Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Sainted Rowlocks of Polwarth Parish

Thin pickings ...

It must be a bit humiliating for the senior editor of the Herald to be found out having given into the lunatic fringe of Rangers (The Old Bluenoses) and then having the errors in his copy on the method of calculating the best fiscal settlement for the new Scotland Act sub-edited by the First minister to remove a number of errors.

Then there is Labour's latest suicide note in Scotland from their COSLA membership - we are not taking more money from the Scottish Government we are raising council tax instead ...

But the soggiest biscuit in the pack can only be the faux horror of Ms McGarry MP questioning the Sainted Rowlock's championing of Euan McColm's crude, chauvinistic, fascist leaning and pretty horrendous twitter feed - raised by the Mail's Scottish cesspit of journalism.

The end result is more pseud than sued and leaves a highly questionable dark mark on the Sainted Rowlock's holier than thou petitioning of all and sundry to come to her aid against that Wicked Witch of the North, Ms McGarry.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Scots are being made homeless by Tory policy, Syrian and Yemenese children are dying of starvation because of Tory policy, disabled UK citizens are being driven to suicide by Tory policy, RN ships do not work because of failed Tory Policy and yet according to the Daily Mail all we are supposed to give a shit about is Ms Rowlock's feelings when being held to account for support a misogynist like Euan McColm - what a selfish cow ......

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Coslads ... Labour's last fiefdom in Scotland

Labour's last bastion in Scotland, Cosla, is squealing, like the herd of stuck pigs they are, that Mr Swinney is, "Jist no playin fair!". The reason is, apparently Big Bad John Swinney has said you can have this extra money to help reduce the impact of the Westminster cuts your Labour bosses in London voted for but you have to spend it on the areas I have given it to you to spend on - Education and Social Services - or it stays in the Scottish Government wallet.

This in fact means Scottish councils who would have otherwise had to dig deep into cash reserves to maintain services at current levels will not have to dig as deep into their large cash reserves to maintain services; surely this is a 'good thing'?

For most normal business folk delivering a service or product to council tax payers, this sort of deal would be 'mana from heaven', a way of tiding you over until the next upturn or in their case independence. You would be looking to maximise the benefits to your core market and consolidate your work practices, employee training and retention to ensure you had everything in place which is needed to rapidly re-expand when the better times arrive. A downturn is the time smart organisations invest in staff and do not divest themselves of essential staff.

Sadly, when talking of Labour Councils and councilors in Scotland the word 'smart' in terms of organisation or councilors is rarely, if ever, applicable. Labour councilors would use the word in a sentence such as: "That's a smert suit yiv hiv on Mr McAveety. Yon bilely green herrin bone, fair suits yer orange 'Jist like Tam the Socialist' complexion, Franky boy  ..."
So COSLA are screaming "The arse is oot oor breeks, thanks to thon cruel SNP cuts." to all the usual Unionist media pundits. Pundits who then spew it out as fact while keeping very quiet it was 'proper' Labour who voted for the cuts to English council spending, over the duration of the current UK Parliament, as part of their 'austerity craze' and so they could look tough like the Tories; as a result of this the Barnet consequential sees Scottish pocket money for Cosla councils cut by the same amount.

To offset the real impact of Westminster cuts on Scottish Councils, Mr Swinney has robbed Peter to pay Paul, juggled here, scrimped there to protect, as far as possible, education and social services while expecting the Labour Councils to use some of the massive cash reserves they are all sitting on to even up the ante.

To ensure the usual Labour Councils and councilors can not indulge in their standard 'jobs for the boys and girls' racket, also known as 'Let's invent a new ALEO', the additional funding comes with a set of 'handcuffs' to keep their sticky fingers out of the till. This, according to COSLA is 'unfair' and 'undemocratic' where as to many of us council tax payers it is not before time that a halt is being called to their cronyism and sticky fingered activities. 
The recent farce over flood repair grants in Dumfries and Galloway and the rapid Labour/Tory council climb down highlighted just one of many scams Cosla members run, as the D&G Unionist coalition sought to siphon off Scottish Government Flood Grant money, given to help individual tax payers, local businesses and organisations recover when flooding hit the 'Shire in December 2015 and again January 2016; for their own pet projects.

Cosla's Labour members next response to Swinney's, " 'NO' you can not spend it on anything else?" Well it was this truly stupendous bit of lateral thinking:

"We are going to put up council tax and youse canny stop us, nyah, nyah, nyah ...."
So they think the answer to their problem of being made to be accountable for how they use this extra cash is the equivalent of putting a gun to the heads of local council tax payers and demanding with menaces a whole heap of brown envelopes containing unmarked notes. Probably so they can then spend the sum raised on a new shower and bidet for the Council Leader with enough left over to fund a fact finding trip to other Labour council leader's new shower and bidet combinations around Scotland, often via New York or Boston, with enough left for a damn good 'knees up'.

"Fine," says Mr Swinney, "Go ahead, plonkers, make my day. You really think your council tax payers will buy that, more cash out of their hard earned wages for even worse council services. Roll on the May 2017 Scottish Council elections and we will see how many Labour Councils will be left standing ..."
I have yet to hear Mr McAveety's formal response to Cosla's plan for electoral suicide but that's probably because some sixteen year old lass has just caught his eye as he was waiting for the BBC interview to go live on Glasgow Green and almost as swiftly his current piece's punch reached the other eye... "Phwoa! Look at the knoc ..... Oww!" 
"BBC Scotland were hoping to uncritically air Mr McAveety's statement on the benefits of a Council Tax raise on the people of Glasgow until an unfortunate ocular event occurred. Ms Kirsty Wark (Who has no association with the UK Labour Party in any shape or form, honest ... well not since Brown and Blair shot the craw .... OK ... maybees just a tiny wee bit) has agreed to read the statement on Mr McAveety's behalf, then ask herself the prepared questions and give the already agreed answers ...."

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Record misdirecting ....

Wings are off on one again as the good Reverend rips into the paper that uses untreated, used toilet paper, molded by minions in Manchester, to form its headlines, as a matter of record.

The Record is now so poor in quality it is no longer fit for purpose as a chip wrapper and barely worth using to remove dog shit from your shoes. Like its Unionist pals it is hurtling ever downwards in the circulation stakes with its only hope of survival being Johnson Press do not buy it and reduce it to the same levels as the comic that was the once proud 'Scotsman' title - yes folks the 'Scotsman' has now plummeted that far under the ownership of Johnson Press, even the Record has just a bit more quality, even if the measure of quality is the equivalent of comparing the size and runniness of dog turds.

The real story is the one about why the supposed capitalist, profit seeking, Tory leaning ownerships of Scotland's old media are still permitting the editors of their rags to kill circulation, lose advertising revenues and increasingly drive away the more moderate of their readership, kill income stream revenue stone dead all in support of an idea of 'Unionism' which has more in common with the Mad Hatter's Tea Party of Trump and Palin than any sense of real unity.

I picked up in my weekend reading that inveterant, unionist, dog turd analyst Alex Massey's hint of weakness, his round the houses admission, just maybe while just winning the argument, by any means fair or foul, on the 14th September 2014 the Unionists lost the battle for the Union.

The Scots have cottoned on, in ever greater numbers, to the reality there is only one sort of Unionist dog turd on offer to the Scots; one which is big, smelly, unpleasant in colour, texture and taste and to be avoided at all costs, no matter how much icing sugar is dusted on it or how many cherries placed on its pinnacle. The current 'new' Scotland Bill, under negotiation, is just one more such classic Unionist turd on which the 'icing sugar' of the Smith Commission and the 'cherries' of the 'Vow' (more like a recently removed crop of Osborne's piles) on the top do little to hide what the new Scotland Bill actually is, a large turd.

Mr Swinney has delicately picked away the icing sugar and removed Osbourne's shriveled piles, masquerading as cherries, from the top and pointed out to the UK Treasury what they are trying to foist on Scotland with this supposed all bells and whistles new Scotland Bill, is just a massive jobby. Unsurprisingly Mr Swinney has suggested they remove this malodorous mess and offer something more substantial under its patina of icing sugar and cherries on top. This apparently has confused the both Osborne and his SPADs at the UK Treasury as some 'Oxbridge Elite', Tory, tottie intern's research had clearly told them that the Scots could not sense a jobby in their presence, even if they stood in it. Even worse; Mr Swinney has pointed out the current jobby, masquerading as the financial conditions of the new Scotland Act, has a must be disposed of end date of the 12th of February 2016, after which Cameron and Osborne can take a hike, as there will be no further movements until after the Holyrood elections in May 2016.

The BBC in Scotland are showing confusion in how to deal with this dog's doo-doo because they do not like admitting Mr Swinney has a good understanding of matters financial, especially when he makes their Labour chums look exactly like the innumerate numb skulls they are, every Tuesday. For example, the putting down of SLAB's Elaine Murray by Swinney was studiously ignored by BBC Scotland, only to become a YouTube 'must see'. They have not quite come out saying Swinney is risking all and will let Scotland down with his current position nor are they quite agreeing with the reality that the current set of fiscal principles under pinning to the Scotland Bill is an undefencible dog's mess. Maybe even at Pacific Quay, the 'Massie Effect' is starting to bite as the reality of the increase of real devolved powers to Scotland under this new bill increasingly have as much potential longevity as snow on a hot dog turd. The 'Vow' and 'Smith' are now like a pair of Gordon Brown's old Y-fronts, tattered and shredded beyond recognition, rotting away in a landfill at Burntisland.

The Unionist's 'master stroke', its war winning 'Vow', has turned into a Pyrrhic victory. If Swinney walks away because the UK Treasury continue to be intransigent on the key issues he has told them need to be fixed by the 12th of February 2016, to get his signature, then for all the caterwauling from the Unionist media, the majority of Scots will trust Mr Swinney and the SNP Government to have acted in Scotland's best interests. 

In turn, this will leave Cameron, Osborne et al already pre-programmed attacks on the SNP failure to agree increased devolution, offered by this vacuous bill, sound ever more shrill and hollow as the Scottish Horse of Public Trust has already bolted, leaving only a solid, golden pile of steaming substances behind in the Westminster stables of public opinion for the Unionists to address and appeal to; which is rather fitting:

Would you not say?

Thursday, 21 January 2016

MI5 are after me ....

A short note .... has anyone else spotted how MSPs and MPS have suddenly woken up to the danger of nuclear weapon road trips through Scotland after my recent cogitations on a terrorist attack on the nuclear convoy to Coulport.

Leaves me wondering how many politicians now following my blog ...... just saying ..... now Daeshing off before MI5 come knocking ... more crystal ball readings over the next few days ...... 😇

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Treaty or Act?

It has been pleasing to read the growing number of informed letters to the National on the subject of the Treaty of Union, in the light of their lordships' house's ignorance of the difference between the Treaty of Union and the separate Acts of Union. After all I have only been banging on about the difference, in this blog, on a regular basis since 2012.

I have often been chastised by our own Lallands Peat Worrier with my claims regarding the question of where Scottish sovereignty now lies. An issue which has become more and more of a moving feast and increasingly contentious with the demotion of the old and powerful Scottish Viceroy at the Scottish Office to that of a UK cabinet embarrassment, with hugely hollowed out powers and little traction in his own land, as a result of the 1998 Scotland Act.

The stramash as to where Scottish sovereignty now lies has, at its heart, Lord Cooper's judgement in the case brought by McCormack et al in 1952 on the use of ER2 on Scottish Pillar Boxes and other Royal Mail insignia in Scotland. An event which saw MI6 operatives seeking to discredit McCormack and others by encouraging and providing explosive material to enable a few nutters to bomb post boxes with the ER2 insignia on them, across Scotland. Lord Henderson threw the case out against this 'murderous gang of Scotch Rebels' as soon as it was discovered the role of MI6 as 'agent provocateurs' in their exploits. After all, how could you jail folk for carrying out the UK Government's own instructions. You will have to do a bit of Googling to discover the full details of this hushed up case of Unionism's dark side and bitter embarrassment.

To McCormack and Lord Cooper: while Lord Cooper found against McCormack on the main point of law stating 'the head of the UK State could number themselves how so ever they so wished'. Lord Cooper did raise a number of constitutional issues regarding the Treaty of Union and the disregard of the powers given and curtailed by the Acts of Union on the UK Parliament of the day. The key legal and constitutional issues he laid bare were these:
  • Neither the Treaty of Union nor the enabling Acts allowed for the current constitutional contention that Scotland's Laws and constitutional practices were subsumed by English practices as a result of the formation of the UK Union Parliament, though it had become so by habit and error
  • Scots Law and constitutional practice does not recognise the solely English constitutional contention of the 'English crown in parliament' as the source of the UK Parliament's sovereignty as under Scottish Law and constitutional practice the Scottish people are and remain sovereign, lending their sovereignty to the MPs representing Scottish constituencies at the UK Parliament and to the Scottish Crown
  • Any changes to the Treaty of Union could only be agreed after the recall of the two original signatory sovereign parliaments and by the introduction of new, enabling Acts of Union by the two original, recalled, sovereign parliaments. The UK Parliament as constituted has no legal or constitutional right to alter those conditions of the Treaty of Union, protected for 'all time', where 'all time' means exactly what it says on the tin, by its own say so.
  • The Lord Advocate of the day conceded these key points of law and constitutional practice on behalf of the UK Parliament
This leaves the 'Unionist Lords a leaping' in a large constitutional hole with regards the issue of the creation of any new 'Acts of Union' as they have neither the constitutional nor legal powers to make or propose any such amendments on issues protected for 'all time' by the Treaty, nor does the UK Prime Minister nor any member of the UK cabinet or UK parliament.

You can throw a bit more petrol on the 'where does Scottish Sovereignty lie' bonfire by pointing out that Holyrood was acclaimed as the recalled, sovereign, Scottish Parliament's suspended sitting of 1707 when brought back into session in July 1999. Thus under Scottish Law and constitutional practice Scottish sovereignty lies primarily with MSPs and is devolved to MPs on such matters which are currently reserved by the UK Parliament under the 1998 Scotland Act and its amendments. On all other matters the Scottish Parliament is sovereign as AXA et al discovered in 2010 when they tried to have a bill of the Scottish Parliament on asbestosis plaques struck out as it was at divergence with the UK Parliamentary Bill on the same subject.

In the end the UK Supreme Court stated it had no powers to set aside this bill on 'Asbestosis plaques' of the Scottish Parliament as it 'reflected the considered will of the people of Scotland' and this legislation was not on a reserved matter. Even Lallands Peat Worrier was surprised at the UK Supreme Court finding for the Scottish Parliament on this issue, going as far as suggesting the only reason AXA et al lost was they chose the wrong legislative pathway and argued the 'wrong' point of law to enable their claim to proceed successfully.

The problem remains for even the experts, like Lallands, as to where Scottish sovereignty actually lies and for now is up there with the equally variable contention of 'How long is a piece of string?'.

Margaret Thatcher clearly understood the constitutional significance of the role of MP's from Scotland with regards Scottish sovereignty but like Lord Cooper, in 1953, could not see a day when her main fear of a majority of SNP MPs wielding Scottish sovereignty at Westminster would ever happen. Micheal Forsyth understood the impact of a devolved Scottish Parliament on UK Parliamentary sovereignty as he tried to block Donald Dewar at every turn on the Scotland Act of 1998. Blair was pushed kicking and screaming into making the bill happen and only gave in when it was demonstrated by using the D'Hondt method of proportional representation, chosen by Dewar, the Holyrood Parliament would always have a built in Unionist majority.

Now David Cameron has to face both Blair and Thatcher's worst nightmare, a majority of SNP MSPs and MPs at Holyrood and Westminster respectively. EVEL is a stop gap to stall the SNP's influence but is making the political gap between Scotland and England, in this teetering UK Union, ever greater. The signs appear that even died in the wool Scottish Unionists are now increasingly worried about Cameron's blind, angry and aggressive approach to the people Scotland which may win votes in England's SE, but is driving the wedge ever deeper into the already sizable cracks in the UK Parliamentary Union. The Unionist media in Scotland no longer dictates the story, the Scots are now making the story for themselves and for the House of Lords, in their ignorance, to seek to gerrymander a new 'Act of Union' is just another potential nail in Scottish Unionism's coffin:

"See yon beltie ca'd a Laird, he's bit a couff fir aa that ..."

Never have Burn's words rung so true.

By Scots Law and constitutional practice, Scottish sovereignty still lies with the people of Scotland, just as it always has, and we decide who exercises our 'considered will', on our behalf, by use of the ballot box at Westminster and Holyrood or by agreeing who's head has the Scottish Crown, it is not and has never been the gift of the UK Union Parliament.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Snaw Bad or is it?

I have to admit a degree of disappointment when it comes to the 'Snaw' coating most of Scotia this weekend as I have yet to read or see reported Kezia or Frank McNumpty or 'Won't you go home, Jackie Baillie' blaming the coating of the white stuff in their constituencies and political fiefdoms on the SNP or asking "Just what Nicola Sturgeon is going to do about it and how she will prevent it from happening ever again". Maybe they are keeping their powder dry for Thursday's FMQs.

Just where is the Sunday Mail's headline: 'Granny steps in Sauchiehall Street pot hole full of snow and breaks her leg.' or the Sunday Posts headline story from the failed Game of Throne's character 'Jenny the Hujl' (even Throne's fans found this character too far fetched) : 'SNP budget cuts backs are blamed for excess snow.' Even Wings over Scotland has failed to find a 'SNP Government blamed for snow article' and had to drift off into a tale of  Sci-Fi illustrated novels (or comics; as us of an older generation would call them) to highlight Scotland's Unionists latest damp squib of an attempt at FMQs.

The best the Unionists could do this weekend was that nice Mr Corbyn's circumlocutions around how his version of Trident would not be as nasty as the Tory version of Trident, as maybe the missiles might not have their nuclear war heads on them when they went out to play, if he was prime minister. The problem with this bit of thinking is:
  1. If they do not have nuclear weapons on them they are not much of a deterrent
  2. The current multiple entry warhead vehicle mounted on Trident already has a certain number of dummy war heads (mainly because the UK can not afford to put a full pack of warheads in each Trident entry vehicle and no one, with much military sense, buys the 'dummy warheads fool the enemy' claim made by the MoD. The best way to swamp an enemy's defences is to hit them with as many live warheads as possible, simultaneously)
  3. The missile submarines would either be sunk before they got back to the UK to re-arm with the nuclear tipped variant or blown up at Coulport as they re-arm (those pesky Russians have GPS Mr Corbyn and Coulport is hardly a secret base)
Among other matching levels of stupidity from the Unionists, I caught this week, was Len McCluskey's bomb on the BBC's Sunday Scotch politics show when he had no answer to the reality that 65% of his Scottish union membership now had their political levy sent to the SNP or voted SNP in elections. "So why was his Union still backing Labour in Scotland", that nice pro-union BBC man, Mr Brewer asked. Mr McCluskey's answer that Labour's Scottish Branch would just do as they are told by London HQ and Corbyn of the 'Now you see nuclear weapons, now you don't' argument would make the Scotch voter see the error of their ways and return to Labour in droves in May 2016. Even Gordon Brewer found this ignorant response hard to swallow as he looked down at his notes, all that was missing from Mr Brewer was a sad shake of the head. All that hard work to try and make Mr McCluskey (and the Unionists) look good, with some slow paced questions, blown to bits, yet again. This was up there with the Dumfrieshire Labour's list MSP's, Elaine Murray, question to Mr Swinney earlier this week on flood relief and how would 'her' impoverished local shire council, hamstrung by the council tax freeze, be able to afford to pay out £1500 to flood victims? A question which ended with her head in her hands as she was told exactly how the Unionist run Dumfries and Galloway council would pay for it. Within hours the Scottish Government forms to claim the £1500 flood relief grant were up on D&G Council's web site, after a delay of seven days and misguided attempts by Unionist councilors to blame the two local SNP list MSPs for their own failure.

Then there is the Tory's big election message for May 2016, the one with Ruth loudly proclaiming; "On the side of taxpayers", sadly for Ruth, most folk have read the tiny small print in the bottom right corner of the poster which finishes the sentence with this qualifier: "who pay no tax.". So Starbucks, Vodaphone, George Osborne's family business and the rest have little to worry about investigation from HMRC in pursuit of unpaid tax and can continue to scam the UK Treasury out of as many billions of pounds of tax as they like.

The Libdems big shout of the weekend was their 'pot seeking to call the kettle black' claim. Core to this claim was to make out the SNP, as a whole, were just as big a bunch of liars as their own, Court of Session certified liar, Mr Carmichael, was; all on his own some. Poor Wee Willie Rennie as he struggles to hold on to his own, at risk, seat in West Fife and fears his Northern Isles comrades hopes of re-election as constituency MSPs are on an equally shoogly peg as a direct result of the Court of Session's judgement. So he and his comrades seek to spread as much Gugga guano as they can from the back of their taxi. Their tale of 'SNP are as bad as Carmichael' has about as much traction as Willie's shiny, leather soled shoes on an icy hill pavement in Blairhall.

This leaves me with only one hope for a story to satyrise in the incoming week, just how will Keiza seek to spend the same 'Scotch airport tax' about to be devolved (or possibly not) to Holyrood, for the fifth or is it sixth time since the New Year?

Just how do you satyrise Unionist politicians and their parties who are increasingly self satyrising at every turn?

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Scotplod vs CNDScot

Let us start from a known and that is Scotplod would know exactly who should be driving the CNDScot vehicle as they would have called up all the details from the DVLA computer, the vehicle itself carried CND posters, so was hardly acting in a covert or potentially 'security risk' manner. The only matter is whether the 'stop' was at the instigation of the ModPlod or not, at this point tin foil hat wearers should look away for a few sentences.

In security terms, since the vehicle, ownership and purpose was known, there was no need to put in a 'stop' request to Scotplod until the vehicle or occupants began acting in a different or threatening manner. So rather than go down the conspiracy theory line I would suggest the political sympathies of the Scotplod member were the real reason for the vehicle being stopped. The Scotplod member found a tenuous excuse to stop the CNDScot vehicle and did so because he or she knew it would tick CNDScot off while making them feel good for sticking one to a bunch of 'peacenick lefties' and a good one to talk and have a good laugh about at the shift break.

The real security problem, which no one is addressing, is this: How did CND know the nuclear weapon convoy was setting off?

If the CND knew when the convoy was leaving AWE, you can bet your bottom dollar the Russians also knew via satellite and covert operations. You can also be pretty sure the Russian equivalent of the SAS / SBS- the Spetsnaz - have already scoped out the most likely sites for an effective intercept to either hijack or simply destroy the convoy, as either would cause any UK Government a major embarrassment and headache. 

It is not much of a stretch to suggest Mr Putin may soon run out of patience with the yappy, post imperial, UK mongrel, Cameron, yapping at his heals barking "We punch above our weight, you know." and decide to let one of his client states, say Iran, have some Spetsnaz advisors who just happen to have the plans to interdict UK Nuclear weapons convoys on them, plans which ten just fall into the hands of extremist  Hezbollah operatives.

The UK security forces know there are a number of Russian 'sleeper agents' in the UK, the problem is they have not a clue who they are, this being the whole point of 'sleeper agents'. For argument's sake let us predicate one of Cameron's yaps around the heels of Mr Putin is just one yap too many and he decides Cameron needs a lesson in diplomacy by other means and gives the green light to operation 'Hezbollah'. The Russians will ensure the Hezbollah operatives are the 'fall guys' but will use their own operatives to plan and carry out the attack using a few of their 'sleepers', who will be out of the UK within an hour of the attack taking place.

Let's say one of the best sites for operation 'Hezbollah' which will best meet all these requirements, is between Stirling and Coulport. Now you can also be sure that the SAS / SBS and specialist Royal Marine unit designated to protect the UK's nuclear weapons at Coulport, Comacchio Company, will have carried out the same exercise. The drivers and drivers mates of the HGV's carrying the weapons are probably RM members of Commachio Company but under UK rules they can not openly carry their weapons thus in the initial phase of any attack they are reaching for their weapons as RPG rounds head for the vehicle's drivers cabin. One hit, on one vehicle containing parts of the UK nuclear weapon is all that is needed to cause maximum political embarrassment for Cameron and a public furore over the road transport of nuclear weapons and Trident renewal, at which point any Russians' involved 'bug out', leaving the Hezbollah members to fight a holding action, seeking a martyr's death against UK / USA imperialism.  RM Commachio Company / SBS will probably be happy to oblige them, given members of Commachio company are either wounded, in flames or dead in the HGV driver cabins. 

Iran pleads innocence and blames an extremist splinter group of Hezbollah in Syria, over which they have no control, and condemns their actions for putting the people of Scotland at risk of a nuclear incident and potential nuclear contamination. 

Russia, just like McCavity, was never there but makes all the correct diplomatic moves and statements over the dangers and risks of transporting nuclear weapons by road, especially with respect to innocent Scottish civilians, in the UN debate on nuclear weapon safety, while blaming the USA / UK / Saudi / Israeli 'Daesh' Middle East project for the increasing extremism, terrorism and religious polarisation in the region. At some point during the UN debate there will be an 'off the record' meeting where the Russian's will advise the USA to call off their yappy, ex-imperial puppy, Cameron. The USA will be happy to oblige as the Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon want to see the end of the UK nuclear capability with the spend used instead to re-balance and update the UK's conventional forces to meet their main NATO requirements. Since the Pentagon's real worry is Chinese expansionism within the USA's Pacific sphere of influence, though they want Russia off balance, they do not want to have to reinforce their forces in Europe because of Cameron's mouth.

Cameron is informed by the US President that the UK Government's contract with Lockheed-Martin for the Trident replacement has been blocked by a Congressional oversight committee sine die, the President will see what he can do but he has no control over Congress on this particular issue, so it would be better if Cameron drops his nuclear plans or sees if the French will sell him their nuclear weapon system instead.

This is just as likely as any of the current MoDplod / Scotplod conspiracy theories doing the rounds.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Death's Waiting Room

On the Tuesday after Christmas my estranged mother's lawyer E.mailed that she had suffered a massive stroke and had not regained consciousness. They were not moving her from the care home due to her fragile state and he did not think she would survive the attack. 

On the Wednesday my sister visited our mother under the authority of my mother's solicitor and sent me the following:

".. as these places go very good, attentive staff, mum's main carer knew mum. Now on palliative care, first organised by emergency service agreed by her GP. Nurse felt a second opinion was necessary due to the situation. I recognised Mum as she looks a cross between old Aunt Jess and Gran Rob, Methven did not. The room she is in is pleasant homely not clinical with all the equipment required and more going in as we left. Ian had obviously said that mum cut us not the other way round and he saw himself as the contact with us turning up and giving support . They were adamant that they could cope no need to move her and distress her away from friendly surrounds. Methven's professional view was if they tried to move her there was a danger of fractures. The nurse in charge has the morphine pack if necessary, she has had no reason to use it so far. 

Due to the weather and distance from Dunfermline we were asked very sensibly in my view which Funeral Parlour was to be contacted. Gave basic information and said that Solicitor had all the directions. Mum showed no sign of recognition or ability to speak there was an agitated flutter of her left hand. Mum still had her long hair well cared for, she has obviously lost a lot of weight I could see why her teeth gave concern, she was obviously clean and well cared for, they had not been told of our possible visit so we felt that this was the normal level of care. She has been telling very long tales. She also talked about us when we were very young happily. She is in the best possible hands in the circumstances."

On the Thursday the solicitor visited and sent this:

"Things do not look good and I am sorry she appeared so frail and vulnerable. I hope she is in no pain but confess to being shocked as to what I saw .... I can only say how sad I am at this time .."

The chances of my mother regaining consciousness is small, her aggressive form of Alzheimer's had already reduced her brain mass by 40%. My sister is clear that the level of physical disability my mother now has as a result of this stroke is severe with only reduced motor function on her left side and the medical people are stating all they can do is palliative care. It is at this point I am asking myself;  if I treated my dog or cat in this manner after such a major degradation of their quality of life, I would be accused of cruelty and just keeping the pet alive for my own selfish reasons. Here in lies the total hypocrisy of Western moral thinking that human's are somehow special and all sense of logic must be suspended when a human is involved. The pious hypocrites talk of their "God's will " and the "sanctity of human life" in defence of this inhumane treatment of the terminally ill. So my mother will be left to fester on, in her unconscious state, until her major organs fail some time over the next week or so as her body own toxins build up in her already compromised body and kill her. This according to current Judaeo-Christian western moral models is apparently the kind and proper thing to do. 

I disagree. I love my mother. I wish to reduce her suffering.

I have seen death from major organ failure, first hand, in conscious patients and the pain they suffered from was intense as we fed them morphine and anti-emetics via drips to get them 'comfortable' until they eventually lost consciousness, then it became harder to decide if they were still in pain or not. From watching the cardiac traces, given the raised heart rates and arrhythmias, it was difficult decide whether this was caused by the toxins or pain and the interpretation was always up for grabs, depending which side of the fence you plump, you either maintain base morphine levels or raise them until the heart rate stabilises. The end result was the same in either case, death, give or take a few days. This is now the slide to death my mother is on as I sit in Death's Waiting Room feeling powerless, hoping the palliative care nursing is on the side of increased morphine and at least easing her passage.

I also think this is an exceptionally cruel way to treat an 83 year old woman and is why I agree with the call for a sensible bill in Scotland, allowing euthanasia in very specific medical circumstances, devoid of all the mumbo-jumbo, pseudo-religious, moral nonsense which muddies the waters and ask these simple questions:

"Why do we treat our pets with more care and compassion than our fellow human beings?"

"What makes us so arrogant to think we are anymore important?"

"What is so great about making the terminally ill suffer beyond their ability to cope or understand?"

"Which of the current 3,000 odd Gods invented by man, who are in play at this time around the world, tells us this is the morally correct 'way'? Are they all in agreement?"

As an atheist, I only see cruelty and suffering meted out under the myth of 'Christian' compassion and ask who in their right mind would want to die from slowly poisoning themselves, if they had the choice or the option to end their life in a quicker manner?

Given few would wish to die from slow poisoning, if they had the choice, why should we inflict the same slow, self poisoning on an unconscious, disabled, old woman in the name of 'Christian compassion' or 'moral rectitude'?

My mother died this afternoon, Sunday 3rd, without regaining consciousness - thank you to those who have expressed empathy with the case I am arguing.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Unionism in Northern Ireland

I have spent a week in Northern Ireland staying with my daughter, grandson and partner. I spent a bit of time listening to what my daughter's partner's extended family were saying about the state of Northern Ireland, today, across the age groups. The folk of my age, who were in their late teens and early twenties, during the troubles were pleased you could once again walk around the local towns and Belfast without a soldier or armed policeman on every corner, having your bag searched and at least one bomb scare every visit.

For my daughter's generation it was growing work opportunities as new international businesses opened in Belfast with no selection policies based on which side of the divide you belong, selection policies which are still present in many longstanding NI companies, more by default and chauvinism than deliberate policy, even in such UK wide organisations such as Sainsbury's, where my daughter works. As an incomer she notices the chauvinism in play, more than those co-workers, who are native, to whom it is 'normal' or do not want any trouble; while managers of both sides of the divide do it, the worst at it are the Unionist side.

For the teens they see a Northern Ireland which is a place to be, with exciting stuff going on and just wish their grand parents and parents would let all their fears and prejudices go and get with the new NI they want to be part of, the NI of Game of Thrones, tourism, new industry, new opportunity and their sense of pride in what NI is becoming.

To describe Belfast today is to look at a city back on its feet, redeveloping both its city and its image in the same way as Glasgow did back in the 90's. Around Harland and Wolf and the magnificent Titanic Exhibition, the old shipbuilding yards are being developed into film studios, start up business sites, new tech breeders with high end flats over looking the new marina along with the associated restaurants and coffee shops, as what was known as Protestant East Belfast shrinks into an ever smaller area where now you can do the house end wall paintings in both East and nationalist West Belfast on a tourist bus, as what was a marker for who they are and what they stand for slowly becomes the cultural memory of a past few would ever wish to return to. In between these two areas the UK media have taught us to think of as Belfast there are city centre flats, middle class suburban housing estates, tree lined parks, shopping centres, Hospitals and schools, all of which go to make Belfast just another city.

In the Northern Ireland country side you see the occasional remains, dotted here and there, of the military posts with their high, metal, bomb proof walls, inside these compounds all there is is fire weed and derelict ground, otherwise it is as fine a countryside as Dumfries and Galloway or the Lake District to which it is geologically related with the same mix of checker work fields, old falling down farmhouses, now out shone by their replacements but far more romantic in a wistful way.

Here's the thing; though my daughter's partner is a member of an extended Catholic family, not one of them is in the slightest interested in the reunification of Ireland. Ireland works very well as it is, to the mutual benefit of both parts, is their view; it is just the Unionist Belfast papers who are creating the scare stories of the 'Nationalists' (aka Sinn Feinn) seeking unification, to feed the fear and hatred in the remnants of the nutters which still remain on both sides. Many of these nutters, on both sides, who have seen their once profitable and wide spread scams, protection rackets and other criminal activities disappearing in the years since the 'Agreement'.  

Like the Catholic Church across Ireland, the Orange Lodge and the Sinn Feinn no longer wield the same power or influence in Northern Ireland they once did and for much the same reasons - corruption, financial malpractice, denial of what they did and their physical and sexually abusive behaviour towards those who trusted them to be their defenders. There is evidence that Orange Order membership in Northern Ireland has fallen from 74,000 in 2001 to 34,000 by 2012 and is now thought to be under 30,000, according to a 2014 article in the Belfast News. A similar fall off rate in regular attendance has been seen by the Catholic Church across Ireland over the decade. Sinn Fein are currently re-organising their membership criteria so their own figures are not available for comparison, other sources suggest Sinn Fienn's active membership in NI is around 7,000.

There remains a nuanced set of taboos and unwritten laws about what you can openly say or admit to, to hold the peace in certain public places and spaces but it is much better than it was ten years ago, I am told, as Northern Ireland folk willing to embrace the new way, find more money in their pockets and a greater sense of equanimity.

So next time you hear someone from the Orange Order in Northern Ireland or a Unionist politician bleating about the threat to Northern Ireland as part of then Union, posed by Scottish Independence, it is their own fears you are listening to because there is only one parliament that can kick them out of the Union and that sits at Westminster. There is no great desire for reunification in Northern Ireland or the South - outside of Sinn Feinn - because, it appears to me, the vast majority of ordinary folk in Northern and Southern Ireland are more than happy with the status quo and are in no rush to change things - the current status quo serves both sides of the 'border' well, as it is.