New Tricks

A well-appointed government meeting room in Cardiff City Hall. image

(A slightly orange-tinged Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the UK, Liam Fox MP, David Davis MP, the Viceroy of Scotland David Mundell MP, various flunkies, and the leaders of the devolved governments of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland sit facing the media cameras, displaying a mixture of grimaces and coat-hanger-mouthed smiles. The photo opportunity over, the room clears slowly of photographers).

Theresa May: (Leaning back in her chair, smiling, almost purring, and smoking an imaginary cigarette, still in post-sycophantic contentment) “Good morning everyone. Welcome to the latest meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council here in the lovely setting of Wales, where we’ll discuss the great progress my government has been making with our plans for Brexit, taking back jobs for Britain, and protecting “the working people of this country’. We’ll also cover the proposals from Scotland and Wales that we’ve all had circulated.

(Nods of welcome and acknowledgement are shared around the room. David Mundell scribbles quietly in a ‘My Little Pony’ dot-to-dot sketch pad, making sure he doesn’t make eye contact with the Scottish delegation across the table.)

Nicola Sturgeon:“ Speaking for my friends and devolved government colleagues I thank you for your welcome Prime Minister. We appreciate you may still be a bit jetlagged from your visit to the United States, therefore your commitment to this meeting is appreciated, and highlights how important the views of your partner nations in the UK are to you with regards to moving on with Brexit in a manner that is not detrimental to the people of the whole of the UK.”

Theresa May: (Giggling like a weird ageing schoolgirl Tim Burton creation) “Thank you Nicki darling. That is most kind of you to say so. Yes I do tend to take what you regional administrations say seriously, don’t I. I thought it was terrible, wicked and nasty the way the Supreme Court ruled you out of having any say on my government’s final plan to put Britain first. I really did. That most definitely is a shame. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I’ve certainly learned a lot over the last few days, during my transatlantic trip, important strategies which will help me to carry on doing my job to the best of my ability for “the working people of this country”. Therefore I’ll say right now that I fully intend to commit my government, I have good people, to intensify work on the alternative proposals which Scotland and Wales have placed on the table.”

Carwyn Jones (First Minister of Wales):”That’s encouraging and good to hear Prime Minister. Can you perhaps be a bit more specific in terms of what you mean by “intensify?’

Theresa May: “Let me be very clear, By intensify I mean INTENSIFY. We’ve got to get this right for ‘the working people of this country.”

Nicola Sturgeon: “Yes, but what do you actually mean? Can you give us an insight into what parts of our proposals you will take forward? Do you accept the need for a differentiated deal on the single market, and that consideration needs to be seriously given to which enhanced powers will come back to our devolved governments post-Brexit? What are your views?”

Theresa May: (Outstretching her arms like an evangelist) “ I have very clear views on this subject, so do ‘the working people of this country. I’m going to cut through all of the red tape to get this right, like no previous Prime Minister has ever done. They’ve always got it wrong before. If it works out I see that as a good thing, not a bad thing.”

(Puzzled looks abound on the devolved side of the negotiating table. David Mundell, head down, starts colouring in his dot-to-dot drawing vigorously. There is an awkward silence for a few minutes).

Carwyn Jones: “No, I’m sorry, we’re still not with you Prime Minister. Can you perhaps break that down a bit for us?’

Theresa May: “Details, details, you people always want details. I’ve said I’ll look at your proposals and that is what I’ll do. But let me be clear, we are going to build a wall, and the French and the Germans are going to pay for it.”

(Audible gasps of horror fill the room. David Mundell, turning bright red, suddenly develops a fascination with the pattern of the room’s wallpaper).

Nicola Sturgeon: “I don’t think that you are grasping the significance of what you are saying Prime Minister. You are endangering the future of the United Kingdom. This is one of the last opportunities you may have to provide us with tangible evidence that you are taking us seriously.”

Theresa May: “You can’t threaten me Shorty. I have important friends. Go on our own. See If I care. You know you’ll need visas right? We’ll send them all back, even David Tennant. Anyway I can’t spare any longer on this meeting. I’ve got ‘the working people of this country’ to consider. Let’s just call it quits for today, tell the media it went well , and that we are making good progress. I need to get back to London to interview my new press secretary, Katie Hopkins.

(The assembled leaders of the devolved government of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland sit in silence, shaking their heads, as they gaze out of the meeting room window at the rearview of the now sun-glassed Prime Minister, surrounded by 50 dark suited bulging-oxstered heavies, as she gets into a waiting stretch limousine).

Nicola Sturgeon: (Breaking the silence) “Something has definitely changed about her. I can’t put my finger on it. Is she doing her hair differently?”

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Are Seeds Taking Root?

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Cautiously, and admittedly guardedly, is there a very faint hint of something potentially seismic taking place in the land to the north of Carlisle at the moment?

Would it be fair to say there is a bit of a word, just a determined defiant whisper, going round the doors, that perhaps, just perhaps, there is a shift in mood and change is a’comin in Scotland? Not in a rambunctious way, just a quiet, typically understated, unfussy and slow shuffle in the direction of a tipping point towards self-determination?

Social media seems awash with statements from formerly firmly convinced Better The Githerites, gnashing, boaking and squirming , as most fair minded folks would, at the vision of Theresa May’s sycophantic love-in with extremist right wing nationalist Steve Bannon’s front-man over the weekend, suggesting that enough is now most definitely enough, let us be off. It’s Yes from now on right down the line.

I myself have had conversations over the last few days with two friends who voted No in 2014, both of whom who previously held the belief that those of us committed to Scottish independence were all just fanatical about flags, oil, kilts and the dreaded B word (Braveheart). Both have now been either worn down, or wised up, to the extent that come Indy 2 they too will vote Yes to the question of their country being governed by its own people rather than continuing to be ruled undemocratically, from a distance, by a government the people of Scotland do not vote for.

I laughed at the Hootsmon’s spinning headlines yesterday. “Scottish independence poll: Majority oppose second referendum. More than half of Scots do not want another vote on independence to be held in the next few years, according to a poll.” The Panelbase survey last week of 1,020 voters for the Sunday Times found 51% are not supportive of a second referendum within the next year or two. Yes, you read that right, 51%.

The great bastion of unionism in Scotland then goes on to tell us that the poll found that overall support for independence is slightly up, at 46%, with the no vote at 54%. Aren’t polls great? Especially these days, when we’ve recently seen wildly inaccurate forecasts for the results of the Brexit referendum and the contest which heralded the arrival on to the world leader stage of the Twit(terer) of the Free World, putting the polling business into the category of comedy light relief.

This report is the nearest the Hootsmon will ever get, through clenched teeth, to saying ‘We, the Union, are in trouble, the natives are not taking the bait anymore, they are ignoring the propaganda, recognising it for what it is, and if we are not careful the gemme’s a boagey.’

The unionist media have been falling over themselves for months to tell us that nobody wants independence, that support is falling, it’s not. Without any official campaigning across the board support has maintained steady around 45% of the Scottish electorate. Bearing in mind that before the 2014 referendum the starting percentage of Scottish voters who intended to vote Yes before the campaign began was around 30% I think we’ve a lot to be positive about.

As their longstanding Project Fear campaign strategy attests, reheating unsubstantiated negative stories about how life would be in an independent Scotland, it’s almost like the media thinks that if they keep telling us nobody wants a referendum it will become fact. A well-established strategy. As a minister for propaganda in a 1930’s far right wing state once said “ If you tell a lie long enough, loud enough and often enough, the people will believe it.” In these days of ‘alternative facts’ that statement is as relevant today, if not more so, than at any other time since it was first stated.

Meanwhile the Scottish government continue to strive to have the democratic will of the people of Scotland respected by the UK government, with due consideration taken of the alternative negotiation proposals to protect Scotland’s place in the European Union, and potentially 80,000 jobs, that have been made by Nicola Sturgeon’s Brexit advisory team. Wales now too have published their views for inclusion.

However neither of these proposal submissions are going to go anywhere fast. Theresa May can bob, weave and procrastinate as much as she likes, but sometime soon she’s going to need to make it formal, she near enough has already, that she has no intention of taking any notice of devolved governments when it comes to Brexit. The Supreme Court decision of last week trashing the Sewel Convention helps her to do so. We are a region in her eyes, no more, no less. The independence movement needs to ensure that when this happens we make sure the Reporting Scotland version of events is not the only show in town. The people of Scotland need to have it put in front of them in clear terms the practical consequences for them, and their families, and their standard of living, employment rights, and limitations that a “hard” Brexit will bring.

Clearly now is not the time for Indy 2 to take place. However as we move ahead over the coming months the actions of the UK government, and the consequences of appeasement, giving tacit agreement to a racist narcissist hell bent on the destruction and dismantling of hard won freedoms and human rights, and the persecution of minority groups, all in the hope of a favourable trading agreement, might do what the independence movement has so far failed to do, create a firm majority of Scots in favour of independence. That’s when the date will be set.

It is coming.

“Sometimes Opposites Attract”

I’ve taken a few pelters this week for linking the independence movement in Scotland with a strong distaste for the new improved ‘Special Relationship’ that’ll be cemented today by gifts of a quaich and lashings of Damson Jam and Bakewell Tarts. Oh, what a spiffing wheeze. I’m gonnae boak.

I make no apology about Trump. I find the guy repulsive. I accept there are some in favour of Scottish Independence who may agree with him and his methods. We’re a broad church I suppose. I don’t.

Yes, politicians are generally pretty much of a muchness, in my view mostly someone to be wary of by the very nature of the fact that they are a politician in the first place, and yes in his time Obama fired up the drone strikes too, just like Bush before him, but this man is a whole new level of dangerous, to so many individuals, groups, and hard won freedoms, all on his own. His only interest is himself and satisfying his ego, nothing more.

So really what I’m saying is if you are looking for anything supporting Trump, or even balanced on Trump, you won’t find it here.  And where I think his actions, and the actions of his new best pal, who, when setting out the UK’s opinion on the issue, did her usual side-step, refusing to condemn his views on torture to the press, impact Scotland I’ll continue to point that out.

Theresa May joked, regarding her prospective relationship with the U.S.leader that “sometimes opposites attract” as she dashed over the pond to try and work out a trade deal that she thinks will help get her out of the financial maelstrom which is the withdrawal from the European Union. In reality there isn’t a deal that can be done with America that would replace the EU single market.

He’s made it clear he’s going to be protectionist, she says the same, how could she say anything else? Let’s hope though that she doesn’t quietly flash the knickers of access to the U.K’s public sector, and the potential of lowest bid, poorest service, highest profit contracts.

Trump is quoted the other day, when talking about his Great Wall of Mexico ego trip, that ” A nation without borders is not a nation”. If May gets her way Scotland, as part of the good ship HMS Rule Britannia, whilst perhaps not having a physical boundary surrounding it, will, for all intents and purposes, be cut off from traditional partners and trading alliances in isolationist rightwing Little Britain.

Does the future look bright? Only in an independent Scotland.

Think About It, Please.

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Now, if you are someone whose viewpoint is straight down the line Rule Britannia the following is not geared towards you, because there will never be any circumstances that will change your opinion. The British state can do anything to you and you’ll accept it, taking the view that you trust what they are doing is for the best for your country, which for you, first and foremost, is Britain. Fair enough, that’s your view. There’s no point of flogging a deed coo.

Separately, as a side issue, the whole religious divide thing in parts of Scotland has been promoted and used to great effect over the years by those in power to manipulate and divert anger away from themselves, encouraging generally sections of the least well off to quarrel, blaming each other for the ills of society and dividing communities, rather than working together to put the spotlight on those who create the real problems. A clever ruse, based on the timeless strategy of divide and conquer.

However, apart from the folk mentioned above, ladies and gentlemen of Scotland who voted No in the referendum of September 2014 please I beg your indulgence for just a few minutes.

First up, a bit of an example, of which there are many, of the dodgy behaviour of those who have control over decision making for your country, for you, and for your family, the British State.

40 odd years ago vast reserves of a precious natural resource were discovered in the waters around your country, as were similarly found in the waters of your neighbour Norway. Norway, taking the sensible approach decided to benefit their citizens by creating an ‘oil fund” from the tax receipts of this find which they used to create an extensive welfare and health system, with a standard of living envied by other countries. Essentially Norway keeps that money aside for a rainy day, when things are tight, when the world has an economic slump, they have a bit put aside.

So what happened in Scotland’s case? Well, first of all when surveys had established how much oil potentially was actually in Scotland’s waters the Westminster government rubbed their hands, but then they panicked that the people of Scotland would find out that they were sitting on a lottery win. The cabinet of the British government then made a conscious decision to hide the extent of the oil reserves in Scotland’s water from the people of Scotland, a deception which continued for 30 odd years. If you think this is fabricated google ‘The McCrone Report.” Professor Gavin McCrone was a highly respected UK government economist who wrote a paper about the consequences of Scotland’s extensive reserves of oil . He deduced in his paper that if the people of Scotland had access to the financial benefits of their own natural resource Scotland would be one of the richest countries in the world. His paper was buried as confidential for many years. Look it up. Please do.

So what did the government of the UK do with all of the money from the tax receipts from the oil found in Scotland’s waters? The vast amount of revenue gained from tax receipts from oil found in Scotland’s waters was spent financing Margaret Thatcher and her successors golden age of Britain. It built the M25, Canary Wharf, the Channel Tunnel, it financed weapons of mass destruction, it provided the financing that bailed out high risk failures in the City.

The Union backed media, (let’s not beat about the bush here, the BBC is an arm of the British State, it is not impartial, it is not providing you with a fair reflection of events, it’s telling you what you need to hear from the perspective of protecting it’s patron. If you don’t believe that go and look up how the BBC World Service is funded, it is funded by the Foreign Office) will tell you that according to reports like GERS Scotland is poor and couldn’t possibly survive financially, meanwhile in reality before the oil price dropped, which will come back up again, Scotland per head of population contributed each year for several decades to the Exchequer in London far in excess of the monies returned to Scotland to pay for essential public services by way of the block grants Westminster decides Scotland should have. You have helped keep the rest of the UK afloat for decades, yet as long as the newspapers, who are all owned by individuals or organisations who stand to lose out if Scotland becomes independent, and the unionist broadcast media, tell you that Scotland is the only country in the world who couldn’t possibly govern itself you seem to believe them. Please, I implore you, take a step back, have a think about that. Do your own research. Be informed.

So that’s a wee insight into the kind of people you are dealing with, who are not interested in your views, and only see Scotland as something they can milk and take advantage of.

Ok, so you don’t believe that they are not interested in your views? Let’s look at that. In 2014, when they feared the worst, that the people of Scotland would in fact take control of their own affairs, they promised you the earth. We love you Scotland, don’t leave us, we need you to stay, we need you to lead, they said. We’re a family of nations, they said. They promised Devo Max, control of just about every power under the sun apart from foreign affairs and defence. They made Vows, they pleaded with you. You don’t need independence they said, what we’ll give you will be virtually independence, in fact it will be better because you’ll still have the union.

On the morning after you voted No things changed. Suddenly it was all about England. Scotland had caved in so they didn’t need to bother about convincing you anymore. It was a day of English Votes for English Laws initiating a clear attempt to change the goalposts so that Scotland could never be so close to so much power ever again, even to the extent that a Scottish politician will never again be Prime Minister. By voting No you sent Westminster a clear signal that Scotland has no respect for itself therefore it can just be walked all over. They only understand power. How do you think they managed to manipulate a quarter of the planet at one stage?

Every promise they made you before 18th September 2014 was backtracked on, wormed out of, and diluted, resulting in the farcical half-soaked Smith Commission giving Scotland control over the colour of its signposts, and very little else.

There was, of course, a backlash to all of this dishonesty. In the subsequent General Election the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to send 56 of a possible 59 members of parliament representing Scottish constituencies to Westminster from the party which advocates self-government for Scotland. The UK government has one , yes one, representative in Scotland, an odious fellow who has admitted that he does not represent Scotland in Westminster’s government, instead he represents Westminster to the people of Scotland. He also insists that Scotland doesn’t actually exist as a country since it was swallowed up as part of the Act of Union. This very chap made great play publicly at the time of the follow on Scotland Bill and Act, as a consequence of the watered down proposals of the Smith Commission, that Scotland’s government will now be concretely set as permanent, reinforcing the terms set out in the late 1990’s in the Sewell Convention that Westminster will not legislate in devolved matters, where powers have been handed out to Scotland, Wales and N Ireland, without the consent of the devolved governments themselves. He made a big show of how his government were doing Scotland a huge favour.

Meanwhile in an increasingly right-wing Westminster, where Labour spend half their time agreeing with the Tories, or abstaining from votes that would put a spoke in the wheels of any policy the Tories want to implement to enrich the few whilst fleecing the many, with no care or conscience for the vulnerable or the under waged, your 56 representatives (54 SNP, and currently 2 Independent) are being ignored and scorned. The people you have chosen to express your opinions and champion your views insulted. The very mention of St Andrews Day by a Scottish MP the other month resulted in boos and hissing from the childish privileged public school educated benches across the floor.

Then along comes a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, facilitated by the Tories, in an effort to pander to the far right UKIP faction of Nigel Farage and Co, the modern day equivalent of the BNP, near fascist in their hatred of immigrants, and paranoid about the UK’s European partners, because local government elections in England resulted in several of their members defecting or threatening to defect to this extremist group. Hence panic amongst the Tory elite.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union by 62% to 38% , England and Wales voted to leave. Therefore it would be reasonable to assume that democratically the people of Scotland should have a say in whether they should remain as part of a trading bloc of 500 million potential customers for Scotland’s goods and services, yes? No, Theresa May’s UK government has ignored any attempts for this to happen. The Scottish First Minister, after much consultation with European partners and experts in the field, produced a document outlining ways in which firstly the UK itself could escape the ravages of a “hard” Brexit”( leaving the single market and the common justice agreement), and secondly, if the UK didn’t want that, proposals to protect Scotland’s place in Europe, which Scotland’s people have voted resoundingly for. That document is now sitting under a table leg in Downing Street stopping Brexit Minister David Davis’s desk from wobbling. Scotland stands to lose up to 80,000 jobs as a direct consequence of a ‘hard’ Brexit. No matter, you don’t count, you have no say.

It’s all about immigration. The British government would rather sacrifice their economy than agree to EU citizens continuing to move and work freely in the UK. Scotland, with an increasingly ageing population, relies on EU citizens coming to live, work and pay taxes in Scotland to help pay for its public services. It needs at least 25,000 immigrants a year to settle and work just to remain economically stable. No matter, you don’t count, you have no say.

Recently the Supreme Court in London, who have been considering the Tory government’s appeal in a case where the English legal system had judged that the Westminster Parliament must be given the opportunity to vote on the final UK plan for Brexit, decided to uphold that decision, which will only briefly inconvenience the Tories because Labour won’t vote against them, and your 56 MP’s don’t matter. But importantly for Scotland the Supreme Court also ruled that devolved governments will have no say in the Brexit process, and have no right to be consulted, making a mockery of the Sewell Convention. So effectively all of the bumph you’ve heard on the BBC about Scotland being the “ most powerful devolved government in the world” is indeed horseshite. Scotland for all intents and purposes is a region of the UK and therefore should be treated as such. Do you feel let down? Do you feel conned? No? Well you should.

If all of this stuff doesn’t bother you just keep watching Reporting Scotland and hiding under your duvet. If your one of those who says “ I don’t do politics” please think a bit deeper, and a bit longer term. All of this is actually about you, to benefit you and your standard of living, to protect and improve your family’s health and wellbeing, to create opportunities for your children, and their children for a better life.

Alternatively if you are one of those who says “ Why bother, they are all just the same, they are only in it for themselves” you are wrong. You could be living in a country right now where an Independent Labour Party with real Labour values, not the current plastic Tories of Westminster and Holyrood , are vying with the Greens, the Scottish Socialists, the SNP and whatever the Tories would become in an independent Scotland, for your vote, by putting forward policies that benefit you, your families, and future generations of Scots. not London and the home counties, not a government who knows you don’t vote for them, which has no need to ever keep any promises to you, or even consider you because arithmetically you literally don’t count. They see you as a non-entity.

A second independence referendum is coming, and when it does it is not the SNP’s referendum, it is not Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon’s referendum. It is not about political parties, it is your referendum.

If you’ve got this far sincere thanks for taking the time to read this. Folks, you’ve just got to do something about this. It can’t go on the way it is. Future generations of Scots will suffer, and suffer badly if you don’t. Scotland will only prosper as an independent country, where those you place in charge of government are answerable to you

Alternative Facts

Hard on the heels of the Tweeter of the Free World, in one of his first executive orders, scarily declaring the day of his inauguration as the ‘National Day of Patriotic Devotion” we hear that his new bestie Theresa, in true copy-cat style, is set to declare 31st March in the UK as “National Day of Patronising Devotion’ in honour of that great partnership of equals, the Union that exists between the various countries of the UK.

This date in March being the day by which the UK Prime Minister has committed to triggering Article 50, starting the clock ticking on the UK’s departure from a common trading and justice agreement with a bloc of 27 European partners , it is appropriate that she should choose that day to celebrate all that she sees is great about the Union, the strength of its broad shoulders, and the loving embrace which its partnership nations mutually benefit from.

Henceforth on the 31 March in the streets of the seats of government of the UK there will be guardsmen, pipers and morris dancers tripping over each by the hundred, as the sky fills with red, white and blue contrails, and field guns sound out a salute around the country. Tea will be drank, and revellers will be encouraged to eat jellied eels and spam fritters for lunch. Garlic will officially be a banned substance which will attract on the spot fines for anyone found carrying, or smelling of it.

In this new world era of ‘alternative facts” the government of the UK must be heartily applauded for the sterling work they have put in since last June to ensure that they’ve kept the devolved limited power governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland right up to speed, with their fingers on the pulse of every plan and strategy produced when it comes to Brexit.

As Theresa May said at the weekend “ During the 2014 separatist referendum our government at the time made it clear that we wanted Scotland to stay in the UK, and we wanted them to lead. We would have been heartbroken had they left us. We love Scots. They fight wars for us, give us their natural resources, invent things, and carry our golf clubs and hunting rifles. That is why I have ensured that we keep the Scottish government, as well as the Welsh and the Northern Irish, in the picture at all times, and I have included their opinions and views in all of the decisions we have made as equal partners in our splendid union.”

Ms May’s cabinet colleague, the Minister responsible for Brexit, David Davis, further confirmed this when he let it slip to a journalist yesterday that during one of the Joint Ministerial Committee meetings on Brexit he had struggled to get the marker pen and flip chart away from Nicola Sturgeon, who was deep in strategic thought and planning at the time about ways in which the glorious land of Britannia could take most advantage of dumping the Europeans, particularly the Germans.

He joked that he’d twice tried to butt in as the First Minister addressed the meeting on her theme of reliving past glories, and had even switched off the mike when she led the room full of politicians and cabinet officials in a rousing chorus of “ Two World Wars and a World Cup” but she couldn’t be halted. There was no stopping her patriotic ardour. “ We’re all in this together, and take it from me, little Nicki is right in there with us, making Britain great again” said Mr Davis.

Since the Prime Minister’s speech on Brexit last week no further public mention has been made of the alternative proposals for Brexit which the government of Scotland published before Christmas.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was asked about this in parliament yesterday by one of his reddish tinged colleagues from across the floor and made it known that the Scotch had withdrawn the document, having seen the error of their ways. Mr Johnson also announced that as part of the enhanced transatlantic “special relationship’ with the new Washington administration that he, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and Special Envoy Farage are off to Las Vegas shortly for a summit about “erm… something or other.”

Speaking specifically of Scotland Mr Johnson, eyes glistening with tears, noted “ It’s great at last to see that the Scots have turned their backs on nationalism in favour of what’s right for us all, patriotism.”

Time To Go Scotland -Period

Did you know that the attendance at the Partick Thistle v Formartine Utd match in the cup was 287,500? Firhill was packed tae the gunnels, positively stowed oot, the surrounding streets were awash wae supporters, They ran out of pies, apart from the ones on the park, by kick off time. The Asda in Summerston had tae shut its doors because 26,000 fitbaw supporters all wanted a bridie. In fact it was the biggest crowd ever at a Partick Thistle Formartine game – period.

Where do you begin to start with that weekend? Do you make reference to the dawning of the brave new age where right up front, and in your face, the truth is now something someone tells you is the truth rather than the actual truth? Do you mention how a principled UK politician, that you had reasonably high hopes for, disappoints badly as he heads down the well-trodden route of SNPBAD, with a willingness to accept anything, up to and including the invasion of giant purple lobsters from the planet Crusta, rather than seeing the people of Scotland govern themselves? Or perhaps do we play hunt the wayward nuclear submarine missile, or chase the answer to a straightforward question from the new “Iron Lady”, she who is soon to be bosom buddies with the Tweeter of the Free World?

A staggeringly mixed bag indeed. However one thing is clear, the events of the last few days make it even more important that the devolved limited power government of Scotland set a date in the not too distant future where the people will get another chance to determine their own destiny. Because honestly, and this is the actual truth, the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

Someone once said that everyone is entitled to their opinion but not their own truth. It is clear that the administration that the electorate of the United States of America have voted in to power have a different view.

Carrying on his spiteful childlike feud with the US media, before he starts trying to bully the leaders of other countries this week, the Trumpet is determined to create an alternative universe. If you’re a reader of history all of this will be chillingly familiar to you. Demonise the press to the point where you encourage your supporters to believe nothing that they report, suck up to intelligence and policing agencies and the military with promises of huge funding increases, put your own people in charge, have a cull of dissenters in these agencies, and as long as you have enough riot shields, water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas canisters you don’t have to worry too much about objections or protests when you go about doing exactly what you want.

This man with a tan, who is supremely confident in his own abilities and entirely comfortable with his own disingenuous egotistical persona, will only ever be one Twitter argument away from considering a tactical nuclear strike on some other country targeted as “the enemy”. The implications of such an action, or more likely, the threat of it, are horrendous for the population of the central belt of Scotland.

Living in an area which has a huge target sign pinned to it on many strategic maps around the globe, which houses the base where they store the weapons of mass murder that the UK leases from America at huge public expense, far away from the seat of British power, the people of the most densely populated area in Scotland would be right to feel a wee bit nervous.

Then we’ve had a visit north from Jeremy Corbyn, who tells us that Scotland is too wee, too poor and too…….. you know the rest, and have heard it many times (sigh). C’mon Jezza, what a disappointment you are. We expected better. “Turbo-charged austerity” the leader of the New/Old/ Socialist/ No we’re not/cloned Tory party says would be the outcome of a self-governing Scotland, before going on to slaughter the SNP for refusing to raise income tax rates, passing on Tory cuts to Scots, and not playing ball with Brexit. This from the leader of the party that in Westminster have voted with, or abstained from doing harm to, so many Tory government decisions that they could often be mistaken as being members of the same party.

Some of us had a vague feeling that Jeremy Corbyn would be honourable in his views and respect the democratic will of the people of Scotland. Turns out he’s just another Union at all costs politician. Labour in Scotland, all but extinct, are going down like the Trumpet presidency’s press secretary’s credibility rating, hurtling towards oblivion.

As if all of that wasn’t enough we have the strange case of the misfiring missile during testing of the aforementioned leased weapons of mass death, in June last year, shortly before the extortionate public expense of renewing the programme which feeds the ego of the UK establishment’s small man syndrome was debated in parliament. This debate resulted in a successful vote to spend over 40billion pounds to renew Trident. Thankfully the missile concerned was not armed, and there is no absolutely no truth, real or of the Trump variety, in the rumour that it is still flying and was last seen passing the chippy in Ardrossan, and turning out to sea. No, it apparently “safely” came to earth somewhere around about Florida, (not Mount Florida thankfully).

Now bearing in mind that 58 of Scotland’s 59 MPs, minus the sycophantic fluffmeister, voted for obvious reasons, against the renewal of nuclear weapons, you could see why the Scottish government might just be a teensy weensy bit miffed at information regarding a missile launched from a submarine flying around in ever decreasing circles like a firework at Hogmanay being suppressed just before an important vote on its renewal.

What did the sleekit eyed UK Premier know? When did she know it? Did she deliberately fail to disclose the pre post-truth facts? Who knows if we will ever find out but she did a rare job of dingying Andrew Marr on the subject. Asked a direct question several times as to whether she knew about the incident she did everything to avoid answering bar read him the weekend’s winning lottery numbers, displaying her penchant for a bit of manipulation of the truth. Something they’ll be able to identify as having in common when she goes off to start her relationship of right-wing mutual admiration with her transatlantic new best friend on Friday.

Somebody please confirm soon that we have credible evidence that a majority of Scots are now in favour on independence before she picks up some of his habits and tells us that 5 million Scots- period wish to remain in the warm embrace of new age British nationalism.

Independence is Scotland’s only hope. It’s time to get out.image

Looking ‘Very Seriously’ At Scotland’s Proposals

Today. An opulent meeting room somewhere in the city, in the ‘Metropolis’, the centre of all power and wealth. Designed to intimidate.  Delegations from the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, (soon to be subject to an election) settle in their chairs, shuffle their papers and await the beginning of the meeting.

It is less than 48 hours since the Prime Minister of the UK made a speech at Lancaster House outlining a 12-point plan of her government’s intentions with regards to future trading relationships with the European Union.

The door opens and David Davis, the Minister charged with seeing the UK’s exit from the European Union through to its conclusion, walks into the room with his entourage of secretaries, assistant secretaries, advisors and a nervous looking David ‘Fluffy’ Mundell, the only elected Tory north of the border, hence his title of Secretary of State for Scotland. Many recall the days when office bearers of this title, whether Labour or Conservative, were considered to be honourably Scotland’s representative in government. This couldn’t be said of Mundell, who is clearly Westminster’s man in Scotland. Someone who one’s granny could easily describe as a ‘wee nyaff.’

David Davis: ‘Welcome everyone.  There’s tea and coffee on the table, please help yourselves. This is a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on Brexit, and we are here specifically today at the behest of the Scotch delegation. Can I hand you over to Michael Russell from the Scotch Executive, oops sorry, sorry, my mistake, Scotch government for more details, Mike? ‘

Michael Russell: ‘Thanks Minister. Yes, we thought we’d look to catch up this week just to see how things were going with the cabinet’s examination of the proposals we put forward before Christmas for alternative approaches to Brexit, protecting UK trade, and Scotland’s place in Europe. which the people of Scotland voted for in June last year. How is it going?’

David Davis: (Nervously looking around at his flunkies who are all shaking their heads, one is drawing a line across his own throat with his finger whilst coughing). ‘Erm, how do you mean old chap?’

Michael Russell: ‘The proposals we sent you, we sent 100 copies by courier, how are you getting on in terms of considering their content?’

David Davis: (Going a strange shade of red) ‘We didn’t get them. They never arrived. I was just saying to David the other day, I wonder what’s happened to Scotland’s alternative proposals. I think they must have changed their minds. Wasn’t I David?’

David Mundell: ‘Oh yes David. I distinctly remember you saying that. It was just after I’d served the shortbread at the cabinet meeting, and just before we watched the Jeremy Kyle show. Oh, yes I can clearly recollect that.’

Michael Russell; ‘That is curious. Somebody at Downing Street signed the receipt for the package so you must have got them.’

David Davis; (Looking like he needs to fart) ‘ Ahh. I can explain. That would have been old Herman. He’s been on the front desk there at number 10 for many years, a euro-national you know. We call him Herman the German. He really should retire. In fact we are sending him back soon (grins and sniggers from flunkies). He lost an entire cabinet briefing on Trident the other week. MI5 came across it in Bubbles Wine Bar in the West End a few days later. He’s lost the plot. Yes, that’s what must have happened. It got lost. Oh dear, what a shame. Never mind. Is there anything else you want to talk about?’

Michael Russell; ‘But you must have it. The Prime Minister mentioned it in her speech the other day.’

David Davis: ‘No she didn’t. I think you must have misheard her. Isn’t that right Scotch Secretary?’

David Mundell: (Who has been sitting with his fingers in his ears humming Land of Hope and Glory for the last five minutes) ‘Oh most definitely David. She never mentioned any proposals from Scotland. I clearly recall her majestic goddess-like prose, almost Churchillian it was, as she enthralled us with details and reassurances about our new global exciting Britain. I’ve never liked garlic. I would distinctly remember if she mentioned Scotland, because I’m from there, and she didn’t.’

David Davis; ‘See. You must be mistaken. Now before we move on to talking about how many checkpoints we’ll need at Dover, and how we are going to divvy up the costs for the barbed wire and electric fencing, have you Scotch representatives got any other questions. Hurry up, time is moving on?’

Michael Russell: ‘Yes, just one. In about three years-time, the date hasn’t been set yet, your Prime Minister will be attending a ceremony at Edinburgh Castle, where she’ll see a union flag slide down a pole and a blue and white saltire replace it. The First Minister is planning to wear a tartan suit that day, is there any particular colours she should avoid? She wouldn’t want to clash.’

 

 

 

My Precioussss

We’ve waited almost seven months for it and at last it’s out, the UK government’s plan for Brexit, if you can call it a plan that is.

Watching Theresa May’s head swing from side to side, and the tone of her voice rise up and down dramatically in timbre, like an evangelist, to emphasise the dynamic vigour and downright brilliance of her Westminster government’s Baldrick style “cunning plan” I was struck, during the Lancaster House speech, by exactly how crazy the people in charge of the British government actually are, absolutely barking.

The right wing UK government somehow, and incredibly, appear to think that they can have the same, or similar, preferential trading arrangements with the EU as existing members, without paying for the privilege, or accepting freedom of movement.

The Brexit is Brexit, red, white and blue proposal has been replaced with a 12 point plan. A thing of beauty, a work of diplomatic genius, statesmanlike as one wag, an ageing Tory peer, described it on the Sky News analysis, or to put it more accurately, just a glorified PR speech, using the need to remain schtum, keeping their powder dry for negotiations, as a ruse to disguise the fact that they still have not the first clue about how this whole surreal circus is going to work out.

As usual for a state which has for centuries employed threats as their main diplomatic strategy there were some of these. The message was clear, don’t mess with us Pierre and Fritz or we’ll withdraw your access to any information that comes through Cheltenham that might help you out of a tight spot with the bad guys, and you won’t have access to the services of men in black with night vision goggles from good old blighty either. This was referenced on more than one occasion.

Further, it was made clear that any attempt by the members of the European Union to try and resist giving the UK favourable terms in a new trading arrangement will result in dire consequences for the resister state. Right neighbourly language indeed. How to win friends and influence people it isn’t. They are like the Corleone Family without the nice suits. Talking of suits….

Obviously done to send Nicola Sturgeon a subliminal get it right up and roon aboot ye signal, perhaps as a response to the absence of a union flag in Bute House a few months ago at their initial meeting, the praying mantis of politics was dressed in a Black Watch tartan suit. The combination of this symbolism and the section of the speech where she said that she was going to “ put the preservation of our precious union at the heart of everything we do” nearly caused a reflexive dry boak in more than one viewer. This whilst saying in the same breath that her final proposal for Brexit will go before the House of Commons and the unelected House of Lords, but not the democratically elected devolved parliaments of Holyrood, Cardiff or Stormont. A contradiction? Ye couldnae paint a red neck on her.

She does however think, as was made clear in the speech, that she can buy Scots off with the offer of unspecified repatriated powers. Yet another ‘Vow”. You can picture it now in about a year’s time, or shortly afterwards, when a date has been fixed for Indy 2 for some point further on, the arguments are going to be about one side extolling the positive benefits of self-determination, and the other trying to bribe voters to stay within the loving embrace of the great partnership with vague promises of powers being transferred to Holyrood from Brussels, whilst at the same time scaring the pensioners and viewers of Reporting Scotland.

Watching her speech unfold it was almost like Westminster’s cabinet advisors had suggested to their leader that she should just go for it. Bluff it out. Why not? Win or bust. Whatever you do or say Prime Minister it is crucial for the markets and the economy that you appear super-confident and in control, that you look like there is actually a plan, that it appears there is a great strategy we are playing close to our chests that we are not sharing, ready to put those foreign Johnnies in their place.

The whole thing is a huge bluff and as mental as todays’ Daily Mail front page headline which heralds ‘ the New Iron Lady”, God help us, who has given Brussels an ultimatum that “we’ll walk away from a bad deal and make the EU pay.” Like the Mexican wall it will never happen.

When asked his view on Theresa May’s speech yesterday the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said that Theresa May’s threat to make the UK a low-tax, low regulation haven if the EU doesn’t t play ball with her was a “ counter-productive “ strategy, and that although “May’s clarity is welcome the days of the UK cherry picking and Europe a la carte are over.” I don’t fancy their chances much up against the EU.

Arrogance over ability as usual when it comes to the British state. We live in very strange times, but soon, independent times.

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“An Independent, Self-Governing UK”

Today is the day when we will have it confirmed exactly how much influence the increasingly right-wing of the Conservative Party has over the current UK government. The various leaks to the media (we now virtually know precisely what Theresa May is going to say in her speech, everything apart from when she will cough, pause to pass some of that copious spare wind that must surely be swirling around about her person, and when she’ll do that unnerving shifty eyed thing that she does) tell us that a hard rain is undoubtedly going to fall.

Buoyed by their buffoonish orange-faced president elect cheerleader’s offer to throw them a biscuit, a ‘quick’ free trade deal with post-truth America (something that they can use to make voters believe that all will be well) they are poised to step off the cliff, like cultists expecting wee Martians to catch them midair and wheech them off to eternal life on a distant planet.

Proudly talking of her aspirations of a “great global trading nation that is respected around the world” what Theresa May really means is that her government will sook up to America, like they always do, and ride on their coat tails as the openly aggressive new regime try to bully as much of the western world, and beyond, into doing what they want, including Europe.

May is subtler than Trumpet perhaps, who if he was in her position would be saying that he’s building a wall from Dover to Dounreay, and Angela Merkel is forking out for it, but that’s what she means. For ‘respect’ read the word ‘feared’. What a joke. EU leaders will have a gala day tying them up in knots. Intimidated they won’t be.

Breathtakingly Theresa May is calling for an “Independent, self-governing UK”. Sticks in the throat a bit that one, doesn’t it? Here Scotland, says’ Theresa, let me jam it right in tae ye.

Independent and self-governing from who? The European Union has no control over the United Kingdom, and never has had. Decisions they make are able to be vetoed by the member states. The protections the European Union provide in terms of employment and human rights are essential, and when they go heaven help the people of the UK who don’t have a bob or two.

Seeing beyond the propaganda, a study carried out a few years ago showed, opposite to what the Daily Mail would tell you, that the European Court of Justice, just as one example, overturns on average only around one percent of UK government decisions that are brought before them. That won’t have changed much, if at all.

It’s clearly all about immigrants, entirely. This whole right- wing Tory, UKIP EU campaign to demonise the EU is about controlling immigration, and they are now willing to destroy the UK economy on the basis of their xenophobia.

She’ll talk about fairness, fairness for whom? Fairness for the elite 1% who will get even richer on the strength of concerted efforts, as part of an amended TTIP, to hoover vast sums of money out of the public sector and in to the hands of those fully invested in a new transatlantic partnership. Everyone else watch out. Someone once said that the UK exists now simply as a mechanism solely to transfer money from the many to the few. If you thought that poverty and the gap between the rich and the rest is bad now, just wait until EU membership is a dim distant memory.

Currency markets are rocky and business leaders are already ducking for cover at the prospects of the UK’s approach at diplomatic negotiations with the EU involving a simple strategy of going in with size ten tackety boots. The Chancellor Philip Hammond has already hinted at making threats to soon-to-be former EU partners, who he thinks should agree to demands for favorable trading arrangements or else. They are living in the Twilight Zone. It’s like a runaway train with no brakes heading for a brick wall.

She’ll talk too about being “united at home.” That’s a cracker. How is it possible to be united when her and her government entirely disregard the views of a so-called equal partner, in what is supposed to be a union, but really never has been? Does she arrogantly think that offering Scotland a few sweeteners here and there around the likes of devolved powers over fishing will make the Scots shut up and become compliant with the brave new fortress Britannia strategy? She must. Mind you I forgot, we’re too wee, too stupid and too gullible, she thinks.

After all that has gone before, all the work that has been done to seek respect for the democratic will of the people of Scotland, to protect Scotland from economic disaster, today will be looked at in future as the day that sealed the deal. Scotland will be independent, and quicker than many thought possible after September 2014.image

In Seven Days Time (A Fictional Tale)

How did we ever get to this, he thought, as he peered out through the half-closed slats of the hallway window blinds? He could hear the steady rhythmic clump of hundreds of feet marching in unison as the stern brown uniformed throng, moving as one, appeared in view, coming down the main street in scenes repeated in many towns and cities around the country.

He hadn’t even heard of the group of islands that were in dispute, somewhere in the South China Sea. How could some small rock-pile of land thousands of miles away be the cause of such a thing?

It had started three years earlier. The country had selected a new leader, a woman who had made billions from a global media empire prior to taking on executive office. Famous as a reality TV star in the age of media fame requiring worship, she had convinced the electorate that it was time to “take back power and control.“ It had been her slogan, adorning T shirts, millions of dollars-worth of TV adverts, banner headlined repetitively on millions of automated twitter-botted social media posts, reinforced, driven home, and it had worked.

In a country where many had not recovered from the global financial crisis people felt helpless, and they unwittingly provided the consent which was to change things forever.

Rumours abounded right from the start. Dubious connections, alliances, former business partnerships, conflicts of interest. She was street-smart and ruthless, staying one step ahead of her accusers.

Her administration developed a revolving-door policy as a succession of high profile selections for key cabinet positions came and went, quickly became disillusioned and resigning. Those who stayed tried desperately to influence decisions, with little success.

The problem was clear, she could not be told or advised, she would not seek counsel, she had only ever relied on her own judgement in every situation of her former business life and would not change, her bombastic ego would not let her. In her mind there was only ever one decision which was right, and she would be the one who had made it. Any offer of advice was simply seen as dissent.

Having lost the confidence of much of her appointed government staff, those who hadn’t worked for her in her previous life, she reverted to relying only on those she had brought with her to the capital city, those who agreed with her every utterance, her acolytes, none of whom had any experience for the task they had been set.

Foreign relations had been a problem almost from day one too. She had one strategy to portray with leaders of allies and potential enemies alike, exude power. Tending to run away at the mouth, not one for the detail, under the guise of “keeping things simple” her lack of subtlety or ability to think outside the basic narrow boundaries of her dog eat dog creed were her downfall, almost inevitably leading to dramatic breakdowns in relationships with some former allies, and troubling spats with the leaders of countries perceived as threats.

She became known bizarrely for calling out other world leaders in social media posts, criticising and challenging like a loud schoolyard bully straining for a fight, and airing her dirty laundry in public, often berating her own government officials and departments in public forums. She was big on blame and diversion. The public became used to watching her posted spats develop with whomever she had picked on ‘live’, many online commentators hanging on her every comment, revelling in escalation.

Motivated only by power billions of dollars had been spent building up military might, to defend ourselves against ‘the enemy” to the point where her defence budget had out-stripped by a factor of at least two the sums allocated by the previous administration, significant investment having been made to develop ‘smarter’ missiles and drone technology. Conventionally the armed forces had grown considerably too, which had seemed to help reduce long-standing unemployment problems in some states, and allowed her to crow of successes.

Then one day she simply went too far. Following a five month stand-off over disputed trade shipping lanes, daily threats, and counter-threats in the media, a shot down reconnaissance plane, a retaliatory sinking of a patrol vessel, the respective build-up of troops massing in respective border areas, and an ignored ultimatum to remove missiles from a strategic location considered as too close for comfort, a TV statement witheringly critical of her by ‘their’ deputy leader, was the trigger. Some say she had felt humiliated and could not control her temper.

She did it. No one believed that she would, but incredibly she did, having blustered her way into a corner she had left herself no other way to save face, unleashing a tactical strike with a weapon too terrifying to contemplate, as a lesson to those who would dare challenge her power.

……..The marching feet grew closer, heading for the nearby dockside embarkation. As the ranks of uniformed young men and women passed the window the troubling thought passed through his mind, we are now going to face the consequences, whatever they will be.