Monday, 26 November 2018

Let Pauline Know Your Priorities for Dee and Glenkens

So I let the prospective Tory candidate know these were:

Simple, to:
  1. Ensure a Tory candidate from the party of Brexit economic and social carnage does not get elected
  2. Ensure the Tory Party which is now responsible for the deaths of over 120,000 UK citizens since 2010, according to the ONS, due to its cruel and degrading welfare policies is not elected
  3. Ensure a candidate whose only pitch appears to be “Vote for me, if you hate Nicola Sturgeon” does not get elected
  4. Ensure a candidate who must have the backing of MP’s of the calibre of spine free, “Jellyfish" Mundell and Alistair “I’m alright” Jack does not get elected.
  5. Ensure a candidate who will support excessive Tory and Labour cuts to local services in Dumfries and Galloway does not get elected
  6. Ensure a candidate who clearly does not know the problem of rural bus services is directly related to Tory Privatisation of public bus services does not get elected

Then there is the farce of DG1 perpetrated your Tory colleagues in collusion with Labour councillors and the sneaky agreement to avoid potential fiscal responsibility when the report is formally submitted to consider when casting my vote, so that will be another reason to vote for anyone else.

I have not come anywhere near the bottom of my reasons not to vote Tory, the lies told by Better Together on the EU and everything else in 2014, Scotland’s Oil Reserves running out (but on the basis of the recent industry oil and gas field estimates, that will not be to 2050 at the earliest), the illegally run and funded Tory Brexit Campaign, Tory Dirty Money in Scotland, Theresa May, Reese-Mogg, Dumbo Johnston, Minime Gove and the rest of the Brexit numbskulls in the UK Government Cabinet, Tory rampant misogeny, paedophile Lords and MP’s still in the Tory party (140 according to independent reports), the £1 Billion Tory bung to the DUP, the House of Windsor - the UK’s biggest benefit scroungers  ….  

See what I mean?

Yours faithfully,

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

So what did we learn about the Tory Government today?

After last night's Treasury Bill Ammendments from the SNP and Labour going through unopposed there is a sense of a Government in name only, powerless and even more ineffectual today than it has been since the Brexit debacle started.

The DUP sat on their hands and left the Tory Government in the lurch as they went in a huff about the NI Brexit backstop agreement which they see, correctly, as the defacto unification of Ireland and the end of their Unionist enclave in Belfast.

Labour for once stopped sitting on their hands and came together with the other opposition parties to heap humiliation after humiliation on the Tory Government's financial plans. I wonder just what Ms Sturgeon said to Jeremy when they met, maybe she gave him an "Acme" external spine as a present, along with one each for the rest of his shadow cabinet.

We learned that Ms May remains stubbornly stuck to the Brexit refrain of "Her deal is the only deal in Town" even though no one is listening to her either on the Tory benches or across the floor in Westminster.

Another "Better Together" lie bit the dust as Spain made clear they would not oppose any application from an independent Scotland to join the EU, so that means Scotland would be fast tracked to full membership if we wished as Gert Verstohaven has repeatedly said in the EU Parliament.

So where now for the Tory Government?

If they can somehow force May's worst of all worlds Brexit deal through the house they lose the DUP suport 'sine die' and increase the likelihood of an out right civil war in the Tory Party and the break up of the current Tory party. If they fail to get May's Brexit deal through she is a busted flush as the opposition look as if they will force a vote of no confidence which will attract the support of Tory remainers who have been abused by the Brexit Tories and their pals in the press and media.

In the background the Tory Government are also aware of a pending judgement of the Court of Session, after receiving advice from the European Court of Justice on Article 50, which could completely derail the Tory's Brexit wet dream. The Tories have spent a lot of UK taxpayer's money in an attempt to block this important bit of case law seeing light of day, including a failed appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The indications are the Tory Government are increasingly worried they will lose the case in the Court of Session, the ramifications - if they do - are massive as they would give the MP's the last say on May's flawed Brexit deal, preventing the Tory Government from ramming it through using some ancient decree of Henry the VIIIth which has no legitimacy in Scots Law or constitutional practice.

The Tory Government's advisors will be well aware the recent 'British is best' by the BBC and others, including their attempts to bury Scottish produce with "Union Flegs" by the likes of Tesco and Morrisons has failed and back fired badly with "Union Flegged" produce sticking like limpets to the supermarket shelves. The political attempt to turn Scotland into a "British region" has fared little better and in fact helped move even more from "aye maybees" to "aye YES". Scotland in Union's attempt to muddy the waters back fired badly and it would seem the new owners of the "Scotsman" have as much of a scooby of what is happening in Scotland as the previous owners who reduced Scotsman sales to the 10,000 mark in the first place.

In the background the Scottish First Minister has been meeting the players in the Brexit stramash in an attempt to save not just Scotland but the rest of the UK from Tory crass stupidity. In otherwords seeking to look after the interests of all UK citizens while Labour and Tory politicians manouver for political advantage in a future election. I am sure there will be a price to pay for Labour and the Libdems at Westminster for SNP backing as the Brexit disaster unfolds in the next week or so, my best guess is that a section 30 bill for a second independence referendum will face no problems from the Palace of Westminster.

This would be my price for saving the English politicians and electorate from themselves and the ever increasing UK economic disaster which is gathering pace as more international businesses close down their UK factories and international financial houses take their jobs and assets out of the City of London, some £342 billion of assets last week, alone. Add on the volatility of Sterling as May's Brexit deal increasingly unravels and you have impending stagflation in the UK. The BBC and other UK outlets are suspiciously quiet on news of the exiting of jobs and assets but that does not mean they have not already gone or are going.

We are in the end game of the UK Parliamentary Union whether the end is negotiated or not now depends on English MPs. Ms Sturgeon's preference would be for a negotiated end to the Parliamentary Union, to ensure its demise would be as seamless and painless as possible for both sides. The UDI option is bringing a bill to repeal the Act of Union (Scotland) of 1707 to the current Scottish Parliament, claiming it is the considered will of the people of Scotland so to do. In doing so the question of where Scottish sovereignty really lies would be made clear as by terminating the Treaty in this way the current UK Parliament would cease to exist in any legal form as 'overlord' of Scotland which it has claimed for itself contrary to Scots Law and constitutional practice.

To the legal beagles I say this, no matter what has been cooked up as a British Constitution, Lord Cooper in his commentary on McCormack (1953) made clear it is all based on a fundamental lie, as Scotland was never subsumed by England or English Law and constitutional practice, the current 'understanding' on where sovereignty lies is just the latest of a long line of constitutional fudges based on an incorrect premise which has sought to entrap Scottish Sovereignty under the control of a Westminster Parliament dominated by English MPs since 1707. It is a legal and constitutional Gordian Knot which lies ready to be undone to the benefit of the people of Scotland.

Instead of Alexander the Great's sword, a 2019 Scottish Parliament Act of Union (Scotland) repeal bill will do the same, if needs must.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Tory Legitimacy in Dee Ward

Being a constituent in the Dee ward, I have just received the first “flier” from the prospective Tory Candidate.

The first item that caught my eye was promising small businesses something they already had in zero business rates, no mention of the impact on their costs, courtesy of Brexit which she must support as an official Tory candidate.

The A75 is part of Euro Route 1 and as such the UK Government in London receives money from the EU to help maintain this key route part of which it is supposed to transfer on to Traffic Scotland. Maybe Mr Carson MSP or Mr Jack MP can tell us how much of the EU funding provided for the A75 as part of Euro route 1 actually comes to Scotland, if any at all, given the recent Tory record on EU Scottish Farm grants at DEFRA. 

Ms Drysdale will soon get her wish for lower traffic loading on the A75 as with Brexit, the current usage will drop rapidly as the UK economy shrinks ever further and especially here in Kirkcudbright with our high reliance on exports of cattle, food products and shellfish to EU markets. The fixed border in the middle of the North Channel and Irish Sea will kill what is left of Stranrear's ferry business as sailing will be cut back as hauliers look at more custom friendly routes.

Public transport; Ms Drysdale, you know who made a mess of this when bus routes were privatised and sold off, hint - it was a Tory policy.

Anti-social behaviour in Kirkcudbright, aye right, turns out it was one drunken 20 year old who, courtesy of the local police force, was quickly caught, well done our police.

Bleating about a windfarm near Twynholm that has yet to get planning approval, let alone ever be built, if ever.

No mention of what she will do if Brexit causes the closure of West Coast Fish or Castle MacLennan due to loss of EU markets, the job losses and the massive impact this will have on our community. 

No mention of the impact of Brexit on crewing the current boats running out of Kirkcudbright with the loss of Senegalese and Polish crew members or the knock on impact on local fishery support and supply companies in Kirkcudbright as boats will inevitably be laid up.

If I was really concerned about the local community and local businesses, the issues of potential loss employment in Kirkcudbright would be top of my list as a councillor, not the least as it will have an impact on future council finances.

Their big problem is the demise of Johnston Press and their free propaganda in the local weeklies, I wonder if the new owners will continue our local papers pro-Tory stance. Then again, when have people who are not “Tories" ever interested the Scottish Tory and Unionist Party or their supporters.

In support of this contention: I give you the meal the Tory father (MP) and son (MSP) combo made of the Youngs closure at Annan.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The "Poppy" is dead: long live the "Poppy"!

At last the season of moralistic presumptuousness and conflict is over for another year. The politicisation of what is - in the red poppy -  a way of raising funds for the UK Military's biggest charities In Scotland and rest of UK, will be all that is remembered while the actual reason for its existence is forgotten. Sadly, what should be a way of helping support all the ex-service personnel and their dependents who the UK Government fail to support adequately, if at all, has been turned, by UK politicians and vested interest, peace groups, into a symbol of cant and hypocrisy.

I, for one, do not need "Remembrance Day" as I live with the impact of the Tory colonial skirmish in 1982 on a daily basis. I could do with a "Forget it Day" if it was at all possible. I can not abide the whole palaver and bullshit that surrounds Remembrance Day as a UK public event and all the oleaginous - how bad it was and how stupid the generals were in the First World War - programs and interviews.

By 1918 the UK had one of the best prepared and trained armies in the world, at that time, with the most advanced, effective tactics utilising tanks, aircraft, infantry and planned artillery as one. For many of the men, joining the army was the first time they had new clothes of their own, a guaranteed three square meals a day and money in their pockets. 60% of the UK Army in France never saw the front lines. Those who did were rotated in and out the front lines on a regular basis so in at least one week in four they were well away from danger. Yet the myth that front line soldiers were uncared for by their officers continues on, by 1917 many of their officers were ex-rankers themselves so knew and empathised with the men they commanded. Another myth which continues is based on the first day of the Somme in 1916, the one which tells us it was a total disaster. It was a disaster, in only one sector, on the right flank the UK soldiers made all their first day targets along with the French on their flank for lower than expected casualties due to better tactics in the use of artillery in support of the infantry.

My Grandad was at the Somme as a sixteen year old, his view was this: they carried on fighting because not to do so would have made the sacrifice of those who were already maimed or killed a waste. He was pulled off the front line in 1917 when his age was discovered and as he had been a cooper's apprentice, before signing up, the Army employed him refurbishing stores barrels and crates in back areas.

In 1914 the "company" was the core of fighting and manoeuvring as it had been since Napoleonic times, by 1916 it had become the platoon and by 1918 the core of any operation was the squad of ten men, a light machine gunner, an officer or an NCO using shoot and scoot tactics. It is useful to compare the casualties on the Somme in 1916 with Stalingrad in 1942; a comparison which makes the former look like a picnic by comparison to the latter. 

The first war in Europe in the 20th Century was the first industrial war ever fought, everyone involved had to learn how best to fight it, on all sides. The UK military made mistakes in 1915 but it learned, improved the quality and production rate of artillery shells and changed tactics. In 1916, the Somme was fought to take the pressure off the French at Verdun, it was a battle the UK general staff did not want, in a place they did not want it, at a time they were not prepared for with the bulk of their troops, the "Pals Battalions", not fully trained to make the assault but were forced into the battle by the politicians at Westminster, against the UK General Staff's wishes, Haig threatened to resign but was talked out of it by Robertson, the UK Chief of Staff.

Yet the real tragedy and comparison no one appears to see, is the comparison between the conduct of the current Tory UK Government in November 2018 and the German General Staff in October 1918.

By mid October the German Staff knew they had lost, they were only looking to continue the fight in an attempt to get the best armistice terms they could, to prevent the Allies from entering Germany and keep the Kaiser on the throne. The actions of the current Tory Government, on Brexit, are strikingly similar to the German Staff in October 1918. The first is the Tories can not believe Europe will not play ball and give them what they want, the German Staff's blind spot was wishing to keep the Kaiser and tried negotiating directly with the USA, only to find the Kaiser's abdication was core to any US acceptance of an armistice. Instead of the German's Staff "Kaiser's abdication problem", the Tories have the "Irish Border problem".

When the German sailors refused to take their ships to sea in October 1918, in what they believed was a suicide mission, the German Staff could no longer ignore the growing dissent amongst the German population. I believe we have already reached, if not passed, this point of dissent in Scotland, as reflected in the ever growing support for Scottish independence in Scotland only polls. After the London anti-Brexit march, English folk are getting ever closer to the tipping point. The UK government are so worried about the increasing likelihood of civil disturbance in UK cities, in the aftermath of Brexit, they are talking about using the army to keep control if the police fail.The German's tried that in 1918 with a result ever more civilians joined the anti-government / anti-war groups which sprung up across the country, including many of the police and soldiers sent against them.

In an nutshell we have UK leaders and a UK Government in the same place the German Government and leaders found themselves in October 1918; they have lost the war, they have lost the people and are now looking for ways to save their own skins under cover of doing the best for Britain before the UK sinks into an economic, social morass and civil strife their Tory policies have created while simultaneously succeeding in turning long term European allies into enemies.

The UK has become the sick man of Europe, Scotland needs to cut itself free from the rotting corpse of the UK Parliamentary Union before the gas gangrene of Tory ineptitude, self interest and greed takes us down with them.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

An Autumn's Walk

A tap on the shoulder from a small paw accompanied by a small terrier grump; Dillon, the 47 varities dog, was reminding me it was "walkies" time.

It was a bright afternoon and warm for the time of year and, as I dressed accordingly, Dillon's excitement and squeaks of delight increased with every layer I put on. Collar and lead on, pooh bags in the pocket, out the door and we were off.

At the bottom of the path Dillon went right which meant he wanted to go down to the Dee. The next decision he faced was to head back towards Kirkcudbright Harbour or out towards Tongland - it is, after all, his walk. Tongland was the next decision.

So off we went in the late Autumn sun; him sniffing to see which of his pals had been about since we last walked this way or ears twitching for any chance of a vole or field mouse about to break cover so he could do his terrier "thing" and break its neck with a quick snap and shake; then spend five minutes throwing the corpse this way and that while chasing after it.

I spent my time while Dillon is off sniffing, watching curlew and red shank foraging on the mudflat edge, a shy dunnock bobbing around amongst fallen crab apples whilst in the nearby hedge, their noisy spruggy relatives were already shouting the odds at each other about who was sleeping where that night and with whom. Under the same hedgerow, on a late summer evening, Dillon and I once met one of the local hedgehogs who at first went into a defensive ball but slowly reassured neither me nor Dillon offered any harm, shyly came out to see us. Dillon was more interested in checking this new creature out to decide whether friend or foe, rather than mount any sort of attack. The hedgehog then sauntered off to where ever they had been going in the first place, after having a nose to nose sniff with Dillon as if in a polite nice meeting you but you are a dog, so I am off.

Meanwhile Dillon carried on checking the state of health and fecundity of other dogs who had passed by way of the base of a tree or tussock of wrack grass. I observed a heron on the far bank, fishing the falling tide for spawning mullet, watching their success with a quick dart and then the head well back as they swallowed their good fortune.

As I waited for the end of one particular scent research with added Dillon, a small glint of yellow caught my eye in the hedge row. Goldfinch, yellow hammer? No, the body was far too small. I watched the silhouette dance around next year's leaf buds - prodding here, poking there.

Then suddenly, the little bird appeared in the open, looking straight at me as I looked at him with his jaunty yellow mohican hair do, bright button eyes and olive green head. We looked at each other for what seemed like minutes but was only a few seconds. Mr Goldcrest decided neither me nor Dillon was a threat to him garnering his last meal of the day to get him throught the night and hopped back into the hawthorn bush without a "bye your leave" to continue his search for a good meal.

I stood at first numb, then joyous that such a shy, little bird would have stood a few feet away, in the open, on a twig, apparently checking me over as much as I was him.

The dashing flight of a red kite across our path, the bickering of black birds, the harsh cry of herring gulls, the shag drying its wings nor the calming chuckle of crows reassuring each other matched the encounter with Mr Goldcrest; all lost their usual glow.

Even a flight of fieldfares bursting like a silver firework from a hawthorn tree paled into insignificance, that day, against the fifteen seconds I spent with Mr Goldcrest, face to face, as Dillon sniffed and snuffled around the base of a damson tree.

Tesco - a little bit of sense

Dear Mr Tarry (CEO Tesco UK)
Your organisation will have no doubt had a large number of ‘claimhor' rattling e.mails on the rather ignorant comments on Scotland’s status as a “region” of Britain.  Unlike others, I beleive the comments were made within the Tesco view of the UK rather than some deliberate political slight on Scotland.

With Scottish sensitivities shifting towards ending the UK Parliamentary Union, on Brexit, maybe you could help your future sales in Scotland by ensuring senior management understand the constitutional and legal reality of the UK as opposed to the London centric view they are routinely exposed to.

The UK is a parliamentary union; of two nation states, Scotland and England, by treaty (1707) and law by seperate Acts of Union. Both nation states as part of the 1707 Treaty of Union retain their own head of state (there never has been any “Union of the Crowns”), legal and constitutional system, educational system, health system, public owned water supply (for example) and in Scotland the national church is dis-established. Scotland is not legally or constitutionally a region of the UK, it is a nation state which is central to the existence of the UK Parliamentary Union. The UK in its current form does not exist without Scotland.

Wales and Northern Ireland are regions of England, governed by English law and constitutional practice and can be considered regions of England.

The UK Parliamentary Union, unless the current government does a massive U-turn on the custom’s union, is in its death throws. 

I am certain you have plans for this eventuality as it, along with Brexit, will cause massive stress on your just in time delivery system - without continuing membership of at least the custom’s union with the EU. WTO tariffs will hit your organisation hard, as will the problems with supply, via air, of perishables; given the short to long term disruption caused by pulling out of EU agreed flight transfer arrangements. Throw in Scotland ending the UK Parliamentary Union, remaining in the EU Custom’s Union, a hard border between Berwick and Carlisle and you will have serious problems for supply in England and Wales.

I understand with the day to day operations you are involved with, this may seem "small beer” - versus the multi-million pound operation you front - but having worked as a quality consultant and certification auditor with DNV, for two decades, across Europe; it would be remiss of me not to bring the potential commercial and political impact of one ignorant and ill judged pronouncement, to your attention.

(As of 13:44 Facebook has prevented me from promotoing this post, whether it is simply a Facebok F'up or something more sinister I do not know but please share the heck out of it)