Wednesday, 29 May 2019

I am an SNP member who voted for the Brexit Party

So started the long letter in Wednesday the 29th's National.

My polite response was as follows:

"I read Wednesday's long letter with care and then prĂ©cised the letter in my head and came up with, “ I threw my toys out the pram and voted for the Brexit Party”. 

The rest of the content was simply justifying why the author was right to throw their toys out the pram.

The “recognition of SNP members who want “Scotexit” is a strange trope. The SNP Membership has had many passionate discussions on Scotland’s place inside and outside the EU over the decades and despite the likes of Fisher and Ross passionate and deeply held anti-EU speeches at SNP conference and on other stages, the current membership, by a majority, has agreed to the SNP position of an "Independent Scotland in Europe" as do, according to a recent Progress Poll, 63% of Scottish voters.

Now if you believe in the power of a membership party, like the SNP, and the democratic votes within Branches, Constituencies and Conference on key issues of party policy, if you then find yourself on the minority side, you just have to thole you lost the debate and back the party majority line. Many did this over the SNP’s change on its position over NATO, they did not like the change but swallowed their disappointment of losing a democratic vote of conference delegates, just, and got behind the party once more. Most recently the leadership of the party have been told, by a vote of conference delegates, a currency for Scotland is a priority on independence rather than the wishy-washy position of Professor Andrew Wilson’s paper of if, maybe, never. 

The position of where a future independent Scotland will lie within the different layers of EU membership can not be decided until we once again have a truly sovereign parliament, to represent the considered will of the sovereign Scottish people.

What is important is to achieve the dissolution of the failed, corrupt and inept UK Parliamentary Union and remove its leaden hand from Scotland.

Now is not the time for any "throwing of toys out the pram” by the SNP membership. 

The SNP are the only party who will achieve independence for Scotland and this must be the SNP memberships’ focus, not taking the huff over positions on EU membership already decided by the majority of the SNP membership and which has the support of the majority of Scottish voters."


The other more Machiavellian part of me ponders just how could any SNP member who understands just how much control the membership have over the centre, can write this load of old cobblers on voting for the Brexit Party.

As I write the "Brexit Party" are not a recognised political party but a limited company funded in a less than open manner by the likes of Aaron Banks whose source of funds is less than transparent and over whom the stench of money laundering lingers long. Farage's Brexit treasurer has already faced charges of money laundering in the USA using the same Paypal scam as it appears is behind the current Brexit Party's funding platform. The Electoral Commission and the EU are taking close interest in Farage's financial status and, in the case of the EU, have already deducted sizable sums from money due to Farage as an EU MEP, due to clear financial irregularities.

The Brexit Party's current "Policy Document on ?" has yet to make it onto the back of one of Farage's fag packets, let alone be presentable to the public as any sort of manifesto. What is there to vote for except a promise of Brexit sometime, maybe never because he has no MPs in his Brexit Party to drive the vote his way at Westminster and the Tories will be looking to avoid calling a UK GE any time soon in the hopes 'Boris the Blowhard' can turn their current support collapse in England, around.

How long will it be before the "British (aka English) Establishment" try to bring their errant schoolboy, Farage, back to heel?

Maybe as their favourite errant schoolboy "Boris the Blowhard" is facing a court case which could blow the gaff on the whole sordid Brexit Campaign they will keep their knives in hand for now, as Farage may end up being the best of a bad bunch to ensure Brexit.

I do not wish to believe a true SNP member could stoop this low and vote for a party which is currently a phantom, a miasma, a silent fart lurking in Farage's underpants.

Abstain; OK, but vote for Farage - I just do not see it.

This leaves only one thought, the author of the long letter is a British SIS plant.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

The buzzing of the bees

It would be tempting, on this fine day, to rip large into Ruth the Mooth's toothless Tories or Dick Dastardly's Labour failures but across the Scottish blogosphere and media, lots are already at it. I could mock Rory the Tory's attempt to become leader of the ailing party he is an MP of but, given he is not the snake oil salesman the Tories think they need to kill off Farage, I would rather bet on a snowball's chance in hell.

It was a chat I had with a local organic farmer that has me thinking, today, as I listen to bees buzzing in my herbaceous border and noted the wide variety; Honey, Golden bears, Red tales, Bumble, White tails and a Masonry bee which is busy nesting in the UPVC drip strip end of my kitchen window. His gripe was there are only five grass types grown in the commercial agri-business fields in Galloway to either feed the cows and sheep in the field or provide them with silage or hay for the winter months.

On another day I was out on the golf course with one of said agri-business farmers and I asked him about this. His point was most of the grass crop was grown to achieve certain markers in terms of cattle and sheep's muscle to fat ratios or, on the dairy side, to ensure the consistent fat content in the milk the creameries require for cheese and yogurt production, all year round. He also stated the use of antibiotics in commercial farming, in the area, was now far less than ten years ago and now being used for specific vet identified conditions and not, as in the past, as a mass preventative for the whole herd.

His view on the mono-culture fears of organic farmers in Galloway was the acreage being cultivated in this intense manner for grass production was minuscule in comparison to the total land acreage and land use in Galloway. It was his next point that really got me thinking, he pointed out that spraying on these fields for weeds, using glyphosphate, had virtually ceased because of the vigour of these high yield commercial grasses. He also pointed out that most fields, locally, were sprayed with liquid manure, after they were cut, rather than use commercial fertilisers and even there the technique increasingly being used was drip bar which reduced the impact on worm populations compared to the old spray techniques.

So is the reason I still see such a thriving and varied bee population in my garden is, in part, because the local agri-business, while being intensive and a major earner for Galloway, are not so heavily chemical dependent compared to the agri-businesses of the Wiltshire plains?

I lived in North Dorset for a wheen of years, the local fields had not changed much since Constable had painted Hungerford Mill and the farms were, by and large, dairy and fat stock; much like Galloway. The Wiltshire Prairie started about seven miles away after you crossed the Wiltshire Downs. Fields of many hundred acres, designed to enable farm machinery to operate at optimum efficiency and cost effective harvesting. Copses and hedgerows had been obliterated and yields are ensured by use of fertilizers and chemical spraying to prevent weevils, slugs, rust and weeds impacting on yields of wheat or barley.

Now look up and eastward and this intensive farming of single crops in massive acreage stretches from Wiltshire across Oxfordshire, through Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and up into the Lincolnshire fens. We want our cheap bread, carrots, cabbage, cauliflowers and the rest. The supermarkets want a consistent quality of product and to make a profit the farmers have to get over 80% of any acre to supermarket standard. This can only happen through the use of chemical sprays of one sort or the other.

Then consider the predominant wind over the British Isles is from the west. What is the cumulative impact of all this spraying and the drift of the aerosol fall out as it is blown from Wiltshire to Norfolk? There will inevitably be overlap zones where the chemical concentration exceeds safe limits. Then ask; just how can this not impact on insect and other life in a negative way?

One last point. On the English Prairies they now use a technique called shallow ploughing which enables them to plant the next crop within a couple of days of harvesting. To do this they spray Glyphosphate on the crop two weeks before harvesting to ensure weed free ground. A new piece of medical research into Gluten intolerance is suggesting the problem is not glutens, as such, but Glyphosphate residues in the flour. The study needs to be repeated by other researchers to consolidate the data and confirm the initial findings of the research group but it gives pause for thought.

Maybe it is not just bees modern agri-business practises are killing off

Friday, 17 May 2019

A time for calm

One of the pieces of thinking I brought back from my experience of Buddhism in Nepal is this:

"The purpose of life is to do more good than harm."

This simple statement guides how I seek to act on a daily basis and yet it is a realistic philosophy because it accepts that I may well do harm through what I believe are good intentions, there will always be others who feel threatened or harmed by what I consider good decisions for the betterment of the majority.

Now multiply this by the millions of independence supporters across Scotland and it is self evident no matter how good our intentions are there will always be some one who will disagree, feel threatened or harmed by our view or activity. A sample from the letters pages in the National over a week and you can see this in play where folk think a future referendum rushed into will be a disaster while others want a referendum yesterday. This is just human nature and neither side actually wishes harm on the other but their divergent views are viewed as harmful to the independence movement by the Unionist side who fall on any scraps they can, in their desperation.

The point we all miss in our frustration and anger caused by the "other side" not seeing our point of view is this, fundamentally we all want the same thing: for Scotland to return to being outside of of a failed UK Union as a sovereign nation in its own right, taking its place amongst the nations of the world.

You will have a hard time getting Commonweal and Micheal Fry agreeing on anything to do with the economic pathway for an independent Scotland but they both agree the only future for Scotland is as an independent nation state free from Westminster's poisonous grip.

We hear of the splits in the independence movement, the SNP, AUOB from the usual sources in the UK media. The wheels have been coming off the SNP Government on a weekly basis since 2007 and yet the Unionist bounce back has never been seen. The opposite is true with the vote share of Labour, Tory and Libdem parties dropping to lower than ever levels in Scotland while bye-elections which would normally see the government of the day lose are still being won by SNP candidates, still taking seats from Labour and the Tories across Scotland. The unionists now hold on to seats under threat by encouraging Labour voters to vote Tory and vice versa.

We are seeing the final flailings of the British Establishment. They are destroying themselves at Westminster for their own, perceived, narrow political gain with out any consideration for the people they claim to represent. The British Establishment needs to rig BBC Question Time in Scotland to prevent Scotland's actual voice being heard by the rest of the UK. The BBC and Murdoch's minions at Sky do the same everytime Angus Roberston gets to his feet in their increasingly dysfunctional House of Commons. We think it is to silence Scotland's voice but ponder this:

"Maybe it is the British Establishment who do not want the English voters to hear Scotland's voice, out of the fear of waking up the English voters to the British Establishment's own mendacity."

What the Scottish independence family have to accept is we will never agree with others in the family on many things except for one key issue; Scotland needs to be an independent nation once more, free to decide its own future, using its wealth of resources, its people and their commitment to the betterment of all in Scotland.

All else is moot until we have terminated the Treaty of Union.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

More a whimper than a bang

So we are off on the next instalment of independence for Scotland, Yes 2, The Sturgenator's return yet when it comes to the usual media and political squalor and squealing from the Unionistas, it is as if 2014 is back with a vengeance.

Jackson Carlaw peddling the same pish as he peddled in 2014 at FMQ's today, except, except; he appeared to be contradicting what he said in 2014 with regards to his precious, his sterling. It used to be it was "all mines'is", all Gondor at Westminster'is. Yet today the latest version of Jackson Gollum was annoyed the SNP membership voted to dump "mines'is" asap after a "Yes" vote. He seemed very upset the currency of Gondor was getting the heave-ho by financially reckless and stupid jocks.

Much has been written by many folk about what happened at the SNP Conference or what they would like to pretend happened - if you are the BBC or a Unionist Journalist - but here is my slant.

At my branch meeting we talked about the Growth Commission Report and generally decided it was mainly academic gobbledy-gook, wrapped up in a sweety wrapper while failing to address reality with respect to establishing a stand alone currency for Scotland. The six tests were much like the ephemeral question, "How long is a bit of string?", far too open ended. Luckily; unlike the "concerns' pressed by Common Weal on how the SNP membership were wrapped around Ms Sturgeon's finger and would rubber stamp it; we the membership, through our delegates, said, "No way! There must be a new Scottish currency within the term of the first independent parliament."


Well I being a bit of an OCD nerd, once something gets my interest I began to follow what is actually happening, in this case to Sterling:
As a University student in the 1970's I remember well when hyper inflation was the norm. While not quite the situation of the Wiemar Republic, where you were taking wheelbarrow loads of marks to buy a loaf of bread, it was still a concern to a student on a basic grant. When shopping for food you first headed for the bent can / burst packages section in the supermarket. We lived on pasta with chopped tomato sauce made interesting through the use of herbs and curry powder. We made use of the Student Union's subsidised food and booze, occasionally splurging out for a white pudding supper from the local chippy. If you were sensible you either had a good paying job lined up for the summer break, mine was as a 'clippy' on Alexanders Buses at Dunfermilne or worked as many nights as you could as a bar person in a very competitive market in Edinburgh. Didn't do me any harm and when you are young and a student there is a bit of excitement and fun in living like that. It was not so much fun for my parents whose mortgage repayments went up with an interest rate of 24% for a couple of years. By the time I bought my first house in early 1980, mortgages were down to 18.9% interest rates.

If I compare to where most folk were prior to the 1973 collapse of sterling and now, the poorest in our society are already on their uppers and struggling, many in work are struggling with rent and bills that two salaries a month barely cover and "May their God help them" if one or other goes sick. Currently the UK economy is in a far worse state with higher levels of true poverty than it was prior to 1973. Throw in stagflation and ordinary folk are in the shit up to their neck courtesy of Brexit.

The Catch 22 is, according to money market commentators on USA Bloomberg and across the EU, a free to trade new Scottish currency would quickly head upward of sterling £1.20 / Eu 1.50 to £1 Scots. That is why, until all pensions, benefits, taxation, vat and other UK Agency payments, such as War Pensions, are transferred to an independent Scotland's control, these pensions / taxation income would continue to be paid in a devaluing £ Sterling. Until the transfer process is completed 1:1 parity makes sense. My research tends to suggest the transfer of these fiscal activities will take between two to three years to complete fully. The side effect of such an arrangement is it may well help to prop up sterling over the same period which is a win / win for Scotland while we find our fiscal feet as an independent nation.

As to Scotland raising the reserves required to back the new currency; most of the commentators, outside of the usual unionist suspects who only see doom, gloom and disaster for too poor, too wee, too stupid Scotland, see little problem in an energy rich (fossil and renewable), unique product rich, financial services rich, innovative Scotland raising the reserve finance required on the world money markets.

So when folk ask me what about an independent Scotland's economy I do not answer with a whimper but with a bang.

The evidence is clear; Scotland's economy is going to be far worse off as part of the Brexit UK Union, no matter which ever way you wish to look at it. The future for Scotland's people both politically and economically, is as an independent nation.

As my old accountant would say; "and that is the bottom line."