Wednesday 28 August 2013

Better Together "+ve" message....Part Two.

As promised, this is the second and concluding part of my analysis of Better Together so-called positive case for the union. Of course I've not the room to say all that I would like to, but I'm sure you will add bits I've left out in the comments...


They say:

In an uncertain world Scotland's security will be strengthened as part of the United Kingdom. The British Armed Forces that protect us are the best in the world. In Scotland we are proud of the Forces and proud of the vital contribution that Scotland makes to them. As part of the UK we have real clout in the UN Security Council, NATO, the EU, and we have Embassies around the world.

I say:

It's always an uncertain world. It always will be. Maybe it's a different kind of uncertainty now from the cold war period most of us grew up in, or the European and world wars of the 20th century.

A lot of the uncertainty now is made by bankers and financiers, insurance people, swindlers inventing ever more complex ways of making themselves millions if not billions at the expense of other people.

Our enemies are different, although we still have them. Al Qa'eda  seem to be at the top of them, but we mustn't ignore the fact that in Britain we still have the so called loyalists and so called nationalists in Northern Ireland. So religion rears its ugly head. Radical Muslims, sunni and shi'ite. Radical Christians, protestant and catholic.

Our home grown ones we will have to live with, but it seems to me that the Middle Eastern terrorists are mainly angry with the United States and their poodle waging war against them. Maybe if we were a country that minded its own business a little more and worried about the starvation and hypothermia, the early deaths and the drink and drugs problems at home, and less about the running of other countries which we don't understand, we would be less bothered by radical Muslims pissed off because we have flattened their village. 

Scotland wouldn't be powerful; wouldn't be prosecuting wars against the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Col Gaddafi, or Mr Assad.

Of course we would take our place with the other small nations, providing some help here and there to Security Council backed wars, but we wouldn't be in a position to take a lead, like Britain always does, just a respectful 2 steps behind their master.

Do we have real clout in the Security Council as part of the UK? Honestly  Or do we do what America tells us? have we ever vetoed something America proposed? Likewise, we only have some clout in Nato because we agree to everything America wants and we have the fourth largest military spend in the world, despite being completely and irrevocably broke.

It is farcical to say that we have any clout in the EU. The UK is the one state which has been (as the French said we would) awkward and belligerent all along over everything from day one. They probably hate us. I wouldn't mind betting they can't wait for the referendum so they can be rid of us.

Yes, we have embassies all around the world at the most phenomenal cost. Ambassadors don't come cheap. As John Major once said, they live like kings. We should be looking to share embassies with our friends. Our Scandinavian partners already do some of that in less "important" capital. All this is a status symbol of something we once were and no longer are.

I hope you are not suggesting that we would not be proud of our forces in an independent Scotland. Wasn't it Mr British Virgin Islands Hammond who suggested that no one would want to join a Scottish army because they wouldn't get to fight anyone. Strange man to chose for a Cabinet Secretary for Defence!


They say:

As Scots we believe there's nowhere better, but we understand there's something bigger. By contributing to and benefiting from the multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural United Kingdom of the years ahead, Scotland's society and culture will be enriched.

Hundreds of thousands of Scots and English have made their homes in each other's nation. Half of us have English neighbours.  Hundreds of thousands of Scots were born in England. This interdependence - the coming together of family, friends, ideas, institutions and identities - is a strength not a weakness, and is an ideal worth celebrating. The truth is we're better together.

Our case is that Scotland is stronger now and will be stronger in the future - economically, politically, and socially - as a partner in the United Kingdom.

I say.

Nowhere better? Well personally I'm not that kind of sloppy sentimental Scot.

I've travelled quite a bit over the years to nice places and not so nice places. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Denmark, Luxembourg, France... and several other places have a great deal to offer. Nowhere is perfect and I think the idea that nowhere is better than Scotland is sentimental twaddle designed to appeal to the non thinker.

We are part of the EU (and without the traditionally Eurosceptic UK we might be a better member of Europe). Thanks to the EU, and EFTA, I include several Bulgarians, Hungarians, Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Danes and Swiss among my close friends. And thanks to us being in the Commonwealth, I have Pakistanis, Australians and Indians in my friendship groups. As a member of a club for Petula Clark I have American, Australian, Canadian and all sorts of European friends... and some from the Philippines, China, Russia, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile. That's more multicultural than the UK, or certainly more multicultural than Scotland as part of the UK.

Multiculturalism actually seems to be a problem for many people in the UK and, as such it seems a bit disingenuous to use it in an argument for the union. A great deal of the richness that could come from it does not because of hatred and fear.

Yes, many people have made their homes in England and the English have come here. But you paint a picture of some sort of idyl, when, in reality, I was teased mercilessly as a kid going to school in England, and I have heard of the same things here.  

But although your assertion that "half of us have English neighbours" is a bit far fetched, I'd agree there has been a big spread between the counties... as there has been in Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, France, America, Australia  Canada .. We don't have to have the same government (that we didn't vote for  and that we don't approve of) to be able to live in each other's countries and contribute to multi culturalism.

I can't imagine that you are really saying that we can't have friends and family in other countries (I have many), and that we can't share ideas (I taught at university in France while a colleague from Grenoble came to Dundee!).  My friend, Dani, is at university in Scotland, although he comes from Budapest. Another friend came from Malaysia to do his Masters. Friends from Scotland are working in a research lab in Budapest, although they come from Wick. A gym buddy has just left to start his doctorate in Dublin. We already share institutions far more widely than just with England or Wales or Ulster. We live in a world where sharing things is done with the click of a mouse. Whether down the road, to London, or to Ulan Bator.

Your case that we are stronger together simply hasn't been made. You've offered nothing but a pile of worn out platitudes. 
On the other hand, if we weren't together we would be living in a world far more like the one in which Norwegians live. Our roads  railways, communications would be far better, because we would have spent our oil money on them instead of on unemployment benefit, bailing out banks and buying weapons that could wipe out Moscow. We would have a massive reserve of money in our oil fund, instead of £0.00. We wouldn't have a bedroom tax or Atos, we wouldn't have sold off our housing stock for people to make money. We would be in the top ten of rich nations.

Better Together? My Arse.


  1. I always find the garbage spewed out by the Better Together bunch rather pathetic. It never changes, we're stronger together because we have FOURTH largest defence force in the world, we have a seat at the UN's top table ( not that this particular seat has actually achieved anything ), we have a seat at the EU's top table and so on and so forth.

    What I DO find rather interesting is the total lack of any mention of how being part of Britain because BRITAIN goes to war at regular intervals, Iraq, Iraq II, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria to name but a few. I'm rather curious, why do the BT crowd NEVER crow about how great being part of Britain is with regards to going to war!

    Oops I forgot they do, or at least they will do when they celebrate the beginning of WWI next year!

    1. Yes. It's all the things that THEY are proud of, like how many people they can kill.

      Me I prefer my taxes spent on keeping people alive rather than killing them...although, I could make exceptions.

  2. If 'interdependence' were true, Scots independence wouldn't practicably represent a block to it.

    Logic dictates that if we are mutually inter-connected, we would remain so border or no border.

    Would London businesses with Scottish operations really run for the exist? Doubtful.
    Would travel between Edinburgh and London shut down? Doubtful
    Could Scotland set tax levels like Ireland does, to actually become a very attractive place to invest in? Possibly.

    My point is, the white noise of scaremongering is going to hurt the no campaign badly.

    Check out the opinion polling data! It shows that the majority of Scots will vote according to which side offers the most positive vision for the future.

    Positive campaigning is one of Mr Salmond et al strengths these days...

    1. Business doesn't seem to be worried about independence.

      Of course Salmond has been saying for some time that we are and would remain, neighbours and friends.

      It is BT that talks about people becoming foreigners, like being foreign was the greatest insult that the likes of Curren or Moore can think of to throw at someone... and like they think that this will impress Scots. I'd be disappointed if it did.

      The only way that our relationship would be affected by independence is if the UK is small minded enough to go in the huff.

      Basically I see an independent Scotland growing into, over time, a typ0e of Scandinavian democracy. In close partnership with Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Ireland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Isle of Man. They are other small countries nearby. Hopefully we could retain the relationship with England, Wales and NI.

      It's always seemed silly to say that they would erect borders. There was never a border between Ireland and Ulster, or Ireland and the UK mainland.

      There are no borders with Man, Jersey, Guernsey and ireland either. Just as there are none in the Scandinavian countries.

      A rich country, looking after its people, planning for the future (Norway has already offered advice on how to build an oil fund), with good social standards. After all the happiest peoples in the world appear to live in the Nordic countries, despite the weather.

  3. A good couple of articles, Tris.
    Something occurred to me whilst reading this. You said you have travelled a fair bit. So have I.
    Have you noticed on most Indy blogs, that Scots that are well travelled seem to be more pro Indy?
    When you see the standard of living in other European countries for 'ordinary' working folk, you realise how shite the UK feudal system is.
    I wish I could show my fellow Scots how different life could be in a more equal society.

    1. Yes, that's a fair point Jutie. I also have many friends pretty much all over the world and I know how appalled some of them are when they see the way we live....Germans, Australians and Canadians in particular at our poverty, and southern Europeans at the way we treat our people.

      You ask yourself why we live so poorly in so many ways, compared with small and large countries ...

      Why do they have better health services, better roads, better and cheaper railways, more doctors, better communications, higher wages... why do their kids speak 2 or 3 languages... even in the poorer countries in Eastern Europe?

      Maybe because they are not forever going to war? Maybe because they don't have to find the 4th largest military spend in the world.

      Maybe because when they got Marshall Plan funds at the end of the second war, they used them to rebuild their countries, instead of using them to invest in still being important and developing an atom bomb.

      Maybe they just care more about ordinary people.

      And soon our hard worked troops will be at war again, showing the world just how important we are. World leaders while our people starve.

    2. PS: Thanks for the kind words! :)

  4. Better Together garbage.

    Scotland in Crisis under Tory Union : Conditions so bad, Citizens Advice publish Survival Guide for Scots with no money & no food

    Scotland ‘heading for Somalia conditions under David Cameron’ WELFARE & PUBLIC SERVICE CUTS forced on Scots by the London based Conservative Coalition Government of David Cameron are causing such hardship there are now tens of thousands of ordinary Scots who have no money, no food, no access to living space and little chance of help to overcome their circumstances.

    I suppose disrupting the Middle East into war for years so that the willy wavers can prove that they really are a bunch of dickheads is far more important.

    1. Sickening. It really brings tears to my eyes that we have come to this and there are still idiots blathering on about how much better we are together.

      Soup kitchens, food banks, night shelters, cardboard boxes... and another war, before we've even finished the last one.

      If we turn down this chance to get away from this we just have to be sectionable.

  5. What do you want? Independence.

    When do you want it? NOW.

    1. I know it sounds like Scottish ministers are always saying the same thing... but it's true. There are empty houses, but people can't afford them because of Tory benefit cuts.

      There is the will to build many more council houses, but they starve us of money. They hate state housing. Everyone should own their own home, say the Tories.

      Try owning a home on a minimum way, zero contract job.

      You know, I'm the last person on the Earth to be violent, but sometime I'm tempted to relieve my frustration at this misery by imagining kicking Cameron's head until it gets through to him that not everyone was born with a golden spoon up their backside.

  6. Thanks for these links Arbroath.

    I suppose we should really do a post on Syria, but I'm not sure my temper would stand it.

    These self important ignorant bastards really believe that they have the right to bomb Syria, and there's not much we can do about it.

    I agree with Salmond on this, and I'm astounded that the Liberal Democrats take a different view.

    Labour and the Tories I understand. They like a bit of war (although Labour didn't used to).

    There will not be any kind of agreement at the UN. The security council was effectively neutered the day that Bush and Blair side stepped it and launched a war without permission from the UN. Russia and China will veto military action.

    OK, so who cares what Alex Salmond thinks. He's just first minister of a country that has no say in where its soldiers are sent. But the secretary general of the UN? Isn't he important enough to be listened to?

    Weapons inspectors be buggered. Cameron and Hague want their war so they can go down in history for something other than abject failure, a broken economy and people sleeping on the streets, starving to death, while the prince of Wales and MPs get a 10% pay rise.

    Shame they won't go anywhere near the fighting though. That would be worth watching.

    I wonder too what the moral justification is for a country whose major export is weaponry to go to war with a country which uses that weaponry.

    Yes, it was chemical warfare; but morally is it worse to kill your people with chemicals than it is to bomb them to death? Do people who've been bomber die more pleasantly when the roof falls in on them or a car blows up in their faces...?

    It's all very much of a mystery to me.

    And then again, who made Britain or America the judge of morality? OK, it's against international law to use chemical weapons, but it's also against international law to go to war without UN agreement, and I should think even worse when it is done on a pile of lies. britain did that, but was Blair taken to the Hague?

    What would Britain do if some other country thought to itself that it was morally insupportable to spend £100 billion on trident when people were dying on the streets for want of food and heat and shelter or in hospitals for the want of the money to look after them?

    How would Britian feel if that country asked them, then told them to rectify that situation? How would they react if, having received a refusal from Britain, this other country decided to bomb London into submission.

    OK, its not quite the same thing, I know. But people do die in this rich country from starvation, cold, malpractice at hospitals... Are their deaths less important, less wrong?

    I don't know the answers to these questions. But moral philosophy is a fascinating study.

  7. tris

    No some idiots are blathering on how things could get much worse under snp misrule
    in a Independent Scotland.

    ' Soup kitchens, food banks, night shelters, cardboard boxes... and another war '

    May seem like the good old days after a few years of snp crushing oppression

    1. Do you really think that Niko?


    I wonder if there is truth in this... and if so they will now back Assad against the rebels... or maybe they will just go find another arab country to bomb the hell out of.

    And if you find this notion too improbable...where was Iraq hiding the WMDs of which we had incontrovertible proof, remind me!

    1. I seem to remember at the time that Iraq moved all of it's remaining dodgy weapons into Syria..
      I always wondered why Tony didn't just plant some dodgy wmd's in Iraq. It would have saved him a lot of hassle.

    2. Lacked the wit?

      Nah, when it came to being underhand he was second to none.

  9. If this country goes to war against Syria, I will cease to be a floater, and will become a 'yes' to indy.

    My red line: no more foreign adventures!

    1. I hope at this stage you remain a floater rather than have your mind changed by the positive arguments rather than by the utter stupidity of the other.

    2. I think you can rest assured that the UK will go to war...

      I heard that Cameron has insisted that Assad will use chemical over and over again... which is a leap of faith, given that we aren't actually certain that it was HE who used the weapons and not one of the many and various opposition groups, some of which are Al Qaeda.

      Credit to Milibean who seems to have stopped the immediate deployment of troops by saying that Labour will not support a war unless we have proof and we have a strategy and there is a goal and an exit plan. Well, clearly they have learned form the unutterable mess they made of Iraq.

      I'm with the first minister too.

      I may be out of line here, but as i understand it who ever used chemical weapons, they killed only a few hundred people. This is terrible of course, but put into context of the thousands who have died already in the the use of a chemical any more shocking than the use of bombs?

      As for it changing your mind Kabuki. I'm happy to welcome anyone into the yes camp. In a way it is a positive message that you respond to. Scotland would not, had it control over its troops, at this point, be considering war.

      Unfortunately that decision is out of our hands.

      Niko... i fail to understand you. One minute it's greek philosophers and then it's toilet humour...


    3. It is strange how all projectiles, often coated in depleted uranium, are propelled using chemicals which can kill/maim quickly or slowly are permissible yet using chemicals on there own are not. Humans are a weird species.

    4. tris

      If you knew anything about the ancient Greco/Roman world you would
      understand toilet humour was an integral part of their way of life.
      Philosophy and shite go together as Westmonster and Holyrood prove every day.

  10. O/T here Tris but in case anyone was wondering where the puliclically privatised public Better Together Glasgow launch was taking place on Saturday well it appears that it is in the Mitchell Library. What's the chances that the Librarians on duty will enforce the 'SILENCE' requirement that normally prevails in public libraries. lol

    1. There's a rumour that Johann will be in the chair so she can debate with herself all day without dissent.

    2. They don't have that rule anymore Arbroath.

      Indeed, they let anyone in...

    3. Clearly!

      Hmmmm... Anyone going?

  11. I was beginning to think so Conan, after all they're letting the Better Together Glasgow crowd in aren't they? lol

    I wonder if they'll be using the European Championship draw for Celtic as another reason we're better together. Oh wait a minute I've just seen the draw scrub that idea. lol

    1. Do you know where in the Mitchell? You can hire out rooms and I'd like to know have they been charged for the space OR "given" it thereby indirectly the council tax payers of Glasgow are funding it.

      Wouldn't it be fun if the Yes campaign set a wee stall up outside. None of this "you cannae be here as BT aren't"

    2. The original post I saw PP only mentioned the Mitchell Library. I don't think I've seen any mention of what hall it is being held in other than Stu's thoughts that it holds slightly over 400. Still never worry, if they do use the BIG hall that holds 400 by the time Bitter Together Glasgow have finished crunching the numbers it will have held 40,000. lol

  12. Always follow the money.
    Who benefits by chemical weapons being used in Syria?
    Assad is winning, so why would he use a chemical weapon, when inspectors are already in the country to inspect a previous/alleged use?
    Israel would love to see the Syrian military depleted before they launch an attack on Iran.
    My money is on a false flag operation.

  13. Syria has stocks of chemical weapons. They didn't sign the protocol banning them, along with Egypt and South Sudan, Myanmar and Angola (and of course North Korea). It's not impossible that some rebels stole them and set them off.

    Who knows what is going on.

    The question to my mind is what good will we do?

    There are well over 100,000 people dead because of this war. Maybe just over 1000 are dead from gas. No One really knows who used the gas.

    No one knows who the rebels are.

    What would we do? Kill the president? Kill other people and add to the death toll? Bomb who? Why? What our goal be? How would we achieve it? How much would it cost? What might be installed in Syria after Assad had gone? How widely would this person be accepted?

    What about the people queuing up for food because they are starving in Scotland? Are they less important?

    Would we trust Willie Hague and British Virgin Isles Hammond to run this campaign?

    And what about all the other countries in the world that outrage us with their appalling behaviour towards their citizen/subjects? What about Bahrain and the Queen's friend there that no only harms his subjects but imprisons the doctors who care for them?

    Shall we bomb them too, or do they buy too many of our weapons for that?

    Where did Syria get its stocks of chemical weapons from? britain made them up to around 2012, along with France? Was it us that sold them?

    And finally...would you leave Cameron to make a cup of tea?

  14. #Tory war plans defeated. Majority of 13! #Labour defeats Dave war plans!

    1. 37 Labour MPs didn't vote for Labours amendment.

      Cameron is finished, Clegg is history with his party and Milliband is dying.

    2. Apparently there were over 100, yes folks ONE HUNDRED MP's missing from the votes tonight!

      Now why on earth would ANY MP worth their £68,000 salary plus expenses be found wanting on such an important issue as this?

      I hope that within a few days we can find out exactly who the 'missing 100' are and they are all named and shamed!

    3. So nice to see Cameron humiliated.

      Warmongering bastard.

      And that odious creep Hammond, so repugnantly smug that, although I wanted to know more, I had to switch him off on the PM programme.

      Well done to the opposition.

  15. From the Independent...

    "According to what appears to be a private briefing reported by The Times today, David Cameron was far from amused at having to ditch his plan of action for a Commons vote at the last minute.

    "The source was claimed to have said: “No 10 and the Foreign Office think Miliband is a f****** c*** and a copper-bottomed s***. The French hate him now and he’s got no chance of building an alliance with the US Democratic Party.”

    "Though Mr Miliband’s party say he was always going to look for international assurances before backing any action in Parliament, former Labour employee Dan Hodges has written a piece in the Telegraph which appears to corroborate the story of Downing Street’s frustrations – if not in quite such colourful language.

    "He said: “Having spoken to a number of people on both sides yesterday and this morning, I think it’s clear Downing Street are basically right. Ed Miliband gave the Prime Minister the impression he would back him, then for reasons that are still unclear, changed his mind.”

  16. I think Ed Miliband decided to make a stand, one I agree with.

    He clearly thought more evidence, and international legal/diplomatic case had to be made before we risk another Iraq debacle

    He made the right call at the end of the day, how he got there; for me; is less important.

    No UK intervention in Syria. Good day.

    1. Yes. I'm inclined to agree.

      If he did it for the right reasons, well done to him. if he did it for political advantage, I fear it won't last him long (but it may get him through the party conference).

      Whatever. The right thing has been done.

      As I said he has more or less taken the same view as the first minister.

  17. Robert Fisk in the Independent

    A bit of an expert and an interesting article.

  18. I don't trust Cameron to make a cup of tea without blowing up the kettle, however I trust Milliband even less if that's possible.

    In my opinion, it appears like Milliband gave Cameron the impression of receiving his backing only at the last moment to pull the plug and play the political card!

    I reckon Milliband had an "enlightening moment" at some point after 'backing' Cameron and saw this vote as his way of gaining some popularity with the public. (note: I was going to say regain popularity but Milliband has never been popular with public in my view.)

    1. It is certainly possible. I don't argue.

      But the end result is still awesome.

    2. Yes, that may be right, Arbroath.

      People have said, put blue water between the parties, and Miliband found a way of doing that without upsetting most of the UK public, except Cameron and his mates.

      But he IS right. Even if he did it for popularity.

      Of course, we only have the Tories' words that Milibean backed them... and that is worth slightly less than a Zimbabwean cent.

      Any politician with common sense says you don;t go to war till; you KNOW who are at at war against and who is on your side.

      The truth is that it is quite likely that we would be fighting alongside Al Qa'eda and that prat in Downing street wouldn't know.

      I'm so glad he's been humiliated, but I fear that someone will have to pay.

      Eton boys don't like being humiliated. (Well, OK, they do, but only by nursey or nanny or whatever they call Miss Whiplash!)

    3. I have to say I'm deeply unimporessed by the language and attitude to come from Downing street...

      However crushed they may feel tonight, a more professional government apparatus would have managed to cover it in slightly less backstreet language.

      Eton is not what it used to be.

      They would in the past have been able to insult the Labour leader in Latin. Here, I've done it for them: Read and learn Downing Street.

      Numero X Extrarius Muneris et cogitare Miliband est stupri cunno et cupro carinis mauris. Franci iam odii et suus obtinuit occasionem nullam societatem aedificare US Democratic Party.

    4. Apparently Mr Michael Gove flipped his wig, and started berating MPs voting conscientiously against war with "disgrace" and "shame" (among more colourful words)


      Thank heck the privileged elite breeds statesmen eh?

    5. I can just imagine the wicked house elf losing it. It's a year since they had a war, and wars always add to their popularity.

      The silly little twerp couldn't see that this one would have devastated their popularity. Something like 90% of the population didn't want it.

      I expect he's cross about the advantage Milibean will take from his refusal to back him.

      From top to bottom they are a complete joke.

      Cameron would have taken longer to look into this. As Fisk says in his piece, if they were going to get involved it would have been an idea to do so before the 100,000 estimated deaths, and millions of refugees had happened. Suddenly now, it all has to be done in a rush, without even finding out FOR CERTAIN who used the gas.

      And although I agree with Miliband's actions, a slightly more statesman like way of doing it would to have made it clear to the government in advance, that labour wouldn't back it.

      The briefings that have come out of No 10 (quoted in full in Latin above) make the government look like a pile of spoilt schoolboys.

      Gove looks like a prat. (Does he wear a wig...surely not? He would never have chosen one that looks that awful!) But I have to correct you. He may have joined the elite, but as I understand it, his background is not to privileged as the rest of them. He probably shines their shoes while the cabinet meetings are going on ...either that of he's seen something he shouldn't have, and they are trying to keep him sweet!

  19. The poor Iraqis who sought shelter in Syria as a result of the Iraq invasion must now be thinking of up-rooting again but where can they go? They would have to think carefully before going back to their own country as it is now as dangerous, if not more, as when they left.

    I noticed that Ming the Merciless voted with the UK government to intervene in Syria!


    "..a club for Petula Clark"? - a trifle harsh, I thought!

    1. Yep John, will their suffering never end, and that of the Palestinians.

      And how is Jordan supposed to cope.

      Perhaps if successive British governments (and others) had used their aid programmes a little more sensibly, instead of giving it to countries that done need it and to dictators who use it to buy (our) arms... there would be an answer to some of these questions.

      It seems for the time being that Cameron has been put back in his box, but we can't happen down the lid yet. He may well find a way. After all he's not likely to take humiliation lying down. (Space for all all usual jokes about Eton boys...)

      Ming the Warmonger it seems. Whipped into line. Obviously preparing for his entry to the House of Lords. He's know all about modern warfare having been in the army 50 years ago. He's probably the nearest thing they have to an expert.

      You be careful what you say about Petula Clark or Pétu la Clark as we call her in France.

      I might be obliged, otherwise, to send the estimable Taz up to gaelic land to put you right on the subject of good music.

  20. If this is true then the UK government can thank there lucky stars.

    EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack

    However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.

    1. Ah, possible involvement from our dear friends and customers, the Saudis. We sell them stuff, they sell it to the rebels. They want rid of iran, Assad is a friend of Iran.

      I'm a bit dubious that cheap oil would buy a deal with the Russians though. I'd have thought they had enough of their own without needing Saudis.

      Not surprised about terrorists at the Winter Olympics, though i's an interesting thought that they are controlled by Rihad. Probably that's where the money comes from though, so it makes sense.

    2. Western MSM - Assad is guilty we say so.

    3. Well, he's certainly a repugnant character, but then, I'm not sure you can be all sweetness and light if you are running a difficult construct of a country.

      From Wikipedia:

      n English, the name "Syria" was formerly synonymous with the Levant (known in Arabic as al-Sham) while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the third millennium BC. In the Islamic era, its capital city, Damascus, among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world,[6] was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate, and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt.
      The modern Syrian state was established after the First World War as a French mandate, and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Arab Levant. It gained independence in April 1946, as a parliamentary republic. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–1971. Between 1958 and 1961, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt, which was terminated by a military coup. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, and its system of government is considered to be non-democratic.[7] Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1970 to 2000.[8]

      Another Western construct of dubious viability.