Saturday, 31 March 2012

Essex or ethics?

On the issue of ethics - for most Westminster politicians it is a county just north of London.

On the issue of God / naegod: actions speak louder then words - my dad was of the view that prayer may be helpful but B' all happens until you get off your knees.

I am Buddhist in my philosophy, atheist in my beliefs and humanist in my faith. None of which makes me a better or poorer person compared to anyone who walks this earth.

The paradox of religion, like politics, is the deep insecurity that lies behind the claims of superiority of one faction over the other. The reality is we are all 'human' and are drawn to use symbolism to describe what we do not or do not wish to understand.

This does not make symbolism 'wrong' it is just what 'is' for humans whether Hindhu, Sikh, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant ... it is what people do with this symbolism and the 'why' that causes the schisms.

Just a wee reminder that these words were written by a fornicator, drunkard and atheist:

"Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
That man to man, the world o'er,
Shall brithers be for a' that."

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

UK Politics - Zen Humptydumptyism?

Lewis Carrol in 'Alice through the Looking Glass' has Humptydumpty averring that the words he uses mean just whatever he says they mean; that Lewis Carrol was writing 'nonsense' means we are supposed to laugh at Humptydumpty's small mindedness and self presumption as being far removed from the truth of the matter that all words in the English language have clearly defined meanings and importance.

In the Soto School of Japanese Zen Buddhism, core to its practice is the sitting meditation - shikantaza. Shikantaza is explained as " ...resting in a state of brightly alert attention that is free of thoughts."

If you watch David Cameron being interviewed you can see both shikantaza and humptydumptyism in action; Cameron is an 'Abbot' of Zen Humptydumptyism and a high achiever in the mysteries of this UK political sect.

Just think: how can a man who has knowingly sat down to meals with lobbyists and businessmen who have in turn paid £250k for the privilege to share Cameron's table to help direct Tory 'policies' to their own self interested benefit, claim it was all done without his (Cameron's) knowledge or approval?

It is a mystery - can anyone enlighten me?

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A Better Nation

Better Nation – you are struggling to make much sense here or are you just upset that the Daily Record is giving a platform to a non Labour politician in Joan MacAlpine?

May I ask which Labour are you talking about when you refer to the fact Labour is unchanged?

The Labour of Maxton, Hardy and John MacLean which is the Labour I was brought up on?

The Labour of 1945 whose implementation of clearly socialist mores of equal access were the inspiration for many other European countries post the 1945 war.

Harold Wilson’s Labour with its distinct social democratic policies?

Tony Blair’s neo-liberal Labour of the centre right which is the current incarnation on public view?

Maybe you mean the disaster area that is Labour’s Scottish region which means a Labour of endless negativity, sniping, shooting themselves in the foot, in fighting, back stabbing, micro-management, bullying, mysoginy and lies – all that before we even know what Labour sees as Scotland’s future except ‘jam tomorrow’ and constituency parties which are increasingly turning against London control of all aspects of selection procedures – all reflected in a Caird Hall two thirds empty for Milliband’s speech that even the BBC could not edit away.

I return to the substantive point I made – if you are reduced to arguing about the metaphor rather than the content, this can only mean you have difficulty countering the argument.

The PC ‘outrage’ is simply hubris to deflect from the political reality you are facing – Labour has no policies to effectively argue against the pro-independence position except the too wee, too stupid, too small narrative of Scotland that failed in 2007 and even more spectacularly in 2011.

The pro-independence movement has grown beyond ‘Wee Eck’ worship and ‘Braveheart’.

It is not tied to any political party except in using the SNP as the means to its end. The movement is well informed, litterate and understands clear why it wishes Scotland to withdraw from the Treaty of Union, it acknowledges the risks involved but believes the benefits are much, much greater; based on observation and research of other similar sized countries who are or have recently become independent.

It is ironic the pro-Union side are now where the pro-independence argument was in 2007 – emotive, lacking direction, calling on ‘Braveheart’ imagery, talking of ‘fighting’ and all enmeshed in a bubble of fear while projecting their fears onto their Scottish bogeyman – Wee Eck.

Westminster’s response to the declared wish for a new UK Union of a confederal nature by (in poll after poll) 65-70% of Scots is to try and legislate to ensure it can never happen through the increasing dog’s breakfast that is the Scotland Act Ammendment Bill a bill originally cooked up by Brown and Wendy Alexander to ‘kill the SNP and the increasing support for independence – stone dead’. In the same way the 1998 Scotland Act was supposed to ‘kill the SNP stone dead’ along with the Holyrood electoral system which was designed to ensure the SNP could never get an overall majority.

The pro-Union side appears to have no understanding of the dynamic under pinning their serial failure to kill the SNP stone dead. In the latest poll 71% of Scots stated their first preference is for a confederal UK Union to which Westminster’s answer remains the same as in 1997 – maybees aye, maybees naw and only if you vote against independence.

I would suggest the question is now becoming about the sort of Scotland you wish for your children and grandchildren where a vote ‘yes’ retains the Scottish social democratic ethos, while a vote ‘no’ drags Scotland down into the neo-liberal privatisation of public services which is increasingly the norm in England.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Do the Parties Care? .... a cautionary tale for modern Scottish times.

Since there has been a plethora of Spring Conferences - Tories down south, Liblabdems in Scotland - just what have we learnt about their policies and direction?

For the Tories it has been about self congratualtions for their daring to privatise the English health service, English police, military, the House of Commons, welfare - in fact anything they can get their grimy hands on and what a success they have complimented themselves by doing so. In the meantime English folk have to sell their Grannies' houses from under them (in some cases even their Grannies as well) to pay for levels of care the 1948 Welfare Reforms were supposed to ensure were their Grannie's by right. The police will soon be seeing 'Reliant or Sureguard or S4C logos emblazoned on their cars as the robocop style commercialisation of law and order 'Conservative style' takes to the streets while they are directed as to which crimes are most cost effective and profitable for the company.

No doubt the new police call centres will be staffed by part time chronically ill who are deemed fit for work by the privatised Welfare needs test which will be permanently undermanned as the high performance and stressed call centre work load converts the chronically ill into acutely ill cases impacting on the privatised NHS England's 'Blue cross' scheme which will then be changed on cost effectiveness grounds to exclude chronically ill who have failed the privatised welfare needs test in the first place, as they are not really ill and just faking it.

So while large chunks of England see health and welfare services decline to levels not seen since Dicken's first got in a twist about it, the Conservatives and their friends will bring in a new enclosures act to ensure no one with an income of less than £250,000 a year can live within two miles of them unless they are paid up Conservative Party members: which means they will be earning more than £250,000 pa in any case as Dave does not want any 'poor' people in his party. It is not a great leap of logic for Dave to then declare the Conservatives have solved the problem of poverty.

Over in the mutton dressed as lamb section of the Labour Farm in Dundee, the talking horse, Mr Ed, had deigned to come and speak to his best Scotch sheep. In amongst his neigh saying against Scotland's greatest bogeyman since McFungus the bogeyman, he tells them how spotless their mangy, worm ridden, heaving fleeces are, how clever they are being, how Mr Ed's pals from the London candidate slaughter market are not wolves in sheep's clothing but just there to tidy up the odd carcase and as long as they continue to 'Baa' along the lines Mr Ed's friend, Veternarian Mr Murphy, says; the Wolves in sheeps clothing will not cull the loyal sheep and only take their first born to help fund the betterment of the Unified Labour Farm. While a lot of folk looking at his Scotch sheep consider them not fit for a dog's dinner (given they would make any honest dog spew) Mr Ed tells them they do not need to apologise because they are Scotch Labour sheep and everyone knows they are best of breed.

The chief ewe of the Scotch sheep gets up on her hind legs and baa's along with Mr Ed about how ungrateful all the folk are that no longer buy Labour's Scotch sheep products and the fact Mr McAveety's famous Labour pies are devoid of content does not deflect from the fact he is a champion pie maker - even if the police are currently questioning him about certain expenses claimed for said content. "Its all that nasty bogeyman's fault", she baas, " Making pies that have real substance. Folk in Scotland have long been happy with Labour's empty Scotch mutton pies and when Mr McAveety wins the next pie making competition, that's what they'll be getting for another 300 years."

Mean while in a phone box just outside the Eden Centre in Inverness, a wee yapping dog is barking excitedly at anyone who goes past which is, in fact, most of the folk. Occasionally a passerby takes pity on the wee barking dug and stops to give him a pet at which point he stops yapping and pees on their leg instead. Folk he really thinks he likes he will try to hump their knee. Yet what ever he tries, most folk just find him unpleasant, smelly, flea ridden and understand why he is tied to the outside of the phone box.

Inside the Eden Hall phone box, his bewigged master, Laard of Tankedootness, tells anyone who will listen that he has a more cunning plan than any of the others in Westminsterland to stop the mad and dangerous Scottish bogeyman once and for all. Apparently his cunning plan is to give into the demands of the bogeyman but only after everyone in Scotland has told the bogeyman they do not want the bogeyman's demands. Lord Halitosis of Hawick and environs is perched in his inside jacket pocket and his high pitched voice can be heard at first agreeing with Laard Tankedootness, then whining about how it was his idea in the first place and how this is getting just like when his ex-friend David Owen used to keep him in his top pocket.

There is a slight chilling as the door opens a sliver and the Wraith of Russell drifts in, he claims he has an even more cunning plan; why don't they dust of the Home Rule Bill they had first promised the people of Scotland in 1911 and have a long meeting about what to call it this time around.

"Let's call it the 'The Libdems new name for the old Liberal 1911 chesnut of home rule for Scotland commission' for simplicity." says the Wraith, "By the time we come to a conclusion all these silly Scots people who are talking about independence will be dead or reduced to zombies that I, Wraith of Russell, can control. After all, I have not done a bad job on young Moore or Beaker Alexander?"

The masters of Libdem past, present and future hear the sound of someone pissing on the outside of their phone box,the pish leaking inwards. Lord Halitosis squeaks it would be better having the person concerned pissing inside to out rather than the current way. So they think of a job he can do which will keep him out their way .. "I know", says Wraith of Russell, "Let's make him our representative on the 'How will we kill the Scottish Bogeyman stone dead, this time' commission".

They let the wee dug in as he's stopped yapping, there is a funny odour about the wee dug, he's soaking wet and slightly whisky smelling in scent .... there is clearly a lot of pish being generated around the Libdem Conference.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Labour's Long Weekend of its Scottish failings

The Caird Hall less than a third full on both days, its accoustics as hollow and empty as the politicians braying into them, Labour's Scottish region with its head not so much stuck in the sand as up its own backside and this is the party that is going to save Scotland from its self by keeping it the 'Union'.

The toxic three (Labour, Libdems, Tory) constantly miss the point with respect to Scotland and have, since 2007, focussed on Alex Salmond rather than the frequently expressed wish by the Scottish electorate for a new confederal Union where we pay our own way and put in a share towards services such as defence.

The impact of this is that Westminster would return to being the English parliament along with the out moded and undemocratic House of Lords. The UK would be run as a unicameral body along the lines of a British Isles Council.

All the likes of Milliband, Clegg and Cameron are doing with their 'jam tomorrow line' and telling us Scots that the man we elected First Minister is a big bad bogeyman and we are naughty to think we can get away with it, is loosing the argument without the SNP having to say or do anything.

Milliband spoke to Labour Scottish Region activists yesterday, Labour's West of Scotland 'bastion' is in open civil war which has everything to do with self interest than Glasgow and environs, across Scottish Councils up coming council candidates for Labour are already in arms about the compulsory levy on their 'salary' if elected and the big brother performance measuring which is being imposed all of which he ignored with his mewling little 'speech'.

What the toxic three just do not get is that Scots are not going to be 'told' by Oxbridge millionaires, whose self interest shines brighter than their polices, what is best for us and the more they do the further Scotland slips through their fingers.

Today we heard from Labour in Scotland's Wee Jimmie Krankie that Labour's Scottish Region has nothing to say sorry for and it is all the First bogeyman the majority of Scots voted for's fault with all the deliberately positive things he is doing for Scotland, how we don't deserve a Scottish Government focussed on doing the best for Scotland and why if we trust them this time they will do all those things they have failed to do for the last 50 years and more for Scotland.

In the meantime on the issues that really bother the Scottish electorate about Labour in Scotland - bullying, gerrymandering, ignoring their own party rules, the civil war in Glasgow, collapsing membership, links to organised crime, obstructing Strathclyde Police investigations into party / ALEO malfeasance, London taking direct control of candidate selection, jobs for the bhouys and girls and all the other signs the party is in rapid decline there was just a 'sage brush' momment.

Johann Lamont you do not simply have to apologise to the people of Scotland for your party's betrayal's over the last 50 years but the Labour constituency parties in Scotland you have also humiliated.