Meeting the people

We hear a rumour that London Prime Minister Theresa May, struck by the negative comments made about her triumphal procession into North Britain (toeing recently dropped rose petals out of her path with her claw as she goes) and hurt that the general public of Scotland would even dare to suggest that she would rather clear the insides of her sinuses out with a rusty drillbit than talk to them, has decided to do what she demonstrably (one of the very few things that she can prove) has done before, flip flop. The lady is for turning.

Having managed to remove the latch from the door and escape from the broom cupboard Tory campaign chief Sir Lynton Crosby had been keeping her in, with strict instructions to keep her gub shut for six weeks (this being the best strategy the Tories could come up with to ensure an increased majority at Westminster) Ms May is set to relaunch her campaign, embarking on an ‘open door, town hall,chat over a sugary bun’ type of whistle stop tour in the run up to the hastily arranged General Election. The Westminster Prime Minister is going to meet the people.

No more will she travel, Kim Jong-un-like, with rent-a-crowd, her own little gathering of tory activists transported around the country to be arranged and re-arranged around her like a DreamWorks special effects crowd scene. No more will she present her detailed strong and stable manifesto policies, both of them, before an audience of three-line-whipped employees of a local company owned by a prominent Tory, meeting in the middle of a forest. No none of that, not for Theresa. She has courage in her convictions and is eager to go toe to toe with anyone to promote her government’s plans, and convince voters that the future is the future and it is a red, white and blue future.

Ms May is keen to take the bull by the horns. Champing at the bit, she’s going to have another go at convincing the people of Scotland that their best interests are served by building a huge wall around the coastline of the UK, sniggering at people with foreign sounding names, and making farting noises at passing French trawlers. With this in mind she’s going straight into the lions den.

First up a huge campaign rally has been arranged for what has been identified as an inner city key marginal constituency surrounding the Sule Skerry Lighthouse, lying 60 kilometres to the west of Orkney. The small landmass is treeless, which campaign organisers say is ideal as this will allow more room for the ‘ silent majority’ to attend, those who really want to let the separatists know that their extremist views are breaking up families, ending friendships, and putting our precious Union in mortal danger.

In answer to recent criticism in Scotland of Tory election ‘meet the people’ events, which has alleged that local residents have been barred from entry, party officials have made it clear that local puffins and gannets will be allowed entry to the rally, as long as they can prove they are not non-UK EU citizens currently residing in Scotland.

As she is anxious to ensure that her message is widely disseminated to all voters Ms May was happy to hear that the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Glasgow branch are sending two outside broadcast units to the event, one to film her speech, the other to capture Ruth Davidson and David Mundell’s sycophancy in real time ‘live’. Cameramen are hoping the weather, which can be unpredictable in the area, stays fine, to ensure that their broadcasting output from the rally is strong and stable.

Members of Her Majesty’s loyal media, widely selected to ensure a cross section of opinion of the event is reported, from The Mail, The Express, The Telegraph and The Scotsman, will be circling the event in a fishing boat, hoping to cover all angles.

No more will mischief makers be able to accuse the Conservative government of news manipulation, or of using crass repetitious headlines to mask policy inadequacies or disgraceful austerity plans that would outrage any average human being with a heart and a conscience, or of charging around the country not speaking to anyone other than a fake audience to ensure that she avoids all levels of debate, or of even just being unable to respond to the comment ‘Look everybody, the Empress is not wearing any clothes’.

Tory Britain 2017 = Absolute contempt for voters and the control and manipulation of news reporting. A very dangerous and slippery slope.

It’s time to say Yes to an independent Scotland folks. Vote SNP on 8th June.

Something to be a ‘proud Scot’ about

All of us committed advocates of an independent Scotland encounter on a regular basis the grey dreary ‘ProudScotbut’.

On social media they usually start a conversation, comment or post by telling you they are proud to be Scottish, followed by where in Scotland they were born, to further establish their bona fides,as if they have to (it doesn’t matter to us where you were born) before launching into a series of worn out platitudes explaining exactly how they are actually not very proud to be Scottish after all.

Usually, not always, their position tends to centre around the phrases too wee, too poor, too divisive, two world wars, two broad shoulders and the dreaded two words ‘strength and security.’

Therefore usually the words proud Scot really don’t mean anything at all, and in fact have a habit of inducing the scratching or shaking of one’s head, irritable frustration or even the dry boak in the very many of us who see flags, division, dislike of English people, painted faced Bravehearts, and Frrrreedooom as having absolutely nothing to do with what it is we are all about.

However sometimes, just sometimes, events occur which entirely justify the use of such a phrase.

When Minister for Social Security Jeane Freeman took to her feet in the Holyrood Chamber this week and announced that, under the new citizen centred social security system being developed for Scotland, private contractors who currently carry out assessments of the eligibility of the sick and disabled for benefits, using Lazarus as a benchmark, like Atos, Capita and Maximus, will no longer be welcome or make profits out of the misery of Scots i felt a bursting pride in being Scottish.

Jean Freeman said…

‘One of our fundamental principles is that profit should never be a motive nor play any part in assessing or making decisions on people’s health and eligibility for benefits.

We are building a system based on dignity and respect – this means an assessment process which isn’t demeaning or deliberately difficult.

I am very clear that assessments should not be carried out by the private sector and I want to give people in Scotland this assurance as we take forward our new social security agency.’

In a time when Scotland is being bombarded in the media with dubious poll after poll (you can manipulate a poll to say anything you want) all booming out the message of an alleged rise in right wing opinions north of Carlisle, ( a deliberate propaganda technique designed to demoralise and inject doubt amongst Scottish voters about the outcome of June’s General Election) the content of Jeane Freeman’s statement is the type of information we need to get out and talk to our fellow Scottish voters about.

We may want to mention during such conversations that during an internal study by the DWP in 2011 it was identified that during an 11 month period, 10,600 people died within or during a six-week period of undergoing an assessment of their eligibility for disability benefits by these private companies, hundreds by suicide. There having been no significant change in the way these assessments are carried out in the six years since then how many other souls have been lost as a result?

Let that sink in. Let that, and the two child ‘rape clause’ sink in. Let the parting of the disabled from any sense of independent living sink in. Let xenophobia and isolationism and self-inflicted economic chaos based on lies about the powers of the European Union, which is Brexit, sink in. Let the real reason why, when it’s the wrong time for a referendum on independence, it is the right time for a sudden snap General Election, covering up the electoral fraud of a number of Tory MPs,sink in.

An increase in Scots voting Tory?

We’ll see, come the 8th June.

A proud Scot.

Fair and impartial?

My goodness how obvious can the state broadcasting service and their print media friends be when it comes to their manipulation of political, and in this case criminal,news reporting in Scotland?

It is no consolation to anyone that a lot of our friends down south are now recognising from the treatment of Jeremy Corbyn that there may just be something in this BBC bias lark after all. But I think we in Scotland can resist the temptation to say ‘we told you so’.

Just imagine a scenario where David Mundell or Ruth Davidson had received a suspect package in the mail through their constituency office, and another was discovered in the mail room of the Scottish Tory HQ, and a third suspect package arrived at the offices of a Tory led Council?

The place would be in uproar. The anti-Cybernat frenzy would be in overdrive. There would be at least a week’s worth of rabid reporting made out of it.

The usual suspects (Deerin,Torrance et al) would be battering out withering pieces calling on Nicola Sturgeon to do something, and do it now, to stop the evil separation-crazed lunatics from splitting families, breaking up lifelong friendships, and causing general mayhem.

There would be a Reporting Scotland special harping back to the 1970’s and 80’s and the ragtag fringe extremist SNLA and the ‘Tartan Army’ before that term was anything to do with football.

There would be tear streaming Kleenex inducing interviews with the admin assistant who discovered the package.

There would be four page spreads in the weekend version of the Hootsman highlighting every Tweet and Facebook comment, which could be construed as personal and derogatory, made about unionist politicians, and written by inebriated midnight keyboard jockeys

There would be exclusive news interviews with millionaire children’s book writers, bra uplifters and overdramatic quasi-historians telling us all about how they’ve suffered and/ or why they had to quit Scotland because of this sort of stuff.

We’d have a teatime news report set around a candid interview with the Chief Constable of the Scottish Police Force which would somehow be manipulated to blame it all on the SNP for centralising the police service in the first place.

There would be a five minute slot on the prime time national UK news with a London based reporter sent up to Edinburgh or Glasgow to produce a well edited slot highlighting a ‘cross section’ of views on the incidents of the general public wandering along Princes Street or Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday morning.

We’d only hear the views of those who had attended Fettes College , Hutcheson Grammar or George Watson’s College though, with perhaps the words of one wee local woman with a broad accent to provide balance, local colour and an inference of the cringe.

By stark contrast the media in Scotland have bent over backwards this week in their reporting to make as little connection between criminal behaviour and the actual intended recipients of the packages, representatives of the SNP, as is possible. On most occasions in fact their reporting did not even mention which party the politicians involved were from. Any mention of the incidents was way down the list of headlines, and included almost as a begrudged afterthought to avoid criticism.

This stuff has clearly gone way beyond any possibility of being just a conspiracy theory. Even after everything that has gone before in the last five years they just cant find their way to be balanced.

The only solace we can take is that thankfully nobody was injured or hurt during these incidents.

The media? They can go back to dragging up Jim Murphy’s egg yolked shirt on a three monthly basis, that was clearly a more important story.

If you don’t believe that the British State broadcaster and the mainstream right wing media in the UK are entirely committed to the preservation of the Union please let me know, I’ve got an all-inclusive holiday to Loch Ness with a guaranteed sighting of Nessie I’d like to sell you.

‘Strong and stable’

The Conservative and Unionist Party, who govern Scotland from Westminster.

Determined,above all other objectives, to keep the Establishment of the United Kingdom ‘strong and stable’.

Dedicated to ensuring that the elite, the multi-millionaires, the corporations, the privileged, the so-called (and misnamed) ‘wealth creators’,who for accuracy’s sake should be described as ‘wealth accumulators’, remain ‘strong and stable’.

Sworn to smoothing the corporate way, maintaining ‘strong and stable’ institutional conduits to redistribute the wealth of a union of nations from the many to the few.

Committed to maintaining a ‘strong and stable’ boot on the throat of the poor, the disadvantaged, the sick, the disabled, the vulnerable, the unemployed, the aged, the under-waged, working families, single parents,adults under 25, ethnic minorities, immigrants,refugees, and those who meet with hard times or misfortune, to ensure that the 1% continue to thrive.

This is a political party, who in order to maintain their ‘strong and stable’ control, inflict withering planned austerity measures, necessary only to them, to meet their selfish needs, slashing welfare benefits for those in dire need, asking rape victims to prove they were raped to claim money to feed a child born as a result, taking mobility and a sense of independence away from the disabled, throwing thousands into poverty, through the doors of Food-banks, and in desperation, into the hands of pay day loan companies.

Theresa May, ad nauseam, parrot fashion, like a CD stuck on repeat, her every utterance agreed with by her Scottish acolyte Ruth Davidson, offers, in her pitch to you for your vote in the General Election in June, the prospect of the Conservative Party’s view of a ‘strong and stable’ government. If you consider the politics of the last two years, and the internal machinations, investigations and allegations made within that party, the phrase strong and stable can hardly be further from the truth, which explains why a snap General Election has been called out of the blue.

I know you may be doing well, you may have a nice house, you change your car on a regular basis, you’ve got some savings, and like a holiday once or twice a year, you’ve worked hard, you’ve earned it, but, please don’t vote for them. If you do, dark times are coming.

What if you should fall ill, what if you should become unemployed, or suffer the bereavement of the main breadwinner in the family?

You are then useless to the party of ‘strong and stable’ government. You are not producing wealth for them, you become a financial burden, a reduction in profit, a subclass to be ignored where possible, and denied basic human needs and rights to the extent that they feel society will let them get away with without baulking too much at their selfish cruelty.

Please don’t do it, your conscience is strong and stable. It won’t let you.

Self belief

The polls are indicating a possible increase in support in Scotland for the Tories on the back of two factors, the deathbed choking rattle of Labour, and the single policy of a pledge to stop independence.

It staggers me, after all the Tories, and latterly New Labour, have done to Scotland to hear statements like “I can’t stand that Sturgeon, Labour and the Tories have destroyed the country but I couldn’t vote for her. We are too wee, the industry is all away, and it’s not coming back”.

I don’t see it myself but what is it about Nicola Sturgeon that perfectly rational, decent working folk would find to dislike?

To my way of thinking Nicola Sturgeon is far less polarising in her outlook and the way she presents herself than Alex Salmond, whom I also admire, but I can understand those who perceive his confidence and articulation as arrogance.

Is independence seen as such a huge threat to standards of living, savings and pensions in a country which, if it doesn’t become independent, will,in around three years time, suffer from its master’s self-inflicted economic vandalism on a scale likely to trigger a recession which will take many years to get out of?

Are there really so many Scots around that are comfortably off with an I’m alright Jack, it’s not my problem, attitude? Are they resentful about the likes of free prescriptions for all, and free tertiary education? Do they believe the media negativity about the Scottish NHS when clearly over the last few years it is head and shoulders better in many of the key indicators than it’s southern version?

Are there enough of them that aren’t touched by austerity measures in some way? Many of us lived through the worst excesses of the Thatcher years. Some would say things are starting to look worse now than even then.

The Trussell Trust which operates Foodbank services across the country, including a network of 52 Foodbanks in Scotland, have just released their report for 2016/17.

That report tells us that the number of Scots receiving emergency three day supplies of food for that period was around 145,000, including 47,995 children, a rise of 9% on the previous year. Just think about that for a minute.

You live in a country rich in natural resources, with a world class food and drink sector, with innovative new technology in energy renewal with the potential to boom, creating a new and lucrative source of revenue from exports. These are advantages other countries can only dream about. Yet nearly 150,000 times in a single financial year citizens of your country were at the extreme stage of desperation where they had to attend a Foodbank to fill their, and their children’s bellies.

I can’t believe , in fact I refuse to believe, that the people of Scotland would vote in large numbers for the party that wants women who have been raped to prove it in order to receive benefits to feed a child born as a result. I refuse also to believe the people of Scotland will vote in large numbers for a party that uses the excuse of perpetual ‘austerity measures’ to slash disability payments to the sick and vulnerable, whilst giving corporations huge tax incentives to protect profits.

If it does happen, I fear that three hundred years of Scottish cringe and propaganda has done its job, the cash cow will continue to fund the Great British Swindle, and no, Scotland will never amount to much.

2045

They called him Sammy the Seal, the ‘seal’ in reference to his former occupation as a magistrate, when he had been Samuel Isambard Howard LL.B, back in the old days, before the trade wars.

Sammy was a bagman, a courier of the street currency, the stuff of life in Greater Britain in 2045, (R)ice, a synthetic food smuggled in from the vast Chinese Commonwealth plantations which covered much of south East Asia.

Sammy mainly went about his business untrammelled. Although he was patted down during casual conversation on the streets by smiling, high powered machine pistol toting, state police, like most city dwellers, on an almost daily basis, many of the local constabulary HQ militia, on the payroll, had his schedule committed to memory, and therefore knew when not to stop him going about his daily business.

Sammy’s business niche was supplementing the meagre daily rations of the ‘scroungers’, as the huge legions of vulnerable, sick and disabled, and ignored humankind, were now semi-officially described by the state public information broadcasting hub.

It had been 25 years since the events which had resulted in what was now known widely in Greater Britain as the Revival of our Precious Nation.

It had been a time of great chaos, The government of the day, the old Conservative and Unionist Party, embroiled in protracted bickering with the member states of the then UK’s former partners in the European Union, engaged in a conflict of accusation, claim and counter-claim, in a bitter divorce, resulting in near open conflict with France over border control, and minor skirmishes with Spain over disputed land.

No one could believe that relationships had deteriorated almost to the levels experienced in the 18th and 19th centuries, which soon afterwards resulted in the ‘returned refugee crisis’ as legions of British born immigrants, settled along the warmer coasts of Europe, were unceremoniously ejected, mainly with what they could carry, trudged in long procession north to the French ports, and a stay in a cramped tented transit camp awaiting a ferry trip to a full English breakfast.

Having achieved a massive majority at Westminster, in the absence of any real opposition, apart from in the north,before the near disastrous extrication at great economic cost from the European Union (which was one of the factors in triggering the ‘Revival) the government found itself under extreme pressure from many sides.

As the true extent of the damage to employment, trade, and workers rights became apparent there was civil unrest on a scale not seen for some years. It started almost inevitably with a food shortage in an inner city area of London, on a hot summer’s night, leading to months of looting and disobedience up and down the country as the strain on public services and restrictions on the supply of food and the availability and movement of goods and services began to take it’s toll.

Stuck in a close relationship with the increasingly erratic extremist President of the USA, who it seemed had a penchant for setting Europe and the UK against each other, favouring one against the other, then reversing his opinion on a whim, and seeing this route as a possible means to increasing world trade links, the UK became steadily more committed to ‘humanitarian intervention’ around the globe, prioritising expenditure towards a buildup of military hardware, an increased armed forces, and at home, the creation of the Homeland Patriotic Regiment.

In the north the Scots had voted again overwhelmingly for their national party, which had advocated remaining in the European Union and self-determination. The Westminster government,under pressure, had used the confidence that they had achieved in their significant majority in England, and the fact that they had managed to dislodge three of the fifty six independence supporting MP’s from Scotland from the last election from their seats, to tell the Scottish devolved Executive in Edinburgh that this was a clear sign that the people of Scotland wanted to remain in Union with London. That did not go well.

The Scottish government, determined to have some say in the future of their country, called an advisory referendum on self-determination in Scotland, without the permission of London. Around the halfway point in the eight months run up to the date of the crucial vote the news came through that there had been an incident, resulting in serious injury, at the Faslane nuclear submarine facility on the Clyde. No further news was reported on numbers of casualties, or the incident itself, information all of which immediately became subject to the Official Secrets Act. It may have been a very minor accident, we’ll never know. Historians looking back in 2045 may consider it a mistake by the authorities not to have revealed more.

However this event, in an area close to the most heavily populated area of Scotland, and the unfolding disaster of the UK’s divorce from Europe, had a galvanising impact, which seemed to neutralise the massive anti-independence propaganda scare tactic campaign co-ordinated from London, allowing the positive independence campaign to achieve a result of 58% in favour of Independence to 42% against.

Facing the potential breakup of the United Kingdom the Prime Minister was left with no choice. The referendum was not binding, had not received the consent of Westminster’s parliament and was therefore constitutionally unsound. The dispute went before the lords of the land, and the courts, the legal minds of Edinburgh and London coming up with differing opinions.

There was an uneasy silence as the Prime Minister took her place behind the podium “I speak to you today to tell you all that we are in danger, as is our precious Union. Our homeland is facing a terrible enemy. Our security forces have intercepted communications which have revealed that our enemies abroad are plotting against us. Now is not the time for division, now is not the time to go our separate ways. Now is the time to show that we are one people, a people who have emerged victorious from times of peril in our history, and we shall do so again. I call upon you all now, wherever you are in our glorious homeland, for we are a great partnership of equals, to do what you can, indeed, what you must, for our country”.

On that same day the early protocols of martial law were announced. Twenty-five years later no one was sure whether the government, now in power for many years, the Conservative Working People’s Party,had ever officially ended that regime, and few dared ask.

Sammy carried on along the busy street, stepping over near-sleeping and weary bodies, begging for what little there was to go round. In the distance he could hear a marching band coming up the wide thoroughfare playing a selection of uplifting pieces of music. As militia constables unceremoniously moved the street people off the walkway the familiar sound of “There’ll always be an England” could be heard cutting through the early afternoon breeze.

When the nasty party attack

The nasty party of Great Britain are just about to go into overdrive.

Worked up into a snarling frenzy by the prospect of the total domination of UK politics, and marshalled by right-wing Australian campaign strategist Lynton Crosby, they are set to pull out every dirty trick, smear or divisive tactic they can from their protect the privileged 1% playbook to repel all ‘saboteurs’ of their Empire 2.0 project.

Along with Jeremy Corbyn ( who is becoming increasingly irritating, and surely doesn’t realise that he is insulting a vast number of ex- Labour voters in Scotland every time he repeats his monotonous mantra to any questions about the Independence movement by saying ” it would lead to turbo-charged austerity”, he says it every time, change the record Jezza), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is just about to receive the Alex Salmond treatment on a scale never before seen.

These vitriolic attacks will be delivered in several ways, by various means, one of which will be by continuous and methodical sniping from the Westminster government’s representatives in Scotland, the Ruth Davidson Party of Scotland having recently been exposed as heartless, ruthless self-serving Tories.

You’ll be seeing Ruth Davidson being furious but stoic in the face of separatist outrages on your telly more often in the next six weeks than episodes of Eastenders. It was worth a sharp intake of breath to hear of her outrage in Holyrood yesterday about the First Minister being disparaging about how life would be in a country where the Tories have a large majority in government.

Ruth ((aTory) suggested that the SNP strategy for the upcoming election would be to try and claim that ” living in the UK under a Conservative government will be hell on earth”. Well yes Ruth, that is the point, for some people, the vulnerable, the sick, the unemployed, the low-waged, for them it will be a bit like living in a hell on earth.

The Viceroy, anxious to get his day in the sun, before it sets on him on 8 June, will be a regular broadcasted companion to your teatime bangers n mash too. The old sausage himself, fresh from his Far East tour telling Singaporean and Burmese building workers that nobody wants another referendum, he’s going to be telling you ad nauseam, that although nobody wants a referendum everybody does want a General Election, oh and that Nicola Sturgeon, see her, she is breaking up families, dividing communities and just plain evil. I don’t think he’ll call her a bitch whilst the cameras are on him though. Once bitten, as they say.

In the absence of his boss, who Crosby is going to tie up in a broom cupboard for the next six weeks, under strict instructions to protect her 20 points lead in the polls by keeping her gob shut, staying away from outraged taxi drivers in Bolton, avoiding having to think quick in debates, and trying not to do that scary dead-eyed stare thing that she does too often, Lord High Commissioner Mundell might be just the chap to wheel out to debate ‘live’ the key issues which will influence voters with the leaders of the opposition parties. Either him or a fruit pudding, it would be a close thing either way.

The Axis of hatred will surely too be battering out the morn’s chip wrappers with ‘FURY’. She takes pelters from the likes of the Express, Mail and the Telegraph in her stride, but look out for the re-emergence of stories trying to link her to dodgy Chinese companies, photos of her standing in a bus queue with Lord Lucan, wee Jimmy Krankie photoshops, references to her constituency as a ‘ hellhole of her making’ and every item of clothes she wears commented on derogatorily, her dresses, her jackets, even the cost of her boots.

The word boot being a useful segue I see a certain shock-jock horseyfaced gossip columnist has had another go at her too, describing Nicola Sturgeon as a ‘ginger dwarf”, as well as suggesting that Mhairi Black, if gotten rid of, ” can use her newly found free time learning how to talk, or write, or use shampoo”. If ever you needed a reason, other than the five hundred other valid and compelling ones, to seek an independent Scotland, to get away from the likes of her would be a good one.

As my granny used tae say, “it’s gonnae get worse before it gets better” …. But rest assured, it is gonnae get better.

Scotland will be so much better as an independent country.