Monday 11 November 2013


The President of Uruguay José Mujica gives 90% of his income to charity.
 His income is only $12,500.
His only transport is this old VW and he lives on a modest farm. 
Oh, for some politicians like that here. Imagine how much good he could do with Holyrood House, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St James's Palace, Windsor Castle and Clarence House.


  1. Its interesting to read some of the articles on this guy. Apparently he has shown up the social divides in his own country. The urban middle classes demand he be 'more presidential' (presumably, they mean more expensive?)

    Is this what fukuyama meant by 'end of history'? Are we all becoming only able to associate and understand with things given the right amount of consumerist spending has been lavished on it?

    Do we now live only able to judge things based on their price? Not their worth?

    The end of history, the triumph of the bourgeoisie?

    1. I'd not have thought that it was the end of history, Dean.

      Maybe just a stage.

      People have always associated leadership with great wealth and splendour, whether it is the House of Windsor, The French presidency or an African village chief (different levels of splendour, I suppose).

      I do remember, however, many years ago, when I was a kid, reading a novel set in the Vatican, where they had elected a new pope (and this is timely) who didn't believe that the Catholic church should horde treasures and works of art while its adherents starved in gutters in impoverished nations in South America and southern Europe.

      He set about selling off the vast wealth of the City State to benefit the poor, and brought financial ruin upon the world. A bit like the bankers!

      I wish I could find the book and read it with an adult head! I might understand it now, although economics was never my strong suite.

      The price of everything and the value of nothing... wasn't that Thatcherism?

      I think Sn Mujica is an interesting man. I have a friend who lives in Montevideo. I must ask her for further information on how he is regarded by the people.

    2. tris

      The Shoes of the Fisherman

      also the movie starring Anthony Quinn,
      bit of miscasting there i would say

      and all from memory oh dear we must have simpatico !

  2. The worrying thing is, capitalism and its leaders/systems seem to have totally reasserted their dominance since 2007.

    Perhaps the end of history was correct, are we all reluctant consumers and home owning 'democrats' now?

    What happened to the red clyde? Oh, yeah, its totally dependent on London for its survival. And Reid is dead.

    Lets face it, without the union we'd be a banana republic.

    1. I'd have said since 1979.

      Home ownership is a peculiar thing. It was never a prioority in Scotland, but long before Tahtcher it was in England.

      She seems to ahve managed to persuade all of us that to own a house is to move up in the world; to rent a house is to be at the bottom of the pile.

      And yet renting is by far and away the best thing for people who have low or medium ...or unsteady...incomes.

      In Germany only the rich buy houses.

      Now Scotland was sucked into this, and the building of social housing stopped by Tahtcher and her "right to buy".

      I have to say that Labour (the socialist party) did nothing to reverse this and in England, the Tories and their lap dogs have redoubled their attempts to get people to buy buy buy.

      The current government in Scotland has stopped sales of council housing which has meant that they can start to build again.

      The shipyards, you are right, have become totally dependent on building ships that kill people. Archetypically British.

      Other people's shipyards build passengerr ships, fishing vessels, pipe laying vessels, dredgers...

      And of course the UK government only orders it secret ships from UK yards. Everything else goes abroad.

      British jobs for British people... eh?

      Jimmy Reid is dead, more is the pity but his foundation lives on, and his philiospy is accepted as reasonabe by teh current governmetn. The common weal has often figured in teh speeches of the FM.

      Ms Lamont seems to be more interested in what Mr Miliband wants, and the common weal doesn't come into it.
      Without the union we'd be the third richest country, per capita, in the EU.

      Go figure.

    2. He he braco...

      Whit indeed!?

    3. The numbers do not add up for Darling and No campaign

      If you compare the advantages in resources that Scotland enjoys over Norway - better location, easier access to market, world-class technology across a range of sectors, a whisky industry with world renowned premium brands, top universities, easier geography, a huge global diaspora willing us to do well and a great global brand - we should be considering Norway as our start point, not our end point. The fact that our aspirations are so low is a sad indictment of what the Union has done for Scotland.

    4. Deano

      Father used to say (old Communist as he was )
      the Labour party is Capitalisms second 11
      they prefer the Torys the first 11 .But when in crisis they
      put in the Labour party to secure their dominant

      Father does have a point i would agree

    5. Niko the Daleks said "Exterminate, exterminate" so your point is?

    6. Tris
      The capitalisation of property is happening in Germany now and also more so in France.

      Germany had to rebuild their country pretty much from scratch in 1946. Priority was given to state or local bank financed communal building.

      Money was loaned via the local "craft" and regional banks to stimulate local industries, especially family owned owned ones. A series of tax laws and protective measures was put in place to permit these family companies to be passed on and not sold to larger predatorial ones.

      Effectively more of the wealth generated from within the German manufacturing economy was reinvested in it and German people bought German goods, enhancing the mutliplier effect.

      Engineers were and still are highly regarded in German and call themseleves Engineer McKinnon-Smith etc or even Engineer Taz

      I have met many heads of local companies with doctorates. manufacturing is not a dirty word and they take a long view, investing in R & D and new process development. They are unfortunately adopting the Anglo American neo Con model and teh larger ones have more of a focus on short term planning and thinking.

      The core of the economy SMEs do not, and still base their business model on the older values which has stood them well.

  3. I simply can't fathom the lack of self confidence in Unionists.
    Do some folk simply need someone to look after them? Does Unionism attract folk with low confidence, or does Unionism sap your self confidence?
    Chicken and egg.

    1. Nor me. You can like or lump independence, or Alex Salmond or Edinburgh, but surely no one really thinks that Scots among all the small nations of Europe are too stupid to have the lifestyles of... the Danes, Dutch, Luxembourgers, Belgians, Swedes, Finns, Icelanders, Faroese, Greenlanders...

      Why. Is there something defective in Scots.

      And does anyone seriously think that Cameron, Clegg, Osborne, Hague, Greening and the likes are superior to Scots.

      I mean most of THEM would have a job on being superior to drain covers...

    2. It really is a strange and sad phenomena Juteman.

      Every time I read Dean's posts, I get this terrible sinking feeling. I know he is young, well educated and politically aware (idealistic even), and so should be full of fight and hope for the future (even the one he favours in the Union).

      But instead, he just seems to whimper. Take his last post for example. He starts out attempting to make a serious and interesting critique of capitalism, it's leadership post crash and where we in the UK now find ourselves, but then seeing where that line of thought might lead him, completely loses his nerve!

      Instead opting to end with a supine 'all our heros are dead', 'we canny run our own shipyards' and the servile self loathing flourish of 'without the Union we would be a Banana Republic' !

      As opposed to what Dean a Banana Monarchy? It really, really saddens me.


    3. and er!! where might it lead young Deano ????
      and please dont say Independence for Scotland
      Given an Independent Scotland dominated by the
      capitalist elite aint gonna butter no bread no way.

    4. Well I suppose we will never know will we, as he decided to stop thinking, reverse ferret and start spouting the same old security blanket rubbish that you seem to have also run back to as well.

      Nobody is complaining about holding an opposing view and arguing for it. It's the lack of a positive, logical argument that's the gripe. Where's the vision? Read his last post for God's sake!

      On a Scotland dominated by the capitalist elite. Well, I think I would like to see how a democratic state with a written constitution handles that particular problem. Seeings as that simple solution has never, as yet, been tried in Scotland, how about we give it a go and take it from there?

      Strange how it seems to be the bulk of that very same 'capitalist elite' lining up behind you Niko, doing their damndest to help you try and stop it from ever happening. I wonder why?

      By the way Nikostratos when did you decide to turn entirely from the light and revert? You know you are just setting yourself up for more heartache. What have you left to cut off come the YES in September?


    5. Braco

      I think Dean is already a quiet Yes man. He is just taking the Labour ticket as a way of stirring it up a bit on this blog a bit less rabidly so than Niko, who I think will also vote Yes when push comes to shove.

      Both are too intelligent not to.

      Until then always bear what I written about them when reading what they write.

    6. Niko... as opposed to the deeply socialist UK London rule?

      Snotty... you might be right.

  4. Nationalist scum

    Have you noticed how since following
    your Fuehrers lead,
    Positioning himself as the one who
    will demand more for his followers
    Alex from Westmonster and now ed
    from well almost anyone..we find
    eds polling figures are going up and up.

    the good shop steward effect .

    1. And the SNP on 5% for all of the UK gives them about 44% the peoples party.

    2. Oh Ed, our saviour....let's face it if his polling figures had gone down any farther he'd be less popular than Francois Hollande!

      So come what may, Niko, is Labour going to be the next government in Holyrood?

  5. Sorry Dean, somewhere up there I called you an Engineer, which is good but McKinnon-Smith which is not.

  6. Well... McKinnon-Smith? Never been called that one before! (MacKinnon-Thomson on the other hand... is more accurate) :D

    A reply to a couple of things.

    First up, I'm sorry if my critique of our Anglo-American variety of capitalism doesn't lead me to a rash endorsement of nationalism. But this isn't moral failings or weakness on my part, its more to do with an understanding that that path can lead nowhere.

    With globalisation, only through sharing sovereignty can we enhance our own, this is presumably something even the SNP support as a doctrine; its why I'm a proud and good EUropean (see what I did there...)

    Lets follow some logic here.

    UK shareowner sovereignty leads to performance related pay, risky corporate practices and total job insecurity. It also leads to notions of home-owning democracy, and consumerist spend spend spend. Thus, I'd wager its evil. Its what I was trying to get at initially. BUT, the solution isn't 'lets pretend globalisation doesn't exist, so separate from EU and UK)'...

    the solution is to push for a major corporate change! Japanese and South Korean style stakeholder balance instead of shareowner sovereignty in big business changes everything! Try that alongside a legal obligation to have an 'in house' trades union (specific to each major corporate umbrella) - and a Human Resource Department heavily involved with that trades union.

    You could have a transformation of working protections, work place moral, and public sense of morality! None of that requires nationalist solutions. Metternich had their number right in the 19th century.

    'Italy? Isn't that a geographical expression?'

    'Scotland? Isn't that a geographical expression?'

    Its a fair cop really. 'Scotland' as such doesn't really exist except as a 19th century romance, and a bold act of royal dynastic conquering by MacAlpine. Gaelic Scotland? Pictish Scotland? Briton Scotland? Jacobite Scotland? Or Unionist Scotland? The Scotland of lowland unionised labour or the Scotland of un-unionist liberal voters?

    All divided as much by language and genuine culture as by sense of history and religion. So how can a Scottish nationalism possibly be the unifying solution for us in a globalised world? And which one do you all preach I support?

    Lets face facts: transnational problems demand transnational solutions.

    This is why nationalism shall never be a modern solution to our modernist problems.

    1. Without nationalism, you cannot have internationalism, by definition. The question is which form of nationalism?\

      There is Genetic Nationalism, something still enshrined in the German constitution, with respect to who is German.

      Or civic nationalism, note the lower n, which is about applying all appropriate levers for betterment of the people who inhabit a particular country; and not to the deliberate detriment of any other.

      That is where the hidden British Nationalism has failed the test. It is really a soubriquet for London City Nationalism. Boris is banging on about a City State, like Singapore. Not a nice man.

    2. "Without nationalism, you cannot have internationalism, by definition. The question is which form of nationalism?\"

      Good point!!

      This is why I dislike the term 'international relations'. Its outdated way of seeing the world.

      When major corporations and transnational businessmen have more influence and clout than whole ethnocultural groups, I'd wager seeing the power play of global politics through the prism of nationalism is outdated, which means you are correct in so far as 'internationalism' is equally outdated.

    3. Interesting, Dean.

      Except the UK is against all of these principles. It has, since it joined Europe, been a thorn in the organisation's side, just as the French promised it would be.

      And now Cameron wants them to allow Britain to have opt outs on almost everything including human rights (which I note Mrs May has already started to dismantle).

      Britain isn't really a part of Europe, ad it's only prepared to take place in world affair as long as it sits at High Table with the chancellor and the dean and the other notables.

      It's not interested (as De Gaulle said) in being an ordinary equal member of anything.

      I suspect it will come out of Europe. All the polls show that England thinks this way. And it has the numbers to counter anything the more socialist (and therefore more European) celtic countries/province may feel.

      A propos the union involvement, it is as well to remember that giving the unions too much power is as dangerous as giving the management too much power. Power, as we all know, corrupts. And as we look at the City boardrooms we can see that all too clearly... but the muck that is coming out of Falkirk at the moment shows that it is as alive and well in the unions as it was in the 70s, when they, in their turn, brought Britain to its knees and heralded the evil Thatcher's first term. She managed to extent that by engineering a war that never should have been, and then Labour's inability to sort itself out, and a deep mistrust of the unions led to another and another term of Tories.

      I suspect it was only when England had got so sick of their corruption and incompetence, and that Blair came along with his Tory lite, and people thought...same policies, younger, less corrupt cabinet.

      How wrong they were.

  7. My thoughts go out to Derek MacKay MSP. His courage in confronting his sexuality, and accepting it can't be easy. Especially after a marriage and kids. But while we don't choose how or who we love, we can choose to live life honestly.

    He deserves our respect and support for what he is going through.

    1. I didn't know about that news, Dean.

      I think that we should give Mr MacKay and his wife and kids some privacy.

      I also respect that this couldn't have been easy for him to do, and that it was brave and honest of him to do it.

      There are many in his position who, for whatever reason, might have chosen to be dishonest with themselves, or with their families and with their constituents.

      I agree with you. (Not a first, but a rare occasion!)_

      Good luck to Derek.

    2. I'm pleased to read in the Herald he remains very good friends with his now ex-wife. If only more people could be as understanding as she seems to be.

      I'm only happy that this isn't seen as a 'scandal' anymore. Its a sign of the times when coming out as gay isn't viewed as exceptional anymore. Normalcy, its a wonderful thing!

    3. Andrew Page (Scottish Liberal) knows Mr MacKay.

      He's written a good piece on it.