Archive | February, 2018

Crunch time!

28 Feb

Peter A Bell

scotlands_parliament.pngMike Russell notes that the primary duty of the Scottish Parliament and its Members is to serve the people of Scotland and protect their interests. One would hope and expect this to be no more than a statement of the obvious. We would tend to assume that this is a sentiment with which every MSP would concur. It would seem to be a fundamental principle, that those elected to a Parliament owe full allegiance to the people who elect them. In most circumstances, this would simply be taken for granted.

But Scotland’s circumstances are exceptional. The great divide in Scottish politics is such that the allegiances of those on one side of that divide cannot be assumed.

We hear a great deal of talk about ‘divisive’ politics. Much of it is strident and angry. As if division was some horrifying new phenomenon being introduced to our politics by ‘bad’ politicians…

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Doing something memorable

27 Feb

Wee Ginger Dug

So there you are, planning to watch a movie and put your feet up because you’ve taken care of blogging responsibilities for the day, and then the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, the famously unmemorable Ken Wossisname, finally goes and does something for which he’ll be remembered. It’s just a shame that what he’ll be remembered for is being the first Presiding Officer to rule that a bill to be put before Holyrood is not within the remit of the Scottish Parliament, and for being the first Presiding Officer to avoid using the word outwith, which counts as a constitutional crisis all by itself.

The Continuity Bill being placed before Holyrood by the Scottish Government is the Scottish Government’s response to the stalled talks on the Westminster Parliament’s EU Exit Bill between the Scottish and British governments. The bill aims to maintain all the devolved laws currently exercised by…

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Passport out of Pimlico

27 Feb

Wee Ginger Dug

Jeremy Corbyn has announced that he wants the UK to stay in ‘a’ customs union with the EU, which in some indetermined manner is different from ‘the’ customs union. The difference, according to Jezza, is that the UK will not passively accept all the EU’s rules and will continue to make its own trade deals, scenarios which the EU has already said are not viable options. It does sound suspiciously like another version of cake having and eating, but at least it’s got the Tories choking on it. So that’s a result.

It’s not that the Leader of the Opposition has suddenly been converted to a soft Brexit, he remains as much of a hard Brexiteer as he ever was. It’s just that he sees the prospect of defeating the Conservatives in a vote on the issue in the Commons, thanks to a number of Conservative rebels. Labour’s position on…

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England’s Brexit.

27 Feb

Barrhead Boy

Sometimes I just feel so disgusted by some of my fellow countrymen and women that I despair.

We have all watched as this complete clusterf*** that is Brexit unfolds before our eyes and been truly amazed at just how thick our UK Government have proved themselves to be.

The iconic picture of the very first negotiations between our Brexit team “led” by the hapless David Davis and the EU team by Michel Barnier.

The EU all prepared and with notes on everything, Davis sitting with two punkah wallahs from Whitehall and not even a notepad between them.

We have heard Cabinet Ministers including our own Fluffy being interviewed and unable to articulate what the Customs Union or Single Market actually means.


We have had our useless PM describing her vision as ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and several variations on the same theme.

Dr Liam Fox has circumvented the globe eight…

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Scaremongering Scotland: The Shadow of Grenfell

27 Feb

Random Public Journal

By Jason Michael

It is utterly reprehensible of the BBC to use the awful events at Grenfell last year as a stick with which to beat the Scottish government; all the more so because the British government was to blame.

There’s a four day old report on the BBC website that’s refusing to go away. On the 22 February the BBC published a video report covering the cost of recladding a private apartment complex at Glasgow Harbour found to have “similar” cladding to that believed to have accelerated the spread of the fire on Grenfell Tower in June last year. As a result of that tragedy building inspections were carried out on local authority high rises throughout the United Kingdom, finding that of the 173 structures tested in England and Wales 165 were clad with the hazardous material.

Thanks to more stringent fire safety regulations in Scotland no local…

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Independence is not a “Left Alternative”

27 Feb

Random Public Journal

By Jason Michael

Scottish independence is about Scottish independence. When we allow it to be attached to other political ideologies we alienate potential independentistas, and run the risk of losing another referendum. Independence is for all of us.

There was a while in the Yes movement when the term “left” or “radical alternative” was almost synonymous with at least the public face of the campaign for independence. Those voices advocating such political novelties as “progressive politics” and “new leftism,” thanks to the amplifying effect of social media, gave the impression of being at once the heart and the advance guard of the entire movement, but nothing could have been further from the truth. What we have discovered in the pregnant pause between the last independence referendum and the next is that the backbone of the independence movement is a centrist to left-of-centre Scottish working class, not at all always…

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Here we go again!

26 Feb

Peter A Bell

moneyThe very first thing that George Kerevan and others must learn is to distinguish between the movement and the campaign. The things that work for a political movement are not necessarily the things that work for a political campaign. They are very different things.

Diversity can be a very good thing for a political movement. But, in a political campaign, diversity can all too readily become division. In a political campaign, solidarity is more important than diversity.

A movement may benefit greatly from openness to all manner of ideas. A campaign must be totally focused on its objective.

The absence of constraints may enable a political movement to grow and develop. A campaign requires discipline.

The movement is the marching. The campaign is the battle.

That is the starting point. Without a firm grasp of the essential difference between the movement and the campaign as a foundation, any thinking on…

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The blame game

26 Feb

“The fact is that if the Conservatives are prepared to risk the Irish peace agreement in order to slay the mythical monsters which inhabit the dreams of English nationalism, they’re sure as hell not going to hesitate to trample all over the Scottish and Welsh devolution settlements. Brexit has exposed the reality of the so-called Union. It’s nothing more than a fig leaf covering a reactionary and backward looking Little England nationalism which will blame the Scots and the Irish for its own incoherence. English nationalism can have its hard Brexit, or it can have the Irish peace process and the Union. The Conservatives are opting for hard Brexit, and in doing so they are killing off the Union they claim to love. They’ve only got themselves to blame.”

Wee Ginger Dug

Brexit’s going pear-shaped. It’s aw gaun wrang, but it’s not because the British government possesses the negotiating skills of a three year old in the middle of a temper tantrum. Oh no. It’s not because Brexiteers have decided that the best way to deal with the issue of the Irish border is to treat it like a suspicious rash and ignore it in the hope that it will go away. It’s certainly not because Theresa May is trying to achieve an outcome which only exists in a parallel universe where David Davis strides the world stage like a colossus and the EU falls over itself to offer Britain everything it wants without any consequences. That’s the universe where you still have your cake long after it’s passed through of your digestive tract and out the other end to grace the contents of a Conservative party political broadcast. It’s not even…

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Murders and serious assaults continue downward trend in Scotland to below that of Sweden.

25 Feb

Talking-up Scotland


I’ve already reported on this trend, to end March 2017, at:

Scotland’s homicide rate falls by 47%, is lower than the rate for England and Wales and has fallen faster than many other countries in the ten years of SNP government

Now Police Scotland have released figures for the period between 1 April and 31 December 2017 which show further reductions. Murder is down from 47 to 40 (15%) and serious violence is down from 3 069 to 2 992 9 (2.5%) in the same period.

Reported sexual crimes rose by 12%. However, Police Scotland welcomed this trend as evidence of greater confidence in coming forward.

You’ll see the Scotsman chose to come at these statistics from a different, gloomier, perspective, in the url below.

If we project the 40 murders in quarters 1 to 3 to the end of the year 2017/2018 we get 53.33 This gives Scotland (pop…

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Hard questions for No voters

25 Feb

Peter A Bell


To the very limited extent that the British political elite can be said to have a ‘strategy’ in relation to Brexit this can be summed up as follows:

  • Muddle along with one eye on Nigel Farage and the other on the right-wing British media.
  • Whatever the British media respond to positively, pretend it’s what you planned all along.
  • Whatever the British media respond to negatively, blame it on the EU and/or the SNP.

Either bold and powerful Britannia is using her might to mould the future according to her iron will; or plucky little Britannia is being beaten down by foreign bullies and undermined by the treachery of her servants. The one certainty in the whole sorry farce of Brexit is that none of those perpetrating this act of political and economic vandalism will be in any way responsible for the damage caused. What cannot be claimed as their glorious…

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