Sunday 3 April 2016


I was interested to read that the USA has despatched 12 F15 fighter jets to Iceland and The Netherlands in a bid to deter Russian aggression.

I thought we were spending up to £200 billion of hard working families' tax money (see, we can do that too) so that Russia wouldn't be a threat?

If Moscow is so frightened of our nuclear capacity why does the West need to threaten them with American bombers?

I'd have thought that it was high time there was a summit meeting between the Russian and American presidents, although there will be those who would argue that in his last year, Mr Obama has little authority. In nine months the reigns will be in someone else's hands. Heaven help us if it is Trump's. 

Or maybe this is what it's all about? A genuine cross party fear of a Trump presidency?
Interesting comment today in the Mail (yes, who'd have thought it) by Peter Hitchens. 

To his great credit it seems he's having second thoughts, and very desperate ones too, about the mad Thatcherite (and Blairite, Brownite, Cameronite) passion for privatisation.

He reflects on how it has ruined his country. As always with these refection type articles, there is an element of "la vie en rose" (I mean seriously, no one looks back lovingly at British Leyland, do they), but there is a considerable amount of good common sense in what he's saying.

Nothing is about service; everything is about making money, and yet we are putting at risk our health service, or at least the English are, and in doing so putting at risk the service that we all rely on to a great extent at some points in our lives.

Contracts in social security awarded to private companies are measured by results that can be quantified, not by results in compassion or satisfaction. 

It's become a very different union from that which existed before the Thatcher revolution. And on balance it's not really a better one.
Interesting tweet I came across this morning! I reckon that 6000 jobs in an exaggeration (UK government's figure was far smaller), and that 15,000 is underplaying the job losses. 

The argument for is that is costs £120bn and saves 6000 jobs The argument against is it costs £1.5bn and saves 15,000 jobs
Of course there are more arguments than jobs in both cases, but SLAB's best argument for Trident is not that it makes Scotland safe, but that it supports (I think Baillie said) 11,000 jobs.

While we are talking about steel, I see the old argument rehearsed so frequently by Ms Lamont has shown its face again. The Forth Crossing is being built with Spanish and Chinese steel. This is becasue the bulk of the order for steel is for a type of steel that is no longer made in this country since the Tories shut Ravenscraig. The diminution of steel making in this country has been going on for a long time. No British company tendered for the work, because they couldn't provide the standard of materials required. Of course the Scottish government could have done a Thomas Bouche and made the bridge out of unsuitable materials... after all, that ended well!

Oh yes, and there there's this... 

"Oooooops, them pesky kids stitched me up!!"
I thought this was an interesting Facebook comment...

Nicholas Roach commented on an article.

Let's be clear; the "special relationship" that's so often trumpeted (every pun intended) as vitally important is only "special" when it suits the US to consider it so.

Every major European country thinks they have some sort of "special relationship" with the US, and changes of presidency effects them very marginally - unless and until, of course, the US elect a serial chancer and known dingbat to the Oval Office.

The Trumpet is such a chancer and well-known serial dingbat.

Trump is not likely to forgive nor forget that his "plans" to lay waste whole swathes of the Scottish coast were thwarted, his mindless opposition to a few offshore wind turbines was defeated and the little matter of a several hundreds of thousands of people who signed a petition to ban him from the UK may colour his opinion.

All the above and more are likely to sway his decision (should the US electorate be stupid enough to vote for him as POTUS, that is) to treat us to another round of that, oh so one-sided, US-interpretation of the "special relationship".
We only have a special relationship with the States if there's something for them to gain; you know, such as:

1 the UK cravenly following them into a series of unwinnable and largely illegal wars, 

2. the UK being their tame and caged attack donkey and main disrupter-agent within the EU,

3. being required to sponsor Turkey's application to join the EU,

4. making sure that TTIP has absolutely free rein to pillage and prosper from our public services, or what's left of them, unlike some of our more enlightened and less impressionable neighbouring countries, and,

5. the reciprocal deportation system which only works in one direction - deportations to the US to face justice happen often, the other way around, they never happen at all.

Whoever becomes the next POTUS will, as always in recent decades, call all the shots, hold all the cards and have a pair of loaded dice in case the other two don't achieve exactly what they want, when they want it and how they want it, and who will be the fall-guy in case things go wrong - and they so often go wrong, don't they?

If Trump is elected, the question everyone asked in the 1950/60s changes:

It used to be:

Shall I dig a nuclear fall-out shelter?

now becomes:

How deep shall I dig my nuclear fall-out shelter?

Just imagine the near future: Trump in the US, Cameron/Farage in the UK, Marin le Pen in France and a plethora of lesser fascists erupting around Europe - not a happy thought, I think you'll agree?


  1. What are Trump's chances really? For some facts you might want to read WeeGingerDug's piece in the National last Saturday.

    Typical of the BBC, they give us half a story, hyped up out of all recognition. This is the Primaries, not the Presidential Election.

    1. Yes, the most recent head-to-head polling shows Mrs. Clinton beating Trump handily. That sort of polling is generally considered to be of limited predictive value until the party conventions have actually chosen their candidates, but the polling looks worse for Trump than earlier polling a few months ago.

  2. Not good. I think he's handing the election to mrs Clinton.

  3. Spot on about the UK's so-called special relationship. One country who appears to have a very special relationship is Ireland. I flew to the US last year via Dublin, went through American passport control/security at Dublin airport and entered the US as a domestic passenger. So much easier than going thru at Boston or NY. Now that's a special relationship.

    1. Yes. That is a very special relationship.

      I've always been dubious of Britain's claim to specialness. I'm not so sure about the past (Maggie and Ronnie seemed to have a love affair going on as did Blair and Bush), but certainly, under this president, there's not much sign of it.

      It makes these prime minsters feel so special to be seen with the president.

  4. Westminster pretends it has a special relationship because it dulls the pain when the USA does its own thing ignoring Westminster in the process. It's like Scottish unionists desperately clinging on to their beloved so-called united kingdom even when Westminster treats them like crap.

    1. It's beneficial to be on the right side of the USA, and I guess most European countries work hard at it, but the UK seems to do with in a repulsive grovelling way.

      No one would deny that Germany, France and other European countries want to be considered favoured, but they just don't stoop so low in trying to achieve it. UK is embarrassing, specially that time Brown's office contacted he White House over and over again begging for a private meeting.

      And yes, just like Scotland and London.

  5. I have to admit I quite like Peter Hitchens, although I disagree completely with many of his views. He is highly critical of Thatcher and also Winston Churchill and Britain's methods during WW2. He did also say that had he lived in Scotland he would have voted Yes. His only criticism of the SNP that I've seen is that Alex Salmond once corrected his (mis)pronunciation of Mary of Guise!

    I had always hoped that the EU would emerge as a counterbalance to the US, hopefully with Russia as a member at some point. It is sad to see it being manipulated by the US.

    1. I'm not an aficionado of Hitchins' work, but that piece seemed reasonable. It had hints that the EU was a problem.

      Like you I had hopes for the EU as a moderating influence of the right wing UK governments. When it was described as "socialism by the back door, it seemed to me to be what we needed.

    2. I sometimes try and read some right of centre articles for balance and I believe in "knowing your enemy".. Hitchens is a former Marxist and he still believes in some nationalised industries, railways is one example. So perhaps that's why I can tolerate most of his articles.

      I would still rather be iin the EU than the UK but the neo liberal direction it seems to be going in is troubling.

    3. I agree. It has changed (as of course all governments do)

      Id far rather be in it than in the UK.

      EU controls, according to Business for Scotland, about 7% of our lives, whereas the UK really controls 100%. Given that devolved power is loaned power and as the NI assembly was, so can the Scottish government be overridden.

  6. I am relaxed about the prospect of a President Trump.
    As with most previous incumbents,he will find that he can't really do very much.
    With both the Democrats and Republicans hostile to him,I would think he will be severely shackled and will achieve nada (unless the Mexicans pay for a wall between them and Trumpland).
    However,it would be very amusing to see the US of A being represented on the global stage by the Trumpophone and shown how to make enemies and influence them.