of a few bob. Richard Lochhead, our man down on the farm, being force fed carrots. Baroness Warsi two steps behind her beloved leader. A Nokia after Gordon discovered that Tony had beaten him to see Obama in the White House!


Chris Grayling, a minister with the London coalition, is going to “rescue” the “lost generation” by taking them off the dole figures and putting them into work, so says the Telegraph.

I am delighted, of course, that the government is to focus on the 16-25 year olds in the jobs market. I have advocated that several times on this blog. Years of experience in the employment business has reinforced in my reckoning that there is little point in perusing the Thatcher lost generation for work. They have been unemployed too long, settled into their world of poverty, mostly with an acceptance that that is how it will be till they die, probably long before their time. On the other hand, unless we want to ruin the lives of yet another generation of Scots we have to do something to provide work for the under 25s. Even if this costs money, it will be an investment worth making.

The numbers of this age group who are without employment, further or higher education has risen dramatically. It is not just in Scotland where this is a problem. All over the world the issue is the burning one for governments and for young people alike. It is disingenuous therefore of the coalition t
o try to blame this all on the Labour Party (although their input was substantial).

The figures in Spain are far worse than in Scotland, and even in Germany, there is a 10% youth unemployment rate. In Tunisia youth unemployment was one of the causes of the riots which overthrew the government. This is now spreading to other countries. Although Scottish Youth is unlikely to be so vociferous in expressing its displeasure at idleness being thrust upon it, London is right to be afraid of this possibility.

Mr Grayling’s solution is to offer work in private companies to young people most likely to end up joining the ranks of the long term unemployed (LTUs). Unfortunately Mr Grayling’s plans come unstuck at the first obstacle because neither he, nor the private companies can actually afford to pay for this work, so this new workforce will rely on benefits.

The laudable aim is, of
course, to give young people the experience of work, the absence of which is so often a barrier to their being employed. Unfortunately some rather hapless coalition spokesman said that they would be focussing on the needs of employers...which would appear to be for free labour!

I’d be the first to agree that the needs of business must be one of the primary concerns in the rebuilding of the economy, wrecked by bankers and the incompetence of the bank of England, the regulatory bodies, the last government and the last opposition. But free labour is taking this a bit too far.
For employment to work, it must be a partnership between employers and employees. And whilst job experience can have a role to play, it is usual in this relationship for money to change hands.

The full plans are to be announced in the next few days. I look forward with interest to reading them. I hope that the issues of payment will be dealt with, and that the massive problem of drink and drugs addiction will which is one of the barriers to work and the treatment of which is so sadly underfunded will not be neglected.

The problem of unemployment is one which has dogged the London governments for a long time. It has always been handled ineptly. Perhaps London would consider devolving the issue to Edinburgh where it might be dealt with effectively.

Pics: (1) Chris Grayling, a controversial Tory who was destined to be Home Secretary until he made a series of embarrassing statements about youth, Liverpool and gays, whereupon he was demoted to minister of state under the safer IDS and his job given to Kinky Boots May (or ''Matron', as she is known in certain parts!!) (2) Tunisian youth demonstrating that a mixture of unemployment and rising prices don’t make the best cake. Take note David Cameron. (3) Still, look on the bright side, there’s a job for a plasterer there. (4) Chris looks at a wall of achievement and wonders where he went wrong. Want a wee hint, Chris? Two extremities, “feet” and “mouth”.

Saturday 22 January 2011


So George Galloway... you know... the gorgeous one (some say), who thought that our politicians were “verbal stumblebums, who would regard the term ‘nonentity’ as a compliment”, and who compared Iain Gray and Alex Salmond in debate, to the Krankies, has decided that he would bring “a touch of class” to Holyrood.

Well, talking of Kranks, or cranks, George, how would it be if we pointed out that at least neither Mr Salmond nor Mr Gray have ever appeared on television, at least to my knowledge, in a pink leotard. (And, may I say, I fervently hope that they maintain that happy record.)

George Galloway has always been a tad on the weird side, but he is well educated and erudite and so he easily progressed from humble beginnings on Dundee’s council to be the youngest ever chairman of the Dundee Labour Party, General Secretary of War on Want, grace the floor of the Commons for Hillhead and later Kelvin and even later Bethnal Green in England.

He’s done some good stuff (pretty much sticking it to Tony Blair, which will always get a vote in my book, calling Bush and Blair liars and suggesting that troops should refuse to obey illegal orders in an illegal war), although there is no doubt that, along the way, he has become more and more strange, to the point where one wonders about madness of some sort.

The long and flowery speeches which at the same time impressed and caused amusement, especially when he let a Senate Committee have it in the neck, have become ridiculously pompous and overblown and, particularly following his appearance in the Big Brother House, he has become more of a figure of fun than anything else.

The thing I admire most about George is that he simply refuses to let authority beat him into submission. He uses his freedom to speak his mind to full effect and to the evident embarrassment of people who expect lesser beings to fold tents and be compliant. Indeed on an occasion when he was suspended from parliament for 18 days his response was: "To be deprived of the company for 18 days of the honourable ladies and gentleman behind me [in parliament] will be painful ... but I'm intending to struggle on regardless... What really upset them [the committee] is that I always defend myself... I am not a punch bag. If you aim low blows at me, I'll fight back". Would that some of the rest of the spineless morons who inhabit the green benches had half as much pluck... but most of them are looking for the main chance.

So now, and only because he has been thrown out of his seat in London, coming third behind the Labour and Tory candidates, George has decided to add a bit of class to the Scottish parliament. Aye well, that’s what HE thinks. Perhaps the Scottish people will have a different idea.

As far as I’m concerned it’s not a bad thing. His candidature will be likely to take votes from Labour without him having a hope of winning. This can only be to the SNP’s advantage.

Much of the information in this article was gleaned for this article by Ruth Wishart, whom I always had down as a bit of a feminist. I was surprised then to read her sneering at the idea that George had dyed his beard. I wonder if she has ever referred to any female MPs pointing out that their hair colouring owed much to 4 hours with “Raymonde”.

Friday 21 January 2011


Andy Coulson has resigned as David Cameron’s media chief in the light of revelations of illegal phone tapping at the News of the World when he was the editor.

He, somewhat belatedly in my opinion, decided that his position has become untenable. Apparently however, he will stay in post for a few weeks, presumably to show that he was not a wrong doer and has not been sacked.

The problem with Mr Coulson’s situation was that, if he knew that illegal phone tapping was the chosen method for the exposés that the News of the World was getting, then he was complicit in it, and therefore, as the boss, overall responsible for law breaking.

If, on the other hand, as he repeatedly claimed he had no knowledge of the hacking, it makes you wonder how such an incredibly incompetent and irresponsible journalist would make it as an editor of a national newspaper.

Tabloid newspapers make their money out of sensation. Their readers are interested in who Jordan is married to this week; how mad Cheryl Cole is and what therapy she is undergoing; what Prince Charles was saying on the phone, late at night, to Mrs Parker-Bowles from his four poster; whether David Beckham has been having an affair (thinking that his wife had left him... and unaware that her latest diet had left her invisible to the human eye). In order to keep a supply of these ever more salacious stories coming, reporters have to find more and more outlandish and possibly illegal ways of investigating the lives of the rich and infamous.

Either Mr Coulson neglected to ask how his reporters were getting the big exclusives they kept turning up for him, or he was naive enough to believe that the reporter’s next door neighbour’s sister was a close friend of the woman who cleaned for the neighbour of whichever prince or “star” they were investigating.

Either way he was a poor choice as close confidant of the prime minister.

Of course, in fairness to Mr Cameron, is it not possible that the choice was made by Rupert Murdoch as a quid pro quo for him swapping horses, and dedicating his all-powerful British news machine, including The Sun, The Times, The News of the World, and BskyB to the Conservative cause in the run up to the UK general election.

Cameron was said to be "very sorry" that Mr Coulson had felt "compelled" to resign due to continuing pressure. Well, whatever Dave, but no one believes anything you say now.

Pics: Andy Coulson, who will not get any unemployment benefit, because he left a job of his own free will. Rupert the shar pie, and Cameron looking happy, must have been before he got the job.

Thursday 20 January 2011


Just a quick question here...

...Without going into the contentious matter of the rights and wrongs of human rights: whether we should have any, whether we should share them with Europeans, whether indeed we should share them with the English, who have a very different view from us on most things.

What on earth makes Jack Straw and the Tory right think that it is unacceptable for a prisoner, inside for a relatively minor crime, to lose his right to vote in an election, when it is perfectly legal UNDER ENGLISH LAW...(nothing forced on us by Europe), for an MP to go to prison and remain an MP, on full salary and benefits?

Is there not an irony that whilst he remains a paid member of the House of Commons, he is unable to vote for its composition?

And what of our dear and much loved Upper House? Of course they don’t vote in London parliamentary elections, but they can be released from the Scrubs, get on the first bus, and go straight back into their Noble Members’ House, pop on their ermine and, after a hearty luncheon subsidised by us, can slip into the House and sleep it off, passing go and collecting £350 as they do.

Are we all mad? Is Jack Straw mad? (OK silly question). Is he well suited to the Tory right? (OK another silly question).

Hello, is there anyone there?


PS: Something else to think about. If the ruling from the ECHR was given in 2005 and Jack Straw sat on it for 5 years, leaving it to the Tories to sort out the mess, then why does Elmer think that he’s got something really clever to say about the fact that the decision on students’ payments, or not, for University, will not be made until after May?

And I looking for an answer more detailed that the simple and plainly obvious fact that he is criminally stupid.

Pics: (1) Jack Straw and an unknown woman. Don't you wish they could swap clothes? (2) A pretty average member of the House of Lords. (3) Do these two still have the right to vote despite killing hundreds of thousands of people?

Wednesday 19 January 2011


Yesterday the inflation figures were released. It surprised me to find that with the price of electricity going up by 6%, gas by 9%, with petrol galloping out of control, food prices going through the roof, transport costs up by 10%+, clothing up by 6%... the inflation figure managed to stay under 4%.

Odd you might think, but who am I to argue? I'm, er, sure the Treasury knows what it is doing...

So as surprised as I was to see such a low inflation figure given the pressures on my wallet, I was even more surprised to hear that the figures came as a shock to the government. Not because they were so low, but because they were so high!

Apart from wondering how the shops where Mr Osborne’s servants shop keep their prices down when “ordinary
people’s” shops are putting prices up at a fair wallop, I was also a bit worried that the government was so unprepared for this. No one else is.

Then today I listened with amazement to a news item saying that the government was once again shocked at the rise in the unemployment figures, and I wondered if Mr Duncan-Smith had perhaps taken a longer than normal holiday in the past month. Every day I hear about companies shutting down or paying off. So why, I wonder, would it surprise the government that all these redundancies would result in more people being out of work? Am I missing something here, or don’t the two normally go hand in hand?

I do hear that manufacturing industry is soaring and I take great comfort in that. Mrs Thatcher seemed, for some reason, to despise manufacturing. Perhaps it was because that was where lay the industrial trades unions, comprising working class people who wanted their share of the pie, and whom she had pledged to obliterate.

If one didn’t have manufacturing, it followed that one wouldn’t have manufacturing trades unions. So she shut it all down so she could claim to have achieved her goal. 'Tw
as a bit tough on the rest of society, but Mrs Thatcher could be guaranteed to see only her own selfish ends.

Of course it could be that she, now mixing in circles of financial elite, had the upper working class – lower middle class snobbery about factory workers and dirty hands and decided that a country she “led” would have none of it. Or maybe a mixture.

We've seen some of the consequences of that "white collar" revolution over the years with mass unemployment, disintegration of society and the growing of a permanent underclass. Recently of course the lid blew off that side of the economy too. Given freedom to do what they wanted, it seems that financiers, people of Margaret's own circle, are every bit as irresponsible as the trades unionists from another time, just luckier in their outcomes.

Manufacturing's recovery, welcome though it may be, is based mainly on the fact that with interest rates at an
historic all time low of 0.5%, the pound is worth very little (even against the Euro with all its problems), which makes our products cheap, if nothing else.

Unfortunately, of course, that only benefits those companies which are exporting. So those manufacturing for the domestic market are not benefiting.

Additionally, with inflation taking off, it will not be long before interest rates rise, probably quite steeply and rapidly, and this benefit will be lost...along with much else.

In the meantime, it would be nice if next time there is announcement of some figure or another, the government wasn’t 'gobsmacked' to hear it. Given the momentous proposals for change they are trying to push through, it might give us a little more confidence if we thought that they had some idea of what was going on on their watch.

Pics: (1) Don’t jump... oh well OK go on. (2) I’m just popping out for a paper. (3) The nightmare from hell. A visit to the uncaring, target driven, sneering, dirty, understaffed, unpleasant, smelly Jobcentre “plus”, although plus what exactly is a mystery to most. (4) Manufacturing: what the country needs; what it has always needed and always will and what some silly old woman got rid of.

Tuesday 18 January 2011


In November Royal Mail introduced a controversial new delivery system called the Way Forward at its Dundee East depot. The idea is that workers are teamed up to deliver letters and parcels from vans rather than individual rounds.

Unfortunately, and I really mean unfortunately, the system has not worked and workers have been unable to complete their deliveries on time: they have been returning with undelivered mail which has piled up in the sorting office.

Although measures were taken to draft in managers from other depots for sorting duties, dispatching mail to other depots for sorting and Sunday deliveries, they have not brought a solution. Additionally the Christmas rush and the inevitable intake of temporary staff requiring management time did not help.

I don’t know anyone who has not had some expected items of mail delivered late or indeed completely missing. In some cases it is Christmas cards, which whist mildly irritating is not life and death. In other cases, credit card statements have gone missing causing people a considerable amount of difficulty, embarrassment and possibly money!

Small packages too are missing. I am awaiting one with goods to the value of £50 which the sender emailed me to say was posted 2 weeks ago.

Businesses have suffered with invoices and cheques going missing. Even the local MP’s letter of complaint to the postmaster went missing and he was forced to make a further complaint and request for an appointment by email.

In the middle of January the post is still shambolic.

Now as the nearest I’ve ever been to being a postman, is to redeliver post wrongly put through my door, I do not consider myself an expert in these matters. However, it seems to this untrained mind that, if you have one very busy period in the year, and that busy period takes place in a period of relatively inclement weather, and that your business is largely dependent on transport and outdoor work, it might be a good idea to introduce new systems as far away from that period as is possible.

Just a thought.

And they want someone to buy this heap of garbage?

Saturday 15 January 2011


Bankers will be pleased to know that all the criticism of Labour for going easy on bankers and promises to be tough on bonuses, was just a load of hot air from the master of hot air, Spinning Dave.

He admits that the public is rightly (have you noticed how often politicians seem to use that word) angry about the size of bonuses, (and on that he is rightly right, especially when it’s our tax money they are paying out to people, to all intents civil servants, who caused the mess we are in with their greed and plain downright inability to do the job). But he said that he will not court short term popularity by trying to “hammer” the financial sector.

Message to Cameron.

So what is this about hammering them Dave? We didn’t want you to do that. Although your party is well known for hammering. Ask your friend; the one you were happy to quote to Angus Robertson when you called him “frit” the other day. She was a mad “hammer horror”. She hammered the life out of so many industries and so many people.

But you’re right not to emulate her Dave, because the misery she caused with “Thatcher’s silver hammer coming down upon their heads”. So no one was actually asking you to hammer them. However gratifying it might have been to watch these subsidy junkies get paid something like what they realistically earn, none of us wants Edinburgh to be battered into provincial township.

But come on Dave. How the hell do you think us “ordinary” plebeians feel when our wages are being cut and bankers are awarding themselves 50% salary increases to guard against possible reductions in bonuses and then sneaking in congratulatory bonuses amounting to £7 billion for a job well done?

A JOB WELL DONE ????????

There was a guy the other day complaining to a parliamentary committee that it was time all this backbiting stopped. The same day some other guy was awarded a £2 million bonus, along with a golden parachute of a further £2 million. And something like 80% of it is OUR MONEY

And at the same time you (well, not you personally, but “one”) can watch people in supermarkets, the “hard working Scottish family” (although of course you’d call them British) stocking up with own brand, and economy own brand groceries, stuff that has little nutritional value and tastes like dirty sawdust: shampoo at 15p which leaves you scratching within minutes of its application; beans that are all watery sauce and few beans; orange squash whose nearest connection to oranges would be that the aisle that it is on is only 2 away from the fruit and vegetable section; bread that is stale before you get it home...

What a life for some. What a bloody way to run a country. You should be ashamed of yourself, you spiv. We sure as hell are ashamed of you.

Friday 14 January 2011


As I mentioned in yesterday’s report on FMQs, Amazon, the biggest on-line retailer in the UK announced yesterday with Mr Salmond, that there will be yesterday they are to created an additional 200 jobs at their Gourock sit, and that they will be opening a new centre employing 750 people at a new 39-acre site in Dunfermline.

Additionally, the company says that at peak periods they are likely to need an additional 1500 temporary workers.

There was stiff international competition for the new centre in Dunfermline and the government has been involved in supporting the bid to bring those jobs to Scotland with aid through training grants and Regional Selective Assistance. A total of £2, 500,000 is thought to have been invested; however this is small beer when 750 permanent full time salaries and additional temporary work is considered. The difference to the area, with this boost, will be considerable, and of course extra jobs will be created in supporting jobs in food catering, shops, and entertainment.

Mr Allan Lyall, of Amazon said that he recognised the excellence of the local work force along with the professionalism of Scottish Development International in making the decision to invest in Scotland.

Alex said it was a very significant boost to the economy.

Most of the workers will be employed in packing and shipping the wide variety of goods that Amazon sells.

The new building, which will be situated by the M90 near the junction with the A92, will cover one million square feet. Building work will start immediately and it is hoped to have the centre up and running by the end of the year.

This is the kind of news we need to hear more of in Scotland. Hearty congratulations to everyone who was involved. As they say in France “Bonne continuation”!