Author Archives: the45

Never Trust a Tory

The farce that is the UK government gets worse with every passing hour. First of all we had the Irish Conundrum where PM May was about to announce, “I have in my hand a piece of paper,” only to be scuppered by the DUP’s Arlene Foster. It turns out that the text was agreed between the UK and Irish governments but nobody thought to run it past Westminster’s kingmakers first. The DUP weren’t best pleased with it because they want the full Brexit with none of the hash browns and they definitely didn’t want an Irish Sea border with the rest of the UK.

Then we had media darling Ruth “Colonel Rapeclause” Davidson, Saviour of the Union, Slayer of Alex Salmond, EU Refrendum Winner, First Woman on the Moon, giving us her take on the Brexit deal. This was almost the same text as the DUP produced, which isn’t surprising when you think that the Orange Lodge is fully integrated with the DUP and the Tory’s Scottish Accounting Unit. Ruth was only saying what the Grand Master of the Morningside Lodge told her to say. It was surprising how nobody really cared what the Colonel said, apart from the “Scottish” media who gave it a good airing. The Rape Clause supporter has had so many positions on Brexit that you could write a whole new Karma Sutra with them. By touting the DUP’s line she slid the knife into May’s back along with the rest of the Brexiteers, with which May was heard to utter, “Et tu Ruthie.” The Colonel just can’t wait for that safe Tory seat to come up in England so that she can play politics with the big boys and girls in the proper parliament in London.

Today we had the exquisite sight of David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, telling a House of Commons committee that the Brexit Economic Impact Assessments do not exist. These will be the same documents that he said existed a whole 18 months ago and has repeated since. Lets think about that for a moment. If what he said today is true then the Tory government in London has not bothered to work out what the likely economic impacts of Brexit will be, but they will push ahead with it anyway, oh and Davis lied repeatedly. Or, the Assessments do in fact exist but Davis is prepared to lie to parliament in order to keep them hidden safe in the knowledge that his cronies will cover for him and he will endure not the slightest censure. It really makes you wonder what they say, if it was good news then they would have been shouted from the top of Tower Bridge, even if they were not too bad they would have been shouted from Westminster Bridge. As it is they are being kept at the bottom of the Thames where nobody gets to see them. If they exist that is. Either way Davis is a liar, but we’re so used to being lied to that we just shrug and get on with our lives when we should be marching on Parliament and demanding that this government must go!

Then we had the amendments to the Brexit Bill which would guarantee that non reserved powers would be returned to the appropriate parliaments when they are relinquished by the EU on Brexit day. These were voted down by Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish unionist MPs who see London as the centre of the universe and all you plebs in the outer regions are only there to pay taxes and die in penury. You’ll have had your devolution then. Mark my words, come Brexit day the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly will be abolished. Just like the Northern Irish Assembly has already been.

Philip Hammond has been banned from using the RAF’s Royal Flight aircraft after running up a 6 figure bill which hasn’t been paid yet. Isn’t it amazing that the Chancellor of the Exchequer hasn’t paid for the use of these aircraft on official business? If I was in the EU I would wonder if the UK would honour any Brexit divorce deal.

A little later Hammond gave us another insight into the workings of the Tory cabinet when he told a House of Commons Committee that the cabinet had not discussed the “end state” of Brexit. In other words they have absolutely no idea what they are aiming to achieve with the whole Brexit process. No destination, no road map, no clue! Downing Street “clarified” Hammond’s remarks a little later by saying that they would have a wee chat about it sometime nearer Christmas. 18 months after the EU referendum the Tories still don’t have a clue where we’re going. Why are the people not outraged?

This shower of shit which is laughingly called a government is going to drag us into the darkest sewer of depravity. A place where government ministers will spank the monkey while perusing pornography on their government computers. A place where we will have no human, employment or any other rights. A place where the corporations will be kings and we will be slaves, destined to be worked to death for a pittance with no safety nets of the NHS or any other “benefits.” A place where the filthy rich will get even filthier and richer, and all at our expense.

But the people of Scotland have a choice, we can choose to be flushed down the toilet with the rest of the UK or we can choose to tread our own path. We can choose to be drowned in Tory turds or we can choose to breathe the sweet, nectar filled air of independence. Independence is a state of mind, lets shake off this insanity and take responsiblity for our own lives.

The Irish Conundrum

Who would want to be in Theresa May’s shoes right now? She is caught between the hard rock of the Brexiteers and the harder rock of her Unionist allies the DUP. There she was, about to announce that the whole Brexit thingy was going swimmingly after agreeing to a form of words with the Irish Taoiseach, and even lining up a press conference to have a very public gloat about it, when up pops the prop. That’s Arlene Foster to you and I.

Arlene said that she would never, never, never agree to a soft Brexit on the island of Ireland while the rest of the UK gets a good stiff Brexiting. There’s no way that the hardline Unionists want to miss out on all that fun. So Theresa phones her up and she is told that if she doesn’t change her mind then the whole cash for support deal is as dead Kezia’s TV career (and that’s very dead). Rumour has it that Theresa turned paler than a disabled veteran waiting for their Universal Credit payment.

What’s a failed PM to do? Well she could call the DUP’s bluff and say, “I couldn’t give a XXXX about you Foster, or your bigoted wee party or your 10 votes that keep me and my knife wielding chums in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed,” and cut the deal anyway. This would give the DUP what they want on the frictionless border between the north and the south but also give the DUP what they don’t want in a border in the Irish Sea between the island of Ireland and the remaining islands of the United Kingdom. The DUP could call May’s bluff and withdraw support for the Tories in Westminster and kiss goodbye to their £1bn bung (as if they would ever see it, it’s Tories they’re dealing with after all). This would result in the collapse of the Tories and another general election, which Labour would probably win, and a friend of Sinn Fein as Prime Minister. Never, etc. They would also lose their influence over the Brexit debacle and we know that they don’t want to miss out on any of that self flagellation. But we know that Tories love power, so there’s absolutely no way that the PM would risk the bluff in the first place.

So May could say, “Look EU, there’s no way that we’re going to put up any borders in my precious Britain. So you can stick your poxy trade deal and we’ll go for full Brexitisation.” This would result in a hard border between north and south Ireland, which is what the DUP don’t want, and no border in the Irish Sea which the DUP do want. At least this way the co-religionists would be able to self flagellate with the thorniest of Brexits when the EU call No Deal. Unfortunately for Arlene and the DUP, that’s not what the people of Northern Ireland want; they want to remain in the EU and have no border between north and south. But Arlene doesn’t care because there is currently no Northern Ireland Assembly and Northern Ireland is under direct rule from London (largely due to her own involvement in the Cash for Ash scandal).

Other people may care though, like the businesses who would be unable to have frictionless trade with the Republic of Ireland, or the terrorists who stopped bombing and killing because there was no border, or the majority of people in Northern Ireland who voted to Remain within the EU. They would be up in arms (quite literally for some of them.) They would demand a vote on the re-unification of Ireland which they would probably win. That would mean the end of the UK as we know it. At least it would be long after May is ousted from office so she wouldn’t have to carry the can for it.

The PM could realise the impossibility of Brexit and call the whole thing off, which would probably result in her saying, “Et tu Boris, et tu Gove, et tu Jacob, etc.” as she is repeatedly stabbed by her own party.  Again, we know that Tories love power so there’s no way she’s going to take the knifing for the good of the country or even resign and let some other mug carry the can (that’s her job after all, followed by a retirement gracing the red leather of the House of Lords no doubt.)

The only logical solution is for the UK to remain within the Customs Union and probably the Single Market. This would mean no border between the north and south of Ireland and no sea border between the islands of Ireland and the rest of the islands of the UK. This would be acceptable to the DUP but they also want that hard, thorny Brexit to bash themselves about with, so they won’t be going for this option either. Cue the fall of the Tory government.

My feeling is that the PM will say, “You EU types are being jolly difficult so we don’t want to have a deal with you.” The DUP will be delighted that they got their Brexit whip, but dismayed that they will have a southern (and western) border. May will be knifed by her own party and there will be another general election, which Labour will probably win. The DUP won’t get their bung after all and they will lose all their influence in Westminster. Meanwhile Corbyn will start negotiating with the EU but it will be too late and the UK will crash out of the EU with no deal. Cue the break up of the UK, at least it will be Labour’s fault.

An elderly voter injured by Spanish police

Spain’s return to fascism

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and control of industry and commerce, that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe” (source Wikipedia).

Anyone has witnessed the brutal repression of the Catalan people today, for simply exercising their right of self-determination, would probably be sickened with what they saw. Spanish police used extreme force to try to prevent people from casting their vote and it didn’t matter to them if the voters were elderly, disabled or otherwise. They all received baton blows to their heads and rubber bullets.

An elderly voter injured by Spanish police

An elderly voter injured by Spanish police

The Spanish police beat their way into polling stations and forcibly removed ballot boxes. Voters were hurled down stairs and beaten with batons, boots and fists. Women were hauled around by their hair. All this for having the temerity to vote.

You would think that the this violent repression by the Spanish state would be roundly condemned by the international community, wouldn’t you? I’m afraid you’ll be sorely disappointed.

Donald Trump, president of the USA – nothing. He’s too busy getting ready to obliterate North Korea.

Trump tweet

Trump tweet

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council – nothing. He’s probably trying to wake Jean-Claude up. See below.

Tusk tweet

Tusk tweet

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the EU Commission – nothing. He’s probably still pissed from his most recent tax payer funded junket in Tallin.

Junker tweet

Juncker tweet

I am seriously reconsidering my EU referendum vote now. I was always a soft Remain voter anyway after watching the way the EU treated Greece. If Scotland were ever to become independent I don’t think we should be hitching our wagon to these fascism deniers.

How about political leaders closer to home, surely that British sense of justice will have provoked some condemnation here? Here’s Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK trying to keep the economy going by pumping some more air into the housing bubble.

May tweet

May tweet

Meanwhile Boris Johnson, UK Foreign Secretary, says that the Spanish fascism is fine with him. If it’s fine with him then it’s fine with the UK Government. After all, their respective ideologies are not so far apart.

Boris tweets

Boris tweets

At least Jeremy Corbyn, leader of British Labour, has something to say about it with not one but two tweets.

Corbyn tweets

Corbyn tweets

Vince Cable, leader of the British Liberal Democrats also has something to say about the situation in Catalonia too.

Cable tweet

Cable tweet

Meanwhile in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, has this to say. At least she agrees with the right of the Catalonians to determine their own form of government.

Sturgeon tweets

Sturgeon tweets

Ruth Davidson, Leader of the Scottish Accounting Unit of the British Conservative and Unionist Party used an interview on the British Broadcasting Corporation to blame the SNP for the violent repression in Catalonia. Referendums are their idea and they are all bad. So ignore the pensioners getting their heads smashed in, use the moment to attack your political opponents. She really is a disgusting creature.

Sensing that she was on the wrong side of history once again she issued a statement, although failed to be interviewed again.

Davidson back pedalling

Davidson back pedalling

Patrick Harvie, Leader of the Scottish Green Party, hits the nail on the head. Where does Catalonia go from here? Surely the Spanish Government has lost all legitimacy in the country? Government is by the will of the people, if the people don’t want your government then it becomes a dictatorship.

Harvie tweet

Harvie tweet

No one was available from the Scottish Accounting Unit of British Labour, they’re all too busy stabbing each other in the back and drinking pish.

As for Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Accounting Unit of the British Liberal Democrats. Well who cares what he has to say?

Rennie doesn't want to talk

Rennie doesn’t want to talk

The results of the referendum will be announced within the next couple of days. If the result is Si then I expect the Catalonian Government to issue a declaration of independence. If that is the case then I expect the repression to increase ten fold. Where will our “leaders” be then?

I wish all the people of Catalonia all the very best. Though there may be troubled times ahead I’m sure that you will prevail. I’m sure that all the Scottish Yes voters would express the same sentiments. Good luck – Bona Sort.

Si

Si

 

 

Poundage rates for Scotland and England

Tories In Disarray Over Business Rates

One of the main lines of Tory attack for the upcoming council elections is the increase in business rates. The Tories love to portray themselves as THE pro-business party, so they’ve been pushing this theme relentlessly. All of the sycophantic media has been slavishly publishing the Tory propaganda. So I thought we should take a look at the issue and see if the Tory claims bear close scrutiny.

What are business rates?

Here’s how they are described on the myscotgov website: “Business rates (also called non-domestic rates) are a tax on business property to help pay for local council services. They are based on the property and generally don’t reflect the turnover or profits of your business. If you have business premises, it’s important to consider business rates in your financial planning.”

So business rates are based on the property value, not the profitability of the business. Its stands to reason then that if the property value increases then the business rates increase also. There’s even a kind bit of advice on the website, best keep those rates in mind when doing your financial planning. I’m sure most well run businesses would heed that advice.

Who decides on the value of the property?

As we all know, property values vary over time. If we want businesses to pay the correct amount then their properties must be revalued from time to time; in Scotland this is carried out every 5 years. This valuation is performed by the Scottish Assessors Association who are an independent body. The assessors for each area are appointed by a cross party committee of councillors, one of the Aberdeenshire Council Committee members was Cllr Gillian Owen, Conservative and Unionist Party. So if the Tories are complaining about the valuations, they only have themselves to blame.

How are business rates calculated?

Once the rateable value of the property has been determined then the business rates can be worked out. The Scottish Government sets the rate which is known as the poundage rate, i.e. how many pence in the pound will be charged. The poundage rate normally increases with inflation (RPI) and it also matches the increases in England. The Eric Young & Co website has the details:

Poundage rates for Scotland and England

Poundage rates for Scotland and England

So we can see that the poundage rate increase for properties valued below £35000 is exactly the same as the English rate for properties below £18000. The more expensive properties then have to pay a Large Property Supplement. In England this starts at a lower rate than in Scotland (1.3%) but the Scottish rate is higher (2.6%).

What’s the problem?

With the increases being closely matched then you would expect there to be howls of discontent in England too. Poor Victoria Beckham’s store rateable valuation is up 415%. But it can’t be the annual increase that the Tories are moaning about , it must be the revaluation

What does the UK government have to say about it? Well a government spokesman said, “This revaluation improves the fairness of rate bills by making sure they more closely reflect the property market.”

Oh, according to the tory government in Westminster the revaluation improves fairness. The message couldn’t have reached the branch office then because Ruth Davidson says this on the branch office website, “This revaluation is threatening jobs and the wider economy, and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

Which is it? Either fairness is improved or jobs are threatened, I’m a bit confused.

Perhaps Murdo Fraser can enlighten us?

He says, “This is fast becoming a crisis for businesses the length and breadth of the country. Many say they face closure, while others are being forced to hike their prices to cover these increased costs. This is not an acceptable state of affairs, and we need to know what Scotland’s finance secretary intends to do about this. It’s time for the SNP to prove it’s not an anti-business government and take some meaningful action to help these businesses which are the lifeblood of our economy.”

So the SNP government is anti-business, what does that make the Tories in Westminster then?

Hmm, maybe we can get some help from the tory candidates for the upcoming council elections?

Here’s Colin Clarke, currently the Conservative and Unionist party councillor for Inverurie and district.

“Inverurie has a thriving town centre with a strong High Street shopping culture, but local firms are being squeezed by SNP tax policy. We should be supporting our employers, especially during the current downturn in the north-east economy. Many of these are family firms with strong links to the local area, but they are being hit with ever-increasing bills. I want to see a freeze on business rates to offer some relief to these companies which are finding it tough at the moment.”

So the increase doesn’t support employers in Scotland but improves fairness in England.

He goes on to say, “At the moment, it seems the SNP see the north-east and towns like Inverurie as a cash cow, with rising income tax, stamp duty and business rates providing a triple whammy of higher bills”

Oh dear Colin, you’re a liar. There has been no increase in income tax in Scotland. The income tax rate next year is exactly the same as it was last year. In fact most people will paying less income tax next year than they did this year due to the lower earnings limit being raised.

Perhaps former Provost Councillor Jill Webster can enlighten us? She gets a mention in the Evening Express. “Cllr Jill Webster said her own manufacturing business faces a six-figure increase which was “quite shocking”. She added: “The Finance Secretary should have done something about this one earlier and rushed this North-east situation on earlier.””

A six figure increase! That sounds dramatic, lets take a look at this claim then:

Cllr Webster,or Jilly as she’s known, runs a couple of businesses at the same time as being a councillor. She does this on a part-time basis we are told, does that mean she is a part-time councillor? Anyway the businesses in question are Rubberatkins Ltd and Reactive Downhole Tools Ltd. A quick search for the Rubbertkins business yields the postcode AB23 8GW.

Lets see how much the rateable value has increased by entering the postcode into the search engine on the SAA website. This tells us the current rateable value is £209000. Looking at the proposed valuation on the same page we see that it will be £307000, that’s an increase of £98000. But that is the rateable value, not the actual business rate, which can be estimated by the business rate calculator on the mygov website. This yields a business rate of £151044.

Rubberatkins business rates 2017

Rubberatkins business rates 2017

But Jilly said that her business faced a six figure increase, so at least £100000 then. Lets work it out shall we?

Her old rateable value was £209000. The old rate was 48.0% up to £35000 then 49.3% above that. Which give us £12250 + £85782 = £98032. So the increase is £53012. It looks like Jilly can’t do her sums.

I wonder what could have cause the increase in the rateable value? Could it be the 1000 square meter extension to the business premises that is mentioned on the company website? Looks like our Jilly didn’t heed the Scottish Government’s advice to “consider business rates in your financial planning.” If she did then she would have seen the business rate rise coming.

So there we have it, the Tories say that the business rates rise is about improving fairness in England but is all kinds of SNP bad in Scotland. Tories’ council candidates lie and can’t do their sums. Who would vote for them?