Wednesday, 21 December 2011


23 years ago, at 7.03pm, 270 lives were wiped out.

One family of four was wiped out in the town of Lockerbie - I knew them, and what happened had a huge impact on my own family.

This is not a time to start arguing about the rights and wrongs of a criminal case, but simply a time to reflect on the innocent lives which ended so abruptly in an act of violence.

Some people would do well to remember those victims instead of furthering their own political agendas.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Great Train Robbery

Not the infamous crime, but the news that the train companies can increase their fares by a whopping 5.9%.

This is now getting ridiculous. We have the highest train fares in Europe, some of the worst services and an incomprehensible fares system - you can be fined for getting off a stop EARLY.

There is not a single party who is making the effort to regulate and reduce the fares. Neither do any of them propose to introduce legislation to force efficiency on the private companies.

The country is suffering economically, with consumer confidence down. So what does the Government do? Raise petrol duty and allow an increase in train fares, thus leaving commuters with less cash in their pocket, with the knock-on effect of them spending less on other goods and services.

Public transport is screaming out for regulation, but neither the Westminster or Holyrood Governments are paying a blind bit of attention. And all their arguments about "green" policies are hypocritical, given that some people will now travel by car since it is cheaper.

Someone needs to grab the respective Tranport Ministers and force them to commute on the busiest lines for a month. Then they might actually understand what we the travelling public have to endure.

Monday, 19 December 2011

SNP and Europe

Bit of an absence, but rather busy last week.

Back to my favourite subject, since the First Minister has had an article published on another site.

The article, as you would expect, is well written and informative. However, the alarm bells are now well and truly ringing.

The First Minister has made it abundantly clear that Scotland is to be a "full fledged" European state. There is no doubt that regardless of what is promised about asking the Scottish people AFTER independence, Scotland will be at the heart of Europe come independence. Or to put it another way, a member state fully entrenched politically, and in a position to having to accept the single currency.

Never mind that there is talk in Brussels about regulating fossil fuels so they become owned by the EU. No, the First Minister is using this to attack Cameron's approach to Europe (including a pop at the fishing policies). Now while he has a point, he is heading down the wrong track.

Numerous surveys and polls indicate that most people do not want power devolved to Europe. They want the power to remain at home. So why does the First Minister insist that Scotland will be a major player?

David Cameron is not exactly popular, but his stance on Europe is. Here is a man, with little in common to most voters and with policies that are ripping the economy apart, managing to gain support for his actions. His policy is obviously to save the financial sector, and is rather narrow minded. But despite this he has support. I have yet to speak to anyone who thinks he did wrong over Europe.

The First Minister is now slowly but surely confusing the Scottish voter. We've had the ill-fated "Arc of Prosperity", now limited to Norway, which is a truly successful case. He wants us to emulate the Scandinavian countries. But these countries are generally Euro-sceptic. But he also wants Scotland to be right at the heart of Europe at the top table.

The Referendum is less than four years away. I'm betting on 2014 for historical reasons. Europe is not going to recover within this time. In fact, things might be even worse, and the SNP will be trying to convince people that their policy is safe and secure.

My own view is that they need to urgently change this policy on Europe. If they do it now, then accusations of a u-turn will soon wither away. But if they leave it too late, then they will appear indecisive to voters.

Too many supporters are treating the Referendum like a parliamentary election. It is fundamentally different and goes beyond party politics. The SNP have let May's emphatic victory go to their heads. The Referendum campaign will not listen to the concerns of voters; it will be about the SNP's ultimate goal - independence.

But it should not be at any cost.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

BBC Bias?

Quick one for a Sunday morning.

I've commented in the past that some people get a little bit paranoid about how the BBC reports the news, especially political stories. True, there is some bias and misreporting at times, but generally it is not as bad as some would make out.

However, this morning, the BBC is reporting about a "split" between Nick Clegg and David Cameron over the decision by the latter to veto the proposed treaty.

Where this "news" came from is anyone's guess, but someone is definitely trying to stir things up. One problem for the BBC is that most people are probably in favour of Cameron's stance, and then Clegg is now going to be asked about this "split".

Labour does influence the BBC, and usually it is fairly subtle. But this is a blatant attempt to force a split in the coalition.

I support Cameron's decision. The EU desperately needs funding. China isn't going to provide it, so lo and behold, the EU would like to tax the backside out of the financial sector in the UK in order to support a failed currency and economic policy.

The Lib Dems have no mandate to be in power at Westminster. However, we live in a democracy and have to accept this. What we cannot accept is a deliberate attempt to destabilise the government by a publicly funded media organisation.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Problem of Bail

Following the sentencing of Daryn Maxwell and Barry Smith, the two responsible for the murder of Reammon Gormley, I am concerned with the fact that both of these habitual criminals were granted bail.

First of all, read the sentencing report, linked here:

Sentencing Report

I am not going to question the reasons for bail previously being granted. That is strictly for the courts to decide. What I am going to question is why the law allows bail for habitual criminals to be granted, especially those with a disposition to violence.

Kenny MacAskil has offered to meet with the Gormley family, if reports in the media are correct. But we should not be in this situation.

Maxwell and Smith  - in the words of the Gormley family - have contributed nothing to society except violence. It is unlikely they will change. Maxwell of course may never be released, but Smith will have the luxury of a future after prison. Perhaps he will change his ways and get married, something his victim has been denied.

The law is there to protect society. It is also there to protect the innocent, and that includes those who have been charged but yet to face trial. They too are presumed innocent. But when you have habitual criminals charged with a most serious offence, and one which is of similar nature to their previous convictions - in this case violence - then I cannot see how their release on bail could be justified.

Read the sentencing report again, with particular attention to paragraph two of the statement.

As I previously stated, I am not going to question the legal decision to release these two criminals on bail. But there surely must be some commonsense applied with such cases.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Europe (again)

Nope, not an attack on the SNP's policy but rather David Cameron.

The Tory party is once again split over Europe, and I don't blame them. Germany and France are doing a "deal" which will only benefit themselves. David is telling us all that no more powers will be conceded to Brussels, but does anyone really believe him?

It appears that the EU is demanding something from the UK in return for not being sidelined. The Eurosceptics smell a rat however, and so do I.

David Cameron has rejected the idea of a referendum because: " the government could not "reasonably" have a referendum if the new arrangements were confined to the 17 eurozone countries only."

On other words, it appears he is going to sign up a deal but the voters can get lost.

The UK's membership of Europe should be strictly limited to trade and nothing else. But  politicians think they know better, and us scumbags do not have the intelligence to make such weighty decisions.

My view is that Cameron is trying to sneak a deal with Europe in order to save his own economic policies which are failing. I cannot see any other reason as to why he is acting in the way he is and being so defensive.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Glasgow Music Update

I've briefly mentioned in the past about the up and coming talent of some local bands. I will be highlighting them more often. Some are doing very well, including securing a gig at the Tall Ships this year with an invite to the same event in Portugal next year.

The link below is froma YouTube channel which is dedicated to bands from East Kilbride. This should be a regular feature for those who are interested. Hopefully I will get some more links from similar sources.

Scotland has always had a diversity of music, ranging from traditional to heavy metal. Some have had more success than others, but the vast majority had to learn their trade the hard way through local gigs.

Anyway, here's the link. The music may be more appealing to teenage kids, but at least one band has the support of a certain local MSP who has a genuine interest in them.


(Link opens up in a new window)

Sunday, 4 December 2011

And They're Off!

Well, the Referndum campaign is officially taking off. Here's the link to the first promotional material:

Scotland Forward

Professional piece of material and lots of good, solid information in it. Plenty of scope for debate and a couple of areas that may cause a few problems.

But one thing stands out against all others:


In my opinion, the SNP have put their foot well and truly in it. They have made it clear they want to be at the heart of Europe. They have said that Scotland will be at the "top table". What has been promised and more importantly, what's the price of this elevation? Adopt the Euro?

At a stroke, the SNP have probably scuppered the chance for independence by aligning with Europe. They want to be joined at the hip. That is going to cause friction within the party, since many SNP members and supporters have openly voiced either concerns or even outright objections to close ties with Europe. The European Union is riddled with corruption and waste.

And the Scottish voters will not be given the opportunity to decide on membership of the EU. The SNP have clearly stated that Scotland will be a member state.

I don't understand what the SNP leadership are thinking here. Europe is a political basket case controlled by France and Germany. No democracy, as we all saw when Greece was told to behave when they tried to get their own people to decide on their future in Europe.

Perhaps they are hoping that Europe will be kept quietly in the back, while they focus on safer policies such as the economy, health and education.

Europe is the single most devisive subject in politics today. The SNP have effectively split their own support by planting themselves firmly into Europe.

The Unionist parties must be popping the champagne corks.

Political Fundamentalists

Rather complicated words for a Saturday night. And I must add a completely sober one as well, since I've been playing taxi driver to the family and await the arrival of She Who Must Be Obeyed at some point in the next four hours. Thankfully, everyone else is in bed.

My definition of a political fundamentalist is not a politician, but a political supporter who cannot accept any criticism of a politicial party, policy or personality. It can also be defined as someone who cannot accept that there may be faults with the aforementioned party, policy or personality.

Political fundamentalists represent all areas of the political spectrum. All make their presence felt in one way or another. Some are quite charismatic, others make you glad you have insured the television against a size eight boot. They are an essential part of the political game, if only to provide an amusing distraction.

As you may have already guessed, I'm going to concentrate on what the media call "cybernats". I use a better term:

The Fundamentalist Wing of the Alex Salmond Appreciation Society.

Not very nice you may think, but I refer to the Labour supporters as the Unionist Underground, based on Iain Gray's exit to Subway and the deafening silence which is heard on a regular basis when Labourites make a cockup - normally a daily event.

As for the Lib Dems and Tories, I'll come up with something that is printable later........

But back to the The Fundamentalist Wing of the Alex Salmond Appreciation Society. This is not, by the way, an attack on the SNP nor is it an attack on the numerous nationalist blogs out there, but a criticism of some of the commentators and what they write. I'm a cynical bastard, and some of my postings have been total crap, but I don't resort to a 1984-esque "Daily Hate". (mmm Europe excepted perhaps!).

The fundamentalists are no different to the supporters of Labour or the Tories. The SNP can do no wrong whatsoever, and any issues that arise are someone else's fault: the "A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away" syndrome. (Have a read through some BBC blogs and you will see that some comments by Unionist supporters are no better).

While there may be some truth behind the comments, things are blown way out of proportion and the facts are distorted by the ranting against the BBC, Westminster and occasionally the USA.

The slightest criticism of the SNP is met with outright hostility - there is no better descriptive.

The worst example was recent, where the commentator stated "anyone who is against the SNP will be remembered after independence.......".  One hopes that this individual has no official function within the SNP, nor has any government role after independence.

There is a small core who are so against the BBC it is slightly worrying. So hated is the BBC, that on one well known website, no matter what the subject of the latest article, the comments invariably turn to attack the BBC. On goes the latest article, perhaps on a science subject, and after a few relevant comments, up pops the "Sorry to be OT but........", and cue a rant about some obscure BBC news item. Why the contributors waste their time on what are some excellent pieces of work is beyond me.

The danger with such people - not only SNP supporters but other parties as well - is that they do not normally represent their parties in an official capacity. However, as has been seen in the past, sometimes they attract attention and drag their party into unexpected problems. These are the people who if canvassing on the doorstep, are more likely to lose support than gain it.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Thursday Night Snippets (ok ramblings)

Bit of a mixed bag since I've had the cold all week, been stuck in Excel-land and have a job interview tomorrow for an internal post.

Rangers have admitted that Craig Whyte was previously disqualified as a director. That must have upset the Anti-BBC Brigade (Scotland Branch) who after much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the BBC investigation into Rangers, have gone decidedly quiet. But Jeremy Clarkson rides to the rescue as he opens his mouth once more with some rather ill-thought phrases. Even by his standards they were total bollocks.

The pandas are on their way, and no doubt the black eye jokes will spring up. After May next year they may have some company as councillors across Scotland receive the political equivalent of a smack to the face. The Chinese are lending the pandas to Scotland, but it seems that there is a fee attached. In excess of one million pounds per annum if rumours are to be believed. That might take some explaining, but apparently the pandas will be suitably attired in traditional highland dress to attract the tourists.

The Big Strike went ahead. David Cameron said it was a "damp squib". Let's be fair, it was pissing it down on Wednesday. The Lib Dems Graduate Trainee Tea Fund Assistant, Danny Alexander, threatened all sorts of unseemly action, but no paid attention as he had to be in bed by 9pm.

Meryl Streep has received positive reviews for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher. Some unkind soul referred to it as A Nightmare on Downing Street 2. The Fundmantalist Wing of the Alex Salmond Appreciation Society has declared any one watching it to be a heretic as Thatcher was Scotland's most bitterest enemy (Edward Longshanks and the BBC notwithstanding).

Enough Nurofen induced ramblings.......time to watch a dvd........