Sunday 18 December 2011


One of the issues concerning the proposed new single police force for Scotland, highlighted by Les Gray, chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, pictured), is that the new body will be due to pay VAT.

Mr Gray suggests that the bill might be as much as £22 million per annum (-500 officers). He doesn't seem to mention that the savings of having one administration would be around £125 million (using the Acpos figures, +3,000 officers). Net balance: +2,500 officers.

I know which I'd rather have.

It couldn't be that Acpos is looking after the interests of the most senior officers, the need for whom would be substantially reduced under the single force plan, could it? You have one police force, you need one chief constable!

Having no knowledge at all of the regulations regarding the payment of VAT, I'm not sure why one police force covering five million people would be due for VAT and eight forces covering the same population would not. I'm sure however, that if Mr Gray says that it is so, then it will be so.

But, one thing is for sure, if Scotland were independent we could make our own VAT rules, which might not involve the police paying it. And even if they did, they would at least be paying it to the Scottish government, so it could be recycled for the good of the country.


The BBC doesn't rate Scotland as being of much importance, we all know. After complaints last year that their "British" riots coverage was causing cancellations in the Scottish tourist trade, they rather forcedly agreed to refer to the riots as "English", although you could almost hear the contempt in their voices as they emphasised the word, as in "We have to call them English riots otherwise these chippy Scots get all bent out of shape about their tourism". This reluctant demarcation lasted for a while.

However, I've noticed that the Beeb is slipping back to its bad old ways. Recent news about the shameful neglect of dementia patients in English hospitals was reported simply as "failings in the NHS", never mind that there are separate services for the different countries .

And yesterday BBC news gave Scotland a 30-second acknowledgement of the election of the new leader of the opposition, somewhere towards the bottom of the running order. (Imagine how they will treat the election of Mr Miliband's successor. More that 30 seconds?)

Right after that we were transported to a shopping centre in Gateshead, where the annual unseemly rush to grab money in the name of Jesus Christ was at full tilt, in what we must remember the prime minister has described as a Christian country.

We were introduced to a succession of women, dressed in their finest, telling us how hard things were this year; that they were trying not to get too overdrawn and that they had had to think about what presents to buy this year (in so doing admitting that in the past they didn't bother with thinking).

Then, as if we hadn't had enough, we went to London's Oxford Street where more celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ was taking place.

I'm sure that Ms Lamont will be pleased that she got some coverage in Munguin's Republic, because the national broadcaster sure as hell wasn't interested.

I understand that the bulk of the BBC's viewers weren't much interested in what was going on up in haggis land, which is precisely why we should have control of our own broadcasting.

Because we, in our turn, are not that interested in how the citizens of Mr Camergoon's Christian country show respect for their saviour.


  1. tris

    £125 million the so called efficiency savings bit like publicly funded building contacts always a mile(2 kilometre) out in the end.

    'you could almost hear the contempt in their voices'

    You could you? bit worried about you there English voices in yer saying nasty things........Do most Nationalists hear the same voices?

    Thought Cameron was descended from the Jewish faith

  2. Yes Niko. It might be less than that. it might be more (who knows), but it's not likely to be £100 million less. And remember that's per year. I thought you Labour boys were in favour of this.

    So we save money which would otherwise be spent on keeping fat cat management in gold braid and Axminster carpets!

    It's very kind of you to share what your therapist said about your voices, but honestly, it's OK. We don't hear messages from Alex the way you hear them from Johann.

    How was strictly? Who won? Who was in it?

  3. PS: Niko, Cameron is descended from the royal family!!!! so you'd better be careful what you say about him. He's a fifth cousin of the Queen. One day he may be as titled as Sebastian Coe

  4. Tris Aunty went on from Gateshead shopping centre to the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool to do an extended item on the final of Strictly, their err flagship show. So in other words a dancing show and Christmas shopping are both more important than broadcasting Johann Lamont’s victory speech.

  5. Ahhh Munguin. They must have been using the news programme to advertise their "flagship show" (that's hard to say). I wonder if ITV news did the same with whatever it is that they have the grand final of just before Christmas.

    (Thank heavens for ITV 3.)

  6. Auntie Beeb is anglo-centric to the core so I suspect that even though the BBC should know that the Scottish NHS and English NHS were created separately from the very beginning under two different Westminster bills in the forties they probably don't. The "British" NHS has been promoted for so long most people believe it's true.

    Even when I'm watching what is lauded as a national treasure and, "national", broadcaster I often feel that I'm watching news from another country when I watch the BBC.

    Then again you've got to give the BBC some slack on the election of Johann Lamont as she's not a party leader but only a regional party manager with about the same visibility on the BBC radar as the General Secretary of the Labour English North West region.

  7. Yes, I agree. I was in France recently and watching the news there on tv reminded me of home.

    There was some stuff from around the world, some stuff from France, and nothing about Scotland.

    Just change France to England there and you have the Beeb news with new sets.

  8. Ha, Ha. I like that. When feeling nostalgic abroad just turn on the local news service which will never mention Scotland.

    It will bring you straight back to your cosy living-room in Scotland watching the BBC.

  9. C'est vrai, Doug.

    Although, I have to admit to no feelings of nostalgia at all!!!!

  10. Ian Drury and the Blockheads!

  11. Woolfie.... You're a wee genius.

  12. I could have said Ian Dury and Niko, but he would never have worked it out.

    Good Golly Miss Molly

  13. Nah, Niko is far too intellectual for that ...

  14. I think of the BBC as two big fingers that the british Establishment, those who support it and morons in general like to stick in their ears while singing la la la la.

    The BBC seems to be wilfully misrepresenting or plain ignoring whats happening in the real world.

    The only positive side of it is seeing some braying horse-faced toff on the telly moaning about how hard done by they are on account of having to slum it with a cheaper filter coffee system than they are use to and other (frankly) dashed unfair middle class down grades.

    Meh, I hate christmas. Its a load of wank so it is.

  15. pa..

    "Meh, I hate christmas. Its a load of wank so it is."

    It's not even that good. At least a wee wank gives a few seconds of pleasure.
    Anything that might be remotely worth watching on telly is christmasfied to death - cue Michael Buble 'interviewing' unfunny 'celebrities' on his Christmas special.

  16. Ew er...

    But Christmas is pants, you're right.

    Just a pile of people spending all their money for a pile of disappointment.