Monday 29 October 2012

Review? What review? Oh, THAT review ?... snigger.

It appears that the Tories, in the form of Philip Hammond, have shown the Liberals once again how highly they value their input into government policy.

I'm talking here about the Trident replacement.

I'd always had the impression that Liberal Democrats were essentially against Trident, however, I found I was wrong when that party, in government,  suggested that instead of the Trident renewal, costing untold billions of dollars we don't have, we should have something a bit cheaper; a sort of Asda own brand version.

And why not, I say. Clearly I hope that Scotland will have no part in paying for this waste of money, but whatever Scotland does, I expect that the RUK will wish to continue to play a leading role in the world, and for that you need to have nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Sad old world, huh?

As even the outlandishly expensive weapons system that Britain houses in Scotland aren't any kind of a deterrent to any nation that might be likely to use nuclear weapons against us; as we can't use it without not just permission, but information, from the USA, and in reality we never will use it against any of the "enemies" the UK has or is likely to have, why not just have cardboard cutouts?

Anyway, in what appears to have been a sop to the Liberals it was agreed to have a review to look into the possibility of an alternative and cheaper system. 

Almost undoubtedly this was also a complete waste of the enormous amount that these reviews always cost, as rich and influential people get together and charge vast amounts for their services, and lunches... because clearly it is America which decides what we should have. 

In any case it appears that Mr Hammond already knows the outcome of this inquiry, which is not due to report until 2016.

According to the Guardian, Hammond, the posh man's Jim Murphy (in more ways than one), is due to announce the spending of £350 million we don't have on the next part of the renewal scheme that the review has yet to report on.

The Ministry of Defence has , they report, said the  contract would sustain 1,200 UK jobs, adding that the investment made "clear the government's firm commitment to maintaining continuous at-sea deterrence for future decades".

I'm not sure for how long that will sustain these jobs, or what kind of jobs they are, but the cost per job appears to be £300,000, so I hope it is for a very long time, or that they are very good jobs.

Apparently Hammond is visiting Faslane on the Clyde, where the UK stores its WMDs, well away from the South East of England. (I noticed in recent discussion about what the RUK would do with the nukes, when Scotland invites the RUK to remove them, the only English port suitable, Devonport, was rejected on the basis of the high density of population. Devonport itself has a population of around 27,000, but Plymouth has over 250,000!!!). 

Mr Hammond intends making announcements of expansions to the work of Faslane, in some sort of bribe to locals. He seems to be working in concert with Jackie Baillie....(who seems to have an issue with maths, having mixed up the ratio of the figures of 11,000 and 600 to the point that she managed to make it 1 : 1. Thank goodness she's not the spokesman for education, eh!

The MoD is one of the departments of government with no Liberal Democrat minister, their only representative there having been sacked in the recent reshuffle. So Hammond, it seems has carte blanche to operate as if the review has come down in favour of the good old untried and untested expensive option.

I suppose that, given that in 2016 the Liberal Democrats will almost certainly be out of government and/or reduced in number so substantially as to have no influence on policy, and that the two other right wing parties, the Tories and Labour, can't wait to get their hands on yet more WMDs the better to to show off at the UN Security Council, Hammond is on a safe bet.

Mr Hammond says that he is certain that Scots will decide to stay in the UK and offer the UK a place to store these dangerous weapons, within 50 miles of a city of over half a million in a metropolitan area of well over a million. Och well, only plebs, and Scottish plebs at that!

Sunday 28 October 2012


OK, I know they are a day late, so shoot me!
Forward indeed, young man
Conference Time
And here comes David Cameron, no wait, David Steele, oh well, here comes someone
Meanwhile Johann's first shadow cabinet meeting is going off the rails
And this fellow shows that there is one rule for them and one rule for us. Ever thus under the Tories...
...Who are doing a nice job of governing Britain, as can be seen by teh number of loyal supporters
This fellow doesn't seem to want to be part of the mass demonstration above, preferring to make his point quietly
And people all over Britain who are not ashamed to be who they are, Mr Mitchell.
And who wouldn't say that at his age... actually, can you imagine all these sweeties mmmmmm
Cleanliness is next to godliness, and we are very godly
Click on this (and all the others) to make them bigger.
What was Whatshisname saying about getting the facts and the figures?

Well here's some more for you SoS.

Thursday 25 October 2012


A completely crushing blow has hit the first minister. No, not two of his MSPs resigning the whip; no, not being called a bare faced liar by, erm Labour (no, stop laughing, it's not funny)*. No no no, it's worse. Get a load of this!

Some bloke in Kelso with, it seems to me, too much time on his hands, has decided that Mr Salmond calling the Tory government "this bunch of incompetent Lord Snootys" was "an attack on people, identifiable to me as English, solely on the grounds of race", and as such showed anti-English prejudice.

Colin Shaughnessy has written to Lothian and Borders police to make a complaint (although, as Mr Salmond made the statement at the conference, and the conference was held in Perth, it should probably be Tayside Police that he complains to). The sooner we have one police force, the easier it will be for dullards to know whom to write to with their complaints.

The best of it is that Shaughnessy is a lawyer! No, seriously, he is. (Tris checks calendar and notes that it is not April 1.)

But I want to put poor Alex's mind at rest.

You see, first of all, it seems to me that the comment was nothing to do with race and everything to do with the fact that the London cabinet consists overwhelmingly of very rich, privately educated chaps, many of them with aristocratic connections and all of them with absolutely no idea of what life in Britain is like.
But the aristocracy in the UK is not exclusively English, and nor is the Cabinet. Indeed the most senior of the Lord Snootys to which the first minister referred, the leader of the House of Lords, is indeed The Lord Strathclyde, Thomas Galloway Dunlop du Roy de Blicquy Galbraith, 2nd Baron Strathclyde, PC, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who from his title (Strathclyde), you might guess, and you would be correct in that guess, is Scottish.

Now, how anti-English is that?

Secondly, the name "Lord Snooty" originates in a comic strip from a Scottish (and very loyal Tory) publishing house, D C Thomson. The strip first appeared in the 'Beano's' first edition in July 1938, so not new then, and to the best of my knowledge it has never caused anyone any offense.

Furthermore, 'Private Eye' has recently been publishing a parody comic strip called "Dave Snooty and his Pals" which takes the Mick (oh sorry was that identifiably Irish)  out of Dave and George, and yes, probably from time to time dear old Tom Strathclyde.

I wish Shaughnessy joy taking D C Thomson, Private Eye and the First Minister, oh, and the Daily Telegraph for this, to court. Maybe they will run a counter charge that it's anti-Scottish to imply that the Second Baron Strathclyde is an Englishman (English Gentleman, please).

And i thought I was sad writing a blog. Honestly, some people REALLY need to get a life.

* Off topic, but did anyone see FMQ? Had wee Ruthie been on the wacky backy or the electric soup or something?  I thought someone was gonna have to send for a straight jacket!

Wednesday 24 October 2012


Arbroath has let me know that the BBC is looking for people to make up an audience for a referendum debate on the 5th November from 6 pm. (Interesting that they have chosen that date and that time for a debate, more or less guaranteeing that anyone with kids will not be available to take part, but also reminding us that this is Guy Fawkes night, a night when, in 1605, a group of people attempted to blow up the House of Lords at the state opening of the English parliament.)

In order to create the impression of political balance the BBC ask you to disclose your political affiliation, if any, when applying for tickets. Further details here.

Tuesday 23 October 2012


Two MSPs have resigned from the SNP as a result of the conference vote to join NATO.

John Finney and Jean Urquhart, who are both Highland Region list members, announced their decision this morning.

They don't intend to stand down as list members and will continue to support the government as independents.

Needless to say the news makes the headlines of both the Scotsman and the Herald. The Record makes it their second story.

It will not change the situation in parliament. The two new Independent MSPs have indicated to Alex Salmond that they support the rest of the government's programme and will continue to vote with them on matters other than Nato. They will, of course, continue to support the YES Scotland campaign.

Some will suggest that they should stand down and I can understand that, but I can also see why they hae deided to stay. They stood on the platform of a non-Nato Scotland. It is is SNP which, democratically, (vote of 426 - 332) changed its policy. There was bound to be fall out, and there may yet be more.

Whilst I'm sorry that the pair have felt it necessary to resign, I respect their position. Conscience is something that is sadly lacking in so many politicians. It is hard to be critical of it when is does show itself. 

Should members of other parties not consider their position?

There are, I am sure, on the Labour benches, many who take strong issue with Mrs Lamont's assertion that Scotland is a "something for nothing" country and with her move to the right, so welcomed by the Conservative group. Thus far none has had the guts to do what John and Jean have done.

Equally, when the Conservative Party leadership elections took place last year Murdo Fraser stood on a platform of drastic change, removing their connection to the English Tories and renaming them in an attempt to bury the Thatcherite past. He had a number of supporters on the Tory benches, and indeed came second in the contest. When, by fair means or otherwise, David Cameron's preferred choice, Ruth Davidson, won, thus ensuring totally loyalty to the English party, Murdo meekly accepted a junior role in the parliamentary party. There were no resignations from the party.

Murdo and his supporters were proposing a new right of centre party because the old one was no longer fit for purpose. Where, I ask, are the principles of these people?

In light of the SNP resignations, the parliamentary arithmetic still gives the SNP a majority, but one that is far slimmer than the one that they started with.

Tricia Marwick's election to presiding officer obliged her to stand down from the party, and Bill Walker left the party following the disclosure of his lack of disclosure in respect of his past domestic life. 

Monday 22 October 2012


I don't want to make this blog a series of videos uplifted from Youtube, but Cynical Highlander pointed this out and  I think that it should be seen by as many people as possible.

You'd have to be mad to say "yes" to what he's proposing here. 

Let's try to get this seen by as many people as we can. It's short and sharp and might make people think...

Saturday 20 October 2012


Will there be any yoghurt today, Mr O?
First Class Photograph
Lots of Love...hmmmm
Dave wants us all to be privileged. Not sure how that works...
Gideon's been thinking....well, that's a start.

Bless him...look at the Tony Blair hands.
You probably won't Andrew; In a few weeks most of us will have forgotten you exist.

Friday 19 October 2012


Once upon 2 or 3 years ago our London politicians were discovered to have been stealing money from us on a massive scale. And so it came to pass that the Daily Telegraph made it its business to make the theft public.

And, because there was an election looming, all the party leaders swore that this disgusting and criminal behaviour (although they too had managed to fiddle an oversight, of course) would be stopped. 

(They even threw a few hapless idiots, that no one much liked, to the wolves and allowed the courts to sentence them to a deal less time than, in 2010, would be meted out to people who stole a bottle of water, during the time of the English riots, in a typical British "one rule for them, another for us" way.)

But, back to the tale. The authorities set up a new system of expenses and MPs were treated a tiny little bit more like "ordinary people".

But they didn't like it. Not one bit. They discovered that living like an "ordinary person"  in Britain  was pretty intolerable (second class rail fares, providing receipts, not being able to bully the staff, having to wait!) and so almost immediately after the election they began unpicking their "ordinariness".

One of the schemes they came up with was to use their taxpayer funded  homes to rent to other MPs, and to rent other properties, for which they could charge expenses. One way to make a jolly little killing. The Daily Telegraph has once more made it their business to let us know about this.

Apparently it is quite legal. And easy to do if you have the morals of an alley cat.

Step forward Liam Fox. (I hasten to add that, at the time of writing Mr Fox is only one of 27 MPs who have been implicated in this practice, but one that it is particularly satisfying to mention.)

These words come from a different time, but they are surprisingly relevant to today's situation.

"Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.....

....In the name of God, go! "

Well, of course they won't go. They have the Speaker on their side (just like the last lot did). They have more front than Deauville. They'll stay.

But Scotland could go....

Wednesday 17 October 2012


And what is it you do for a living?
I was interested to note that some Tory bloke called Dominic Grieve, a person Wikipedia tells me is the Attorney General for England and Wales and the Advocate General for Northern Ireland, has used his ministerial veto to rule that the letters from Charles to government ministers should not, despite the information commissioner's ruling to the contrary, be made public.

The reason he gives for this is that the letters are extremely 'frank'. This. I assume means that they show a considerable passion for having things done HIS way.

The English Attorney/Northern Irish Advocate suggests that were they to be made public, they would display Charlie's political bias. This would then render it impossible for him to appear to be politically neutral when the time comes (god help us) for him to take up his job as king.

OK, Mr Grieve, I know all you Tories look down on us plebs with disdain, and that we don't run the country and we should remember our place, but although we may not have gone "up" to Oxford, some of our number are capable of working simple stuff out.

It seems that you are afraid that were we to get to know what Charlie's politics are, we wouldn't be able to accept him as a neutral king. Doesn't that mean that he is not suitable to be king?

I think it does... and you mr lawyer person, have just told us that.

I suppose there is no point in putting forward the same FoI request in Scotland. Old Wallace of Tankedness would undoubtedly follow the same set of instructions as Grieve.

Tuesday 16 October 2012


Here's a wee Quiz for you courtesy of the SNP. I'll print the answers tomorrow and trust you to mark yourselves!

1. Scotland has 8.4% of the UK’s population. What percentage of the
UK’s overall tax take comes from Scotland?

a) 4.2%
b) 7.4%
c) 8.4%
d) 9.6%

2. According to the International Monetary Fund which of these
countries has the lowest wealth per head?

a) Iceland
b) Ireland
c) Norway
d) United Kingdom

3. According to Professor George Walker, Professor of Financial
Regulation & Policy at Glasgow University, what percentage of the bank
bailout would an independent Scotland have had to pay?

a) as little as 5%
b) a population share of 8.4%
c) as much as 50%
d) they are Scottish banks so 100%

4. According to the latest official statistics how much of Scotland’s
overall tax take is spent on things like the state pension and welfare
payments, compared to the UK?

a) 45% for Scotland to 35% for the UK
b) 60% for Scotland to 20% for the UK
c) 40% for Scotland to 42% for the UK

5. At the moment, UK government statistics exclude the North Sea from
Scotland’s economic accounts. If the wealth in Scottish waters is
included, how does Scotland compare to the UK, in the league table of
wealth per head for developed countries?

a) 34th for Scotland to 5th for the UK
b) 21st for Scotland to 3rd for the UK
c) 6th for Scotland to 16th for the UK

6. At the moment, the Westminster Parliament has the final say over
all laws in the United Kingdom, including the right to pass laws even
in devolved areas. What percentage of its current legislators are
directly elected by the people of Scotland?

a) 25%
b) 11%
c) 9%
d) 4%

7. True or false? Scotland ...

For our size, has more highly ranked research universities than the
UK, the US or Europe: TRUE or FALSE?

Is the EU’s largest oil producer?: TRUE or FALSE?

Has 25% of the EU’s offshore tidal energy potential: TRUE or FALSE?

Over the past 30 years has had a budget SURPLUS over the UK of £19
billion: TRUE or FALSE?

Monday 15 October 2012


This is the kind of man who would make an excellent top politician. He cuts straight through the bullshit and gets right to the point. Happily he's a political advisor to Alex Salmond. Maybe one day he will be a successor to the first minister.

Listen up doubters. This man is the business.

Oh, and while I think about it, there was some agreement signed in Edinburgh today...

Sunday 14 October 2012


I think we have all been agreed for some time that, faced with the fact that Scotland was likely to leave the United Kingdom, the UK government was equally likely to be looking for means, fair or foul, to put independence back in its box.

I am willing to bet that we, as UK taxpayers, have been forking out for members of the security services to rifle through every tiny detail of the lives of anyone in Scottish government, or the YES campaign, to see if they can find anything discrediting about any of them.

Following the success of the year of Jubolympics,  it was always on the cards that they would want another big-money, flag waving exercise to take place during 2014.

In fairness, I would say that it is not likely to be a coincidence that the year of the referendum, chosen by Alex Salmond, will see a grand sporting event in Scotland, one in which our athletes will compete under the Saltire and not the union flag, and that the Ryder Cup will be held at Gleneagles, the first time in Scotland since 1973, and a great showcase for the country, around the world and at home.

So Cameron and his men must have been looking around for something that would allow for a sense of Britishness, like the Jubilee, that would pull people out together to sing 'Rule Britannia' and 'Jerusalem', and wave union flags, hold street parties, etc.

Of course we can still reasonably expect that Harry's wedding will take place that year, but in terms of the English aristocracy, the younger son has never quite the same importance as the heir. It is also not beyond the bounds of possibility that William and his wife might well be expected to be producing children by that time and it would be naive to imagine that this possibility has not been discussed. 

But Cameron needs more than one event of Britishness... indeed the more the merrier.

So, like many of the other ideas he has grasped at in his amateurish governance, he has come up with a bizarre notion that we should commemorate the START of the Great War, the war to end all wars.

Normally, one commemorates the END of a war. In that way the commemoration can be mixed with a celebration that the terribleness is over and a joy that life can return to normal. But 1918 would be too late for Cameron.  Scotland will have voted; the deed will have been done. And in any case, it's unlikely that he will still be prime minister.

We already commemorate the END of the First World War every year at the exact time that hostilities ceased, ie the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month (or the nearest Sunday to that time). We shall do so again in less than a month's time. The Queen, members of the royal family, politicians from all chambers and old soldiers are watched in respect by the nation as they lay wreaths at the Cenotaph in London, in capitals over the UK, and in towns over the world. Politics are forgotten as people pay their respects. 

I have no issues with the various UK governments suggesting that children do special history projects, and if they can afford the money from the education budget, I have no problem this year, or any other, with visits being made to the graveyards and fields of slaughter.

But it seems to me to be open opportunism to exploit a war in which millions were killed and millions more lives ruined, in order to whip up some Britishness.

Cynical Highlander brought to my attention a petition asking the government to reject the plans. You might like to sign it, if you agree with me that this is a distasteful idea.

Here is the link again.


The result of our poll for the least popular politician can be found on the comments of this post. For those who care enough to know who won, but not enough to go to the post, It was Tony B£air in runaway lead, followed at a distance by Mrs Thatcher, with Cameron in a respectable third place.

Saturday 13 October 2012


Over the last couple of weeks I've been saving pictures for articles I thought I might write, but didn't get around to... Of course they are now out of date, and you may have seen them anyway, but in case you haven't, here they are for your delectation. As always, they can be enlarged by clicking on them.
Whit an eejit, indeed!
Morecambe and Unwise
Ah, that's quite something for a lassie from Anderston
Doubtless he thinks about it first thing in the morning until last thing at night.
Stop the world, we want to get on, to quote a weel kent phrase or saying.
As we said. whit an eejit.
Of course it is, Boris. Londoners are far more important than mere Scotchmen
Being nice to ghastly little plebs, huh? I must have blinked and missed it.
Actually, it really does suit her.
Looks like Alistair has his hand on Annabel's shoulder. I hope he won't ask her about her tartan knickers!

Wednesday 10 October 2012


So,  Pa Broon asked the other day, who is your most disliked politician, and then tapped the ball in my direction.

So here I am running with it... just for a bit of fun.

Here's how it works:

You post a list of your five (5) least favourite politicians, starting at number 5 and working up to number one (1), which is the politician you dislike most intensely.

You can add a few words about why you dislike them if you wish, but you don't have to.

Anyone can join in no matter where you come from, whether within the countries of the UK or anywhere else in the world.

The politician can be from any of the UK countries, and from any of the chambers, including the European Parliament and the House of Lords in England. (UK countries do not include the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.)

You can't (please note Niko) hate Alex Salmond (or anyone else) more than once.

Also (Niko) multiple anonymous posts naming Alex Salmond as their number one hate figure will be judged with great suspicion and will cause Uncle Tris and Taz to check the IP addresses!

The survey will close on Sunday at 9pm Scottish Summer Time! (OK. I know, there is no such thing as Scottish Summer.)

At five minutes past the closing time, Tris and his army of volunteer staff will count the contributions, allotting between 1 and 5 points to each name mentioned depending on their position in each list, ie, 1 point for number 5 on the list; 5 points from number one on the list.

The electoral commission has asked Munguin to be the guarantor of the veracity of the counting teams, a position he is happy to accept (for a small consideration).

The politician picture featured is not intended in any way to indicate the blog's personal feelings in this matter, and is in place for illustration purposes only.