Saturday, 11 August 2012

Service Disruption (Again!)

Due to some ongoing domestics, I'll have some difficulty in updating the blog for a while, possibly a few weeks.

I can't access the blog from work, so until I get some things sorted, I'll basically be able to do bugger all.

So apologies for the absence, but there's plenty else out there to keep you amused.

(erm, don't add any comments since I won't be able to read them!)

Monday, 6 August 2012

What is the point in the Referendum?

I shoved a small comment on another blog the other night, and it got me thinking a bit. So might as well rattle up a quick article.

We have a Referendum in 2014 (just in case you have been locked in a cave for the past year or so). Scotland's voters have a chance to decide on their future. And about bloody time as well, if only to get the damn thing out of the way.

In the Blue Corner - the undisputed political champion, Alex Salmond.

In the Red Corner - the political equivalent of the Keystone Kops.

Looks like a straightforward contest.......

Tale of the tape (or whatever the hell they call it):

Currency (erm Sterling, controlled by the Bank of England)
Defence (in NATO, out of NATO, in NATO, out of NATO shake it all about)
Independent State in Europe (erm doing what unelected eurocrats tell us)
No Nukes on Scottish soil (after about 20 years)
100% renewables (100% bullshit more like)
Open Government (see renewables above)
Superhealthy Scots (ditto)
No more PFI (ours is soooo much better)

Status Quo (top band, leave them out of this)
Currency (erm Sterling, controlled by the Bank of England - more like uncontrolled)
Defence (2 aircraft carriers, fuck all aircraft)
Independent of Europe (erm, *sniff* smell shite)
Nukes on Scottish soil (if one explodes it might count as gentrification)
100% renewables (erm, you know the answer)
Open Government (erm, as above)
Supereducated kids (minimum Grade A******** guaranteed, just don't ask them 1 + 1)
No more PFI (we've called it something else)

All feeble attempts at humour I agree (only got 3 hours sleep last night), but at present, the choices aren't overly great.

Take your pick........

Friday, 3 August 2012

Petty Nationalism

Just read a post on another blog, where the person (NOT the blog author I must add) slagged off a Scottish Olympian (scolympian?) by calling the individual an "out and out unionist".

Personally, I'm sick to the back teeth of such comments. Joan McAlpine has been the most high profile nationalist (I don't class her as a politician, sorry) that has used the "anti-Scottish" phrase or one similar to it.

If you look at history, there are a number of occasions when such an approach has been used. The old "if you are not with us, you are against us". In a few cases, extremism has taken over. Unlikely in Scotland, but then it was considered unlikely in other locations as well.

Nationalists - and unionists - do not have the right to criticise what an individual's political leanings are. There are a few exceptions - politicians (obviously), senior civil servants and others who should be politically neutral in their profession.

But athletes are the same as you and I. They have chosen a profession, and in cases such as Chris Hoy, have excelled in it. They have a lot of influence, and you could ask how many Scots have taken up cycling because of his success? The same with Andy Murray, another Scot classed by the cybernat brigade as a "unionist traitor" (I've seen that exact phrase used more than once).

I would have thought that given the start of the Referendum campaign, the more venomous nationalists would have wired their traps shut (or more appropriately nailed their fingers to the desk). But no, things have not settled down, and it could be argued that things are worse.

The SNP has practically no control over these armchair warriors. Let us hope that if Scotland does choose independence, these people are kept locked away somewhere, well away from any position of power or influence.

People should be celebrating the success of Scots in any field, be it sport, science or business. They should not be making cheap digs simply because they assume they are a unionist. It's patronising, insulting and frankly childish. No wonder some commentators think Scotland is "too wee and too stupid" to be independent. Not when they see the level of debate in some quarters.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

What is the Point of Democracy?

I'm referring to the Scottish Government's decision to overturn the decision by Dumfries & Galloway Council to refuse planning permission for the proposed windfarm at Wigtownshire.

The residents are against it, as are the council, saying it would adversely impact the area.

But oh no, nothing can stand between Salmond and his plan for 100% renewables.

The company, RES, said the windfarm would bring social and economic benefits to the community.

What benefits? Will energy prices suddenly plummet?

I live in sight of two huge windfarms - my electricity prices keep going up. Windfarms are subsidised and cannot provide the energy when it is truly needed. People are starting to get sick of bloody windfarms appearing on every hilltop.

The Scottish Government reporter overturned the decision of the Council, which was democratically elected by the "people of Scotland" - in this case Dumfries & Galloway. Apparently there are a number of "conditions" attached. Perhaps the turbines will be painted pink. They are a feeble attempt to make the Government look like they have paid close attention. No they bloody haven't. I'll bet the project was always going to get the green light, since anything else would upset Government policy on renewables.

What is the point in democracy when central governments continually override local councils? It happened with Trump, and it's happened here.

Had there been a Labour government in power, you can be damned sure that the nationalists would have been baying for blood.

There is a need for renewable energy sources, but we need ones that really do bring the costs down, without subsidies and stop blighting the landscape.

This Government also needs to start listening to the people who voted them in, something that is becoming rarer by the day.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Olympic Opening Ceremony

Ignoring the obscene cost of the whole Olympics, something better dealt with in another article, the opening ceremony was superb.

Three things stood out however:

The Olympic Cauldron was amazing and certainly unique. A masterful design.

The seven young athletes who lit the Cauldron. That was an incredible gesture and totally blew away all the tabloid media crap that has been circulating for weeks.

But nothing will beat the reception given to Muhammad Ali. A true sporting legend and the reaction to his presence was incredible.

The downside? David Bloody Beckham - Yes, I know he was instrumental in getting the Olympics to London, and he is - was - a superb footballer. But he is not an Olympic athlete. Chris Hoy, Kelly Holmes, Steve Redgrave etc are. They are more deserving of the attention, something they do not actively seek.

And please, please, please stop wheeling out Paul McCartney. Bit ironic having a musician with drugs convictions at an event where the athletes pledge not use them.......

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Private Lives

Given the excellent decision of the Scottish Government to allow gay marriage, it highlights the fact that provided someone does not break the law, rams their beliefs down our throats or causes problems for others, then their private life is no one elses business.

The religious bodies are condemning the decision, but no one is forcing them to conduct ceremonies against their religion in their places of worship. Any attempt to do so would certainly be wrong.

Your private life is yours. For many, what they do is a form of relaxation and enjoyment. I know people who play computer games who are well into their forties; train enthusiasts (they hate the word "spotter"), model makers, ramblers, people who prefer to read, those that frequent the pub, film fanatics. The list is endless. It is an escape from the daily grind and should be encouraged.

Returning to the subject of gay marriage. Can anyone really justify why it should not be allowed? Marriage is not necessarily a religious ceremony these days. There are those who consider it so and that is perfectly acceptable. What cannot be tolerated is outright condemnation from those religious leaders who on one hand are preaching tolerance yet on the other being completely intolerant.

Let us have a Scotland that is truly tolerant of others.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

What do the SNP really want?

I ask this question because I'm now totally confused as to precisely what the SNP propose for an independent Scotland.

In the beginning..... Scotland was to stand as an independent nation, with its own currency, economic policy, military and so on. Free of the shackles of Westminster and Europe and let the people decide. We'll all be superhuman, healthy, speak ten languages, win the World Cup (getting into the finals will suffice), be fantastically wealthy, zero emmissions (Holyrood excepted), enough wind turbines to levitate us nearer the equator (nae mair wellies, sorry Billy), be the centre of world policy, free of Tories, totally self-sufficient and with Alex Salmond elevated to Deity (look it up).

Complete bollocks (as Mr Anonymouse commentator says on a few blogs) but bloody good sales technique - if you like calling people at night saying "just doing a survey".

Now reality has hit the SNP with the subtlety of smashing ones thumb with a hammer, accompanied by the appropriate colourful language.

Judging by what the various disciples ministers have told us, this is what independence now means:

No nukes.....eventually
NATO the people party decide

Not telling (until the big man at the FOI makes us)

Erm, ask the Bank of England

Alex Salmond for European President but we'll ask the people of Scotland first

Referendum Questions
There will be one leading question....sorry two.... erm, three?....hang on four.....any advance on four?

There are grumblings in Blogland even among some of the most diehard supporters. Of course, there is one noticeable exception in the shape of the Temple of the Fundamental Wing of the Alex Salmond Appreciation Society, where the initiates and high priests ensure His Word is obeyed.

The Referendum is over two years away, with more of the bloody campaigning still to come. I've always said that six months was sufficient time, but no, the SNP have to make sure everything ties in with a reminder we gave the English a kicking (a few hundred years before they kicked the shit out of us in a Northumberland field).

I do not know what the SNP want in an independent Scotland, and I don't think they know either.
Could it be that all they want to achieve is independence, and bugger the consequences?

The other parties, Greens and Scottish Socialists, are an irrelevance in the independence campaign. The Greens want to tax the hell out of everyone who contributes to global warming - ie all of us, we all fart - and the Scottish Socialists want to tax the hell out of everyone who employs people as well as paying the employees as much as a banker.

Achieving independence whatever is the desire of a few people, and I've seen such comments. But what is the point of independence if the party proposing it keep changing the details of the policies?

Some say that the Unionists need to give some good reasons to keep the status quo.

No they bloody don't.

We already live in the Union. We know what it means to be in the Union. It's a pretty fair assumption that if we vote to stay in the Union then bugger all will change (apart from Alex Salmond's name appearing on every flipping polling card at an election).

The nationalists need to give some good reasons for independence. "The people will control their own destiny" is a pile of shite. No they won't. Those that bother to vote in elections in an independent Scotland will still get the same crap from Government, whether they like it or not. Wee Jim fae Easterhoose will still get his giro; the only change is that it will probably be in both English and Gaelic.

I'm being a cynical bastard because I've never seen so many policies being mucked about. And far too much attention seems to be given to the Referendum. The message is always the same when things go right (effective SNP policies) and the same when they go wrong (wisnae us pal, wis Westminster).

The SNP have spent a fair amount of time and money producing that lovely document for the Referendum campaign. It's a bit bloody late to start amending it.