Thursday, 29 September 2011

History and Other Ramblings

Well, the Scottish Government want to ensure that a new subject - Scottish Studies - is now rolled out to the schools. It won't be compulsory, and it will tell the truth. After all, everyone knows that Alex Salmond defeated the English at the Battle of Holyrood, carrying a big pointy stick and shouting "Freeeeeeeedom!!!!!" to fire the blood of the troops.

And of course, they want to put Gaelic signs up everywhere, and apparently want Radio 4 replaced by a Gaelic station. Not that will make any difference, since they will probably get the same number of listeners, albeit those who understand a different language.

History is a very important subject. You have to remember things. Judging by Ed Milliband's spectacular faux pas during a radio interview, he probably achieved a D minus for history, since he failed to to remember one of the Scottish Labour Party leadership candidate's name. Saying that, about 95% of Scotland did worse, since they can't remember ANY of them.

Meanwhile, in sport, Celtic followed the great Scottish tradition of not winning, by conceding a penalty which resulted in a draw with Udinese. But they have a cunning plan: they intend to complain about Aletico Madrid and Udinese fielding ineligible players hoping they too will be booted out. However, complaining that the players are ineligible simply because they scored against Celtic may affect the result of the investigations. Watch this space.

Staying with football, Rangers have plans (again) to move to the English Premier League. Anything to escape the taxman so it seems.

Alex Salmond has backed proposals on universities sharing resources, which is not a bad plan at all. Perhaps they can take turns at looking after the student protesters who like university so much these days, that they take over the buildings for several days.

Monday, 26 September 2011


Patriotism is the catchword at the moment. At least, so it appears judging by the comments by the leadership candidates for the Labour and Conservative Parties in Scotland.

""Scottish and British", cries one.

Another points out that he is a Scottish patriot and enjoy the best of both worlds. Going further, he describes himself as  "Devolutionist". Which sounds like he is a believer in one of the more abstract religions that arises from the consumption of chemical substances not normally available in the high street.

But they are playing catchup, and in my view they are chasing after the wrong bus.

Patriotism is absolutely fine, and especially when we suffer the torture of our national football (and rugby it seems) teams snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Nothing stirs the blood than the Tartan Army singing their heart  out as yet another slaughter commences.

Alex Salmond appears as a Conanesque figure in comparison to the other political figures in Scotland. Although swinging anything bigger than a chopping knife might result in a cricked back. And we most certainly do not want to see him in a loincloth.

Conan was asked what is best in life. If Salmond was asked the same question, I think his answer would be on  the lines of:

"Economic prosperity, a strong education system and a health service to be proud of".

That is where his opponents should be focusing their efforts, not patriotic bullshit, something the SNP realised a long time ago will not win elections on it's own.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Da Budget 2011

Well, the Man with the Money (aka John Swinney) has spoken, and decided how the pocket money from our friends in the South is to be spent.

Nothing really that controversial to report to be honest, but the big retailers that peddle alcohol and tobacco are going to get a bit of spanking. Some commentators have noted that this will be a boost to small retailers as the big boys may increase prices to compensate. All well and good, as you will now be encouraged to buy the aforementioned fags and booze in your local corner shop.

But the levy on the retailers is to pay for "preventative" policies. Either the Scottish Government will be implementing some new form of contraception, or the money is being used to change the locks at Holyrood to keep the unruly opposition MSPs occupied as they try to figure out what happened. A map of their  gluteus maximus and articulatio cubiti will be provided.

Councils will have the same money to waste spend efficiently in their communities. no doubt ensuring that the councillors maintain their cups of coffee and muffins, hopefully at a lower cost than the US Government does.

Road improvements lose about £10 million, but given the current state of the roads no one will really notice. Some potholes are getting so large in Glasgow drivers think a new Clyde Tunnel has been opened.

The Culture budget is dropping, however free access to national collections will be maintained, so that should be of some comfort to Rangers fans if Ibrox gets turned into a museum by HMRC.

Of real concern is the cut in the Employability Skills budget. How will the Scottish Government ensure that the soon-to-be-made-redundant councillors (ahem, Lib Dems) are able to learn some new skills (ie breathing for starters) after the council elections next year?

Overall, the budget has been cut by some £3 billion.

Rumours that the Edinburgh Trams Project is somehow responsible is purely coincidental.......

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Collapse of the LIb Dems

Continuing on the theme of Lib Dem bashing, since it appears to be a popular topic at the moment on various blogs. Of course, they have just held their conference.

A quick look around the Internet shows that there are approximately 160 Lib Dem councillors in Scotland. A few councils have them in the double figures, but most average about 3 or 4.

Recent polls and election results have shown that support for the Lib Dems has collapsed. If this trend continues, which is highly likely, then expect a slaughter come next year when the Scottih council elections are held.

My betting is that they will lose over 100 seats. That is almost two-thirds of what they presently hold.

Now, council elections can be a little different to parliamentary elections, in that local issues tend to be more at the forefront of the electorate's mind. And yes, you will get councillors who are popular in their wards and would get elected regardless what party they serve. But the bottom line is that the Lib Dems have jumped into bed (so to speak) with the Conservative Party. Not only that, but their current leader does not have any common ground with the average Scottish voter (or any average voter come to think of it). Nick Clegg is no different to Cameron, perhaps not as shiny but the same mould nevertheless.

The Lib Dems can't use the Leader Factor, something the SNP excel in. They can roll out Alex and can be confident of securing a few dozen votes. Roll Clegg out, and you are more likely to scare your voters away.

Losing two-thirds of your seats is a disaster. Losing that many in a parliamentary election would almost certainly force a change in leadership. But can the Lib Dems actually risk that?

My view is that they will be forced to do so. The few MPs who hold parliamentary seats may argue against such a move, but the rank and file members may demand a change.

I cannot see how the Lib Dems are going to survive in their present form until the next Westminster elections, not unless they do something drastic. And even then it is debatable as to whether such action would have any impact.

The Lib Dems have now started to slowly collapse. And let's be honest, it's been long overdue ever since Charlie Kennedy left the room.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Lib Dem Conference

Yes, it's the highlight of the year as the Lib Dems from all over the UK descend on Nick Clegg's head, or should that be Birmingham?

The Scottish MSPs have no problem getting there as they will be sharing a taxi.

Apparently the SNP have urged a Lib Dem revolt, to ensure that the coalition in Westminster adopts a "Plan MacB". Sounds like a hamburger to me.

SNP MSP Joe Fitzpatrick (who he?) is in full flow, pointing out that the demand to increase pension contributions is dangerous at a time when consumer confidence is shaky. Fair point, and perhaps he could ask a certain enobled  contributor to SNP funds what he intends to do with his share of an £88million pound profit, one that has been achieved partly because of a lack of regulation. Meanwhile, fares continue to rise.

But back to the wonder that is the Liberal Democrats. They got slaughtered in the recent council elections in England. They got slaughtered in the Scottish Parliamentary elections. And they face slaughter at the Scottish council elections next year.

Nick is promising to use his "veto" if the 50pc tax rate is abolished. Veto? Is this the United Nations? This conference promises to be lively, and the way things are going, Nick might not be in a position to use his veto.  The Lib Dems may start a game of "Simon Says".........

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Not that excellent song, but what some of the more sensitive bloggers out here in cyber politics are.

In Prime Minister's Questions.  (PMQs to the political geeks), SNP MP Angus MacNeil raised a question and got laughed at. Cue outrage and paranoia in equal quantities! The implication was that the Prime Minister was calling 7 out of 10 Scots "stupid".

Plenty of metaphorical fist-waving and gnashing of teeth by the Faithful. Angus himself was heard to say "I was astonished that the Prime Minister laughed at the hopes and aspirations of seven out of ten Scots."

I too was a bit annoyed by this apparent mockery by Cameron and most of the other MPs in the House of Commons.

Then I watched the question on YouTube. I watched it several times. I've watched it again as I wrote this.

Angus MacNeil's hard-hitting killer question was:

"A poll last week showed that 68% of Scots want oil revenues devolved to Scotland. Does the Prime Minister agree with 68% of Scots or does he not?"

To which Cameron replied:

"If you ask a stupid question you get a stupid answer."

Now, how the hell can you suggest that the PM was implying that 68% of Scots are stupid?

MacNeil's question was stupid, or more accurately very, very badly worded. Perhaps if he had asked about the Prime Minister's views on devolving oil revenues to Scotland, he would perhaps have had a better answer.

I'm not surprised Cameron and Co laughed.

But to the Fundamentalist Wing, it means WAR!!

But is anyone up here really listening?

(By the way, you only have to look at FMQs up here in Holyrood to see that the Almighty Alex receives the same sort of anal questions by Labour and responds with similar aforementioned mockery.)

Monday, 12 September 2011

The Big Yin

No, not Alex Salmond, but the one and only Billy Connolly.

If rumours be true, then he is the Man to save the Union. All a bit strange, since I cannot recall him having any particular preference when it comes to political allegiances. In fact, if you watch his material he sums up politicians in words that would certainly not be heard in church.

But it may be apt that this titan of stand up comedy is appropriated by the unionist parties:

Welly boots - since Labour are up to their necks in it. (The Lib Dems would be better choosing the Beatles, for the song "Yellow Submarine", since they are under it).

He likes to swear a lot (you may have noticed), and no doubt Labour were doing so early in May.

And of course as a comedian he will feel very comfortable in the company of others.


The SNP are in a bit of a dilemma here, since one of Billy's big pals is none other than Sir Sean Connery himself. They don't want to upset the Big Man now, do they?

And no doubt the Fundmentalist Wing of the Alex Salmond Appreciation Society will want nothing to do with Mr Connolly, and have his work  banned and blacklisted (unless written in politically acceptable Gaelic or Scots, certainly not English). Beards will be banned as will jobbies and welllies.

Get right intae him!!!!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Madness?...... This is......IRN BRU!!!!!

Well, it seems that Europe has declared war on Scotland, with stories in the press that Irn Bru may have to change!

If there is one thing to upset a Scotsman (or woman), it is the thought that the most important elixir in the universe is under threat.

Don't these Eurocrats realise that we have a bunch of nuclear missile in our back yard? Alex Salmond might forget his principles for a few minutes and turn Brussels into vapour.

Even Westminster dare not tamper with the Holiest of Holies - support for independence would hit 99% (the 1% is the leaf-eating, tree hugging jogging brigade who live off lentils and recycled cardboard, or as it is better known, meat-free lasagne).

Stuff the policies Alex. Champion Irn Bru and you cannot lose!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Media Sensation of Murder

A serious post this time.

The media have always found it better to sensationalise murder. But two recent cases have shown how irresponsible some sections of the media seem to have become.

The first case was Joanna Yeates murder, and her landlord, Chris Jeffries, suddenly became the focus of a media storm.

The second is the ongoing investigation at Stepping Hill hospital, where a nurse, Rebecca Leighton, has had all charges dropped against her. Now she has hired Max Clifford to defend her reputation.

Both cases show an alarming lack of judgement by editors. Circulations are dropping and the pressure is on to make sales - at any cost apparently. But all they have achieved is a false economy.

Chris Jeffries received substantial compensation, as no doubt will Rebecca Leighton. However, both have had their lives ruined by allegations about their private lives, comments about their mental state and no doubt some enterprising journalist has been raking in their bins.

Regulation of the media is a tricky subject for politicians of all parties. They seek the support of the media, which is essential to win votes. The phone hacking scandal has shown how dangerous such relationships can be.

But regulation is now required. The media consistently fail to abide by their own codes of practice - which seem to be on the lines of "Don't Get Caught". Crime must be allowed to be reported, but until a conviction is achieved, there should be no comments about the accused.

We don't want ridiculous privacy laws as seen in some other countries. But if the media does not start to act more responsibily, then that is precisely what is going to happen.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Times are a Changing

Or at least the Scottish Tories will be, if Murdo Fraser gets his way and replaces Auntie Annabel.
Promises to make changes and "breakaway" from Uncle David.

Aye, right!

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems go from bad to worse as a recent poll shows them lagging even further behind. They poll less than the Conservatives, and Willie Rennie's net rating is -14%! Even interest rates aren't that low. In fact, Rennie has scored even less than Tavish Scott.

The words "Light", "Brigade", and "Charge" spring to mind.......

Elsewhere in the world, Libya looks set to have a full change of government. However, Colonel Gadaffi vows to fight to the end according to his latest broadcast - live from Venezuela. Craig Levine might feel like joining him after yesterday's result.......

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Football Finances

Someone once said there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes.

Or in Rangers FC's case, fines and taxes. Thumped with a £2.8 million pound demand plus 50% fine they are a trifle upset.

Apparently the bailiffs, sorry sheriff officers, popped round for a chat, but big Ally kicked their foot out of the door and said  the owner wasn't in. (Rumour has it he was after some double Glazing, courtesy of Manchester United FC). Speaking of which, with a profit in excess of £100 million, it's a wonder the Glazers haven't bought the SPL as a sort of big boys Subutteo set.

The BBC Sports page is a touch pessimistic as well, with articles under all the SPL teams having the title "SPL clubs facing financial strife". Either there is a lot of truth in the matter, or the website editor buggered up his copy and paste commands.

Never mind, things can only get better..........

The Euro Lottery jackpot will probably hit £100 million this Friday.