Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Ebola Nurse gets the best treatment possible.

The Record, Twitter and social media are reverberating with hysterical anger at some third rate English 'celebrity' who has fewer brains cells than Spike Milligan's 'Famous Eccles' the original mono-synaptic man and as much cunning as 'Blune Bottle', Eccles partner in failure upon failure - ' AeeeeH! They deaded me again, Eccles, the rotten swines'.

What is the real story here because it is not the third rate celebrity with her fourth rate tweet and Eccles like brain?

The real story is a nurse, based in Scotland, who volunteered, knowing the potential risk, to help out in an area ravaged by this loathsome blood borne virus has sadly contracted the disease herself. Meanwhile all the 'celebrity' has caught is a dose of verbal diarrhea brought on by acute foot in mouth disease.

NHS Scotland is to be commended because on realising the nurse's presenting symptoms they immediately ensured that the nurse was transferred to the UK Hospital with a world wide reputation for dealing with tropical diseases - The London School of Tropical Medicine. In doing so NHS Scotland ensured a patient in their care, with suspected Ebola, received the best possible care to survive this horrendous disease.

The London School of Tropical Medicine will be fully reimbursed by NHS Scotland for the costs of this nurse's care. Sadly the vast majority of the lame, hostile and ignorant who inhabit social media will never understand this because to do so undermines at a stroke their self promoting, shit stirring, small minded and divisive purpose in the promotion of their own name.

Equally sad is the number of folk who have let this 'celebrity' and her ignorant post get their dander up when there are more important things we need to be thinking about rather than this woman's 'Bratish Empirical' opinions. Engaging in reducing homelessness, poverty, evictions, job losses, DWP sanctions along with other evils eating our society in Scotland, we can change for the better, will last longer and do more benefit than chasing after this potty mouthed, minor 'celebrity'.

Anger is always destructive, closes down the ability to think clearly and is energy sapping.

Let us save our energies to ensure we get as many SNP / pro-independence MPs elected as is humanly possible from Scotland in May 2015 after which 'potty mouth' and her like can look to themselves as their bratish, British Empire falls around their ears.

Let us hope the treatment being offered this brave nurse, for her condition, is effective and she is soon back to her best courtesy of NHS Scotland and the London School of Tropical Medicine.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

The English charging to our rescue ....

There is a fairy story in the Daily Telegraph which, with out any doubt, must go down as the most bizarre and ignorant article about the political and societal situation in Scotland ever concocted. Apparently the appeal has gone out from the British Establishment that the English have to reach out and save Scotland from herself.

It seems we have set ourselves on the road to nihilism by backing the SNP is such huge numbers, our rejection of the Palace of Westminster's benevolent austerity package are apparently the actions of lunatics. We have to be taught the error of our ways, be forced to return to our mud huts and porridge before we take up our claymores from our turf and heather roofs, throw off our plaid mhor and enter into rebellion against our queen. OK, I made that last bit up but, seriously, if you read the original article you can sense such madness in its undertow. The fear is the Jacobites are once more on the road to Derby to wrest power from the British Establishment, except for Jacobites - read SNP.

On Boxing Day I highlighted just how political Elizabeth the Queen of Scots has become in spite of the requirement of the 1689 Claim of Right that to keep the Scottish crown she must heed her people's wishes by not interfering in the politics of Scotland and must do the people of Scotland's bidding.

At the end of November I asked how can we continue to support a British Establishment so riven with both fiscal and sexual corruption and in December I reflected on the continuing failure of the British Establishment's self seeking austerity plan, amongst its other failed political policies, as its attempts to cover up the growing disaster it is leading the UK towards, crumble into dust.

This brings us back to the chest beating cry from the Telegraph, seeking to rally the English right to protect its own self assumed birth right to get rich at everyone else expense. Protectionism of the City of London's perverse venality is essential in their little world, as is the need to keep as many people as ignorant as possible of the massive debt bubble the 'City' is sitting on. Brown and Darling did not 'save the world' in 2008, they merely put a highly expensive QE butt plug up the backside of the casino financiers in London to reduce the flow. A butt plug which is now starting to leak heavily, the mire encroaching around Westminster's feet, the corrupt stench leaching out to all parts of the UK. The reality is the UK is worse off now than it was in the aftermath of 2008 fiscal collapse - all courtesy of the Palace of Westminster and a political system interested in looking good without engaging substance or attempting to understand the lot of an increasing chunk of its electorate. A British Establishment which seeks to create political dynasties to serve its own narrow purpose, inward looking, self important and self serving - protection of its own hegemony at all costs.

Into this comfortable mix the Scots are threatening to throw in a massive hand grenade in the form of a large SNP block of Westminster MPs, the biggest threat to the British Establishment's comfortable arrangements since Charles Stuart dithered in Derby. We can expect more of this verbal diarrhea in the months to come from the 'British' media as the evidence of Scottish dissension towards the British Establishment continues to grow and Murphy's attempts to save Labour's 'Scotch' Region fall on even stonier ground as his ability to antagonise folk, without any real effort on his part, becomes more apparent to his Establishment bosses in the Palace of Westminster. No wonder Dougy Alexander is in a 'huff' with Ed Moribund he sees a shellacking coming, courtesy of Murphy, which could see him being awarded with a P45 come May 2015.

The Scots are too wee, too stupid and too poor meme and need to be 'saved' from themselves by the benevolence of the 'English', continues to be played as the British Establishment's trump card - even though it is becoming increasingly curled, frayed and worn at the edges. The word on the streets of Scotland is increasingly if you want the 'Vow' delivered in full, you need to vote SNP.

The Scottish experience of the SNP is; they do what they say they will on the tin. A level of trust not enjoyed by the British Establishment in any of its manifestations. A reality shown in the latest opinion poll as 60% of the Scots electorate make clear they believe sending a large number of SNP MPs is the best way to ensure the 'Vow' happens.

This time the Scottish electorate only has itself to blame, if it dithers in May 2015, to send Westminster the message - time for a new UK Union of federated nations in the British Isles because the present set up is knackered, by sending 30+ SNP MPs to Westminster.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Queen - Scotland Divided .... aye right!

According to today's London media theme, the Scots are at each others' necks in the aftermath of the 18th of September. Apparently we have taken folk who voted against us, whether Yes or No proponents, off our Christmas Card Lists causing rioting and divisions on the streets of Morningside and Mulingavie as we tear up Christmas lists, cards and envelopes and throw them at each other. Yes folks, according to the Spectator, the divisions in Scotland are that serious. Let's pretend what happened in the aftermath of the recent George Square tragedy never happened, the unity, folk who were strangers helping each other - no the truth is we have taken friends who voted the opposite way to us off our Christmas card lists, causing schism, hatred, violence and despair across Scotland.

The British Establishment want the Scots back in their box so are determined to portray the SNP and the whole Yes movement as having the same sort of fascist, oppressive, destructive and divisive style of politics as the Lablibcons and UKIP (fascism is a political plutocracy working hand in hand with an oligarchy - the banks and capitalists - for their own mutual benefit and not the electorates) actually are; a situation once described by Enoch Powell as, not so much a parliamentary democracy but more an elected parliamentary dictatorship.

Labour = Libdems = Tories (+ UKIP) in a growing percentage of the UK electorates' minds as seen in recent UK opinion polls which for the first time ever are showing 'Others' ahead of the 'After you, no after you Claude!' failed Westminster political triumvirate.

So it is important for the British Establishment's tame, London biased media feeds to push rubbish like this of a 'Scotland divided against itself' while the opposite is starkly true. Scotland is increasingly unifying behind the SNP as the failure of the London triumvirate to even pretend they are going to do squat with regards the Smith Commission recommendations boosts SNP vote share to near 50% levels in Scotland for both Westminster and Holyrood  and support for independence now running at 52%. Today Cameron's mouth piece in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, revealed to the Guardian that Cameron is looking to kick the whole 'more devolution issue for Scotland' into the long grass. Jim Murphy is promoting the idea that Scotland can only heal its divisions by voting Labour in May 2015 ('Scotch' Labour, a region in open warfare with itself and its prime backers in Scotland, in financial crisis, with a collapsing membership and morale sinking below boot level  - you just could not make it up!). In the meantime the triumvirate are doing all they can to try and stop Salmond being elected to Westminster in May while struggling to decide which contender they have on offer has the remotest chance of doing so while pumping out as much manure as they can in Salmond's direction.

The question becomes just why is the British Establishment running so scared, to almost a headless chicken level, of a democratically elected SNP, sitting on over 45+% of Scotland's vote share for May, sending 20 or more MPs to Westminster? After all the British Establishment have the centre to extreme right all sown up between the Lablibcons + Ukip or is it that a left of centre social democratic party will wreck the game for the oligarchs who fund the Liblabcons and damage the rapidly increasing move towards the 'low wage / high debt' economy they need to create to maximise their own net profits, putting even more wealth in the pockets of even fewer people which just happen to be them.

It appears strange the 'Lablibcons' are now talking up bringing in the DUP and UKIP to shore up their failing policies and I will not put it past them to create a 'Government of National Unity' in a last ditch attempt to block out 30+ SNP MPs. The real problem is the English electorate are not going to buy that which explains why the London Met are now exercising with their new water cannon. The British Establishment increasingly knows it won the battle in September but has lost the war across the UK, it needs Scotland and the SNP as its new 'bogeyman' to scare the English electorate into toeing their line and not voting for the English Greens. The British Establishment are in growing fear they are losing their grip on power.

All in all the biggest creator of division in the UK is the Palace of Westminster and its tame London media outlets peddling guff like this about Scotland, rubbish about immigration and the need to sell off the NHS in England, such as the Spectator.

As for Liz - she should have known better to peddle that healing guff in her Christmas message pushing even more cantankerous Scotsmen and women towards independence and republicanism as a result.

"Scotland has nae got a King and she has nae got a Queen,

Hoo kin thir be a second Liz when the furst wan has nae been?"

Scotland's on variant on the 'West Lothian' question -
Bliadhna mhath ùr!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A Big Enough Fig Leaf?

The traditional use for the fig leaf is to cover up stuff you do not wish others to see. The leaves grow pretty large even outside in the SW of Scotland but by bio-mechanical design they can only grow so big before they become inefficient for the plant's use.

For argument's sake let us presume the British Establishment has accessed the biggest fig leaf they can. Further let us presume with the best in the world this British Establishment super fig leaf can not cover up everything they would prefer to keep hidden. Some times when it moves one way it exposes a little of what should not be seen on the other side and vice versa.

The British Establishment fig leaf has been active for the last six or so months hiding the flaws in the current UK Parliament in terms of its constitutional set up as it fought to keep the Union in one piece. To do this they had to hide a lot of important stuff from the people of Scotland. In doing so they partially uncovered the pubic morass of paedophile activity in the Palace of Westminster for those with eyes to see. With the referendum 'won' the British Establishment sought to shift the fig leaf back only to find the portion which had covered the Westminster paedophile ring was now going brown and curling up at the edges. Shock, horror, they were exposed.

As the fig leaf swung that way the British Establishment discovered the porkies they had sold Scotland about oil and gas had come true, but on their watch. The Oil and Gas market volatility had taken a chunk out of Sterling foreign exchange earnings making it harder for Chancellor Osborne to find the billion of pounds a month needed simply to pay back interest to the UK's debtors - let alone the capital sum; so much for deficit reduction as both the trade deficit and the government borrowing deficit grew and grew and grew.

To give the paedophile end some sort of decency they threw a couple of small fry to the courts in the hope this would be seen as doing something to end the story around Palace of Westminster involvement and announced some sort of review. Yet people asked themselves why, when at least one of the accused, John Allen, had been identified as a key abuser at the Bryn Estyn Children's Homes, procurer of young boys for parties at Dolphin Square and abroad, had not been arrested when his role was made clear in the Jillings Report as late as 1995. Yes, that's right folks, the nice MP's and Lords involved in the Dolphin Square paedophile ring took the boys on holidays to places like Amsterdam - what fun, buggered along the Kaisergracht. The safe pair of hands proposed to get the result needed for the Palace of Westminster cover up was outed as being far too chummy with one of the members suspected of being behind the original cover up when in charge of the Home Office - Leon Britain.

Then the British Establishment fig leaf saw another edge turning brown and crumbling as the flaws behind the NHS England 'sell off' became exposed when a sizable number of honourable members who voted for the scheme were seen to be directly benefiting from the sell off and it came to light that 14% of NHS England's budget was now spent simply administering private contracts (sorry - outsourcing efficiencies) with only a measly 8% being spent on the core GP services in England.

The British Establishment fig leaf was now under serious stress and then the fig leaf's defence section suffered serious caterpillar attack when it turned out there was not any fuel to send a frigate from the south coast to investigate a submarine sighting close to the Western Isles nor did the RAF have any maritime reconnaissance plane to check the sighting while the nearest helicopter with anti-submarine dipping capability was at Culdrose in Cornwall -  oh and by the way we are shutting down the last co-ordination centre for this sort of activity in Scotland but we will send more poor bloody infantry to be shot at in Iraq by a new load of religious nutters we helped fund, arm and set up in the first place.

Back over on the paedophile cover up edge of the fig leaf, not only was that part of the leaf curling and going brown on the edges there was now an severe case of 'Wenolongerbelieveyourshite' blight, as members of the plod up and down the UK started explaining to newspapers how investigations in the 80 and 90's had been blocked at a high level and folk started questioning the surprise deaths of a number of young boys as tales of 'snuff' movies starring known political figures gained traction. Not even the tame London media's stand by  'Oh look a scrounging, immigrant squirrel' story was having much effect in taking people's eyes away from the growing horror being revealed nor did the usual 'Nigel Fromage' tale of derring do, for that matter.

Meanwhile the bit covering up the Scottish referendum has now rotted completely away and ordinary Scots can see exactly what was covered up and, not to put too fine a point on it, are 'black affronted an' muckle scunnert an' aa.'  The safe pair of hands sent to bring Scotland back under British rule does not now look that safe as the expected bounce of 'Skeletor's' appointment actually saw support for Labour going the other way and in receipt of a reception, outside of the fawning North British media, similar to Murphy being announced as the new chairman of Rangers FC.

Will the British Establishment fig leaf hold out until May 2015?

Only time will tell but with even 'Scotch' Labour's bestest pals at the Daily Record warning they are going to take a kicking if something does not change and soon, the best I can say is we live in interesting times while I hope the continuing scandal over the Palace of Westminster paedophile cover up exposes all that is rotten with the UK's fig leaf politics, the British Establishment and hastens the end of this failed Union for the good of the electorate in the four constituent nations.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Bah! Humbug!

I have never liked Christmas, even as a kid - according to my sister - I have always been indifferent.

She talks about family 'Christmas' parties (my father had two sisters and a brother plus their kids, my mother though an only child has a shed full of cousins) where the question was a Wallyesque 'Where's Peter?' the answer was usually I would be siting in another room reading or playing by myself.

Folk tell me Christmas is about family, fun, excess in all its forms ... oh and of course religion; via the high jacking of Saturnalia by the Roman Church and the suppression of Celtic winter traditions. This is just fine if you enjoy excess or are a committed Christian. I would guess the Saturnalian tradition of excess still has far more influence over the season than religion.

As a child of the late 1950's Scotland did not do 'Christmas'. Most weekday Christmas Day's saw my father working to at least mid-day. Christmas Dinner was usually at 5pm, then present opening, then bed: all very low key. As I got older Christmas Eve added the 'Watchnight Service' at our Parish Church where even as a ten year old I could not get my head around the relative wealth on show compared with the poverty of some of my friends at primary school who lived in 'single ends' in Edinburgh's Dalry and Gorgie areas. "Suffer little children ...." just how does that work? Sunday school was all about helping the poor Black African  'picininnies' in Malawi or Uganda while ignoring the acute poverty amongst children on our own doorstep. Maybe that was part of my problem with Christmas, being the one who always asked the 'stupid questions' that challenged the black and white version of the 'god' the Church of Scotland wanted to imprint on my mind.

At some point in the mid 60's Christmas Day became a 'bank holiday' in Scotland and the shift away from Ne'r Day to a more homogenous UK Christmas of increasing consumerism, all day television and the rest came about. The traditional two day Scottish New Year celebrations morphed into a week or more of Saturnalia with 'Christmas' starting in October as the commercial companies peddled their wares and Santa's Grotto was no longer confined to the two weeks before Christmas but slipped back to early November as the commercial world started on their 'Christmas shopping experience' via the ever more powerful modern media, to create even greater consumerism and profit for themselves. Television adverts in October were designed to 'pre-place' must have Christmas presents in peoples' (and worse in my view) their children's minds.

As a parent of the 80's and 90's I came under the pressure for the 'must have present' from my children whether it was a cabbage patch doll or the latest Lego kit to build your own JCB excavator. Some I gave in to some I did not but, apart from bicycles, my wife and I never spent more than £50 on their presents. It was fun sharing with the children and yet there was still this sense of disquiet when it came to myself.  'Family' Christmas with the rest of the family and still the question remained, 'Where's Peter?', as I sat reading quietly on my own.

So as this Christmas comes around, both children grown up, living in Japan and Ireland, with children of their own and me in the final stages of an amicable divorce, being on my own is not a problem and yet I am still no nearer understanding where my dismissive attitude towards this festive season comes from. I set out writing this to see if the process of writing would bring the reason's to light or at least an indication, after all with the shortest day tomorrow and the start of a solar new year upon us what better time is there?

I am no nearer discovering 'Why?'.

Maybe my view should be less 'Bah! Humbug!' and more 'Meh'.

For those who enjoy this season - have a good time. For folk like me - it is OK to feel this way and you are not abnormal.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Palace of Vulgarity's - its panto season

It was pantomime day at the Palace of Vulgarity's (Westminster) and all the usual characters were there, along with the standard thread bare plot and the baying masses of Westminster's finest shouting 'he's behind you' and 'Oh no he isn't / Oh yes he is' while laughing and baying at 'jokes' even the Christmas cracker companies had rejected.

'Funny hands!' shouted one of the unfunny, funny men, 'I'm moving into your house in May, I'll tell you then!' said his slap-stick feed while both were running a poor, second rate imitation of the Chuckle Brother's ancient 'too me - too you' gag. Oh how the audience bayed with laughter and hubris.

We have another five months of the Westminster playground gangs of neds, shouting insults at each other about who is the electorate's pet (Farage), has got the worst acne (Clegg) and can pee highest against the Westminster bog wall (Theresa May) before we find out who has won the UK's General Election Game - Top Trumps. As an aside: Danny 'Beaker' Alexander GE Top Trump cards have been assigned a value of zero across all categories - to reflect his political future. New 'Skeletor' Murphy cards are being produced to reflect his elevation to the leadership of Labour's 'Scotch' branch (more of a twig actually).

All this is happening while the UK is collapsing around their ears and the electorate do not care anymore because all the main Westminster gangs are as bad and as pathologically right wing as each other.

Behind the Westminster bike sheds, the much despised and denigrated Greens, Jocks, Welsh and Irish are talking to each other about standing up to this Westminster ned bullying on a 'speak affirmatively but kick them hard in the nuts at every turn' platform.

The 'other place' simply goes on and on and on, like the Workhouse Board in Oliver Twist sipping the best of vintage champagnes, as if nothing has changed - just like a tramp's 12 year old underwear and equally appealing.

Meanwhile the 'Burlington Berties'  of the London media continue to parade up and down the Strand in an attempt to deflect attention from what is claimed to be one of the world's biggest economies which has some of the worst homelessness and poverty in the developed world, average real wage value decline of 10% (in real terms) in the last five years and a gap between rich and poor now second only to the USA. Then there are the troubles afflicting NHS England in the run up to its sell off to the private sector - not the least the electorate are against it - to be hidden behind the usual round of  'man bites dog, murderrrrr and fitba' diet with regular articles of sightings of the Scottish Yeti, Banffpotamus Salmondii, and how it is important to keep young folk away from him in case he inspires them to question just why the UK electorate appear to be such a collection of dunderheids and sheeple. The reported Palace of Westminster paedophile ring is less of a risk to kiddies than 
Banffpotamus Salmondii - according to the increasingly hysterical London media warnings - even though the Scottish Yeti has never been known to sexually abuse or murder any youngsters or has, yet, shifted its habitat south of Coldstream.

Throw in £1.7 trillion of UK Government (and still growing) debt, collapsing UK tax revenues, worsening trade deficit, weakening Sterling foreign exchange earnings and the reality after the tens of billions of pounds of QE were thrown at the London banking system, we have a fiscal system in the City of London which is no more safe or secure than they were at the end of 2008, and then you ask yourself why are the Westminster neds only talking about EVEL, immigrants, Banffpotamus Salmondii and the best way of eating bacon sandwiches?

This is what masquerades as democratic debate in the UK Union  today ...... 

Bah! Humbug! I say.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Blair and Straw - must face criminal charges

I do not usually post other people's blogs but in the circumstances of the sense of injustice felt after the result on the 18th September, the ducking and diving over the 'Vow', the continuing condescension by the UK Parliament towards the Scots, the ducking and diving over the paedophile rings related to the Palace of Westminster and the British Establishment I covered here. This blog by Craig Murray, once part of that establishment, reflects the mendacity of and the lengths gone to by the UK Parliament  and Government at Westminster when covering up their own criminal acts.

In the summer of 2004, I warned Tony Blair’s Foreign Office that Britain was using intelligence material which had been obtained by the CIA under torture. Two months later I was sacked as the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan on the orders of Downing Street, bringing to an end my 20-year diplomatic career.  When I then went public with the news that Uzbek territory was part of a global CIA torture program, I was dismissed as a fantasist by Mr Blair’s henchmen. Now finally, a decade later, I have been vindicated by last week’s shocking Senate Intelligence Committee report.

Over 500 pages it details the CIA’s brutal abuse of Al Qaeda suspects, who were flown around the world to be tortured in a network of secret prisons. One of these was in Uzbekistan, where the US had an air base. The CIA program included both torture they conducted themselves and torture conducted for them by allies. Shamefully, the torture-by-proxy details remain classified to protect America’s gruesome ‘allies’. The CIA were flying people to Uzbekistan to be tortured, usually via their secret prison at Szymany in Poland. The Uzbeks were doing the actual torture, sometimes with CIA members in the room. Aside from the moral dimension, the Senate report confirmed my repeated view that intelligence gleaned from torture is useless. When I was Ambassador, one secret file I was sent contained CIA information which named a member of Al Qaeda. The man turned out to be a Jehovah’s Witness.

In 2003, I attended a meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), where I was told by officials that it was not illegal for us to use intelligence from torture as long as we did not carry out the torture ourselves. I was also told at the meeting that this intelligence was ‘useful’ – and that policy came directly from the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. I have a copy of a note signed by the Foreign Secretary’s private secretary which says that Mr Straw had seen the minutes of the meeting and thought it had been ‘handled well’.  I was specifically told by a very senior FCO manager that there was a deliberate policy of not writing down anything about this because there should not be evidence of the policy. Meanwhile, the FCO was churning out speeches which claimed we opposed it. On July 22, 2004, I sent that telegram to Mr Straw complaining about the fact we were using intelligence material obtained under torture and passed to us via the CIA. His silence in response didn’t surprise me. I was gone soon afterwards. Strange then that when he sacked me – on the express orders of Mr Blair’s Downing Street, I was later informed – Mr Straw claimed to Parliament that the existence of a CIA torture programme was only ‘Mr Murray’s opinion’. He claimed the Government knew nothing of any torture by the CIA, and still today denies knowing anything about it.

My career had been destroyed by politicians who wanted to hide their complicity in human rights abuses. To complete the process, they then trashed my reputation with smears: the stressful end to my first marriage, and the start of my relationship with my current wife, Nadira, found its way into the press in the most lurid terms. False stories about my drinking and fabrications about sleeping with prostitutes also appeared. All of this was to distract from the truth: that hundreds of British members of the security services, diplomats and civil servants co-operated with the CIA torture programme. It is a terrible indictment of our society that I was the only person in a position of authority who was trying to stop it. Now that I have been vindicated, it is time for a formal Government apology for the way I was treated.

It is not just past UK governments which were complicit in both the torture and the cover-up. For the past year, the British Ambassador in Washington and his staff have regularly been lobbying the US authorities not to reveal facts about the UK’s involvement in the CIA torture program.  That lobbying has been successful, and is one of the reasons that most of the Senate report has not been published. The British Government continues to cover up the truth even today. We should not forget that the climate of public and media opinion which made it possible for this US Senate report to be published at all was generated entirely by the work of whistleblowers. I was the first of these, but at least I remain at liberty: two subsequent whistleblowers – soldier Chelsea Manning and CIA agent John Kiriakou – are serving long stretches in prison. Although it is in no way comparable to the horrifying abuses suffered by the torture victims, we truth-tellers have also been through hell.

It is very strange to now hear Westminster politicians calling for a judicial inquiry into our involvement in rendition. There has already been one, headed by retired judge Sir Peter Gibson. He started to gather evidence, and ordered the Foreign Office to give me full access to all the classified documentation on the subject from my time as Ambassador. Indeed, Gibson gave every appearance of being a man of integrity, appointed to lead an investigation into governmental wrongdoing. It was therefore no surprise when the Gibson inquiry was cancelled and his duties handed to politicians on the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee. Incredibly, its members include Hazel Blears, one of Tony Blair’s Ministers at a time when the Government had a policy of using intelligence from torture. She is therefore investigating herself. No wonder a source on the Intelligence and Security Committee told journalists last week that they would only scrutinise members of the security services, not the politicians who instructed them. There is, at least, an ongoing Metropolitan Police inquiry, called Operation Lydd, into whether the criminal law was broken by Britons implicated in the rendition program.

Complicity in torture is a crime in the UK. I have given sworn evidence to the detectives involved, who recently passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Astonishingly, at the CPS the dossier has been given not to the branch that deals with misconduct in public office, but to the counter-terrorism division. This focuses attention away from the crime of torture and on to the alleged criminal intentions of the actual victims of the crime they are supposed to be considering. The police think it will all be quietly swept under the carpet by the CPS. Recent scandals, such as the alleged cover-up of an Establishment paedophile ring, highlight the apparent impunity of our political class in the face of the honest forces of law and order.

We don’t need an inquiry into British complicity in torture. We need a trial. And it should be Tony Blair and Jack Straw in the dock.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A Journey Round 'Our Fathers'

Today, for the first time since Saturday, there was blue sunlight sky with small puff ball clouds skidding over it in a rush to get somewhere else and fast. I did not offer up the 'W' word to Dillon the Yorkie / Jack Russel cross I simply started putting on the 'serious going for a winter walk' gear. Usually the response is excited circling, jumping and general skittering around from the moment the waterproof bottoms go on. Today he just stood there with his back to the French windows shaking and trembling in excitement with his brown eyes fixed on mine, we were going for a proper walk, the first one since Saturday, not just a 3km up and down the lane but further a-field. His dog god was fulfilling all the faith and belief Dillon has in him. Dillon's dog jacket went on with out any wriggling, the lead was attached to his collar with out any fidgeting, the door opened and there was no flying leap to freedom seeking to rip the lead from the dog god's hands but a serene exit, vertical tail, slightly wagging, head high - we were going for a walk!

As a child of the late 50's, born to God fearing parents who were deeply committed to the Calvinist Church of Scotland, I can remember having a faith and belief system which was Dillon simple. What ever the Sunday School teacher told us was 'gospel', Christ was born on Christmas Day, nailed to a tree and died on Good Friday and was born again on Easter Day. The rest of the year was just a 'fill in' between these two momentous events. Sunday's remained a day of rest (aka; boredom for us kids who were not allowed out to play until after Sunday Lunch) by the early 60's there were even some TV programs on after 6pm as a break from all this religiosity. We had 'Songs of Praise' or William Barclay sermonising on the 'Risen Christ' then at 8pm the moral turpitude of Dr Findlay's Casebook; "Is that an anal thermometer in your top pocket Dr Findlay? Aye, Janet, some bum's got ma pencil."

As I got older, the Church of Scotland became more ingrained in my soul and, like most of my family, involvement in Church clubs, associations and institutions became the norm. So it would have gone on, this unthinking blind faith and belief, if the Falkland's conflict had not intervened, I would have just been like Dillon shaking in expectation that at some point 'god's' purpose would be revealed to me. I would get to go on that special walk I hoped for, after a period of darkness.

Here's what I learned on active service - faith and belief are just superstitions. Marines thought they would be safe if they had letters from their kids in the top left pocket of the combats, if a Jellico cat finger puppet was in their left hand trouser pocket, if they left the magazine on their NATO Standard SLR one round short. Pilots who would go berserk if their harness was not done up in a certain order or the safety pins from their ejector seat removed in a certain rotation - there were all sorts of faith and beliefs about what would keep them 'safe'. The dying rarely asked for 'god' it was their mothers or wives. Belief and faith in any 'god' is about as effective a protection on a battle field as a 'Jellico cat' finger puppet in your left trouser pocket.

Between 1982 and 1988 I struggled with this whole idea of the uselessness of a 'god' who was such a key part of my own and my extensive families of relations lives. I decided I had missed something, it was just a test of my faith and, being pragmatic, I decided to study the basis of the religious teachings I had never really questioned, up until that point, and began training as a lay preacher. Having an analytical mind I started noting the difference between the conscious and unconscious conditioning as to how to interpret the writings which are part and parcel of the Christian Ministry and the glaring contradictions and holes this set of teaching tries to cover over. 

As I did some comparative reading in Zoroastrianism and Buddhism I started seeing ideas and concepts from these older, humanistic philosophies appearing as New Testament 'truths'. The core of Buddhism is based around 10 humanistic 'Siskapada' or footsteps which are not about what you should not do or not believe in (as in the Ten Commandments) but how you should behave towards others to create peace, harmony and progress. The Old Testament Story of 'Noah's Ark' is actually a Babylonian folk tale which has been discovered, written on Cuneiform clay tablets, predating the Babylonian's take over of Judea. At least three other religions in the Eastern Mediterranean, popular at the time, have a 'virgin birth' as the basis of their religious beliefs. The list of parallel comparisons go on and on. Josephus makes no mention of any such person as 'Jesus Christ' in his contemporary histories nor do any of the Roman records of the day. By the time the Roman Empire was in trouble and needed some form of unifying construct in the 5th Century, there was as many different tales about the 'Christ' as there were believers. The Council of Antioch set out to do one thing, to agree the core story once and for all, what bits were to be redacted, what bits were to be kept and how it could be moulded into a shape the Roman Emperor of the day could live with while not causing ructions amongst the privileged classes. Hence 'Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.' which is hardly radical from a man who is supposed to have dished the dirt on the 'Pharisees' and cleared the 'Temple Mount' of money lenders. The New Testament is actually a theological recipe, made up from a number of preexisting religious traditions of the day, known across the Roman Empire, with the sole aim of controlling and unifying  the masses while allowing them apparent 'freedoms' which are not in anyway 'free', as they are all qualified by obligations and strictures.

Ironically the path I first took to reaffirm my Calvinist faith and belief system is the path which has ended up with me as a confirmed atheist. I do not need any 'god' to tell me to be my 'brother's keeper' or 'love my neighbour'; just self commitment to act in a fundamentally human way, one which has benefited man, as a social animal, ever since we left the East African Savanna, all those hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Being supportive of each other is a fundamental human trait which religious and political governance seek to make hard and difficult by creating division and hatred where none should be. This need to be supportive of others is hardwired in each of us, it is why clubs, associations and charities exist across the modern world.

Think - do you make a donation to a 'cause' because a 'god' tells you to or because it feels right, at a very basic human level?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Way the Wind Blows

The sky is a dreich gray, the windows besmattered with rain as the wind from the 'weather bomb' whistles around the house, hardly broken at all by the leafless trees which guard the property to the west as they revolve, twist and shake in the gusts. The noise can not be described as a whistle or a howl nor a moan - the best I can come up with is the sound of a 64 foot organ pipe, just before the note rings clear. You sort of feel it rather than hear it. The dog chain taps at the back door while the dog has buried himself into the sofa cushions looking the other way in an attempt to shield his eyes from the glowering skies he must take on for his afternoon walk. The cat, as is the way of cats, is curled up against the dog, head under its left oxter to keep the noise from disturbing its wary sleep.

The dog chain taps against the door, I sip lukewarm tea, huddled over the key board and with nothing better to do than think about the year just past, the words and ideas which have been given life on my blog, wondering just what have I done to change a society for the better, a society which
is rapidly fragmenting into the 'haves' and 'have nots.

The sense of lost opportunity looms large. The misguided hope from still too many of the Scots electorate that this time Westminster would keep its promises towards 'Fiscal Autonomy' if we scared them enough. The lack of self confidence from some who still believe only Westminster can save Scotland from itself, "Its aye been that way". The hard core Unionists whose hatred of the SNP blinded their eyes to the opportunity they were turning their back on with independence and the vested interests who foresaw their vice like grip on Scotland slipping once and for all.

I am not going to list the rapid unraveling of  the 'if we scare them enough camp's' presumptions, more analytical minds than mine have done this already, nor the weakness of the 'Its aye been' case as both of those groups appear to be waking up to the fallacy of their position if the current opinion poll swing towards the SNP, in the run up to the New Year, is anything to go by. Their sense of self betrayal, of being 'let down', of being 'lied to' once too often, will turn them ever more towards the 'Yes' camp, in their own time, as long as we give them space and do not harry them. The deathly reality of the status quo and the antics of the Liblabcon merchants in the Palace of Westminster will see to that; with their slapstick Prime Minister's Questions Muppet Show and failure to engage on issues ordinary Scots actually care about.

There is something inordinately sick about a UK Government and Westminster political system whose uncivil servants send a dying man, a DWP letter stating they expect him to find work when he gets better. It is worse when you know the man in question is a Falkland's War veteran and amputee who saw front line action on behalf of 'Iron Maggie', political hero ('hero' is what I meant to write) of Cameroon and Moribund; a man who is expected to die from cancer within three months. Just where is the protest from the Libdems Mike Hancock CBE MP for Portsmouth and Southsea over his constituents treatment? Wait he is in 'purdah' after admitting sexual harassment of a single mother with mental health issues and resigning from the Libdem Party in September 2014 - just another fiddler using his position to extract favours from taxpayer and constituents alike.

The haters are still hating. It is all they have left. Devoid as they are of integrity, empathy or compassion. Blaming those who they have reduced to poverty for being poor and dependent. Haters who look to their own advantage well before any benefit to their constituents. Self centred, monstrous and increasingly scared as they see their 'Scotch' hegemony is increasingly on a shoogly peg. Their campaign increasingly strident and disorientated while the parties of 'Better Together' continue to meld into one party, as described by the Reverend Stu over on Wings over Scotland

For 'Scotch' Labour the end is nigh as the Catholic Church in Scotland, once its greatest supporter and sustainer, holds their feet to the fire over increasing fuel poverty, homelessness and food banks in Scotland's cities and the negative and destructive impact on children, families and the elderly while pointing the finger directly at Westminster: do not pass go, do not blame the Scottish Government, this is all you and Westminster's doing, Mr Murphy: is its message. The haters in the Orange Order froth at the mouth about 'papists speaking out of turn' in a grisly attempt to hide their own emptiness and soullessness. This is not 'papists' speaking, all you 'haters' of the SNP, and no matter how your tame media will try to spin it, what you are hearing is the voice of 'Civic Scotland', the people of Scotland, the 70% of Scots who show degrees of compassion, empathy and care towards all their fellow Scots, unknown in the Better Together camp, especially towards those who are only now in financial trouble because of the misguided and inhumane Westminster Government Welfare Policy which Labour fully supports.

To all you 'SNP haters' out there, a bit of advice, look to the way the wind is blowing in Scotland and understand the risks you face by resisting its force, as on current forecasting you are about to be in the face of a political weather bomb yourselves and all that will mean to Mr Murphy's Strawman.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Punch and Judy Show

According to the London, metro-centric, UK media Osborne's pre-budget announcement has been a 'political master piece' and left Balls and Labour flat footed, with nowhere to go in the run up to the May 2015 elections.  I am left stunned that not one commentator has pointed out that both Balls and Osborne are 'pissing into the wind' as they bash each other on their heads with their handbags at twenty paces in the 'Palace of Comedy' which is the UK Westminster Parliament.

Currently every UK macro-economic indicator is screaming out loud 'austerity has been a disaster' for the UK economy and the UK electorate. UK Trade deficit up, Sterling foreign exchange earnings down, UK Government borrowing up (again)to over three times the levels left by disastrous Labour, tax receipts to the UK Treasury down, UK average wage 10% below its 2010 purchasing value, UK economy propped up by London, the SE and Scotland with under 1% growth, UK manufacturing output down, retail sector discounting like mad, investment and savings moving off shore while 'saving the banks' (aka QE) has been shown to only have benefited the UK economy by 82p for every UK Taxpayer £1 where as infra-structure benefited the UK economy by £2.80 for every UK taxpayer £1 spent.

That the gruesome twosome can get away with such levels of hyperbole and hubris is not actually Balls or Osborne's fault, it is a lazy London based, metro-centric biased journalism, grown fat on regurgitating Westminster party press releases with out any fact checking or analysis or criticism. Journalism devoid of integrity, insight or intelligence as it operates wholly within the same 'chummy bubble' as the UK politicians it claims to be holding to account, trapped within its own insular view of the rest of the UK and the superiority of the 'London Elites' of which it sees itself as an integral part.

The UK economy is on its last legs, UK infrastructure is failing due to lack of investment, UK manufacturing is operating with both hands behind its back in a Gordian Knot of Westminster inspired red tape. Red tape Westminster likes to blame on the EU at every turn. What used to be known as 'Public Utilities' are beginning to collapse after years of under investment, asset and profit stripping to the point that London and the SE are about to reach the limits of the National Grid's ability to meet its needs for energy. Thames Water, amongst other English water companies are looking again at the plan to pump water via Kielder Water, through English rivers and canals from Scotland to the south to meet ever increasing demand on a limited resource. 

Reusable technologies with a short lead time are being ignored as UK taxpayer's money is thrown at a new nuclear build at Hinkley point which does not begin to deal with the real problems of the immediate shortage of generating capacity in England and its reliance on grid imports from Scotland, Southern Ireland and Western Europe. A 'key' project which is already suffering delays, engineering and investment problems before the initial ground work is even complete. While the level of subsidy being guaranteed by the UK Government to the generator per megawatt hour is being challenged in the UK and EU courts.

With oil and gas currently around $80 a barrel, the plan to 'frack' the UK daft is currently no longer economic viable nor will the gas turbine generators that were supposed to be built to make use of the 'fracked' methane or CBM / Syngas, yet still UK Government direct, indirect and tax subsidy for 'fracking' pours into the likes of Caudrilla -  in which Mr Osborne has a familial connection, if not a financial interest hidden in his 'blind' share portfolios.

All this and still I have not addressed the fiscal destruction of the UK's once globally admired health and welfare systems in the pursuit of neo-liberal driven, privatisation agendas driven by profit, yet more asset striping and service provision reduction in the name of efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Nor have I mentioned the RAF who have 102 Tornado aircraft but only have 10 fit to fly in a combat role, a Royal Navy with two carriers but with no suitable planes because the Tories sold the recently refurbished RN/RAF Harrier fleet off on the cheap to the US Marine Corps to 'save money'. Then there are the key ships required for the sub-surface defence of the carrier group as the type 26's are delayed a further two years. The reduction of the Army's capacity and manpower is just as critical but is less visible, as there are fewer big ticket items. Yet over £100 Billion can be found for a weapon system which is merely political 'willie waving' - the Trident replacement program - which will not protect 'British' interests in the current era of worldwide, small, localised, geurrilla style conflicts which need conventional equipment and boots on the ground. How does, 'ISIS we are going to 'nuke' Iraq if you do not get out', work?

This should not be about Ball vs Osborne point scoring: simply because there is no difference between their core economic politics and policies in any real sense as both are neo-liberal, austerity seekers. The growing discussion should be about a UK Parliamentary system which is no longer fit for purpose, is running the ordinary people of the UK into the ground and seeks to blame everyone and anyone but itself for the serious state of affairs the UK now finds itself in. In this, as much else to do with holding the Palace of Westminster to account, the UK National media in its 'London bubble' fails us all from Muckle Flugga in the Shetlands all the way to the Isle of Scilly off Cornwall

The UK Parliament is Punch, we the UK electorate are Judy and the abuse we are dolled out by Parliament is the normal story played out across beaches year on year - that's the way to do it!

Maybe it is time to say enough.

Friday, 5 December 2014

A BBC Survey asks ......

"It is no longer a public broadcaster in any shape or form and is solely a British State Broadcaster pushing Westminster propaganda at every turn.

The recent hyping of Farage of UKIP, the non stop pronouncements of UKIPs 'Scotch MEP' who lives in London and now the equally odious Jim Murphy of 'Scotch' Labour coupled with the nonsense seeking to exclude the SNP from the May General Election debates, even though they are the dominant party in Scotland, with the third largest membership across the UK, are currently on track to reduce Labour to a rump in Scotland in May 2015 and potentially will be holding the balance of power at Westminster in May 2015; can only be the actions of a 'State Broadcaster'. Yet Farage is to be allowed to strut his fascist lies on behalf of UKIP while the English Greens will not get an opportunity either.

The role of BBC Scotland in the 'Smith Report' burning incident, a public protest of not just what the four SNP councilors think of the Smith Commission and its report but a sizable majority of Yes and even No voters think  - yet all that was heard was the irate screeching of a 'Labour spokesperson' who (like the BBC) was strangely silent on condemning the burning of an effigy of the First Minister or when Mr Campbell of the BBC tore up a copy of the SNP independence manifesto live on air (a feat which Mr Ian Gray of Labour also did on air without BBC Scotland condemnation), then there are the constant attempts to tar the SNP as Nazi's by 'Scotch' Labour directly and BBC Scotland by their quiescence on the matter. There is a lot to dislike about the BBC Scotland news coverage, its complete lack of political balance, its unmistakeable obsequiousness to all things London metro-centric combined with its non-stop diet of Murderrr and the Old Firm. In fact BBC Scotland News can be described as the television version of the Daily Record and, like the Record, is seeing its once dominating position in Scotland news and current affairs in rapid decline."

I do not think they will be contacting me for my more detailed views - do you?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Palpable Anger

I was doing my morning browse of the media and news and had to stop.

The MSM articles were by and large platitudinous and subservient to the 'greater good' of the British Establishment and empty of any acceptance they were in fact promoting an economic policy for the UK which would reduce the country to 1930's levels of poverty and ill health.

The comments, where comments were allowed, were full of anger and increasing frustration against a British Establishment elite completely out of touch with the UK electorate in speech and deeds. The opinion polls which have Labour and the Conswervatives 'neck and neck' on 30% vote share, pass without any real comment, no reflection what the polls are actually telling the British Establishment and their tame politicians. The real message is both sets of red and blue Tories are next to useless and not deserving of any support. The electoral reality is both parties are now bumping along on their core vote, much as the UK economy is bumping along the bottom because it can not be run down any lower. Meanwhile 40% of the UK want neither of these bunch of clowns in charge, yet one or other of these political fossils will end up forming a UK Government in spite of 70% of the electorate rejecting them. This is not democracy in any shape or form because the government does not represent the democratic wishes of the majority of the UK Electorate. For all Enoch Powell's faults he was absolutely correct in his assertion that there was no such beast as a 'parliamentary democracy' in the UK at best the process was one of an 'elected dictatorship'; such are the untrammeled and unaccountable powers left in the hands of the UK Government cabinet and the unrestricted executive powers of its prime minister.

As for people posting on 'Yes Alliance' type threads - the bile, anger and hatred leaped out of the screen with a hand of steel, crushing my hope that the so far non-violent movement for Scottish independence is sustainable. People who voted 'yes' have had enough being treated as SNP lackeys and bad losers to the British Establishment's great  September victory in the usual media offerings. Watching the BBC Scotland histrionics over SNP councilors protesting the failure of the Smith Commission by burning the report and their tame Labour mouth pieces churning their usual sanctimonious bile could become a Rubicon, the point where the British Establishment's need to humiliate Scots, to seek to force us back to forelock touching banality toward Westminster, finally pushed folk over the edge. The point has been reached where it is clear any peaceful public protest of the British Establishment's crass attempts at politicking is now going to be attacked at every turn, demonised and rubbished - this attack is going to be lead by the 'State Broadcaster' in Scotland, the BBC.

Burning an effigy of Alex Salmond is just a bit of 'fun'. The ripping up of the SNP manifesto by BBC Scotland presenter, Mr Campbell, live on air is 'an act of public comment'. The open racism against elected Scottish MP's in the House of Parliament to the point where current Tory ministers have refused to answer simply because it is a Scottish MP asking the question, the denial of their right to a respectful hearing in said Parliament, the misogynistic abuse by the chair of the 'Scotch' Committee, Mr Davidson, of a female elected member is all 'part and parcel' of the 'rough and tumble' of the UK Parliament at Westminster.

Yet burning the meaningless, empty, useless and never to be implemented Smith Commission Report is some heinous sin. In the meantime the Tories and their allies on the Labour benches are selling off the UK's public services on the cheap to their pals in big business and accepting lucrative directorships and consultancy payments from the self same purchasing companies as they do. Over 90,000 UK children will be homeless this Christmas. People who are disabled are dying as a result of DWP sanctions, the old are dying as they choose between heat or food and the use of food banks is rising exponentially.

BBC Scotland thinks four silly SNP councilors, burning a piece of paper, they openly and honestly disagree with is the most important story in Scotland while ordinary Scottish people are starving, freezing and dying across Scotland, outside of their well stocked canteen, rain and wind proofed and air conditioned Pacific Quay HQ.

I am very worried the British Establishment has badly misread the situation in Scotland or, worse, is deliberately trying to create a political environment where rioting becomes the norm in Scotland's cities against Westminster rule to justify heavy handed use of police and troops in Scotland for the 'greater good'.

In the meantime the small fry related to the paedophile circles in the Palace of Westminster are being jailed left, right and centre for their own transgressions while the alleged politicians and British Establishment figures they procured young boys for, walk free.

There is something very sick at the heart of the British Establishment and its mock Parliament at Westminster. I request we do not get angry - we get even by clearing out Labour, the Libdems and the Tories from Scotland in May by democratic means. If that means for some on the left in Scotland they need to hold their nose and vote SNP then you need to do it. Anything else except a majority SNP MP return will just see further humiliation, heaped on Scotland after May 2015 by the British Establishment.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Smith's Report Burns ...

It was quite fascinating today to come into the Paisley SNP councilor's take on "Säuberung" or cleansing by fire - only at tea time. The object they sought to cleanse by "Säuberung" is the eponymous 'Smith Commission Report' on the recommendations on further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament.

Now whether you agree or not with the fiery end to this particular copy (I happened to think that lighting fires actual and metaphorically under it are possibly the best uses for this report) one could not but be highly amused by the BBC Scotland orchestrated outrage, accompanied by their usual tame Labour stooges, turning this into an image of all the copies of the Smith Commission Report going up in flames at the hands of the nasty Gnats, an ever growing pile of flame in George Square - the Nazi symbolism redolent in the air of BBC Scotland's over wrought hypocrisy and hyperbole.

The Smith Report is not a guarantee of change, just as the Calman Report was not a guarantee of any change 'vis a vis' powers shifting from Westminster to Holyrood. The Smith Report was the result of a 'back of fag paper idea' by Gordon Brown and the Editor of the Daily Record, hastily signed up to by the gruesome threesome in Westminster, as it looked increasingly like the UK Union was going down the tubes in the run up to the 18th of September. The 'Vow' three Tory party leaders at Westminster sort of signed up to in an united front of Unionism - but not really as the 'Vow' meant different things to each of the Tory faction leaders: 
  • For Miliband it was to keep Scotland's Labour MPs who could be vital in what looks like a close run thing in May 2015
  • For Clegg it was to cover up the Libdems political nakedness with a few scraps of federalisation
  • For Cameron it was the chance to screw Labour over good and proper and ensure his butt goes back into 10 Downing Street for another five years.
  • For Scotland the expectation was we would go back into our box and take what ever crumbs of new powers the British Establishment decided to trickle down to us.
With reference to the bullet points above Lord Smith has delivered exactly what he has been asked to deliver by Mr Cameron, recommendations with all the survivability of the one and half humped, three legged camel designed by committee Cameron asked for. The only thing it has not succeeded in doing is the one area the Vow's claims raised  expectations for - Full Fiscal Autonomy; the only solution which would have guaranteed putting the Scots back in their box.

What has surprised me is Ms Sturgeon's rush to condemn and suspend the SNP Councillors - who after all were representing the majority of the party in their public "Säuberung" disdain for the Smith Report. Some more radical members of the SNP would have suggested using the Smith Report to wipe their dirty bottoms was more fitting, others lining the bottom of a hamster or bird cage. In effect the Smith Report is already yesterday's chip wrapper along with its progenitor, the Daily Record and its godfather the ex MP known as 'Mad Goggs Brown O'Dysart Bings' to his friends; while I could not bring myself to write down what his enemies are describing him as, such are the foul epithets; not so much 'Julius Caesar' as 'Coriolanus' with the cooling, pastry, pie bases awaiting their contents.

Surely Ms Baillie should have been suspended by 'Scotch' Labour for her out right lies to the Scottish Parliament on the Vale of Leven Hospital debacle, where was BBC Scotland's hue and cry for that load of old misinformation? (Oops forgot it was a BBC Scotland journalist who supplied Baillie with the duff NHS figures on both occasions she has been found out telling porkies to Holyrood, nobody pointed out she was the Labour / Libdem coalition Health Minister at the time of the Vale of Leven debacle in 2005/6 either).

Where is the outrage and cries for suspension around Willie Rennie's defamation of the sole owner and author of the 'Wings over Scotland' blog in that bastion of Unionism - the Press and Journal? (For which the P&J has now posted an apology to the worthy Reverend).

My own opinion is Nicola's wonks and advisers over reacted on this issue and by acting in such a peremptory fashion  put more petrol on the flames where a simple, "We will be looking into the actions of these councilors," which would have been Labour standard practice, "  ... and will be dealing with it as an internal party disciplinary matter once the Paisley SNP Constituency Association reports back to us", would have been more than sufficient.

There will be a section amongst the new SNP membership, more accustomed to the hurly-burly of West of Scotland politics, who will be disappointed and even disillusioned in Ms Sturgeon's actions as leader on this occasion. A wrap on the knuckles, yes, but suspension looks far too much like Ms Sturgeon is dancing to BBC Scotland and the histrionics of 'Scotch' Labour's tune.