Category Archives: Scotland

Lifeboat

Hey Nicola, where’s our #indyref?

So here we are, 31 days from the tory made disaster of Brexit and no one has readied the lifeboats. That’s one calendar month, probably less by the time that you read this, from the looming cliff edge that is the far right’s wet dream. The Rees-Mogg led Extreme Right Group (ERG) are creating a huge extra workload for matron to clean up in the morning. They just can’t help themselves, they’re dreaming of a plummeting pound for the forex traders to cash in on, they’re dreaming of falling share prices for the hedge funds to cash in on too. In fact the Prime Minister herself stands to profit hugely from Brexit. Brexit is an exercise in turning the UK into a tory playground complete with street urchins.

That being the case, why is Scotland still being dragged down with the rusting hulk of the Britannia? Why has the First Minister not ordered the launching of the independence referendum lifeboat? After all, the Scottish Government has a triple lock mandate to hold that referendum, don’t they? So what’s the problem?

The problem, dear reader, is that the lifeboat has some holes in it, so the First Minister regretfully announces that it just won’t float. Except she hasn’t announced anything of the sort, but that’s what she would like to say. But the problem is you, yes you. And Nicola Sturgeon. You see it was politically expedient to rekindle the fire of independence when the Brexit vote was announced. It got us all excited, because we wants it. It got us out campaigning for the political wing of the independence movement, the SNP. Which helps during elections.

But now the mood music is delay. Just until we know which way Brexit is going. You understand, don’t you? Once we’ve got some clarity on which side this decrepit hulk will list, then we’ll know when to launch the lifeboat. Except it’s holed, that boat is. In fact it’s got more holes than Fluffy Muddle and Touchy Thomson could hope to see on a late night in Boaby’s Bar in the Palace of Westminster. So there will be more delay, maybe five years by some accounts. We’ll all be drowned by then, won’t we? Why won’t Nicola just use the mandate?

First up is the small legal issue of the constitution being reserved to our Imperial Masters in London. If we want to hold a legally binding referendum then we need the agreement of overwhelmingly unionist UK parliament. But they don’t want to see their oil fields and driven grouse shooting estates disappear. Especially with the looming Brexit debacle, where would one scurry off to in one’s helicopter when the starving people are rioting in the streets? No, the Imperial Masters aren’t going to let us have a legally binding referendum, or even an advisory one. The constitution is reserved remember? Take it to the Supreme Court and see what they say.

But let’s say that by some curious quirk of the UK electoral system, the UK parliament were to grant Scotland a legally binding referendum, what then? Well we would all go and have a look at the lifeboat, our saviour from this wretched union. Then we would start to see the holes.

We’d see the great big currency hole with the Growth Commission patch on it. You know the one which says currency union without saying currency union. The one which says that we want a third country to make our fiscal policy for us, which isn’t really independence after all.

We’d see the Inter-Great Britain Border (IGB) hole. There will need to be border posts at Coldstream won’t there? Customs checkpoints at Gretna? That would depend upon the relative EU status of rUK and Scotland, what would that be? Who knows?

There’s that EU hole, that looks quite chunky. Will we be in the EU or the EEA? Or EFTA? That depends upon Brexit, doesn’t it? Or Spain? If we have already left the EU, how long will it take to re-join? Do we even want to re-join? How will we make these decisions and when?

Then there is the 2021 hole. The one that says Holyrood elections. We have a mandate until then but can we use it? Prior to the first independence referendum negotiations took place between the Scottish and UK governments which resulted in the Edinburgh Agreement of 2012. I don’t know how long those negotiations took but they wouldn’t have happened overnight. How long do you think they would take now with “Now is not the time,” Theresa as Prime Minister?

If the UK Prime Minister is good at anything she is good at delay, prevaricate, frustrate and extend. She has all the time in the world to delay a second independence referendum and the UK parliament will back her to the hilt. If the Scottish Government play this game with her, we will arrive at the Holyrood elections with no Section 30 order and a government which has achieved very little in its previous term. That’s a Scottish Government which would probably lose that election, and the mandate would expire with it. The Tories would be delighted.

If the Scottish Government wish to avoid this scenario then they will have to provide some big improvements in the lives of the voters. They need to provide affordable housing, built by local authorities and not big business. The need to provide a nationalised railway and a nationalised energy company. The need to get out there and do the easy stuff that will have a real impact on people’s lives. They also need to admit to the Yes community that the promised independence referendum isn’t going to happen within this parliament, that would allow them to get on with the business of governing. The day job as the tories jibe.

Meanwhile those holes in the lifeboat need fixing…

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.

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?

 

shovel-faced lesbian

sorry but i’m a jock
it won’t be much of a shock
that i want to break holyrood
and steal power back for good

once i get my orders from may
i execute them without delay
my words and fundamentalism
spread by organs of imperialism

keeping the rich nests feathered
is the reason i am bothered
hopefully an ermine coat
can clothe this unworthy scot

i can lie to order
knowing the media won’t bother
chastising my deceit
i’m just protecting the elite

the will of the people means nothing
when we have migrants needing expelling
human rights will be eviscerated
once we have brexited

i tell you what to do without mandate
while my chums pollute and rape
the country into which i was born
your criticism only brings scorn

you won’t be getting a referendum
the thought makes snackbeard glum
you’d only vote yes, that’s true
then i’d have to wear flat shoes