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Category Archives: Politics

Gordy Broon is gone…

My wife used to work beside a woman who knew Gordy Broon. She said he was a very, very clever man. He may well have been or still is for that matter. He managed to hoodwink quite a lot of people during his intervention in the final stages of the Scottish Referendum.

But that is history. He’s going to work with the UN on education with a salary that reflects his experience and stuff. Lets hope he keeps his political thoughts to himself though from now on. Not because he has anything meaningful to say of course since the Smith Commission reported with the Tories and Lab sticking together just like the ending of 1984. Talking about which, the Tories and Labour stopped the living wage proposals in the Smith Report.

There are things that could be done without recourse to Smith and of course Dave and his purring Queen. How about Nippy Sturgeon making a start on developing a Scottish Declaration of Rights. I chose this as a starting point because such a document would determine how our representatives would behave towards us.

Given, that the Better Together people or the NO side as they were, told enormous amounts of lies, exaggerated issues and generally misled to win. There was no VOW. It was a construct by Gordy and the Daily Record, which vowed nothing tangible and the three Stooges, Messrs’ Cameron, Miliband and Clegg went along with it. Various other “stars” such as Jim Murphy were complicit in it also.

A short aside. The question, which has still not been answered, is of course “Why would England want to keep Scotland if the Scots were a millstone?” We all know the answer. 95% of the oil within current UK waters is in Scottish waters, Scotland can be used for storing nuclear bombs and waste and Scotland can be used as a guinea pig for new legislation. There’s also the growing awareness that Scotland does not need Labour but Labour desperately needs Scotland.

The development of a Scottish Declaration of Rights, probably based on Scots Law and the USA version to a degree could work well for us all. It would have to be voted on and it would have to be legally adopted. If it was worded strongly enough we could cut out the lies and smoke and mirrors of politicians, and dare I say, bring some honesty into the debate and our own going governance.

Come on Nippy. Give it a go. It will keep the momentum going if nothing else for short term.

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Has the world gone mad?

Either I’ve lost the plot or I’ve been deposited in a different far away universe.

I’m still not over the shock of agreeing, if only in part, with the Scottish Greens. That sounds like something your Scottish Granny would say. Scottish Greens are good for you she’d say… better leave it that perhaps.

Now I find myself agreeing with a columnist in the Guardian. Good grief! What next? Will Santa be joining me for Christmas lunch along with the three wise men and Queenie herself? My, how the conversation would just whistle along, then again perhaps not.

It would appear that some people who work at the Guardian think it’s a great idea for Scotland to be independent. Scotland could become a sparkling world-class example of social justice, wind and wave power and everything green.

That’s not my view I have to say. However, winning independence is the goal and if it means that we have to… what’s the words for it? Get into bed with people that have the same aims but perhaps seek different longer-term goals? That’ll have to do.

They also said that keeping the pound was good because if we do our own currency the English will “get gubbed.” Okay fair enough. Perhaps the new Scottish currency should be based on Jimmies. Jimmies would be worth twenty Grannies. The overall currency name would the Scottish Stoater or words to that effect. However I digress.

Now what about that nice Mr Monbiot? He’s works for the Guardian. He may have to do another of those columns where he says – “You know how I said that X was a very bad thing, a very bad thing indeed?” He’ll then go on to say that “he now thinks it’s a spanking thing and he won’t even blush when he says it”. He’s well practiced at it. I wonder if he’s let out any of his four spare bedrooms yet to people who need a roof over their heads?

Another suggestion from the tome that is the Guardian was that the landed gentry should start packing and following the next YES vote they can leave the keys at the front door. Estates will be put back into the hands of the people or the people that the Guardianistas like anyway. I can see the appeal of that.

Queenie won’t be needing to travel to Scotland and may desist from taking her summer hols at Balmoral which I’m sure will make a really nice hotel. Nice thought. Lets reclaim the rampant lion and make that our flag. We’re hard you see. Even our flag is aggressive!!!!!! Snarl!

Time will tell.

I’m a bit apprehensive about what is going to happen next. Who else is going to stand up and support Scottish independence from a group which I do not associate with or generally share their views? Not to worry. You know I’ll keep you informed. Jim Murphy? I can’t ever see that happening.

The cost of the Guardian in Scotland will be 2 jimmies 8 grannies. It just rolls of the tongue doesn’t it? Hold that thought.

 

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The lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter…

If you are reading this in England you may be wondering what I’m on about. You’ll be thinking that The Labour Party is getting ready to turf the Tories out and sort the upstarts of UKIP and the LibDims. If you were here in Scotland you would be looking out onto a political topography on which the lesser spotted Scottish Labour voter has diminished to a degree, which is nothing short of astonishing.

There’s a long way to go until May 2015 but at the moment polls are indicating that Labour are polling around 20-25% whilst the SNP are polling around 51% to 60%. No need to look at the figures for the other parties they are struggling to gain double figures.

During my stint leafleting on the run up to the Scottish Independence vote I met a few Labour voters. They all seemed to fall into the same sort of “type”. They started shouting fairly quickly, they tore up any leaflets or newspapers I was attempting to deliver.

Whilst a lot of Labour voters voted NO a lot also voted yes but not enough so why have so many Labour voters changed to the SNP now? Well it’s simple, very, very simple. Labour have not represented their historic support base since Tony Blair strode onto the world stage. The other reason is that Labour sharing the stage with the Tories and being so negative and wilfully telling porkies was just too much.

I can provide a great example of how inept Labour politicians have been. In the 80’s I had to visit a client in Greenock. I was surprised when I got there. On both sides of the road there were shipyards, heavy engineering, metal bashing and more. Step forward Maggie and her desire to stop metal bashing and go for services instead.

Jump forward to New Labour being in power. Almost all of the manual, metal bashing jobs and the other industries that supported them were gone. I had cause to visit Greenock a number of times and all of the yards were gone. Some housing and the odd supermarket replacing the yards. Not a huge amount of jobs on offer and a populace fighting over call centre jobs.

Blame Maggie? A good bit I’d suggest. But and this is a really big but, the Labour Party had made no real effort at all to help Greenock and many similar places throughout Scotland back to prosperity. And yet the people in these working class towns still kept on voting for Labour. It’s a disgrace many times over. Thankfully it’s now changing and the Labour vote is crumbling.

There isn’t a day that goes by that my twitter feed doesn’t contain a good few people saying they voted NO and they were wrong to do so. Too late, but not too late as in forever, just wait and see.

So all Labour has to do in Scotland is come up with policies which will appeal to their own traditional voter base and for the potential voters to actual trust them to deliver.

That’s easy.

Really?

 

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Jo-La V Nippy

The twittersphere and blogosphere have been very, very busy following the debate, which took place on Tuesday night between Johan Lamont and Nicola Sturgeon on STV.

I’m not sure if it was a complete setup or not. It was certainly a catfight, undignified and in keeping with a “stairheid rammy”. The feeble attempts to request that the two “ladies” should debate properly didn’t really help at all. If it achieved anything, it showed how much the decorum of such debates and more wider debating in both the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments have been allowed to reach the level of bun fights. Where has the respect for the institutions, which the parliaments are?

It has to stop I tell you!

The debate wasn’t really a debate. Too much talking over each other. Way too aggressive. It was just a “rammy” or fight as the less Scottish might have described it.

I’m sure that Jo-La is a nice and caring person but she highlights the problems, which the Labour party in Scotland are struggling with. They have joined forces with the Tories, who are paying for it all and the LibDems who can’t even manage into the top three in elections in Scotland now.

They are also very restricted in what they can say and do. If Jo-La made a speech which criticised Scotland the Labour Party would be damaged. They can’t actually say what benefits the “Bitter the gither” Yes side would provide for Scotland to remain in the Union. They have managed to create a vacuum, which renders any message they may have as useless to their cause.

All they can do is parrot what their bosses and their foes in Westminster say. Where is the clarity of thought? Where is the loyalty to the Scottish people? It’s all lost because they are Westminster centric and Scotland is just a part of the rest of the UK. If the Labour Party in Scotland cared they would have fought for much greater benefits for the Scottish people when they were in power.

In truth they did very little. Those people who voted Labour for generations ended up voting for a party which sat to the right of the Tories. They didn’t make a stand on illegal and costly wars and worst of all they turned their backs on the principles on which the Labour party was based.

Not that the SNP are much better since they are statist and centrist which will cost them dear following the first general election in an Independent Scotland.

There are factions within the Labour Party who are pro-Independence. They don’t seem to say much or what they say isn’t reported.

Independence will require the current parties to reshape or more likely to re-invent themselves. We will no longer tolerate Westminster political parties operating in Scotland. Politicians who are Labour members and supporters will need to form a new party which has no ties with or influence from Westminster.

I suggest that a new Labour movement in Scotland move a bit more to the left but recognise the value of a thriving economy, which ensures all the nice stuff can be afforded. The basic principle should be that each generation has a better standard of living from the previous generation.

Too simplistic?

Possibly.

Worthwhile?

Certainly.

 

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Justice according to whom?

In Scotland we have a lawyer, Kenny MacAskill, who became a politician who is now the Justice Secretary. This sort of background would make you think that he’d know his stuff and he’d be careful when dealing with legal issues. Hmmmm…

We have a verdict in court, which was, as far as I know unique. You were innocent, guilty or the case was “not proven”. Not proven was one of those things which had been around for a along time and cases were judged to be not proven. It was a sort of but not quite result. It meant that someone may have been innocent or guilty but the evidence wasn’t clear enough although it was clear enough not to be innocent or guilty.

I always thought it was a good idea.

Along came Kenny and he tries to get rid of it. It’s an old law and is no longer fit for purpose. What? Like thousands of old laws you mean? None of which are fit to be thrown in the bin?

Not content with that, the bold Kenny then decides that corroboration should also be scrapped.  The requirement for corroborating evidence means at least two different and independent sources of evidence are required in support of each crucial fact before a defendant can be convicted of a crime. Again seems like a pretty reasonable and important piece of law.

Police persons in Scotland go about in pairs for that very reason. Although there may well be occasions when the two police persons perhaps record stuff in a Hillsborough fashion, but that’s a different story.

Why would a justice secretary want to do away with two Scots Law tools? Is there likely to be a good reason for this?

Lets say two people are in a room and something happens. One of them calls the police and makes an allegation about the other one. The police come along and take a statement and look for evidence to support the allegation. which might be serious enough for a forensic investigation to take place.

In court the evidence found and/or the forensic evidence supports the claim made by the accuser and the other person is dealt with accordingly.

Or…

In court the evidence found and/or the forensic evidence supports the claim made by the accuser and the other person is dealt with accordingly.

Or…

In court the evidence and/or the forensic evidence does nor fully support the claim made by the accuser and the other person receives a not proven verdict or is acquitted.

Fine so far?

Now what may happen when both of these tools of justice are no longer in place?

In court the evidence found and/or forensic evidence does not support the claim made by the accuser? The lawyer for the accuser makes a strong case as does the accuser. The judge or the jury may decide that the accuser makes a better case of it and the accused is sentenced accordingly.

Two things in wrapping up.

Firstly both of these tools have been heavily criticised in cases of assault and sexual assault and rape. This has lead to claims that victims are being let down by the justice system. It’s even been said that these tools have led to guilty people being let off. .

If there is no real evidence how can anyone be tried on the basis of what someone said and to which no one else had heard apart from the accused?

Secondly, the Judges are not in favour of removing these tools. The police were also not in favour but then they changed their minds. Bear in mind that Kenny appoints senior police officers and that we have a Scotland wide police force.

Is this justice? No one wants to see anyone leaving court not having been found guilty when they have in fact been guilty. But neither does anyone  want to see someone who is innocent sentenced.

The aim to bring more people to justice should not be based on anything other than real and corroborated facts. Anything else may be the result of aims which are not in the best interests of our society.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Justice, Politics, Scotland, SNP

 

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Liverpool bus lanes…

I’ve never been to Liverpool although I’ve seen it on TV, which is the best I can do. It may well be one of the best places in the world! I don’t know and I haven’t got an opinion about it.

I was interested however, when I saw an article in the press a few weeks ago. It was one of those headlines which grab your attention. It basically said that bus lanes in Liverpool were going to be suspended for a few months to find out if traffic would be better or worse without them.

That sounded like a great thing to do. As drivers, we all sit in traffic at times and it is very frustrating when a bus glides up the bus lane and gets preferential treatment. Well it’s the bus passengers who get the preferential treatment.

A certain Mr Begg used to work here in Edinburgh and introduced bus lanes. He’s long gone onto better things but his bus lanes still remain. The buses here also have transponders in them which over-ride traffic lights so the buses get through quicker yet again. Mr Begg didn’t like cars.

Taxis are also allowed in bus lanes and cyclists but not motorcyclists. A few months ago Edinburgh Council put up some new cameras to catch drivers using the bus lanes. It was the biggest fiasco that the council had carried out for probably at least 10 minutes. They are prone to continual fiascos, which would be funny if it were not for the fact that we have to pay for them at some point. The council doesn’t like cars.

Anyway, the cameras were installed. The number of drivers caught was HUGE. It wasn’t that they were using the bus lane it was more the fact that they had to cross the bus lane or get around a corner or even get into their own drive. They still got the paperwork with the fine of course but most of them complained and got the fines dropped.

The council then switched some of the cameras off and things are better but far from ideal. The council doesn’t like cars.

In Liverpool the bus lanes are now just a part of the road that everyone can use. The Mayor has been interestingly supportive of the removal of the bus lanes albeit that it’s just a trial at the moment.

There have been complaints. It takes longer for bus passengers to get to where they are going. The bus companies are complaining that it now takes their buses longer to get where they are going. Really? No brainer actually.

The majority of people on the road now get to their destinations a bit quicker. There’s another surprise. Who would have thunk that?

The bus companies have become grumpy. Their advantage over all the other road users has been eroded. They no longer get priority treatment. They are going to complain.

There is no good reason to expect road users to have to put up with some people getting preferential treatment. It will be wonderful if the lanes are dropped for good.

Down with bus lanes I say!

 
 

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A disaster waiting to happen…

I’m reading “Blossom” at the moment. It’s about Scotland and it’s people and why we have such bad health and various other depressing issues although there is much positivity also. It was recommened to me by “Clarinda” and the book was written by Lesley Riddoch.

Early on in the book Lesley mentions “Old Labour” and not in a positive manner. I can see why she might think like that since, to younger people, Old Labour was fraught with internal wrangling, beset by unions ever eager to encourage strikes and subject to a bottom line which could not make the party electable.

To me “Old Labour” was certainly those things but not just those things.  “Old Labour” was the vote of the workingman. It was a party in which working men could get a sense of hope that their working lives would be productive enough for them to have a comfortable lifestyle secure in the knowledge that their children would have a better life than they had.

In the 60s life wasn’t easy although things started to change for the better in the 70s or so it felt to me. My family life improved. We had proper holidays, we had a better car, the house was better decorated and warm, there was money to go out of an evening.

Mrs Thatcher came along and trimmed the wings of the unions and pushed “Old Labour “ away from electability. Whilst some of the things she did were undoubtedly damaging to the country, other things she did were good. Her experiment and the change to a “services economy” might have been a great idea for London but less so for Scotland where traditional industries were still the core. That was all lost. Gone.

But the Tories went eventually and along came New Labour. In order to become electable Tony and his mates moved to the right. In doing so they ripped up the old ways. Now everything was new and shiny. Well maybe for some but less for a lot more people.

The West of Scotland had a lot of heavy engineering before Mrs Thatcher and much less when Tony cane to power. You would have though that “Nu Labour” would have invested heavily in either supporting and renewing the traditional industries or investing in bringing new manufacturing jobs to that area.

Well they did. Unfortunately, they managed to import low skill jobs after Mrs Thatcher had exported high skill jobs. The workforce was to be retrained. What? Retrained to follow an entirely different type of life? No. Just enough retraining to be able to answer a telephone all day long and such like. A disaster waiting to happen.

They still vote for Labour in the West of Scotland as they have always done when they worked in the old traditional industries etc. in towns and villages all over Scotland. Why? They can’t bear to vote any other way? They have always voted Labour as had their parents and grandparents? Who would they vote for if they didn’t?

To a degree they have stopped voting altogether.

Labour has done nothing, NOTHING to invest in these communities although they were in power for two terms. Not to mention the number of local councils that are also Labour run.

Labour has failed even worse than Mrs Thatcher failed.

No amount of silly tactics such as taunting the Tories that they didn’t have a single woman on the front bench.

Is that the best they can do? Is that as far as their combined intellect can manage?

Look in the mirror Ed and I mean really look in the mirror.

 

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