Category Archives: Politics
As both sides of the political debate continue to argue the pros and cons of an independent Scotland, the following words, written by a gentleman by the name of James Craig, couldn’t have put it more succinctly in favour of the No Campaign, helping those undecided voters to reach an informed decision on the 18th September. He says:-
“You currently jointly own a flat with your friend. You’re a bit fed up of him being stingy with the heating and the interior décor isn’t quite to your tastes. He can be annoying sometimes but overall, you pay your fair share and actually have a pretty good deal (because he pays for Sky Sports). You’ve had the ability to redecorate your bedroom for quite a while and your pal is also happy for you to repaint the living room in the future. Oh, and you’ve lived there for about 400 years.
Someone offers you the opportunity to purchase your own property to allow you full control of the interior design. They insist that you make your decision right now as there won’t be another opportunity to do so again. You must base your decision on the following info:
• You’re not sure what this house looks like (nor does the vendor), but a rough description has been given. It may or may not have windows and access to and from the property is uncertain.
• You’ve no idea how much the house costs, but you are told that regardless it is almost certainly a good investment.
• The housing market crashed a while back and the outlook remains uncertain and increasingly volatile.
• You’ve no idea what your mortgage terms are going to be or if you can afford even the smallest monthly payments, because you are already trillions of pounds in debt. You are assured that this is a minor detail because you can screw your pal over and transfer all of the debt to him if needs be.
• There is a rumour that the house has got a pot of money buried in the back garden. You aren’t sure how much is there, but a few people are absolutely certain that regardless of how much the house costs there will be enough there to pay the mortgage with.
• In buying this house, you’ll lose your Costco card that you share with your current flat mate. You’ve been assured that it will be easy to get one for yourself even though Costco is over-subscribed and with stringent entry conditions that you’re not sure you meet.
• You are repeatedly reminded that your Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather once fended off a burglar from his house with a stick when he lived in Bannockburn and that this is a good reason to buy your own house. The house you are being offered currently has a burglar alarm but this must be uninstalled when you move in even though it is in high crime-rate area.
Finally, your 16-year-old cousin that you’re a bit wary of has been allowed to have a say in your decision.
Would you go ahead and move out of your flat?”
Pretty persuasive argument don’t you think?
Right now I’m staying put and just hoping for a clear majority to save the Union so that we can all just get back to normal and carry on ….. fingers crossed!!!
Every picture tells a story …
3 Naval Ships – love this, particularly given the location of my job for the past 6 months!:
1. USS RONALD REAGAN
Seeing it next to the Arizona Memorial really puts it into perspective… ENORMOUS!…
When the Bridge pipes ‘Man the Rail’ there is a lot of rail to man on this monster: shoulder to shoulder, around 4.5 acres. Her displacement is about 100,000 tons with full complement.
2. USS BILL CLINTON
The USS William Jefferson Clinton (CVS1) set sail today from its home port of Vancouver, BC
The ship is the first of its kind in the Navy and is a standing legacy to President Bill Clinton ‘for his foresight in military budget cuts’ and his conduct while holding the office of President.
3. HMSS ALEX SALMOND
Details are a bit vague ….. But don’t you worry ….. He has a plan !!!
Heee Haw, Heee Haw, Heee Hawlways says that !!!!!
The world goes mad … again!
I haven’t posted on here for a while but this story has made my blood boil!
A UK Independence Party councillor has today blamed recent storms and floods on the Government’s decision to legalise gay marriage.
David Silvester, who defected from the Tories last year in protest at David Cameron’s support for same-sex unions, claimed he had warned the Prime Minister that the legislation would result in ‘disasters’.
The Henley-on-Thames town councillor, 73, said the country had been ‘beset by storms’ since the passage of the new law on gay marriage because Mr Cameron had acted ‘arrogantly against the Gospel’.
So we’ve not had floods before this then? I can’t believe anyone actually votes for these imbeciles.
I just love the response from Richard Lane, spokesman for the gay rights charity Stonewall. He is reported to have responded to this absolute tosh by saying: ‘Its hardly surprising that we’ve seen unusual weather patterns in Britain, considering the enormous amount of hot air being produced by some UKIP members’.
What drivel will come next? Presumably tomorrow’s story will be that he also blames gay marriage for the lightning strike that has damaged a thumb of Rio de Janeiro’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue since Brazil also legalised same sex marriage in 2013. So much for progress.
My heartfelt thanks this morning go to ITV who decided not to cover “The Funeral” but instead to continue with their normal scheduling, largely ignoring the event.
Daybreak, Lorraine and This Morning all featured interviews with commentators and friends of the former Prime Minster, and cut away to the scene at St Paul’s Cathedral every now and again. However, from 9.30 to 10.30 ITV was broadcasting The Jeremy Kyle Show, a controversial talkshow dedicated to sordid, embarrassing family dramas.
As the BBC showed David Dimbleby interviewing Conservative grandees and political veterans, and Sky News showed scenes from inside the cathedral, ITV broadcast a shouting match between two girls and a man who was trying to deny that he was their father.
And while grandees filed into St Paul’s and Lady Thatcher’s coffin was driven to the cathedral, a young woman told the studio audience that she was trying to work out who her real father was.
Then at 10.30 This Morning was hosted as usual by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby – neither known for their political acumen but with a nod to the main event they were both dressed demurely in black. As the coffin was taken into the cathedral, This Morning ran a feature on dangerous criminals – apparently ignoring the start of the funeral. They also interviewed the victim of an arson attack in a Leicester gay bar from October 2011 and then Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans joined Schofield and Willoughby on the show, discussing his own career. The pair also interviewed a writer who said that seeing his wife give birth gave him post-traumatic stress order, and interrogated him on his love life
However, the BBC and Sky News each set aside hours of programming dedicated to the service so there was plenty of opportunity for those who did want to watch and I personally think it is a little unfair for people to criticise ITV for giving people a choice to not watch if they didn’t want to.
So this morning it has been confirmed that Brussels will definitely refuse to let Scotland automatically join the European Union if voters back Alex Salmond’s plans for independence. Officials at the European Commission have revealed Scotland’s EU membership will ‘cease to apply’ if it is no longer part of the UK and the Spanish government has made clear it would ‘veto’ any attempt by Scotland to join since this would likely bolster calls for Catalonian independence.
Since the acceptance of any new member must be unanimous, this is a major blow [and embarrassment] for Mr Salmond, who has publicly claimed that Scotland would automatically continue to be in the Euro bloc.
Surely the last nail in this particular political coffin?
Four more years
So the mud-slinging is over for now, in the US at least, with President Barack Obama winning a second term, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney by gaining more than the 270 votes needed to win.
In general that means that Europe will be waking up this morning with a general sigh of relief. Opinion polls have always shown President Obama to be more popular than Governor Romney – but for most governments continuity in Washington is better than a changing of the guard. The US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, as well as the President himself, has been closely involved in discussions on the eurozone. Added to that, the EU is so embroiled in its internal debates on the eurozone crisis that it doesn’t want any external distractions. The EU has also been working closely with the Obama administration on a variety of foreign policy issues – Iran in particular. Even if some of the key personnel change in a second Obama term, the President’s victory means there will be no dramatic change of course for us to deal with.
But what about the loser? What ought to pain Republicans most about Obama’s victory is that 2012 was entirely winnable for them. In European elections over the past few years, voters have thrown out leaders who were in charge during the worst of the financial crisis, whether those leaders deserved the blame or not. That Mitt Romney lost nonetheless is in part a tribute to his own weaknesses as a candidate. The Obama campaign put Romney on the defensive early about his work at Bain Capital, and left him there. The Republican nominee made any number of horrendous gaffes and never found a way to talk about himself or his agenda in a way that middle class voters could relate to.
But even a clumsy candidate might have beaten Obama if he’d played his cards right. Romney is not a right-wing extremist. To win the nomination, though, he had to pretend to be one, recasting himself as “severely conservative” and eschewing the reasonableness that made him a successful, moderate governor of the country’s most liberal state. He had to pass muster with his party’s right-wing base on taxes, immigration, climate change, abortion, and gay rights. Many of his statements on these issues were patently insincere. His pandering to the base made it possible for the Obama campaign to portray him as a right-wing radical from the start of the campaign. According to exit poll results, Romney won men as expected, but lost among women by 11 points—too large a gender gap to be overcome.
So we have President Barack Obama for another 4 years, saying “I have never been more hopeful”.
But perhaps Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times sums it up best: “If we’re lucky, we will find that we elected a different Obama from the one who won four years ago – not just a grayer Obama but a wiser one too.”
Eligibility to vote
They really haven’t thought this whole referendum thing through!
Mr Salmond and his cronies in the SNP continue to tell us that Independence is what the people of Scotland want. But let’s have a look at the population and who actually are “the people of Scotland”.
When the referendum is held in the autumn of 2014, only residents of Scotland will be eligible to vote. As a result, almost 400,000 living north of the border but born in other parts of the UK will get to take part, while 800,000 Scots living in England, Northern Ireland and Wales will not. Given that Scotland has a population of just five million, 800,000 is a huge number.
In protest at being disenfranchised, James Wallace, a 23-year-old Dumfries native turned London resident, has launched a petition demanding that expat Scots in other parts of the UK be allowed to participate in the referendum. Scots ministers say this simply would not be practical. And, indeed, it’s difficult to imagine how an electoral register of everyone who considered themselves a Scot might be drawn up. Who, after all, is Scottish? Those born in Scotland? People with Scottish ancestry? Anyone who is partial to Haggis and the Proclaimers?
For James Mitchell, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, residency is the only logical definition of Scottishness in terms of political representation. If you want a say over Scotland’s constitutional status he believes you should move back there. “It would be absurd to allow anyone who claimed to be Scottish a vote,” Mitchell says.
So Mr Salmond, after reducing the voting age to 16, perhaps you should now try winning the hearts and minds of those of us who live in Scotland but come from different parts of the UK and are eligible to vote if you are to stand any chance of realising your dream – you’re not achieving this at the moment sunshine!
A week is a long time in politics
I’d put money on the fact that Alex Salmond is squirming today after another horrendous week in his dream for Scottish Independence – and since it’s only Thursday I’m sure he’s got time to drop a few more clangers!
It started with the resignation of two of his backbenchers over the NATO u-turn announced last Friday and then came the “little” matter of not seeking legal advice on whether an independent Scotland would automatically become a member of the European Union.
Highland MSPs Jean Urquhart and John Finnie stood down in protest at the decision to end the SNP’s long-standing opposition to NATO.
Former police officer Finnie, who joined the SNP as a 16-year-old, insisted: “I can’t continue to belong to a party that quite rightly doesn’t wish to hold nuclear weapons on its soil but wants to join a first-strike nuclear alliance. Although I envisage I’ll continue to share common ground with the SNP on many issues, I can’t in good conscience continue to take the party whip.”
Urquhart, who has been a supporter of independence for 25 years, said: “Nuclear disarmament and removing Trident from Scotland’s waters is a red line issue for me. I couldn’t remain committed to a party that has committed itself to retaining membership of NATO.”
This all seemed bad enough but to then find out that the SNP Government didn’t feel it necessary to obtain legal advice over such an important matter as to whether a separate Scotland could join the European Union was laughable to say the least!
The First Minister then decided it was ok to miss a House of Lords committee inquiry yesterday into the economic consequences of Scotland breaking away from the UK. The meeting in Edinburgh City Chambers was the first time a Lords committee has sat outside Westminster and was attended by a host of Scot politicians, including ex-Chancellor Alistair Darling and all opposition leaders. Mr Salmond blanked the session to attend the book launch of a local businessman’s biography at the Britannia Spice restaurant in Leith.
And today Salmond left it to Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to admit that it was “unfortunate” that the SNP had given a wrong impression over whether they had taken legal advice on an independent Scotland’s place in Europe. Reiterating her leader’s stance that they had never confirmed whether or not they did have legal advice because they were not allowed to do so under the ministerial code, she conceded the impression had been created that ministers had already taken legal advice on the matter.
Perhaps to emphasise the fact that politics is a very smelly business, it is perhaps no coincidence that both the First and Deputy First Ministers have the names of fishes in Salmon(d) and Sturgeon ….. I rest my case!
The beginning of the end?
So the deed has been done and David Cameron has signed the independence vote deal, known as the “Edinburgh Agreement”. But while all the polls say that by two to one, Scots do not believe the country would be more economically successful on its own, making a ‘no’ vote all but certain in the autumn of 2014, I can’t help but worry that common sense will fly out of the window come 2014.
The Nationalists will jump on the bandwagon of the significance of the date – 2014 marks the 700th anniversary of The Battle of Bannockburn (the first Scottish War of Independence when Scotland scored a decisive victory over Edward and the English), and there is also the fact that the Commonwealth Games are being held in Glasgow just before the crucial vote.
Alex Salmond has got his own way on 2 counts – the date of the referendum (Cameron had wanted it to take place next year) and also on allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote. David Cameron did however win on one key point. Voters will be asked a single question – whether they want in or out of the United Kingdom – despite Mr Salmond’s desire for a second option of increased powers for Holyrood, “devo-max”.
I find it hard to believe that any right-minded individual could believe that Scotland would be better off as an independent nation. The economic figures speak for themselves but the SNP also seem to have failed to understand one other crucial matter. Mr Salmond claims an independent Scotland could simply remain in the EU and keep Sterling. Constitutional experts and the Westminster government say, however, that Scotland would have to reapply to the EU for membership and commit – like all new EU members – to joining the ill-fated euro. A recipe for disaster? I think so!
As an English person who has been living in Scotland for the past 16 years, I truly believe that most voters are too sensible to vote Yes, especially in these disastrous economic times – it would not be Scotland the Brave, but Scotland the Foolhardy! If the disaster that is Scottish Independence does happen – I’ll be on the first flight out of here!