Saturday, 29 October 2011

Mistakes, I've Made A Few.....

I'm sure that most, if not all politicians could relate to Ol' Blue Eyes lyrics.

Two cock ups this week which prove an earlier point I made about an apparent lack of middle ground in Scottish politics, at least in public.

First of all, we had Ian Davidson (who he?) making a remark about giving someone a "doing" if discussions were leaked. Cue an almighty strop from the SNP and some feminist group that appeared from nowhere (Charlie's McAngels?) demanding that the offender be cast into the Seventh Level of Hell. The Fundamentalist Wing of the Alex Salmond Appreciation Society went further, demanding that Labour be disbanded and the BBC Licence Fee be withheld until they reported the Truth. The feminist group feel that women are under-represented in Westminster. They obviously haven't paid much attention to David Cameron's front bench.

Davidson apologised, but the SNP are sitting in the corner and sulking as we speak.

Then the First Minister himself cocked up, by wrongly saying that an academic, Dr Matt Qvortrup (however you pronounce that surname) apparently said that his research showed that the SNP were the Saviours of Scotland and everything they did was the best. Turns out that was total bollocks and what Alex quoted was made up on a post-it note stuck onto Alex's laptop.

His opponents were creaming themselves with such a self-inflicted error made over the SNP's pride and joy - the Referendum itself. The Unionist Underground (hint, think of Subway) made a rare foray over the parapet at Holyrood and for once pointed the political guns in the right direction.

The First Minister apologised but the Unionist Underground continues to snipe at a target that has long gone.

Both politicians made an error. Both apologised over what now appears to be relatively minor errors (if Davidson's was as bad as some commentators are making out, why was the incident not reported to the police?). But the supporters/opponents continue to stoke the fires of unreasonable debate. If this is what things are like at present, can you imagine how bad things will really get as we approach the Referendum?

Most people don't really care about either of these events. There was a brief discussion and attention has shifted elsewhere.

But never mind, there will be another one along in a minute.......

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Monday Wafflings

Well, Big Dave won tonight, swatting away the bad boys attempt to tell him what to do. Now we can't be having that now, can we? Not in our "Big Society" where the People Have Power. Dave doesn't want a referendum on Europe right now, as that will cause "uncertainty". Ahem, this is the same person who wants the Scottish Government to hold their referendum now as any delay will cause "uncertainty".

Meanwhile, Edinburgh City Council has demanded that housing repair bills must be paid, despite over five hundred cases in dispute. For those who don't know, Edinburgh is the only city in the UK where the council can organise repair work on private properties when the owners of shared buildings cannot reach agreement. The value of these bills has more than trebled in five years. Must be using the same contractors who are doing the trams.

The Chandlers, the couple who were kidnapped from their yacht by the Pirates of the Caribbean Somalia, have criticised the rescue effort. As a result, they have been given back with instructions to the pirates that they walk the plank. In a similar case, Tiddles, a persian cat, has complained of unacceptable delays in the Fire Service rescuing her from the top of a fifty foot elm tree.

Finally, doctors have recommended that people should avoid drinking for at least three days per week. That should be easy enough to achieve, just get bladdered the night before and you will sleep through the day anyway.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Scottish Music and Film

There is a lot of talent out there. We should be doing all we can to support this, as it benefits everyone in the long run. Too many commentators deride music and film at local level, but the people involved put in a ton of effort to be successful. Nor does it matter if it is in English, Gaelic, Scots or whatever.

I'm going to be promoting what I can. I think it's important but its also entertaining.

The link below is for a band called South of Summer. They are a regular on the gig circuit in the Glasgow area. The video was made by an individual who does this as a hobby.

Who needs tv talent shows?

The Independence Fight

OK, it's officially on. The fight for independence has begun.

Angus Robertson has promised that the party faithful will be pounding the streets and knocking on doors.

Well that will be novel here in East Kilbride. In my fifteen years since I returned from the Dark Side England I have had the pleasure (misfortune shurely?) of having a single Labour councillor knock on my door prior to the 2007 election.

Plenty of leaflets but not a single  person in the past five years of any party has bothered their backsides to get out and win votes. A few appearances at railway stations and town centres, but bothing around the houses.

It's quite simple really, and a bit like sales. Activity wins customers. The more activity, the higher chance of success. Yes, many people do not like the Doorstep Challenge, but the very fact that someone actually bothers might be enough to grab a vote.

Every vote won from the other parties mean they must get two to turn that around. Even if you cannot persuade someone to vote for independence they might go for Devo Max (or whatever the hell they are calling it this week).

So a piece of advice to the workers (if anyone is actually bothering to read this!).

Get knocking.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Alex Salmond's Conference Speech

Well, the Big Man has spoken, and it was an excellent speech (Newsnet Scotland has the full transcript, and it is well worth a read). The Alex Salmond Appreciation Society members were having multiple orgasms, whereas at the other party conferences people were checking for pulses.

The difference between the parties could not be clearer. The voters in England must be wondering if they can apply for Scottish membership, since the Scottish Government seems to be the only one that actually wants its people to live.

NHS Scotland - free prescriptions, public ownership, reduced waiting times, Health Service Chief Execs getting bottoms kicked.

NHS Everywhere Else - PFI, PFI, PFI, PFI............ oh yeah and some treatments available, and would you mind paying for this broken arm to be fixed? Come on, we need to pay the rent.......

Council Tax Scotland - frozen

Council Tax Everywhere Else - loans now available to pay for them

Water Rates Scotland - appropriate levels and publicly owned

Water Rates Everywhere Else - eye-watering rates (no pun intended) and profits to mainly overseas companies (Sahara Water Ltd, Gobi Desert Inc.......)

There is plenty more in the same vein.

The Scottish Government is not perfect, nor is the SNP. No party or government ever is nor ever will be.

But take a long and hard look at Westminster, and compare it to Holyrood, and you will see a marked difference.

The Tories have no mandate in Scotland. The Lib Dems are in dangerous decline. Labour is in disarray. The SNP is the only party that has the trust of the electorate. That is a major achievement in a short space of time.

The world is changing. Politicians can no longer control as they please. The other parties must change - the SNP has recognised this and one hopes they will not succumb to the corrupting influence of power.

Scotland is leading the way in climate change action - perhaps they are also showing what can be done on the political front as well.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A Week in Politics

They say a week in politics is a long time, and they're right.

In the space of a week, the Westminster government has gone from trouble to elation, and ironically both are with defence and foreign affairs. Liam Fox finally went, and lo and behold, Gaddafi has been killed, thus justifying Cameron's policy towards Libya.

Libya, it seems, is a jinx for the SNP. They release Megrahi, sparking a debate that simply will not end, with Megrahi still living, and ironically the death of Gaddafi takes all the media attention AWAY from the SNP, just at the time when it would be most useful, as their conference starts.

I'm just waiting for the conspiracy theories to start..........

Monday, 17 October 2011

Time for a Clearout

Having just spent the better part of an afternoon trying to clear out a nine year old's room, it suddenly struck me how the same could be said of politics.

In four hours, I found many items, some of which I'd forgotten about, including: numerous wrestling figures (one headless), two hobbits (one minus an arm), a bar of chocolate so out of date it was growling, enough lego to rebuild the Forth Bridge and one of those "intelligent" robotic hamsters that WON'T-SWITCH-OFF!!!!

Just like some of our politicians..........

When a party loses power, the sensible course of action would be to have a major clearout, get some fresh blood in and keep the old warhorses in the background. But what has Labour done? A clearout? Nope. They've basically stuck to the same mob who were in before, even if their new leader has the appearance of a shell-shocked graduate trainee who was expecting to make coffee and break the photocopier. Meanwhile in Scotland, the leadership issue trundles along with as much direction as a submarine in the Firth of Clyde.

So we have our various wrestling figures (mostly headless); you may select your own hobbits; the political strategy is like the chocolate; and as for the decide.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Opposition Politics

If there is one thing that marks the Independence debate, it is the polarisation of the political camps, where the only argument is "Oh Yes We Are, Oh No You're Not".

This is no way for politics to be debated, and most certainly not with such a fundamental issue as independence.

In the "Yes" camp are the nationalists, primarily made up of the SNP, but with a few others as well. Any praise, however slight, for the Union is akin to heresey, and you can expect be to metaphorically burned at the stake, probably near the Wallace Monument at Midnight in Midwinter.

Over at the "No" camp, there is much disarray. But the message seems to be that Alex Salmond is the Spawn of the Devil, who intends to burn an independent Scotland to Hell.

Where is the debate? There is no middle ground. Nothing. Both sides are hellbent on holding their ground and refusing to give an inch. Even the Republican vs Democrat arguments over the budget in the USA found some common ground. Not here.

Judging by polls, there is a fair chunk of people who sit in the "Undecided" category when it comes to independence. These people can go either way, and they most likely have a lot of questions for both sides. Not only that, the voters who have a definite "Yes" or "No" also want answers, as to what happens if things don't go their way.

But the answers are all the same: the "Yes" camp always tell how it will be Utopia come Independence, whereas the "No" camp describe independence as the first step on a slippery slope to Oblivion. Even on the Internet blogs it is much the same, with few sites finding some common ground.

The politicians seem to be fearful of discussion, albeit most of the fear seems to be on the Unionist side. It is a ridiculous state of affairs. The politicians have to lead the debate, not react to polls or scandals or economic problems.

It's about time our politicians remember that they serve the voters, not their political parties. The future of Scotland is at stake.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Another One Bites the Dust...............

Well, Foxy Fox has gone, this week's Least Surprising Event.

His efforts to help his Bestest Friend Ever has failed, and he must now relinquish the reins of office and return to the backbenches. But never fear, Liam. David will find you another job once he thinks everyone has forgotten. In fact, Oliver Letwin has ridden to the rescue by demonstrating the correct use of a refuse receptable in a public place, and he made sure he got plently of publicity. Well done, Oliver. But no, you can't play with Liam's soldiers now he's gone. There are rumours that Oliver has took on an adviser who has suddenly found himself with some spare time on his hands.

In Europe, the G20 (the world's 20 most debt-ridden countries, I think) are meeting with the Eurozone Debt Specialists, to advise them how to lend Greece another few hundred billion Euros. Rather than try to actually get the Greek Government to collect taxes properly, they have given them the economic equivalent of a John Bull Printing Set and told them to make their own.

Perhaps they should seek the advice of a certain A Werritty, who has extensive experience as an adviser to government ministers in feathering their own nests getting paid money to do bugger all.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Terror in Braehead

The world of retail was shocked today as a terrorist attack was narrowly prevented by the actions of a brave security guard.

The guard, now moved to a secret location (insiders say the Atlantic Ocean) received a tip-off that a man armed with a mobile phone and a four year old girl, was about to take an electronic image of the shopping centre, msot likely as a reconnaissance for a major attack.

The target was believed to be an ice-cream parlour, and pictures obtained from the perpetrator shows shocking  images of a young girl eating ice-cream. Social services and the Scottish  Branch of the Jamie Oliver Healthy Eating Special Investigation Brigade were alerted.

Two members, believed to be from the Police, interviewed the perpetrator and have considered charging him with terrorism, illegal photography and giving a child sweets before teatime.

Thankfully, the matter was dealt with speedily and we can all rest peacefully in our beds.

Until the next time............

Keep calm and carry on........

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Is There a Doctor in the House?

The cunning Dr Fox is in a spot of bother. Having retired from the stressful life of presenting the Top 40, he moved into a quieter role as Defence Secretary in David Cameron's Conservative Government, working alongside the whipping boys policital partners, the Lib Dems.

But his Best Friend, Adam Werritty, has been with him all along, looking after his business interests Dr Fox's welfare and advising him on the best opportunities for Adam's business Dr Fox's policies.

Mr Werritty apparently does not hold the required security clearances, but he's promised that he won't tell anyone cross-his-heart-hope-to-die.

Mr Cameron has expressed his "full confidence" in his Defence Secretary, which is political-speak for the phrase "tear a new arsehole".

Joking aside, this is yet another example of what most people would consider ministerial abuse. Cabinet level politicians are not there to help their friends (or themselves), but are supposed to be serving the country. You cannot have a businessman/woman using taxpayer-funded ministerial trips in order to develop their private affairs.

Oh well, I suppose Liam Fox could return to medicine, and Adam can dress up as a nurse and assist him.......

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

We'll Fight on the Beaches.......

Well, David Cameron has given a highly demotivational speech to the faithful.

He urges the country to pay off their credit cards, show some fight in the face of economic turmoil and to invoke the British spirit. The mere mention of the word "British" has the cybernats massing on the border of England. Or these days, trying to breach the firewalls of the propagandist BBC.

Cameron obviously thinks he's Winston Churchill. To the rest of us, he's as substantial as Churchill the dog from those insurance adverts. When you have a few million in the bank, it's easy to invoke the fighting spirit. He's looking at Blair's example, fighting his way around the world and defeating the economic problems, or at least solving his mortgage repayment issues.

Meanwhile, there are serious issues with immigrant cats who have committed crimes (such as bringing in a half-dead bird to play with). Theresa May has informed us that we cannot deport the said feline thanks to little-known clauses in the Human Rights Act. She wants to get rid of the HRA in order to get rid of those troublesome pussycats.

Back in the real world, the Scottish Government has obtained an icebreaker in preparation for winter.

How the hell they will get a 40,000 ton ship down Sauchiehall Street is going to be interesting.......

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Uncovering the Truth

Well, it happened quicker than I thought, but some clever sleuth discovered my secret identity, so it looks like the world will find out that the superhero Barbarian of the North (ie me), will either have to look for another suitable heroic name or simply pretend nothing happened. I'll opt for the latter choice, since that is what most politicians tend to do.

Labour for instance. They have just had their conference, and what a disaster excellent one it was too - if you are a Labour fanatic. Ed and Edd (where is Eddy?) both made mind-numbing highly motivational speeches - for their opponents. Mr Milliband confirmed his demise with a rambling oration which had less substance than the Greek economy.

Meanwhile, Ms Goldie has asked the First Minister for a date. A bit of Holyrood scandal perhaps? The media hacked watched intently, only to find that Alex is still considering the decision, and perhaps is now considering how to explain this one to Mrs Salmond.

Bad news for drinkers as Prohibition Scotland starts, with special offers now banned. How the bootleg vodka drinkers will react is unclear, but then since their thought processes are in a similar state who knows. Comments that the Lib Dems are affected are totally without foundation and it is an allegation made by a Big Boy Who Ran Away (just in case any lawyers are reading).

But the evil progressive health policies of the Scottish Government may take another turn. Denmark is taxing foodstuffs which contain high levels of saturated fat. Rumour control has it that it is being considered here. Implemented in Scotland, the debt crisis will be no more.......