Scotland’s Central Bank

Like Grousebeater, I too am not an expert economist, but, as he has done, I can look at examples from other countries of how easy it is to set up a Central Bank. The UK government tell us that it will be extremely difficult and that we will have no assets. Not only are both of these statements wrong, but given the UK government’s history of lying about everything connected to Scotland, why would any Scot even think of believing them. Read and enjoy the myths being trashed. Perhaps this should be put on a leaflet.

Grouse Beater

If there is one thing we can bank on – pun intended – in this self-inflicted struggle to regain our democratic freedoms, being the butt of propaganda and jokes from soldiers of the British state is a certainty. When all else fails, telling us we are too poor to survive as a normal nation, is the colonial’s evergreen taunt. They succeed so well, our own folk repeat it as Gospel: our good neighbour saves us from perpetual penury. This myth has been sold to us for over 300 years. 

Not an exponent of economic intricacy, I am forced to listen to economists who are not members of far-right colonials clubs. I can think of the fraudulent ‘Scotland in Union’, or the academically woozy, racist ‘This Island’, or a flaky obscure think tank nothing more than a brass plate on a London door, a pin-striped suit paid by the Koch…

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I’m frustrated!!

I don’t know about anyone else, but the last few weeks have really scunnered me for various, mainly political reasons, so I thought that if I get them off my chest, I’ll feel better. Will it work? We’ll see.

Pete Wishart, the SNP’s longest serving Westminster MP is a great believer that independence will come if we do nothing. He has repeatedly said that all we have to do is sit on our bums (ok, I’m paraphrasing) and allow Scottish voters to see how incompetent the Westminster Government really is. When that happens, people will become desperate for independence. It will just happen. A majority for independence is assured. What he hasn’t told us is the mechanism for converting this anticipated huge level of support for independence into actual independence if the Scottish Government persists with the S30 approach and the English Government continues to say “no”. I recently asked him if he believed the Westminster government’s internal market bill (see below) would improve the chances of gaining independence. I don’t understand how any right-thinking person could believe it can do anything other than damage (perhaps even kill?) our chances, but Pete Wizard (oops) said yes, this bill would help independence. I suspect that had I asked if a UK government policy of killing all Scots first borns to feed starving Londoners post Brexit would help independence, he would have said yes to that as well.

It seems that the SNP have a virus other than Covid-19 to worry about. However, unlike Covid-19, this is a virus that elected and executive members of the party seem keen to catch. The virus instils in sufferers a belief that human biology is an optional extra; that gender should replace sex as a categorisation of individuals; that there are (by some counts) over a hundred genders; that men can become women by the simple expedient of saying I am a woman and putting on a dress; and various other notions too silly to include here. Names such as Mhairi Black, John Nicolson, Fiona Robertson, Alyn Smith and Rhiannon Spear come to mind, though there are many others, including several who believe adult sex with children (or child rape, as it is more correctly called) should be legalised.

The announcement of the UK internal market bill took no one by surprise, except possibly for the scale of change it imposes on the devolved governments. Everyone of an independence inclination should have been pretty worried even before we got the details, but when we found out what the Tories were planning, it’s hard to imagine how it could have been worse. When the bill becomes law, it allows an unelected committee of Tory appointees to recommend striking down any Scottish legislation if they believe (and they will believe) it affects the so-called UK internal market. It also allows the UK government to take as much of the Scottish government’s budget as it likes to directly fund organisations and projects it approves of. How much might that be? 20% in the first year? 40% in the second? How long would it take before Holyrood was left almost nothing, unable to do anything useful, providing Westminster with the perfect excuse to shut it down completely? Boris Johnson has already been quoted as saying that Scottish Government policies are too left wing, such as their overspending on Welfare (or Social Security benefits, as they should more correctly be known) and we know the Tories have been desperate to get rid of devolution ever since it began, so they’ll take any chance they get. Several senior Scottish Government and SNP figures have spoken out against the bill, but, up till now, no action has been taken, or even proposed, to limit the impact of the legislation. So, like Brexit, despite all the criticism, despite all the ‘we’ll make sure this will never happen’ statements, here we are, out of the EU and days away from Westminster passing a law to render Holyrood powerless. But all that apparently deserves no more than a few strong words? My flabber has never been so gasted.

Pretty much the last straw was the leak of texts seemingly written by Peter Murrell, the SNP’s Chief Executive Officer (the boss), to Sue Ruddick, the SNP’s Chief Operating Officer (a junior boss) suggesting they need to come up with other ways to increase the pressure on Alex Salmond, who was already under investigation for the dubious sexual harassment charges being brought by the alphabet women, charges which were later found to be groundless. These messages were written on the same WhatsApp group set up to allow the alphabet women to refine their allegations. There had been suspicions of conspiracy for some time, involving senior SNP figures and Scottish civil servants, with more than a little help from the COPFS and the police, but despite the COPFS’s efforts to bury them, the leak of the messages appeared to confirm the existence of a plot and the involvement of at least Peter Murrell and Sue Ruddick, as well as the alphabet women. Very disappointing for those of us, including myself, who believed the SNP to be a more open and honest party than the English based parties who form the bulk of the opposition in Holyrood. As I write this, more than ten days after the leak of Peter Murrell’s messages, there has been no explanation offered by the SNP. Do the SNP intend to use the Tory method of simply ignoring any criticism until the media moves on to the next scandal and everybody just forgets? It works for the Tories, but I’m not sure if it will work just as well for the SNP, though that £3m bribe the party gave the Scottish(?) press might help to smooth things over.

Finally, and more personally, there is the Covid-19 pandemic. Just when it seemed that things were getting a bit more normal, that there was a chance that I would be able to speak to my grandchildren from a distance of less than 2 metres without wearing a mask, perhaps even give them a hug, even the older ones who are not really into hugging, not grandparents anyway, the numbers started to go in the wrong direction. We had always been threatened with a resurgence of the virus in the winter, but I can’t help thinking that the media have made a contribution to the increase by publicising the English rules alongside the Scottish ones, leading to confusion in people’s minds; that opposition politicians have made a contribution to the increase by constantly undermining the Scottish Government’s message and demanding that they do exactly the same as English government policy; and that some of the public have made a contribution by either wilfully or carelessly or because of the confusion mentioned above ignored the rules. Surely the most ludicrous example of blatantly ignoring the rules is that a number of unionists living in Scotland who have chosen to download the English track and trace app, which won’t work in Scotland (or anywhere else, it seems) because they can’t bring themselves to accept anything produced by the Scottish Government, even if it might save their lives.

So, has it worked I hear you say? Do I feel better for getting all this off my chest and down on paper? Unfortunately, I have to report that it hasn’t worked. Perhaps I’ll have better luck with the next one.

FACING THE TRUTH

What follows is a blog by Iain Lawson, a long time senior member of the SNP, though no longer, for reasons not within his control. A passionate independence supporter, he still has considerable knowledge of all things SNP. If you want to see more blogs from Iain, you can find him at https://yoursforscotlandcom.wordpress.com

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DON’T BURY YOUR HEAD OR HIDE AWAY.

Here are some facts

  1. Alex Salmond was falsely accused with multiple charges being made against him.
  2. Long before any trial the “charges” were maliciously leaked to a newspaper.
  3. This led to a media frenzy that championed the multi charges from so many different women as evidence there was no hope of acquittal.
  4. Throughout the trial media reports were extremely hostile largely reporting the prosecution evidence while ignoring the defence evidence that effectively destroyed the prosecution case.
  5. During the trial Mr Salmond’s defence team tried to lodge a number of WhatsApp messages that they argued proved a clearly planned conspiracy against him. The judge did not permit them to be lodged.
  6. The trial ended with every single charge being thrown out by a jury comprised of more women than men. Not a single charge was upheld.
  7. Much of the prosecution case was shown up as patently false or contrived.
  8. Shortly after the trial those responsible for the rejected allegations signed a press release that continued their smear campaign against the man who had just been cleared of every single charge
  9. The BBC in the form of an hour long documentary then produced a programme called “the Trial of Alex Salmond” that repeated all the allegations, had interviews with the “victims” using actor’s voices and pictures of nervous twitching all for effect, YET MANAGED TO OMIT THE ENTIRE DEFENCE CASE, EVERY SINGLE DEFENCE WITNESS WAS IGNORED. It was aired multiple times.
  10. Last week one of those WhatsApp messages were leaked and it was revealed that the SNP Chief Executive was actively encouraging pressure to be applied on the police and to open up more allegations through the Met in London. I am led to believe there are more WhatsApp messages from this closed group which provide much more evidence of the plot and those involved.
  11. It is already known from numerous press reports that a number of the allegations were made by senior members of the SNP and Scottish Government.
  12. Craig Murray, who reported the trial honestly and accurately, unlike the MSM who continued to try and paint Alex Salmond guilty, is facing contempt of court charges despite doing considerably less to reveal the identities of the alphabet women than was possible from the reports in many of the mainstream publications

This section that follows is not all facts but includes opinion based on the information I have.

WHY? IS A QUESTION ASKED BY MANY.

Political patronage can be lucrative. Any leader of any Government has the opportunity to move into their administration many positions in both Government and Party to  their closest allies and friends. These positions, both paid and unpaid are largely reliant on the leader staying in place. 

Now, if the people concerned have true talent they probably could survive a change of leader, but, it is much safer to them if any potential contenders can be kept well away from the centre of power. I fear that is what we are dealing with here with the malicious attempts to kill off Alex Salmond and keeping Joanna Cherry out of Holyrood. I do think they are both connected to the same fear. Likewise control of the NEC is part of the same problem.

BUT WHAT BROUGHT THIS ON?

I am told it was brought on by the incident involving Mark MacDonald where he retweeted a message he should not have done and a bandwagon developed calling for him to resign his seat. There was a great fear that Alex Salmond would view such a by election as an opportunity to re enter Holyrood. Two things happened at this stage, the first allegations against Alex Salmond emerged. I believe it likely this was to only to stop him becoming a candidate but it was also accompanied with an easing back on the Mark McDonald situation where there were no more calls for him to resign his seat, merely to lose the whip. So no by election, he could stay to the next election with his seat being probably based on a future all women shortlist if necessary.. Problem solved.

THE CONSEQUENCES

For Alex Salmond if he had been found guilty he could easily, at his age, been facing a prison sentence that could have seen him spending the rest of his natural life in jail. Think about that. Then think of the enormous pain and suffering he suffered over almost two years knowing he was innocent but still knowing his freedom was entirely dependent on a jury believing him innocent. The more so that the jury for that very extended period were subject to the same hostile commentary coming from the MSM in advance of the trial. Commentary designed to influence opinion. Look how many supposedly loyal SNP people were influenced to accept his guilt. Often the same people today who complain and whine when efforts are being made to encourage the Party to take action against those involved in this plotting.

IN CONCLUSION

I have known Alex Salmond for thirty five years. We are not close. I sent him a message of support in advance of his trial and contributed to his defence fund. I am friendly with a good number of MP’s and MSP’s and some of what I have written above comes from these sources. None of the above is single source information.

I hope this matter can be dealt with speedily. I have been calling for a Party Enquiry from the end of the trial. Perhaps last week’s revelation of the Chief Executive’s enthusiasm for pushing the charges against Alex Salmond is the explanation of why it has never happened. I remember swift action in the past.

I suspect this started as a silly plot, but having succeeded in heading off the threat in Mark McDonald’s seat, some bright spark, thinking of the various selection battles arising in the lead up to the May 2021 decided they should administer the coup de grace with the creation of more malicious charges which spiraled out of control and resulted in such damage to Alex Salmond, despite his innocence, and which will ultimately result in a lot more humiliation and disaster for those responsible as the truth about these events becomes increasingly apparent. More and more people know the identities so this is inevitable.

You will note this article does not suggest any MI5 or Westminster involvement in this debacle. I do not rule it out but if there is I am unaware of it. What I do see and find utterly despicable is the cooperation between those who created the false allegations and the Unionist media who have been delighted to use these gifts to smear a man who was, and still is, the greatest threat to the Union. That has been betrayal with a capital B and they should be ashamed of themselves and certainly holding no office within the SNP or Scottish Government. It is just ridiculous that those seeking justice on this matter have to suffer accusations of being disloyal and disruptive from the same folk who are willing to overlook the actions of those who created these disgraceful and vindictive events. Has the World gone mad?

I desperately want Independence. I never created the false narrative, I never leaked the charges to the media, I never conspired with others to endanger the freedom of an innocent man, or who continued to run an organised smear campaign against him once the charges were all dismissed. All done from hiding.

Think about this, if people see you trying to bury such wrongdoing, prepared to let it go, they are going to ask what else is being hidden in our drive for Independence? It would be an effective attack that we can’t defend and would cost us dear. You simply can’t call for a fair and just Scotland and then turn a blind eye to this. It won’t work, but more important it is just so wrong.

So if you are angry at all this and you would be right to be so, restrict it to those responsible. Being seen to tolerate and condone this sort of evil plotting, cowardly and devious behavior is not the route to a free, just and prosperous Scotland. We are a better people than that and our leadership needs to reflect that honesty and decency to inspire our people, or else all will be lost….and will deserve to be. It’s a better, honest and just Scotland we are fighting for! Let’s not forget that and lead with the high standards Scotland deserves.

I am, as always

Yours for Scotland

Competence is not enough: reach for the stars

As many of you will know,  I am a passionate independence supporter.  Having voted SNP for years, I joined the party in the aftermath of the 2011 election because I knew there was going to be an independence referendum and I wanted to do as much as I could to make it successful.  I was an extremely active campaigner in the referendum and I have continued to work to support the party in all subsequent elections because I believed that a winning SNP was the route to a winning second referendum.  I am still desperate for independence and I will still do anything I can as long as it brings independence closer.

The SNP have proved themselves to be extremely competent in government, but it’s still a government whose very existence depends on the good offices of another government in another country.  So competence isn’t enough, when any good that comes from that competence can be undone at a stroke by the government of another country.  And who will bet against a Tory government led by the most incompetent Prime Minister in modern times not taking action to undo the good works.  This is a Prime Minister who has already lied and cheated in his personal, professional and political life.  He wouldn’t think twice about taking any action, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, right or wrong, if such action kept him in power. He might not be prepared to do the work, but he still wants the title and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it.

Remember that the only real political power in the United Kingdom resides with Westminster. Scotland may have a devolved government, but remember, power devolved is power retained. Westminster can do what they like, but Holyrood can only do what they’re allowed.

That’s why I can’t understand those who say that a big SNP majority next year will make it impossible for Johnson to refuse a Section 30. We all know what he’s like and, knowing that, why would anyone think he will be embarrassed into agreeing a second referendum. Embarrassment is not in his DNA. Depending on the UK Prime Minister, even if a different PM, agreeing a Section 30 seems certain to fail.

In any case, will the election go ahead? For example, would the pandemic be a sufficient excuse to postpone it for a year, say? What about Brexit? Could post-Brexit civil unrest be serious enough to warrant postponement? Or even warrant sending in the army to keep the peace. Does anyone think that a government which passed legislation knowingly condemning thousands of its disadvantaged citizens to death would not stoop to the creation of a little ‘unrest’ to prevent the election going ahead? What about a government which sends its military to attack another country for no good reason and then describes those fleeing the carnage as economic migrants to justify preventing them reaching a place of safety. Does anyone think that government would not stoop to the creation of a little ‘unrest’ to prevent the election going ahead?

If not postponing the election, what other actions are possible? Well, we already have the proposed legislation to support the introduction of the so-called UK internal market. An ‘independent’ committee will be set up by Westminster to scrutinise all legislation passed by Holyrood to determine whether there is any impact on the internal market. This will provide the UK government with the excuse to describe any Holyrood bill as likely to impact the internal market and the power to prevent the bill being enacted. How could Holyrood function under these circumstances?

Would Westminster introduce other legislation to restrict the ability of the Scottish Government to operate properly? Of course they would, without a second thought, if it was necessary to maintain their hold over Scotland. It’s unlikely that Westminster would close Holyrood altogether, as that would probably be too obvious, but they don’t need to go that far when they can render Holyrood impotent by removing powers or introducing laws to strengthen Westminster’s control. Remember, Westminster can do what they like, but Holyrood can only do what they’re allowed.

I have said before that the only circumstances in which the Tory government would grant a Section 30 order would be if a majority of their own supporters in England demanded that they got rid of the economic basket case they have been told Scotland is, sucking England dry. The irony of that would be if the argument they’ve used for years, telling Scotland they’re too wee, too poor, too stupid to become independent, would become the reason why the English electorate insisted that they set Scotland free. Unfortunately, I have since realised that there’s a flaw in this argument. To placate those who believe Scotland is getting more than it deserves, Westminster only has to reduce Scottish funding by modifying the Barnett formula, or even scrapping it all together. This would provide the Tory government with the dual benefit making themselves look good to their support while retaining more of Scotland’s taxes to give to their mates.

So playing by Westminster’s rules is likely to get us nowhere. What we need is a Scottish Government, supported by a majority of the people of Scotland, who are willing to use the rules already existing in the UN charter to set Scotland on the road to freedom. Surely now is the right time. England’s reputation in the world has never been lower, with Brexit and their casual disregard for international treaties. It’s never been more obvious that Scotland is being held against her will in a Union in which she was supposed to be a voluntary partner. Scotland’s plight must have surely been explained to the governments of our European partners and to governments in other parts of the world, providing near certainty that Scotland would be accepted as an independent nation by the rest of the world.

Now is the time to start to regain our freedom.

The Danger Signs

A brief history of the rise and fall of the Labour Party and it’s relevance to one party in today’s Scottish politics.
(With grateful thanks to Barrhead Boy @ScotPol1314)


The Labour Party in Scotland is now a small party on the periphery of relevance. Since its formation in 1888 until 2007, it had dominated the political landscape of Scotland. It is ironic that its first ever Scottish MP was Robert Cunninghame-Graham who had defected from the Liberal Party in 1888. The irony that he went on to be a founder member of the Party we now know as the SNP is not lost on many of us.

The final collapse of Labour in Scotland as a major force in 2015 did not come as a surprise to some of us involved in politics. The demise of the Labour Party was there for all to see, if you had been paying attention. From 1979 onwards when Thatcher got the keys to No10, their fate was sealed. She single- handedly destroyed not just the Labour Political Party but the entire Labour Movement. One by one she either broke up, sold off or closed down all the large unionised Labour industries. Strikes by the Miners or TGWU or ASLEF often crippled the country. Her solution was to break them one by one. Demonise trade Unionism and Socialism then the public would say nothing as she crushed and sold off national assets and jobs to her friends in the city.

In any conflict, be it politics, business or actual war, you deploy similar tactics. You research your enemy/competitor, you look for their weakest points and you exploit them to your advantage. That is exactly what Mrs Thatcher did to great effect. The phrase you are only as strong as your weakest point applies. When it came to the Labour Party and Movement it was, relatively easy for the Tories defeat Labour in election after election.

Over decades, the Trade Unions and Labour Party had been taken over by carpet baggers and careerists. Unlike the founding fathers of the Movement, the incumbents Thatcher faced in 1979 were troughers that were more interested in their own bank balances and quality of life than the working and living standards of their fellow party members and voters.

I personally never bought into the fables of the foreign owned media in Scotland about the ‘giants of the Labour Party and Movement’. Dewar, Smith, Brown, Reid, Murphy, careerists, not carers! Donald Dewar the father of the nation? As Ricky Tomlinson the actor would say, ‘my arse!’ Dewar, like the majority of ‘Scottish Labour’ elected representatives, was never a Socialist. He attended the same school as the present leader of the Tory Scottish branch office, Jackson Carlaw, The Glasgow Academy. The dear Green place’s version of Auld Reekie’s Fettes. It is to this day one of the most expensive schools in the entire UK. It is not, nor has it ever been, a hotbed of left-wing radicalism. In Scotland up until the very recent past, if you wanted a career in politics, the Labour Party would be the only sensible option. To gain entry you only needed to fake socialism, learn a few key words and phrases and the unsuspecting membership fast tracked you to a safe Westminster seat. Too many of these charlatans made a good living from impersonating a Socialist. Scotland has since 1707 been infected with that most English disease of class. The posh accent and ability to construct sentences without grammatical mistakes opened doors in the Labour Party. That someone who had gone to a posh school, then university would stand on the podium and address the proletariat as comrade, brother, sister had an almost svengali affect on the membership. When they talked of their fellow brethren in the Trade Movement in reverent tones, this was further confirmation to the masses that at last the aristocrats and upper middle classes were understanding the plight of the working man. Tam the miner, coalman, welder never stood a chance of a Westminster billet against a privately schooled comrade. Slowly but surely, the careerists and carpet baggers had inveigled their ways into every nook and cranny of the movement. The Movement became controlled by people in Morningside, Kelvinside who convinced those in Oxgangs and Govan they had their best interests at heart. They pretended they understood the daily struggles and hardships of those living on the breadline. They said they were working every day to bring equality to their electors and members. The reality was they were working to enrich themselves only.

Anything Labour in Scotland ever did was for the benefit of the Party, not the nation or the voters. As long as the Party prospered, they prospered. As long as their voters remained in poverty, they remained in office. Regional Councils, Holyrood, these were not to improve our governance, it was about stopping the SNP and protecting their seats at Westminster in both the Commons and the House of Lords. Those that took the elected seats and the those that ran the Party were self-aggrandising entryists. They did not join the Labour Party to advance the lifes of the proletariat, only their own.

It was not just in Scotland. Thatcher knew that the Labour Movement was built on sand and headed up by chancers. She crushed them very easily. Still in Scotland and Wales, the voters believed that the next time Labour got back into power at Westminster that land of milk and honey, that socialist nirvana would at last arrive. The great work started by Atlee and Bevan would at last be completed. Then in 1995 the new messiah arrived. They had a new ‘aristocrat’ a silver tongued, shiny skinned smooth as, silk confidence trickster. How a Fettes educated social climber ever managed to rise to the top in the Labour Movement shows just how badly infected the core of the Party had become. The very heartbeat of the Party was Clause IV. The snake oil salesman managed to con the membership in 1995 that it had to go and be replaced with,

‘The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that, by the strength of our common endeavour, we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few, where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.’

This was the first but not the last time the Labour spin machine duped its members and voters. The compliant corrupt media, just like the establishment, realised the Labour Movement was dead.

This was the first time the New Labour Party deployed its Machiavelian abuse of the English language and truth. The age of spin or as we all know it, blatant lying became the accepted norm in UK politics. The right-wing corrupt media embraced this guy because they realised long before the unsuspecting public that the New Labour Party was indeed just a Tory Lite Party. We didn’t get rid of Thatcherism and her divisive politics. We extended them into the mainstream of all politics in the UK. The choices to the people were The Tories or New Labour Tories.

When Margaret Thatcher was asked what she regarded as her greatest achievement, she is said to have replied: “New Labour”.

The rest as they say, is history!

One last word on the ‘Worker’s Party’ and their desire to be back in power at Westminster. The Labour Movement have elected a Knight of the Realm from a privileged background to be their next leader. It needs no more comment than that.

Fortunately, there was one part of the Union that decided they didn’t want Tories lite or full throttle. The SNP stepped into the vacuum left by the rebranding and retuning of the Labour Party. The success of the SNP has outshone anything that was ever achieved by Labour at the ballot box. The SNP too in government has achieved more in 13 years than Labour managed in 100+ years. Labour in Scotland’s job then and now is the same as the other British Nationalist Parties squatting in Scotland. They have always acted in the best interests of England’s imperial governance of Scotland. The 3 House-Jock Parties, are to ensure that nothing must be seen to be better than the equivalent service or law in England. That is why when there is some type of Health, Transport or Educational crisis in England, the House-Jocks start attacking the equivalent service in Scotland. We all know the truth that in every devolved power under SNP control, it has the best outcomes and standards in the entire Union. However, if you listened to the House-Jocks or the corrupt media, you would think the exact opposite. Nobody sums that up better than our finest Socialist, Lord Foulkes!

The SNP sweep all before them in election after election. Whenever the next election comes along, there is nothing to suggest that will change. The House-Jock Parties keep looking in the wrong places for that ‘magic bullet’ that just does not exist. It is all about the constitution stupid!

We should however be very cautious for, as the headline says, there are danger signs. Post the Referendum, the SNP was overwhelmed with new members. This is, of course, to be welcomed. However, it should be noted that we also need to be wary of the motives of some of those more recent arrivals. We should also be critical of the actions of many of our longstanding members. The recent trial of our former First Minister has offered us up an insight to some of the inner workings of our Party.

This blog has highlighted the dangers of allowing carpet baggers to destroy a party from within. We are not immune to it in the SNP and greater YES Movement. We cannot deny that there are now some among us that think Independence is a nice option but not their main motivation. This was made very clear in sworn evidence from one of the accusers in the Salmond trial. We must not become complacent like the Labour Party. We have to remove these people from our Party before they inflict similar damage. Alex Salmond has the evidence, and he is right, now is not the time to be having those discussions. Whenever this horrible Coronavirus has been defeated is when we need to address this problem head on, though recent actions taken by the Tory government may mean we have to move more quickly. When the debate begins, we must not hesitate to take the necessary action to keep our Party and its ethos at our core. I want to say quite clearly, those that put themselves before our nation’s independence have no place in our movement. Those that would scheme and lie for personal advancement need removed from our Party and Movement. Our politics is about the nation and the common weal, nothing else!

Nobody is bigger or more important than our Independence!

Should this not be your ethos, I respectfully suggest you are in the wrong Party!


This is a slightly updated version of a blog originally posted by Barrhead Boy (@Scotpol1314) on his website http://www.barrheadboy.com. If you want to see more of his posts, click the link.

Is it do or die time for Scotland?

Perhaps the question above should be “Does Scotland have a future?”.

And now the end is near, and we face the final curtain. A few days ago, I wrote the words for a amended version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”, entitled “We’ll go the Yes way”. (See it here). What it was meant to show was how we recovered from the disaster that was the first IndyRef and went on to win IndyRef2. Perhaps the lack of interest in the posting (sorry to bleat, but I’m in a bad mood) might have been a demonstration that there are now a fairly large number of people who don’t expect a second IndyRef soon.

But what might happen if there’s no IndyRef. For years now, I (and others) have been warning those who favour waiting until circumstances are more favourable before another IndyRef: you are not advocating a no risk option. We can’t take the risk that we might lose, they say. Of course, they are assuming that, in the meantime, the Westminster government won’t do anything to scupper our chances. Westminster not doing anything always seemed unlikely to me and, as time passes, with support for independence growing, it’s becoming more and more likely that waiting is the worst of all possible worlds for those for whom independence is the first, or even the only, option. If there ever was any doubt about the dangers, surely recent announcements by the Westminster government must have laid these to rest.

So here, in no particular order, are a few examples of what will happen if we don’t soon have the courage to take matters into our own hands.

A new committee has been set up in Westminster, unofficially at the moment. Let’s call it the union committee. Membership includes the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their remit is to find ways to strengthen the Union. Anyone reading this who believes the committee’s remit includes looking for ways to strengthen the devolved governments really needs to seek medical help.

At the moment, food standards are devolved to Holyrood. Westminster intends effectively to remove that power from the Scottish Government post-Brexit. They will still allow Holyrood to set their own standards, but they’ll insist on Scotland accepting food from any other part of the UK (could they mean England?). This means that Scottish Government rules would apply only to companies based in Scotland, thus disadvantaging them as prices of goods from other parts of the UK (mainly England) would be produced to lower, and cheaper, standards. The ability for the Holyrood to set their own standards would be a poisoned chalice.

Westminster’s excuse would be that it allows them to negotiate UK wide trade deals, such as the one with the US. The US have demanded that the UK accept chlorinated chicken as part of a post-Brexit trade deal. We’ve probably all heard about chlorinated chicken, the US tendency to wash their chicken meat in chlorine to remove the bugs. The practice is banned in EU countries. Of course, the US do it because their standards of poultry rearing are poor compared to current UK (actually EU) standards, so there are many more bugs to remove. Perhaps the best way to compare food standards between the two is the incidence of food poisoning, about 1.6% of the population per annum in the UK, compared with 16% in the US.* Because of their higher production volumes and lower standards, US food is cheaper to produce, so UK farmers will have to reduce prices (and standards) to try to compete, or go bust. As Westminster will be desperate for deals, they are bound to accept US demands. The Scottish Government will no longer have any real power to maintain current Scottish food standards as Westminster will impose their rules UK wide. Is cheaper, bug ridden chicken really what we want in Scotland?

Chlorinated chicken is only the tip of an extremely nasty US iceberg. US beef producers also use growth hormones to increase the size of their cattle. This practice is banned in the EU as it has been shown to increase the incidence of cancers and other diseases in humans, particularly in the children of consumers. Antibiotics are also heavily used in US dairy production, mainly to suppress diseases caused by poor farming methods, leading to the development of antibiotic resistant bugs.* It is likely that the UK will accept the importation of US beef and dairy as part of the deal with the US. The Scottish Government will have no power to prevent these products being sold in Scotland. Are cancer inducing beef and resistant super bugs really what we want in Scotland?

Ok, I hear you say, consumers can decide whether or not to buy beef or chicken produced in the US, because the country of origin will be clearly marked on the packaging. Oh no it won’t. Food labelling is now also subject to Westminster veto and the US has demanded that country of origin is excluded. If Westminster agrees, as they are likely to, it will be imposed in Scotland, as with the rest of the UK. As with food standards, the Scottish Government will have no usable power to prevent it.

Food standards will not be the only power reserved to Westminster post-Brexit. What about the NHS? We know that the giant US medical and pharmaceutical companies are desperate to get their hands on the NHS, but this will only work if the NHS is considered as a single UK organisation. We already know that there are considerable differences between the Scottish NHS and the English one, principally because of the differences in approach between Westminster and Holyrood. Vast chunks of the English NHS have been privatised while the Scottish NHS is still in public hands. But that will all change when responsibility for the Scottish NHS is once again reserved to Westminster. As an aside, has anyone got an explanation for the number of recent adverts and announcements from a body called NHS UK? A sign of things to come, perhaps?

Recently announced is the Westminster plan to remove the power to provide state aid from Scotland and the other devolved governments. This power will now be reserved to Westminster. This will prevent the devolved governments from encouraging business development in their country, either existing businesses or new start-ups. Those who believe Westminster will spend much of their time worrying about business development beyond the English border may be disappointed. (Interestingly, can anyone speculate on why the border between England and Scotland appears to exist, while the border between Scotland and England doesn’t. Weird? Perhaps it’s just that business borders exist, but pandemic ones don’t.)

Last, but definitely not least, the change I think is worthy of most attention. This is the development proposed to the so-called “UK internal market”, of which the food discussion above is just a part. This came into ‘existence’ in 2013 to be used as an argument against Scottish independence. Because most of Scotland’s exports go via English ports, Scottish ports having been deliberately underdeveloped as a consequence of the Union, the anti-independence brigade claimed that the rest of the UK was Scotland’s biggest export customer and very little went to Europe or other parts of the world, so independence would significantly reduce Scottish exports. A lie, of course. However, as a result of Brexit, this argument has now developed from a debating concept into a justification for destroying the devolution settlements.

Westminster are now proposing to create a formal UK internal market in law. This will cover not just foodstuffs as mentioned earlier, but potentially all aspects of production. The problem this creates for the governments of Scotland and the other devolved nations is that although they can set whatever rules they want, they will be forced to accept any rules thought necessary by Westminster, whether they are required by or acceptable to the devolved nations. And you can bet that any rules introduced by Westminster will only benefit rich people or England or both, or, at best, will be better for rich people or England or both than anyone else.

To make matters worse, the UK government are going to appoint a committee of friendly Tory types to scrutinise all devolved government bills (and I don’t mean invoices) to decide whether they have any impact on the operation of the internal market. If they decide it has a negative effect, they will have the power to recommend that a bill is amended, or even cancelled, making it really difficult for the Scottish Government and the other devolved administrations to pass any legislation. The Tories have been desperate to get rid of devolution ever since it began and now they’ve got both the opportunity (big Tory majority, out of Europe) and the excuse (negotiating UK-wide trade deals) to make it happen. The Tories are not going to miss an open goal like that. I’ll let you work out for yourself how often the committee will find that Scottish legislation has an impact on the internal market.

However, the SNP are on to the problem. Several senior SNP figures have made strong statements criticising the actions of the UK government and Mike Russell has written a strongly worded letter to Michael Gove demanding that they halt the changes. Little chance of a government with an eighty seat majority listening, especially when every Tory in Westminster will be cheering at the chance to be really nasty to the Scots, with the Scottish Tories cheering loudest. Of course!

What else might Westminster do? No doubt there are other powers they haven’t yet thought of removing from Holyrood. Who would be prepared to bet against the power to hold referendums, or even the power to hold elections being among those taken away. Remember that the Tories can move quickly if they have to. It won’t take long to convince Tory backbenchers to go along with an anti-Scottish action. It might take only a couple of weeks to effectively shut down Holyrood, or at least stop it from really doing anything meaningful.

So what’s to happen. The worst of the changes won’t take effect till after Brexit, though it might even be earlier, and if the EU objected, which they likely would, in a couple of months or so there’s not much they could do about it. I suppose invasion by a combined Franco-German army to support Scotland is probably out of the question. It might have a slight negative impact on the Brexit negotiations, but as the Tories are looking for the most negative outcome they can get, I don’t suppose they would be particularly worried.

I think we’ve now reached the stage where it’s do or die. If we think of waiting for better times, better times may (and likely will) never come. There’s no downside for the Tories if our government don’t act soon. Even waiting till May next year seems hugely optimistic. However, the Tories can wait to get all their ducks in a row as their ducks seem to move faster than ours.

We’ve reached the last and the most important question of all. Do we go now, or do we never go?

It’s time to decide!

*If you want to find out more about the dangers from US foodstuffs, see here an article by Ros Taylor on the LSE blog, quoting Professor Erik Millstone of Sussex University.

We’ll go the Yes way

(With sincere apologies to Claude François, Paul Anka and Frank Sinatra)

We hope the end is near
And this will be the final showdown
My friend, we’ll say it clear
We’ll state our case, we won’t be put down
We’re governed by a fool
We want out, via the expressway
And more, much more than this, we want the Yes way

Indyref, when it came through
the result, incomprehension
We’d done what we had to do
We’d seen it through without exception
We’d planned to see each house
We believed that’s where success lay
But more, much more than this, we went the Yes way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
We bit off more than we could chew
But through the wind and through the rain,
Through the effort and the pain,
We faced the noes and hist’ry shows, we went the Yes way

We lost, and there were tears
But giving up, we were refusing
Fighting through the years,
In the end, we’ll not be losing,
To think, we’ve done all that
In Indy 2, we’ll have success day
Once again, for one last time, we’ll go the Yes way

For what is a Scot, what has he got?
If not his country, he has naught
The love of country’s what he sees
He’s not the type who’s on his knees
Our future shows
We’ll fight the noes
And go the Yes way

We’ll go the Yes way

The ugly truth about British nationalism

Wee Ginger Dug is rightly angry about yesterday’s events in George Square, about the lack of action by the authorities to prevent the thugs taking over Glasgow centre and about the lack of acknowledgement from the media and unionist politicians to the real problem here.  Yesterday, the police led away those who had arrived to protest peacefully and left the thugs in charge of George Square.  This cannot go on.  Left to fester, it will only get worse and it can only be a matter of time before there are more serious outcomes.

This has to stop.  

Wee Ginger Dug

Yet again British nationalist fascist thugs have rioted in the centre of Glasgow, and yet again we see the intimate connection between racism, anti-Catholic bigotry, so-called loyalism, and British nationalism. And yet again the Conservative party in Scotland is conspicuous by its silence. For all the hand wringing about the independence movement, Scotland’s racism is tightly bound up with British imperialism. For far too long the media and establishment in Scotland have turned a blind eye to Scotland’s problem with British nationalism. It’s time that ended.

This doesn’t come out of nowhere. We had British nationalist fascist thugs sending bullets and parcel bombs through the post in 2011. We had threats to journalists writing about their beloved fitba club in 2012. We had British nationalist fascist thugs attacking peaceful independence supporters in 2014. We had British nationalist fascist thugs attacking Irish republicans in 2019. And in 2020 we have seen…

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Who are the slaves now?

I originally wrote this after the Scottish election in 2016 and before the horror of the EU referendum under the title Return of the Slave Trade, but it seems apposite to reprise it today because, in the midst of all the demonstrations about the slave trade, it’s important to remember that today, in the UK and elsewhere, there are still slaves. It seems the slaves are always with us.

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Now the election’s over, we can get back to business as usual on social media, with most postings slagging off the Tories for the latest round of austerity cuts (or proposed cuts), cutting the incomes of the poor and disadvantaged, while, at the same time, boosting the incomes of the deserving plutocrats.

But how can they do that?  How can they sleep at night?  Have they no conscience?  These and other similar questions are often asked, but what surprises me is that the obvious answer to all of these questions is being ignored.

But first, a history lesson.  Let’s go back a few hundred years to a time when the European nobles got a bit fed up fighting amongst themselves.  Problem was, wars too often resulted in an effective score draw and many of the peasants who formed the bulk of the armies got killed.  This meant that there weren’t enough left to tend the animals and grow the crops used to feed the plutocrats of the day.  Jolly inconvenient, eh, what!  To solve the problem, they started looking  further afield for resources for their battles and to look after their animals and fields and that’s when they discovered Africa.

In Africa, they found a land populated by strange animals you didn’t see in Europe, lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes and many more.  But best of all was an animal that looked almost like a human.  It stood on two legs, just like a human.  It had opposable thumbs, just like a human.  It could use simple tools, just like a human.  But best of all, they discovered it was able to look after crops and animals and could be used to replace the peasants with no need to pay them beyond a few drinks of water and the odd bowl of gruel.  But they weren’t really human.  I mean, they didn’t wear proper clothes and they couldn’t even speak a single European language.

That was the viewpoint of the early European invaders.  The slave trade developed partly because they thought they were dealing with some sort of sub-human species, so treating them like animals was quite acceptable, because they were animals.  Europeans considered Africans were put on the world to provide a means of generating money and food for real (i.e. rich) people.  This was an attitude that persisted right up to the middle of the last century and, in some places, still exists today.  Even many of those who campaigned to end the slave trade did so on the same basis as we would today campaign to improve the conditions of pigs or chickens.

Now, of course, in most developed countries, people views have changed and such thinking is not considered appropriate.  People are no longer identified by their race or colour.  But it is in human nature to seek to differentiate.  There has to be an us and a them.  So how are people differentiated today?  The answer is, of course, money.  There are those who have lots and those who don’t.

So what’s this got to do with the slave trade, I hear you say.  Well, while 17th century Europeans thought Africans were inferior because of their colour, 21st century rich toffs think poor people are inferior because of their poverty.  They believe superior people will find a way to become rich and only inferior people will remain poor because they’ve not got the mental capability to become rich.

Do rich people think poor people are some sort of sub-human species?  A step up from cattle, pigs and sheep, perhaps, but still only fit for tending crops and looking after animals (or whatever the 21st century equivalents are).  Might that explain why Tories don’t seem to be overly concerned about the impact of the cuts on poor people?  After all, if you decided to (e.g.) reduce the amount of grazing your cattle have, you might be worried if it impacted the profit to be made, but you wouldn’t be overly worried about the impact on the cattle’s quality of life.

There are still a few quite significant differences between poor people and animals.  Two of the more significant are poor people can vote, animals can’t and poor people have human rights, animals don’t.  Until this changes, there is always the danger that some poor people might get really annoyed about something and prevent the plans of rich people going ahead.  However, alive to the danger, we’ve seen the Tory government take the first steps to resolve these two problems by firstly changing the voter registration system, resulting in large numbers of poor people losing the right to vote; and secondly, proposing to replace European Human Rights with a British version, which will undoubtedly provide fewer rights than the European one.  And who will bet against this being only the start of a significant program to remove even more rights from poor people.

But surely that can’t be right, I hear you say.  Surely our government doesn’t really think of the bulk of the population as some lower form of being.  Well, just think of what has happened since the Tories (effectively) took power in 2010.   Their rhetoric has been to demonise the unemployed (shirkers don’t contribute to the wealth of rich people) and to describe the disabled as a drain on society (many of them don’t contribute to the wealth of rich people).  Their actions have added to the misery of the poor and disabled by cutting ESA, introducing the bedroom tax (though the fact that this was first introduced by Labour is a timely reminder that not all rich people are in the Tory party) and Work Capability Assessments, and freezing other benefits or making them much more difficult to claim. We’ve also got zero hours contracts, poverty wages and student debt.  All actions which further disadvantage the already disadvantaged.  Would normal human beings do that to fellow humans; to people they considered as their equals?  I think not.

All the actions of the government point to the inescapable conclusion that rich people (remember the government are nearly all rich people) consider themselves a higher class of being and, by inference, consider the poor as a lower class who don’t deserve the same level of consideration.  Who then can argue that poor people are not the slaves of the 21st century?

Why annoy England when we could save Scotland?

Since the EU referendum in 2016, there has been loads of discussion about whether it’s right for the Scottish Parliament to be trying to save England from itself by preventing Brexit from going ahead. The majority in the EU referendum was entirely created by voters in England and Wales, so there was and is a strong argument for England and Wales getting the Brexit they voted for, while Scotland and Northern Ireland remained in the EU, which they voted for.

But that was never going to happen. As is normal in the UK, English opinion always takes precedence and is imposed on the other countries in the UK, whether they like it or not. So Brexit it is.

But the original question remains. Is it right for the Scottish Government to try to prevent England (and Wales) from getting what a majority of their voters wanted? I know that, in the current circumstances, England will drag Scotland out of the EU as well, but is there not another way to prevent this from happening?

Two recent events brought this strongly back to mind.

First, there was the utter insanity of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s decision to close down the system introduced earlier in the Covid-19 crisis which allowed MPs to take part in debates and vote remotely and force every MP to return to the potentially virus infected House of Commons. According to JR-M, it was not possible to have a proper debate unless you were face to face with those you were debating with, to allow proper understanding of the debate and proper interventions. This seemed to lack any real appreciation of the dangers involved in putting 650 people into a room together when it was possible that some of them would be infected and therefore could be spreading it to others.

Many of the fears were realised when pictures came out of the conga line waiting to vote and the crush at the bottom of the escalator. So much for social isolation. Then we had the sight of Alok Sharma, a government minister, struggling to finish a speech before being carted off into isolation. He was tested for Covid-19, but found negative. Maybe a false negative? Or maybe the Tory party were just following JR-M’s advice that any MP with a positive test was under no obligation to tell his colleagues? Time will tell.

Much was said in Scotland that Scottish MPs should not attend. Many SNP supporters in particular wanted their MPs to stay away, as much for the MPs own safety as to make a political point, but mainly because it would seem to break the Scottish Government’s rules about travelling, a rule strongly emphasised by the First Minister in her earlier briefing that day. It could hardly be said that they were essential workers as they could have no influence on the vote, the Tories having such a large majority. Unfortunately, with the First Minister’s approval, a contingent of eight MPs headed south to take part in the farce that was to happen. Just why was it more important to be a part of a fiasco in a foreign parliament than to be in Scotland planning independence? Beats me.

The second event was the news that the Scottish Government had released a report justifying the need for an extension to the Brexit negotiations.

As I said in an earlier posting, what the last few months have shown us is how little the Tory government cares about any part of the UK outside England, maybe even outside the southern half of England. They actively prioritised the supply of PPE to English hospitals and care homes. I say prioritised, but they actually tried to prevent supplies reaching Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at all. Now, we have the Chancellor telling us that if the Scottish Government even thinks of extending lockdown beyond that decided by Westminster for the South of England, they wouldn’t get funds to extend the furlough scheme. As they have done often in the past, we see Westminster trying to use their control of Scotland’s finances to force the Scottish Government to do something which will harm the Scottish people, in this case, possibly kill some of them. Better together?

However, despite Westminster’s obvious lack of concern for Scotland’s wellbeing, despite the obvious signs that Westminster is only interested in what is can get out of Scotland, not in how Scotland can thrive, the Scottish Government spends time and money producing a report showing the UK Government how to save itself from the worst effects of an action that they’re determined to take. Will anyone in the UK Government even look at the report? This can only benefit Scotland if we remain part of the UK. Why do we want to remain part of the UK?

As an aside, here are a couple of examples showing why England wants Scottish resources.

Since 2000, the amount of Scottish produced electricity transferred to England over the National Grid was almost 203 thousand gigawatt hours. Of course, electricity is also transferred the other way and the National Grid have written a whole document explaining how the Grid protects Scottish consumers by allowing transfers from England to Scotland (read it here). However, over the same period, the amount of English produced electricity transferred to Scotland was just over 8 thousand gigawatt hours or about 4% of the Scotland – England total. It’s quite clear which country benefits most from the arrangement.

The idea has again been raised to build a canal to transfer water from Scotland to the drier parts of the UK, mainly London and the South East of England. Fortunately, for Scotland, the cost of such a scheme would be enormous, so the South of England hasn’t yet reached a state of dryness that they’re prepared to suffer the cost of construction, though the cost of the water is likely to be zero. This is not the first time the idea has been raised and a similar scheme is already in place in Wales. Of course, if it went ahead, it would be considered a national project, so Scotland would have to pay about 8.5% of the total cost. Yet again, Scotland would have to pay to give away our resources to England. It’s quite clear which country would benefit most from the arrangement.

So, once again, as the UK Government has clearly demonstrated that they couldn’t care less about the Scottish people and that their only interest in Scotland is in taking its resources, the question remains. Why are we in Scotland spending so much time and money trying to make staying part of the UK as painless as possible, when we should be concentrating on saving ourselves from the disaster and the enormous money pit that England represents. Why can’t we spend more time planning to go?

Answers on a postcard to Bute House?