Sunday 30 November 2014


According to Wikipedia, Irene Adams (who had served as her husband's secretary during his time as MP) won Paisley North by-election on his death in 1990. She employed her daughter and son-in-law to work in her constituency office.

When the constituency was absorbed into Paisley and Renfrewshire North she was persuaded to stand down with the promise of a peerage, in order to allow sitting West Renfrewshire MP Jim Sheridan to be selected to fight in the May 2005 election.

On 13 May 2005 it was announced that she would be created an aristocrat, and was created Baroness Adams of Craigielea, on 28 June of that year.

Retrospectively she was ordered to repay over £5,000 worth of misclaimed expenses when the Telegraph let out the secrets of the extent of our MPs' thieving.

So first of all I'm concerned that Adams managed to get herself elevated to the aristocracy by agreeing to the party’s requests, or demands, that she stand down to make way for Sheridan the Great Britain Football Team manager! It's accepting a bribe really. That is most certainly not what peerages should be about.

Our Irene, sorry, I should speak of her with due deference, what with her being my social better... Her Aristocratic Nobleness the Baroness Adams came to the attention of the Telegraph’s investigations in 2009 when it reported that she had managed to get her grubby noble mitts on around £200,000 in the 30 months that she had been in the aristocratic chamber, despite having only spoken once. 

When the Telegraph had the temerity to ask her about how she managed to cost the country so much for absolutely no return whatsoever, she refused to speak to them, saying she was in interested. 

Aww bless! The common people at the Telegraph just wouldn't have a clue how to interest someone of the upper classes. Munguin didn't even try to contact her (he knows his place), although he covered her story, here.

I’d say that one intervention, her set piece maiden speech was a bloody expensive piece of democracy, but of course there is nothing democratic about the House of Lords, even less so when the ennobled personage is not there on any merit at all, but simply because the party wanted shot of her.

Well she’s back in the news again bless her, because of all the Scottish Labour Lords, guess what, totally undeterred by any criticism, she is the most expensive, despite still not having said diddly squat since that first speech. Last year she cost us £53,000 for absolutely NOTHING.

Of course she is not the only one… just the most expensive and most useless one.

How long are we going to have to pay our share of this anachronistic waste of time and money?

Let’s shut the place down and sack them all. If they want to keep their toy town titles let them. Just let them use them to get jobs or try getting Iain Duncan Smith to part with some dole money.

Friday 28 November 2014


Not the best day for the Smith Commission:

But Labour said it was a good deal Guys.
Aren't you two supposed to be on the same side?
The side of the workers?  Bwa ha ha ha.
Home Rule... Just like Jersey and Guernsey... Not.
Erm... yes... or something...

Oh well, never mind, we can change the road signs...
That'll be nice.
What do you call Home Rule, Ed?
Income tax we can't use? 

Didn't Miliband's office deny any part in creating the Vow, saying it was something the Record mocked up?

But there was some good news for the SNP:

SNP Members in England now
Oh dear, Conservatives... and look at Labour.

Labour still don't know their butts from their elbows:

Soooo... if  it won't affect Scotland, why did you inflict your vote on the bill?
And if it will affect Scotland, and you had a reason to vote on it,
why did you lie through your teeth about it before the referendum?
He's the kind of fellow that, if he was on your side,
you'd hope he got locked in a cellar somewhere
to stop him opening his big fat stupid tactless mouth.
They are simply never going to live that ad down.
Must be why they want a man in charge of Labour in Scotland.
Won't spend all his time worrying about cereals.
He'll be too busy filling in his expenses.
He puts me in mind of that revolting little man Daniels.
Wasn't he some time of hypnotist or magician or something odd?

The Tories don't seem to have good days any more:

What was Gideon on at lunch...electric soup, or just some more of that
nice nose candy stuff?
Anyway, what ever it was, can I have some.
Groovy man!
Jeeeez... you can't do that.
How are people going to make enough to donate to the Tories
if they have to pay the minimum wage?
I mean what can you say, really, honestly...
...except Dick Head?
Don't ask. It's very very rude.
Well, you have, Dave.
Just think of all the payback.
One day you'll be as rich and as hated as the Blair creature.
In the meantime...
This, as opposed to the Big Society, is your legacy, you git.
MMMMMMM... directorships, donations.
It's just win win for the Tories.
What a total prat you look..., just as then when you had more hair
and weren't so fat.
I see Gideon always had that spaced out look, though.
Easy to get at Oxford, was it?

Thursday 27 November 2014


I'm not going to dwell for long on the Smith Commission report. The matter has been better dealt with today on many blogs, not least Wings.

I never thought its findings would amount to much, although I felt we owed it the chance to report. But as long as there was to be Barnett pocket money from Westminster, and as long as they kept our oil and export revenues, we were never going to have the money to do what we need to do to stop our kids starving and our old folk dying of the cold.

We were promised something approaching federal government in Edinburgh. Gordon Brown said it, and gave, at least to my ears, the impression that he was speaking, with the authority of the Prime Minister.

What has been reported today is as near to federalism as Iceland is to New Zealand. 

The minute that, on the 19th September, Cameron linked Scottish devo-super-plus, as someone at the time called it, with English Votes for English Laws (EVEL), the whole vow thing started unravelling.

Because, EVEL will mean that the (until now) habitual 40 or so Labour MPs will be unable to influence law making in England. As we all know, unlike the Celtic countries in the union, England's domestic affairs are dealt with by the UK parliament. Domestic affairs keeps the Celtic parliaments or assemblies busy for 3 days a week. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that Westminster spends the bulk of the week, most weeks, on English legislation. If there were a Labour government with a majority dependent on their Scottish contingent, they would effectively not be the government of England, even though they could command a majority on UK-wide matters.

Cameron, quite rightly, will not give in on this. In his case this is likely because UKIP and his own English backbenchers are snapping at his heals, and because he sees it as a way to unseat Labour. But a fairer minded person would have to agree that it is a travesty of justice that Scottish MPs can vote on Justice, Education, Health, Law and Order, in England (with no responsibility to constituents for their votes) and yet English MPs cannot vote of these matters in Scotland (or Wales or Ulster).

Apparently the original findings of the Smith Commission have already been watered down by the Cabinet (particularly by the awful May woman, who wants to be prime minister, and by Iain Duncan Smith who appears to want to murder all sick, unemployed and old people). When Carmichael reported to the London Cabinet on Tuesday there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Added to this, one Tory MP pointed out that laws are not made by David Cameron. They are made by parliament, and as presently constituted, the Westminster parliament consists of 533 English MPs to 59 Scottish, 40 Welsh and 18 Ulster representatives.

It's not hard to see then why Scotland is unlikely to be the winner in all of this.

The National is here to stay. The initial print run on Monday was 60,000. On Tuesday they had increased it to 100,000. But there were distribution problems, and some of the supermarkets refused to stock the paper. The initial hopes were for a sale of between 15,000 and 30,000.

However, with daily sales way in excess of competitors like the Scotsman and Herald, (The Herald sells around 38,000 a day and the Scotsman around 27,000) it seems that the paper has decided that it has a market. There are plans to develop it into a permanent feature of the Scottish press. 

I asked Tesco why it was not stocking the paper. Was it, I wondered because they didn't agree with its politics. They replied that once the paper decided whether or not it was to continue publishing, they would review their policy. I look forward to that decision.

Morrison's still do not stock it, nor did I see it in Sainsbury's. I don't use Asda.

To have sold over 50,000 copies each day without the supermarkets on board is quite an achievement. 

Wednesday 26 November 2014


What works to address health inequalities?

Part Three of Sam's series of articles on health:

In "NHS Health Scotland: Health Inequalities Policy Review" 2013, is a table setting out what would work to address health inequalities. 

Firstly, dealing with the theories of fundamental causes of health inequalities the interventions proposed are policies that redistribute power, money and resources. Social equity and social justice needs to be prioritized. Examples of effective actions proposed are: introducing a minimum wage for healthy living; ensuring the welfare system provides enough income for healthy living and reduces stigma for recipients through universal provision in proportion to need.

There should be more progressive individual and corporate taxation and active labour market policies to create good jobs.

There should be the creation of a vibrant democracy, greater and more equitable participation in elections and in decision-making, including on action on health inequalities.

Second, there are changes proposed to the social, economic and physical environment. The interventions suggested are: the use of legislation, regulation, standards, fiscal policy and structural changes to ensure equity in the environment. Good jobs should be available for all and there should be equitable provision of high-quality and accessible education and public services. 

The examples of effective actions proposed are wide ranging. They include addressing housing quality standards: neighbourhood standards: air and water standards; food and alcohol standards and restrictions; transport and pedestrians; pricing of harmful commodities, healthy products and essential and prevention services; environmental safety changes; policies for employment; policies for provision of high-quality early childhood education and adult learning and on training and learning; ensuring that public services are provided in proportion to need as part of a universal system.

Third, looking at individuals, the interventions suggested are that there should be equitable experience of socio-economic and wider environmental exposures and equitable experience of public services.

High-risk individuals should be targeted for support; there should be intensive, tailored individual support: there should be a focus on young children and the early years.

Effective actions include; training for the public sector workforce to ensure it is sensitive to all social and cultural groups, to build on the personal assets of service users; linking of services for vulnerable or high-risk individuals, e.g. income maximization welfare advice linked to healthcare for low-income families. 

There should be provision of specialist outreach and targeted services for particularly high-risk individuals such as looked after children and the homeless.

Services should be provided in locations and ways that are likely to reduce inequalities in access.

Addressing inequalities of income, wealth and power will require that Scotland has control of economic and welfare policies. And as McCartney says:

"If health inequalities in Scotland are to be reduced, this will require leadership at all levels to reduce the stark inequalities in the socio-economic circumstances prevalent today."

So what are our politicians doing?

Monday 24 November 2014


According to Twitter, it sold out today and the print run has been increased for tomorrow.

Any comments on the paper so far?

Sunday 23 November 2014


It reminds me of John Major in the car driving past his old home, just like he was a normal person, only we all know he rehearsed seeing it four of five times before he got it right.

Seriously, I have rarely heard so much rubbish in my life. The Labour Party may well have been most of or all of what Murphy talks about once upon a time, until Mandelson, Brown and Blair got their evil Tory hands on it.

But a long time ago it ceased to bear any resemblance to what Jim is talking about here, particularly with reference to the poor... and all over the world, if you please. 
What, Jim, about the poor in Afghanistan and Iraq, who had their legs blown off in the wars you supported? What about the inquiry into these wars that you so strongly resisted? What about the poor in Palestine, the unarmed kids being shot by Israeli soldiers? 
And what about the poor in Scotland Jim, denied their desperately needed sickness benefits or on poverty wages on zero hour contracts, with you backing so many of IDS's vile policies? (And yes, I know Labour's stated policy is to get rid of zero hour contracts, but you you blow off about that you should probably tell all the Labour Councils that employ these contracts about that policy, becasue talking the talk is hardly enough when people are starving...)
If anyone believes any of this crap, then I suspect that they also believe in Professors McGonnigal and Snape and I'll look forward to seeing them on platform 9 3/4 where we can watch the cow jump over the moon together.
It's going to be printed for 5 days to judge its viability.
We should grab it ... or we will lose it

Ha ha ha...
PS: This is what we call a political meeting in Scotland

Friday 21 November 2014


The First Minister has announced her new cabinet.

A well balanced team with a 50-50 mix of men and women.

Personal congratulations to my own superb MSP, Shona Robison, who takes over the massively important Health and Well-being brief while, quite logically, holding on to Sport, which is so closely related to health and well-being.

The two other deputy leader candidates are in the cabinet in charge of Infrastructure and Education. Again two big posts.

Nicola said of her team: 

"The aims of my government are clear: to create a nation that is both socially democratic and socially just, a nation that is confident in itself and governed effectively and a nation which will address poverty, support business, promote growth and tackle inequality.

"The new cabinet team I have announced today will pursue these priorities with verve, vigour and determination.

"Every member of the cabinet is part of this government's top team on merit, on the basis of the excellent work they have already done as ministers.
"The cabinet line-up is also a clear demonstration that this government will work hard in all areas to promote women, to create gender equality and it sends out a strong message that we will start the business of redressing the gender balance in public life right here in government."

I look forward to the rest of the ministerial team being announced. 

In the meantime Munguin's Republic offers hearty congratulations to all the cabinet secretaries.

Thursday 20 November 2014


Apparently this egg man (Humpty Dumpty) has more likes on 
his Facebook page than the other Eggman (Numpty Murphy).
The Scotch Egg
Remember when Labour was a working man's party?
Well, his kids aren't the ones going hungry
 Gordon Brown is behind so much of elderly poverty,
along with his dear friend Margaret Thatcher who reduced the annual
increase rate of the state pension. A pair of charmers.
Defend it against what... Socialist principles?
Well, I suppose he'd be as easy as Cameron to control
There's not a leader amongst them
Aye Dougal... the man's an eejit!
New Policies? 
Not looking good , is it Ed?
 Margrit has risen to near the top of the Labour Party
Ha ha ha ha. Good one, Jim...