Tag Archives: Scottish

Better Together?

Willie’s gone Wonka

The opinion polls make dire reading for the Lib Dems these days, with a projected 5% of the vote for the Scottish Parliamentary elections next year. So Wee Willie Rennie has jumped on the UK Labour Party’s Scottish Branch Manager’s wheeze to try to entice Yes voters back into the fold by allowing their MSPs to speak for Independence in the event of another independence referendum. Notice that the Umpa Lumpa’s will only be allowed to campaign for a Yes vote, not necessarily vote Yes.

They must think we’re daft. Who is going to trust these people? Remember that Wee Willie backs the self-confessed liar Alistair Carmichael. One of the newly ennobled Lib Dem peers, Malcolm Bruce, famously said, “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, [should be removed] we would clear out the House of Commons very fast, I would suggest.”  Why would anybody vote for the Liar Democrats? As for Kezia Dugdale, she lies on a daily basis. She doesn’t even blush these days. I wonder if the Conservative and Unionist party will come out with a similar ploy?

But what of it? Well it shows that the writing is on the wall for the Unionist parties. People just don’t trust them anymore. No amount of grand standing, no amount of positive media coverage is going to change people’s point of view. That’s why we are hearing them tell us that they may kind of support some idea of independence if the need arises in the future. I haven’t laughed this much since I heard of David Hameron’s porcine fellatio.

However, what it does show us is that the Scottish constitutional question is still very much alive. They are starting to realise that, if they want to survive another election, they will have to move with the current. That current is moving inexorably towards independence now. There is still much work to be done, but surely we have earned a brief moment to smile.

Gordon Constituency Electoral Calculus

A letter from Justine

Well I got a nice wee surprise when I got in from work, a lovely letter from the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for the constituency of Gordon; Christine Jardine, or Justine to her boss.

I won’t bother talking about the first part of the letter, it was all SNP bashing anyway. What is it with these unionist parties? Why can’t they give us a positive vision of the UK? It all seems to be SNP BAD. Is that really the message that the Liberal Democrats want to send to the electorate?

Justine's Letter

Justine’s Letter

Anyway enough of the SNP doom porn, let’s take a look at the interesting bit at the bottom of the letter. Let’s deal with the PS first, pedants among you will probably say that there is a full stop missing after the “P” but I’m not going there. The message is that there are only 2 candidates running in Gordon. That is a LIE! There are 5 candidates standing so there is more choice than they are letting on. I know, I know. Picky, picky. But it’s important to get the finer points of your message right isn’t it? Otherwise how can people believe the rest of the message?

Then we get some more SNP BAD with the message that they “took their eye off the ball on local services”, but local services are devolved and this is a UK General Election. The local services that are being talked about are run by Aberdeenshire Council for the most part with a part of the constituency being located within Aberdeen City Council area. Just for the record Aberdeenshire Council is run by a coalition of Conservative and…Liberal Democrats! That’s right, Justine is highlighting the failings of her own colleagues. Aberdeen City Council is run by a coalition of Conservative and Labour, the makings of a grand coalition perhaps?

Then we get to the 2 horse race bit, here is what the people at Electoral Calculus think about Gordon Constituency.

Gordon Constituency Electoral Calculus

Gordon Constituency Electoral Calculus

Not exactly a 2 horse race is it? But we’ll let that one slide.

Then we get to the small print, handily resized for ease of reading (it’s for me really, as my auld mither says, “Auld age, it disnae come alone.”) Apologies for the scanner failure.

Justine Letter Small Print

Justine Letter Small Print

We can see that the letter is printed in London, a quick search of Google (other search engines are available) yields lots of local printers which could have been used to print the letter. Justine takes local money and spends it in London. That’s a familiar theme…

Then there is the “Gordon Liberal Democrats”, a quick search of the registered political parties at the Electoral Commission yields no results. They don’t exist. Then there is the biggest lie on the page:

"Scottish" Liberal Democrats Logo

“Scottish” Liberal Democrats Logo

Can you guess what it is yet? That’s right, there is NO SUCH PARTY! They are trying to fool the electorate into believing that the party is local. But it’s a London party, for London people.

It’s a party which enabled the worst ravages of the Tories over the last five years. A party which abandoned its solemn pledge on tuition fees just so that they could cruise around London in ministerial cars. Malcolm Bruce, the previous incumbent (for 31 years) voted with the tories for the increase in tuition fees, voted with the tories for the bedroom tax, voted with the tories for the benefits cap, voted with the tories for increasing VAT, voted with the tories against the top rate of income tax, voted with the tories against the banker’s bonus tax. He was, for all intents and purposes, a tory. Why would anyone vote for that?

Lord Smith of Kelvin

The Smith Commission

The Smith Commission was set up in the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum in an effort to fulfil the promises of the no campaign who had been panicked into making the promises of more power to the Scottish Parliament by the narrowing of the opinion polls. The commission has a very tight timeline to consider which powers should be devolved, courtesy of Gordie Broon’s ‘timetable’. The aim of the commission is to get representatives of all of the main political parties together and somehow get them to agree to a set of proposals by 31st October. Not long to consider the constitutional future of a country you may think, and I would have to agree with you especially since nothing has happened yet except for the naming of (almost) all of the representatives.

The representatives are:


John Swinney and Linda Fabiani


Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman

Scottish Labour

Iain Gray and (probably) Gregg McClymont

Scottish Conservative

Annabel Goldie and Adam Tomkins

Lib Dem

Michael Moore and Tavish Scott

The astute reader will have already spotted a problem with this set up. There are 4 pro independence representatives and 6 unionist representatives. So we have 40% of the participants representing the pro-independence movement and 60% of the participants representing the unionist side. Not exactly representative of the referendum outcome is it? The commission already smacks of bias to me, how about you?

Lord Smith of Kelvin

Lord Smith of Kelvin

Another potential problem is Baron Smith of Kelvin who’s bum creases the red leather cross party benches in the unelected House of Lords when he can be bothered to turn up. He has knelt before the queen twice, once for a plain knighthood and again for a knighthood into the order of the thistle. He’s about as establishment as you get. Robert Haldane Smith, to give him his mortal name, is also the chairman of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) who were fined £1.25 million in 2012 for sharp doorstep selling practices and another £10.5 million in 2013 for “prolonged and extensive” miss-selling. He is also a non executive director of Standard Bank Group (which was fined more than £6 million for breaching money laundering regulations in 2014). So as we can see he has vested interests in the energy sector and financial services. He is attributed with no political party affiliation but he owes his loyalty to the queen who “purred” when she heard the result of the referendum. But lets be kind to him and call him neutral, until we learn otherwise,

The commission’s terms of reference are, “to convene cross-party talks and facilitate an inclusive engagement process across Scotland to produce, by 30 November 2014, Heads of Agreement with recommendations for further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament. This process will be informed by a Command Paper, to be published by 31 October and will result in the publication of draft clauses by 25 January. The recommendations will deliver more financial, welfare and taxation powers, strengthening the Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom.”

The commission is welcoming proposals from everyone, for details of how you can submit your ideas click here.

I, for one, hope that something meaningful comes from this commission. We shall have to wait and see. However it is then up to Westminster to legislate and GIVE us those powers, and with a general election just round the corner, I can’t help but feel that the issue is going to be kicked into the long grass. When it finally resurfaces it will end up being watered down so that we end up with a wee sweetie to sook on.

Some of things that I would like to see are the devolution of income tax, national insurance, corporation tax, energy policy, welfare, pensions, land policy, air passenger duty, fuel duty, alcohol duty and last but not least the constitution because as things stand what Westminster gives they can also take away. Will we get to see any of these things? I doubt it because I don’t trust the Westminster establishment. But I’ll try anyway. Maybe you should have a wee think and come up with your own ideas, don’t forget the deadline of 31st October to get them in.

Post referendum blues

I’ve had a troubling weekend. The referendum result came as a body blow, our dreams had been crushed. On Friday I could hardly function, friends felt the same way and we consoled one another. The feeling was that it was all over. But, as the weekend progressed, those hopeless feelings gradually changed to anger. Then those feelings changed to a determination to not give up. I was reminded of the story of Robert the Bruce, hunkered down in a cave, watching a spider weave its web. He didn’t give up, so why should we?

It is now apparent that “The Vow” was no more than an empty promise. It has become a political football for the Westminster unionist parties. The votes had hardly been counted and the prime minister was standing outside 10 Downing Street moving the goal posts in a move designed to sink the Labour party, and tying the extra powers that were promised to more devolution in the rest of UK. The timetable that was promised by the has been Gordon Brown is now in tatters.

For Labour’s part they object to a resolution to the so called “West Lothian Question” since they have a large proportion of Scottish MPs sitting in the house of commons which could mean that Labour could form a UK government but have a minority when it comes to deciding English matters. These are interesting times and we’ll have to wait to see how things evolve.

One of the most striking aspects of the referendum campaign was the forces of the establishment which were pitched against us. Normally the establishment keeps to the shadows, preferring to pull the strings in the background. But they all came out of the shadows to fight the unionist corner. So now we know who they are. We had the entire mainstream media relentlessly pushing the No case, which they are entitled to do, with the honorable  exceptions of the Sunday Herald and the Shetland News.

We also had large corporations such as BP and Shell, we had supermarkets such as Waitrose and M&S, we had banks such as RBS and Clydesdale, there were many others who piched there tuppence worth into the debate too. These companies don’t even have a vote but they still felt the need to increase the fear factor in pursuit of the unionist cause. They were probably coerced into issuing statements at the behest of the Prime Minister. Readers may wish to research which companies felt the need to act in this manner and consider whether they wish to continue contributing to the fat profits that they make in Scotland. A Facebook page has been set up which will keep the reader informed: https://www.facebook.com/ScotlandsNOcompanies

But it is the BBC which has drawn the most ire, they have behaved in the most despicable way. They threw all pretence at impartiality away and relentlessly plugged the no side’s message. Why should we pay for that? There is now a movement to stop paying for the TV Licence. This can be done legally, but you should be aware of the conditions under which you can still view your televisions and stay within the law. This site does NOT condone illegal activity. Further information on ridding yourself of the TV Licence can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/activeresistancetothetvlicence?fref=ts.

One of the main reasons cited for the referendum result is the so called “grey vote”. It is claimed that they were afraid that their pensions would be cut post independence, it is also claimed that Better Together, among others, phoned pensioners up telling them these lies. Maybe so, but my mother voted No and she received no phone calls.

My mother is a bit of technophobe, she has a mobile phone but can’t use all of it’s functions. She doesn’t have an internet connection so she gets most of her information from the Daily Heil, sorry Daily Mail. I looked at this rag last Friday and I was totally dismayed by the amount of hatred, lies and scaremongering which covered most of the organ. Page after page of anti-independence diatribe. Page after page of demonisation of the SNP and Alex Salmond in particular. If this is what my mother was reading then it’s no wonder that she voted No. So I don’t think that it’s right to blame the pensioners for the result. They just didn’t have access to the information other than the mainstream media. So I have made a vow of my own; I’m going to get my mother connected to the internet and I am going to show her how to use it so that she can start making more informed decisions. At least that’s a practical step that I can take right now while we wait for the dust to settle.