Thursday 28 February 2013


Superb contribution to the debate, here, from Stewart Hosie making excellent points about how little money will be saved, if any, and how much utter miserly will be inflicted upon the poor, the sick and the serving, in the carrying out of the policy.

Fascinatingly, this comes on the same day that the EU set limits on bankers' bonuses (and the RBS announced massive losses incurred by being obliged to replay money that they had stolen from unsuspecting customers, and fines from fiddling the LIBOR rate)...AND the same government which is inflicting this miserly on its working classes has protested strongly about any interference with how much these people take in bonuses. It doesn't do to inflict any "hardship" on bankers according to the Tory/Liberals, but as for the sick and the poor....pfffffff, who cares.

Well, according to this video, clearly Stewart and Jim McGovern do.

Jacob Reece-Mogg (the guy who went canvassing in Fife, driven by his nanny in a Bentley   makes a "useful" contribution to the debate, muttering some nonsense about Scottish Nationalism. That will make a big difference to people living on the streets because of his government's policies, but then, I suppose, criticising the SNP is easier than trying to find justification for this witless idea.

Evil is a very strong word, but, given what this will do to the most vulnerable people in the country, and how little it will return to the government, this is, even by Conservative standards, a thoroughly evil policy.

I foresee utter disaster in its wake.

Sunday 24 February 2013



Scotland on Sunday Article, published without permission (in full so that you don't have to give their site a "hit"), of course, with full credit to the author, Andrew Wilson.
By ANDREW WILSON Sunday 24 February 2013 
RIGHT, stop what you are doing, turn off the TV, take a deep breath and try to focus. This is going to be quite hard to follow.
On 14 April 1997, Tony Blair said: “Labour has no plans to introduce fees for higher education”. Elected 16 days later, they went on to introduce tuition fees of £1,000 per year. Page 20 of their manifesto for the 2001 election said: “We will not introduce top-up fees and have legislated to prevent them”. They won, and universities were then allowed to charge up to £3,000 a year, tripling the burden.
After the 2010 election, Labour voted against the controversial coalition decision to further triple tuition fee limits to £9,000 a year. Then, a few months later, leader Ed Miliband announced a commitment to taking the limit to £6,000 or double what he voted to freeze weeks before.
Giddy? Strap yourself in. Labour’s manifesto in Scotland in 2011 pledged to maintain the Scottish Government’s policy on free education for all with “no upfront or back-end tuition fees for higher education”.
They didn't win so we cannot know if they would have stuck to that one. But we must congratulate their new leader 
Johann Lamont, who won a major political award for a speech she gave in the summer attacking the SNP Government for sticking to their manifesto commitment on free education while also reneging on her own. Even in this perverse ­political climate that took some doing.
Scotland was, with the SNP in charge, the “only something for nothing country in the world”. Universal policies like free education and prescriptions and the like are subsidies to the middle classes and the rich. So goes the story.
The new leader was careful only to criticise free prescriptions (which Labour introduced with the NHS in 1948), free higher education and a council tax freeze, with spokesmen saying she didn’t mean free elderly care or bus passes. But that’s all changed with a commission targeting all devolved universal policies for review.
Last week her deputy, Anas Sarwar, was criticising the SNP for fulfilling its manifesto commitment to free personal care for the elderly, a policy that Labour introduced in July 2002. And that is despite the fact that he was elected on a 2010 manifesto that said, “In Scotland we led the way, extending the frontiers of the welfare state with the introduction of free personal care. Our ambition to do the right thing by older people was right.”
Clear? Neither am I. 
What we are witnessing must be gut-wrenching for lifelong Labour members and supporters to endure. I, for one, have never doubted the best intentions and motivations of the party. I am certain its members joined because they want to make the world a better place. I know they want what’s best.
But they are being pulled in all directions and contorted to chase votes in the north and south by defining themselves against their different opponents rather than for what they believe in their soul.
The result is a party position that is exhausting to follow. We were in favour of many universal benefits and indeed proud of them, now we are still in favour of those the coalition in London want to abolish but not the ones the Government in Scotland want to keep – at least not those ones they want to keep that are different in policy from the rest of the UK such as tuition fees where we are in favour of them in the rest of the UK but want to cut them from £9,000 to £6,000, while we were in favour of not having them in Scotland but now think the lack of them is an unsustainable middle-class subsidy but have yet to say whether £6,000 or £9,000 is too high, too low or just about right.
Breathless? I am. All the more confusing when Labour in London say child benefit should be universal even for millionaires: “I’m in favour of it because it is a cornerstone of our system to have universal benefits,” said Miliband. “Universal benefits are an important bedrock of our society.”
So are they or aren’t they? 
And where will the line be drawn?
It seems wherever the SNP try to draw it. My instincts are that good people will be agonising at the contortions their party is being put through as it wrestles to understand where it fights on two very different fronts. Labour must restate what it is for, rather than what it is against. And that must include unlocking thinking on Scotland and how to make good the unsustainable financing of Home Rule.
There is a huge place for the Labour Party in the Scottish debate it once commanded. But to rediscover and modernise its purpose, leaders must open their eyes and their minds. Too many regard the SNP in Scotland as a more mortal enemy than the Tories in London.
That’s a crying shame when you consider the continent of common ground they should enjoy. Growth and jobs should be the focus of all rather than cutting unifying and affordable public benefits most once believed in. And all sides must recognise that the personal enmity that boils as they gaze across the Holyrood chamber damages their ability to lead a country that just isn’t wired to buy the hate they seem to feel. 

Friday 22 February 2013


Yes to a Fair and Just Scotland

• We all want to live in a fairer, more equal, and more successful Scotland. A Yes vote for independence offers the best route to achieving this.
• This latest phase of the Yes Scotland campaign is built around our response to the STUC’s A Just Scotland interim report.

Westminster isn’t working for a fairer Scotland

• The current welfare changes and austerity cuts coming fromWestminster are set to reduce the incomes of 700,000 working
people in Scotland and 1 million Scottish households.
• Income inequality among working age people increased more quickly in the UK than in any other OECD country. The UK is now the 4th most unequal country in the developed world.
• Across Scotland, people are ‘feeling the pinch’ because we live in such an unequal nation. One in five children in Scotland live in poverty, and one in five young Scots are unemployed.

Scotland is wealthy enough to be a fairer nation

• Our country generates a massive amount of wealth each and every year. Scotland is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet and is blessed with abundant natural resources.
• The vast majority of people in Scotland would be better off if that wealth was shared more fairly. Doing this would also make the people of Scotland healthier and happier. 

But we need more powers to make Scotland a fairer nation

• The Scottish Government’s Fiscal Commission recently stated that:“without access to the relevant policy levers, particularly taxation and welfare policy, there is little that the Scottish Government can do to address these trends”. We agree.
• Independence will empower the people of Scotland to choose a fairer path, so we can work towards creating a nation where people are happier, healthier, wealthier and more fulfilled.
• A No vote is a vote for ‘more of the same’ while a Yes vote will allow us to take control of the relevant policies to allow us the options and opportunities to tackle inequality. 

Fairer and more equal countries are successful countries

• Countries that are more unequal do not do as well, do not grow as well, and are less stable.
• Policies that tackle inequalities are not harmful to economic growth. On the contrary, it has been proved that it is those countries that are most equal that are best placed to succeed. 

We can choose to build a fairer Scotland – one that cares and works well

• …where our resources are shared to bring happiness and health for all the people of Scotland. With independence we can work towards a ‘fair share’ of resources for everyone.
• …where people have rewarding and fulfilling work as part of an economy that works for them, with a fair labour market, employment rights, and good quality work. With a Yes vote we can choose a more appropriate path designed for Scotland’s needs and priorities.
• …where people are rewarded for the work they do for others, where we can decide not to spend our money on weapons of mass destruction and instead invest so that families have access to quality childcare, and we care well for our older people and those with disabilities.
• … where families have affordable, decent and safe homes and neighbourhoods. A country where vulnerable people are not under the threat of a punitive and unfair ‘bedroom tax’.
• … where everyone has affordable access to enough food, and to healthy foods. A country where families and older people do not have to choose between ‘heating or eating’.
• …where children do not live in cold and damp homes, go to school hungry, and suffer ever-poorer health because they live in poverty though no fault of their own.


Tuesday 19 February 2013


The awesome and hilarious Alan Bisset strikes again with some hilarious satire on the desperation of the No Campaign. (Lifted wholesale from National Collective, totally without permission. )
The Better Together campaign has launched its strongest defence of the Union yet, warning that an independent Scotland will no longer be allowed to call things ‘things’.
Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, Better Together’s Alistair Darling argued, ‘Alex Salmond is pursuing a separatist agenda into the unknown, which means Scots don’t have a clue what’s going to happen about defence, our status in the EU, or even what things are going to be called.’
Pressed by Gordon Brewer on this last point, Darling gestured towards the table in front of them.  ‘Well look, three hundred years of shared history in the Union means that everyone, from Lands End to John O’Groats, can agree that this is called a table.  But what’s it going to be called in an independent Scotland?  A ‘yorrok’?  A ‘mogrump’?  This glass of water could become a ‘deerg’ of ‘klot-juice’ for all we know.  It’s these very uncertainties which are worrying Scots about separatism.’
When the SNP’s John Swinney replied that a table will still be called a ‘table’ in an independent Scotland, he was challenged by the Conservatives’ Ruth Davidson.  ‘Have the SNP checked that with EU lawyers?  In Germany it’s called ‘einen Tisch’.  In Italy it’s ‘una tabella’.  In Spain it’s ‘una mesa’.  Does Alex Salmond seriously think the EU will just automatically allow him to keep on calling it a table?  What kind of independence is this anyway, when Scotland has to ask permission from Brussels to keep on calling things ‘things’?
The overwhelming legal evidence does indeed seem to bear out the Better Together campaign’s point.  When asked if a table is called in Italy ‘una tabella’ several top European lawyers were able to confirm that it is true.
‘It all adds up to another very bad day for the SNP,’ said Labour’s Margaret Curran.  ‘Scots will be appalled to know that they might no longer be able to communicate with their friends and family in the rest of the UK about simple things like tables or glasses of water.  Why break the thousands of strong, traditional links between our nations, of which this is just one?  It might mean, for example, that the next James Bond film is called in Scotland The Unicorn House Rowing Team Adventure or the Olympics renamed, ‘The Fud Games’!  Is that really what most Scots want?
Willie Rennie, of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has backed up the claim.  ‘Alex Salmond thinks that, after independence, we can just wave a magic wand and things will still be called ‘things’.  He forgets the painstaking process we’ll have to go through.  There are over two million words in the dictionary.  European lawyers will have a field day going through all of them, one by one, in order to check that they can still be called by that name.  How much is that going to cost exactly?’
The offical response from the Yes campaign is that, ‘An independent Scotland fully intends for English to remain its first language.’  Darling, however, was quick to attack the SNP’s weak position here: ‘How could Salmond call Scotland independent when our ‘first language’ would be that of another country?  It’s preposterous.  The English language will remain with England, it’s as simple as that.  Fact is, we don’t know what language Scotland will be using because the SNP haven’t invented one yet.’
Editorial, p.7 – ‘Will Scotland one day be called Fred?’
Alan Bissett
Author, Performer and Playwright

Monday 18 February 2013


Mrs Lamont has reported that she's going to 'throw the book at the SNP' -- whatever book that is. 

Is that the:

NO free elderly care; 
NO free prescriptions;
NO free bus travel;
NO free education;
Huge hikes in council tax 'book'? 

Of course, she means the Tory General Election manifesto 'book'... Well, her Conservative allies in the Better Together campaign will be pleased.

Better Together? You bet your ass they are -- Lordships and expenses and all sorts of important goodies -- Westminster goodies, the best kind.

Mrs Lamont appears to want to turn Scotland into England. I'm not sure that she completely understand just how much opposition there is to her 'get tough on scroungers' policies. 

Because most people seem to think that free elderly care, prescriptions, bus fares and education are exactly what Scotland needs. I've not met one person who disagrees with them.

Nor have I ever met anyone who wants to pay more council  tax.

I know many Labour supporters; my gym is full of them. So far I haven't met one single one of them that rates her or any of her policies. In fact they tend to groan when I mention her, as if I've stabbed them in a vulnerable place.

Despite the lies that Labour has told about the number of jobs that attach to Faslane: Bailey had it at 11,000 and Davidson managed to invent 19,000, the truth is according to  the MoD's own figures that just over 500 jobs are involved, about a quarter of the number at Leuchars Air Force Base in Fife being closed by Labour's partners in the coalition against Scottish independence!

And how many jobs could be created with the investment of £10 billion that we will save when we no longer have to buy new WMDs to keep David Cameron sitting at the top table, and for no other real reason? The once vehemently anti nuclear brigade seem to realise that,as long as the nasty stuff is kept a long way from them, the important part of the Uk likes these mass murdering weapons.

I've not met anyone who thinks that the Honourable Mr Sarwar (his father is a Lords, so he is an honourable, regardless of whether he is an MP or not) is anything but an rather empty-headed mouthpiece for Ed and his men in London. A pretty boy, chosen for his looks rather than his intellect, who is likely to go off half cocked if he doesn't have London's script in front of him.

If the Labour Party in Scotland wants to win back the confidence of the Scottish people, then they are going to have to come up with some uniquely Scottish policies that will help Scotland and Scottish people and stop worrying themselves about the parts of Greater England where Hurricanes Hardly ever Happen.

Sunday 17 February 2013




"It may look like a load of bull, but this image makes a serious point. For many years, since the days of the BSE crisis, the Scottish meat industry has worked tirelessly to make its products totally traceable. Every steak or sausage on a butcher's shelf can be traced back to the farm, and even the animal, from which it came.

Scotland has long had a reputation for producing the finest meat products on the planet and now it (rightly) has a reputation for producing the safest too. This of course comes at a cost and Scottish meats carry a premium over lower quality equivalents.

Large retailers, including many in the UK, have been moving away from Scottish producers, in favour of other cheaper sources, in a drive to reduce prices for consumers. This 'race to the bottom' has caused many corners to be cut and has even promoted widespread fraud, as we have seen in recent weeks.

Scottish butchers have seen increases in sales of over 25% since the 'horsegate' scandal began, as consumers have returned to buying higher quality and safer products. Now we should all begin to put pressure on the supermarkets to source their own products from traceable Scottish sources and stop using 'dodgy' ingredients of uncertain provenance."
(From Yes To An Independent Scotland)

The butchers' shops around our way have certainly had queues out the door this weekend, but we need to remember that not everyone can afford to do that kind of luxury. 

There was a government minister on QT who was all for shopping locally, but of course she collects £300+ tax free every day as an aristocrat (incidentally, one which was dumped by her Commons constituency and promptly sent to the Lords to show that no matter how much the stupid voters didn't want her in parliament, they were going to get her one way or the other). Then she has her ministerial salary on top of that, so exorbitant prices probably don't phase her much. 

When you feed your kids value burgers, because that's all you can afford, I'm not quite sure where you go once you find out that they are dodgy and quite possibly lethal. 

When you sit in the House of Lords, the answer is probably ... your local high quality butchers.

Once again while the aristocrats are safely shielded from the misery, ordinary commoners find themselves badly let down.

Saturday 16 February 2013



Friday 15 February 2013

But me no butts...except for the French and the Italians, of course

- l'Américain : c'est business, ne se laisse pas distraire: (the American, nothing distracts him, it's business).

- le Canadien : typique, un peu débranché et naïf; (the Canadian, typically rather uninterested and naive).

- l'Italien et le Français : ne pensent qu'au cul: (the Frenchman and the Italian think of nothing but her butt!)

Thursday 14 February 2013



Well, you see, Rhoda, we ARE building smaller houses, but of course we do have a long, uphill struggle going on here, There are a couple reasons for that. One is that the UK government keep giving us less and less money with which to do, among other things, build houses, something that would be sorted by INDEPENDENCE, because we could set out own taxes and our own priorities over EVERYTHING.

Secondly, of course, if we hadn't sold off most of the stock of council houses, or at least all the decent ones, we would have had more smaller houses. But you'll remember that the Tories, under Margaret Thatcher, arranged for them to be sold off cheap. Then, when Labour was in power in Scotland with the Liberals, that government continued to sell public housing, aping Conservative policy, and they didn't build any new ones to make up for it.

For eight years they failed dismally to deal with the problem. There were not enough one bedroomed houses, and there were more and more people living alone and requiring them.

How dim was that?

To avoid a tax, imposed upon us by a government we did not vote for, and which was voted against by all Labour Scottish MPs in the House of Commons (except Alistair Darling who couldn't be bothered to drag his lazy arse into Westminster to vote about it), and all SNP MPs, massively outnumbering the Liberals and the one Tory Scotland elected, what we need to do, Rhoda Grant, is have an independent Scotland, which wouldn't have sold off the houses in the first place and would have continued to build as the need arose. And finally, which would never want to impose a tax that would undoubtedly make poor people homeless.

Doesn't anyone in Labour have a clue?

Wednesday 13 February 2013


...But then, as Scotland ceased to exist when it was subsumed into England in 1707, I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised...

Click on map for enlargement

Tuesday 12 February 2013


Sometimes I get a little scared about the people running the UK.

When I think that upon the heads and shoulders of the likes of Cameron, Iain Duncan-Smith, George Osborne and Willie Hague, lie our economy, international relationships, how we treat our poor, sick and unemployed, not to mention our elderly...
Scarily for Scots, our supposed 'man in the Cabinet', the one who speaks up for us, looks to our best interest, gets us the best deal, fights our corner  is none other than Michael Moore.

Yesterday Michael launched a paper, commissioned by the UK government   and written by two professors from top universities in Scotland and England, and which expressed a variety of options and opinions on the future of the UK and Scotland and came to no conclusions at all. 

Michael, however, was able to extrapolate from the paper the somewhat bizarre idea that whilst Scotland would be entitled to benefit from none of the treaties and contracts of the UK and would start off with a clean slate; a new nation, that slate would be sullied only by its containing Scotland's share of the UK debt.

He went on to say that starting from scratch would be "no piece of cake". Unfortunately for him one of the writers of the report did a BBC interview in which he said that none of the renegotiations of treaties would be difficult and could easily be done in the 18 months accorded to the task by the Scottish Government. In fact... it would be a piece of cake... Oooops.

The Rev Stuart Campbell, clearly blessed with more savvy than either Michael Moore or any of his team at the Scotland Office has looked into international law and precedent here, and is able to suggest more likely outcomes based on the principles set out in the 1978 Vienna Convention on the Succession of States in Respect of Treaties

I particularly enjoyed the Rev's description of the under secretary of state, David Mundell here, as a "bumbling low-watt-bulb of a government seat-warmer", as "the only Tory in Scotland" once again trotted out Willie Rennie's assertion that over 14,000 treaties would have to be renegotiated. This despite the origin of the silly story being Rennie the blether, and Westminster already having unconfirmed that fewer than half that number existed (and most of them are long since defunct).

Even the Daily Record was prepared to print a story pointing out that the experts seemed to agree with the SNP's assumption that around 18 months was a reasonable period to expect the renegotiations to go forward to a satisfactory conclusion.

Nicola Sturgeon said that the information from the professors had been "helpful", and criticised the "arrogant attitude" of the UK government. By the time that Ruth the Tory got her paws on this, she had turned it round and used it to look as if Nicola had called the professors' report arrogant. Maybe she has trouble reading.

Meanwhile the class eejit Willie Rennie, seemingly not in the least embarrassed about the rubbish he spouted earlier in the week, debunked by his own side...and even withdrawn by the Scotsman, said:  "We know that the majority of people in Scotland want to continue our home rule journey (strange them that the UK government, of which his party are a part, ruled it out) but a vote for independence would put that journey to a halt" (which is only true depending how you look at it. I kinda see it as being the ultimate home rule. In any case, the Liberal Democrat government in London has already put a halt to it).

And talking of eejits... here's the Muddle man himself...
So, all in all, the great launch went belly up before it got off the ground.

How can they get it so wrong  and why do they make such a mess of everything they do? 

Answers on a post card...

Saturday 9 February 2013


Well, what did you expect?
How many of his houses did we do up?
I seriously couldn't think of a better name for it
Of course they do: And they always have. But it's true. If they see  keeping the UK together as a part of their remit, a policy of honesty would help
Dead Wood, more like
Well, can anyone deny it?
£1,100,000,000,000,000 why that's even more that a banker's pay off.
He lied through his teeth: they are not.

Thank heavens for a proper Labour Party

Oh bugger ... that's the ba' in the slates!

And now, for Jim: (cover the caption)
Everyone has the right to happiness, but no one has the right to destroy the happiness of others  The goal of human existence can not be in any case to cause anyone suffering.