Liar Carmichael

The liar’s reward

The Orkney 4 are safe in their burrows tonight after judges ruled that Alistair Carmichael, the lying Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, could not extract punitive damages from them for having the temerity to challenge his election. He will now have to stump up the cash himself. But let’s not fool ourselves here, the only winners in this case are the lawyers who stand to make somewhere around £300000! How can it be that such a phenomenal sum of money is required to bring our elected representatives to account?

The liar’s fundraiser currently stands at £14595, there’s been a wee flush of activity since the decision of the judges. It’s interesting to have a look at the donors, you get a view into the mind of the yoon. So let’s take a wee peek shall we?

Eric Holford

Eric Holford

First up is Eric who obviously got caught up in the media propaganda, but the lying Liberal Democrat admitted that the document was false back in May 2015. He must have missed that nugget of information. Notice how he blames the SNP for this “attack.” He just doesn’t understand that lying to the electorate is wrong! This is a theme which is repeated throughout the fundraiser. Take Robert Moss for instance:

Robert Moss

Robert Moss

Why is it accepted that politicians lie? Can we not aspire to something more than having self-serving liars representing us? The whole purpose of the Representation of the People Act was to allow politicians to be held to account. Unfortunately it seems to be flawed as it gave the liar Carmichael enough wriggle room to keep his job. The yoonery continues with Robbie:

Robbie Thomson

Robbie Thomson

This is a common thread too, the petitioners are scum for wanting to hold their MP to account apparently. Why does he think that? I think that the media has a lot to answer for in this regard, they went into full propaganda mode to protect their man. All opponents of the union are denigrated, we get a good othering at every turn. Casting the Orkney 4 as scum is a continuation of this line of attack. They’ll be calling us untermensch next.

Next up we have Jill Stephenson, aka History Woman, one of the most extreme yoons there is:

History Woman 1st donation

History Woman 1st donation

History Woman 2nd donation

History Woman 2nd donation

According to History Woman it is all the fault of the Scottish judicial system, even though this is an Act of the UK parliament. The judges decided that he did have a case to answer and because the verdict was divided between the Orkney 4 and the lying Liberal Democrat that no costs should be awarded. Jill clearly doesn’t see that if Carmichael had not lied and come clean to the Cabinet enquiry, then none of costs would have been incurred. Mind you Carmichael would probably have lost his seat, and deservedly so. But what of the cost of that enquiry, reportedly £1.4 million? Is Jill happy for us to foot the bill for that? If Carmichael had been an honest man those costs would not have been incurred either. The Tories will probably see that as a small price to pay in order to keep their single remaining Scottish MP safe.

There was also a donation from Sir Malcolm Bruce, Lord of the Gowk Stane, who bunged the liar £50. Who can forget this former MP telling us that all politicians lie, and that really is the core issue of this sorry tale. Why is it acceptable and legal for politicians to lie? Is this just a feature of the Westminster parliament or does this phenomenon pervade the devolved assemblies too?

This case just goes to prove that politicians are above the law, they can lie to us with impunity. The whole system of “democracy” in this land stinks of corruption. It is a system in which politicians, both elected and unelected, syphon vast sums of money off into tax havens as this excellent article by Steve Topple describes. They do as they please while we pay the price, does that sound like a good system of government to you?

Tunnocks: British not Scottish

Tea cakes, block lists and floods

We’ve been taking a break over the festive period, recharging the batteries and letting the belt buckle out a notch. It was a nice feeling to just let it all pass by for a change. But now we’re back and there are a few things which are just asking for mention, so here we go…

Thomas Tunnocks Ltd, a family run business which sells cakes and biscuits, has been in the press because they are apparently going to drop the lion rampant from their packaging outside of Scotland. From what I know of businesses their primary goal is to make money. So it follows that this change in marketing policy is intended to make the business more money by pitching the re-branded product as “Tunnocks Great British Teacake”. So it also follows that marketing yourself as Scottish south of the border doesn’t make as much money. The question is, why?

Could it be that the relentless propaganda campaign, which first reared its ugly head as “Project Fear”, is having an effect on Scottish companies who trade in England? Is this then the positive case for the Union, where to identify yourself as Scottish is to appear to be something Other?

Alex Salmond Pickpocket

Alex Salmond Pickpocket

Othering is defined as “the process of casting a group, an individual or an object into the role of the ‘other’ and establishing one’s own identity through opposition to and, frequently, vilification of this Other.” So the Othering is obviously working, because Thomas Tunnocks Ltd feel that they have to market themselves as British in order to make more profits. Boyd Tunnock, the managing director, said, “We could have said Scottish but you’re then promoting Scotland.” So promoting Scotland is a bad thing, a loss maker for your brand.

Of course we also have to ask why the company decided to publicise this re-branding as they did, with the political element? Well the company was firmly behind a No vote during the referendum so there may be a clue there. It also says to the people of Scotland that the Scottish brand is as dead as a Jim Murphy’s political career. It says that if you want to succeed in this marvelous United Kingdom then you have to present yourself as British, not Welsh, not Northern Irish, definitely not Scottish. It says that the only culture that’s worth anything in our land is British, harking back to the glorious days of imperialism when most of the planet was under the British heel. Lovely, but I won’t be signing up for any of that. So here is my New Year’s resolution: I shall be giving up biscuits (got to get that belt down a notch or two after all.)

Elsewhere, Wings Over Scotland have published a piece advising people to update their Twitter accounts with the reverend’s personal block list (which I feature on, because of this post I believe). I find this very disturbing, it plays sweetly into the hands of the press with their “brainwashed Nats” narrative. No doubt Wings is the lightning rod which attracts most of the ire from pro Union types and I’m sure that the reverend can do without the abuse (although he probably provokes most of it). But to advise your readers to block others just because you blocked them smacks of censorship and helps to drive a wedge into the pro independence camp. In short I believe that it is counter productive, and quite creepy too.

Some of you may have heard that there has been some flooding in Scotland, did you? But I’ll bet we probably all know that there has been flooding in England because there was wall to wall coverage of it on all media outlets. The flooding was caused by exceptional rainfall which our rivers and streams can’t cope with but we can’t call it “Climate Change” because that would be to brand ourselves as loonie lefties.

What we can say is, “It’s too early to say definitively whether climate change has made a contribution to the exceptional rainfall. We anticipated a wet, stormy start to winter in our three-month outlooks, associated with the strong El Niño and other factors. However, just as with the stormy winter of two years ago, all the evidence from fundamental physics, and our understanding of our weather systems, suggests there may be a link between climate change and record-breaking winter rainfall. Last month, we published a paper showing that for the same weather pattern, an extended period of extreme UK winter rainfall is now seven times more likely than in a world without human emissions of greenhouse gases.” That quote is from the Met Office Chief Scientist, Julia Slingo. I assume the paper that she is referring to is this one.

So we can say that there is more chance of bucket loads of rain during the winter because of greenhouse gasses. That being the case, we should prepare ourselves for for it, shouldn’t we? Well it would appear that Scotland has been doing more preparing than England, at least according to Dr John Robertson on Newsnet.scot. I’ll let you read the piece but the most surprising part of it was that because Scotland is more prepared for flooding then our insurance premiums should be lower. Apparently we subsidise the unprepared parts of the UK to the tune of up to £430 per year. Now that’s pooling and sharing for you. No wonder we’re Better Together.

 

Carmichael and Willie toast the lies

Carmichaels and lies

The two are now synonymous. Yes you can now Carmichael to your spouse about the amount of drinks you had down the pub. You can Carmichael to your doctor about how much you smoke. You can even Carmichael to your kids about how they don’t sell replacement batteries for that noisy toy. Carmichael and lies, the two go hand in hand. We’ve got to wonder about how many other lies he’s told? Just how many Carmichaels did the liar tell during the Independence referendum?

Now that his court case is over his party is spinning his “victory” as a complete vindication of his actions, but that’s not what the judges said. They branded him a “blatant liar”. How can anyone trust this man anymore?

Of course his party, the Liberal Democrats Scottish Branch, is right behind him, desperate not to lose their only voice in the big hoose in London. Giving the liar his full backing back in May Willie Rennie, Branch Office Manager, said, “As a liberal I believe that people deserve a second chance. I hope fair-minded people would agree that Alistair Carmichael should be given that second chance.”

The hypocrisy of the man is astounding, for Wee Willie has called for the resignation of Kenny MacAskill. He also called for the resignation of Martin Sime, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, because he thought that Sime is too closely affiliated with the SNP. Not many second chances there. But this is what we’ve come to expect from the Liberal Democrats as whole. Here’s Christine Jardine, prospective parliamentary candidate for East Aberdeenshire:

Justine riven with blame

Justine riven with blame

Now those are honourable sentiments, however her words don’t really match that sentiment:

Justine Blames the SNP 1

Justine Blames the SNP 1

Oh, and this lot too:

Justine goes to town on SNPbad

Justine goes to town on SNPbad

It would seem that Tim Farron was talking about his own party.

But, getting back to that liar. Let’s not forget what Sir Malcolm Bruce, or Lord Bruce of the Gowk Stane to give his new moniker, said about Carmichael, “If you are suggesting every MP who has never quite told the truth or even told a brazen lie, including cabinet ministers, including prime ministers, we would clear out the House of Commons very fast, I would suggest,” So Carmichaeling is fine for the Lib Dems. It would seem that they’re all at it.

How about the biggest Lib Dem Carmichael of recent times:

Nick Clegg's tuition fee Carmichael

Nick Clegg’s tuition fee Carmichael

But for me the biggest loser here is democracy, for this judgment shows the depths of  contempt that the people of this country are held in by the very people who are elected to represent us. That a cabinet minister can authorise a libellous leak to smear a political opponent then lie about it to the Cabinet Office inquiry, lie about it to the press and lie about it to the voters during a general election campaign and get away with it is a disgrace. This sorry episode is a damning indictment of the state of politics at Westminster.

Carmichael is a liar, he has no honour and neither does the party which holds him in such high regard. The elections for the Scottish Parliament are a few months away, I’ll bet the people will not easily forget the hypocrisy and Carmichaels of the Liberal Democrats. They are a stain on the people of this land and they need to be wiped away.

Warmongering Tories

Bombs away

So it begins, the UK is now bombing Syria after all the Tories cheered the vote in favour of another illegal misadventure in the Middle East last night. We can expect to have full war rhetoric from the MSM from now until eternity, for there is no end for this war and our Dear Leader has already stated that this war would take “some time“, a nice open ended statement there. We are seeing a continuation of the perpetual war.

This is a war devoid of strategy or a clear objective, we were told that the target was Daesh but just 2 years ago the target was Assad. So which one is it, or is it both? No doubt we will be treated to some carefully vetted footage of bombs exploding, the camera position being 20000ft up. These will show the bomb hitting a nice safe target, with no civilian casualties in view. The mission will be called “successful”. We will not see the collateral damage, we will not see the bombs that go astray, as some bombs inevitably do.

The RAF were launching the first airstrikes against Syrian targets within 57 minutes of the vote, they “successfully” blew up some oil wells which were “successfully” destroyed just over a month ago. Either the first “bombing” wasn’t that successful or Daesh is very good at repairing the damage. Mind you it could be that the first mission did not take place at all, or was it the second one, who’s to know? But the RAF were “successful” which means that there will be huge oil fires burning in Syria and an environmental catastrophe as well. Those are the hallmarks of success in this perpetual war. At least there were no civilian casualties, or so we’re told.

The people of Syria must be thanking their lucky stars that there are even more heavily armed warplanes in their skies tonight keeping them safe. But it is the good old Tories who they really have to thank for all the extra thousands of pounds of high explosive flying overhead. The blue tories, the red tories and the yellow tories trooped off down the “non terrorist sympathiser” lobby and the share price of arms firms soared.

97% of Scotland’s MPs voted against bombing Syria, yet we find ourselves in yet another illegal foreign war. Only two Scottish MPs voted to send in the bombers: Viceroy David Mundell (blue Tory) and former Viceroy (and liar) Alistair Carmichael (yellow Tory). Let us remember these two when the terrorists turn up in our cities seeking revenge. We shall not forget that it was them who brought death and destruction to the people of Syria, and probably us too.

Warmongering Tories

Warmongering Tories

Given previous engagements by Russia and France in Syria, it seems likely that we will see a terrorist attack against the UK within 2 months. This will be used to justify the bombing of Syria. We will be told, “These are the exactly the type of attacks which we are bombing Syria to prevent.” The irony will be astounding. The attackers will be UK citizens. Apparently there have been 7 terrorist conspiracies uncovered in the past 6 months, so we have got to ask: how many arrests were made? How many were convicted? What were they convicted of? What were their sentences?

Then again the story could be untrue, couldn’t it? We are entering a period where the MSM will parrot the government in all things, they will not question the government’s story in any way. Everything that you see and hear about Daesh and the war in Syria should be taken with a very large pinch of salt, for it will most likely be pure propaganda.

I hate salt.

Hellfire Missile

Hi ho! Hi ho! It’s off to war we go.

Our beloved leader, Chairman Cameron, was making the case for bombing Daesh (IS) in Syria today. He tried to persuade parliament that bombing Syria was a good idea 2 years ago, but that time we would have been bombing Syrian government forces. The ones that IS were fighting. So we would have been allies then. Hmm. This time , however, the bogeyman is Daesh so the Syrian government will be our allies. Double hmm.

Comrade Cameron told the house of commons that bombing Daesh “would make us safer.” That’s an interesting assertion that should be challenged. You see France decided that it would be a good idea to start bombing Daesh in Syria and the bombing campaign started on 27th September 2015. Daesh affiliated terrorists killed 130 and injured 368 on 13th November 2015. Russia started bombing Daesh in Syria on 30th September 2015, Daesh affiliated terrorists blew up a Russian passenger jet, killing all 224 persons on board, on 31st October 2015. So the evidence doesn’t really stack up on our Dear Leader’s assertions.

The main problem with bombing Syria is that it is a sovereign state, the only legal way to bomb it is with the agreement of the Syrian government. Something which the UK does not have. But who cares about legality? Tony Blair didn’t and he got away with it, so why should David Cameron? The Syrian government has already asked someone to aid in their fight, Russia. It is conceivable that the Russians would start to enforce the sovereignty of Syria, after all they have the means to do so and the shooting down of a Russian plane by Turkey also gives them a motive. There is a very real danger of the Syrian civil war spiralling into a full blown regional conflict, do we really want to get sucked into that?

The simple fact is that bombing of Syria will not defeat Daesh, if this was not the case then the combined might of Russia, USA, Saudi Arabia and others would have bombed them into oblivion by now. After years of civil war there is nothing left to bomb in Syria. Daesh have adapted to the threat from the skies and they still take territory. The only way to militarily defeat Daesh is to fight them on the ground.

Our Dear Leader has the solution though. He has managed to magic 70000 “moderate” jihadists from the harsh desert sands. They will be trained and armed by British military personnel and then set loose upon the hapless Daesh. But there’s a couple of problems with this. We have already trained and armed the Iraqi army who turned tail at the sight of the black flags and left all of their wonderful western equipment for Daesh to use as it pleased. The USA has already tried this and it was a disaster with most of the trainees selling their equipment to Daesh and others, some of them even went on to fight for Daesh. Another problem is that Russia is bombing the groups which have magically increased in size, does that mean that Russia will be bombing our troops? Then there is the small matter of the EU arms embargo, supplying arms to Syria is illegal, so how is that going to work?

Assuming that we do go bombing in Syria we can rest assured that the weapons that will be used are “precision” weapons. They will dangle under the shiny new drones which are to be bought with the money that the OBR conjured out of thin air in the Autumn Statement. The weapons of choice will be the GBU-12, a 500lb guided bomb, and the AGM 114 Hellfire missile. The GBU 12 has a “casualty radius” of between 200 – 300 ft. 50% of the people caught in this area will perish. The Hellfire missile is a modified anti-tank weapon which is fitted with a fragmentation sleeve around the warhead, it has a “wounding radius” of 65 feet and a “kill radius” of 50 ft. Again, if one goes off near you, it’s going to hurt. There will be innocent victims caught up in these bombs, but they will be called “militants” or “combatants” in order to hide the war crime. Anyone who wants to find out more about the use of drones have a look here.

My final point about the upcoming misadventure into another Middle Eastern war is this, how do we know if we’ve won? Do we have to kill all of Daesh or is it just a set ratio? Is it 90%, would that be a victory? How can we tell when we have reached the desired ratio, will we send Daesh some census papers? How much magic money will be committed to the reconstruction of Syria, because if you blow it up you have to fix it, that is laid down in the Geneva Convention. How long will that take? Did Comrade Cameron mention this or was it overlooked in all the excitement of talking about war?

The whole proposal is a disaster waiting to happen. No one knows what the objective is, Daesh or Assad? No one knows how to win. No one knows how to tell if we’ve won. The risks of sparking a wider conflict are huge and increasing by the day. This is one fight which we should leave the hell alone.

One last word for those who advocate putting “boots on the ground”, get yourself down to the Army careers office. I’m sure they will have some boots and rifle for you to take with you to the sandpit. I wish you luck, you’ll need it.

 

Fluffy

I must be unreasonable

So the Scotland Bill has passed through the house of commons, a bit like a turd is passed through the human body, and the Smith Agreement has been delivered in full. According to Fluffy, the Viceroy and Governor General of Scotland, “These improvements will strengthen the Scotland Bill and put beyond any reasonable doubt for any reasonable person that the Government is delivering the Smith Agreement exactly as we promised we would.”

Notice how he uses the word “reasonable” twice in that sentence. The first instance is “beyond reasonable doubt”, this term used as the standard of evidence required to validate a criminal conviction. We’ll take a look at that one in a moment. The second use is “for any reasonable person”, again this is a legal term applied in common law. By using it here Fluffy is suggesting that if you disagree with him then you are clearly unreasonable. I must be unreasonable then, for the evidence that I will present here clearly shows, beyond reasonable doubt, that the Smith Agreement is not delivered in full by the current Scotland Bill 2015-16. The Vow has not been delivered either, despite it’s promises being as woolly as Fluffy’s hair.

The only concrete promise in The Vow is, “The Scottish Parliament is permanent.” This was agreed by the Smith Commission, the agreement states, “UK legislation will state that the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are permanent institutions.”

So what does the Scotland Bill say about the permanence of the Scottish Parliament? “The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government are a permanent part of the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements.” So it would appear that the Scotland Bill does indeed make the Scottish Parliament permanent.

But what’s this? Two paragraphs down the bill states, “In view of that commitment it is declared that the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government are not to be abolished except on the basis of a decision of the people of Scotland voting in a referendum.” In other words, the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government CAN be abolished. That doesn’t sound very permanent to me. But then I must be unreasonable. Or maybe I am reasonable and Fluffy is lying.

Let’s take a look at some of the other parts of the Smith Agreement. There’s the part which deals with the Crown Estate which states, “Responsibility for the management of the Crown Estate’s economic assets in Scotland, and the revenue generated from these assets, will be transferred to the Scottish Parliament. This will include the Crown Estate’s seabed, urban assets, rural estates, mineral and fishing rights, and the Scottish foreshore for which
it is responsible.” The Scotland Bill states, “The Treasury may make a scheme transferring on the transfer date all the existing Scottish functions of the Crown Estate Commissioners
(“the Commissioners”) to the Scottish Ministers or a person nominated by the Scottish Ministers (“the transferee”).”

So the Treasury “may” make a scheme, although it doesn’t have to if Gideon doesn’t want to. What if he’s blown all the dough on hookers and coke and he’s feeling a bit skint. He may decide that he won’t make that scheme after all. But let’s assume that he’s feeling all warm and fuzzy and makes the scheme after all, what would it contain? Well it would contain all of the Crown Estate wouldn’t it?

Errr no, You see, two paragraphs down there’s this, “Where immediately before the transfer date part of the Crown Estate consists of property, rights or interests held by a limited partnership registered under the Limited Partnerships Act 1907, subsection (2)(a) excludes—
(a) the property, rights or interests, and
(b) any property, rights or interests in, or in a member of, a partner in the limited partnership.”

So the whole of the Crown Estate in Scotland is not being devolved, as was agreed by the Smith Commission. So it would be reasonable to say that the whole of the Smith Agreement is not being delivered by the shiny new Scotland Bill.

Here’s another part of the Smith Agreement, “The Scottish Parliament will have the power to prevent the proliferation of Payday Loan shops.” What do we find in the Scotland Bill? Well nothing as it happens. Now why could that be I wonder? It would be because the Tories are largely funded by people associated with legal loan shark companies would it? Surely that’s what any reasonable person would think, isn’t it? But it’s just another part of the Smith Agreement which is not featured in the Scotland Bill.

As for the rest of the Scotland Bill, it’s beyond me. The language is couched in the most tortuous legalese that lawyers will be cashing in for years. But It would be reasonable to say that the it’s beyond reasonable doubt that the entire Smith Agreement has not been delivered by the Scotland Bill 2015-16 as it currently stands. Does that sound reasonable to you?

What about the veto which wasn’t a veto? You know the one where the Scottish Government has to consult the Secretary of State and get his agreement before they can implement anything. Well there’s this in the Bill, “If—
(a) the Scottish Ministers make regulations to which this section applies,
and
(b) the Secretary of State considers that it is not practicable to implement a change made by the regulations by the time that change is to start to have effect, (our emphasis)
the Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument amend
the regulations so that the change is to start to have effect from a time later than
the time originally set.

So Fluffy could say, “Yer nae deing that until 2025!” That sounds like a veto to me, or am I just being unreasonable?

A Princess

Some news you may have missed

The press is busy promoting our beloved Prime Minister’s attempts to deflect attention from his complete lack of ideas over negotiations about the UK’s membership of the EU (apparently he will be publishing his “list of demands” next month which is a bit like his answer to the leader of HM Opposition at PMQ’s which in a nutshell was “we have no idea so you will have to wait and see what Gideon comes up with”).

But if you can be bothered to read the article there’s an interesting paragraph right down at the bottom where you will see that Michael Froman, a US Trade Representative, stated that, “We have no FTA with the UK so they would be subject to the same tariffs – and other trade-related measures – as China, or Brazil or India” if the UK left the EU. Now I may be a little bit cynical here but surely that should be a headline item? Would it have been a headline if it were directed at Scotland outside the UK? I’m sure that it would have made the front page of every newspaper and it would have been the headline on every TV and radio news show. But I’m just a blogger, I should leave these things to the people who know. Mind you, RT saw it as a big enough story to headline it which probably means that it’s propaganda or something.

In some other news, the majority of the European Parliament voted to drop all charges against the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. It was a slim majority mind you (285 for and 281 against) but that’s democracy for you. The MEP’s urged member states to, “drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender,” in a press release.

The press release goes on to say, “Parliament is concerned about “recent laws in some member states that extend surveillance capabilities of intelligence bodies”, including in France, the UK and the Netherlands. It is also worried by revelations of mass surveillance of telecommunications and internet traffic inside the EU by the German foreign intelligence agency BND in cooperation with the US National Security Agency (NSA).” So it would appear that the EU is not too bad an outfit after all. Oddly there is not much coverage of this in our media, but oh, look there’s a princess. There’s absolutely no mention of this story on our beloved, unbiased, BBC. Maybe someone missed it?

A Princess

A Princess

And finally, 343 UK university professors say they will “halt all cooperation with Israeli schools in an effort to draw attention to Israel’s violations of international law.” The action is part of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign which aims to” boycott Israel as part of  non-violent resistance to defend the Palestinian cause.” Surely such a move would be bound to feature in the organs of the UK state? Well they don’t appear on the BBC, although BDS appeared back in July. Look there’s Harry! Is that a potential princess he’s with? Phwoar.

 

 

Scotland 2nd class

EVEL Tories

The tories took a sledge-hammer to the fragile union of nations which we laughingly call the United Kingdom tonight. 312 of them trotted down the lobbies from the subsidised bars of the Palace of Westminster and drove a massive wedge between England and the rest of the UK. For now English MPs are more equal than any other MP.

They have turned the elected MPs of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland into second class statespersons in the mother of all parliaments. They have politicised the neutrality of the Speaker of the House of Commons by making him decide whether a Bill, or parts of a bill, should be deemed as English only. But they  have not bothered to put any procedures in place to aid the decision-making process.

One tory MP, Heather Wheeler, even suggested that the SNP MPs “need to be on their planes back,” to Scotland.  Which just goes to show the contempt that the tories hold for Scotland and our elected representatives.

Heather Wheeler MP

Heather Wheeler MP

So now all of Scotland’s MPs are second class and a massive crack has appeared in the union. All because the tories don’t want to set up an English parliament. But why should they? For they believe that Westminster is their parliament.

Scotland 2nd class

Scotland 2nd class

There will be huge repercussions from this decision. The UK is crumbling before our very eyes and the tories laugh. Except for Fluffy of course, because he’s second class too.

More job opportunities - Better Together

Tata Scottish steel

As expected, Tata Steel announced that it would be mothballing the 2 remaining steel plate mills in Scotland with the sad loss of 270 jobs. Let’s not forget the even bigger blow to Scunthorpe which is set to lose 900 jobs. These job losses bring the total in the UK to around 4500, or 15%, this year and it looks likely that more will go too. This announcement brings the Scottish steel industry to an end.

The reasons cited by Tata Steel for the closures are the strength of the Pound, the cost of energy and the depressed cost of steel caused by China dumping their subsidised steel onto the global market. Let’s take a look at each one of these factors individually.

Strength of the Pound Sterling

The Pound has been appreciating in strength for some time now and it seems to be set to continue. But the pound is not appreciating against the USD, it is mainly appreciating against Asian currencies. The main reason for this increase in the strength of the Pound is:

“UK economic data continues to improve, particularly with respect to consumption, wage growth and core inflation, while foreign inflows remains supportive,” say Standard Chartered. Against this backdrop, it is believed that the BoE is likely to hike interest rates early next year, ahead of what markets currently expect.”

So the UK economy is growing. That’s a good thing, right?

UK GDP growth

UK GDP growth

GINI Inequality index UK

GINI Inequality index UK

Well it would be if the benefits of this growth were shared equally, but as the second chart shows that is not the case. For in the UK it is the rich who benefit the most from growth, the rest of us don’t get a look in.

Income growth at the top http://topincomes.g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/#Database:

Income growth at the top http://topincomes.g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/#Database

Of course a strong Pound decreases the costs of imports, which makes us consume more, and gives our wonderful Chancellor of the Exchequer a chance to crow about his achievements. But the reality is that our current account deficit is the worst it’s ever been.

UK current account defecit

UK current account deficit

So that means that inflation is bound to rise. All that free money sloshing around the world due to quantitative easing has to find a home somewhere, and the scent of higher interest rates here in the UK is sucking it in. In short, the prevailing conditions are not going to change any time soon so we can expect more of our manufacturing base to suffer.

Cost of energy

As we already know, Scotland pays the highest prices for electricity in the UK. In fact the further you are away from London and the SE England, the more you will pay. This is because of the transmission rates which are set by the monopoly of National Grid. So it’s no surprise that the steel mills in the North of England and Scotland pay through the nose for electricity. Something which OFGEM has deemed acceptable for years.

Cheap steel from China

Weak demand and over production has left China with a glut of steel. Although the Chinese government has ordered various steel mills to close they continue to operate, often at a loss. But this keeps the jobs in China, for once a steel mill closes it is very difficult to restart it. Which means that the worlds biggest steel producer keeps pumping the stuff out. Ukraine and Russia are also dumping steel onto the market for the same reasons. So three of the top 4 steel producing nations are preserving their production capacity and destroying the rest of the world’s capacity. But that’s OK isn’t it? We can buy steel cheap and so keep costs down?

Steel is a commodity which is strategic by its very nature because it is required if you want to make things like tanks, guns and ships. If a country can lay its hands on the stuff easily it can therefore defend itself easily. But what if the UK has a bit of a tiff with the major steel producing nations, say a small spat over something like Syria? Then they could just say, “No steel for you.” Then where would we be?

Other countries within the EU manage to preserve their steel industries, but here in the UK they are to be sacrificed on the neoliberal altar of the market. Without any strategic vision on the part of our government.

As we would expect our politicians, elected and wannabe, are making hay from these job losses and steel plant closures:

Kezia Dugdale steel tweet

Labour’s Kezia Dugdale steel tweet

Justine steel tweets

Lib Dem’s Justine steel tweets

Unusually, there has been no response from the Conservative and Unionist Party. I wonder why? But it just goes to show that the Unionist parties will use anything as a cosh to try to bash the SNP. Even when the fault lies squarely at the door of No.11 Downing Street.

But I thought that we were Better Together?

More job opportunities - Better Together

More job opportunities – Better Together

The jobs are in China and the powers are in Westminster.

 

 

Media Tyrant

The tyranny of media

Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there has been a concerted media campaign in almost all of the media against Michelle Thomson MP (and by association the SNP). Almost every media outlet has carried negative stories about her alleged business dealings. The story has run in the newspapers, the radio and TV and it has been getting ever more lurid by the day (almost as if the story has run out of steam but someone wants to keep it going.)

It is an extension of the SNP bad rhetoric that the media spouts on a daily basis, but this time they are performing a giant, combined character assassination against an individual MP. We saw the same tactics used against Jeremy Corbyn recently as well. I do not intend to indulge in conjecture about the erstwhile SNP MP’s business dealings. What is more interesting to me is the attack itself. So lets take a look at it in a bit more detail.

The first, and most obvious, point about the attack is the concerted nature of it. Almost every newspaper is at it, it’s all over TV and radio news too. All of the media outlets are acting in unison, they have decided among themselves (or been directed) to relentlessly pursue Michelle Thomson and the SNP over this story. Why would they do this?

The UK has one of the most concentrated patterns of media ownership outside of China, if we take a look at who owns what we see that just 6 entities own almost all of it (excepting the BBC). Of these 6 none support the SNP, the BBC is certainly no SNP supporter either since it sees itself as the protector of the UK and the SNP as a threat. So it would appear that there is collusion over this story. It is the type of attack which we saw during the independence referendum as part of Project Fear. It also replicates the tactics used against Jeremy Corbyn. It’s hardly surprising that we see our media morph into tyrants when they are only governed by a Code with a regulator which lost its falsers years ago.

Perhaps there is a pattern forming? If you oppose the current neo-liberal ideology then you will probably be attacked. If you are perceived as a threat to that ideology then you can expect to feel the full force of the UK media monster. The media are behaving as a tyrant, ruthlessly attacking anyone who it perceives as a threat to itself or the status quo. There is no doubt that the SNP pose just such a threat. They threaten the very existence of the status quo. They threaten the comfy, pampered existence of the people and companies at the very top of the UK.

We also need to look at who this message is intended for. It’s certainly not for me, I switched off to the UK media a long time ago when I realised that most of their output was propaganda or meaningless celebrity padding. So it must be for someone else, probably soft SNP voters if such a person exists. But I think the whole campaign will backfire. We got both barrels during the independence referendum and those scars have healed thicker than the injured skin from which they arose. This will probably harden our resolve.

The UK media, with the exception of the BBC, all operate on the same business model. They rely on advertising to pay the bills so that they can sell their offerings at reduced rates. They only attract advertisers by having decent circulation figures, if those figures go down then so does the advertising revenue. So the best way to counter the media tyrant is to attack it at it’s very roots. Pay it no attention and give it no money.

The companies which advertise in the media are very proud of their reputations, if they think that their reputations will suffer due to their association with a particular media outlet then they will run to the hills and take their money with them. If only there was a way to show how tyrannical our media has become?