Sunday, 30 November 2014

UK Union - What is it good for? Nothing: say it again ...

The Sunday Express is linking the unexplained shooting of an SNP activist, Willie McRae, in 1985 with the British Establishment cover up operation of peadophile rings within the Palace of Westminster and upper echelons in the 1970's and early 80's. Among the names coming to light along with Saville and Cyril Smith in relation to the Palace of Westminster ring is the late Nicholas Fairbairn and a Scottish high ranking peadophile ring which called itself the 'Untouchables'.

Thatcher's ex-Home Office Minister Leon Brittain is also now in the frame as it was on his watch the Home Office 'lost' documentation related to allegations of peadophile rings operating within the Palace of Westminster while Norman Tebbit has now admitted, in the last few months, there may well have been a cover up as the misdemeanors of a few, in the 1980's, could not be allowed to bring down the British Establishment or State and it was thought best to 'hush it up'.

In the meantime in the manager of a number of Children's Homes in North Wales, John Allan, has been found guilty of peadophile activities against children in his care. This is the tip of a very messy iceberg which has been breaking surface over the last decade or so with allegations which go far beyond John Allen's activities and conviction. Children who were abused during John Allen's tenure claim they were 'hired out' to local dignitaries and politicians. One name that comes up frequently in these allegations is the Ex-Tory Treasurer's brother, probably as part of an established peadophile ring known to be active in the Wrexham area. The Jillings report from 1995 on the goings on in North Wales Children's homes remains heavily redacted as it names men who its has now been alleged, procured young boys from John Allen.

In November 2012, Anne Clwyd MP called for the legal archive copy of the report to be published, claiming that she was shown a copy in 1994: "I would say please get the Jillings report published because it shows... rape, bestiality, violent assaults and torture, and the effects on those young boys at that time cannot be under-estimated."  Channel 4 News reported that Sir Peter Morrison, a former aide to Margaret Thatcher and MP for Chester, who died in 1995, had been 'seen' driving a boy away from the Bryn Estyn home in North Wales. The Conservative Party said that they were investigating the claims in the two years since nothing much has been heard.

The role which John Allen played in 'procuring children' for others appears nowhere within the 33 charges laid against him by the Crown Prosecution Service and for which he has been found guilty. North Wales Police have reported that a number of the sexual predators who were provided with young boys by John Allen (in the most part) in the 1960's and 1970's are now deceased.

Now if this was just a one 'off' case you would be concerned at the levels of British Establishment cover up letting one man, John Allen, deflect the attention for all the other possible abusers the Jillings Report mentioned in 1995 in relation to the Bryn Est Home alone. So far all the arrests are of the small fry or those who turned a 'blind eye' but not the 'British Establishment' men who paid John Allen for access to these children.  Dennis Parry, a former leader of Clwyd county council, told the Sunday Times:

'My information was that not only was he an abuser, he was a supplier. There was movement between Holland and this country, and Dolphin Square was part of the set-up.' Parry added: 'There was a guy - whose names hasn't come up so far - and he was working within that Dolphin Square system. My information was he was the one who collected the young people and took them to Dolphin Square...his links were with our part of north Wales and others.' 

The flats at Dolphin Square contained 70 MP's and 10 Lords at the time of the 1995 Jillings Report which Parry commissioned and has been hushed up by the Home Office.

The real horror is North Wales is not an isolated case as the child sexual abuse carried out by Jimmy Saville across a number of NHS Hospitals in Yorkshire, The Rotherham child sex ring, the allegations of a ring in  South Kensington, London which is alleged to include a number of 'British Establishment' figures such as 'Kitty' (alleged to be the cover name for Sir Cliff Richards), a Church of England Priest who used access to children's homes in Wiltshire to groom young boys for his own and others to abuse, most recently come to public notice is the link between a 'politician' who is an alleged member of the South Kensington ring and the murder of a boy who was being abused. John Cowan who has recently been charged and convicted with the sexual abuse of children as he spread his web across children's homes in Scotland, London and Essex.

Now a cold case that many in the SNP have long regarded as suspicious, the shooting of Willie MacRae in 1985, raises its ugly head in relation to a 'British Establishment' cover up of peadophilia within the Palace of Westminster. One that Lord Tebbit's recent comment suggests went to the highest levels to protect the reputation of the 'British Establishment' in the 1980's and beyond.

This is the UK Union and 'British Establishment' we remain stuck with after September's narrow loss, one whose 'members' are more important to protect than the electorate they claim to 'serve'. If they can not keep their word to children, in public care, to keep them safe, just what hope is there the same 'British Establishment' will keep any of their promises to do with the Smith Commission Report which can and will threaten their control and power.

UK Union - What is it good for? Nothing: say it again ...

Children's Doctor jailed for abuse

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Smith Commission - delivering Scottish Independence whether they wanted to or not

The SNP have played a blinder, exposing the small mindedness of the three 'main' Westminster parties when it comes to democracy and listening to the electorate. The issue at Westminster is already nothing to do with Scotland or the Smith Commission and everything to do with protecting party vested interests at Westminster.

EVEL breaks the Treaty of Union, just as sure as a Yes vote would have because, under Article 19 of the 1707 Treaty, the UK Parliament at Westminster does not have any legitimate legal or constitutional basis to alter voting rights of members elected to the UK Parliament. Such a change can only be made by the agreement of the original sovereign signatory parliaments to the 1707 Treaty. The UK Parliament conceded this to be the legal and constitutional case in 1953 (McCormack vs the Lord Advocate (1953) before Lord Cooper).

The Smith Commission has already been rubbished by the STUC:

"STUC continues to believe that control over employment law, equalities and minimum wages is a necessity if inequality is to be effectively challenged. We will continue to press for this. The no detriment clause and retention of the Barnett Formula is to be welcomed but the proposals for further fiscal devolution do not go far enough. Without the key powers over inheritance and capital gains taxes meaningful tax and land reform will be more difficult. The power to create additional welfare provision is certainly to be welcomed as is the devolution of the work program. However, in sum total, there is not enough to empower the Scottish Parliament to tackle inequality in Scotland."

How long before the 'Scotch' Labour leadership contenders flip policy statements which we have been told are inflexible 'lines in the sand' to fit with the STUC line?

In the mean time the SNP are making clear this was the best which was negotiable with the Westminster Parties 'Scotch' representatives and falls far short of what they or many of the 14,000 individual petitioners to Smith and 70% of the Scottish Electorate wanted (full fiscal autonomy).

The SNP can now say to the people of Scotland the only way the full fiscal autonomy 70% of Scots wish for, in poll after poll, is by becoming an independent country as Westminster will not give up its hegemony. The best way to push forward the process towards full fiscal autonomy is to vote SNP for Westminster in May 2015.

Gordon Brown's greatest contribution to the destruction of the UK Labour Party is the 'Vow' he cooked up with the Daily Record and the claim this 'Vow' would bring 'home rule to Scotland'. Labour MP's are now reported to be very depressed as the reality of Gordon's grandstanding over the 'Vow' comes home to roost along with the polling figures showing Labour in serious, possibly terminal trouble in Scotland and at risk of being 'UKIP-ed' in their North of England strongholds.

Cameron has not much to be that smug about either as the Tory Party tears itself to bits over the EU and immigrants in its attempts to reduce the UKIP impact on Tory constituencies while the Tory Grandees are openly discussing just what they should do about Cameron. Osborne's pre-election, randomised budget forecasts and UK economic predictions are unraveling even before the Telegraph can pre-announce them as the works of a genius.

John Bull is now down to his last extremely tattered and shredded pair of Union Flag 'long johns' - any predictions on how quickly the arse will go out of them?

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Government, The British Establishment and the UK Media

For those of us involved in the referendum campaigning there was more than a gut feeling the British Establishment had taken hold of the 'National' media outlets in a last ditch attempt to prevent their worst nightmare coming true - the fatted economic calf of Scotland exiting the UK Parliamentary Union. There is now a sense, not just in Scotland but over the UK, the BBC News and current affairs acts just like a 'State Broadcaster'; in other words, its news agenda is driven by the needs of the UK politicians and their sponsors rather than the needs of the UK population to be fully and unbiasedly informed of the issues.

For example the BBC will be present where a UK civil protest is likely to end up with violence or at least some form of public disorder but are absent where a march or demonstration of thousands, or more, on any issue from 'fracking' via the Welfare Reform Act to NHS Privatisation in England passes without the necessary 'news hook' of violence against the state; as in attacks on the police - who for this instance are our boys and girls in blue and heroes (yay!) except when they pull up any politician for breaking the law, then they are over reaching their authority (booh!).

It is not unsurprising that Yes voters look on the BBC's sudden lift of UKIP from right wing nutters to 'Question Time' favourites with a degree of suspicion standing along with the BBC and other London media outlet's attempts to create the SNP = UKIP illusion in the UK national mind. It is unsurprising that the English electorate, not being as stupid as the elected Westminster politicians think they are, have decided a vote for UKIP is a vote to upset the English political apple cart in the same way as the SNP have upset the Scottish apple cart to the benefit of Scotland.

Between now and May 2015 we will see the BBC and the rest of the M25 media giants trying to back-peddle from their pro-UKIP PR campaign (as an antidote to the SNP) as it looks set to backfire badly as previously 'safe' Tory seats north of Watford look increasingly vulnerable to a UKIP swing. Worse for the British Establishment and its media is the growing concern that Labour are just as vulnerable in their northern fiefdom in England to UKIP as they now are to the SNP in Scotland. UKIP are now 'electable' not just to the 'insignificant' European Parliament but to the UK Establishment beanfeast at Westminster and are a clear avenue of choice for a libertarian, angry and disillusioned, right wing leaning, lower middle and working class English electorate; not the least as a shot across the bows for the traditional, ingrained, two party block status quo which has stood in England since the 17th Century.

This week has seen a series of uncritical articles in the M25 media on the lines of Israel - good; Hammas (therefore every single Palestinian) - bad. The Guardian has seen a number of articles this week defending the Zionist Government over Israel Defence Force's action in Gaza and on the West Bank in the face of increasing international opposition to and condemnation of Israel's force-able take over of West Bank Palestinian lands in the name of 'security'; instead of what it actually is - an illegal land grab contrary to a number of UN resolutions on the Israel / Palestinian issue, a modern day Likud Party policy of old fashioned 'Lebenstraum'.

On Friday the Guardian ran a blatant Israel, good; Hammas (aka all Palestinians), bad. As the comments came in pointing out that Hammas is a direct product of Israeli aggression, that comparing four deaths outside a Synagogue in Jerusalem which is terrible but hardly the same as the mass civilian casualties recently inflicted on Gaza, are continuing to be carried out against ordinary Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza on a daily basis by Israeli authorities, with the Guardian's attempts to conflate the two as a justification for Israel's actions, were pretty appalling. As these many sensible and in no way antisemitic posts rained in, many of them well argued and supported by careful fact checking, the Guardian moderators went into over time, dumping any post which questioned the article's line of thought (all Palestinians are Hammas), self justification for Israeli Establishment violence and its basic premise of 'poor little Israel'.

One comment which was allowed but replies to were not, stated that the Palestinians had been best friends of the Waffen SS and the Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem had encouraged Muslims to join up as extermination camp guards . The implication being the Waffen SS recruited concentration camp guards from amongst Muslims in Palestine because they were anti-Semitic. A quick fact check revealed the Waffen SS 'Muslim' guards were recruited from amongst Bosnian and other Balkan Muslims. This is not a surprise given the number of camp guards in total the Waffen SS recruited from the Balkans - both Christian and Muslim. It is a bit like blaming the Head of the Orthodox Church in 1940 for Greek Orthodox Christians in the Balkans being recruited as Waffen SS camp guards.

Intrigued, I did a search for Waffen SS and Zionist negotiations expecting to find nothing. What I found surprised me.

The German Zionist Congress in the 1930's actively co-operated with the Nazi Government on the 'Jewish Problem'. The organisation fully supported the 1934 Nuremburg Laws for many reasons, not the least the threat to the sense of 'Jewishness', the purity of the Jewish line and its traditions by the increasing number of 'mixed' marriages amongst gentiles and German Jewry.  In 1933 the German Zionist Congress supported the whole concept that Jews in Germany were not German's of Jewish persuasion but a separate nation of Jews within Germany. In the USA in 1934 the US Zionist Congress agreed with their German Zionist counterparts that they were not American Jews but Jews who lived in America, a defacto separate nation, within a nation.

By mid 1934 the German Zionist Congress arranged a deal with the Nazi Government to allow Jews emigrating to Palestine to deposit the full sum of their wealth in Germany and then draw it down in Palestine as a mix of cash, investment and materials imported from Germany. In return Germany agreed to take imports of oranges, cloth and other basics from the new Jewish businesses created or transferred from Germany. Hitler reviewed this agreement in 1937 and again in 1938 under pressure from his economic advisers to stop the movement of Deutche marks and investment out of Germany. Hitler refused to alter the conditions of the agreement as it was seen by him as a humane solution to the 'Jewish Problem'. By early 1939, over 60,000 German Jews had taken the Palestine option and the Waffen SS Jewish Directorate and Stern's 'Lehi' were working together to ensure immigrant boats from Hamburg had their human cargoes and contents unloaded in Haifa or Tel a'Viv and along the Palestinian Mediterranean coast, in spite of opposition by the British Palestinian Authority. Many of modern Israel's key industries were founded and established on the basis of this deal between the German Zionist Congress and the Nazi's.

'Christal Nacht' could be seen, on review, as the Nazi way to persuade non-Zionist Jews to take the Zionist option and emigrate to Palestine, given it was focused on non Zionist Jews, their commercial interests and their Synagogues. The economic difference between emigrating to Palestine and elsewhere, for German Jewry prior to September 1939 was marked. If they did not emigrate to Palestine, as part of the 1934  Zionist agreement, the amount of cash, goods and investments they could take out of Germany was highly limited and by 1939 it was down to what you could get in a suitcase of a size
defined by the SS Jewish Directorate.

During the 'Phony War' period of the Second World War, Avaraham Stern's Lehi sought to do a deal with the Nazi's. In return for the Lehi carrying out sabotage of key British Palestine and Middle Eastern economic interests including the assassinations of key Palestinian Authority figures, the Zionist migration route would remain open for German Jews via Austria and Turkey; given the expected British Naval blockade of Germany. Now Nazi Germany was at war and had failed in its original intent to keep the UK out of their European War, it could no longer support the economic largess of the German / Zionist Pact and the 'Lehi' offer was turned down and a different solution to the 'Jewish Problem' was put in place in early 1940.

In 1948 a group of Jewish intellectuals in the USA, including Albert Einstein, had this to say of the Israeli Zionist Political Parties which arose from the ashes of the original partition and Israeli Zionist terrorist groups like Lehi or the Haganah:

"The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State" is the goal."

This brings us neatly back to the Guardian's attempts to defend the indefensible on Friday 21st November. Israel's Government is currently lead by Begin's party, Likud, in a coalition with even more right wing Zionist Parties. Little has changed since 1948 in Israeli Politics or actions against the indigenous Palestinians, no matter what the UK's British Establishment, via its tame media, would currently like us to believe. As Netanyahu's Likud plays the antisemitism card for all its worth in defence of its policy of 'Lebenstraum'. Likud and the Zionists would clearly wish to avoid comment on their German Zionist fore bearers in Israel, their close links with the German Nazi Party and their own role in creating the environment the 'final solution' inflicted on the majority of German Jewry.

Media manipulation and censorship is alive and well in the UK's media. It is up to us with the wit and ability to communicate the rather large holes in the stories the British Establishment wish us to swallow as the 'truth' by carefully checking of objective evidence of what actually is, as opposed to simply regurgitating the 'facts' which we all think we 'know' but are often just part of the stories we have already been told.

Core data: Zionism and the Third Reich

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Paws for thought

Mr Cameron comments, on a regular basis, that British traditions of care for each other are bound in its Christian beliefs. By Christian beliefs I presume he means the orthodoxy of the Church of England - it being the English Crown's established church, a church to which Mr Cameron claims to have 'cleaved' his soul to and yet is at odds with its Archbishop when the Archbishop seeks to points the large moral and 'un-Christian' holes in Cameron's government's legislation with regards immigration, health and welfare.

Cameron's predecessor was a 'Son of the Manse' while Tony Blair is famously Catholic and yet all three were and are unmoved that their policies on welfare and healthcare have reduced the level of support previously given to those in most need or at highest risk in the country;

  • The poorest and homeless
  • The sick
  • The disabled
To levels which are now creating greater ill health and poverty
The same policies ensure those whose chance of heaven is akin to getting a camel through an eye of  needle even more support for their personal wealth creation and general acquisition of public services, paid for and supported by the UK Taxpayer, on the cheap, heavily discounted and undervalued.

What happened to 'My father's house has many rooms' anti-immigrant Mr Cameron?
What happened to, 'You are your brother's keeper' self interested Mr Brown?
What happened to, 'Love your neighbour as yourself' warmonger Mr Blair?

To this extent the three stooges are similar - they pay lip service to the faith they claim to be upholding. Maybe this is the point of any religion recognised within the state as the one 'true' religion it is, as described by Karl Marx, the opiate of the masses whether the established Church of England, the disestablished Church of Scotland, Jewish Orthodoxy, Islamic mainstream or the fiefdom of the Bishop of Rome. UK politicians make use of these organisations of faith and belief to justify the unjustifiable, to seek to give some sort of moral fig leaf to their actions and to give their anti-social policies some credence, often just short of claiming it is 'God's will'.

The strange thing, in a UK which is now predominantly secular in its outlook, is folk still seem to buy this nonsense without stopping to consider the dichotomy of who they see themselves as (a mainly Christian Country) against what the core statement of Christian belief is; 'Love you neighbour as yourself' and its other great injunction, 'Be aware of false prophets'. Yet who is more a hater of neighbours and a small time false Messiah than your average UK Westminster political leader?

If the 'God of Abraham' is around and active where is the writing on the wall, the plague of frogs or the smiting of the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah that is the City of London? Why is Mr Cameron not turned into a pillar of salt every time he turns back on his word?

As an atheist the logic of why 'God' does not interfere is clear, it is because 'God' does not exist except to fill an existential 'what are we about' hole in most people's psyche as they seek for a greater purpose for our short lives rather than just a perverse way of keeping our human genome going (or not) by filling in with a side story to explain what we consider unexplainable. After all few of us still believe Earth is carried through space by a giant man, do we?

Politicians also address the same existential 'God' hole in the average psyche then manipulate it for their own, their funders and their supporters best interests with tales of bright moral baubles and the churn of a better future which is never just quite here; but it will be someday, honest; a future heaven on earth, if you will.

The sad thing is time and time again the majority of the UK electorate buy this circular argument, time after time. It is almost as if, just like the idea of the UK being a Christian Country, they are scared to let go and look reality in the face. UK politics is in a state of decay and one good stamp from the UK electorate will see it fall faster than the 'Walls of Jericho'. Yet too many of the UK electorate prefer to kneel in supplication, reading from their UK media prayer books and ignore the reality that nothing happens until you get up off your knees and make it happen.

'God' did not cleanse the Temple in Jerusalem, men did. If we wish to clean up UK politics there is no good waiting on some reforming Godot, we will have to do it for ourselves.

Monday, 17 November 2014

What can you do with a UK Government £1?

I read in the FT, last week, that for every UK Government £1 used in support of QE the UK economy benefited by 80p, for every UK Government £1 spent on UK infrastructure the UK economy benefits by £2.80p; for UK Government £1, read taxpayer or borrowed on the taxpayer's behalf by the UK Government £1.
Currently the UK multi-national manufacturing and business sector is claimed to be sitting on a whole load of cash, held in UK tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, it will not invest in the UK, in the current economic climate, while giving chunks away to its international shareholders to keep them happy. The idea that the UK business world, as a whole, is 'cash strapped' does not impact on the UK's  global conglomerates but the UK SME's which do most of the new product development, innovation, new market penetration which the global conglomerates then latch onto by 'buying' the SME for its intellectual content until the 2008 crash and the political fad for 'austerity' destroyed many SME's through cash starvation and the destruction of their new, usually niche, markets. Hence the 'Globals' are sitting on cash mountains because the SME's which create their new profit streams are just not there to be purchased.

In 2008, in Scotland, SME's were responsible for employing some 70% of the non public work force. Many of Scotland's engineering SME's have the luxury of clients in the oil and gas industry who still required their innovative skills and products; if not in the North Sea across the world. Many others were not that fortunate and as overdrafts were withdrawn, loan deals became like hen's teeth as the impact of QE on cash availability and reduced cash flow hit home hard.

So austerity and QE have sucked money out of 'public' circulation and fed them into global corporate bank balances while increasing UK Government borrowing to ludicrous heights, increasing the trade deficit, reducing Sterling's foreign exchange earnings while increasing unemployment and poverty to levels not seen since the 1930's in the UK through 'down sizing' and 'zero hours' scams. 

The 2012 Welfare Reform Act is now applying the same industrial tactics of 'downsizing' and 'zero hours' on the unemployed, sick and disabled under the title of 'sanctions' which impact these at risk groups' ability to feed, keep warm and house themselves - a basic human right the UK Government is supposed to provide for all its citizens under UN and OECD charters and treaties. For those who understand the concept of the 'triangle of needs' it is clear those at the top can do what they want, those at the bottom are struggling just to survive while us in the middle vary from finding life pretty stressful to get by to almost feeling comfortable until: the next crash, a Sterling devaluation, inflation and rapidly rising base interest rates which will increase the number of strugglers at the bottom shifting others, like electrons which loose energy, to lower and lower survival states - a re-run of the 1980's based on much the same political thinking, by the same Thatcherite Tory Party and its new best pal, a still predominantly Blairite Labour Party.

In Scotland the SNP have applied Keynesian economic principles where ever they have seen the opportunity and their limited funding and borrowing allows, by bringing forward public projects such as the second Forth Crossing and the Border's Railway project. In public funding in, for example, the NHS the SNP have ditched the Gordon Brown PFI scam and created a not for profit system within the private / public borrowing restrictions still imposed by the UK Treasury. New public buildings are now costing councils / Health Boards no more, relatively, than they did under previous public borrowing schemes, with 'savings' of around 60% of total cost compared to Gordon Brown's PFI scam.

Surprise, surprise, as forecast by the CBI in 2009 (no less) Scotland's economy continues to lead the UK out of recession or is at least preventing the UK economy from stagnating and bumping along the bottom, while continuing to attract high levels of international inward investment and currently enjoying levels of full employment not seen in a very long time. This all suggests that possibly the SNP's Keynesian economic solutions are not the mad house the UK Labour and Tory Parties of the right try to claim, in their defence of 'austerity'.

I may be economically illiterate but surely increasing unemployment and poverty amongst the UK population, as a whole, has a seriously adverse effect on UK Government tax income from all sources, is a driver for increased Government borrowing, increasing trade gaps and is made worse by more 'austerity' and not alleviated by more 'austerity'.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Cost of Saying 'NO' ....

The Daily Telegraph is up in arms that the Scottish Education minister, Mr Russell, pointed out to the Labour Party dominated COSLA Education Committee that the reason there is little or no help for the mess many Labour Councils find themselves in with their education budgets is simply because Westminster sets the Scottish Education budget via the Barnet formula and consequentials. In other words the 'No' supporting Labour Councils have made their own bed of nails and the increasing squeeze on their education budgets is a direct result of voting 'NO'.

Labour Council's in Scotland are in a particular mess because they overstretched their New School PFI commitments on the assumption there would always be a Labour dominated government at Holyrood to bail them out. Many of the PFI build schools which were commissioned are already no longer fit for purpose either structurally or in terms of class room accommodation, routinely within a year of opening or in some cases on opening, as pupils at the new Clydeview Academy PFI build quickly discovered.

My local primary school PFI build (commissioned under the then Labour lead council) was supposed to have three classrooms and a communal area. Local pressure upped this to four and the day it opened the 'communal area' was already in use as a fifth additional classroom. Now there is a waiting list for the school and local children who can not be placed are being bused out to the small, local village primary schools this new building was supposed to be replacing. The new PFI school building has already had to shut for repairs to its roof, a failed heating system and has a number of other systemic problems which continually require attention. The building is not yet five years old.

The Scottish Labour Councils signed up to back of a fag paper PFI contracts which ended up costing 3x as much, on average, as the initial PFI estimate and at least twice as much as the standard borrowing package previously used by councils to finance capital projects, like new builds. West Lothian Council managed to buy themselves out of their PFI Education contract and will keep over £3 billion in their education budget over the 25 years the PFI project would have run. On the basis of the size of money retained by West Lothian in their budget (at 2008 figures) by cancelling their PFI Education contract, imagine how much money PFI is sucking out of the education budgets of North Lanarkshire, Glasgow City or Inverclyde. Money which is then not available to meet staff salaries, infra-structure needs, maintenance of non PFI school buildings and school related activities.
Gordon Brown's PFI scam has not just sucked vast monies from NHS care budgets across the UK but also from front line education budgets.

So in effect Mr Russell has a valid point, Labour Councils who 'officially' backed the 'No Vote' have made their own bed of nails by selling their education budgets off to the bankers and corporates in return for school buildings which are not fit for purpose, they do not own and whose land now belongs to the PFI company at the end of 25 years - not the council - and will just have to lie on it.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Plenty of Nothing ...

I came in from Sunday golf (played not bad as you ask, one heavy shower at the start but ended up in shirt sleeves) and started to do my daily troll through the on line media to see what was what, who was who, why and how and found wall to wall 'Labour is on the verge of disappearing up its own fundament' - where ever I looked.

Now I am an self confessed political wonk but reading the same stuff re-cycled, regurgitated and even presented as a pre-school collage for the third day in a row left me underwhelmed and, to be honest, with a super-tanker full of ennui.

There seems to be this growing void into which the UK media is falling, an ever expanding black hole of disbelief in which the feeding frenzy over Labour's implosion is just one part of an observable event. An event so potentially catastrophic to the UK media's world view as to be unthinkable, unreasonable and unsay-able - so they do not think, reason or say anything.

The UK media is chattering to itself loudly and incessantly in an attempt to avoid seeing what they do not wish to see or even imagine. It is far easier to create the story which is one of only Labour who are imploding because to think otherwise offers only one other option. The UK political structure as a whole is in the process of collapsing and all the standard media norms on which they hang their understanding of what is happening, who is on control, which big beasts are tramping the political plains no longer describe what is actually happening.

Scotland may have voted to keep the Union going (just) but the result which would normally be expected to happen (the Scots get back in their box and shut up) is not happening; in fact the Yes voting Scots seem to be winning, even though they lost. The UK media world is being turned upside down, this should not happen Yes voting Scots should accept they were beaten and just shut up.

UKIP are meant to be a joke party whose job is supposed to be to keep the Tories honest, good for a laugh at the EU Parliament but actually win seats from Tories - no, not ever. Yet they have, nearly took a seat from Labour in the North of England and are increasingly favourites to win Strood and Rochester. Even the Telegraph at its most stridently right wing did not see that coming, so soon, and presumed UKIP would do just as the Tory Grandees told them to do.

Over at the Gruniad confusion reigns as the Libdems go down the political plug hole and their second level defence against the Tories (Labour) is going to bits faster than a chocolate hand grenade. They want Miliband to be more radical, more left wing, more his own man (well - according to their latest focus group analysis that is) but are pushing for a right wing, Blairite, neo-con to lead the party's failed 'Scotch' region which is already politically way to the right of the SNP's social democratic policy base in a social democrat, socialist leaning Scotland.

Even the usually perceptive Mr McWhirter in the Sunday Herald is having problems with the view beyond Labour's implosion.

Both Labour and the Conservatives are in a mess, their main policies are so similar to be impossible to tell apart, an inevitability of the embracing of USA political methodology which reduces politics to a safe norm which is required to be met if you 'want to get elected' and creates party policies devoid of any taste or colour, in case the voters are put off. The two main parties also have a large section of their 'backs woods men and women' who have little or no faith in their current leadership - hence all the 'off the record' briefings from senior members. Cameron and Miliband are simply the least worst options in a Westminster political world where 'bland' is the main, modern requirement for selection as an MP so while the 'off the record' briefings will continue, the knives will not be sharpened and will stay sheathed.

All the while the current UK system of politics spins ever faster into a black hole of its own making, rushing towards an event horizon which increasingly looks like the end of the UK Parliamentary Union. This is what the UK media are doing all in their power not to see.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

A UK Media in Denial

Oh dear - the old SNP lost ... how can they be winning, trope?

Across the media this weekend the London movers and shakers from the Times to the tabloids still can not believe what is happening in Scotland. The SNP 'lost' in September - how the hell can they be winning?

The lazy journalists blame Miliband and his loss of control of the Labour Partry as a whole for his Scotch Region's increasing debacle and collapse. Fundamental to all of this is the degree of denial and inability to understand what is happening in Scotland (and increasingly across England and Wales) in the London media (including BBC and ITN News) as this upsurge in support for the SNP is not what happens when a political party 'loses'. You come out all apologetic, saying you understand the electorate wishes, you will now go into retreat and lick your wounds and all the rest of the usual formulaic padding which is Westminster standard operating procedure on a 'loss'. You do not simply dust yourself off and say, that was fun, we nearly did it, we will just keep on doing what we are doing, thanks very much, continue to listen and learn because we did not do that much wrong.

The Pro Union vote decreased from 4:1 in the Union's favour to 11:9 in the Union's favour between 2012-14, a 6% swing is all that would be required for Yes to win next time (and there will be a next time). Yet to the Guardian's Martin Kettle and other London journalists that 10% margin looks like a convincing win - so why have the SNP not just rolled over on their backs and died?

Labour's vote is collapsing in Scotland because the referendum demonstrated they are just another Tory Party. In response, Labour's big idea is to send Jim Murphy back to Scotland (an arch Blairite Tory); a man who is despised by large sections of his own Scotch Region vote and openly opposed by the Union electoral college in Scotland. All this before you ask the average Scottish voter what they think of 'Skeletor' Murphy - a man popular only on his own timeline.

Murphy's idea of a voter break through is to reverse the football anti-sectarian laws which have done much to reduce the cancer of football related sectarianism in Glasgow, as a concession to his new pals in the Orange Lodge.

Murphy's strategy is to hope BBC Scotland, the North Briton and other Scotch media outlets can paper over the cracks and fissures in his history of failure and deceit which started back when he was president of the NUS up to his latest, the back stabbing of Joan Lamont a few weeks ago. Murphy demonstrates what is wrong with Labour just as much as Miliband. 

Labour's problem is the Labour Party is only interested in Labour Party's short term wants and needs. The UK electorate in Labour's eyes has a 'Hobson's Choice' when it comes to the UK General Election - take it or have another five years of Cameron's Conservatives. The irony is the Conservatives are operating on exactly the same principles when it comes to the UK electorate except they have the useful shroud of Ed Miliband to wave.

Meanwhile the SNP is actually listening to its Scottish electorate and worse for both the London Tory Parties, is acting on what they are being told as being 'important' to deliver on Scots needs and expectations. Throw in the reality the SNP have a new leader who is genuinely popular with the Scottish public at large and there can be little or no surprise at the rate of Labour's Scotch Region's collapse, as Scotch Labour MP's announce they are jumping before they are pushed and the Scotch Labour MSPs sit nursing their wrath at yet another London Labour created disaster heading their way - as along with the current Caesarian blood letting in the Scotch Region there will be more P45's for Labour MSPs in 2016.

Throw in the growing collapse of Labour's Welsh Region and the rapidly hollowing out of Labour's Northern England Regions all suggests the problems within Labour lie far deeper than just Miliband - they are systemic and well beyond dusting a turd with icing sugar or even electing Alan Johnson as leader.

This leaves you with a unsettling certainty, one which is more than just a gut feeling, and it is this:

The Westminster Political scene and its tame media no longer knows or understands what is happening in the UK outside of their own tiny, restricted, isolated and incestuous world which feeds only on its self.

This is the only way I can explain the UK medias failures to report on the mass protest marches across the UK which are now a regular event against Westminster Governmental policy for the status quo and the continuing ignorant assurance from UK politicians that this is what is 'for the best'.

Friday, 7 November 2014

When in a deep hole - stop digging ...

The problem for Labour is Ed Miliband is not a leader in any recognisable sense of the word or concept. Blair was a leader; manipulative, self agrandising and dictatorial but at least he had a clear sense of what he wanted to do and the wit to combine charm and threat to achieve it. Brown was not a leader because Gordon Brown was (and is) only interested in Gordon Brown. The Scotch Branch will have the same problem with Jim Murphy as the Labour Party had with Gordon Brown for exactly the same reasons. Jim Murphy is not a leader in any real sense because fear and threats can only take you so far when at the core, you are rotten.

The Labour Party currently appears to be run by committee insistent on creating a three legged camel with no humps. A party with no other idea than to do the same as the Tory Party, call it something different which their 'focus groups' think is 'cool' and continue its ever rightward drift in pursuit of the Tories and UKIP.

Maybe what we are seeing at this juncture in UK Westminster politics is the stultifying effect and impact of three decades of 'career' politicians where even a Farage can look appealing. This is about to get worse as Labour prepares to shoe horn familial dynasties into safe Westminster seats in such a blatantly incestuous manner. Labour is far too cosy with itself and its failing political machine.

First they need to identify someone who has leadership qualities - the ability to get ordinary people, to do extraordinary things, in an ordinary way. There in lies the problem for Labour across the UK - the MP's are all just followers, party machine apparatchiks, no flair, no vision, no chutzpah. Selected for their blandness and lack of threat to the small central cabal who 'own' Labour, to simply spout what they have been told to spout. 

Only now, when P45's are looking ever closer for the Labour drone MPs, does a sense of self preservation cut in and having coasted along for four years picking up the pay and expenses do they take any sort of look at their current leadership. The current panic going on on Labour's back benches about the safety of their own sinecures is too little, too late.

Maybe instead of hating the SNP for taking their toys away in Scotland, Labour could do to learn from the SNP before Labour loses Wales and the North of England too.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Old King Coal was a gasification soul ....

As a result of the no vote the process of coal bed gasification is once more rearing its head in Scotland as a number of Caudrilla / Vitol spin off companies seek planning permission to use this process in seams under the Forth as part of a ‘commercial development trial’. 
Just how dangerous is the process of coal gasification, what is the evidence, either way, and how ‘new’ a process is it?

The technical problems are vast in an underground burn compared to testing the organic chemical reaction in a controlled pressure vessel at carefully regulated oxygen levels, pressures and temperatures. The main concerns as I see them are:

  1. How are they going to capture the sulphur and other bye products from the burn because Forth Basin Coal has a fairly high sulphur content. 
  2. There is the complex geological nature of most pits in the basin with micro faulting breaking up the seams - how will the burn though impact on that?
  3.  How do they control the reaction along the seams where the coal varies in significant quality and water content?
  4.  What will be the thermal impact of the 900C burn and reaction on the surrounding rocks in terms of micro fracture and slippage as the burn leaves them unsupported?
  5. What is the potential impact on the local water table?

According to current best practice, coal gasification should be carried out:

  •  At least 300 feet under  and up to 1,400 feet under sea level
  •  In a seam thickness of more than 5 metres
  •  With an ash content of less than 60%
  •  In seams with minimal faulting
  •  Isolated from liquid aquifers (that is coal beds capped by impermeable bed rocks such as clay or granite)

So the reality is there are not a huge number of coal seams in the Forth basin which will meet these criteria, except under the Firth of Forth where it is known seams do run its full width with reduced faulting, so will best meet current best practice criteria for coal gasification - if planning permission to commence extraction is given. The problem lies in the weakness of the over lying rocks which make up a lot of the Firth’s sea bed geology, have caused collapses and allowed flooding into the preceding ‘sea’ pits along the Fife and East Lothian coasts. There is also the unresolved problem of burning seams which have been abandoned – such as at Seafield near Kirkcaldy and the impact of the gasification process generating 900C reaching the sizable pockets of methane created by the uncontrolled burns from these pre-existing coal seam fires. 900C is the optimum temperature burn to ensure maximum methane production in the combustion mix.

Coal gasification was proposed as far back as the 1880’s when limited attempts were made to try the idea out but the cost was far greater and less certain, than conventional means of creating coal gas. The next burst of interest in the UK arose in the run up to the First War in 1914 but the war terminated any further experiments for the duration. In the interwar years it was the Russians who lead the way with major commercial schemes but these also fell away as Soviet Russia exploited its own oil and gas reserves in the Balkans. In the mid fifties the burgeoning availability of cheap oil and gas from the Middle East saw an end to all proposed and active coal gasification schemes across Europe. So the idea is not ‘new’ it was just waiting until the economic climate was right, that time is when 1 cubic metre of natural gas (methane) exceed the cost of 1 cubic metre of methane from gasification (Syngas).

With oil at over $100 a barrel that economic switch point had been reached and a UK Government, with a imminent power shortage problem on its hands, is desperate for these so called ‘Syngas’ power plants to be generating power as fast as possible in order to escape the hole the UK Parliament’s failure to drive forward any sort of legitimate or cohesive future power policy, has dug for itself in the last three decades. Fracking is struggling to get a toe hold ‘on shore’ in the UK as the horror stories of the pollution of human water resources, the creation of water shortages in US states (where there had previously been none), the smell, the contamination and the sink holes (one sink hole is currently under-mining a key dam in the USA Tennessee Valley hydro, flood control and irrigation scheme), plus localised earthquakes all give rise to justifiable cause and concern of the suitability of ‘fracking’ in a land with such a high population density as England south of the line of Manchester and Leeds, part of the UK where water supply is already becoming an increasing problem.

Environmental claims for gasification are the reduced level of pollutants as Sulphur and Nitrous Oxide (as they are claimed never reach the surface) combined with seven times less the amount of airborne ash compared to current crushed coal technology. The problem is to maximise minimal pollution the oxygen levels and temperature of the burn has to be accurately controlled. This works well with surface gasification plants but the ability to control the temperature and rate of burn underground can only be estimated and leaves some doubt to claims for underground gasification’s environmental credibility.  At one test site the pressure within the burn cavity was too high and forced phenols and carcinogenic benzenes into the local water table. They did not return to ‘normal’ levels until two years after this test finished, according to research.

As for the claims of carbon reclamation and storage, the jury is out. The technology is still in its very early stages and the results are so far not as impressive as the continuing claims for carbon storage both the industry and environmentalists would like you to believe.

Without labelling the answers to my initial five questions, all seem to have been covered in some shape or form to this point. 

In terms of coal bed gasification under the Forth we can suggest that water table contamination from benzene or phenols is unlikely to happen. Instead of sink holes, it is more likely there will be seabed collapses. The output of the coal bed system cannot be as clean and environmentally friendly as its proponents claim simply because the ability to control the burn underground can never be as accurate as the surface experimental trials appear demonstrate. Throw in potential sea water ingress, the quality and water content of coal in the seam being at best an estimate and the scientific based environmental argument put forward by gasification proponents begins to lose its sheen.

The sole, apparent advantage for coal bed gasification is commercial price per unit but with Saudi Arabia currently flooding the world markets with cheap oil and gas, the question again becomes:

 Is gasification really the best solution to the UK Parliament’s failure to plan ahead for UK energy needs?

Main Source:

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Hidden Medical Disaster.

The Tories are now doing to Medical GPs what they did to Dental GPs in England in the 1990's - create a funding crisis causing GP's to walk from their current NHS contracts then buy in private companies to run the NHS GP service using cheap professional imports from Eastern Europe while blaming the current NHS GP's and using their tame media to paint them as greedy, traitors, letting their patients down and all other sorts of emotional blackmail to hide their own crimes.

The long term impact of this strategy can be seen in the General Dental Council's growing failure, as a regulator, in the face of ever increasing complaints which the Dental Defence Unions will tell you are mainly against overseas graduates working in NHS, private company run, sweat shops.

The UK dentists are now in dispute with the GDC over an intended 400% rise in their registration fee in January 2015 to cover this increase in disciplinary cases and other internal financial failures in the GDC which are due to Government policy in England. Private, Welsh and Scottish dental practitioners do not see why they should be paying for NHS England's dental policy failure. Part time dentists (mainly women) feel they are being discriminated against by the massive fee hike, now even the BDA has been forced to stir its collective arse and is seeking an urgent 'judicial review' of the GDC's conduct on this and other matters. A number of NHS GDP's in England have already decided to close their practices and emigrate to NZ or Canada or Oz - just like their NHS England GP colleagues.

The best way for ordinary folk to stop this travesty from happening is to start bombarding your MPs with your concerns, bury them in paper work because in six month's time they will be snuffling around for your vote.

If the English Greens have a modicum of political sense they will now campaign widely on the issue of ever reducing access across England to GPs and DGPs within the NHS in England.

In the meantime there is growing talk of UK Dentists refusing to pay the new fee or just paying last year's fee (on the grounds of the BDA's judicial review) and then shutting their surgeries if NHS or carrying on working 'illegally' forcing the GDC to take them to criminal court. The betting is the GDC will not want to go down the criminal court route as it may eventually expose them to the ECHR on the basis of blocking the right to fair, reasonable and equable trading conditions plus unfair discrimination against part time workers.

So how does this effect NHS Scotland?

It is clear this scam of forcing GP's out of practice in England is an attempt to ensure GP funding in England can remain capped with the 'private company run' GP practice solution importing cheap labour from Eastern Europe to keeping 'costs' down. This has an impact on the funding available under the current Barnet formula for GP services in Scotland. The Scottish Government has already injected more cash into the GP Practice pot in Scotland to alleviate this real term drop in funding for 2014-15 which saw GP's in England getting a 0.82% uplift in total funding for GP services in England against inflationary pressures within UK medicine running at over 3%.

The SNP is committed to robbing Peter to pay the NHS Paul but this clearly means other Scottish Government funding areas take a hit and they still do not have enough funds they can 'free up' to meet the real inflationary costs in NHS Scotland.

On the dental side you could see within NHS Scotland's dental service an increasing loss of availability as part timers take themselves off the Dental Register, due to the fee hike, compounding an already critical manpower problem in NHS Scotland dental services.

If ever there is a clear example of just how badly decisions made in the UK Parliament on English issues can screw Scotland over - this is it.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

50+ SNP seats? I do not think so ..

Ed Miliband puts 2p in a beggar’s pot as a photo opportunity to demonstrate he ‘cares’.

Labour’s strategy is to hand a hundred pounds worth of donations to a food bank protesting at Labour’s silence on the increasing levels of poverty in Scotland and across the UK, a protest happening outside its Scotch Region Gala Dinner for ‘two hundred pound a head’ corporate donors to glad hand with Miliband.

Murphy is told by the food bank organisers at the protest to stuff his donation where the sun does not shine and then whines to his pals in the press that his donation was rejected but not why. Murphy can not reveal how the left in Scotland actually views him and rejects all he stands for because it is the same way ex- Labour voters and a large chunk of his own party in Scotland also view him.

The tame UK media highlights only the Murphy view of what happened, maybe because most honest views of how Murphy actually is viewed by Scots are unprintable and would have to be ‘beeped’ on TV or radio. 30 odd hangers on turning up for his ‘leadership launch’ which is trumpeted as a ‘big deal’ by the same media while Nicola Sturgeon’s address to a full house at the Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries barely sees a mention.

This is the level of detachment seen in Labour and its media ‘lovies’ and is simply another example of the deep level of denial that exists at the London end. ‘Send in the clowns’ politicking of the highest order is shaped in the idea that Murphy will beat Labour’s Scotch Region into shape when he is a major part of the problem in a large section of the Scottish electorate’s eyes.

The reality is Labour’s Scottish core vote are waking up to the Emperor level of nakedness of Labour policies in general and in Scotland specifically. The promotion of Murphy as Labour's saviour in Scotland merely highlights the deep misunderstanding of the reasons why Labour are losing vote share in Scotland. In the Westminster world sending a 'big hitter' looks a logical solution, to bang heads together, enforce ‘party’ discipline and bring back the unfaithful and backsliders amongst Labour’s divinely ordinated electorate share in Scotland – Murphy is the perfect ‘Mad Mullah’ for this job in London’s eyes. For those wishing to get arch ‘Blairite’ Murphy’s leverage over Miliband, as presumed Scotch Labour’s boss, as far from London as possible, this is an excellent move. Even better for Jim’s enemies in London will be, if in spite of the media carnival assuming Jim is going to be crowned Scotch Emperor, Jim loses in the electoral college vote given the STUC’s dislike of the man and the heap of enemies he has amongst the Scotch region in general. For folk like Cruddas and his ‘Progressives’ in the Westminster Party an ‘et tu Brute’ moment of Murphy being multiply stabbed in the back by his own Scotch Party would be a wet dream.

The problem to be addressed is the Scottish electorate are not turning away from Scottish Labour because they are a mess, inept and in a constant state of civil war (in which Murphy is a major agent) but because they are a right wing party whose policies are only slightly to the left of UKIP and the Tories.

The SNP are popular in Scotland because they are left of centre conservatives, they put Scotland first and foremost, they have been proven to be a 'safe pair of hands' in Government at Holyrood, their sense of the sort of social democracy Scotland is, is closely attuned to the average Scot. Traditional Scottish Conservatives to the left of their party would say the SNP have taken over their old ‘One Nation’ principles, through gritted teeth, with their successful creation of a ‘Civic Scotland’ while Labour have lost their ability to claim they are defenders of the working class and the poor in Scotland and their failures are exposed at every turn as the councils they still control in Scotland consistently fail to deliver as they prefer to follow the ‘Willie Bain’ principle and oppose the SNP Government at every turn. Yet even within COSLA they are no longer the force they once were as the recent resignation or not drama of Labour councils has exposed.

Oddly you will also find many Scottish Tory and Libdem voters will grudging admit the SNP are doing a better job for all aspects of governance of Scotland's people, Holyrood is responsible for, than the Lab-Lib coalitions ever achieved.

Murphy is going to have to do a lot more than apologise to his ex-Scottish Labour electorate. He will need to do some abject grovelling and reject his Blairite, right wing politics outright, a move too far for even 'Chameleon Jim' to manage.

What will actually happen in Scotland on the 7th of May 2015; will happen, the SNP target remains to send between twenty and thirty MPs to Westminster in 2015. If it is more than thirty, then I will be very surprised; happy - but very surprised.