David Cameron has handed over power to the Scottish Government to hold an independence referendum in 2014 as long as the question has only two options: Yes or No.
This is great news for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it means that the Scots will finally get a vote on their independence and with a bit of luck will vote for it and secondly, the absence of a “renegotiate” option means that Alex Salmond won’t have a mandate to extract even more out of the British government at England’s expense. It should be noted, though, that the British government have already conceded most of Alex Salmond’s demands on what has been called “devolution max”.
The Scots won’t vote for independence because they can’t survive without English taxes which is a real shame because there’s nothing worse than a loveless marriage and staying together for the kids never really works does it?
So, I suppose it’s about time I blogged about the Scottish independence referendum as it’s been in the news for a week or so.
Basically, this is the story so far:
Alex Salmond has been dicking about for a few years saying they’re going to hold a referendum on Scottish independence but keeps putting it off because a) they won’t vote for independence and b) the longer he threatens it, the more he can screw out of the Brits at our expense.
Salmond knows that the Scots won’t vote for independence so he’s come up with a great wheeze: devolution max. Devolution max is almost, but not quite, a confederation between Scotland and “Britain”. The Scottish government would be almost on a par with the British government, Salmond and Cameron would meet each other as equals rather than provincial administrator and imperial overlord.
Cameron got fed up with Salmond dicking about and told him he’s got to have his referendum sooner rather than later and he can’t offer devolution max, just a yes/no to independence. Salmond told the media London was dictating to Scotland; Cameron said he wasn’t dictating, he was merely telling the Scottish government what they can and can’t do in a dictatorial manner (I’ve paraphrased slightly).
At some point the British government decided that after years of indecision, an independence referendum held by the Scottish government would be illegal. Nobody has offered an opinion as to what they would do if Salmond held his referendum and ended up as Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Scotland – the thing about a unilateral declaration of independence is that it’s, well, unilateral. Salmond retaliated by saying he’d order the Scottish police not to man polling stations if the ballot papers didn’t have his options on them (yes, he can do that but technically the British Home Secretary trumps the Scottish First Minister which would make for an interesting pissing contest wouldn’t it?).
The brief posturing is over with no clear winner and now the two sides are setting out their stalls. The Brits are making the case for the union to the Scots, humming Rule Britannia whilst Britishly tearfully extolling the British virtues of the British union and good old British Britishness in British Britain and British Scotland. Some of them are suggesting wrecking manoeuvres such as giving people in England a vote on Scottish independence as well, although they seem to have gone quiet since Survation (an up-and-coming polling company with a very good record so far on political polls) found that more people in England want to see Scotland declare independence than Scots.
The Scottish nationalists are doing what they usually do – confusing England with “Britain”, throwing some random numbers on paper to show they’re subsidising England and … well, that’s about it but even so the Survation poll says that Salmond is quite comprehensively winning the “referendum war”.
Unsurprisingly and true to form for the Brits, virtually nobody is thinking about England in all this. The Labour MP for Torfaen in Wales, Paul Murphy, has called for the balkanisation of England by resurrecting Prescott’s rejected local government reorganisation with regional assemblies but that’s about as far as it goes. Other than that it’s been Scotland, Scotland, Scotland as if the future of the UK and the relationships between the member states in it are the exclusive domain of the Scots.
I don’t want a vote on Scottish independence because it’s Scotland’s business but if Scotland has a referendum then a referendum should also be held on English independence, Welsh independence and Northern Irish independence. If the union is to continue then it should be because most of the people in all four member states want it to, not because 4 million voters in Scotland say so.
I would love to hear the British nationalists making the case for the union to England like they are for Scotland. I would love to hear them explain why we should stay in a union where we have no voice, where £20bn of our taxes are taken from us on threat of imprisonment and given to the other three member states of the UK to spend on things that we can’t afford, where politicians elected in another country are allowed to introduce and vote on laws that only apply to England when they can’t even vote on the same things in the country they were elected in and where we are generally robbed, put upon and despised. I’d love to hear them make the case for that union because right now all I’m hearing is Scotland, Scotland, Scotland when quite frankly I couldn’t give a damn whether they stay or go.
The celtic dog has been wagging the English tail for too long and it has to stop. The British establishment is full of people who are, quite frankly, irrationally fanatical about Scotland. They are 5m people (and falling), we are 51m and increasing. They spend the money, we foot the bill. They have an inferiority complex, we have to make ourselves subservient to them to make them feel better. The obsession is with what the Scots want, forgetting that actually it’s England that would make or break the union.
So what’s the answer? It’s quite simple …
Hold the referendum in Scotland with the three options – independence, current level of devolution or “devolution max”. At the same time, hold a referendum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland offering the same choices (“current level of devolution” in England being what the Scots have now). This will result in an English Parliament being created. Take out the unconstitutional, unworkable English Votes on English Laws fudge (there’s no point trying to implement something that can’t work, it’s just wasting time and money) and support for devolution in England is overwhelming. This may result in assymetry as it’s not guaranteed that all four member states of the UK will vote for devolution max (I’m thinking of NI here) but it would be through choice, not because the British government is prejudiced against one country.
This raises the spectre of one or more member states of the UK voting for independence. Scotland is probably less likely to vote for independence than England despite the overt nationalism north of the border. Of the four member states of the UK, only England pays its own way and only England would thrive outside of the union. Despite the protestations of some Scots, they do extremely well out of the union whilst England does extremely badly out of it. If one or more member states vote for independence then the British government should be prepared with a firm plan for a British confederation. I won’t dwell on the virtues of a confederation, just follow the link.
The independence of one member state would raise some interesting challenges when it comes to the inheritance of treaties. For instance, who would keep the UK’s seat on the UN Security Council? If Scotland declared independence then “Britain” would probably still exist for a short time and once it fell apart, England would naturally be the successor state. But if England declared independence and Scotland didn’t, “Britain” wouldn’t last any longer but Scotland would naturally be the successor state. Salmond wants to demilitarise Scotland and on the international stage Scotland is a non-entity (“Scotland, isn’t that in England?” – you get the picture) – the UN isn’t going to have a bunch of whining skirt wearing with delusions of grandeur on the UN Security Council.
EU membership is another question that needs considering. Scotland is the most europhile member state of the UK, it would probably want to remain a member. The EU would want to keep England to pay the bills. New countries joining the EU have to agree to join the €uro – Scotland might not be too fussed about joining the €uro but England? It’s unthinkable.
What about the British Overseas Territories? Who will inherit those? If a confederation can successfully be created then problem solved. If not, it’s open for negotiation – they may opt for independence, they may choose their own “protector” to pay fealty to.
The Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties says that it’s basically up to succeeding states to decide who takes on what treaties with the assumption that if no agreement is made, all the treaties currently in force will apply to all successor states. That means that the default position is that all member states of the UK declaring independence would remain members of the EU, UN, NATO and party to all the other treaties the UK has signed up to since 1978 unless they agree to divvy them up. Contrary to what British politicians say, independence of any of the member states of the UK does not necessarily mean losing the memberships of international bodies the UK currently holds.
None of the perceived problems are insurmountable so what reason is there for the union to continue? This is the case the British unionists have to make to all of us, not just the Scots and this is precisely what won’t happen. The British are so obsessed with what the Scots want that they won’t see what’s happening under their noses until it’s too late.
On Wednesday the British government finally announced the West Lothian Question commission that they promised over a year ago, yesterday they gave a practical demonstration of why it’s so desperately needed.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have negotiated a £30.2m bonus from the British government because the British government have spent money in London for the British Olympics. No extra money will be spent in the rest of England where local authorities are facing cuts of about a quarter over the next few years.
The money is being handed over because of what is called Barnett Consequentials - the technical name for giving Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland a big wedge of cash just because the British government have spent some money in England. Barnett Consequentials are part of the balancing mechanism to ensure Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to get the same outrageous level of subsidy at England’s expense no matter how much capital investment the British spend in England.
Paying Barnett Consequentials because of the Olympics is a bloody liberty though because they’re not the English Olympics, they’re the British Olympics. England doesn’t have a Olympic team and the British government’s investment in London is for their Olympics, not for London or for England. Some of the facilities that are being built for the Olympics are going to be relocated to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and some of the events are even being held in those countries. They will “benefit” from the British Olympics as much as the rest of England.
The British government shouldn’t have paid any Barnett money to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for the British Olympics but there was nobody at the meeting representing English interests. As a consequence (excuse the pun), £30.2m of English taxpayers’ money is going to be handed over to the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish for no other reason than because the British spent some money in England for their Olympic vanity project. This has only happened because there is no English government to represent English interests, saying “no, this is your Olympic games, we’re not paying your bribes”.
There are no details as yet on who will be on the West Lothian Commission, what they will consider and whether an English Parliament will be ruled out immediately or when they report in 2013.
The Scottish Conservatives could wind themselves up if Murdo Fraser MSP is successful in becoming leader of the party north of the border.
Fraser realises that the Tory brand is toxic in Scotland and wants a clean break. He has made it clear that if he is elected leader of the Scottish Conservatives he will hold a ballot of the membership to disband the party there and reform as a new party with a different name. His intention is that the new party would be federated with the British Conservative & Unionist Party with elected members taking the Tory whip as used to happen before the Scottish Unionist Party merged with the Tories in England & Wales to becomes the Scottish arm of the British Conservative & Unionist Party.
I don’t imagine the “Not the Tories because we’ve got a different name” Party in Scotland will see a significant revival of its fortunes just by changing its name and cutting some of its ties with the British Conservative & Unionist Party but let’s face it, they’ve got nothing to lose.
The right has been in serious decline – terminal decline – in Scotland for decades. It’s why the SUP merged with the British Conservative & Unionist Party in the first place and it’s why the Tories now have just one British MP elected in Scotland. It’s also why (along with pledging to abolish the Scottish Parliament) UKIP has never retained a deposit in an election in Scotland. The state accounts for 24.9% of everyone in employment in Scotland, what incentive is there for anyone in what is rapidly descending into a communist state to vote for a party that advocates a small state and low taxes with the cull of public sector workers that will ensue?
There are those who will see this as an opportunity for other hard unionist parties to mop up Scottish Tories who want to belong to a pan-union party but it’s not going to happen. This is little more than a rebranding exercise – they will still be Scottish conservatives, they will still take the Conservative & Unionist whip and they will continue to tell Scottish people that whatever their views on independence, they will never be granted independence on their watch.
If the Scottish Conservatives cease to exist as part of the British Conservative & Unionist Party, it won’t make any material difference to their electoral success (or lack thereof) in Scotland but it will make it very difficult for the British Conservatives to claim a mandate to govern the whole of the UK when it doesn’t even have a party in Scotland, let alone an MP. It will also make it very difficult for the Tories to maintain the illusion of the union in England where they are fighting a losing battle against the decline in unionism that has come about as a result of the institutional discrimination against the English.
SCOTTISH universities have received 5,000 fewer applications from students south of the Border wanting to take their degrees in Scotland amid claims that the recession and uncertainty over fees are causing undergraduates to stay closer to home.
That’s the Scotsman’s theory on why Scottish universities are seeing a drop in the number of English students looking to study in Scottish universities.
It’s not the recession or uncertainty over fees that’s the problem, it’s the racial discrimination and high costs. I appreciate that this will come as a shock to a lot of Scots and the BBC but English people haven’t been going to Scottish universities because they’re better, they’ve been going because the degrees are easier (4 years instead of 3) and because they’re cheaper. Or they have been until the Scottish government decided to introduce racial discrimination into the Scottish education system by charging English students up to £9,000 per year for a degree in Scotland while every other “EU citizen” gets free university education largely thanks to EU laws.
If you have the choice of paying £9,000 a year for 3 years for a degree in England (thanks to tuition fees imposed on England by MPs elected in Scotland) or £9,000 a year for 4 years for the same degree with an extra year of expenses and you have to live in a hostile country where half the population hates you because of where you were born, which would you choose?
With a bit of luck Scottish universities will start running out of money soon now they’ve bitten the hand that feeds them because according to the Scottish Education Secretary an influx of Scottish students studying in English universities would bankrupt the country as the Scottish government pays the tuition fees of Scots in English universities as well.
Good luck to the English students challenging this racial discrimination in the courts.
Yesterday I explained that I don’t want a vote on Scottish independence and predicted how Alex Salmond would approach “independence” for Scotland.
If I am right about my prediction of what form Scottish “independence” will take is right – ie. a confederation – then that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The ideal way to govern the UK is with a confederation where the home nations voluntarily pool resources and responsibility for matters that they choose to co-operate on such as defence and foreign affairs. This differs from federation or the current system of devolution in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in that the powers the confederal government has are passed up from the countries that are part of it rather than being passed down from a federal government. It’s an important differentiation because it means the members of the confederation retain their independence and sovereignty within parameters agreed by those members rather than being told what independence and sovereignty they are allowed from the centre. But such a confederation would have to be between England, Scotland, Wales and perhaps Northern Ireland, not between Scotland and “Britain”.
This isn’t just idle conjecture on my part, I have been giving the idea of a confederation thought for some time now. Here’s how I see it working:
An elected confederal “senate” would replace the House of Lords dealing with defence, foreign affairs and whatever else is handed up to the confederal government and an independent English Parliament would govern England as a sovereign nation within the confederation. Scotland and Wales would similarly be governed as sovereign nations by their own government.
Northern Ireland is a bit of an oddity and might not choose to take part in a confederal government in the same way. Clearly unification with the Republic is not the answer – it would alienate and antagonise at least half the population and it’s not in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement – so why not give Northern Ireland the same status as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and make it a Crown Dependency, governing itself as it does now with the confederal government responsible for its defence and jointly for foreign affairs as it is for the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man?
The confederation would be the legal successor to the union, taking over the UK’s seat on the UN, NATO, the EU and any other organisation the UK is a member of unless the members agree that one of their number should become the successor state instead such as Scotland taking over the UK’s membership of the EU as the most europhile nation in the UK. It would also mean that the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories (Falklands, Bermuda, etc.) would work in the same way and could even become members of the confederation on equal terms to England, Scotland and Wales.
The confederal government could be funded by subscription from its members or by direct taxation. A customs union and Shengen-type agreement would maintain the free movement of goods and people. A confederal government would need very few politicians, perhaps even being made up of appointees from the national governments and the national governments should be unicameral, resulting in a net reductions of politicians.
A confederation also neatly sidesteps the issue of a federation being unconstitutional under English law. One of the key properties of a federation is that the existence of the devolved legislatures are protected by law in perpetuity. Under the English constitution, no British Parliament may bind its successor making it impossible to legislate in this way. A new English Parliament for an independent England wouldn’t need an Act of the British Parliament to protect its existence, nor would it need an Act of the English Parliament to do so as its existence would be implicit in the fact that England would be an independent, sovereign nation voluntarily delegating powers to a “British Confederation”. The English and Scottish Crowns can remain united in a personal union as they did before the 1707 Act of Union and the Queen can remain Head of State either through being Head of State of the confederation or the members in their own right.
The members of the confederation would be free to pursue their own economic policies, raising or lowering taxes, increasing or decreasing spending. Scotland can become the socialist republic it strives to be, England can continue down the road of free market enlightenment. Scotland can go nuclear-free, England can keep the lights on.
One of the criticisms of supporters of an English Parliament is that they never come up with anything other than a nebulous idea about self-government. In the case of the Campaign for an English Parliament that’s deliberate because, to paraphrase the Scottish Claim of Right, they quite rightly say that it’s for the people of England to determine the best form of government for themselves. Well I’m a person of England and I think this is the best form of government for my country. Discuss.
So it’s a couple of weeks since the SNP romped home to a comprehensive victory in the Scottish Parliament elections and there’s still no sign of an independence referendum but there is still plenty of talk about what the “independence” will be and who should have a vote.
Scotland will never be independent, even if it leaves this union because the SNP intends Scotland to be a member of the EU, leaving a union it has a disproportionate amount of control over for a union in which it will be a tiny irrelevant voice. But that’s a decision for the Scots to make and if they choose to take that path then more fool them.
Alex Salmond has already been talking down independence and suggesting what will be, in all but name, a confederation of Scotland and “Britain” in which Scotland remains in a union voluntarily and on their own terms with “Britain”. Presumably he has looked at Dubai’s bailout of Abu Dhabi and decided to hedge his bets.
Lots of people are demanding a vote in Scotland’s independence referendum, arguing that if the union is to be dissolved then it’s not just the Scots who should be able to vote on it. I disagree for two very good reasons:
Firstly, whether Scotland decides to declare independence or not is Scotland’s business – a declaration of independence is an affirmation of sovereignty and you can’t affirm your sovereignty by asking for someone else’s permission. The UK or “Britain” isn’t a country, it’s a union of countries and if one of them decides it no longer wants to be in that union, it’s nobody’s decision but their own.
Secondly, Scottish independence won’t mean the end of the union, the Brits will keep “Britain” going for as long as possible in a sad parody of its former self like Serbia federating with Montenegro and calling itself Yugoslavia not because the Serbian people identified themselves as Yugoslavian but because the Serbian political class that dominated Yugoslavia refused to accept the reality of post-Yugoslav Serbia. The same will happen in England – the British political class will refuse to accept the reality that they have put Scotland on such a high pedestal that the union will seem irrelevant without them and will do whatever it takes to keep “Britain” in existence that little bit longer.
To ensure that Scotland stays in some form of union with “Britain”, the Scots will be comprehensively bribed. The union started with England paying Scotland’s national debt and a bribe on top to be shared amongst the Scottish people which was promptly stolen by Scotland’s great and good and the end of the union will similarly marked by a Scottish cash bonanza at the expense of the English taxpayer.
The day after the SNP won the Scottish election, David Cameron gave Scotland a £2bn bung for no other reason than Alex Salmond had won the election. This is the first of many bribes from the British government and it won’t just be handing over billions on pounds of English money, it will be political concessions as well – more independence, a greater say in what happens in England, more Scottish representation at Westminster, more Scots in key British cabinet positions, more British (English) government departments located in Scotland, more “respect” for Scotland. The divorce settlement will cost England dearly if it is negotiated between the Brits and the Scots.
I don’t want a vote on Scottish independence (although I would vote yes if I did) because it’s none of my business as an Englishman living in England. I am agnostic about the union – if the union survives or if England stays in it or not is something I won’t lose any sleep over but if the union survives and if England stays in it then it has to be on equal terms with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with an English Parliament and fiscal autonomy, just the same as Scotland. But if the terms of the union – and England’s relationship with the other members – are to be fundamentally renegotiated then that renegotiation has to be done between England and the rest of the UK, not “Britain”.
The British can’t be relied up to represent English interests, we must have an English government to negotiate on our behalf.
It was Burns Night last night in Scotland. I wouldn’t have known because it’s not on my calendars – and nor would I want to know – if it wasn’t for the bloody BBC who didn’t shut up about it all bloody day.
Robbie Burns was a shit, illiterate Scottish poet who wrote shit poems in a Scottish accent. He’s been elevated to national hero status in Scotland as the only person in their history who has ever been marginally famous for something cultural but he’s still a shit poet and completely irrelevant outside Scotland.
BBC Breakfast were gushing over Burns and Scotland in general (by way of variety) yesterday and I ended up changing the channel. Later in the day, listening to BBC Radio Shropshire, they were falling over themselves to appear more “Scottish” than each so I changed the channel. Yesterday evening the news came on and guess what? Robbie fucking Burns again.
What relevance does Robbie Burns have to English people? What relevance does he have to Shropshire – it’s over 200 miles away from the Scottish border and in a different country. I could understand if our local BBC radio station were bigging up a Welsh “hero” because Shropshire is on the Welsh border but not Scottish.
And to top it all off, the BBC are creaming themselves over Andy “Anyone but England” Murray this morning. It’s a conspiracy to piss me off, I’m sure of it.
A primary school in Inverness has cancelled an adventure holiday for its pupils after the mother of a disabled pupil threatened to sue the school for discrimination because her daughter was incapable of taking part.
Rather than tell the idiot mother to crawl back under whatever rock she’d dragged herself out from underneath, Highland Council has cancelled the trip.
The British government’s DirectGov website has these guidelines on obligations for service providers under the Disability Discrimination Act:
Under the DDA, it is against the law for service providers to treat disabled people less favourably than other people for a reason related to their disability. Service providers have to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the way they deliver their services so that disabled people can use them.
What is considered a ‘reasonable adjustment’ for a large organisation like a bank may be different to a reasonable adjustment for a small local shop. It is about what is practical in the service provider’s individual situation and what resources the business may have. They will not be required to make changes which are impractical or beyond their means.
Is there any reasonable adjustment that can be made to enable a disabled child whose mother says would be unable to take part in any of the physical activities to take part in an adventure holiday? No, quite obviously not and Highland Council need a slap for caving in to this idiot.
Liebour has managed to hold on to the Glasgow North East seat vacated by the disgraced ex-Speaker, Micheal Martin (now Lord Martin but, like Peter Mandelson, entirely undeserving of the honorific), albeit with a reduced majority.
Liebour won with 12,231 votes, followed by the SNP with 4,120. The Tories just managed to keep their deposit with 1,075 votes (5.22%) closely followed by the BNP with 1,013 votes (4.92%) who were a few votes short of keeping their deposit. The Lib Dims came in sixth with 474% of the vote, behind the Solidarity Party who got 794 votes.
One commentator yesterday said that if Liebour put a donkey up for election it would win and they weren’t wrong but elections are won and lost in England and Liebour is about as relevant as the Monster Raving Loony Party south of the border.
A translation company is advertising for “Glaswegian English” interpreters.
The advert says:
“GLASWEGIAN” Interpreters: Translation company seeks speakers of “Glaswegian English” with knowledge of vocabulary, accent, nuances, to meet interpreting needs of clients who fund it an unexpected challenge.
I expect the Scottish government will be giving out grants for “Glaswegian English” interpreters before long.
Thank god for that, Miserable Murray, the English hating jock has lost to Andy Roddick. Like I said this morning, life would be unbearable if he’d have won.
Interestingly, if you search for the phrase Anyone but Murray in Google, the top match is a post I wrote on this blog last week, relegating the BBC into second place. A Google image search for Anyone but Murray throws up the above image as the top match.
Thanks for the traffic Google, love you long time.
Good news! The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced that it is going to use £1.7bn of the magic money the Bank of England invented to issue new mortgages. But only in Scotland.
RBS is, I imagine, keen to reassert its Scottish credentials now that the “English” government owns most of it. How ironic that the Royal Bank of Scotland is using money from the Bank of England to finance mortgage spending exclusively in Scotland. How wrong that the Royal Bank of Scotland is using money from the Bank of England to finance mortgage spending exclusively in Scotland.
I wonder whether the Scottish Chancellor had a hand in the decision. Let’s find out shall we?
Subject: FOI Request Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 08:17:40 +0000 From: Stuart Parr To: email@example.com
Under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, I would like to know the following:
- What guidance or instructions have been given to banks in receipt of taxpayers money as to what percentage of that money should be targeted at:
- Northern Ireland
- What consideration was given to the perceived detrimental effect on the Scottish banks’ reputation from being partly or majority owned by the British government and what was the outcome of any discussions about it.
- What involvement has the Chancellor had in any decision to prioritise lending in Scotland?
I would like this information in an electronic format.
Well, I made it to Scotland (just about) and I’ve not been detained for crimes against the promised land so far!
I nearly didn’t make it – I forgot to take my passport with me for photo ID but luckily the departures people accepted my work security pass as valid ID even though it’s not got a company name, address or phone number on it. Lucky for me but worryingly easy to get on a flight without a valid form of ID.
The first thing I noticed on arrival at Edinburgh Airport was the Scottish flag – it’s everywhere. The taxi marshall’s had St Andrews Cross beanie hats, the signs all had Scottish flags on, there were adverts for all things Scottish inside and outside the airport. You’d never see a Cross of St George outside an English airport, that’s for sure.
The flight was ok, the plane was too hot though. The FlyBe executive lounge at Birmingham Airport was disappointing – there were no staff other than the person checking you were allowed in there and there was no free WiFi which I would have expected for the price of the tickets. We ended up sitting in Wetherspoons and waiting for the flight, at least there was a bit of activity.
The hotel – the Apex City – is nice. Got a room with a view of Edinburgh Castle, nice big telly and free WiFi. If you’ve got to go to Edinburgh I’d certainly recommend staying here. Will be going down for breakfast shortly – I’ll let you know what the food is like later.
Technorati Tags: Edinburgh
I know it’s hard to believe but it appears that being a Scottish bank hasn’t, as previously thought, been a good enough reason for investors to plough their life savings into a bankrupt Royal bank of Scotland. Go figure.
RBS had another bumper rights issue as part of the deal with
the devil Alistair Darling to get their hands on a few billion more of our hard earned cash. The idea was that they’d get loads of money of the taxpayer and then issue a few million shares to dilute the taxpayers stake in the bank to make sure the UK Treasury was a minority shareholder. Which would have been quite clever if it wasn’t for the fact that the bank is insolvent and the shares quite obviously so high risk as to be worthless as evidenced by the fact that hardly anybody has bought any of the new shares.
The upshot of this is that the UK Treasury now owns 57.9% of “oor bank”. That should please Alex Salmond.
Liebour have won the by-election in Glenrothes, a bordering constituency to No Mandate Brown’s Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath constituency.
When John MacDougal died earlier this year (following a visit by Jonah Brown, incidently) Liebour had a majority of over 10,000. Their majority has now been reduced to 6,737 with a swing to the SNP of 5%.
The Conswervatives will be celebrating a glorious victory – they managed to knock the Illiberal Dumocrats into fourth place which, in Scotland, is no mean feat for them. UKIP will also be pleased that they didn’t come last. One day both the Conswervatives and UKIP will realise that Scotland votes for eurofederalist, supposedly socialist parties and concentrate on England where they actually achieve some success.
This is a thoroughly disappointing result to any right thinking person – the SNP were widely expected to overturn Liebour’s majority like they have done the last couple of times and there was some speculation that El Gordo might even lose his job if Liebour lost yet another by-election in their celtic heartlands. But sadly the people of Glenrothes decided to vote for a representative of the most sleaze-ridden, corrupt and illiberal British government this country has ever known.
Thanks for nothing Glenrothes.
Well, what a bumper day this has been for letters.
First of all there’s this one in the Shropshire Star, in response to the council announcing that they’re going to put in average speed cameras on one of the safest roads, relatively speaking, in the borough:
Average speed trap not fair for motorists
Councillor Bentley wants average speed cameras for the A442 in Telford because they’re “fairer for motorists”? Fairer than what? There’s aren’t any speed cameras on the A442 in Telford and these new ones aren’t designed to be fair, they’re designed to catch more motorists than traditional speed cameras.
Will these speed cameras catch drivers that crawl down the outside lane at 40mph causing tailbacks and preventing other drivers from safely moving between lanes? Will it catch the drivers who undertake on cross-hatches?
Will it catch drivers who veer across from the outside lane at the last minute to exit the road? Will it catch drink drivers, erratic drivers, people weaving between lanes and cutting people up?
Like most drivers I sometimes break the speed limit and like most drivers I manage to do it without mowing down pedestrians or driving into other cars. The fact is, Telford & Wrekin Council changed the layout and speed limit of the A442 and made it more dangerous.
The number of accidents is down but the number of casualties is up which means that since they “improved” the road, the average accident is more serious and involves more people. Yet despite the best efforts of Telford & Wrekin Council, the A442 is still one of the safest roads of its type in the country.
Rather than install speed cameras at great expense to Telford taxpayers, the council should accept the fact that they made the A442 more dangerous by changing the lanes and reducing the speed limit and put it back to how it was a couple of years ago, complete with the 70mph speed limit.
Then there was this deliberately provocative letter in the Scotsman, in response to all the whinging letters about “Scottish banks being given to the English”:
If RBS and HBOS are Scottish banks and your average man on the street in Edinburgh is furious at losing “oor banks” to the English, can I respectfully suggest Scotland bails its own banks out?
It seems that when Scottish banks fail, the English end up paying to bail them out. It started with Darien and now the lion’s share of the £37 billion has gone to two Scottish banks.
We pay for your free prescriptions, your cancer treatments, and your free school meals and we pay to care for your elderly when they can’t look after themselves – all the things we supposedly can’t afford for ourselves. And what do we get in return? Anti-English bile and insulting, spurious claims that the Scottish oil industry, which English taxes paid for, even comes close to plugging the funding gap north of the Border.
If you want Scottish banks to remain Scottish then bail them out yourselves. If you don’t like the idea of relying on English money all the time, don’t take it. It’s not rocket science.
Finally, there’s this cheeky one in the First Post in response to some muppet who thinks the deputy editor of Prospect Magazine will be responsible for the Scots leaving the union because he upset them with an article about RBS:
Either Dave Bowen (above) has been on a really long holiday without access to news for the last decade or so or there is another country called Scotland that I was hitherto unaware of.
He says that if Scotland leaves the union then it will be because of “opinionated bigots” like Jonathan Ford. I wasn’t aware that Mr Ford had had such a long and illustrious career writing magazine articles dating back to 1934 when the seperatist Scottish National Party was launched.
I think that perhaps a generic dislike of the English and never buying into the whole “British” thing might have more to do with the Scots’ desire to leave the union. That and the belief that a few thousand barrels of oil will make Scotland the richest country this side of Saudi Arabia despite the gaping budget deficit the English plug every year.
And I did have a litle chuckle to myself when Mr Bowen said he wasn’t aware that being Scottish meant that you were automatically unsuitable for running anything more important than a chippy. If Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and the chief execs of HBOS and RBS are anything to go by then a chippy is probably asking a bit too much of them!
They should get a few people worked up.
I already wrote about the Glasgow East by-election result on the CEP blog this morning so I won’t do it again here except to comment on what an enormously stupid muppet Nick Clegg is for failing to lay the boot in to Gordon Brown like anyone with an ounce of political sense would do.
While David Cameron and Alex the Salmon are calling for leadership and general elections, Nick Clegg said:
[it is not] time to play politics with people’s lives [...] when so many people are worried about the price of a loaf of bread, how to fill their car with a tank of petrol
Who agreed to Federal Europe’s suggestion that all diesel sold must contain a certain amount of biofuel, leading to worldwide shortages of cereal crops used to make bread (amongst other staple food stuffs) as poor farmers turn their fields over to biofuel production?
Who has refused to cut the duty on fuel, preferring to rake in countless billions of pounds extra in fuel duty to fund a pre-election spending bonanza next year instead of shielding us from rising oil prices?
Liebour and their unelected Prime Minister, that’s who. I don’t think an election which gives us an opportunity to choose who we think is best for the job of running our country is playing politics with peoples’ lives. The people running the country are directly responsible for the price of bread the price of petrol and our ability to pay for both. Could Cleggover be more worried about how the Illiberal Dumbocrats will fare in an election based on last night’s result than democracy? Do bears shit in the woods?
Liberal Democrats: making a mockery of politics since 1988