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Better Together

NoAs 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!!!

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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. 

Ronald Reagan

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.

Bill Clinton

 

3. HMSS ALEX SALMOND

Details are a bit vague ….. But don’t you worry ….. He has a plan !!!

Alex Salmond

 

 Heee Haw, Heee Haw, Heee Hawlways says that !!!!! 

How petty?

If this story is true then it’s a sad day for anyone with any national pride – and I’m not just talking about Scotland!

A firefighter is claiming that Grampian Fire & Rescue Service (GFRS) chiefs have removed the Saltire from the front grille of two new appliances after just 2 complaints (one internal and the other from a member of the public) which branded the use of the national flag as “offensive”.   It is understood the complaints centred around the Saltire’s link to the SNP and fears the flag could be viewed as a sign of support for Scottish independence, but Grampian Fire and Rescue said the move was simply to bring the two appliances into line with the rest of the fleet.

The new engines, which cost just over £200,000 each, were given the Saltire logo in advance of Scotland’s eight fire brigades being merged into one unitary authority next spring and when they were unveiled in August, Grampian’s fleet manager Raymond Cheyne said: “The badging for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is needed because of the new single Scottish service coming into being next April.  We wanted to celebrate the new Scottish Service coming into place so chose to use the Saltire. We’ve used high-visibility striping to make it part of the functional design of the appliance.”   However, when contacted by the press over the removal of the Saltires, Mr Cheyne stated: “I don’t want to comment.”

And there was me thinking that the Saltire is the national flag for ALL Scots and as such should not cause offence to anyone living in Scotland.  And, surely 2 complaints are not a reflection of true public opinion – that can hardly be called “public outrage”!   What is the world coming to?

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!

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!

The Trams Fiasco

After working in Edinburgh for several years, I don’t now have the need to go there very regularly.  On Friday night, however, I was meeting a friend for dinner and once again I was shocked at the devastation that has been caused by the ongoing saga of the Edinburgh Trams!

A potted history for those not in the know:

In 2007 when the SNP government took over from Labour/LibDems, there were a few outstanding matters which demanded attention.   One in particular was the demand from the Unionist parties for a tram system in Edinburgh.  Or perhaps that should read a tram rail because the proposal was for one tram line only serving a very small part of Edinburgh.  The vote regarding the Edinburgh trams was outdone by the Unionists and at that point John Swinney said the (SNP) Scottish government would give £550million to the project and not a penny more.

Having originally been scheduled to be up and running by February 2011 the projected completion date is now sometime in 2014.  The whole project has been a disaster for Edinburgh.  The streets are still in “dug up” progress and have been for several years.  Edinburgh looks like a war zone and it’s such a shame because it was once a very attractive city. 

For the record, most people are against the trams because the capital city had a bus service which surpassed any other city and did not deserve to be usurped by a tram system which would not provide a service to 90% of the Edinburgh population.

If the trams are ever up and running, it is proposed that the service will operate every 10 minutes with a journey time claimed of “approximately 20 minutes from Haymarket to the Airport”, with service from 06:00 to midnight Monday to Saturday (07:00 start on Sunday).

Currently the Airlink bus services the Princes St to Airport route.  Departures are every 10 minutes between 7am and 12:40 am.  A 24 hr service operates, departing at 15 and 30 minute intervals before and after this main period respectively.   Journey times are 30 minutes from Waverley railway station (about 10 minutes East of Haymarket) to the Airport.

Bearing in mind the aforementioned figure of £550million, it begs the question – who did the original cost/benefit analysis?

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