Monday, 29 February 2016

The Ponderer

"Some times I'se just sits and thinks an' some times I'se just sits ..."

I'se been just sitting for the last few days, switched off to the UK media whirl of Bojo as the UK's Donald Trump type politician, the huffing and puffing of a Cameron who clearly has no clue as to which way is up or why he wants us to stay in the EU other than because Boris doesn't. 

Then there were all those tosser Unionists and Tories, in their purple aprons and feather dusters, telling us to clean up Britain for the old biddy Lizzy's umpteenth birthday - I mean what is that about? As some other commentator pointed out; if the Tories had not cut UK council budgets to the bone, the councils would still be able to afford street cleaners instead of asking the electorate to clean up the mess Tory policy is making of the UK's streets.

Throw in another weekend of everyone, including Harry the Talking Horse, going on about just how mental the Scots are not voting for Labour, like they have for eons, and still supporting the fascist, communist, Tory Party best pals, faux Libdem, English hating and unadulterated, all round bad eggs, the SNP, in as big as ever numbers, instead, in the run up to May 2016.

OK, the usual pundits and in depth commentators missed the point that the stupid, cringe worthy, ignorant, easy to fool, Jocks, who led the SNP negotiations with the UK Treasury, had seen off Osbourne and Hands big wheeze to take £7 billion out of the Scotch budget to pay for all these new devolved powers we are maybe aye or maybe no getting or the SNP leader's speech which was received with great warmth by a packed Trafalgar Square CND, anti Trident protest - these sort of things are not worth reporting .... SNP baad! 

No, BBC Scotland only had eyes for Ken some one, who once worked at BBC Scotland, running the 'murrder, kittens and fitba' news program and is now a Labour list MSP telling us Scots we are too stupid to have our own news program and to prove it the BBC in London are setting up a 'test show' at Pacific Quay. A show which was doomed to fail because they had not told their Scottish staff about their big idea nor had they allowed sufficient time for a new news program for Scotland to be defined and created so the program would end up being an hour of Ken's favourites 'murrder, kittens and fitba', just like the BBC's Retrograding Scotland news program is always packed with.

This move to demonstrate how anything Scottish made is cringe worthy in the extreme was highlighted by the usual rabid, frothing at the mouth husband and wife darlings of the Torygraph, who were telling us 'A Scotch Six' was already a disaster and would never work, even before the BBC did a studio test run .... oh, and it was all the SNP's fault the BBC had been forced into doing a trial to prove what a disaster it was going to be, because the real story was the SNP were trying to take over the BBC's 'Scotch Arm' in a North Korean style total media control exercise.

Instead, having started gloss painting the skirting boards and doors in the hall, I have found something far more meaningful than all the Unionist blethers, disasters and other stramashes which passes as 'news or informed comment' on a daily basis, I am watching paint dry ....

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Is the Colossus eating its own children?

What, if anything, did we learn from yesterday's announcement in the 'House' by the boy Cameron with regards the super, you can not bend it, EU deal he had negotiated?


Surely someone at the back was listening?

Nope, me neither, not a dicky bird.

What I did hear and see was the Tory Party kicking big fat lumps out of itself in a manner very reminiscent of the Labour Party's recent shenanigans over the election of Mr Corbyn; with the self same, right wingers doing the kicking. We know how well that continuing internal battle for political control of what is left of the party's soul is working for Labour, across the UK, as a nod towards any recent UK opinion poll makes clear.

So are we seeing the British Establishment in such a retrograde and desperate state it is now resorting to eating its own 'Son's of the Establishment' like a latter day Goya's Colossus, in a vain attempt to save itself from itself? 

From a Scottish perspective it can seem that way.

In 2015 we saw the Libdems, across the, UK virtually wiped out as a political force, destroyed by their toxic relationship with the Tories in Government. The British Establishment was unable to prevent one of its own, an ex-Secretary of State for Scotland, being humiliated in a court system which should have found in his favour, if it was British Establishment business as usual. After all, that was what many expected when the Orkney Four started their legal action. 

Whereas, what actually happened was the most serious charges against Carmichael (that he was a serial liar and not to be trusted) were found proven and the judges in the Court of Session made clear he only escaped on a technicality by refusing his action for expenses against the plaintiffs.

Labour's 'Scotch' arm was also sacrificed on the altar of the British Establishment's Colossus, in the attempt to keep what is left of its rather thread bare and tattered empire, the UK Parliamentary Union, in one piece. Yet another massive misjudgement by those who claim to know 'what is best' which has seen the evisceration of Labour in Scotland and ties between Scotland and the rest of the UK frayed almost to breaking point. A breaking point which will be surpassed if the Tory Party's desire to consume itself over the EU, as the latest sacrifice to be laid at the feet of the British Establishment's Colossus, follows the predestined path into political division, destruction, England voting 'No' to staying in by a small margin and the inevitable collapse of the Tory vote which will follow.

We are at a point in UK political history where the three parties which defined the UK's 20th Century political affairs are about to self destruct and yet in England there is nowhere left for the electorate to go, except UKIP, because not one of the socialists still left in 'English' Labour have had the guts to pull the plug and set up any alternative to the current political melange of ever rightward drifting parties. Corbyn simply highlights Labour's divisions and problems and is unlikely to be able to turn Labour back to a centre left party, leaving a large section of the English electorate with no party to vote for. A toxic recipe for increasing civil disturbance in England's major cities, as the divisions between 'the haves and have nots' is accelerated by Ian Duncan-Smith's DWP policies and Hunt's reduction of NHS England to not much more than a dispenser of sticking plasters.

With already weakened, badly paid, under funded and disillusioned police and armed forces in England, just who will the British Establishment turn to, to defend it from itself?

Waving a copy of the Daily Mail or Torygraph is unlikely to cut it with the increasingly angry, disillusioned and violent English plebs. The failure of Cameron's big gamble over EU membership could see England isolated, tumbling down a rabbit hole of hurt and pain, ending in the destruction of the self same British Establishment by the forces of violent political change and republicanism, the force the British Establishment thought they had neatly side stepped in the early 1800's through a number of minor political concessions to the plebs and the 'get rich quick' opportunities of 'Empire'.

We, in Scotland, need to be very aware of this 'worst case scenario' which the British Establishment's final attempt to retain control of all the levers of power may lead us towards. It will impact on an independent Scotland just as much as if we remained part of the UK Union when the crisis occurs. Whether Union or none, England will remain Scotland's major trading partner and, as an independent state or not, Scotland will have to deal with families fleeing the increasing violence in England's cities seeking political asylum or refugee status in an independent Scotland.

I fear Mr Cameron has just lighted the fuse of a political powder keg, all we do not know is, just how long is the fuse.


I was out walking the dog thinking about what I had written when a frightening thought came to me.

Cameron's EU referendum has given a green light to those British Nationalists on the outer edges of UKIP, be they EDL, SDL, BNP or the Orange Order in Scotland, to campaign openly on behalf of the 'Out' vote. If this is the case I am afraid we may well see a rising tide of violence in many of the UK's major cities with little to do with regards the EU vote and everything to do with the narrow prejudice of race, belief and colour.  I fear events like the recent 'Battle of Dover' are a potential foretaste of things to come, especially in England's main cities - London, Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester - as the 23rd of June draws near.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Tooth Hurty ...

I was sitting having a coffee, minding my own business when two ladies of my own age, late 50's, caught my attention. You see, as an ex-dentist, loud conversations where the expressions: "First teeth, What's the point of filling them? Clearly the dentist is just doing it to make money, after all - they fall out anyway!" tend to jar on my ear and leaves me with a serious concern that nothing much has changed in terms of the fundamental ignorance on this issue since I first set out as a qualified dentist in June 1979. In fact the clear prejudice of the speakers was that it was, "just about making money", left me wanting to bang my head on the table in despair.

The current situation across the UK is a child is more likely to be admitted to hospital for a general anaesthetic for multiple extraction of teeth than any other clinical procedure. According to peer reviewed, dental papers in the professional journals, the state of children's teeth (under 16 years of age) in the UK has declined, since 1990, to a level not seen since the mid 1960's in terms of untreated decay and multiple extractions under GA of not just primary teeth but permanent first molar teeth as well.

For dentists 1990 is a key date because this was when the BDA lay down and let the then Tory Government enforce a 'new' contract on the profession, in spite of its rejection, in a ballot, by 68% of the BDA's membership. At the time dentists, like myself, who had sizable numbers of children under their care, warned that the positive impact we were making on improving child dental health would regress under the terms of the 1990 contract, in much the same way as the Junior Doctors are currently pointing out how care will regress in NHS England, at this very moment, to the public of England. The government of the day focused on 'money', again much like their current campaign against the Junior Doctors, but the UK public bought it being about 'money' in 1990, after all everyone knew all dentists had a Porche 911 on the drive, a couple in the garage and were ripping the public off left right and centre, all of course excepting their own dentist, who was a saint and drove a Ford Fiesta or a VW Passat Estate. Funny how folk ignore the evidence of their own eyes and experience to fit their own prejudices that all dentists drive Porche 911's.

So why am I so exercised by these Grannies' comments after all I am now very much an ex-dentist and the fundamental truth is the primary teeth do fall out. The issue they are missing is they do 'fall out' but in a physiologically controlled sequence, over a period of time which is designed to maintain balanced facial growth and create the required space for the permanent teeth to erupt into.

So what?

Well, early loss of primary molar teeth routinely occurs with early loss of the first permanent molar teeth and does three things:
  1. Effects facial bone growth, in simple terms, causing a shortening of the lower jaw, narrowing of the upper jaw
  2. Increases the likelihood of nasal, ear and sinus problems in later life
  3. Delays further eruption of permanent teeth (see bullet point 1 and repeat ad infinitum)
So you now have a child who has experienced the trauma of extractions under GA at five, six or seven, who is inevitably going to require orthodontics to correct the facial growth problem, get their remaining teeth in the right place and will probably face further extractions at age 12 or 13 to 'make room' for the remaining permanent teeth due to the loss or impairment of facial bone growth caused by the first round of extractions. 

Guess what? 

A large percentage of these young people tend not to complete their orthodontic treatment and are 'put off' dental care for life. As a result of the failure to complete the orthodontic phase they may end up with narrow 'V' shaped dental arches and wonky teeth with related gum disease, add in this group has already experienced a high level of dental decay and you eventually have an adult who does not give a shit about their dental health and wants a set of 'wallies' asap. Provision of said 'wallies' being a clinical nightmare due to the impaired and unbalanced facial growth they present with and, as a result, they frequently end up not wearing the dentures supplied then troop around all the dentists in the local area trying to find a decent dentist who can make a proper set of 'wallies' and not the wonky 'Leaning Tower of Pisa' job, like the previous, eejit dentist created. I have seen the plastic carrier bag with umpteen pairs of 'wallies' in them and heeded the implicit warning, referring said patient to a colleague who was, according to me, far better at making 'wallies' than me. Sometimes the only professional act is to duck the issue: call me coward but you would not be the one facing the time, professional and financial cost of a patient complaint by this sort of patient who already has a serious grudge against dentists.

The end result of this saga of umpteen sets of poorly fitting 'wallies' is to see dentists condemned by the same Grannies in fifteen years' time, no doubt sitting at the same table, in the same coffee shop as an yet another example of dentists just making even more 'easy money' out of their 'poor grandchild'. In the meantime their 'poor grandchild' haunts the wastes of the local Ear, Nose and Throat department trying to seek resolution for their mouth breathing or ear ache or blocked sinuses or all three when not searching the internet for a dentist, any dentist, in any nation, who can make them a decent set of 'wallies'.

And all because people think, "First teeth fall out anyway, so what is the point of filling them."

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Eeee - Yeeeew, Cameron plays a stinker ...

As I sit here reading and listening to different reports on Cameron's meetings with the EU president and EU parliament over the last few days, I am left bewildered and confused.

Did Dave arrive late for his vital EU meeting (Gruniad) or was he just delayed: or perhaps on holiday? (BBC)

Has the EU Parliament said, "No problem, Dave, you can have your sham 'deal' to save your own political arse at Westminster." (BBC) or "Take a running jump if you think you are getting away with this load of old cobblers." (National)

What is an honest citizen to make of these mixed messages from our media and political wonks as they scurry hither and thither contradicting each other at every turn?

Here I sit, confused of Tarff Valley, sifting through what is being said, has been claimed to have been said and the plethora of conflicting views and analysis on what may have been said or not said. I am seeking a latter day Alexander to slice through this Gordian Knot of misdirection, obfuscation and chicanery. I smell a big, fat rat which has been lying dead under my floor boards for a week or more and have no clear reason for smelling this rat, short of my utter disregard and contempt for Cameron and any shreds of integrity or honesty he has left clinging to him.

The EU Council of Ministers will inevitably come up with some sort of joint statement which will be able to be read in the common EU political language as, "It means just exactly what what ever a member state wishes it to mean, subject to ratification by the EU Parliament, umpteen years down the line."

So Cameron will return with a piece of paper with all the solidity of Chamberlain's 1938 'Peace in our time' assurance and like Chamberlain will have to start preparing himself for battles he knows are on the horizon, not with the UK nation but his own party members, the instinctive 'Little Englanders' who still see the UK's (aka England's) role as a world leader, a role vital to their self esteem and sense of 'Britishness' as they swathe themselves in St George Cross flags, singing 'Rule Britannia' at the slightest excuse.

Cameron's problems do not start or end there. The 'Separatist Jocks' are not buying Osborne and Hand's latest wheeze to reduce the 'Scotch Budget' ever smaller, in fact it turns out those one party state, fascist SNP negotiators never have bought the 'pig in a poke' the UK Treasury were trying to sell Scotland from day one. Lord Forsyth, Tory Grandee and last 'Viceroy of Scotland' admitted as much a couple of Tuesday's ago. The weight of economic and other evidence supports the SNP case and resolution but you will not hear anyone in the London media admitting this.

Meanwhile Hunt's cunning plan for NHS England has, since he imposed the 'new' contract on Junior Doctors, seen the GMC receive 1,000 requests from Junior Doctors in England, for the necessary certificates to move overseas and a growing anger from the plebs of England as they wake up to just how badly they are being screwed over on the issue of NHS provision in England; as more and more of the 'profitable bits' are sold off to Virgin, Serco and other healthcare companies who just happen to have Labour and Tory MPs as their specialist, corporate advisers and shareholders. Hunt is now scared that sufficient numbers of English health trusts and authorities are having cold feet over the impact on junior doctor numbers and their ability to meet the 'patient treatment unit' targets set by Hunt if they enforce the 'new' contract, so he has sent out an edict telling NHS England's Trusts and Authorities if they do not enforce the 'new' Junior Doctor contract they will have their already pretty thread bare funding, cut further.

In the background, running like an open sore, is the failure of Duncan-Smith's big plan for the DWP which is under attack from charities, experts, the UK Courts and the MP's in the oversight select committee. A plan, so far, described as ill thought through, badly managed, a muddle, failing to achieve any of its projected costs savings, an example of how not to procure a publicly funded IT system, an ever increasing pit of taxpayer expenditure for no end result, a plan for poverty which is creating untold suffering among the most vulnerable in the UK - the sick, the disabled and children.

Did I mention Osborne's big UK economic growth plan falling flat on its face as the world economy looks again down the barrel of a fiscal collapse in 2016 which may make 2008 look like a tea party?

Cameron does not have his problems to seek, they are all stacking up on his desk at number ten and have nowhere else to go. I almost feel sorry for him.

PS: There is nothing 'new' about the Junior Doctor Contract in England, the negotiations have been going on for over three years. The BMA have been constant in warning the Tory Government the main impact of the contract will be the exodus of the best of the Junior Doctors from NHS England overseas or to the NHS in other parts of the UK. I have seen this exodus happen before, in 1990 when the imposition of a 'new' dental contract saw dentists exiting the NHS in England in unprecedented numbers either overseas or into private practice. In 1990 97% of all dental care was provided under NHS dental contract in England, by 2015 68% of all dental care in England was provided by private contract. The Tories are currently trying to finish off the last pockets of NHS Dentistry in England by imposing a 'new' contract which is unworkable for current, dentist owned NHS practices so they can sell off the remaining provision to private health companies.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Shrove Term Report

Boy: Cameron David

House: Downing Street

Status: Headboy

Form: Upper 6th



Made a poor start this term and then only got worse, the boy Hunt has lead him widely astray in his claims of being able to 'fix it' for Branson and other House members to 'cash in' on privatising medicine. Unable to bring the future doctor's on side and their joint bullying approach has only made things far worse, to the point where disaster looms and the doctors are heading elsewhere.

Term mark:   F-


His approach to this term's work can only be described as a disaster waiting to happen. His joint project with Duncan-Smith was never planned properly nor much consideration given to its costs or funding. As a result Duncan-Smith has already been before the 'beaks' and told to think carefully before taking any further action and mend his ways before he gets a damn good thrashing from the Prefects. Cameron and Duncan-Smith are still seeking to blame the deaths of plebs, who have been the butt of this odious project, are simply statistical errors or unfortunate collateral damage and would have died anyway. They fail to see the tests they have proscribed to assess the plebs worthiness for welfare are simply not equitable. To put it simply one result of their testing regime decided a blind woman with no legs and only one hand should be retrained as a JCB driver which clearly raises grave concerns as to the basis of whole undertaking. Let alone the computer program promised as part of the project has yet to be proven of any use or effectiveness, even after spending some £197 million pounds on it.

Term mark: F-


The least said about his abject failure to grasp the basics of this complex subject, the better, but copying his mid term set essay on 'Building the British Economy' from Gideon Osborne was neither wise nor smart given the Osborne's brother has just been rusticated for an illicit engagement with a local farmer's daughter and the school takes a poor view on their Pa's attempts to avoid paying the school fees on the grounds of him living in the British Virgin Islands

Term mark: F- 


Where do I begin in trying to describe Cameron's utter and abject failure to grasp the problems of Scottish devolution?  His essay on this subject and his proposed solution was so far off the mark I can not begin to understand where he did his research or who guided his hand. His basic premise of the 'Jakey Jocks' being so stupid that they would not notice £7 billion being taken away from their pocket money was startling, even to a 'Jockophobe' like myself, as was his theory that by cutting the sum being cut from £7 billion to £3 billion of cuts was equivalent of 'giving' the Scots £4 billion is as facetious, as it is ignorant. A little research would have disabused him of his arrogant claims of the stupidity of the Scots, especially when it comes to money and economics (see Cameron's Economics mark for the term and ask yourself just who is stupid when it comes to matters monetary; it is clearly not the Scots)

Term mark: F-


At this point I am afraid my patience with Cameron has met its bounds. He has little or no grasp of the important inter-relationship with Europe as the UK's major trading partner nor the core function of the EU which is to prevent future continental wars in Europe. His claims for a special relationship between the UK and the USA do not stand up to even minimal scrutiny nor does his argument on the purpose of the UK's nuclear weapons. I see the hand of Hillary Benn behind this 'faradiddle' but at least it was not as obvious a copy of someone else's work as was his economics's essay.

Term mark: F-


The high hopes I once had for Cameron are in serious decline much like the bottle of malt I am drinking as I write this. As head boy he has shown himself to be little more than a dissolute mouth piece for a multitude of others who actually pull his strings. Members of the House are wondering why they voted him 'Head Boy' in the first place and I have had word that a number of House Prefects would like to see him removed as head boy before his term of office reaches its natural end, such is the increasing mess he is making of even the simplest of things he touches. His choice of 'Fluffy' Mundell to direct this term's house play (The Scottish Play; as the thespians call it) is turning out to be a serious disaster and will cost the House any chance of retaining the Inter House Theater Trophy. Cameron's view that Mundell is the House's only token 'Jock' hardly bears much scrutiny when Mundell has flunked the responsibility placed on him to bring the play to fruition, time and time again.

What hope can I offer you, his parents, in this litany of despair and disaster?

Use your cash and influence to get him into any Oxbridge College you can and hope three years there will make a man of him. I believe St Swithins Oxford is on its 'uppers' and will look favourably on a 'donation' to its Porcine Research, Investigation, Corroboration and Knowledge fund.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Cameron's devolution Y fronts are around his ankles

Today's Prime Minister Questions were marked by the clear sense of panic in Cameron's bluster when faced with the reality his Scotland Bill is about to hit the buffers. We heard the usual attempt to blame SNP intransigence for the Scotland Bill talks heading towards collapse, the refusal to answer the question of the £3 billion reduction in Scotland's pocket money his plan entails and how that meets with the Smith requirements of no penalty and equanimity. His briefers must have been aware of Nicola Sturgeon's clear statement in the Scottish media that not even the BBC in Scotland could twist or bend into anything else but a clear expose of the hole at the heart of the Scotland Bill. BBC Scotland's Dundonian pie master is even raising concerns with regards to Cameron's sanity and the massive embarrassment the Unionists face if the SNP walk away pointing out the obvious trap at the bill's heart.

We noted the other day the Scotch Tory grandees are raising the issue of the 'fiscal trap' in the Scotland Bill being well and truly rumbled and their Scotch members are going to look for a new line. Their Kim Il Yoong look alike leader in Scotland is dancing around the edges of the likely Scotland Bill failure trying to avoid being sucked into the inevitable maelstrom Cameron's comeuppance on the 'Vow' will bring down on Scotland's Tories.

The Tories are now hoist on a petard of their own stupidity and arrogance as the 14th February looms, if they give into the SNP's justifiable demands to meet the Smith recommendations in full, they are toast in their home constituencies and back benches but failure of the bill leaves them accused of breaking the Union, no matter how loudly Cameron will seek to blame the 'fascist and separatist' SNP for their intransigence.

At the heart of Cameron and the Unionists problems in Scotland is the utter collapse of Labour's 'Scotch Office' and its ability to manage the news in Scotland. The Unionist print media is on a rapid slide to the bottom and the previous 'ace in the hole' BBC Scotland news has become a self parody of 'fitba, murderrr, fitba' to the majority of Scots; as has been made clear to the BBC Trust in Scotland, in survey after survey on BBC Scotland's news and affairs coverage. BBC Scotland's attempts to sell the COSLA line of oppressed wee Labour Scottish councils, on their uppers, being forced into a corner by big, bad John Swinney are as obvious as they are flaccid in their intellectual arguments.

You would think after the Liar Carmichael's court room disaster, Westminster would learn they can not pull the wool over the Scottish voters eyes, anymore, but it seems they have not and so over the next 48 hours, we will hear Cameron and his cohorts squealing ever louder 'SNP baad' as Mr Swinney walks away from the empty Scotland Bill and leaves Mr Cameron with his Y-fronts around his ankles trying to explain how this failure and his failed EU wheeze has been anything but a disaster for the UK Union.

To sum up, a Tory Prime Minister, rejected by the majority of Scottish voters and increasingly despised by the same bunch of voters for his failed policy of austerity, is trying to pin the blame for the failure of an Scotland Bill containing an obvious attempt to take a massive chunk out of Scotland's budget on the sly, on the SNP.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Shock! Horror! The Scotland Bill's a giant con .....

Over at Wings the Rev Stu has been digging around in the darker corners of Westminster's Committees and came up with this gem from last Tuesday:

"The PACAC’s hearings aren’t transcribed in Hansard, so we’ll just put that line (from Micheal Forsyth) in writing for ease of future quoting:
My own view is that it has suddenly dawned on… the Scottish Government that the effect of these changes will be that Scotland will have less money and may find itself having to put up taxes in order to stay where it is.
 Just so we’re all clear where we’re up to."

So there we have it, according to the last viceroy of Scotland the SNP and Mr Swinney only woke up to the fiscal traps in the better than the 'Vow' Scotland Bill last Tuesday (Feb 2nd). To us political wonks this comes across as the Tories (and Westminster) shutting the stable door well after that particular horse has not only bolted but has won a couple of Grand National's before heading to the dog meat factory and into the odd pot of glue.

A quick search on 'Scotland Bill fiscal trap' makes pretty clear the Scottish Government has been aware of the 'con' at the heart of the Scotland Bill from virtually day one of the 'negotiations' commencing. It is equally clear the Scottish Government has been stating quite categorically, from day one, they are not signing up to the current dog's breakfast put in front of them by the Tory SPADs at the UK Treasury without major changes. 

Forsyth's comment makes clear that the Scotch Tory Grandee knows the great 'con' at the heart of this pusillanimous bill has been well and truly rumbled and with now, only, four days to go before the Scottish Government walks away from the bill, as being unworkable, he needs to explain to Tory supporters in Scotland the great 'wheeze' has failed and a lot of current political propaganda which has already been prepared for the Scotch Tory's big push at Holyrood is only good for shredding.

If Ms Dugdale had any political 'nonce' she would now be paddling to create open water between her and her Unionist bestest pals in Scotland. The Record should be trumpeting how the Tories have let Scotland down and betrayed Gordon's 'Vow' by trying to 'con' Scotland out of even more of their own taxpayers money. Yet, my best guess is, all that will roll across the front pages of the Record is political tumbleweed stuck over with "SNP Bad" Post Its, on the lines of 'SNP walks away from greater powers for Scotland' or 'SNP betray the Record's hard fought for Vow'. You see, Dugdale's 1p tax hike was part of the 'SNP did not see the pitfalls' narrative coming from Unionist party central in London except nobody told her the ploy was dead in the water and the 1p tax hike which the Tory inspired Scotland Bill was supposed to force on the SNP has been well and truly rumbled. Ruthy knew to stayed silent on the 1p 'tax hike' proposal because Forsyth had told her to and as a big plus, a political advantage for the Scotch Tories that Dugdale's tax misfire would create among Scottish Unionist voters.

The bottom line is simply this;

The Scotch Tories and 'Jockanese' Labour are now left squabbling about who will be second best in May 2016 as the failure of the key political promise for Unionists in the 'Scotland Bill' leaves them with little to attack the SNP on, given most Scots will accept if the SNP walk away from the bill, they did so in Scotland's best long term interests - even, if recent poll survey's are right, many Unionist Party supporters.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Cameron, the thief and his lover ...

Fred Carney's Barmy Army at the Bank of England announced today, in effect, the UK economy has all the vitality of a Norwegian Blue Parrot whose growth is as stunted as a scrub birch on Mull's west facing sea cliffs. It seems Osbourne has missed the UK's growth spurt, can not stir up a hint of inflation as the average value of the UK worker's wage goes ever backwards in buying power. One economist said it doesn't matter because house prices are still rising, another wailed that the UK consumer is falling out of love with credit but none could agree whether Carney's Barmy Army at the Bank of England were right or wrong to hold interest rates yet again.

None of these economic experts could agree whether it was the down turn in China that is to blame or maybe the USA or was it we were reliant on Europe as the market for 60% of our exports. In among the angst and silence I am sure I heard an elephant moving around the room in the back ground, rumbling quietly away as elephants do, sounding off the occasional snort of derision. An elephantine snort which sounded for all the world like, "Austerity's gemme's a bogey pal, an youse naw it!"

Maybe I am just a bit naive but I can not help but wonder if the current flat line of the UK's economic progress is linked to the economics of austerity and Osborne's cunning wheeze of sucking more and more sterling out of the hands of the people who might just spend it and 'ram jamming it fu' into the pockets of folk who have more money than they know what to do with or multi-national corporates which are too worried to invest at a time of a downturn while sitting on the proverbial shed loads of cash which they are now doling out as 'dividends' to the people who I identified earlier as already having more cash than they need or could ever spend.

Yet there is a stupid, wee, too poor part of this benighted UK Union where economic performance is actually bucking the UK trend. A part where its devolved government is using its pocket money to invest in infrastructure like a new bridge, road improvements, reopening railway lines and not hacking away at NHS and council services like a manic surgeon trying to halt 'necrotising faciaitis' in the foot by sawing the patient's head off. 

A devolved Government which is so undemocratic that it is trying to persuade our poor, oppressed local councils in Scotland to take extra funding over their Barnett entitlement, so they can protect local services from the worst of the impact of Westminster's failed austerity wheeze. I mean, just how one party state is that .... SNP ... bloody fascists!

As way of entertainment and to shift our gaze from the continuing failure of Osborne's economic policies as highlighted by Mr Carney today, we have David Cameron waving the 2016 version of Baldwin's Munich Settlement and seeking to endorse it with the same long term offer of peace, security and stability which Baldwin's piece of paper brought to Europe in 1938.

I do not know about you, but hearing Boris Johnson's Cameron 'love in', declaring Cameron has got a 'good deal in Europe' had me looking up on the internet for Anderson shelters and working out where it will go in my garden.

The Tory Party, the EU, peace in our time .... words which sound as empty as the UK Treasury's coffers.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

To 'p' or not to 'p'; a laborious question.

Owen Jones in today's Gruniad is monstering the SNP with Labour's Scotch wheeze of sticking 1p on income tax in Scotland once the super-duper, 'Vow plus' (with extra knobs on) becomes law.

Owen clearly was given advanced notice of the script for Ms Dugdale's appearance on BBC Radio to sell this great wheeze of making Scots pay even more to be part of the UK Union than we already do and is trying his best to flog this newly dead horse as 'more socialist than the SNP' and a 'potential game changer'.

He trots out the usual Labour lies about FE student numbers in Scotland falling, council tax freeze being a disaster and anti democratic while waving a few shrouds and ghostly chains painted on bits of old canvas in the hopes we do not notice how vacuous his claims are.

The comments below his article are full of Scots pointing out that the 1p tax dead horse was first buried in 2010 and its exhumation by Labour this week has done little to improve its smell or flavour. It was  not viable when the SNP first proposed the idea six years ago and is even less viable in an economic environment of UK Union austerity. Given the fiscal failings of Labour when in power at Holyrood and their continued failings as the party of local government just what sort Scot would trust Labour's Scotch melange with a bottle top, let alone more taxpayer's money to pish up against the wall. 

While the UK Unionist parties still hold sway in COSLA, the winds of change are putting many of their councilors coats on multiple shoogly pegs. Their wheeze to sway the masses to the undemocratic nature of the SNP's council tax freeze has only revealed how much better off Scottish Councils, in terms of real funding, are compared to their English counterparts. Mr Swinney is right to ring fence additional funding with some golden hand cuffs because many council taxpayers are too well aware how money for services disappears, only to reappear in a councilor's pet project. 

When you take a long hard look at the COSLA members doing most of the 'its no fair' flag waving, they are all Labour run, have run up massive PFI liabilities on education and other public infrastructures sites while routinely have adverse reports made about their councils and associated Aleo's fiscal management and accountability by Audit Scotland.

Unsurprisingly the leader of Moray Council's claim the council was going to unilaterally raise its council tax by 18% lasted as long as expected, the next full council meeting when a number of councilors suggested they would prefer not to be picking up P45's in May 2017 if they could avoid it. The illogical position the Unionist run councils are placing themselves is as follows:
  • Their UK parties voted at Westminster for cuts to public funding
  • As a result of 'Barnet consequentials' this means funding for Scotland's councils was also cut as part of the Scottish settlement from the UK Treasury
  • Mr Swinney is offering them extra money to support education, welfare and care to alleviate the worst impact of these Westminster imposed cuts but the money can only be spent on education, welfare and care
  • Refusing to co-operate with Mr Swinney means these councils are deliberately acting in a manner to reduce education, welfare and care provision in their council areas which is not in the best interests of the council taxpayers, vulnerable, children or disabled given the attacks being made on the poorest by the punitive DWP sanctions regime
  • This is, according to the UK Unionists and their tame media monkeys - like Mr Owen, all the SNP's fault despite all the fiscal and practical evidence being to the contrary. Mr Swinney can only spend the money given him by the UK Treasury, an amount decided by the UK Parliament at Westminster.
  • Raising Scottish income tax by 1p simply means less money from the UK Treasury and even if HMRC could organise a piss up in a brewery, less money than claimed would be raised for Scotland because HMRC will want to take a 20% cut of this new 'Scotch Tax' income to cover their increased 'administration costs'.
So for any number of reasons Keiza's latest big idea is as brain dead as everything else we have heard from COSLA, Labour and their media chums over the last week. The UK Parliamentary albatross hangs forlornly around her neck but, unlike the ancient mariner, nobody is stopping much to hear her tale or sympathise with her plight, as the dead hand of Labour dominated COSLA pulls her ever further out of her depth.

We know she is drowning but all we can do is shake our head, smile and wave because there is no helping the self afflicted.