Sunday, 6 December 2020

The Lie goes twice around the world before Truth gets its boots on

 Early this week I posted a considered piece, I thought, on Covid.

The blog pointed out the risks from contracting Covid, the long term health complications of Covid, sought to undo the unscientific garbage being posted by anti-vaccers about the development of the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines and in general point out the whole process was not part of Bill Gate's plans to take over the world and force us all to use Windows 10.

Thankfully, most folk were grateful for the information as part of helping them make an informed choice. A medical researcher kindly explained how both of the vaccines work, the the risk of any adverse reaction to the Pfizer vaccine and showed the maths (the risk is around 0.00073% of an adverse reaction vs the risk of dying from Covid which is 7% according to current WHO figures).

The anti-vaccers were, in the majority, the only ones who posted.

Take "Jo" who asked how can the vaccine have been developed this fast, according to his History of Vaccines the fastest development was of a new Mumps vaccine in 1967 and that took 4 years.

Dear Jo:

In 1967 the only way to work out the shape and form of a protein molecule was radio crystalography, the same technique which confirmed the double helix of DNA, and took a skilled user two days to turn around an 60% probability answer. Computers available to medical research in 1967 filled whole basements of research departments and had the computing power of a "Fitbit" watch. There have been a number of improvements over the last 60 years in the identification of protein structures and computing capacity. On top of this things like scientific advancement have been going on which means our understanding of cell biology and chemistry has moved along a bit as has the understanding of virus and our body's response to them.

In the 1960's the only way to grow virus was inside fertilized hens eggs kept in incubators, now a days you do not need the virus once you know its structure, then you can test out potential vaccine structures in a computer simulation which mimics the effect on human cell biology and the virus, all before you even begin animal testing and human clinical trials. Thus years of old style and time consuming 60's style research is not required.

Unsurprisingly "Jo" was not impressed and asked how could I prove it was not some Big Pharma scam funded by folk like Bill Gates who had poisoned 1000's of children in Africa with "his" polio vaccine.

Dear Jo; 

The polio scandal was in India not Africa. It was caused by unscrupulous Indian drug middle men taking a skim and purchasing "polio vaccine" from unregistered and unlicensed producers while packaging the vaccine in correctly printed packaging. Yes Bill Gates has given millions of dollars to the WHO / Rotary International Polio Plus campaign which seeks to send polio the same way as smallpox, ending it as a scourge in developing and developed nations (Spain has only recently been declared polio free by the WHO) 

The actual Polio Plus program is run by Rotary International in each country, under WHO supervision and has nothing to do with Mr Gates. Mr Gates merely helps fund it. The majority of the funding for the program has come from Rotary International's own volunteer members worldwide and whose lobbying of "Big Pharma" reduced the costs per dose considerably.

Next up; Jo claimed I was seeking to bully them into taking the Covid vaccine and had not answered their questions.

Dear Jo,

You just made that up, I have never said anyone has to take the Covid vaccine and I believe I have answered your questions as fully and as accurately as I can, if that is bullying then I am guilty. It will be peer pressure rather than compulsion on which you will base your own decision.

Maybe you just do not like the answers I have given you?

My personal problem with the anti-vaccer / conspiracy theory of vaccine is simple. I can remember when mass public health vaccinations were in their infancy. Primary school friends suddenly disappeared, some did not return (TB) while others did wearing calipers due to polio or unable to play because of "weak lungs" from Scarlet fever. In my own life time I have seen diseases that were killers and disablers of young people become mild and inconsequential "childhood diseases". Imagine the uproar if an 18 month baby died of chicken pox or a three year old was left permanently deaf due to measles in the 21st Century?

In the mid 1980's when anti-vaccer scare stories first started doing the rounds of internet chat rooms a sizable number of Mums in big cities like London and Manchester decided not to have the Pertussis vaccination to prevent Scarlet fever given to their children. Within 12 months young children were dying from Scarlet fever in numbers not seen since the late 1950's with many more left to carry lung damage for the rest of their lives. There has been no reduction in uptake of the pertussis vaccine since.

The doctor whose 'study' led to the scare was subsequently found to have been highly selective in the data he used, independent research could not replicate his claims and findings, The Lancet made a fulsome apology for printing the paper without proper peer review and eventually the General Medical Council removed him from the National Register of Doctors, not because of the paper but because he was a danger to patients and the public as he would not admit, in spite of all the evidence, he had rigged the results. Sadly this gave the UK anti-vaccers their first "martyr" while they ignored all the children his "study" had killed or damaged.

As a coda, may I point out, in the UK, by law and legislation, all drugs and vaccines are deemed poisons (yes, even aspirin) which is why they must be prescribed or authorised by professional practitioners trained in their use such as Pharmacists, Doctors, Dentists and prescribing Nurses. It is a duty of care the healthcare world in the UK takes seriously, based on the best scientific information we have and after consideration of the risks versus the benefits of any drug or vaccine.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

The Significance of Ideas

 Last night I had a flash back nightmare, it was bad enough to set my dog barking at 4 am and brought me awake with smells, sounds, tastes and on the sharp edge between cowardice and competence; along which folk stagger in combat situations. It is not the sort of nightmare you wake and can go straight back to sleep. It is the sort of nightmare that is far too real in your own experience to do that. It is the nightmare state where you almost strangle your wife because you can't see her as such. This sort of nightmare requires time to recover your senses, it needs a book.

Last night was not the time to delve further into the venal failings of the papacy nor was it fit to chew through an Iain M Banks Sci-Fi so I went to the shelf and selected an auld threadbare pal o mine; "Twelve Modern Scottish Poets". In itself it is a throw back as all the poets in it are noo deid and few fowk would consider poets writing between 1920 and 1960 as "modern", yet that is hoo this particular tumshie tummles.

So I sat and reread, for the umpteenth time, Hugh MacDairmid's "In sic transit Scotia" a poem where he rages against "shortbread, tartan and bagpipe" Scotch over the world. His particular ire is for those Scotch in select Burns Clubs who pontificate about Burns without any understanding of what he is actually saying:

"Mair nonsense has been uttered in his name, Than in ony barrin liberty an Christ"

 "Rabbie wads't thou wert here - the warld hath need, And Scotland mair sae, o the likes o thee,"

 MacDairmid is the man in the corner of the pub, pipe in his moo, sat in a fug o smoke an whiskey fumes, chuntering tae hisel aboot how Scots need tae ca lug tae whit he's speirin as aa body else is wrang. A werse curmudgeon wha's ae wies up fir a fecht.

 Take his view of England in "My quarrel with England":

"For I stand still for forces which, were subjugated to mak way, For England's poo'er, and tae enrich The kinds o' English and o Scots, the least congenial tae ma thochts"

There are many today in Scotland who have come to agree with McDairmid in this, a poem written just short of a hundred years ago.

Edwin Muir, a contemporary of MacDairmid, but from Orkney; is more open of the world around him and memories of plough horses:

"Their conquering hooves which trod the stubble down, Were ritual that turned the field to brown"

 There is not the anger or bitterness of Edinburgh's famous flytin man, even when Muir turns to the subject of Scotland he reflects the pass Scotland had become, more in sadness than anything else in "Scotland 1941":

"And spiritual defeat wrapped warm in riches, no pride but pride of self."

 From the Western Isles, Lewis in particular, came Ian Crichton Smith. A native gaelic speaker to whom Scottis was a second language and English a foreign one in "Culloden and after" he makes the point of the suppression of his native language and culture:

 "And how much later, bards from Tiree and Mull, would write of exile in the hard town, where mills belched English, anger of new school:"

 Again there is not the anger of MacDairmid, in fact there is a hint the Gaeltacht have given in and failed to protect their voice from the abuse offered it by the imperialism of English culture and language:

"The silly cows were heard mooing their sorrow and their Gaelic loss."

 The underlying drive in all the poems is one based on the belief that Scots do not have the courage to stand up for themselves against all the known abuses of the British State in its suppression and control of Scottish culture, the attempt to kill off its defined languages and its support of those Scots who "Up; and play the game". They each, in their own way, attack what we now call the "Scottish cringe", the concession of British Imperialism being superior to Scotland's native culture, abilities and place in the world.

Here we now sit in 2020, still facing the Scottish cringe in all its manifestations, opposed by a British Imperial State, still ever more oppressive, run out of control and yet, the sunny uplands of independence are ever nearer as there is less of the cringe about Scotland, more of the assertion that to be Scottish is a "guid thing" no matter from where you hail or your colour, religion, culture or creed. 

Maybe all we had to do was remember we are truly are, "Aa Jock Tamson's bairns" anent our family squabbles and stramashes.

On the matter of us being "Aa Jock Tamson's bairns" I will leave the last word to Edwin Morgan, from "King Billie":

"Deplore what is to be deplored, and then find out the rest."


Monday, 9 November 2020

Naked Power

 I am reading John Julius Norwich's study of the Popes from the start to the present day. I had hoped to find some redeeming features in this history, some glint that the purpose of a religious community actually carried out the teachings, the self same community which had selected the "best fit" versions in the course of numerous 4th and 5th Century Conclaves as they bent their belief to fit with the Roman Empires wishes.

Sadly at every turn, right from the start, it appears the Christian religion was bent to seeking temporal power. Even after it split in its first schism into the Western Empire (Roman) church and the Eastern Empire (Orthodox) church over the nature of "God the Son" the reality was one of seeking influence over the two Emperors to enable them to wield power.

As the western empire waned so did the church until one Pope in around the 10th century decided to re-invent the Western Empire as the "Holy Roman Empire" unified under Charlemagne which held on in ever decreasing parts until the end of the First World War and the collapse of the Hapsburg, Austro-Hungarian Empire.

On page after page the story is of Popes seeking to exercise political influence over all of Europe, especially Italy, while procuring and spending millions of pounds as they did so. Routinely by selling Papal offices to the highest bidder or offering Papal indulgences from sin and purgatory to those with cash to spend. On top was the levy paid by each Bishopric to the Vatican and other money wells such as the Papal states and the Inquisition.

By the Renaissance the Popes were splurging vast amounts on "new art", the building of St Peters, the remodeling of Rome but little was done for the ordinary people of Rome until the stink and risk of plague and malaria was such the current Pope decided to do something and began reviving old Roman Aqueducts and improving the sewerage system, not because the people needed it but because Papal envoys to the Vatican complained and would not come to Rome from May until October due to the risks. Many Popes were driven out of Rome over the same period for the same reasons.

Fast forward from the end of the 16th Century until now:

What we see in the UK Government is one which seeks power for its own ends and is happy to use corrupt practices, indulgences, to give their friends UK Government contracts on the sly, no matter their competence or ability to deliver the services required. The UK Government "Test and Trace" contract is an eye opener where the "Excel" database could not cope with the number of tests it was required to and could not extract the information Public Health Officials needed to control the disease.

For self glorification projects look no further than the billions being spent on HS2 to reduce travel time to Birmingham by 10 minutes and to Manchester by 20 minutes. Who actually benefits? Certainly not the people along the route who will have to travel to use HS2 at its "node"points, who are seeing tracts of ancient woodlands ripped up and local beauty spots put under concrete.

Yet, just like the people of Rome in the 15th and 16th century, most of the UK population's basic needs are ignored and in one of the world's supposed top economies children go hungry and adults become homeless with no cognition by the UK Government of their role in all of this.

The Roman Church had its big shake up with the reformation, one which nearly destroyed it and forced it to look at what it and the Papacy stood for, in a period during the late 16th and early 17th century it was saved by its firm footings in Spain and Italy as even the Holy Roman Emperor saw the need to do a deal with the Lutheran Reformists in what is now Germany rather than the costly war of suppression his Spanish cousin was waging in the Netherlands and his equally costly attempts to remove Elizabeth the First of England.

Today the reality is there is no drive for the true reformation of the UK Parliament. Neither of the two right of centre main parties see it to be in their benefit, there is no popular pressure from the English electorate to bring change to the current set up. 

Once again it will be up to Scotland to move forward on its own and reform its country as an independent nation state which understands the EU's flaws but sees greater benefit for its people in being a part of the EU, a view supported by two thirds of Scots who voted in the Brexit referendum. An important point the anti-EU independistas should bare in mind.

Onwards to the next Scottish civil reformation and a chance to break free from the chains of a UK Parliament as equally pernicious and venal as the Papacy of the 15th and 16th Centuries.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Like an ashtray, full of little doubts.

Half way through my 7th decade and I was thinking just what have I learned about life and folk in general?

Dillon, my dog, and I pondered this long and hard during today's walk, philosophied, dissected and bemused ourselves with argument and counter argument and were left with, well; that the basic state of our own and our  fellow human's is an existence as sheeple.

Look around you at any group you are in. It is most likely the herd you associate in, your fellow sheeple have similar views, politics, social concerns and the like. There are divergences within the herd but rarely so big the herd breaks apart. Occasionally sheeple in your herd will go off down a scary path to the rest of the herd and more often return to safety. A very small number will never return. This does not worry the sheeple in the rest of the herd because the loss will be justified in a form of words which basically comes down to. "We warned them it was dangerous".

The form of government the herd of sheeple select or have imposed on them is akin to the sheep farmer. A good sheep farmer knows the provision of adequate pasture, shelter and water is what their sheep need and expect  Any sheep farmer will tell you their biggest worry is your average sheep's desire to kill itself in the most bizarre way it can and its uncanny ability to achieve its death wish.

Is that true of sheeple?

Sadly, yes, as they are happy to have a warm roof over their head, access to adequate food and be healthy. They do not mind being shifted around by the Government's policies put in place by the equivalent of the political sheep dogs (MPS /MSPs), just as long as their core needs and expectations are met. An occasional ewe or ram will kick against the sheep dogs but never enough to worry our sheeple farmer. By and large the sheeple keep their heads down grazing in what they like to believe is safety brought about by the farmer.

In a nutshell this is how power is wielded in human society no matter what race, colour or religious belief or political bent of sheeple you are.

It is this normal existence as sheeple which means a bad farmer (current UK Government) can trampled over our needs and expectations before we realise what has happened. The reality is the majority of sheeple look around at the new barbed wire fence penning them into an ever smaller area and put their heads down and go back to grazing, after all; what can they do?

Then the bad farmer shears the sheeple as close to the bone as they can, no matter whether the sheeple can keep warm, fed and healthy or not. The rest of the sheeple say, "Thank goodness it is not us"; get their heads down and carry on grazing.

The bad farmer, having weakened the over sheared sheeple with poor grazing, lack of shelter and veterinary care, then argues they are only fit for the knacker's yard and should be put down as they are not fit for anything else. Yet still the rest of the sheeple keep their heads down in case they are next; which inevitably they will be.

By now, I trust you understand what I am trying to say.

Most sheeple prefer a good farmer to a bad farmer which is why support for Scottish independence is growing, even among sheeple herds who would have sworn red and blue in the face that any UK Shepherd was the best for the flock rather than some untried Scots local but six years ago.

My doubts not so little and can be summarised as just who can gain from the continuing "SNP bad" out pourings from supporters of Mr Salmond and independence.

It is not Mr Salmond, I would aver, because those who believed there is not smoke without fire over his admitted misoginistic tantrums with female staff will not be leaving their herd in a hurry. We can add to that, the reality Mr Salmond is not popular among a majority of female voters in Scotland for some unperceived but heart felt reason. The attempts by his supporters to do Ms Sturgeon, down only hardens this particular stance. He may well be right in his consideration he was done down, for political reasons, with the claims of female sexual abuse, of which he has been cleared and is innocent of in the eyes of the law, but not necessarily the court of public opinion.

Who are the main pushers of the "Get rid of Sturgeon" campaign?

The name that is attached routinely to the "Sturgeon must go" campaign, as go to spokesperson, is that of Kenny MacAskill MP, ex- SNP justice minister under Salmond. Mr MacAskill has had his run ins with the SNP Women's Group over a number of potentially misogynist issues over the years. I can not see what he has to gain, as he is yesterday's man in many SNP members minds, unless he is hoping a return of Mr Salmond as SNP leader brings him back into the main game of SNP politics and power rather than some one out on the edge of the tent.

Otherwise the only political power to gain from the current SNP skyeting over the Salmond Affair is the very one Scots increasingly wish to be rid of, the UK.

Meanwhile the sheeple keep their heads down, hope the next dry cough they have will not be the end of them and there will be enough feed to see them through the post Brexit winter.

In all the current "She said / He said" furore within the SNP and Yes cliques over this failed attempt by inept members within the SNP HQ, NEC and Scottish Civil Service to politically skewer Mr Salmond, we need to remember:

This is not as important to the sheeple than the perception of whether it is a good or a bad farmer tending their flock.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Siskipa - Little Steps

Are you frustrated Ms Sturgeon has not yet told Bawjaws where to park his UK bus?

Angry at the apparent complacency at SNP HQ as we hurtle towards an ever increasing fascist government at Westminster?

Tearing your hair out, in Peter Bell's case it is almost all gone, at the inaction over an independence referendum as we hurtle towards the Brexit cliff edge?

Find Micheal Russell's claim the SNP will fight to save devolution in the courts after rejecting the Internal Market Bill; a bit of a wet blanket?


Well maybees what I am about to say is not going to help your rising "angst, sturm und tonder" in the slightest, not that I have not had all the above, running through my brain since the Brexit Bill made it through Westminster.

It was fascinating the Scottish Reserve Bank which comes to life on the 1st of January 2021, has released drafts of an independent Scotland's currency this week. So when folk ask the daft Unionist question of "What Currency will Scotland use?" we can show them the nice pictures of an independent Scotland's currency. It seems we are going back to the pre 1707 unit, then in common use, the Pound Scots. Me, I'd have preferred Merks and Groats ... but what the hell, eh?

This week I received my electoral roll update and noted that you can register to vote if you permanently live in Scotland, not just have a holiday home here .... Sorry House of Windsor that means you and a lot of your rich pals will not get a vote but my Polish friends across the road will.

If you look under the surface of the the obvious strife over Brexit and lack of SNP action you find a lot of the i's and t's left undotted and uncrossed prior to the 2014 independence referendum have now been dotted and crossed.

Scotland now has in place either the actual or nascent bodies, the limited control of welfare is an example of a 'nascent body", we require as an independent nation to flourish from day one. Something we did not have before. The EU has more empathy with Scotland's position of being dragged out the EU against our will than it did in 2014, with statements like "Scotland will be assured of quick entry into the EU Customs Union and full accession to the EU will be quickly implemented" or Donald Tusk's "The EU looks forward to an independent Scotland being a full and active member."

Setting this all this "stuff"of Government up and changing international opinion takes time and we are now on the cusp of deciding whether expediency now needs to take over from effectiveness or will that remain a case of putting the cart before the horse, for now.

So would part of me cry out for UDI tomorrow?

Most certainly but the other part of me says all the hard work is nearly done, Westminster's intransigence and ignorance is shifting the load for us both at home and abroad, the weight of popular opinion is rolling our way, we are not quite there yet but; "it's coming still for aa that."

In 2012 support for independence was at 23% by 2014 we had shifted that to 45%, over the 40% tipping point where the idea becomes a normal aspiration, not just one for extremists or dreamers. In 2020, with little or no active campaigning, we have seen that support rise to 54% with over 63% of Scots voters believing that Scotland will be independent within five years, no matter their political persuasion. A recent survey of CBI members revealed only 20% had concerns about their business futures in an independent Scotland.

These are all key "little steps" which we need to be in place before we take the one big step to an independent nation, no matter how frustrating it is for us of the claidheamh mór, targe and dirk of the Highland charge ilk; hard though it is for us to do, we maybe need to keep them all hidden in the thatch of our tigh na dubh just a little longer before "Now's the time and now's the hour".

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Pink Feet

Rose hip red, leaves fall,
Days get smaller.
No more do swallows
Skim the estuary edge.
In flood tide's margin
A heron stalks still water;
While burst of silvered surface
Marks bass frying.
Above, the first skein of Pink Feet
Pass by and cry; Autumn! Autumn!

Thursday, 10 September 2020

An Independent Scottish Defence Force

 There has been increasing talk, recently, about what a Scottish Defence Force for an independent Scotland should look like, I thought about this over eight years ago (2012) and on re-reading the post I think it is still relevant, so I give you my thoughts from 2012:

Scotland’s sovereign people do not want Trident nor are they too keen about Afghanistan or Iraq type adventures so in an independent Scotland just what would our defence force look like?

The prime question is what will an Independent Scotland need to be defended against?

To take the view – nothing – is naive. Scotland has a lot of resources that others would wish to hold as their own and would be easily economically disadvantaged by small scale attacks let alone overwhelming force.

To trigger development of this debate I am going to outline what I see as the primary threats to Scotland’s sovereignty, economy and indicate the sort of defence requirement I suggest we need -ignoring any international commitments such as NATO or the UN. The obvious course of action is to look north to Norway and Iceland and look at where their priorities lie and the answer is – their maritime interest.

Many of Scotland’s current and future economic resources are or have a major maritime element – oil and gas, fisheries, renewable power or HDVC power lines.

So how will an independent Scotland ensure the security of these resources and what could the Scottish Defence Force look like?

I would base a Scottish Defence Force on the Canadian Defence Force’s ‘all arms’ structure with a common uniform, common insignia, common central command, common logistics combined with the ability for the serving personnel, with the compatible skills, to mix across the three elements of maritime, air and land - if they wish.

The Maritime section would, in my opinion, need to be the largest element because policing of our Scottish Seas requires the presence of ships in the water. Ships are high cost defence units, if you go for deep ocean capability, but I would argue for Scotland’s needs the ships do not have to have deep ocean capability. 
I would foresee a maritime section made up mainly of ships like the current Jura ‘fishery / oil rig protection’ class with a hanger and helicopter capability but hopefully of a more stable design. They could be kitted out with a close air defence system, such as Phalanx or its successors, which can also be used in a surface role and carry a section of ‘marines’ for boarding fishing vessels or other surface craft. These vessels could also be fitted for but not necessarily with long range anti ship or air missiles. Its ‘long range’ offensive capability would essentially be delivered by its helicopter, using state of the art air to surface weapons or anti-submarine torpedoes. 
Using modern integrated command systems these Jura’s, plus their helicopters and the PC3 Orions, could be combined to be a quite potent force - if that was ever necessary – even with out being fitted with anti ship missiles. More importantly they would be very effective in doing what we need them for - oil field, coastguard and fishery protection duties. The number of ships (20) is to enable seven ships to be at sea all the time with another seven on their way to or from patrol areas and assumes six in port for routine or extended maintenance. In peacetime they could be run with a crew of sixteen officers and sailors plus a section of marines. It might make sense two split these ships into two squadrons one based in Aberdeen, Dundee or Rosyth and the other at Stornoway, Machrihanish or the Clyde. The decision then is essentially do you use two traditional Naval base ports or do you invest in new port facilities that reduce the time taken to reach patrol areas. For maintenance considerations Rosyth makes a lot of sense as there is a core workforce used to working on naval craft.

The Air section would clearly need a helicopter wing in support of the maritime section which would be best served by multirole helicopters like the Merlin which can also be used in a rescue role in support of the Coast Guard, anti submarine role and troop transport. To help patrol Scotland’s seas a small number of long range multi role patrol craft would be required similar to Norway’s PC3 Orion squadron. 

The question of whether Scotland actually needs a fixed wing strike and interceptor aircraft is debateable (it is dependent on whether you see Russia re-emerging as a threat or not) but if it was decided that we need this capability to ensure a balanced force capability I would suggest the maritime version of the Lockheed JSF F35. The basic maritime variant of the F35 is superior in every way to the Typhoon, far more flexible, better stealth characteristics, cheaper to purchase and run, easily updateable plus, if it was ever deployed in conjunction with NATO, it would be compatible with the Royal Navy’s new carrier class as well as US and French Carriers.  We would need around 40 of these aircraft to enable to keep 30 in the air. If we inherit any Tornadoes they could be converted into ‘tankers’ for the F35’s. The question is do you then concentrate all the SDF aircraft on one airbase such as Lossiemouth or do you spread the deployment around: F35’s at Leuchars, PC3 Orions and Tornado tankers at Lossiemouth and helicopters at Prestwick that will be a political decision shaped as a force decision.

Then we turn to the thorny problem of land forces, why would an independent Scotland need them and how would they be structured?

 If you follow my argument so far it is clear that at least one of the four historic cadres that make up ‘The Royal Regiment of Scotland’ would need to be full time to support our needs for oil rig protection and support of the ‘Jura Class’ offshore protection vessels. Clearly one of the famous names would need to convert to a Marine / Special Forces Regiment but what of the other three?

Does Scotland really need all the bits and pieces of a standing army such as an armoured and artillery regiment, for example, as we only have one land border and the risk is negligible? 

Again it would depend to what extent an Independent Scotland wished to be involved in panoply and paraphernalia of NATO or the proposed European Standing Army. But for logistical purposes I would see each of the SDF regiments as self contained multi role, armoured style brigades on the German model. I am not proposing that we invest in Leopards or Challenger Mk2 tanks but armoured vehicles that would support any deployment of the SDF in a peace keeping role. 
We are talking Armoured Personnel Vehicles with a varied light weapon fit from 0.5 calibre machine guns via ‘chain guns’ to surface to air / anti tank missile systems in keeping with the concept of the land force as a defence force. It makes sense that only one of these more traditional army regiments was full time. I would see the other two run as territorial or reserve regiments with a professional core of officers and senior NCOs.

What we get as a defence force will be a function of how much an Independent Scotland would wish to spend of its GDP on this force, balanced against our politically defined needs and commitments.

As to cost, overall defence costs are usually stated as percentage of GDP and I would see an SDF with around 10,000 regulars and between 7,000 and 10,000 territorial style reserves. These sorts of numbers relate more to Eire than Norway so the lowest cost to run the SDF would be in the region of £600+ million annual cost based on Eire’s defence spending in 2009-10. Given I am also including F35’s and just over twice the number of patrol ships a more realistic figure would be in the region of £1 billion based on current defence costs of which around 60% is in pay and pensions. To run a defence force of the size of Norway’s is in the region of £5 billion for 2010/11 which has been assessed at 4.8% of the Norwegian Government’s budget (not the countries GDP) so if we assume the current pocket money given to Scotland as the basis for the future independent Scottish Government budget, defence spending on the SDF will be in the region of 1% on the same basis.

Monday, 24 August 2020

"Ke garne" or "What to do" about the stick in the Muds?

 "Ke garne" was one of the most useful expressions I learnt in Nepali it can be used to express anything from "what to do" (the literal meaning) usually accompanied by a shoulder shrug to "You are trying to pull a fast one here mate!' depending on tone and inflection.

I mused on a time line the main problem with those over 60 who can not see past the "UK's glorious Union is best for Scotland" trope is they have been brain washed by over 50 plus years of little Scotland is reliant on the generous UK, being pumped out daily on radio, television and their daily papers. As usual there were one or two oldies (like me) who rushed to defend independence voting seniors, having missed the point about the group I was actually referring to.

Imagine how it feels like to wake up one day in your mid 70's and have the thought; I been sold a lie all my life by Westminster and the British Establishment. To then have to throw away all the decades of "UK Union is good" you have read in your daily newspaper or listened to on the trusted BBC News, over that time. Basically you have to ditch all you have politically believed in all your life. The easy option is to go into denial and argue to yourself it is too late to change horses now and blank any conversations you have which nag at the realisation you have been lied to and maybe Scotland can be a prosperous, independent country. So you talk about "What currency will we use?" and "What will we do without the "Bank of England" as a lender of last resort?" To which I ask, "How has every other country which gained its independence from England managed?"

After a pause, there is always the replying, "Aah, but .."

Those with the hardest problem to deal with on the day they wake up to having been lied to all their life, are those who wrap themselves in the "Good Queen Lizzy / Union Flag" myth. A bit of a generality but I am imagining those of a "Blue Nose or Orange Order" persuasion. Imagine what an impact waking up to the realisation this has on their psyche. They are well down the anger route in the first place as their only resort. So they talk about "Krankie" or "Nippy Sweetie" and how she is personally going to kick their "Queen" out of Scotland. These folk are well past denial and are moving from anger to hatred as their precious 'Union Fleg" is under threat. They claim the SNP have given into the "Catholics / Celtic" to destroy their "heritage" and right to walk on behalf of a long dead Dutch King, who was supported by the Catholic Church against James the 7th, and lead an army of Catholics and Protestants to drive James and his French Allies out of Ireland. When this is pointed out to them as the historical reality, they rush straight past " Aah, but..." for anger and hatred.

When we are looking at those who are over sixty and "No to independence" voting, in the run up to the next referendum, these are the two groups we are actually left trying to address.

The "anger and hate" group are not worth any effort at all, in my opinion, simply because they are so far down the road of obsession against all things related to independence to the point of apoplexy.

The "denial" group are also a problem but one where there is a potential to reason with them and irritate their little doubts about the UK Union as a "good thing" in the hopes they will admit to themselves the better future is independence for Scotland. This is not an easy sell by any means, haranguing will not work, it has to be the "much soft rain wears the marble" approach. This is, in turn, time consuming and runs the risk the marble will not wear fast enough over the next year or so to make a real difference.

In the end, the actual answer to all the problems of these two groups present is "mortality" and the actuarial reality the haters will die off faster than the deniers.

The only question remaining then is, will "Mother Nature" help out fast enough?

Monday, 10 August 2020

Barr Hill Wood

The noontide warmth snickers in an aboot thon trees

Ma wee dug snuffles arount the bracken

Nay gien a jot tae scunnered flies he pits in the air

Ir thir knackered buzzin birls doon tae anither brack.

The silence fair dunts the lugs

Whilst o'er bye a wee bird gies a helf herted cheep

Tae jildy a dunnock oot the wae

Afore the dug gies a loup an has them awa'.

Anent the forrest's edge

Ae coo, moo's a lament tae bein jagget

By a clegg ir some ither beastie.

We saunter on; the dug an me.

Him aye hopefu some wee moosie I'll pop up

Saes he can shou whit a ratter he is.

Nothin daen, pal, e'en a wee moosie

Cannae thole thon heat.

The sun kenspekles the grun

The dug sticks his neb dooon aa the holes

In hopes a wee moup 'ill came bye.

Bit the Noontide sun's pit a dwam tae thon.

As we daunder the woods, aa alane.

Monday, 27 July 2020

An open letter to the Financial Times Editor.


I read your editorial on the imminent demise of  the failed UK Parliamentary Union with a shake of my head and some bitter laughter.

Please explain the basic piece of accounting that says England subsidises Scotland?

The reason I ask is that in an average year Scotland gets back around 43% of what we put into the UK Treasury, not including the salted away “extra territorial income” from the Scottish North Sea and North Western Atlantic oil and gas fields.

For England to be “subsidising” Scotland, Scotland would need to be getting more than 100% of what we put into the UK tax pot  (+ extraterritorial income), this is clearly not the case.

Then there is the small issue of the UK Treasury’s £10 billion of borrowing on Scotland’s behalf to help out the Covid pandemic’s economic stresses of which Scotland only saw £3 billion
The "too wee, too poor, too small” argument is long gone; so far gone the stables have been redeveloped into a children’s farm.

There is no escape from the reality Mr Johnson’s recent “Scotch invasion” was an utter failure which saw him once more exiting through back gates from sealed off photo opportunities to avoid protests against his incompetence. Any other of the current UK ministers would fare no better, Mr Gove - a fair deal worse - while statements from the Secretary of State for Scotland are deafening in their silence

As for health and education, methinks the Tories and other Unionists need to remove the beam from their own eye before picking at the SNP splinters.

Support for London based parties in Scotland is melting like "snaw aff a dyke” to the point the Unionist politicians are more interested in fighting each other over the remaining unionist vote share than the SNP.

Yours sincerely,

Sunday, 26 July 2020

A conversation with Douglas Ross, MP for Moray

Mad Jock:

Dear Mr Ross,

Can you explain why you are set on running Scotland and Scottish people down at every turn? Why do you consistently vote against Scotland's best interests for narrow political and personal gain? How stupid do you think the majority of Scots are?
Douglas Ross: I don’t.

Mad Jock:

You voted to wreck the fishing industry to get a deal with the USA, you voted to sell off the NHS in Scotland to corporate America and you voted to support killing devolution. Oh and your Brexit votes even though Scotland voted to stay in the EU ... then there is the nonsense about how Mr Johnson saved Scotland from covid or how giving Scotland only £3 billion of the £10 billion your chancellor "borrowed" on Scotland's behalf then salted off the difference to a PPE Company in Mauritius? Mr Ross you are selling Scots and Scotland down the river every time you speak in the House of Commons on behalf of Mr Johnson's increasingly oligarchic and dictatorial government.

Douglas Ross: I disagree.

Mad Jock:

What do you disagree with and on what evidence? I have listened to you bad mouthing Scotland in the House of Commons every time you run down Scottish businesses by claiming they could not exist with out the largess of the UK Government. You make claims about your government's spending which turn out to be recycled cash which was already apportioned to Scotland anyway. Then there are the Conservative fibs about broadband, NHS Scotland oh and the too poor, too wee, too stupid line about Scotland's £60 billion plus economy which puts £60 a second into the UK Treasury. Here is the truth, on independence for Scotland, Scotland will be better off in all respects, but the combination of Brexit and the loss North Sea oil and gas revenues along with other foreign currency earnings from Scotland puts England in a pretty economic pickle according to Bloomberg Analysis, the FT in fact almost any economic analysis you look at agrees the UK is a failed economy courtesy of Tory policies. 1 Euro is now at 91p it used to be 1 Euro to 75p for example.
Criticising the Scottish Government is not the same as talking down Scotland. As a proud Scot born and living here my whole life I won’t take lectures about Scottishness from anyone.
Maybe you should take some lessons, maybe in telling the truth rather than spouting the latest line from your party's unelected, minime Dr Goebbels, Mr Cummings. You see Brexit is not just going to destroy the whitefish industry but my local scallop industry worth £7.5 million to my local economy.

Oh; and by the way, your Scottishness was never challenged, just the canting hypocrisy of a Conservative "Holy Willie".

Final thought; your job is to represent your constituents best interests at Westminster, Mr Carlaw's is to hold the Scottish Government to account at Holyrood. Maybe you should stick to your "day job".

Douglas Ross: (Silence)

Saturday, 18 July 2020

The Abyss

The clock is ticking, the loyal troops are starting to get restless, occasional pustules of discontent are breaking out all over the face of the Indy movement. It is teenage acne in the main but it will not take much more for some nasty looking boils to appear.

Like many in the SNP I have been sent a proforma E.mail from an ordinary member requesting me to use it to put pressure on my local MSP to get immediate action on a referendum before the 1st of January 2021 Brexit and the Tory White Paper that seeks to kill devolution stone dead by re-instating the pseudo-viceroy status of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Given the combination of an upcoming Brexit and the ability of the Tories to railroad a a kill bill on Holyrood it is not difficult to understand why there is increasing anxiousness among the independistas as well as an increasing sense of urgency, restlessness and a bit of fear to get independence done.

As a result we are having all these theories about how best to "game" the Holyrood elections in 2021 which while interesting, all have major risks they will fail rather than succeed. If you want to vote for a second party to get independence done go for a second vote for the Greens. They may be a bit to lefty, hippy and environmental for some tastes but they are a known entity in Scottish politics and when push comes to shove they support independence for Scotland.

The problem for the "let's have a list only independence party" is simply the Scottish electorate, who are not as fixated or informed on things independence, as activists are, will either be confused or take umbrage at being thought as vote fodder.

That is not good news for the SNP as the normal electorate will see this as, the SNP trying to fix the vote, no matter what the organisers of the independence list vote party say. Just think of the millage Unionists will make out the SNP "vote fixing" or being "unsure the SNP have real support for independence". I am no spin doctor but it is not hard to understand how this talk of a "list only party" can be used by the Tory friendly media to claim, "splits in the independence movement" or "Nicola is losing the trust of the Yes movement" or any other headline you care to make up about the consensus among independence supporters breaking apart. The only winners in a situation where there will be defined splits, just when the bulk of Scots voters are coming round to vote for independence, will be the Unionists. Ordinary people do not like fractious political parties or movements, who are consumed with in fighting - just look at Labour's polling figures in Scotland for the evidence of that.

I have said before, in this very blog, that I would have preferred independence yesterday but to undermine the cohesiveness and growing belief in the SNP Government by an ever increasing majority of Scots, a belief that has brought so many into the independence fold is political madness, nay suicide.

The "list vote party" also have a problem in constituencies like Dumfries and Galloway where the elected constituency MSP is a Conservative. In this constituency to ensure any SNP representation at Holyrood we need to have both votes SNP. A "list vote only" candidate would be a disaster, as they potentially would dilute the SNP vote.

The abyss we are looking into with a "list vote only party" is losing yet another independence referendum because ordinary people do not like being taken for eedjits and can smell this sort of shit a mile away.

So, keep it simple stupid, forget about a "list only party" and if you are in a Holyrood constituency where the SNP elected MSP is a shoe in, vote Green with your second vote but remember if you are an SNP member you can not promote such a policy, as you will be in breach of your membership conditions by doing so.

In the mean time we independistas can all hope there is some cunning plan being brewed in SNP HQ, to end the UK Parliamentary Union prior to the 1st of January 2021. If not then we are all in deep shit.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

The Grand Old Duke of York

The song is about the Duke of York making a mess of a campaign in Flanders against the French in the 1790's when his dithering lost a campaign which should have been won.

The current Duke of York appears to following in his ancestors footsteps blowing hot and cold over his relationship with Mr Epstein as Ms Maxwell states she has sex tapes of some "important people" having sex with under age girls, at Mr Epstein's infamous parties; "When he was up, he was up" seems tawdry but pertinent.

How long Ms Maxwell has to live is anyone's guess, as no doubt Orange Don-Don, the current US President, probably stars in a few of these films. Anyway, we now know why Mr Epstein had such influence over the rich and famous when it came to special favours and deals for him and Ms Maxwell, no doubt the 'films' were a very nice little earner, for the pair, with out ever being shown.

It is to another Grand Old Duke of Porkies I now turn; the Humpty Dumpty of our times, Boris Johnson.

There he is sitting, Humpty Dumpty like, on his Brexit wall. All his sycophantic Cabinet Ministers and media pals trying to create a soft landing for him when he falls, as he will. The winds of dissent are building in England, his attempt at a Hancockup's half hour answering ordinary folk's on-line questions such as, "When are you going to do the decent things and resign?" or, "What is so successful in allowing 60,000 UK citizen's to die when you and your pals have been lining their own pockets with PPE scams and Covid tracing apps that were never going to work?" are now unlikely to see the light of day in Boris' question answering segway on social media, ever. The "Inews" reported that Downing Street (aka Dominic Cummings) saw the sort of questions arriving for Bawjaws and shut down the feed after just an hour.

In Grand Old Duke terms Bawjaws is at the point,"When he was only half way up, he was neither up nor down" which is not a good look on a leader at anytime. Bawjaws'' only plan is to bullshit and dither or as someone beautifully put it, "The Mac-Shrodinger's Border Conundrum" or "When does a border not exist? When the Tories say a border does not exist". Two clear examples "Mac-Shrodinger's Border Conumdrum" are seen to apply at the legislative and constitutional border between Scotland and England and Mr Johnson's non-existent EU border coming to an Irish Sea near you.

At every turn Mr Johnson has told us Scots we are wrong and should follow the "UK" lead (aka Bawjaws Botchers) on Covid only to rapidly change their minds and agree with Scotland's Covid approach by saying things like; Bawjaws has now had this great wheeze and jape, "tempus fugit" and all that, so let's all wear masks on the tube and on buses, good chaps and chapesses.

There is more dithering over defence of this "UK" nation as Dominic Cummings is looking for lots of tasty military computer apps to give his pals more millions pounds to develop or probably not as demonstrated by the "UK Covid App". To afford this Mr Cummings wants to cut the Grand Old Duke of York's putative 10,000 men from the military. The problem is from where; as due to dithering in Downing Street we have fleet carriers with no planes, a surface fleet reliant on re-fitting 30 year old frigates, an air force with inadequate numbers of fighter squadrons and having to re-purpose the Typhoon's they have as a fighter bomber, as there is no Tornado replacement. Meanwhile the Army are on the hind teat and are being asked to do too much with insufficient manpower, are seriously overstretched and increasingly reliant on the TA to meet its basic NATO commitments.

Then there is Dalek Sunak, "Exterminate, exterminate - all the poor, old and sick" the here today and gone tomorrow, UK chancellor, selling us fiscal snake oil as the cure to all the UK economy's ills with money they have already spent.

Yet Humpty-Dumpty sits there still, all reasonable folk wonder why he has not yet fallen and after Mark Francois comments to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Bawjaws can forget "All the Queen's horses and all the Queen's men" being in any rush to put Boris together again.

Bawjaws is less of a Churchill with 60,000 plus Covid deaths and million odd cases on his bill, more of a Haig, who put aside the first day casualties on the Somme (38,230 casualties and 19,240 dead) with the comment, "This level of casualties is acceptable given the length of front we are attacking."

Sounds much the same as Bawjaws Johnson's claims for "herd immunity".

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Why? What? How?

As a newly qualified medic, in what is now the historical past, I asked my mentor, Professor McClellan, what advice he would give a young surgeon just starting on his career. The Prof was famed for his pithy and occasionally abrupt responses, especially to anything he considered a "stupid" question. He was asked to give us our valedictory lecture on, "The use of visual perception in diagnosis" after telling us what a load of management speech gobble-de-gook it was, his opening slide came up with the statement "Use your fucking eyes" and he proceeded for an hour to hold our attention showing why. All he said, in answer to me, was when training and working with McIndoe during the Second World War, McIndoe gave him this advice,  "Always before you implement any treatment plan ask yourself three questions:
  1. Why are you going to operate in this way?
  2. What is the objective evidence it is the best way?
  3. How could you do it better?"
This was a methodology that did me well in my professional career both inside and outside of the medical world. I was always looking for conferences and meetings, in my field of expertise, I could attend; well before CPD was a requirement for continuing registration.

From the comfort of retirement I still follow the activities of the healthcare world, for example, wondering at the amazing epidemiological contortions of the anti-vaxxer brigade as they seek to prove that herd immunity does not work and vaccination is in fact very dangerous. They ignore the realities of the mass chicken pox or measles epidemics which up to the mid 50's when vaccination programs got going, killed both adults and children and left many others with long term damage to their lungs and internal organs. The point here is there have always been adverse reactions to vaccinations in a small number of people but the unfortunate damage to a few has long been thought worth the benefit to the many.

So to our current epidemic, Corona Virus or Covid-19.

We are seeing the usual cadre of Scotch Unionists lining up, with the support of the BBC and other media, to find "SNP baaaad" stories in an attempt to seek some sort of political leverage to obfuscate from their main parties' abject failures in England over the handling of the Covid 19 pandemic. It was a pleasure to see the Tory's Carcrash Carlaw at last being handed his arse on a plate by the First Minister during FMQs last week. Sadly the political finger pointing by the Unionists will continue, a finger pointing that will ignore what actually is, so they can create a mythical bubble of what they would have done.

From my angle as a medical professional there are a number of "Why are / were you operating in this way?" in this way which need thinking about.

Take, what I will call, the "Nike Incident".

Evidence has now come to light, when concerns arose that there was a possibility of a Covid transmission risk at the meeting in February, test and trace was effectively applied to all attendees still in Scotland with great success. The test and trace was carried out in line with the, then, WHO best practice advice for Covid 19 control.

So why, when it was clear Scotland was already seeing an increasing number of Covid cases in early March, was the "test and trace" system not developed further?

Given how well the outbreak in Scotland was otherwise handled between NHS Scotland and The SNP Government, this jars. I have tried to think about it and my only answer is; the decision not to seek to contain by "test and trace" was due to UK funding problems, the need to stick to COBRA agreed protocols or lack resource availability because of the need to focus healthcare staff in hospitals.

We now know the "Imperial College" model being used by the UK Government to inform COBRA outcomes in February and March was way off the mark estimating the "doubling rate" of Covid 19 spread at seven days rather than the WHO indicator of three days, WHO advice being based on the objective evidence of the spread in Wuhan, Spain and Italy. I would suggest, rather than this being another Tory calumny, it is more likely a UK Government preferring to hear the view which politically suited it, a situation that many who have dealings with the UK Government can attest to. Simply think Blair and Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

The problem for a SNP Government looking at differing advice which points down a different pathway is they were stuck in an agreement which said the devolved governments would take the lead from COBRA meetings (aka the UK Government line). To go against this line would have potentially serious impacts on "Barnet consequentials". Taking a different line would mean loss of balancing income from the spend in England on Covid activities. It was only when the furlough program was rolled out for England that the SNP started to diverge from the "UK" Covid script and develop their own lock down program for Scotland and utilise business funding support, via "Barnet consequentials", in a different way.

The positive impact on Covid disease control, in Scotland, since this move away from UK to Scotland specific Covid measures has been clearly evidenced, even to the point Scotland now has a test and trace organisation set up using local Health board's staff along with designated Covid focused GP practices all of which follows WHO advice on best practice and has been applauded by a WHO rapporteur in its application.

How could it have been done better?

The jury is out until all the medical evidence is available yet is clear that being tied to UK leadership via Cobra and reliant on UK funding has had a direct impact on Scotland's ability to deal with the epidemic in a Scotland friendly manner. Once freed of "UK" constraints the ability to change tack when the evidence indicated a need to is self apparent. There has to be a long hard look at what went on in Scotland's care homes but the scathing judgement by the Sheriff on the owners and operators of the Skye Care home is indicative of where the problem lies. It is not with NHS Scotland or the SNP Government but the corporates who own and run many of these facilities for the benefit of their tax dodging backers in the British Virgin or Cayman Islands rather than those in their care. All the squealing trying to persuade us otherwise by Carlaw and Murray (both funded by Care Home Corporates) should fall on deaf ears.

Scotland has survived better, with better outcomes for Covid suffers and fewer deaths per million of population in spite of a UK Government which has blundered, failed and lied to the people of England at every turn, basing its Covid policy on what is best for the Tory Party and its Brexit fantasy, rather than what is best for the citizens of England.

Being independent would have been a good start to dealing with the epidemic better.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Spaghetti Numbers

Having read and heard all sorts of bullshit being spouted based on Covid statistics, especially by Bawjaws and his merry band of cheils thit windnae ding I thought I would attempt a information piece on how to look at the medical statistics being spewed from your TV, radio and other media and how they are manipulated to try and make the Westminster Government, especially, look good.

Here goes; we all have or have had teeth.

So at 16 years of age the average adolescent will have around 28 of said teeth in their mouth (note the statistical term "average" this means potentially some could have more and some less)

A study which compared the number of decayed, missing or filled teeth (DMFT) in England and Wales showed that between 1975 and 1985 the average DMFT had gone from 7.8 to 3.1 among 16 year olds.

You would think this massive improvement in dental health in your average 16 year old would cause Government to say "Well done NHS dentists, keep up the good work." but we are talking about a Thatcher Government here.

What the study also indicated was dental decay in under 16's was concentrated more in social groups 4 & 5, in other words increasingly a disease of those at the bottom of the pile (non Tory voters) where accessibility to care was hampered by few dental practices being willing to set up in the estates or inner cities where these folk were.

The preventive approach would be to encourage more dentists to set up practice in these "decay black spot' areas by incentivising inner city dental practices, just as the NHS in England had for GP practices, and shifting funding to a more preventive and health educational approach.

The Tories decided what was actually needed was fewer dentists in the UK, since decay rates were clearly dropping, therefore they would be shutting five dental training hospitals across the UK. This at a time when the UK already had the highest average (that word again) dentist to patient ratio in Europe at 1 dentist to 2800 patients compared to 1 to 1200 in Germany and 1 to 800 in Denmark. On top of this NHS England Dentistry was already heavily reliant on dentists from the EU and Commonwealth filling practice vacancies.

What this was really about was obvious, it was a move to force dentists out of the NHS in England in the same way the Opticians had been driven out, earlier in the 80's, and into the hands of big corporate ownership. To add injury to insult the Tories used this reduced decay "evidence" to cut funding for the very area which had delivered this improvement, children's dentistry, and doing exactly the opposite of what was required on preventive health grounds for those most at risk.

The Tories and their media pals played the "greedy dentists card" and by and large the real impact was never understood by the English public until too late, when dentists took the hint, left the NHS in large numbers and MPs suddenly received lots of angry letters from constituents because they could no longer access NHS Dentistry, meanwhile the DMFT for 16 year olds started climbing back up and is now 4.5.

If you are still with me then let's look at the ramifications of what the "R" number actually means rather than the back to work spin the Tories are running with.

The "R" number for untrammeled Covid 19 remains at 3 (one person with Covid 19 will infect 3 others) while the "R" number for Covid 19 during "lockdown" is running at just under 1 in Scotland.

All this tells us is "lockdown" has given a degree of control in reducing the spread of the virus, it does not say the virus, itself, is any less infectious than it was in Wuhan or Italy or Spain. The evidence from Germany and Spain where "lockdown" restrictions were lifted is, the virus remains a nasty wee bastard and cases of Covid 19 are back on the rise in those two countries.

Currently we are reliant on Covid 19 mutating to a less infectious variant which has an "R" of less than 1 or an effective vaccine which, in effect, does the same thing, to enable any return to normality ("norm" is just another way to say "average" in statistics).

If you look at the recent BBC Scotland Disclosure's claims about "SNP Baaaad" you do not need to have done a medical statistics course to see the improbability (another statistics word) of the claims of 2,000 lives that could have been saved given the number of actual Covid 19 deaths which have occurred, to date, in Scotland.

I could spin this BBC hype as; the Scottish Government should have been able to resurrect at least 20 folk who did not die from Covid 19, allowing for standard error in "Statistical what iffery" of 10%, resurrection is just as probable based on the evidence of the BBC claim.

In the hands of Westminster politicians there clearly are "statistics, statistics and damned lies" which, sadly, deflects from the important indicators and scope for guidance medical statistics can give us, in these troubled times.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Bawjaws Returns - Lawdy! Lawdy!

According to Bawjaws Johnson "Phwah, jings, Oh Vicar! is that the time!" speech this morning before he slimed into 10 Downing Street everything in the UK is "rosy, simply spiffy, totally under control, a massive success." I mean "Haven't my chaps done a great job while I was: ill / pretending I was ill / shit scared to face the UK citizens" (delete as required)

He does know the economy he had already sent on a ever more rapid downward spiral with Brexit is now spinning like a demented top or worse than his Downing Street's press briefers?

Under control?

We do not yet scientifically understand whether or not this virus can be controlled by "normal means" or even if a vaccine can be used and if used whether it will be efficacious. His 'merican bestie "Don-don" thinks drinking bleach or injecting dettol into your veins will do the trick ... or stick a UV light up your butt. Why not go the whole hog Don-don and zap your whole body with Gamma rays, that will certainly kill the virus; even if it leaves you just a bit crispy around the edges.

So, no Bawjaws, this Covid virus is not under control, it is just the isolation and self quarantine measures your pal Cummings did not want ( as it would plunge the UK Economy, as noted above, ever further down the Brexit economic death spiral) have happened because most normal people, eventually, decided it was a good idea not to spread the virus around and if they did not have it, Covid was not high on their list of a "virus as a life choice". The fact lots of people are dead tended to colour their view on "Taking one for the team!" as you once averred.

Under control means it is safe to go back to doing normal things with out wearing face masks, protective goggles and an ex-military Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Defence suit to go to the Co-op.

Under control would mean instead of shouting across the street to my friends, to ensure at least 2 meter separation we would be at the bar of the pub having a pint.

All that has actually happened is the number of people who are dying, according to Mr Hancockups rigged figures for NHS England (aka UK), on a daily basis from the effects of Covid appears to be going down from its admitted peak of well over a thousand a day to a more reasonable, in Tory speak, 800 a day.

Then there is the problem with what is real in terms of total deaths and what your nice Mr Hancockup would like the people of England to believe are the total number of deaths. Yet even 20,000 deaths in England admitted by Mr Hancockup could hardly be counted as a "success" given that number is equivalent to 10% of Covid deaths so far reported worldwide and by far and away the worst death rate in Europe. How much of a success does it look to you, Bawjaws, when the actual numbers of deaths related to Covid in England is nearer the 50,000 mark, to date?

Of course the BBC and London media will never raise this with you because, if they did, your pal Mr Cummings would have a hissy fit and ban them from your press briefings for not slavishly following his Goebellesque line.

So Bawjaws this Covid epidemic has not been a great success and has shown up just what a state a 70% privatised NHS England is in. Mr Hancockup managed to get a couple of pallets of PPE from Turkey by "Fat Bertie" via his wholly owned "NHS England supply company" while the publicly run NHS Scotland has brought in four Jumbo air cargo loads of PPE.

Your government ordered ventilators from Dyson, who makes hoovers, which will never be delivered and were the wrong sort anyway.

The UK military brought in to try and save the logistics day for Mr Hancockup have stated clearly the NHS supply chain in England is not fit for purpose, has no cohesion and is poorly organised.

Deloitte, the accountants, attempt to run the Covid testing service has been an absolute disaster and an example of why you do not use non healthcare people to run a health care project, yet Mr Hancock is about to sell another £9.2 billion of NHS England contracts to private healthcare providers.

Meanwhile Rees-Mogg's alter ego at the Telegraph, Charles Moore, is claiming more privatisation is the answer to NHS England's current failings, failings which are precisely down to the piecemeal way NHS England is run for private companies' benefit and not patients.

A massive success would be to see your arse slung out of 10 Downing Street, Bawjaws, anything else remains a disaster.

Monday, 30 March 2020

The Last King of Scotland

Last King of Scotland
Scotch Office

Dear Mr Jack,

I have a problem and it is this: you and your party have lied so continuously over most things to do with Scotland, Brexit and Covid-19 that I have difficulty in believing you have actually got the virus.

You have already established, in your short tenure, a bit of a record as the last Tory King of Scotland for being "careful with the truth" (aka lying) and avoiding difficult questions with answers which sound as if manufactured by a random sentence generator. Thus a sudden dose of Covid-19 comes in handy as a good reason to avoid answering key questions such as;

"Why is NHS Scotland under an SNP Government performing better in this pandemic than the, sliced and diced for Tory supporters and some MPs fiscal benefit, NHS in England?"

Last time I checked the NHS England figures for death were running at 57 in every 1000 confirmed cases. This figure is nearly double the WHO median for deaths per 1000 (34). In Scotland the current figures are well below the WHO median.

A quick look at the rise in cases per day sees England still on an exponential curve upwards where as the Scottish figures for new cases show a far flatter curve. I am not complacent, unlike the eedjit in Number 10, Bawjaws Johnson, as far as Scotland is concerned but the medical professional side sees a significant difference in the current figures for death and rate of increase in new cases between a mainly public health service in Scotland and the sliced and diced, privatised, health market economy that is NHS in England.

Your pals in the BBC are trying to pretend that Covid is a big problem across the UK while failing to demonstrate the outbreak, rises in cases and deaths is mainly an England only phenomenon. They do this by ensuring anyone they ask in Scotland gets short shrift or has sudden technical difficulties. A technical difficulty somehow arose just before Scotland's chief medical officer started to explain about the 50 diagnostic centres NHS Scotland were opening that day specifically to handle and triage actual or suspected Covid cases. Co-incidence?

Here's the other problem. Micheal Gove announced that PPE equipment had been sent to every GP and DGP practice in England. My many friends and colleagues in England have told me there is no sign of all this PPE equipment Gove had claimed had been sent out. Maybe between dry coughs you could ask Mr Gove where the hell it went?

Then there are the lies told by Bawjaws and Hanncock about ventilators, their procurement and the EU. First the main manufacturer of ventilators in the UK was not asked to ramp up manufacture, a supply company with 2000 in stock was ignored yet Mr Dyson has been invited to make 10,000 machines which will have to pass stringent testing by the UK Medical Agency before they can go anywhere near a patient.

I am sure Mr Dyson's large contributions to the Tory Party had no impact on the decision but it reeks of the Brexit Ferry disaster in asking a company with no experience of the manufacture of ventilators, to create what are intricate pieces of medical kit which are far more critical, in operation, than ferries.

All the objective evidence available is pointing to one thing, this Tory Government has made a serious pandemic much worse than it should have been. The announcement, today, that 20,000 deaths across the UK would be a 'good' result says much about the Tory Party, you represent in Scotland, callous and arrogant approach.

I am not alone in thinking the £5.8 million cost of sending a Bawjaws "we are all in this together" cop out letter to UK taxpayers would have been better spent on commissioning ventilators from the UK company which has the UK Medical Agency certified procedures to produce them.

If you actually have the virus, good luck and I hope the lack of ventilators due to UK Government incompetence, if you get the pneumonic stage of the virus, does not kill you. Then again, you and Bawjaws have probably bought your own.

"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure" Mark Twain.