Friday, March 9, 2012

Should the Unions become apolitical?

There was a time when the Unions and the Labour party were hand in hand but those days seem to be quickly disappearing, especially in Scotland. Could the time be close when the Unions have to seriously think about breaking its ties with the Labour party and forging its own future? After all, the Trade Union political activists of the 1800s were first sponsored by the Liberal party to stand for seats. The Labour party sprang from the political needs of the Unions at the time and managed, in its early days, to further the causes of the working classes and instigate institutions in the UK that fundamentally changed the conditions in the way that working class people were forced to work. As the working classes became more affluent the Labour party had to shift its political policies slightly to the right to keep in step with their core voters. In doing so they abandoned the other working classes to the scrapheap who, through no fault of their own, were now non-working classes. There are whole generations of families who have never seen work and, if current policies continue, never will see work. They are ignored by the Unions because they pay no Union dues, ignored by the government because they don't care, as long as they don't riot, and ignored by the Labour party because their votes are more or less guaranteed, in England and Wales.
So, the Unions have no political, moral conscience when it comes to the long term unemployed which, even though contrary to their initial ideas of socialism for the masses, in reality, is not their concern. Their concern should be for the members of their respective Unions. However, in the past, we have seen horrendous situations were the Union leaders were taking undemocratic steps to follow a purely political agenda at the expense of their members' wishes and needs. It would have to be stressed that at that time the Unions, and the Labour party, were deeply infested with 5th columnists from the old USSR whose ultimate agenda was world domination by destroying the capitalist system from within. The question that needs to be asked is: "Do the Unions need the Labour party or the Labour party need the Unions?". I think the later is the correct of the two because the Unions are the paymasters.
The old needs for the Unions have gone as their political off-shoot, the Labour party, managed to achieve a fair number of their goals. So what should be the role of the Unions now? Evidently their primary function is to look after the needs of their members. Their members no longer need to fight for free education, free NHS, free school meals for poor children. Those battles have been won. There is a wider view of Unions that should be explored with regards to the EU. Too many countries are welcoming immigrants with one hand and on the other moaning to their own citizens about their inability to do anything about it because of EU rules. Decide for yourself which countries in the EU do this. The answer, but not just now, is to have EU wide Unions that can level the pay for tradesmen all over the EU. If a member country goes through a financially difficult period then their trades people can travel to any other part of the EU knowing that they will receive the same wages as their mother country. These are the things that the Unions should be heading to. They should also get out of this mind-set that there is a them and us attitude. Fair enough, the same could be said for the management side. If the company they work for shuts down then everyone loses. It should be incumbent upon Unions to help the company to survive and flourish; not try and grab everything it can.
So, can the Unions politically afford to dump the labour party and move on? I believe they can. The idea that a Union 's only concern is for the welfare of its members within a wider capitalist structure is fundamental to their current aims and, in some cases, survival. The Unions have had too bad a press in recent years and doesn't seem to be able to get over to its potential members the benefits that a Union can give them. There are many, many people who are in the Unions but do not support the Labour party. The Unions will have to, eventually, realise this and change their allegiance back to their membership by dumping the Labour party and forging new links with all who would support their aims.
But I'm not holding my breath for that one. The Unions are a good idea but the way in which they are being run is far too political. Released from it political obligations then I can see the Unions returning to their original function whichwas to look after their members wishes and needs.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The trouble with English education

It's the same all over the world

I was sitting at home with my partner (she works as an EAL teacher at a primary school in an underprivileged area of London) and we were having our usual slagging off of the education system in London while collectively reminiscing about how much better it was in the old days; mine in Dundee and hers in the USSR. I had always known that the English education system was bad. My daughter started school in a primary school in London. I was missing my home town so we moved up to Dundee and when I put her into her new class in Dundee we were surprised to be told by her teacher that she was way behind the other pupils. She quickly caught up but we had to leave Dundee to go to Liverpool as my wife's mother wasn't too well. When we put her into the new primary school in Liverpool we were surprised to learn that she was way ahead of the other kids. She soon slowed down to their level. So, when my partner was telling me some of the things that go on in the school it only added to my suspicions that the English education system is in trouble.
What did surprise me was the amount of physically and mentally disabled children that are in the school. I may be old fashioned in my thinking but those children, for whatever reason, who found it hard to keep up were removed from mainstream schooling and placed in 'special schools'. I know what you are saying about the 'special schools' and I would agree with you on the standard of schooling those types of schools used to provide in the past. That is a fault of the system and not a fault of the idea.
It is stupid to waste precious resources on one to one tuition of severely disabled children in mainstream schools. Not only are those children a disruption to the normal running of a classroom but the, so called, one to one tuition is a TA (teacher's assistant) who never has the time to spend on a one to one situation with the disabled child because she has to help the teacher keep control of a unruly classroom. The object of the education system is to educate the masses up to a standard that is suitable for them to function in our society. Here, in England, they are failing in this basic task in more and more areas and, instead of addressing the real problems the politicians are frightened to tackle this issue head on because of the liberal wishy-washy attitude amongst the English middle classes who have never experienced the real social stigma and rejection of having to go through those types of underprivileged education.
The real bust up of the education system happened way back in the 1960s when the Comprehensive system came into being. There was this wonderful socialist idea that everyone should have the same education. (Strange how some of the leading government Labour ministers, at that time, still sent THEIR children to private schools) Before that the education system was split into two. You had the secondary schools for those whose job it would be to serve in shops and sweep the streets or even work in factories. The academies were for the children of the aspiring working class, and lower middle class who couldn't afford private education for their children, which gave their children a chance to get on the ladder because they were better educated and civilly trained than the great unwashed. The system then was a good system. What turned it rotten was the greed of the middle classes who could have afforded to send their children to private schools but chose to take up those places designed for the upper working classes. Employers would know that if you went to an academy then your standard of education was good and you had shown the ability that, when the need arose, you were able to stick your nose to the grindstone. The idea of encouraging the more intelligent children to advance their education was a sound idea, it was the corruption of people that made it rotten.
This all relates back to the original current concept of integrating disabled children in mainstream education. It is morally degenerate to sacrifice the lives of aspiring children because the English middle classes think that it is a good idea to put disabled children in with non-disabled children. The concept is wonderful but in practise it is destroying the education of our young. Add to that another factor and the reasons why the English education system is in such a mess, in certain areas, becomes more apparent. In the 1950s the UK was in severe shortage of working men and sent out envoys into the old empire to recruit men from the colonies to fill those gaps. The fact that during the war women were more than capable of doing those tasks in the middle of a blitz, but, somehow, were incapable of doing so in peacetime. More likely the government thought, as they still do, that bringing in cheap labour from abroad will keep the wages down of the great unwashed who had the decency to die during two bloody world wars. But that's another story.
So, along came those hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the colonies who were picked because they were fit and could speak English. All fine and good, but they started to bring over their families and parents etc. who weren't as educated or knew English as good as the original immigrants. This fact started to put a strain on the education system as the local authorities would have to employ extra staff to deal with the lack of English amongst the newer arrivals. The situation suddenly got worse when the east Europeans flooded over to the UK, the vast majority to work, as their children would also need special help to integrate in an English school. Just finding out the age of a child and then sticking them in the class of the same age group just will not work if they cannot speak or understand English. I dare any of you to go onto a Russian news site and listen to what they are saying in Russian, with no English subtitles, and see how you get on. You would soon tire of listening to some foreign language that you don't understand. The same applies to these children. Their own boredom will add to the disruption of the classes.
When all of this is taken into account it is no wonder that some schools in England are failing. They are failing because the criteria which decides if they are failing or not does not take into account certain schools which have severe difficulty due to the dumping of refugees into their catchment area.
Areas like those were a blot on the landscape of the political elite, regardless of the colour of their rosette. No one wanted to address the real issues of educating our young as political ideology held sway among the political masses. It was far better if the political elite covered their own backsides and loaded down the teachers with a huge pile of endless and totally worthless paperwork thereby not giving them the time to express what they know is wrong with the system. The English education system, at its heart, is corrupt and due for an overhaul. 

Also @ Scottish Commune????

Monday, February 27, 2012

Scotland Bill and its amendments

This bill is a stitch up and its amendments are designed to castrate the Scottish parliament. The Lords know that this bill will never be accepted by the Scottish parliament so you have to ask the question: "Why are they doing this?". Why is so much money being spent on generating a bill that will never see the light of day? The only conclusion that I can come to is that this is a political stick to try and bludgeon the Scottish parliament and, therefore, the aspirations of the Scottish people into submission. If this bill does not pass in the Scottish Parliament, and under the current administration, this Bill, as it stands with its amendments, has as much chance of passing in the Scottish parliament as I have of being the next monarch of the Scots. So what is the Bill really for. I am sure that the Bill, when first designed, was not to hamstring the Holyrood, but when it got to the House of Lords and Lord Foulkes of Cumnock got his grubby little hands on it the Bill suddenly changed into a spiteful attack on the democratically elected Government of Scotland.

So, back to the question: "Why are they doing this?". The only conclusion that I can come to is that a tiny part of the Bill will be of benefit to the Scottish peoples but the rest will, if made into law, basically take the parliament away from us. This way, the Unionist politicians and the Unionist media can have a field day ignoring the bad bits for Scotland and highlight the good bits so that they [the Unionists] can effectively say that they are trying to help Scotland but the nasty SNP has stopped the Scots from gaining more powers. Of course the media will not highlight the majority parts of the Bill where it is grabbing back powers from Holyrood, neither will they mention the other parts which effectively ban the First Minister of the Scottish Parliament from  being able to function on the international stage. This is Gerrymandering by the back door.
Just like the Calman Commission's attempt this Bill will never see the light of day in the Scottish Parliament. Westminster does not care one jot for the democratic processes in these Isles and is only interested in its own power and control. The Mother of Parliaments? More like the Mother of Tyranny.

List of Amendments

Thanks again to Melanie McKellar

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Scottish Affairs Committee questions

Interesting article in the 'Courier' about the questions asked by the Scottish Affairs Committee. That's the same committee which was boycotted by the SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford after abusive remarks by the committee chairman Labour MP Ian Davidson towards her. Anyway, back to the questions they ask:

1.  What is Scotland's share of the national debt?

What is rUK's share of the national debt?

2. How would North Sea oil revenues be defined and distributed?

Mind your own business that's up to us.
3. Would Scotland retain the use of sterling? If so, would it be fiscally independent?
Already answered, so why ask stupid questions? We will use the pound until it suits us otherwise.
4. What would be Scotland's credit rating?
It's going to be far better than yours come independence.
5. What is the potential impact of consitutional uncertainty on inward investment into the UK as a whole, and Scotland specifically, in the period before a referendum?
Same as before so why try to make a mountain out of a molehill? Oh, I forgot; you're Unionists and it's your job to put down Scotland as much as possible. Talk about leading questions!!!!
6. Would Scotland have a separate armed forces, and if so how would they be constituted, configured, funded and equipped?
We've already paid for that so, when independence happens, we will take back what is ours. Simples.
7. Would Scottish citizens continue to serve in English, Welsh and Northern Irish regiments and vice versa?
Why not? If they want to do that then that is up to them. We will not be a Stalinist state demanding that our citizens only fight for our country. Scotland has had a long history of its men fighting for other countries.
8. Will a passport be required to travel?
Sure, if you travel outside the EU. The best thing about independence is that we get our own passport.
9. Will Scottish citizens have free access to NHS services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and vice versa?
Why not? As long as they are not pretending to be resident in Scotland to get a better NHS than the English have.
10. Would Scotland automatically become a member of the EU?
Would England?
11. Would adopting the euro be a condition of entry?
Would it for the English?

Thanks to Melanie McKellar for bringing it to my attention over at 'Aye4Scotland' on Facebook.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mobile phone ringtones scams

Last year my partner was having trouble with her mobile, she was being charged for a service, via her mobile phone company, that she did not ask for. A ringtone company was taking several pounds a week from her account with the mobile phone company. I got on to the company and complained to them. I was told that the mobile phone company could do nothing about it because it was not in their power to be able to stop this and that my partner should text back 'STOP' to the company concerned. This did not satisfy me so I did a little digging and found out that texting 'STOP' only stops that particular company from taking money from her account. After chatting to OFCOM I was advised by them that we should have text 'STOP ALL' as those types of companies are, more than likely, just one of several companies owned by the same scam artist/s. I then contacted the mobile phone company again who admitted that OFCOM were correct and that she should have text 'STOP ALL'. We then asked for the money back that was taken from her account with the mobile phone company; they said that they couldn't do that. I then sent off a letter of complaint to OFCOM, my MP and my MEP. Within a matter of a week the mobile phone company agreed to pay back every single penny that was taken out of her account and blocked those types of scams from taking money out of her account. What a miraculous change of direction from her phone company who, initially, said they could do nothing about it. My partner was pleased but I wasn't. I wanted to take them to court and sort out this scam once and for all.
So I waited, and waited until, eventually, last week I noticed that £4.50/week was being taken from my account for ringtones that I never subscribed to. I, of course, contacted my mobile phone company and pointed out to them what was happening. Guess what? Same old, same old. I have now sent them a letter asking for my mobile to be blocked from those types of services and to have my money returned. I await, with relish, for their reply.
This is a con which the government and the mobile phone companies are more than aware of yet they will do nothing to counter this scam which, I calculated, is costing Europeans millions of pounds per year. I will keep you updated on how I get on with this fight.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

House of Commons 1955

This was in the House of Commons in 1955. It speaks for itself.

Mr Arthur Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
Co-existence is the right word.
The sense of tidy-mindedness that exists among administrators has led to continual and, indeed, continuous attempts to get rid of what appear to be anomalies in the administration of Scotland and the administration of England, but the Scots have resisted these attempts through the generations. They fought their own nobles. Allied with the Church they defeated the nobles. They fought their own king, as they fought English kings, and they fought their own king when he was also King of England. They defied the Church and everyone else who made any attempt to impose rules upon them that they did not adopt of their own free will. The resistance that has gone on now for hundreds of years to what they regard as English encroachments has become a national habit, and if causes of defiance do not exist, I think. sometimes, that we even look for them.
It was the strength of this tradition that made people, when the Union of the Parliaments took place in 1707, regard it as a betrayal ofScotland, a sell-out, a surrender of Scotland's interests, and there is no doubt whatsoever that that spirit, that feeling that something went wrong then, has persisted ever since as an undercurrent in our national thought. On the other hand, if we look at this without emotion and intelligently, we have to realise that 1707 was the turning point in the prosperity and progress of Scotland.
Up to 1707, Scotland never had peace. The people of Scotland never had an opportunity to develop their agriculture or to do anything to give them that accumulation of prosperity which makes a nation rich. From 1707 onwards, Scotland went ahead by leaps and bounds. It never looked back until we came to the slump of the inter-war years. That prosperity came because we had mutual help and co-operation and—a very important part in consideration of this Report—we had a share in the English trade in which,. up to then, we had been rivals and not partners.
There were periods after 1707 in which everyone was almost agreed that Scotland should be called North Britain, and we still have relics of that in the names North British Railways, the North British Station Hotel, and a great many institutions of that kind which still exist in our midst. Indeed I can remember when letters were sent to many people, addressed "N.B." [HON. MEMBERS: "They still do."] Of course, we recognise that there are certain weaknesses in geographical teaching in the South of England, and these tend to come out even in the addressing of letters.
We have no objection to our English friends remaining English and being proud of their heritage and destiny. They can sing, "There must always be an England," but they must not object to our singing, "There must always be a Scotland." This cold war which has gone on for a couple of hundred years between English people and ourselves is due to the lack of appreciation of these national feelings, and I am of the opinion that this indifference to national feelings, that unfortunately exists in England, was largely the cause of our losing America, might have lost us India, and certainly helped us to lose Ireland. Carried to an exaggerated extent, it could result, in spite of our economic loss, in the loss of ScotlandThe Commission has emphasised this point: why has this discontent again become evident? Its Report states: It has, we think, been aggravated by needless English thoughtlessness and undue Scottish susceptibilities. We are touchy, and we are conscious that we are touchy. That is the sum and substance of it. Harmonious relationship, however, does not depend only upon efficient and acceptable administration. History shows that misunderstandings due to thoughtlessness, lack of tact and disregard of sentiment can be serious. Misunderstandings if not openly discussed, tend to grow with the years and to hinder unbiased judgment on practical issues. It is our duty, therefore, to consider, also, what may be termed the emotional dissatisfaction which was disclosed in much of our evidence.That sensitiveness is always there. Irritation is frequent, but the desire for separation between England and Scotland is very spasmodic.
Between the wars, it become very strongly expressed. There was an economic reason for that. At one time between the wars, Scotland had 30 per cent. of its insured population unemployed. Those who were unemployed saw their industries disappear, sometimes bodily with the whole population connected with them, down into the South of England. They saw industries growing up rapidly all over England, but none growing up in Scotland. They saw the prospect of Scotland becoming a desert, so to speak, relatively to the South of England, with its Great West Road, Birmingham and other places which were thriving and becoming more prosperous.
In the five years between 1932 and 1937, out of 644 new factories in Britain, creating new employment, Scotland had six. At that time, the Governments of the day did not believe that Governments should interfere with industry. It was a matter of allowing industry to go where it suited it best, and Scotland, under those conditions, felt that if they had a Government of their own they would be able to control that and deal with this industrial blight which was spreading over Scotland. Therefore, during that period, my party and Scotland generally were making demands for a Parliament for Scotland and Home Rule for the Scottish people. When the war came that situation was changed, because during the war and during the Coalition, the Government accepted responsibility for the distribution and allocation of industries.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton), and my right hon. Friend Mr. Tom Johnston, who was Secretary of State for Scotland at the time, looked into this question, and together, under the Coalition, were able to bring a great many industries toScotland, such as the aluminium works at Falkirk, and industries to Dundee and Lanarkshire. This was the beginning of an entire change in the trend of industry.
When the Labour Party came into power, they were able, not by direction of industry, but by what one might call the deflection of industry to deflect it away from London, Birmingham and other places into new areas which have now become prosperous areas. I need only mention Dundee, which has been changed from a town which was practically dying to a town throbbing with energy and prosperity.
Since the war, a large number of industries have been introduced into Scotland. New jobs have been created for 120,000 or 130,000 people. Areas have been given alternative employment and there has been a redistribution of mining and population. Generally speaking, one can say that, since the war, Scotland has had a period of economic prosperity unrivalled in its history.
Why, therefore, in these circumstances, did an agitation arise on the question of separation from England? The Report summarises this, and I am summarising a great deal of what the Re port has investigated. It says: Much of the dissatisfaction that exists in Scotland is due to the increased intervention by government in everyday life; economic difficulties; and lack of knowledge of the extent to which devolutionof Scottish affairs has already taken place. I am sorry to say that the party opposite must accept a considerable part of the responsibility for these misunderstandings, because they used Scottish national feelings as a weapon with which to attack nationalisation and falsely allowed many people to believe that everything was being run from London. When we read the evidence put forward by the Royal Commission the most astonishing thing is that in nearly every case when people put forward complaints about rule from London the Commission, with a few questions, was able to elicit the fact that those giving the evidence had never made any inquiry as to what the facts were.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The pharmacy chip?

Isn't science & technology wonderful? This article on the BBC science website got me thinking. After reading the article I thought, "what a wonderful idea!". Then I thought of a more darker side. But let's not get depressed, just yet. Let's look at the potential benefits. Planting an electronic chip under the skin to remotely pump out drugs into a sick person's system when the programme, or a remote medic, recognises the patient's need for the drugs is, in my humble opinion, a fantastic idea. Eventually sick people, like diabetics, won't have to give themselves their insulin injections as the chip would be able to recognise the need for insulin and either automatically pump it straight into the body's system or inform a remote medic who can decide to send a message to the chip to start pumping. Diabetics, and other people suffering from a various list of diseases or abnormalities, will no longer need to remember to take their medicine; the chip will do that for them. They can then get on with living a fairly normal life. The chip will pump in the required drugs and monitor the patient giving the medic an almost instantaneous and continuous medical update. People at risk from heart attacks would have a chip subcutaneously inserted which, on detecting an approaching heart attack, will pump into their system the required drug and, more importantly, inform the remote medic that this patient is about to suffer from a heart attack. This system will save millions of lives. Now to the dark side.

We have all heard the scare stories about big brother being able to know exactly where we are by locating out mobile phones. Thereby allowing big brother to track our movements in time and space. However, for it to work we would need to carry the mobile phone [cell phone to you American cousins] with us. Having a memory like a sieve I am constantly forgetting my mobile thereby making it difficult for big brother to trace potential anti-government activists/terrorists [like myself or even you?]. Having a chip implanted under your skin obviates the need of Big Brother to trace their targets by their mobile phone. So, Big Brother gaining access to the medical computer, which observes the 'chipped' patients, under the guise of state security is such an easy step to take. But there is more. Imagine a state 'target' that the security services would wish were no longer a 'threat' to their society being remotely executed by the state by allowing certain chips to include cyanide, or some other drug, to be included along with the patient/target's medicine. Far fetched? Not so far fetched as one might think.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Salmond V Cameron

An interesting meeting is to happen tomorrow when the Prime Minister of the UK makes a courtesy call on the First Minister of Scotland. The piece written by Hamish Macdonell in the Caledonian Mercury is a nice little insight into a situation where the Prime Minster of the UK doesn't really want to meet Alex Salmond but feels obliged to do so. I suspect that Alex will be trying to tie him down and David will be deftly avoiding it. If Cameron is in and out of Bute House in 30 minutes then he has avoided being ear bashed by Alex; else, Alex has him cornered.
Seemingly the preplanned visit to Scotland, for the Prime Minister, did not originally include a visit to the First Minister of Scotland. Was this a deliberate policy to snub him or was this an oversight? Suffice to say, his political advisers have arrange for a courtesy visit in case it looks as if the Prime Minister is snubbing the First Minister. The Prime Minister was hoping that by the time he visited Scotland the talks between Salmond and Moore, the Secretary of State for Scotland would have sorted out most of the problems, the Scottish Secretary's chickenpox never helped the situation. Now Cameron will walk into the lion's den tomorrow and, if he has any sense, will quickly nip back out again after saying absolutely nothing. Not that it will bother Alex Salmond too much because no matter what the Prime Minister does Salmond has already won.
If Cameron leaves quickly then he will be seen as running away, if he stays for much longer there is a danger that Alex will pin him down. Cameron won't want that so I suspect he will leave early explaining about his full agenda.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Long live Rangers Football Club

Now, that may be a weird thing for an 'Arab' to say especially one who was born a Roman Catholic and had, for years, despised the rampant sectarianism which, if not encouraged by the Glasgow Rangers club, most certainly ignored it. So why would I want to see the long life of a Glasgow club? There are really only two teams of merit in the Scottish Football league and Glasgow Rangers is one of them; Glasgow Celtic being the other one. If either of these clubs had to fold then it would not look too good for Scottish club's international bearing. The fact that these two teams will, more than likely, be in European games longer than the other Scottish teams can only be seen as good for Scottish tourism. The visiting supporters spending their money in Glasgow pubs and hotels may, possibly, encourage those foreign supporters to return with their families to visit the rest of Scotland. It also gives coverage to the rest of the world that there is such a place as Scotland.
I am sure that the Rangers board will sort this out and, eventually, have Rangers football club back on course. If they are short of money and looking for a mass of small-time investors I think it will do no harm for the game of football in Scotland if the fans from the other teams invest in Rangers to keep it going. Yes, even you Celtic fans. If Rangers go down who are you going to sing against? It is within the interests of all Scottish fans that our big clubs don't fail.
I am just adding this so that I can link to my club. It's not got anything to do with the story but why should the Glasgow clubs get all the publicity.

BBC Scottish Business

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Scottish academia versus UK Law Lords

Interesting piece in the Herald today. Thanks for the link Alasdair MacKenzie.
What we have, in essence, is the academia of Scotland firing a shot over the bow of the Law Lords of the UK and telling them to mind their own business. The interventions of the UK government, under David Cameron, in saying that the referendum, which is a consultative referendum and not legally binding, according to the UK government, and should have no authority to legality under the terms and conditions laid out at the formation of the Scottish parliament. The legal problem that the UK has is that there is now the reconvened Scottish parliament but no reconvened English parliament. Therefore, when the treaty was signed at the Union of the Parliaments only one of the original national signatories is now present; Scotland. It is, therefore within the right of the Scottish Parliament to decide whether they should dissolve the treaty of the Union of the Parliaments. England can't do that because they don't have a parliament; there is no English parliament. So, leaving aside all the legal talk about whether the referendum will be legal or not under UK law, Scotland is now in a situation where we can ignore the wants of the UK parliament as it has no legal authority to interfere in the legal workings of the Scottish parliament.
The 'squaring up' of Scottish academia to the UK Law Lords is just the opening shot in this particular political sideshow. The trouble with bringing Law Lords into the the political arena is they have a tendency to review how the law should be interpreted. Sometimes it's better to let the old sleeping dogs lie. The above opening shot over the UK's bows should be taken that the Scottish Law big wigs will not take London's interference in Scottish legal affairs lying down. It will be interesting to hear what the senior Judges in Scotland think

Friday, February 10, 2012

BBC on Sport and Politicians

So Alex Salmond gets banned from appearing on BBC TV Sport while a few days later the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, is giving his views on the English Football managerial crises. If it is acceptable for ITV news channel to get the Prime Minister's views on English Football, why is it not suitable for Alex Salmond to be interviewed about Scottish Rugby on a sports channel being run by the BBC?

The truth is that the 'establishment' is more than happy to use any excuse they can think of to stop Alex Salmond coming on TV and dispersing away any of the UK's propaganda about Alex being this, that, or the other thing. When the general public see a pleasant politician making sense and then compare that to the biased coverage that they were unleashing about him on the Scottish and British media sites it dispels any negative notion in the general public's mind that the UK are desperate to portray Alex Salmond as.
The UK government must know that, unless they can fiddle the result, they are going to lose in the referendum. So why annoy a population of a country that the rUK are going to have to trade with? We have a lot of resources that they will like to get their hands on. I believe it is because the Britnats cannot help themselves. I believe it is because they are so corrupted in themselves that their first reaction is to try and destroy and control what they see as within their sphere of influence. They are an  abomination to democracy and would rather see a country destroyed than not get its own way. After independence we are going to have to deal with those types as they try to wrest whatever control they can from us.
Still, its good training for dealing with the big boys in world politics. The object being to stand your ground at all times and show that you are not afraid of them and then duck at the right time as the bullet whizzes passed you.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

BBC ban Alex Salmond

Obviously the BBC and their bodyguards, MI5, have unearthed a cunning SNP plan to subvert the upcoming local elections by pretending to discuss rugby while all the time they will be subliminally converting the true-blue Britnats over to the horrid SNP's chief purpose which is to make the UK government look like a set of puerile, incompetent, war-mongering lackeys under the control of international bankers. Instead of castigating the BBC for uncovering this plot we should celebrate the fact that they have saved us from the ravages of voting for a democratic party that would bring down our loving Westminster. We, the Scots peoples, have been exposed, for far too long, to the temptation of living in a country that cares for its sick, its unemployed and the uneducated.
We think that this match is just a sport played by men with odd shaped balls but in reality it is the essence of English middle-class culture and, therefore, it should not be spoiled by the likes of Alex Salmond whom everyone knows is a kilt wearing, deep fried Mars bar eating, subsidy junkie hell-bent on world domination.


This link to Newsnet Scotland is well worth reading.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Free education in Scotland trying to be banned by House of Lords

Interesting article in Newsnet Scotland where the House of Lords are up in arms about Scotland's free education system. I would have commented there but I'm not allowed to log in [Dig at Newsnet over].
Again we see the Unionist peers trying to stir it up against the SNP's policy of free education. What they refused to mention was that Scotland cannot do anything about this as they are under the direction of the EU laws. If we were an independent nation then it would be possible for Scotland to try and have this silly law changed where a student from Greece can have free education in Scotland but a student from England can't. That 'right' is reserved to the UK government. So why aren't they doing anything about it. Could it be that it actually suits the UK government to keep this ridiculous law so that they can stir up trouble between the rest of the UK and the SNP's fair policies? Seemingly, one of the peers did speak up for the Scots but we didn't get to hear that on the radio broadcast [link on the Newsnet Scotland article]. Now there is a surprise.

The peers have two options that they can do to address this silly situation:
1. They can urge the UK government to go to the EU and have this stupid law adjusted so that rUK residents can apply for free education in Scotland, or
2. They can introduce a fairer system in England where their resident students can get free education too.

Will they do this, or, more to the point, did they mention this? No, of course not. This is a club to swing at the democratically elected government of Scotland and their fairer policies.
So why didn't the SNP Lords, in the chamber, stand up for the Scottish right to have free education? Well, the SNP don't have any Lords because they do not believe in the House of Lords as they think it is undemocratic and unfair. Hmm, I suppose our answer to those peers should be to Foxtrot Oscar and discuss things that are more relevant to the current situation in the UK instead of stirring political faeces. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Scottish Defence Force

Again we have the BBC in Scotland putting out scare stories on behalf of their masters in Westminster. We have the BBC quoting Philip Hammond, Defence Secretary. He said:

"The idea that you can break off a little bit like a square on a bar of chocolate-and that would be the bit that went north of the border-is frankly laughable."

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the idea of having squares on bars of chocolate is so that you can break a bit off? If it was not possible to do then how did the UK government manage to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland? The concept of bringing home our regiments to the their country of origin seems to me to be a perfectly feasible idea. What he is worried about is the idea that HIS country's (UK) armed forces will be short of the military personnel and equipment that they think is what they require to continue illegally invading countries to get at their natural resources. Well, Mr. Hammond, that may be your problem but it will not be ours post independence. Of course, any Scots currently serving in the UK's military will have the option, if they desire it, to continue with the rUK. There will be no pressure put upon them to return with our military resources that rightly belong to Scotland. If they so wish they can transfer to a rUK army, navy or air force unit. So what is the problem? The problem for Mr. Hammond is that he doesn't understand that an independent country can decide what it wants to do with its forces. We Scots have more than contributed to the UK's armed forces, not only in manpower but also money, and deserve, upon independence, to have our fair share returned to us. I suspect that the top nobs in the military are already sorting out contingency plans plans for when/if independence comes; they would be foolish to do otherwise. I suspect this is just one of the opening shots in the run up to independence and the partitioning of the debts and assets of the UK.
Then Mr. Hammond goes on to talk about the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland and hints that we Scots would have to pay for that. Now he is being ridiculous. He uses the excuse that a new port will have to be found to cater for this removal of the nuclear submarines. I suggest that he picks one from this list-minus the Scottish deep water ports of course. From the look of the lists it looks like Wales will have the pleasure of hosting those expensive toys. I suspect that the English voters in their ports will be up in arms at the thought of having nuclear weapons situated in their vicinity. It doesn't matter about the Welsh because they aren't English.  I wonder what the Welsh will say about that? You can be sure that the MOD is already looking at alternatives.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tommy Sheridan and freedom of speech

Tommy Sheridan is about to be released from the Castle Huntly open prison, on licence, after being found guilty of perjury by the Scottish courts and having served the amount of time he was legally obliged to do. Putting aside my severe doubts about whether he was guilty of the offence or not; considering that the 'News of the World's' employees (Bob Bird) were witnesses at his trial. Are those the same witnesses that are now being investigated for criminal activity and, if not lied in the current investigation, have almost certainly attempted to twist the truth beyond any form of moral recognition?

But, that is not what I want to say at this moment in time. What is an assault on the balance of justice is the court's possible attempt to place a gagging order on him and stop him from speaking or writing in public. The man is a politician and has always maintained that he was 'set up', not only by the 'News of the World' but also by his fellow Scottish Socialist Party members. Now, I'm not a great fan of his politics, but that is not the point. If he was a danger to the public at large then he should not be released. So why the gagging order? If he comes out and says something illegal during his licensed freedom then he can be taken to court for slander or libel but to stop him from making any proclamations seems to me to be a breach of his human rights.
There is something about this case which stinks of corruption and the attempted gagging order to be placed upon Mr. Sheridan seems to me to be an extension of that self same corruption in politics in Scotland. The sooner we get out of this UK backed 'establishment' the better it will be for justice in Scotland.


Sheridan released and up for it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Big Debate on the BBC

I have just watched the BBC's The Big Debate-Choosing Scotland's Future, many thanks to Monty for supplying the link. I was shocked, yes shocked, to see Glenn Campbell being unbiased in his role as the host. Long may that continue. I thought he handled it well and has my respect if not suspicion.

The biggest surprise for me, after Glenn Campbell, was the points put forward by Lesley Riddoch. Being English born and spending her childhood in Northern Ireland I would have expected a staunch Unionist. I was totally wrong and that says more about myself than anything else. She put over her points wonderfully and stumped Jim Wallace, on more than one occasion, and handled herself wonderfully against Johann Lamont. I think she was more for the Devo-max option than full independence but, in my opinion, was definitely against the status quo. Good all round performance.

Where do I start with the Advocate General of Scotland, Jim Wallace? Not only did Lesley Riddoch leave him a shivering wreck with her probing questions but he fell to pieces with Nicola's remarks as well.  If this is all that the Unionists can put up against us the referendum is already won. It was an atrocious performance and I would have expected a lot better off him. He obviously thought that he could come on and waffle his way through it because he was the Advocate General and the people would listen to his words of wisdom and worship at the altar of his profound pronouncements; sorry Jim, it doesn't work that way. Even Johann Lamont had to come to his rescue.

A very good performance by Johann. I think she is a far better operator than her predecessor. She is obviously used to the rough and tumble of politics and that showed. She stood her ground and tried, but failed, in my humble opinion, to put forward her case. I suspect that she is being hampered by what her bosses in the Labour party want her to say. I suspect that once free of Westminster she could be a person to watch out for.

What can I say about the lovely Nicola. She never put a foot wrong. If only she was 15 years older I would consider marrying her ;-)

On the whole I would say the the case for independence was won on this programme and, going by the applauses, so did the audience. I would have to congratulate the BBC in Scotland [someone pass me the sick bucket] for a well made and unbiased programme. I hope they continue to bring on guests like that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

BBC coverage of the First Minister's speech

I don't know whether you got a chance to see the First Minster's speech online at Edinburgh castle today. It was covered life by the BBC. The coverage was atrocious with there being constant 'technical' difficulties which broke up the flow of the speech and the questions which were asked afterwards. This is not the first time that the BBC have done this and I expect that it won't be the last. The question you have to ask yourself is: 'If this were the Prime Minister of the UK would these 'technical' difficulties happen?'. Then when you add what Subrosa was saying on her blog it begins to look suspicious. Now, I am more than willing to accept that I may be adding 1+1 and coming to 3 but I suspect not.
Add to that the Paxman interview on BBC and it becomes absolutely clear that the state broadcaster is deliberately trying to interfere in the Scottish government's decision to hold a referendum. Add to it the furore about the lack of comments. Brian Wilson's blog, 'Blether with Brian', writing so few articles about the political situation in Scotland and the disappearance of Newsweek Scotland then it must be no smoke without fire.

The cost of military equipment

Having read this article on the BBC about the theft of military equipment I was shocked to find out that night vision goggles are costing us £45,000 a pair. Why so expensive?

I remember being told during my training that army equipment needs to be 'soldier proof', meaning that it needs to be virtually indestructible. Of course this extra protection will cost more money but in doing a little bit of research online I found goggles averaged out at about $4,000. So why such a huge disparity?  I have spent the last 2 hours trying to find these goggles online but failed miserably. If anyone can recognise these glasses then tell me and I will update this.
Anyway, my father always told me that in the army if it wasn't nailed down it was stolen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One trillion pounds in debt

Figures released today show that the government of the UK is one trillion pounds in debt and rising by approximately 14 billion a month or to put it another way 144 billion a year or nearly 1/7 of a trillion a year. The interest itself would keep Scotland going for a while. The BBC managed to pull on this person who seemed very optimistic because the government had got the borrowing down. Sorry, but in my books getting your borrowing down is still adding to the debt; it is nothing to shout about.

We are not going to see this for a while

So to start shaving money off what we owe we have to cut our spending by 1/7 of a trillion a year plus the interest that we owe of the trillion debt. So, let's take a figure of 5% [it isn't, I'm just using this figure] which equates to an extra 7.2 billion or, to put it into English, we have to shave off over £151 billion. Now no government is going to do that in one year so they will hope to spread it over the lifetime of their parliament which means over 30-40 billion a year needs to be shaved off our current spending.
The cuts, so far, have hardly taken effect. It is going to get worse, very worse. We cannot do as Labour have said which is to stimulate the economy because the Eurozone is going through a rough time and they are going to have to cut back. 60% of our exports are to the Eurozone countries so stimulating growth is only going to suck in more imports and we will not be in a position to export, to counter the imports, because nobody is buying just now in the quantity that we need to balance the import/export books. Tighten your belts because there are going to be more people on the dole and the dole money, along with all public spending being cut, is going to have to be hit as well. The poor, as usual, are in for a hard time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Labour's hypocrisy over pensions

It emerged today that the Labour leader, Ed Milliband, who has attacked the UK government's attempt to link state pensions from the current RPI [retail price index] to the lower inflation linked CPI [consumer prices index] which would save the UK treasury £7.5 billion a year to 2015, yet he has saved the Labour party nearly £4.5 million by linking its own workers' pensions to the CPI.

What's he got to laugh about? Oh, yes. He has saved his party £4.5 million by trampling over its own workers.

So why aren't the Unions, who back Labour, out in force to protect the pension rights of the workers from the Labour party? They did it against the ConDems. Or was this just political posturing on the Unions part and also on the Labour party's part too? The hypocrisy of this party and its backers knows no bounds.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The BBC is not all bad

There was a really interesting documentary on BBC 4 called Unnatural histories. It was all about the history of the Amazon and the effects that the indigenous peoples [pre-European involvement] have had on the so-called primeval forest. It was an eye-opener. To give a quick summary of the programme it states that, prior to the Europeans arriving there were abundant advanced civilisations living there. When, one of the first Spanish explorers, Fransisco de Orellana,  arrived he wrote in his diary that the Amazon river was crowded with towns and cities [yes, cities] on its banks all the way along its length.

Fransisco de Orellana

It wasn't until the Europeans arrived with their diseases, which wiped out an estimated 90% of the indigenous populations, that the advanced civilisations of the Amazon Basin disappeared and nature took over the vast cities there, which is why we think we see untouched, pristine forest. But even that is not entirely true as the hunter gatherers of today were/are managing the forests. The BBC explains it better than I.
Which brings me back to the headline: 'The BBC is not all bad'. This is where the BBC are wonderful in their science and natural history programmes. I think that I can safely say that if there was an Olympic prize for these types of TV programmes then the BBC would certainly be in the medals.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why were the site owners of Megaupload really arrested?

It has been reported on the news that Megaupload, an internet company based in Hong Kong, and founded by Kim Schmitz, have had their executives arrested in New Zealand and their site shut down after the FBI, the US Department of Justice and the Motion Picture Association of America sought and obtained arrest warrants for them. Now, having published myself*, I would not like the idea that someone could read our novel without royalties being given to me for my work in writing it, so why am I complaining about Megaupload being arrested? Well, as usual, it is not as straight forward as it first seems. Are they committing a criminal offence by allowing their site to be used for copyright piracy; yes they are. Have they made loads and loads of money from this site; yes they have. The last sentence is the real raison d'etre behind this shutting of their site. The same big companies that are backing the stance of the FBI & the US Department of Justice are the same companies that have been doing illegal file sharing for years. What they don't want is someone, not of their kind, taking the advertising revenues for those piracy sites which they don't own and/or control: see this. It is hypocrisy at its worst backed up by legislative bodies in the USA with the rest of the world kow towing to their wants.

* 'The Frustrations of Venus and Mars' by Ged Mitchell & Nadia Baranowa. Do not buy it as I have had an argument with the publisher over the price. I think it is far too expensive for what you get. If I thought that I could get away with it I would put the story online for free just to stick two fingers up to them and swallow the money that I have laid out for it. I am currently looking into the legalities of having it published/printed in Poland.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The rise of independence in Europe

The Motherland

Is it just the Scots who want independence ? The simple answer to this is no. There are many states, regions, and areas within the EU borders and outwith, in greater Europe, that are struggling for their independence or want to retain their culture and language from the old colonial super states within Europe. Let's take a brief look at some of them:

Scotland...We know about this so there is no need to go any further.

Wales...Plaid Cymru which has been in existence since 1925 and won its first seat in the Houses of Parliament in 1966. It attained an assembly at the same time as Scotland re-instituted its parliament in 1999.

Ireland...Attained its independence from the UK in 1922 after a bloody War of Independence by the IRA. However, six counties in the north are still in the UK.

Cornwall...Mebyon Kernow (Sons of Cornwall) was formed in 1951 and the Cornish Nationalist Party which was formed in 1975.

Catalonia...An autonomous state in Spain. Catalan Nationalism has been going since, at least, 1892.

Basque...An autonomous country in Spain but claims certain areas within France.

Brittany...A Region of France.

there are many more but you get the point.

There is also a huge list of European countries that have gained there independence post WWI. What is happening in Scotland just now is just a change of mood that have been rushing through Europe for the last 100 years. Will this clamouring for independence continue in Europe? Yes, I believe it will as it will in other continents around the globe. The days of the super states are over but the coming together, in a democratic way, of individual nations will continue.