Category Archives: Scotland

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

Respect democracy

It’s the phrase of choice for British Nationalists, isn’t it? They’re always telling us that we need to respect the result of our independence referendum. They use this phrase as a shield to deflect any and all criticisms of the UK, the stock phrase being “well you voted for it.” And they’re quite correct.

We voted for the status quo, we voted to remain the junior partner in a UK which was a member of the EU. Indeed we were told that the only way to preserve EU membership was to vote No in our referendum. We were promised other things if we voted to continue to be subservient to our London government, but they were more threats than promises. They were threats about HMRC jobs, threats about Royal Navy ships built on the Clyde, threats about our economy and it’s reliance on oil. But one of the biggest threats was the one about our membership of the EU. The architect of this programme of fear mongering dubbed it Project Fear.

It must be some quirk of fate then which moved the HMRC jobs to England, delayed the building of Type 26 frigates indefinitely and drove the price of oil to sustained lows. It must be a pure coincidence that we now find ourselves heading for the EU’s exit door (the one which confounded Nigel Farage). In fact it must just be a fluke that all of the British Nationalists’ threats have come to pass.

But we have to respect democracy, don’t we? We have to respect the fact that 55% of Scots voted to remain a part of one of the most corrupt states on the planet based upon the threats and promises of the serried ranks of corporations, politicians, media and monarchs. Forget the 45% that voted to jettison a 300 year old union which has extracted so much from Scotland that our economy can’t sustain itself. We don’t count because we didn’t win.

We have more democracy to respect now in the shape of the EU referendum. In reality it was more like a Nuremberg rally than an exercise in democracy. Project Fear took time out from demonising the Scottish independence movement and it focused it’s dull gaze, Theresa May like, on “immigrants”.

Theresa May

Theresa May

If anybody doubts that propaganda works, witness the sharp increase in racist attacks since the result of the EU referendum was announced. I hear that the Brexiteers are to rename England to Xenophobia.

But forget how the campaign was won. After all it’s not the means which counts in a referendum, it’s the result which matters. Slim as it was it was the result was still a majority for leaving the EU. That’s cool, I respect that. I respect the fact that the UK as a whole wishes to turn insular and cut itself off from the rest of the world. I respect the fact that the UK wishes to cancel all of the trade deals which currently exist between the EU and the rest of the world.

However, respect is a two-way street. So now that I have proclaimed my respect for the result, so must the British Nationalists. They must respect the fact that an overwhelming majority of Scots voted to remain within the EU, as did the people of Northern Ireland. I doubt that they will, after all we are the losers again. The British Nationalist will not respect our vote in the EU referendum just like they will not respect our qualified vote in the independence referendum. So why on earth should we respect the result of either referendum?

As far as I am concerned all bets are off. We voted to stay in this toxic union called the UK on condition that we retained our EU membership. Now that we are to be torn out of the EU by the votes of another country why should we stay in the UK?

What is to come is one of the most uncertain periods our country has ever faced. We will face massive upheaval, economic shocks and political mismanagement on an unprecedented scale. Given that we can clearly see our fate, how can we best navigate our way safely through its turbulent waters? To which ship should we pin our colours to? Should it be the slave ship Xenophobia with its crew of 65 million (foreigners not welcome), or should it be the cruise liner Europe with its crew of 742.5 million? My money, and most of the rest of the world’s money, is on the EU.

The only way that this can be achieved is for Scotland to become an independent nation once more. For that to happen we will need to hold and win a second independence referendum, we don’t have much time but the broad Yes movement is still with us. Let’s get going. The British Nationalists have already begun, but now their arguments ring hollow and we are no longer afraid. Saor Alba