Wednesday, 30 January 2019

All About Nothing

Yesterday demonstrated, once and for all, that Westminster and the UK Parliamentary Union is no longer fit for purpose in any shape or form whether for England (aka Britain) or the Celtic rabble they so clearly despise.

Yesterday we saw a Prime Minister claiming that she would change the key requirement for the current Brexit deal and remove the Northern Ireland backstop, which according to EU sources, was one of the same Prime Minister's red lines in the original negotiations. The EU would not thwart her this time, no sirree, she would show them who is boss. There is no understanding within the Tory Party that the rest of Europe see them as a busted flush, too busy protecting their own narrow interests ahead of those of the UK population at large to be trusted with even a Gouda cheese - let alone telling the EU what to do.

If yesterday was Jeremy Corbyn's big "jump off the fence" moment, the point where he was going to hold the Tory Government to the flame after two years of claiming Labour would sort it in the committee stages of the Brexit Bill and then  basically said yes ot the Tories at every turn. Well, did you notice any change in Labour's position, nope, me neither. A damp squib would have had more impact. As usual "Labstention" was the theme of the day from the Labour front bench and Jeremy's hangers on.

The real eye opener was the way both English nationalist parties exited the house before the SNP's chief hound at Westminster got up on his back paws to have his bark and pee up against the "mace". What bigger signal do we need from Britain that Scotland should just piss off and get back in her box?

They are not listening now, they never will.

No matter where you turn, the British media is ensuring the independence case is getting no air time, cutting away to some expert or biased highly paid 'wind bag' in the middle of one of Mr Blackford's sentences. They could not even stomach the accurate historical points Mr Greer made about Churchill's less pleasant atributes and even in the face of objective evidence demonstrating Churchill had acted deliberately and simply tried to turn it against Mr Greer. That Greer stuck to his guns on this issue caused the Tory presenters (sorry, I mean unbiased London newsroom presenters) to froth at the mouth and, in effect, stick their fingers in their ears going "La,la,la I'm not listening" like some twelve year old school child.

This is the mindset of the British elite with whom Ms Sturgeon thinks she can reasonably negotiate with, after a Scottish Independence vote. All I say is,"Ms Sturgeon, better you than me, mate."

I spent years going into businesses, being paid well to do so, to state the "bleeding obvious" because those close to the decision making process get totally involved in protecting their area of vested interest or power base that the good of the company or organisation is pushed to one side. The competition amongst middle and senior management is no longer about market share or profitability for the company but ensuring they 'win', no matter the cost to the business, getting their "opposition" managers sacked simply adds to the taste of their empty victory. The boardroom becomes a battle field where board members seek to protect their "favourites" while rational business decisions become the exception rather than the norm. The company or organisation loses staff, reamaining staff morale is low, stock value plummets, productivity goes down and lenders start to get worried.The company's finance department starts issuing profit warnings to regulators and investors and bingo, a company like Carrilion goes down the "Swanney" taking lots of other companies with it.

The UK has gone through all the stages I have described above, during Brexit. The last stage has now taken place; UK's finance manager at the Bank of England has given his final warning to international investors but still the UK Board of Directors in 10 Downing Street and its Labour shadow is far too busy fighting among themselves to listen to its own people trying to tell them that Brexit is a "crock of shit'.

The answer to Ms May's attempt to re-open discussion on the Irish backstop has been met with a massive "NO" in which ever language of the EU 27 you wish to declaim it. The UK is on the verge of being a bankrupt nation, going the same way as its "besties" at Carillion, maybe we should forget any referendum on the issue of Scottish independence and offer the people of England their independence instead.

All it would take is MSPs to put forward a bill to repeal the 1707 Act of Union of the Scottish Parliament, at the current parliament, legal under Scots Law and constitutional practice, and for that bill to be passed, Royal Assent not being required for bills of the Scottish Parliament; then England would have its Brexit.

When it then came to any future negotiations, post English independence, we could always switch off the massive inter-connectors that feed 7,000 mega watts + to England every day to keep its lights on and the London underground working. Just to remind them who really has the "power" in any future negotiations. We could also put their gas on a peep just to reinforce the message.

Yesterday, at the British Parliament, was all about nothing.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Re-Framing the Picture

Currently the SNP at branch level are getting in a spin over re framing the political dialogue.

At first sight re framing says "PSYCHOBABBLE" in big bold letters to most folk stuck in the confrontational operating mode which is central to UK politics. Chucking 'facts' at other political supporters which usually ends up with neither party listening as they strive to beat the other side down and prove their own righteousness.

Watch the Tories or Labour at this confrontational approach at FMQ's on a weekly basis. Does their "questioning" change squat diddly? No, they are more likely to be seen as inept by the watching public outside their own narrow support. In the case of Labour, Leonard's supposed telling "Questions to the First Minister" backfire badly. Unsurprisingly from a "Scotch" party that does not know that Tryffan is a mountain in Wales, in their latest scenic views of Scotland promotion.

Folk, last night on BBC Question Time, saw Fiona Bruce repeatedly referring to the the SNP Government as the "Scottish Regional Government" - this is a classic attempt by the British Establishment to try and re frame the status and undermine the people of Scotland's perception of the Holyrood Parliament. Make no mistake, it was very deliberate and no doubt Ms Bruce had been told to refer to the Scottish Parliament in this way, by her briefer at the BBC.

The British Establishment have been at this for a long time; hence why so many Scots still beleive that with out Westminster's kindly hand we will be doomed. There is a continuous drip, drip, drip of Scotland too wee, too poor, too stupid from all the media outlets, in this way the British State has an ability to control the "story"

In the next few weeks will see us once again on a campaign for Scottish Independence, once again facing the core problem of many of active voters in Scotland are pre-conditioned to believe what ever the kindly supporters of Britishness tell them is a good reason to vote "NO".

We will once more face a plethora of well funded Unionist campaign's as to why British is best, leaning heavily on the tales of Empire, two world wars and how Brexit will enable this new empire to be kick started. Shouting "This is all rubbish wrapped in a Union Flag" will not move the entrenched pre-programmed "Scotland's crap, you need Westminster" trope these Scots have long believed, even if a lot of us know this is a load of old Unionist bollocks.

This is where re framing comes in. Today after golf I was listening to the usual Tory coterie declaiming how Ms Sturgeon was going to wreck Scotland with her supposed "Independence referendum" which did not really have much support in Scotland. Anyway everyone knows she is hated across Scotland.

What was the point of swapping Westminster for Brussels they said, I asked just how much sovereignty did the EU have over Westminster. Lots was the answer. I suggested 10% was around the actual amount of sovereignty the UK had seceded to the EU where as Westminster had 90% of sovereignty over Scotland. In the EU an independent Scotland would have 90% sovereignty. Rubbish, I was told, SNP made up figures. I continued to ask questions, especially to one particular person, a local Kirk Elder.

"Just how do you square your Christian beliefs with the party you vote for's austerity policy on the poor, the destitute and the sick or the attributed deaths the policy has caused?" I asked in a calm voice.

The reply was a terse, "I'm not talking politics with you!". He was clearly uncomfortable, his arms wrapped tightly round his body, he half turned away from me, there was a clear conflict going on between his espoused Christian beliefs and the reality the party he votes for policies' on welfare and health were at odds and conflicted with the fundamental tenet of Christianity, "Love your neighbour as yourself". I accept it is not likely I will ever change his fixed political view point, he has invested far too much time and effort in justifying his political position over his life time, believing "Westminster knows best", but maybe I have put a little doubt in there, a little maggot of a question, that may over time re frame his fixed view.

On the doorstep, over the next few months, we will come up against folk who want to tell us how hated Nicola Sturgeon is across Scotland or the how EU has stolen "British Sovereignty" from us poor Brits; so much so, we can not even go to the "lavvy" without an EU directive. Let's not get into a rammy, no matter how tempting it is, but reflect back their statements as open questions in a calm manner;

"Nicola Sturgeon is hated, is she, Why?" or "What EU directives have effected you at work or at home?".

An open question shows you are actually listening to what they have said by reflecting it back as a question and are demonstrating a concern (empathy) for them. It is not the response many of these folk will expect as they are wanting a rammy to prove how stupid the SNP and their supporters are. Let us not go there, no rammy. Some will be like the Kirk Elder above and in response turn away and slam the door, others will start to have a conversation with us. This is when re framing can begin, not by protelising the "Independence Case" but by asking the other person to look at their fixed views, such as "Everyone in Scotland hates Nicola Sturgeon" and question themselves as to the truth of it.

Re framing is about shifting the story from "Scotland can't survive without Westminster's kindly largess" to "Scotland needs to be an independent nation once more."

We do that by putting maggots of doubt about the British Establishment story in everyone we talk to who is unsure or against independence by listening, properly to what is being said and not by gasping to jump in and tell them what an eedjit and bampot they are.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Another Prick Amongst Them All

I recently treated myself to a new record deck and amongst the pleasures of listening to old vinyl recordings, the oldest is circa 1964, I came across Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and that got me thinking all that has actually got worse since the albums cutting satire on Thatcherdom is an ever more hermaphrodite political class in London, now so totally inbred and narcissistic they don't know, in the immortal words of Terry Pratchet's Commander Vimes, "Arse from biscuit time".

This brings me to inchoate bam who is currently Minister for Defence until the next round of May's musical ministerial chairs around the 14th of January. His name does not matter as he is just another "here today - gone tomorrow" Tory Defence Secretary. The seriously idiotic case he made for Brexit was the UK could have overseas military bases again, so the sun would no longer set on his Tory post Brexit, imperial delusion.

"Just dwell a marching pace on that", as the old "bootnecks" would say.*

In 1982 John Knott, another "here today - gone tomorrow" Tory Defence Secretary, decided the UK could not afford to continue with its deep ocean navy strategy and by getting rid of three carriers (two on their last legs and the other brand new), all the County class destroyers and Leander class frigates he could save a lot of money. His big idea was that the Army could be airlifted into action by the RAF so why have this deep ocean naval capacity?

The first problem with that one was the Army logistics were set up to supply the then Army of the Rhine by sea if the Reds came through the "gap" or if they came via Norway. In 1982 the RAF did not have the lift capacity nor did they have access to the Galaxy super lift aircraft that were in service by the second Gulf War. In the first Gulf War the 8th Armoured Brigade went by sea as did most of the heavy lift logistics at the time of the Second Gulf War or Kosovo. You get the picture?

OK, we know how Mr Knott's Baldrickian cunning plan went, the Argentinians invaded the Falklands and suddenly the RN had to bring ships and fleet auxiliaries out of mothballs and un mothball some ships, like Hermes, which were nominally already sold to India or Australia or Chile. Even with frigates designed in the late 1940's pressed into service it was a close run thing to get all the ships, with deep ocean capability, Mr Knott didn't think the UK Armed Forces needed, to make a fist of getting the Falklands back.

In 1982 the RN had 110 deep ocean capable surface vessels, two squadrons of nuclear hunter killers and one squadron of conventional submarines. As of today the RN is down to one amphibious carrier, HMS Ocean, the two "Brown job" carriers that will have no planes until at least 2024 on the current rate of F35 development and delivery to non-US allies.

Why you may or may not ask?

Well ..... because another "here today - gone tomorrow" Tory Defence minister in 2010 sold off the recently upgraded  avionics and weaponed RN / RAF Gr8 Harrier fleet to the US Marines for not much more than their scrap value, plus all the spares the US Marine Corps could carry. The upgrade had been carried out to extend the Harrier fleet's effective service life to 2025. He is the same bloke who cancelled the Nimrod replacement, leaving the UK unable to fulfil its NATO commitments to provide airborne maritime surveillance, a move that has seriously pissed off the Norwegians who have had to take up the slack. This may explain why the Norwegians do not want a Tory lead UK Government anywhere near EFTA.

As we start 2019 the latest mono synaptic Tory defence minister is talking about reviving the glory years by having overseas bases once more. There is a large problem with this. The biggest being the Tories have so cut the UK Armed Forces they do not have the additional manpower to get him his morning tea, boiled egg and soldiers let alone reestablishing a base in Singapore or Hong Kong or where ever else he thinks Brexit UK will be welcome.

The RN can either run the new super-duper "Brown job" carrier at sea or have a serviceable frigate and destroyer squadron. The RN does not have the manpower available (it is 10,000 short of complement) to do anything else except by laying up the amphibious troop carrier, HMS Ocean . Currently it has just sufficient numbers of frigates for anti-submarine protection and Type 45 air defence destroyers to defend the new carrier. The RN could maybe manage a hunter killer submarine or two as a screen - that is if any of the Astute class are actually serviceable and not undergoing yet another period of emergency maintenance.

I will not labour the point any further, as it must be increasingly evident - without going into further detail on the Army and Air Force's problems with manpower shortages, lack of equipment - excetera - there is no capability within the current UK Armed Forces to man or maintain any overseas base, let alone the additional costs of such bases on the MoD budget. In the early 1960's, yet another "here today - gone tomorrow" Tory Defence Minister, Mr Sandys, decided to close all UK bases east of Suez because of the excessive cost on the UK Exchequer.

So there we have it, the current Minister for Defence is just "Another Prick Amongst them All " to roughly paraphrase Pink Floyd.

* "Bootneck" an RN term of affection for the Royal Marines, honest ... nothing to do with them having compulsory frontal lobotomies to get into Lympstone in the first place, no siree ...