Labour’s Death Throes

Zombie party leader

Zombie party leader

The Labour party have kicked off the Spring conference season. Perhaps Kez or Corbyn will pack the place out but so far the conference looks sparsely attended compared to conferences of yesteryear. One of the reasons for that may be that nowhere on Labour’s conference site could I find out where the conference was actually being held. Though I suspect it wouldn’t have made much difference. It’s in Perth by the way.

The Labour party, North Britain branch is in dire straits. Judging by their confusing budget reports (no one knows quite how they are funded) the amount of cash they raise from the membership suggests a serious decline in numbers. The former party of government has slipped to 3rd largest party at Holyrood and from a total of 41 members out of 59 Scottish MPs at Westminster they collapsed in a single election to a single member. Their polling for the upcoming local government elections is hovering around 15%. Even with the vagaries of the local government voting system it looks like Labour will lose control of their West Central Scotland powerbase. They may hang on by doing deals with the Tories and Lib Dems as they did at the last LG elections to maintain control in a number of areas even though they were overtaken as the largest party by the SNP. Further confirmation that effectively in Scotland there are only two parties, the Independence Party and the Unionist Party. They just have different branches.

I shed no tears for Labour. They have been a corrupt leech on Scotland for 60yrs. Even now they are embroiled in corruption scandals in Glasgow and Lanarkshire. It was joy to be rid of the collection of chancers, careerists, anti Scots, liars and scumbags that represented Labour in Westminster.

Hemorrhaging support on the left to the SNP and on the right to the Tories, Labour has an identity crisis. What do they stand for? Well conference has answered that. They stand for the Union and federalism. Both will kill them. They are standing on the wrong side of the argument and the wrong side of history.

On the Union they hope to win back support from the Tories but the Tories are full on, dyed in the wool, always have been, no surrender unionists. Labour can’t compete with that, nor should they want to. They had a chance before the 2014 referendum to carve out a niche supporting full fiscal autonomy stopping short of independence. This was a position urged on them by a number of leading figures including former First Minister Henry McLeish. Instead they allowed themselves to be used as front men and fall guys by the Tories. The result is the terrible position they find themselves in today.

Not only is their position not credible they have pursued it with the kind of rhetoric which displays the complete lack of self awareness that is the hallmark of Labour. It’s a kind of Gordon Brown delusion, if we said it it’s true even if it is totally ludicrous.

Serial Idiot

Serial Idiot

Take Ian Murray MP. ‘Straight Talking, Honest Politics’, according to the caption on his platform dias. Labour’s sole surviving MP, courtesy of Tory tactical voting in Edinburgh had this to say, “I want to make it absolutely clear to both Nicola Sturgeon, and indeed to Ruth Davidson, the SNP has absolutely no mandate for another Scottish independence referendum. If they try to push one through, Scottish Labour will oppose it in the Scottish Parliament all the way” Another day this load of pish would have qualified Murray for our ever popular Moron of the Day series. Clearly the SNP election manifesto contained a provision to call a new referendum if there was a ‘material’ change in circumstances. A vote to leave the EU by the rest of the UK was given as a specific example. That is exactly what happened yet this clown claims the exact opposite. Do Labour simply not realise what fools they look when they spin theses lies? There is also a majority in the Scottish parliament for a referendum.

The second pillar of their new policy is Federalism. This is seriously flawed. They have adopted a century old Liberal policy which in those 100 plus years has gone exactly nowhere. To solve what they see as a Scottish ‘problem’ they want to impose a UK wide solution which the UK or certainly England isn’t interested in. If fedaralism/devolution was seen as a practical solution to governance in England it would have happened long ago. John Prescott’s half hearted attempt at devolution for Northern England in 2004 was roundly rejected by 78%-22%.

The fact is Scottish Labour is leaderless and rudderless. I have a certain sympathy for Kezia Dugdale but she volunteered for the gig and hasn’t shown much leadership or imagination. The senior members of Scottish Labour are air heads like James Kelly and no talent serial liars like Anas Sarwar and Jackie Baillie. They have however done the independence movement a favour. By sinking into the morass they have left the Tories as the potential leaders for Better Together2, that should be interesting.

Despite the continuing, unwarranted promotion by the BBC and MSM, the Labour party in Scotland is staring into the abyss. Barring a miracle in May Scottish Labour is condemned to a biblical period of wandering in the wilderness or outright extinction.

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Don’t Shoot the Messenger

tony-blair Unsurprisingly I suppose, Tony Blairs foray into the Brexit debate has been met with opprobrium from all sides, emphasising how completely he seems to have pissed off everyone across the political spectrum including his own party. His speech to Open Britain makes the case for a second EU referendum based on the first vote being made on incomplete and misleading information. On that he is undoubtedly correct but the chances of a second referendum are slim, as he himself acknowledges.

Commentators in the media and critics on social media laid into Blair citing his political record and the Iraq war as reasons to dismiss his speech without thought. Many also opined he was trying to rehabilitate himself or was making another bid for the EU presidency. All of which may be true. Interestingly a more concillatory tone was struck by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who said, “Not his biggest fan, but there’s a quality of analysis & argument in Blair’s speech today that has been totally lacking from Labour to date.” Now I have to say I’m not his greatest fan either, in fact I think as little of him as most people and for the same reasons. Had I just read the MSM and social media comments or heard just the brief clips shown on the news I would have as quickly dismissed him as others did. How easy it is to make a snap decision on something based on others tweets or a newspaper column when we don’t know the full facts and context of a speech, argument, meeting etc.

However by chance I had sat down to have something to eat and had switched on the TV just as Blair was starting his speech. I watched it all. To paraphrase the First Minister there was a quality of analysis & argument in Blair’s speech that has been totally lacking from any other source. It was beyond doubt the best analysis I had heard or read on Brexit. Whatever one might think about Blair it showed he is head and shoulders above the Mays, Johnstons, Davies and Foxs of the Brexiteers both intellectually and politically. It was hard hitting and wide ranging in its analysis. There was barely anything I could disagree with. He very lucidly captured the madness of the current situation as well as the consequences of a hard Brexit. He placed Brexit in the much wider political, economic and social context of the UK’s future. He lambasted the attempts of the Brexiteers to close down discussion by telling the rest of us to shut up and accept the result. He also identified, as has everyone else to be fair, that it makes Scottish independence more likely.

All very interesting Ken you might say, but why are you telling us this? Well we know that the EU will play a big part and quite possibly a central role in Indyref2. We also know that a large number of Yes voters have said they will switch to No in ref2 as they don’t want to be in the EU. I don’t trust what information we have on numbers but it is undoubtedly a constituency we need to and can win back. It simply isn’t logical to favour remaining in the UK as opposed to independence coupled with EU membership. But there has been a great deal in politics in the last year that defies logic or even self interest.

My own pet theory is that people in Scotland are just like the rest of the UK and have been bombarded for decades by the right wing press and the wider MSM with anti EU stories on economics, bureaucracy and immigration. So it’s not surprising that there will be a proportion of the populace believes it. As I posted in my blog,, before the EU ref, there is a very Scottish dimension to the advantages of EU membership. We have to get those arguments across to those who are are sympathetic to independence or previous Yes voters. That’s why I encourage all indy campaigners to watch the video of Blair’s speech as there is much useful info and argument that can be gleaned to use in the upcoming independence campaign, whenever it arrives.

So don’t shoot the messenger until you have listened to the message. You can always shoot him later.

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Things Can Only Get Better……………..Maybe Not

Just a brief post today. Events are happening so fast it is hard to keep up and by the time I get round to placing a post things have moved on. When I say events I’m talking about the sort of issues that have emerged from the Tory party conference.

The party has definitely morphed into a right wing version of UKIP whilst its leader is trying to convince us she’s a socialist with her promises to protect workers and make the nasty capitalist bosses pay their taxes. However her underlings don’t seem to have gone all hug a hoody soft judging by their utterances. Foreign doctors are to be flung out of the country just as soon as we can train up enough English chaps to replace them. Companys are to be forced to publish how many foreigners they employ in order to name and shame them into being more patriotic and employing more Brits instead. 

It now seems certain that we are headed for a hard Brexit with the UK out of the single market. Dr Fox continues to exude confidence with the same certainty of a jumper from the top of a 26 floor building who says everything is going swimmingly, so far, as they pass the 13th floor. Even one of his own MPs has publicly described him as delusional. 

The Fraser of Allander institute has published a report today saying a hard Brexit will cost Scotland around 80,000 jobs. Four British chaps won Nobel prizes in Physics and Chemistry this week, three of whom were Scots (note to John Cleese, stick to the comedy son you clearly know SFA about the ‘half educated’ tenement Scots) and they are obviously very worried about future research funding. One of them even suggesting at this stage that young British scientists should be thinking of working abroad. 

Now none of these ‘events’ have actually happened yet at all and probably won’t for at least 2.5yrs. but the warning signs are all there and all the signs are bad. I just want to pick up on one point. As you know the great British economy is the 5th biggest in the world which is why the delusional Dr. Fox thinks the rest of the world will give us anything we ask for. Today as a direct consequence of Brexit the UK has slipped to 6th. The reason for this is the kind of measurement most often used by those wishing to talk up the UK is based on market exchange rates which means if your currency goes down the pan, like Sterling has, so does the value of your economy. In truth it is not a very sensible way to measure the size of your economy but the Tories, UK economists, UKIPers, Unionists etc., take your pick, do so because it is the measurement that makes the UK look the most important. The IMF prefer the purchasing power parity index which knocks the UK down to 9th. 

This brings us to another clown, our esteemed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Now many of us were amazed, shocked or otherwise befuddled at the choice of the Tories chief idiot for this particular role as he has a history of insulting just about every country on Earth at one time or another. And so far he hasn’t disappointed us. This week he informed the Tory party conference that Africa was a country, thereby confirming our suspicions that the vast sums spent on young Boris’s education may not have been the best investment of the Johnson family wealth. But it is what he said about the size of the UK economy that is really interesting here. He told us that the UK is the 5th ‘richest’ economy in the world. I’ll bet he believes that. The UK is actually the worlds 27th richest economy. And isn’t that what actually matters? After all the Indian economy is bigger than ours but would you really envy the average Indian his standard of living?

So even before Brexit actually happens we can see that the UK’s economy is slipping down the world rankings just at the very thought of the consequences. Nearly all the richest countries are small nations like Scotland.

So remember that the next time some Brit Nat, Unionist, Brexiter or other generally anti independence punter tries to convince you that Britain is indeed Great and Scotland is too small, too poor, you know the rest dear reader, to be uniquely unqualified to take its place in the pantheon of nations.

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Moron Of The Day 9

Neil Findlay Left Wing Labour MSP

Neil Findlay Left Wing Labour MSP

Totally Misleading Photo

Totally Misleading Photo

Here we are again with the latest in our Moron of the Day feature. Today’s lucky recipient is Neil Findlay MSP (Labour). His inclusion marks a new departure in this series. He is the first Labour MP or MSP to feature in the series. Another departure is that I normally write these pieces in a ‘ gor blimey look at this twit’ kind of a spirit but today’s is written with real anger aimed both at Findlay and the Express newspaper group.

This is to do with a story in the Sunday version of this right wing arse wiper, it doesn’t deserve the soubriquet newspaper, headlined, ‘Scottish MPs Claim Almost £600,000 of Taxpayers’ Money In Luxury Flights’. The story alleges Scottish MPs, i.e. SNP MPs, are eschewing economy class travel for champagne swilling business class flights and greatly increasing the cost to the taxpayer. The story is total bollocks designed only to smear our MPs. The reality is that the cost of flights to the taxpayer has actually decreased in the last year. There are no airlines flying to London from Scottish airports that offer business class travel. The whole story is exposed and debunked by Wings over Scotland. You can read it here, Please do read it and if you have any friends or aquaintances that read this rag bring it to their attention as a prime example of the daily anti SNP, anti independence or simply anti Scots attacks which are a feature of the right wing press. NEVER, NEVER believe a word you read in the Express or the Mail. If they print that the Sun will rise tomorrow prepare yourself for Armageddon. Just to add to the bollocks you’ll notice that although the story is about MPs the picture is of Holyrood not Westminster, another subtle attempt to link their lies to Scotland. The luxury airplane seat by the way isn’t available on any internal flights between London and Scottish airports because the picture is of seating from an Emirates Airbus A830. Emirates don’t fly internally in the UK. But never let accuracy get in the way of a good anti SNP rant.

So now to Findlay. Findlay decided to link to this story and tweeted, ‘Looks like the party on expenses is in full flow – Mhairi Black tribune of the people loves ‘Business Class’. Why he decided to personalise the tweet with an attack on Mhairi Black I don’t know. But the point is this is, an avowedly left wing Labour MSP who stood for election as Scottish (or North Britain branch as it’s better known) leader believes that it is perfectly reasonable to peddle the lies of a right wing newspaper which wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire, simply to mount an attack on the hated SNP. It seems for a long time now the only policy of the Labour party in Scotland has been to oppose and denigrate the Scottish government at every turn, doing the Westminster government and right wing unionist press’s job for them. And that is moronic.

Anyone observing the ongoing fraternal suicide of the Labour party knows they are in deep shit. It seems to have reached the point now in Scotland where Labour is irredeemable. If the vagaries of the election system don’t contrive to save them from annihilation at next years council elections then Labour is finished. Shed no tears for it is the best thing that could happen to Scotland. For 50 years the Labour party has been the problem not the solution. To have got rid of Curran, Davidson, Alexander, Murphy et al is indeed joyous. The fact is the Labour party in Scotland is redundant, it serves no purpose. The SNP hold the centre left ground and are committed to preserving free tuition, universal benefits etc which Labour would now scrap rather than champion. The Greens are more left wing and if the various factions of the far left ever get their act together again they could regain representation at Holyrood. So the left is well catered for and the Tories cover the right. There is also UKIP of course should the nation ever lose its collective marbles. The Lib Dems? Yeah not worth typing about. So we have no use for a unionist, self loathing, cringeworthy embarrassment like Scottish Labour. And no use for hateful idiots like Neil Findlay.

England is a different story. Since the rise of Blairism the Labour and Conservative parties have morphed into each other creating only slightly different flavours of right wing neo liberalism. Much like the Democrats and Republicans in the US. With the Lib Dems dead there is no balance between different politics, ideas and philosophy. At least until now. Corbyn represents the last vestiges of the left wing of a Blairite party. The battle between the right wing parliamentary party and the left wing membership has been something of a car crash and a gift to the right wing press and media. If the right wing Tory/Labour factions triumph then England is well on the road to becoming as fractured a society and as unequal a society as the US. The upside for Scottish independence is the prospect of facing another decade of Tory rule is unlikely to appeal to any but the most diehard of Ruth Davidsons new followers making indy ever more likely.

In the meantime read the Express and the Mail etc. Nurture your wrath to keep it warm. Remember the morons days are numbered. Speaking of numbers if you aren’t spitting nails already may I remind you that you pay Moron of the Day Neil Findlay £60,685pa.

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Moron of The Day 8

Voila mon passeport
Here we are again with our occasional series, Moron of the Day. Now to be fair had I had the time over the last couple of months I could have written a couple of dozen of these so todays recipient was just unlucky enough to come across my radar at 10pm on a Tuesday evening when I could fit him in. He is a Conservative MP, indeed most of the people who have qualified for this award have been elected Conservatives. You may doubt me but I honestly don’t go looking for them they just fall in to my lap, so to speak. As a not very scientific poll it probably proves the Tories have more dickheads in their party than anyone else. Though to be fair if UKIP had more members they would certainly be rivalling them. UKIP do have David Coburn so I suppose that’s enough of a burden for anyone.

So what has Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, for it is he, done to come to MOTD (that’s Moron of the Day, not Match of the Day) attention? Unusual cove Mr Rosindell. Despite being the son of a school dinner lady, having a Comprehensive education and somewhat surprisingly making his first attempt to enter parliament by standing in Glasgow Provan (showing early signs of stupidity or bravery depending on your point of view) he is a full on, flag waving British Nationalist. He even makes his dog wear a Union flag waistcoat. He actually introduced a Union Flag bill in 2008 which said, and I quote, The Bill provides a formal definition of the composition of the Union Flag, stipulates that it is the official flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and includes a schedule containing a description of the flag and how it should be flown. Quite why we needed an act of parliament to confirm it was the UK flag and which way up it should fly I don’t know. He was also a director of the European Foundation. This is a think tank which in the great British tradition actually stands for the opposite of what it sounds like. So it is anti Europe just like the Ministry of Defence is actually the Ministry for War.

What brings him to our attention is that he may have gone a little over the top. The Sun apparently, at least the English edition at any rate, is starting a campaign to bring back the good old Blue British passport in the wake of Brexit (apparently it was dark blue because that was the cheapest colour to produce, so probably a Tory idea). Now I liked the old passport, it was more solid looking than the modern EU thingy and contained a message for Johnny foreigner that, Her Britannic Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs requires said Johnny to render me all assistance that I may require and to let me pass freely and unhindered…..or else. I’m sure that had them quaking in their boots. The only problem now is that Her Britannic Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is one Boris Johnston so they are more likely to fall about laughing. Interestingly something in my old passport that might make a comeback is the notes of the cash I took out of the country and what I brought back under the Exchange Control Act 1947. In 1976 I managed to enjoy two weeks in Greece for the princely sum of £160. That might be coming back too.

Now what is Mr Rosindell’s take on all this? “It’s a matter of identity. Having the pink European passports has been a humiliation.” Well that’s a bit strong seeing as the front of the passport sports a royal seal and the words, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, written boldly with European Union in smaller letters. Anyway I’m sure Mr Rosindell enters any continental port dressed head to foot in red, white and blue and whistling Rule Britannia so no one will be in any doubt as to his identity. Is having a European passport humiliating? I’ve been using the thing for donkeys years and have presented it to immigration officials from Los Angeles to Sydney and none of them have sniggered at the sight and I’ve yet to feel a twinge of embarrassment never mind humiliation. As to colour, it definitely has a burgundy cover and green pages. No doubt claiming it is pink is a subtle way of Mr Rosindell insinuating there is something unmanly about carrying one.

So there we have it, while the Pound sinks, investment drys up and Westminster wanders around in circles with nary a clue as to what the consequences of Brexit may be, you can sleep safe in your beds knowing Andrew Rosindell MP is straining every sinew to revive old Blighty’s glory and return the good old blue passport to you. May I once again remind loyal readers that you pay plonkers like this £74,962pa plus expenses.

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In, Out, Round About? – A Guide to the EU Referendum for the Independent Scot


Feeling confused? Don’t know which way to turn? Is the only flag you’re waving a white one? Fear not mackisimul’s guide to voting in the EU referendum is here to lead you into the light.

This ‘guide’ takes a particularly Scottish slant to the referendum because as in most things the view from Scotland, the reasons for voting Leave or Remain and the consequences of that vote are different for Scotland than for the UK as a whole. The first thing to recognise is that this referendum is at the behest of England and particularly the Conservative party. The fact is the Tories have been fighting among themselves over Europe for the last 40 years. Apart from the fruit loops of UKIP no one else seems greatly fashed. The Scottish parliament had a vote on the subject recently and only 8 out of the 129 MSP voted for leaving. It’s a private punch up but we are all invited. The unfortunate part is that we all are affected by the outcome.

I’m going to look at the main areas of the debate, if debate isn’t too polite a description for this unedifying rammy. The economy, immigration and democracy.


The economic argument confuses more than any other. This is because if you asked 10 economists for an opinion you would get 11 different answers. So economic soothsaying is absolutely ripe for misdirection and misrepresentation. You will have noticed when both sides come out with a prediction or a set of ‘definitive’ figures they are immediately rubbished by the other side. This is fine because both sides are talking bollocks. This also highlights one of the main differences between this referendum and the Scottish independence referendum. The treasury et al produced reams of completely nonsensical figures and forecasts during the indy ref but the difference then was that the entire mainstream media was on the Unionists side and quite happy to repeat all the deceptions and lies over and over again. This time you have MSM on both sides, so while happy to print their own sides garbage they challenge the oppositions.

So forget all the figures from Gideon, a man who couldn’t accurately predict what colour of socks he will be wearing tomorrow never mind the state of the UK economy in 10years time, and his threats of emergency budgets. Not that he wouldn’t love an excuse to further slash public spending. He’d also love to put up taxes. Of course he comes across as a tax cutter but even dumb Gideon can read the figures. Despite apparently creating ‘000s of jobs income tax receipts are falling. This is because most of these jobs pay very little and aggressive increases in personal allowances and the higher rate tax band ain’t conducive to revenue collection. Anyway if there is a Brexit Osborne won’t be Chancellor any longer. More on that later.

So you can only consider the figures we do know and take a broad view of the likely consequences of a Leave vote. The fact is Scotland does rather well out of the EU. Scotland and England are net contributers to the EU budget whilst N Ireland and Wales are net beneficiaries. After taking into account what we get back from the EU Scotland pays less than £100m net per annum. So what do we get for our £100k? Research suggests EU membership stimulates some £7bn of benefit to the Scottish economy each year. This equates to about £2bn of revenue. In other words we gain 20 times our contribution.
Although Scotland represents only 8.5% of the UK population we get more than 17% of EU spending. We gain in areas such as infrastructure spending, agriculture subsidy, grants to our universities and research facilities. UK spending is predominately in London and the South East. For example those jobs the Tories claim to have created. 80% of the jobs created are in an area of the UK with only 15% of the population. Huge infrastructure spending like London Crossrail, the Olympics and soon HS2 all benefit the south even though we all pay for them. By contrast EU funding is aimed at the poorest regions within the EU. So EU spending provides, to a degree, a counterweight to UK government bias to the south. The Leavers claim if we kept all the money we send to the EU we could fund all our own spending. Frankly if you believe a Tory UK government is going to provide the level of funding to Scotland that the EU does you need your head examined.

Overseas investment, another area where Scotland does particularly well, will suffer if we leave the EU. Without access to the single market it is going to make more sense for exporting companies to set up in an EU country than Scotland or the UK as a whole.

The Leavers claim that the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU, they sell more to us than we sell to them. This is delusional stuff. The EU is another 27 countries so combined it’s hardly surprising they sell more to us although it is also true that the UK is pretty hopeless at exporting. That is partly due to the economic mismanagement of the manufacturing sector as both Tory and Labour governments have become enthralled with the financial and consumer sectors to the extent that the UK economy is now some 65% service driven. The rest of the UK sells almost as much to Scotland, population 5.3m, as they do to the whole EU, population 450m. Only Cyprus and Ireland export more than 10% of their goods to the UK. To quote the National Institute of Economic and Social Research on the subject ‘we would become one of the EU’s largest export markets, even if not necessarily the largest. But we’d still be far less important to the EU than they are to us’.

The idea that we can say to the EU, look we’re leaving the club, we aren’t going to pay our dues anymore but we still want full use of all the facilities, is crazy. Apart from the economic realities pointed out by the NIESR the political reality is even more important. It would be politically impossible for the EU, even if it wanted to, to give free access to its markets, it would undermine the whole concept of the common market. Why would EU countries abide by the rules and pay their dues if a country outside the EU got free access? Can a trade deal be done? Of course it can and it will. But on what terms and how long will it take? Leave has no answer to any of that.

So the economic message is actually clear, Scotland benefits from membership.


Nowhere is the difference between Scotland and the rest of the UK (England actually) more stark than immigration. The thing is you wouldn’t really know that if all the information you had was gleaned from the MSM and UKIP. Day after day Scots are bombarded with stories of waves of immigrants flooding the country bring rape, pestilence and an end to ‘British’ civilisation as we know it. Surveys confirm that there isn’t that great a difference between Scotland and the rest of the UK when it comes to our attitude to immigrants. If so that is entirely down to the media. Please don’t confuse immigration with asylum seekers or refugees, even though Farage and UKIP did do so deliberately with their recent poster which was actually illustrated with a picture of a line of Syrian refugees. The fact is Scotland needs immigration.

The percentage of people living in Scotland who were not born here or another part of the UK is only 8%. That’s the same percentage as English people living in Scotland. Our largest city, Glasgow, has the largest number of immigrants, 12.5%. Contrast that with England’s largest city, London, at over 50% or Birmingham it’s second largest city also over 50% or the home of the new Premiership champions, Leicester, over 50%. And many other towns and cities in England with much larger immigrant populations than Glasgow.

The fact is current UK government policy on immigration is harmful to Scotland. With Brexit and walls going up it is going to get worse.
An even starker figure is the overall population contrast between Scotland and England. In the last 35yrs Scotland’s population has grown 3.5%, one of the lowest growth rates in the world. In England the figure is 37%. The difference is massive.


If there is one thing likely more than anything to get my back up it is some UKIP moron/Old Etonian twerp/ignorant little Englander, take your pick, plonker, telling us we have to take our country back. What they mean is they want England back because it is of course the home of all things democratic while the EU is full of faceless bureaucrats determined to do old Blighty down and force us all to eat straight bananas and sauerkraut.

Now it is true that even the most enthusiastic Europhiles believe the EU needs reforming and it does, but leaving isn’t the answer. It is also true that most of us don’t know how the EU is structured, how it operates and how we are represented within it. Whose fault is that? Well it has to be largely the fault of our own government and education systems that no effort is made to educate the populace on what is actually a very important part of our lives. You can bet that a large majority of the little Englanders have no idea how the EU works but the Daily Express tells them that it isn’t working for them and that must be true. The anti EU sentiment plays directly to every xenophobic trait that the English/British possess. The little Englanders/Brits are not used to consensus and cooperation, they are used to telling people what to do.

The irony is that the UK is one of the least democratic democracies you’ll find anywhere. For reference you may care to read my Agenda piece on the subject in the Herald in July 2013 which was part of the indy campaign.

Just a few points. The UK has two chambers of parliament. One of them, the House of Lords isn’t elected at all, so not very democratic. You get to be a member by privilege of birth, obtaining high rank in one sept of one religion (not the Church of Scotland) or being appointed through the grace of the Prime Minister (neatly hidden under an appointments committee) which means you are either useful to the ruling party, being rewarded for having been useful to the ruling party or a past member, usually failed, of any party.

Far from being democratic this is the biggest unelected assembly anywhere in the world, with over 800 members. Hold, I hear you cry, surely the National Congress of the Peoples Republic of China has more members? Well it appears so as the Congress has some 1,700 members. The thing is the population of China is a tad larger than the UKs. If the Congress had the same representation per head as the House of Lords there would be 16,000 of them. The House of Lords has more members than the entire, elected, EU parliament which represents 28 countries.

We have an unelected Head of State, hardly democratic. Again you become Head of State by accident of birth. This pertains even if you are as mad as a box of frogs, which indeed some occupants of the post have been. There is a suspicion some of the potential future occupants may also be as Clint Eastwood once put it, ‘not too tightly wrapped’.

To get into government you have to be elected (whoopee) to the lower house, the House of Commons. Actually your party needs to be elected, the Prime Minister can appoint anyone from the House of Lords he likes to serve in the government. To be elected a party only needs to secure around one third of the votes cast. The present government got 37%. The last majority government only got 35%, not very democratic.

The Prime Minister exercising the Royal prerogative, given to him by the unelected Head of State, may declare war without consulting parliament or anyone else.

The UK alone of all European countries has no written constitution laying out the rights and obligations of the State and it’s citizens. The UK doesn’t actually have citizens, only subjects. This allows the government and parliament to overrule the courts. The present government in its last LibDem coalition guise has done this. When the Court of Appeal upheld the claim of two jobseekers that their benefits had been unlawfully stopped parliament rewrote the law and back dated it to before the judges ruling thereby making the legal system in the UK redundant. If that doesn’t scare the bejesus out of you I don’t know what will.

This stinking, corrupt cesspool of a UK parliament also brought you the expenses scandal, MPs like Malcolm Rifkind whoring themselves for £5,000 a half day selling the information and contacts they obtained by being very highly paid by you as MPs and cabinet ministers, not to mention Alistair Carmichael. Carmichael of course used his position to undermine and smear the First Minister of Scotland by secretly releasing a memo he knew to contain false information, for the purpose of rigging a ‘democratic’ UK general Election. He found himself in court, was found guilty of all charges, brutally castigated by the judges but let off because he was acting as a politician not an ordinary citizen, sorry subject. An ordinary subject would have been sacked and probably ended up in jail. Who wrote the unbelievable law that protects MPs and allows this abuse? Yep, the democratic UK parliament.

The idea that the people of this country will be availed of more democratic accountability outside the European Union is laughable.


I have to say I’ve never been totally convinced of the idea that Brexit would automatically lead to a second referendum. I know that senior SNP politicians, including the First Minister, and leading figures whom I respect in the independence movement, have been bullish of the prospect but I’ve always been skeptical. Polls have shown that Brexit boosts sentiment for independence around 6 points typically taking support from around 47/48% to 53/54%. More recent polls suggest less of a boost, anyway it is too close and it ain’t a good idea to hang your hat on a single shoogly nail. If this was 4 or 5 years down the line, the polls were consistently showing support for independence at 53/54% the boost of Brexit could be the nail in the Union coffin.

It may prove so yet. In the meantime how should people vote in the EU referendum if their main concern is Scottish independence? There is a gap between England & Scotland on the issue. If the UK votes out it will be on English votes. Scotland is solidly behind Remain. The theory is if Scotland is taken out of the EU against her will on the basis of the rest of the UKs votes it will be a democratic outrage (which it will be) and indy2 will be triggered. So vote Remain.

Some misguided souls think they will be helping the cause by voting Leave. This is all wrong for a number of reasons. Voters in England, because it will be them primarily, make up 85% of the vote. They don’t need any help from you. Scottish votes can only affect the result if it is very, very close and you can’t call that. Independence is best served by a clear and substantial difference in vote between us and the rest of the UK. Voting Leave reduces that gap and in the worst case scenario gives Scotland a Leave majority in which case Brexit is a non issue in the independence debate. If the rest of the UK votes Remain as well, again Brexit is a non issue. Putting too much emphasis on the possibility in the overall context of independence is counter productive.


If the vote is Leave there is no way that Cameron can survive and Osborne will go with him. Bad as they are they will be replaced by an even more right wing, xenophobic regime. You can be sure that will be even worse for Scotland.
There are other reasons to vote Remain of course if your concerns are social justice or workers rights etc which I’ve not covered here. Human rights, workers rights and all kinds of protective legislation will be repealed or altered by the Tories. Everyone thinks the EU needs reforming and it does but for economic, immigration, democratic and independence reasons the right vote for Scotland is Remain. All clear now?

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Dumb and Dumber

Ruth Davidson .jpg

Ruth Davidson leader of the Scottish Conservative Naereferendum Party

Kezia Dugdale.jpg
Kezia Dugdale Leader of the Scottish Labour Naehope Party

What a choice eh? I can’t say I’m greatly engaged by the 2016 Scottish election. It’s all rather predictable.  But there are some things worth commenting on, mainly around tax policy, and I hope to have the time to do that before the election, perhaps even sooner than the publication of Labour’s manifesto which remarkably we won’t see until 8 days before the election. Must be really bad if they are going to keep it hidden that long.

We do however have the Tories manifesto, not that we needed it to know their plan. I say plan rather than plans because they have only one, to replace Labour as Scotland’s number 2 party.

As a document it consists of the remarkable and the unremarkable. The unremarkable is it is full of completely uncosted policy commitments or rather completely uncosted policy commitments which somehow they are going to force on the SNP government. And there will be an SNP government because the Tory manifesto says there will be. It is remarkable in that it is the first manifesto I’ve seen where the election is conceded by page 2. The rest is mainly an anti SNP, anti independence rant  except where they are having a go at Labour.

The plan is clear and has been for a while. They are setting themselves out as the anti independence anti 2nd referendum party. They claim they are the only true unionist party. This is based on Kezia, rather democratically, allowing individuals within her party, including elected ones, to campaign for independence if they wish in the event of indy ref2. The fact is though that the Labour Party remains a Union supporting party.

My query is if you are a Union supporting traditional Labour voter why would you switch to the Tories? Apart from a believe in the Union what else do you share in common with Ruth’s merry little band? Well bugger all is the likely answer. Frankly only the terminally stupid would succumb to such an approach. The fact is there will be a 2nd referendum when the country decides it wants one and there is an SNP government. Switching your vote from Labour to the Tories or the Monster Raving Looney party for that matter will make no difference whatsoever. And when that referendum arrives if you are still inclined to vote for the Union you can do so, you don’t have to become a Tory in the meantime.

Apparently Ruth is a very popular politician and just the gal to hold that vile separatist Sturgeon to account. The only people who actually believe this guff are the Tory party and the Tory supporting press. True in the most recent polls Ruth is apparently more popular than Kez. Kez of course was handed a dead fish in a waistcoat by Murphy and the stench will probably never disperse. On the other, rather more important hand, Labour are still ahead of the Conservatives in the polls.

The only people Ruth is likely to attract, if they do not already swell her ranks, are the brain dead scum of the Unions far right and she is welcome to them.

One point on the tax policy ‘debate’. While the Tories at Westminster are always telling us to get on with using our super duper new tax powers the Tories in Scotland are doing precisely nothing.  All that hanging out with the Lib Dems seems to have affected Ruthie and she is now a fully paid up member of the wishy washy, flip flop party.

Ruth it was who drew a line in the sand and said no more powers to the Scottish Parliament. A commitment, which to mix my metaphors, disappeared like snow off a dyke, when the tide came in. Then she told us she was going to reduce income tax by a penny, what happened to that? Then she got a commission to come up with the idea of introducing a 30% tax rate to ease the way in to a 40% tax rate for our wealthier tax payers. No sooner had the idea been adopted than with the election looming, it was suddenly kicked into the long grass and yet another commission will be set up to advise on tax matters.

Apparently with the country in dire straights this isn’t the time to introduce such a policy. This at least has the merit of being true but it isn’t the reason Ruthie dropped it. A much more likely scenario is this.

The phone rings in the Davidson household. On the line is a ‘friend’  “Hello Ruth?, listen old gal been having a butchers at your 30% tax rate idea. Very whizzo and very Tory. Unfortunately it would create one of those inconvenient black holes we are always going on about. You see when we stitched up the Jockos with the Smith thingy we left you with no way to make up a reduction in income tax. It’s ok for Gidders because he has all sorts of sneaky, under the radar, ways of eaking out a few quid.  Plus of course we can always screw the poor prols a bit harder. Unfortunately those options aren’t open to you old gal. Anyway must pop off now. Dave sends his best and says he really loves the leaping out of cars, the tank riding, the ice hockey stuff. Just wishes he had the balls to do something brave himself, like leading his party rather than doing whatever they tell him. Anyway as I said must dash, we’ve got this awful EU thing that Dave got us into to sort out.”

Well must dash myself now. Hold on the phone’s ringing. It’s the picture ed. What? Are you sure? Well it looks like her to me.


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