Saturday, 23 November 2013

Scotland is not Gaza but ...

"Feeling frustrated at there being so many nutters, lunatics and psychopaths running this planet. So much pain and suffering everywhere. What to do."

So wrote one of my friends on her Facebook page last night. This is a lady who has been a rapporteur to the Gaza Strip, a trip that left her overwhelmed by the world's indifference to Israel's daily, small cruelties to the Palestinians who live there. The power cuts, the lack of basic essentials, random shelling, air raids while all the time the Western press puts the blame on the Palestinians for making their own fate, for siding with 'extremists'. This week the Israeli power cuts have left streets in Gaza awash with sewage while Western pressure has 'persuaded' Egypt to close her border with the Gaza Strip.

Closer to home, my last blog on one of our own home grown, elected 'nutters' inability to understand his own brief as Justice Minister attracted the most hits for any of my blogs since I started, with over 360 and still rising (thank you readers).

More and more folk in the UK recognize Westminster and its Parliament are not in the least representative of the people of the UK's wishes. Their answer to this democratic deficit appears to be variations of, 'But what can you do?' or 'I'm not effected, it is happening to other people: poor people, ill people, handicapped people and I am none - of these.'  Pastor Niemoller's warning goes unheeded, once more, by a generation now separated from direct contact with the Nazi period in person or through relatives:

They came for the socialists,

I said nothing -
I was not a socialist.

I have a suggestion. Instead of buying all the absolute crap you read about Scottish Independence in the UK Government manipulated media you ask yourself a different question in the face of all the angry hubris pouring out of the London based MSM. The question is this:

Just why is the UK Parliament at Westminster so scared out of its tiny, mono-synaptic skull at the idea of the 'subsidy jocks' going their own way?

I thought the point of neo-liberal economics was to let the market take control and by doing so 'lame ducks', such as the 'subsidy jocks', would go to the wall as the country of Scotland is a drain on the UK's resources. There are only two answers:
  1. Westminster does not actually believe in the austerity economic policy it is selling the electorate
  2. They are lying about the vital importance of the Scottish economy to the rest of the UK
The UK economic figures currently show only two economic areas showing economic growth within the UK, London and the SE and Scotland. The rest of the UK remains in recession. Scotland's economy grew by 0.8% in the last quarter and is leading the UK Regions for inward investment in the quarter, most investment in Scotland is in the energy sector (oil, gas and electrical generation plus its R&D) but recently there has been a growth of US financial businesses opening European HQ's in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Edinburgh is now home to the largest value of managed funds in Europe.

When you look at the contribution the Scottish economy is making to the UK economy on per capita basis Scotland is outperforming the rest of the UK regions, even London and the SE. The startling reality is Scotland provides Sterling with over 40% of its foreign exchange earnings which keeps the UK balance of trade deficit down to manageable proportions. On this basis why would the Bank of England go along with petty English Westminster politicians throwing their toys out of the pram over Sterling because Scotland took its ball home? This is just one of many key areas where Scotland's economy is vital to the current UK, areas the UK's MSM and politicians do not wish in the public domain and rush to block with ad hominen attacks on the person they now most fear - Wee Eck, the Scottish First Minister.

The problem for Westminster is the Scots have recognised they are, to re-quote my friend:

"Feeling frustrated at there being so many nutters, lunatics and psychopaths running this planet."

Now we Scots can not do much for the planet just now because we are entangled in a UK system which knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. The first problem we have to solve is shedding ourselves from the 'psychopaths and lunatics' at Westminster. All going well that process will start on the 19th of September 2014. Give us to 2020 and I hope by then current wishes of the people of Scotland for a more egalitarian society where folk are not rendered homeless simply because they have an empty bedroom has become a reality. In this transformation away from the narrow Dickensian reality of  a neo-liberal austerity where the rich get richer and bugger everyone else, I trust Scotland will become a beacon, a better way to be a country than the current, micro-managed, greedy, self interested, neo-liberal UK.

Sadly for my friend, who acted as a rapporteur in Gaza, Scotland will not be in any place to wave a magic wand and solve Gaza's problems of violence and oppression from within and without but we can and will add our voices to our European neighbours to end this US / Russian war by proxy which scars the Middle East. A Middle East with enough religious turmoil and violence within an Islamic population which remains split as to who was the first prophet's real successor. An issue of contention which has been killing followers of Islam for over one thousand years and shows little sign of abating as we enter the 21st Century.

First, before we can do any of this we have to cut up and eat the UK Westminster elephant, a process which we Scots are now doing, one little piece at a time.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Would you 'Adam and Eve' it ....

The UK Cabinet and Justice Minister, Chris Grayling, with responsibility for ensuring the 'UK's Laws' meet EU requirements does not know whether the 'EU Charter of Fundamental Rights' applies in the UK. To save the moron spending more tax payer's money and wasting more of his civil servants time, I will quote from the preamble to the Charter:

"The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU brings together in a single document the fundamental rights protected in the EU. The Charter contains rights and freedoms under six titles: Dignity, Freedoms, Equality, Solidarity, Citizens' Rights, and Justice. Proclaimed in 2000, the Charter has become legally binding on the EU with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, in December 2009."

"Every person holding the nationality of a Member State of the European Union (Member State) is also automatically a citizen of the European Union. This European citizenship does not replace your national citizenship-it is an additional status and set of rights which you have at your disposal. European Citizenship is included in Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

But wait, the UK represented by the majestic hubris of Blair sought an opt out from the charter (in an attempt to head off the rebellion at Westminster over the Lisbon Treaty Debacle and growing pressure for the promised UK referendum, on said Treaty). At a later date a complaint was made to the EU Ombudsman on the lack of evidence of and apparent secrecy around the UK's 'opt out' protocol:

"The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has welcomed the European Commission's decision to give access to documents drafted by its services on the UK opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This follows a complaint from the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS), a Brussels-based NGO, which wanted to find out why UK citizens do not enjoy the same fundamental rights as other EU citizens. "

It appears that though Blair claimed he had negotiated an opt out he did not and the UK opt out was not proposed by the EU Presidency, only Poland's. The actual protocol the UK gained under Blair's powerful, incisive and astute negotiating skills was:

"The Protocol states that the Charter “does not extend” the ability of the ECJ to find that UK law is inconsistent with the rights and principles elucidated in the Charter. Indeed subsequently the Europe Minister Jim Murphy admitted: “It is clear that the UK does not have an opt-out on the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Ho-Hum it appears Blair told porkies to UK Parliament on this as well:

"It is absolutely clear that we have an opt-out from both the charter and judicial and home affairs. Those were the reasons why people like the right hon. Gentleman were saying that they wanted a referendum."

So there you go Mr Grayling, the ECJ can not investigate non-compliance of 'UK Law' (be that under English or Scots Law, as technically there is no such beast as 'UK law') with the Charter on Fundamental Human Rights but it can hear cases brought by UK EU Citizens concerned their fundamental or social rights recognised in and protected by the Charter are being breached by said laws and / or government policies via the courts in Scotland and England.

The Scottish Courts have found against the DWP on three occasions and in favour of the 'appelant' on human rights grounds over bedroom tax sanction interpretations. The UN Rapporteur has said the Bedroom Tax infringes on an individual's human rights to a secure roof over their head under 'guaranteed' by the UN Charter on Human Rights. The High Court has said the DWP / ATOS ESA sanctions against those with mental health, infringes on the mentally ill's human rights. Then there is the small matter of the £3 million illegally removed from Jobseekers where the High Court has also found for the appellants and against the DWP in part because of a breach of their human rights.

Let the Human and Social Rights court battles over Duncan-Smith's rerun of the 1934 Nuremburg Laws as 2013  UK DWP Policy, on on the basis of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, begin.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


General Lamont von Todtaloss and was beginning to get worried. The orders coming out Downingsdorf  based on a weakening of the Cybernatski position were not what the troops on the ground were noticing. The Cybernatski had infiltrated with ease into Glesgagrad and forced one of the Barmacht's top generals to evacute. Lieutenant General von Ffattwadd had been forced to run and Major-General Murphy von Blairite was concerned because he had apparently disappeared and was no longer in communication with the Barmacht HQ at the Dumbartonschloss. Gaulieter Matthausen had just been in contact from the Glesgahaus. It appeared the attempts to evict a socialist agent from Pollock had been met with force from local socialists, most probably instigated by a local Cybernatski cell, worse they had come armed with a lawyer. The Gaulieter's men had been forced to retreat with their tails between their legs. Von Todtaloss was confused by this turn of affairs, the socialists were allies, were they not? Their leaders had made clear the Barmacht could expect their support. Von Todtaloss put a call through to the Geheims Macht Bludenschaft (GMB) HQ in Droomchapelle to find out what was going on.

Von Blairite looked at the situation map. The Barmacht had withdrawn back within the Glesgagrad perimeter to its winter quarters, as planned, but in the recent thrust towards Holyrood on the Cybernatski front, Von Todtaloss had been heavily defeated and the flank attack from the Libdemonians and crack Stormtruppen of the UK Reich were stalled on their start lines by a fierce and unsuspected Cybernatski counter attack. Cybernatski were in control in of Grangemutt and their continuing pressure on Falkirsch threaten to buckle his right flank protecting Glesgagrad. Von Blairite was worried. He had hoped that von Ffattwadd would help stiffen the Libdemonian General Cleggonawa's troops on his left, northern front. On his right, southern front he knew the Stormtruppen of the UK Riech would not budge but the Libdemonians? He was not sure whether Kermachel or the disgraced Kenheidid would hold. Von Blairite feared they would succumb to offers of peace from the Cybernatski, collapsing the left flank and potentially losing the campaign. He looked at the psychotic Obersturmfurher Yan Daneffusion, leader of the elite Barmacht Panzer Gruppen Govan. Von Blairite claimed the Panzer Gruppen Govan was held as tactical reserve but the reality was Von Blairite did not trust the Obersturmfuher Daneffusion and his ability to cause total mayhem, sadly this mayhem was normally amongst the Barmacht's own allies rather than the Cybernatski. Von Blairite looked at Obersturmfurher's sour and scarred face, "I have a job for you, Daneffusion." while trying not to reveal the disgust even Von Blairite felt for this crumpled and dribbling monster. "Does it involve bayoneting Cybernats?", Von Blairite nodded while trying not to throw up in his handkerchief, "Good!" as the hunched little man slithered out of the the tactical room, leaving a smell of rancid onions, as a reminder of his noxious presence.

What Von Todtaloss heard from the GMB did little to calm the nerves, while the leadership of the GMB was solid in its support of the Barmacht its people were turning to the Cybernatski side. The problem; the word from Grangemutt was socialists were better treated by the Cybernatski than the Barmacht and not in anyway like the Barmacht propaganda had been claiming. Babies were not stuck on sharpened poles nor were their wives repeatedly violated. In fact the Cybernatski were offering a lot of good things to the socialists like decent health care coupled with better support for the poor and the homeless. Von Todtaloss knew it was a waste of time contacting the Dumbartonschloss with this information as Von Blairite would send her and her troops on yet another suicidal and demoralising attack on the Cybernats in front of Holyrood. Even the most determined of the Barmacht Lieutenants of Scotti Gruppen could not take many more defeats on the Holyrood front before they cracked, once and for all. Von Todtaloss knew Major-General von Blairite wanted to replace Von Todtaloss, yet Von Todtaloss knew Von Blairite could not do it with the Barmacht Scotti Gruppen in such close contact with the Cybernatski. VonTodtaloss issued a Barmacht Staffschittenhosen Order making clear none of the officers and members in the Scotti Gruppen Front line would be held responsible for any defeat at the hands of the Cybernatski, that would all be Von Blairite's fault.

"Shift that Von Blairite" chuckled Von Todtaloss as schism within the Barmacht began to grow ever larger. Cybernatski intelligence could not believe their luck. Now they would wait for the Libdemorians to open peace negotiations on the Cybernats right flank, then Glesgagrad would surely fall, the UK Stormtruppen sent south, back over the border, no longer UK Stormtruppen but English. The Yestavaka continued quietly planning for the assault on the Barmacht and their allies, set for September 2014 when Glesgagrad and with it Scotland, would surely be liberated, at last from under the boot of the UK Reich.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Follow the Money - 2

In the US Medical bills underlie more than 60% of bankruptcies in the US and the level of student debt has reached an eye-watering $1.2tn. An offshoot of the Occupy Movement has created a US Fund which is buying US medical debt on the cheap, a couple of cents on the dollar, releasing over 3,000 US citizens from medical bill induced bankruptcy, to date. Could a charitable fund buying off UK citizen's debt on the London secondary market have a similar impact in the UK?
I am trying to get my head around this as currently medical treatment debt is not an issue in the UK and it is a form of debt which is unlikely to be paid following bankruptcy or in a voluntary agreement - medical debt could be soon a problem in England as Blair's and now Cameron's slash and burn privatisation policies of NHS England bear fruit.

Yet one of the biggest problems in the UK is personal commercial debt in the form of mortgages/ HP / short term loans / credit cards. In the current political environment it is very unlikely this debt will be sold on to the secondary market as it is making large profits for the credit companies, banks and other lenders, unless the massive debt bubble which sits under the City of London 'pops' and the UK economy goes into complete free fall as it was on the verge of doing in 2008.

I do not think myself and my ex-wife are alone, in the UK, in having spent the years since 2008 kicking debt ever further into touch - stopping and clearing credit cards, store cards and all the rest of the fiscal hangovers of the 80's and 90's, so we are now left with a rapidly reducing mortgage and a 'zero' interest rate deal on our car.

It is clear the growing high level of repayment of personal debt in the UK is stressing the City of London debt recycling based fiscal system, otherwise why would the UK Government be looking to encourage a growth in mortgage lending?

Without the relatively high profit margins from personal debt in all forms I am wondering just how the 'City' can finance its cheap loan deals to its major international clients and compete on the world's lending markets?

Throw in the impact of the current Government's 'austerity' program with its undermining of the welfare state, wage stagnation forcing more folk to take out 'pay day loans', coupled with increasing homelessness and societal breakdown - the tipping point must come soon because there is little left in the UK economy the current government can leech onto. Think, they have already sucked the English regions of dry of investment and pumped the investment into the City of London instead.

Take transport, for example, for every 3% invested in the NE of England by UK Government, 32% is invested on transport infra-structure in London. Only Scotland has not followed this trend, not because the Scots are 'subsidy junkies' but because their natural energy resources are the only fall back the current UK economy has, failure to encourage investment or remove investment opportunities from Scotland endanger the whole UK economic system and UK Government tax income as Osbourne and Danny Alexander found out as a result of their profit raid on the North Sea.

I have a serious concern about what will happen to England when Scotland says 'Yes' next year, and the economic reality unravels with the Union Treaty. Just how sustainable will be all the eggs in the one City of London basket case economy be when over 40% of current UK foreign exchange earnings stop propping up this model in a newly independent England?

What will the deflationary impact on the English economy be if Scotland walks away from sterling after the proposed and much heralded political stupidity and fiscal suicide of the newly independent English Parliament at Westminster?

This newly independent England will be reliant on imports of key resources such as energy from Eire, Scotland and the European mainland. Energy in particular because of the failure of successive UK Government's of the last four decades to deal with the lack of power generation capacity in England, now on the verge of bring about rolling power cuts across London and the SE by 2017, according to warnings from the National Grid.

It is clear, the impact of the Scottish economic surplus within the UK is becoming more and more evident, along with it, the negative impact the loss of Scotland is going to have on a newly independent England's economy.

Is it any wonder the politicians at Westminster are starting to scream and shout from the corner they have painted themselves into with their 'subsidy jock' line. They know the people of England are not going to be best pleased when they find out the truth. The first major cracks in the Better Together mantle are appearing as Westminster MP's and others are beginning to brief the English press about the stupidity of the Westminster created scare stories about too wee, too stupid, too wee Scotland. In the Scottish Affairs Committee Iain Davidson is hearing less and less what he wants to hear from UK Ministers and Whitehall lackeys as they increasingly contradict his position on Scotland as a 'foreign country' more and more frequently. Most recently over contracts for BAE Systems Govan / Scotstoun in an independent Scotland as he was put right on EU tendering regulations this week after being told much the same by Vice Admiral Mathews, the man in charge of the current Type 26 procurement program for the RN.

London has sucked its UK English regions dry - it only has Scotland left with any real international R&D and manufacturing base based on the oil industry (around £3.5 billion in exports in 2011-12) and a growing, internationally renowned reusables sector which, strangely, Cameron is looking to sabotage.

Following the money leaves me with one clear perception. In real terms, it is unlikely much has changed in terms of the reality of the economic trends and impacts of Scottish independence which were first identified in the 1976 McCrone Report. The biggest losers already know what the economic loss will be and the potential impact on an independent England's economy. More over they do not like what they know and are likely to attempt increasingly dirty tactics.

Follow the money ...

Labour shoot themselves in both feet

In Parliament yesterday 47 Labour MP's could not be bothered to turn up and support their own party's motion. Amongst these 'abstainers' were Gordon Brown, Ed Balls, Jim Murphy and Anas Sawar.

Sawar is an interesting case as only a few weks ago he invited the SNP to vote with Labour to abolish the 'Bedroom Tax' in a televised debate on Scottish Independence - all six SNP MPs voted with Labour, unlike Sawar. Labour lost the motion by 26 votes.

It is probably coincidence that a majority of Labour MP's who abstained are of the Blairite faction - Ed Balls, Jim Murphy, Anas Sawar .....

The real story the Guardian is trying to hide with its spurious headline, is Labour MP's, in effect, voted against their own party's motion and what that says about the civil war going on at present within Labour. It also indicates that, as usual, Labour will put their own petty politics ahead of the needs of the people they claim to represent.

In Scotland, the electorate has woken up to Labour's self indulgence, as Labour's new low in voting intentions for both Holyrood and Westminster shows - now down to 20% in Scotland.

England has a problem. The only alternative party which is making any gains is apparently UKIP - that is in large part to the media coverage they are getting, even though they have no MPs. Makes you wonder why the English Greens are not getting a similar level of coverage, they at least have a MP.

Then again UKIP are just Tory wolves in werewolves clothing, neo-liberal to the core, so will not have any real impact on the status quo in City of London centric economics.

Follow the money.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

What do Tigger's like?

I remember reading the Winnie the Pooh story about discovering what the new animal to the Wild, Wild Wood actually needed and how long it took to find out just what Tigger's liked. The story came into my mind over the last week as I watched and listened to Westminster politicians acting just like Tigger, trying to decide just what it was they needed to live in the Wild, Wild Woods of Scotland.

The Westminster Tigger 'boinged' here over Grangemouth, there over Govan and over the Pooh Sticks river to Scotstoun. Then Tigger wondered if Tigger should be in the Wild, Wild Woods of Scotland in the first place and boinged off to the Portsmouth Wilderness to see if that would not be better.

Tigger stuck Tigger's paws into the Falkirk mess and that was not to their liking - it tasted toxic and burnt Tigger's paw badly.

Tigger tried Unite, only to fall further apart. Tigger thought about asking Eyore but she was in her bunker under George Square and 'No fir comin oot, so Tigger could stick his thistle where the sun don't shine.' especially after the boxing around the ears she took from Kanga on the Thursday, for being stupid. The troubles of a Tigger were something Eyore could do well with out

The Westminster Tigger continued to bounce nowhere and everywhere, looking for what it should like. Tigger tried to gerrymander Trade Union decisions to be agreeable, claiming five folk were a quorum of their Scottish membership and that the Unions did not want the jobs for the membership in Scotland at Govan, Scotstoun and Grangemouth, well not if the Wild Wild Woods of Scotland became an independent park. Tigger then bounced the other way and said Tigger's did want all these folk who might vote for them to have a job after all.

Then at last Alisdair the Pooh and Blair Piglet managed to get Tigger calmed down and asked Tigger, after all this exhausting and meaningless bouncing around hither, thither and thon, what Westminster Tigger's actually needed to live and it turned out to be - a gravy train, a nice long and expensive gravy train.

Funnily Christopher Salmond and most everyone else in the Wild, Wild Woods of Scotland could have told Alisdair the Pooh and his Piglet pal this, with out all the fuss, damage and nonsense Tigger had created in the first place. Then again it was well known in the Wild, Wild Woods; Alisdair the Pooh was not the smartest bear on the block.

Christopher Salmond still loved Pooh, as Pooh was winning the argument for Christopher about the new rules of Pooh sticks all on his own.

The End ...

Apologies to A.A. Milne ....

Friday, 8 November 2013

Poppy Collection? - Old fashioned, out of date, meaningless .....

I am a Falkland's Vet with PTSD I don't need to remember, I'd rather forget. I do not wear a Poppy but I do support the Poppy Fund.

This is not an easy time of the year for me, as the media focus on 'Remembrance' while images from the Falkland's and other conflicts intrude from television and news programs which send me back 30 odd years to sights I would rather not have in my head: but let me be very clear the Poppy Fund is about the living. It is needed because the UK Government has never, ever fulfilled on its promise on the non-existent 'covenant' with the Armed Services. The norm is still as Kipling stated over one hundred years ago:

"Its Tommy this an' Tommy that an' Tommy go away

But 'ullo Mr Atkins when the bands begin to play."

The money raised fills the gap between what the Government claims its does and what is actually needed. Poppy Fund money is held by the RBL in England and the Earl Haig Fund in Scotland then disbursed through RBL welfare and support systems and in conjunction with organisations such as SSAFA, regimental and other ex-service associations and non service charities such the Merchant Navy Association or Red Cross. It's use is based on actual need. Poppy Fund money is used with great care and diligence.

The work that is done by the RBL Welfare teams, SSAFA and other charities ,on a daily basis, is unseen. it could be arranging and funding for someone with a PTSD breakdown to spend time on a two week Combat Stress course in Hollybush. It could be helping a new Afghan widow or widower deal with the complexities the death of their spouse and its impact creates. It could be helping an ex-soldier out of homelessness. It could be simply being there to hold someone's hand and listening.

Your Poppy money is conscience money, its is a token of regard for those who did and still do the UK's political dirty work for it, War is just politics by other means, because the UK Government requires it of them as part and parcel of a UK political system in which everyone is culpable of allowing men and women to be sent in harms way whether voter, non voter, pacifist or right wing extremist - whether in your name or not and until the out dated political system of the 'democratic', minority dictatorship that is Westminster is changed, this will remain the case.

As for the dead?

"They will not grow old, as we that are left grow old; at the setting of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them."

That's how my life is ...

How about the rest of you?