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Showing posts with label May 5th Holyrood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label May 5th Holyrood. Show all posts

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The debate …

I’ve had a look at the press and the blogs, and since some have offered excellent and relatively objective analyses, given their political orientation, I won’t attempt to give my detailed commentary, although I had prepared one last night. I have moved well away from objectivity to total partisanship, and anything I say will reflect that - but I will remain true to facts.

I believe Scotland will be at a pivotal point in its history on May 5th, and that the Scottish National Party is the only party that can deliver my core political and social objectives. I want them to win and I want Alex Salmond be First Minister after May 5th, and there will be no place for ifs and buts, turgid balancing acts and extended ruminations, in an attempt to be all things to all shades of Scottish political opinion in the crucial run-up to the election.

Here are a couple of good reports, fair and balanced. I don’t agree with all of their content, but they give a sound base for debate.

Scotsman - Tom Peterkin

Bella Caledonia

If you want a laugh, try The Daily Record, who managed to see the whole debate through the Megrahi question, and gave close attention to what the Leaders were wearing. Well, they would do that, wouldn’t they? Any pretensions that this apology for a newspaper once had to be a serious political commentator are long, long gone.

 It’s only good for folding up very, very small and taking into the lavvy for an extended look at the sports pages - and if the loo roll runs out, to use the political reports for the only useful purpose they can serve.

Daily Record

So what is there left for me to do? Well, I read The Herald - reasonably objective  coverage by Robin Dinwoodie and Martin Williams, and a little opinion piece by Brian Currie.

The only caveat I have with the Dinwoodie/Williams piece is their last paragraph on the Amazon debate.

Competition from Amazon has been cited as one of the factors that forced Borders to close its UK operations, including their store in Glasgow, with the total loss of 1100 jobs.”

As far as I am aware, this is factually inaccurate - Borders UK closed down in November 2010 with the loss of 45 stores across the UK and around 1550 jobs. Borders US has also been in serious trouble for some years now, and has closed at least 200 stores worldwide. This is part of a global trend in retailing, not only of books, but all goods and services that now face the Internet companies, especially Amazon, as competitors.

If we took the arithmetical mean job loss per store, this would be about 34 jobs. With five stores in Scotland, this would represent about 170 jobs. However, since the stores in Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness would be much smaller than the stores in large UK cities, even allowing for the two Glasgow stores being among the large UK ones, the total is probably less than 170 - I would guess maybe 150. (If anybody can point me to exact figures for the Scottish job loss, I will be happy to state the exact figure.)

These job losses are sad, and like all job losses, represent personal hardship for those made redundant. But Borders is an international company, and there is nothing whatsoever any Scottish Government, of any political colour, could have done to avert the closures.

What the SNP Government and Alex Salmond did, instead of trying to play Canute with the unstoppable tide global retailing  trends, was to go out and attract the very major international company, the hugely successful Amazon, to base 900 jobs in Fife, a coup with major significance for the future of Scotland in this vital area of employment.

But in the dyspeptic fantasy world of Iain Gray, 900 jobs replacing about 150 was a cause for complaint, demonstrating at one and the same time the utter negativism and uncertain grasp of basic arithmetic that this former maths teacher regularly displays.

And so to the paragraph from the Herald quoted above. A superficial reader could easily have read this badly-constructed and factually inaccurate paragraph to read that a loss of 1100 jobs to Scotland had only been partially compensated for by the gain of 900, a misreading that the two authors of this report I am sure never intended.

The best I can say for it is that this paragraph was as sloppily constructed, factually inaccurate and misleading as most of what Iain Gray says, a man who aspires to be First Minister of Scotland while simultaneously sending out a Luddite, backwards-looking, distorted vision of his country to any company contemplating investment in our nation every time he opens his mouth .

Brian Currie’s Comment piece? Two points only -

The big boy, Alex Salmond, being taken on by the wee guy he’s picked on for the last couple of years, Iain Gray.”

I think a more accurate description might have been that of an inarticulate, innumerate playground bully, Iain Gray, being regularly and effortlessly reduced to spluttering, impotent incoherence by his intended victim.

Mr. Salmond knows how to play the statesman …”

What is abundantly evident to the people of Scotland - if not to Brian Currie and The Herald - is that Mr. Salmond is a statesman, and this debate simply underlined that fact once again.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Iain Gray’s desperate U-turns on policy

Iain Gray desperately makes a series of shameless U-turns on policy, clearly terrified of the SNP's principled stance on tuition fees, council tax, etc.

He still has a U-turn or so up his sleeve - he could suddenly discover that Labour are in favour of minimum pricing for alcohol, free bus travel for pensioners and free prescriptions charges. As Alex Salmond says today, all Iain Gray has to do is wake up in the morning to change his mind - and Labour's policies.

But there's a couple of U-turns even this shallow, expedient politician can't make - he can't suddenly decide he's in favour of banning nuclear power and against Trident and the nuclear WMDs polluting Scotland's waters and draining our economy. And he can't suddenly discover he was a real Scot all along and come out in favour of independence for his nation, Scotland.

And despite Gordon Brewer's cynicism and that of the pundits he assembled tonight, these are the defining issues for Scotland, and only the SNP stands as a beacon of humanity and sanity on these issues.

Vote for your ain folk on May 5th - vote SNP and secure your future, your children's futures and your grandchildren's futures

Sunday, 13 March 2011

‘The Politics Show’ Scotland with Isabel Fraser and Alex Salmond

Scotland is at the crossroads on May 5th - make the right decision, Scots voters - your world will unravel unless you do.

This is a pivotal election for Scotland - don't let your distaste for the contemptible ConLib Coalition push you back into the incompetent, uncaring hands of the Labour Party, who compounded the global banking crisis by their ineptitude and short-termism.

Labour is the party of Iraq, of Afghanistan, of WMDs and of poverty, degradation and death for for the lives and hopes of Scots.

Disenchanted LibDems! - don't let your disappointment with your party push you into the hands of Labour - it's the SNP that shares your values, not the Labour Party.

Vote for the SNP on May 5th – the party of Scotland and the Scottish people.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Barnsley, the LibDems, the ill-fated coalition - and the Labour Party

The Barnsley result tells it like it is - and so did I, way back last May. Here’s what I said at the time -

Moridura blog - May 9th and 10th 2010

Sir Menzies Campbell - Ming the Unionist - a very parfit gentil knight, a British establishment figure, waffles on about the national interest (by national, he doesn't mean the country of his birth, Scotland - he means the UK, the political entity that knighted him) dances around Jon Sopel's questions, but the reality of the present situation is all too clear - Nick Clegg is set to do a deal with Cameron, abandoning cherished LibDem principles along the way, and putting in power a Tory government that is anathema to Scottish voters.
If such a deal is done, the LibDems are dead as a political force, especially in Scotland. The feeble Tavish Scott is unlikely to stand up for the interests of Scots - after all, he rejected a coalition with the party he had most in common with - the SNP - because of his blinkered unionism.
There's still time not to press the self-destruct button, Nick ...

I listened with increasing incredulity to John Reid, former Labour Home Secretary and Cabinet Minister as he calmly rubbished the prospect of a LibLab pact and a rainbow coalition just after Gordon Brown, the Labour Prime Minister had already fallen on two of his swords his premiership and his leadership of the Labour Party to permit negotiations to go ahead with Nick Clegg and his team to try and stop a Cameron-led Tory Government.

David Dimbleby's loaded question was - Did John Reid think there was a danger of a coalition of the losers ?

Since Reid is too old a hand at responding to BBC inquisitors - however exalted - to be gulled into an ill-considered expression of views, we must assume that every word was uttered with a purpose.

Reid opened with a token remark that Gordon Brown was wise and dignified in saying that he would step down, but this was immediately followed with a " but I'm afraid that I think it is a very bad mistake to contemplate and to propose and I suppose, to entice a LibLab coalition."

Don’t hide your feelings John say what you mean!

"I think it is bad for the country. I think it will prove pretty disastrous for both parties in it in fact, I think its bad for Gordon as well."

He went on to say that such a coalition would be inherently unstable, since Labour and the LibDems have no overall majority and would be dependent on the votes of assorted Scot nationalists (sic) and the parties in Northern Ireland.

Reid went on in similar vein, coldly ignoring the fact that his fellow Scots - especially his fellow Labour voters - had just delivered a massive Niet to the Tories and to a Cameron government, having been specifically and repeatedly enjoined to do so in the Labour campaign by virtually every member of the Labour Cabinet.

Scotland has just delivered a resounding No to a Tory government, and after Gordon Brown's dual sacrifice of his premiership and his leadership of the Labour Party, with a finely-judged negotiating strategy and the support of his fellow Scots, that outcome could just be achieved.

But John Reid has his eye fixed on the national interest. By this he means of course the UK, not the nation of his birth, and in this definition of the national interest at least, he is squarely in the camp of his fellow Unionist and Scot, Sir Menzies Campbell.

But why not? After all, both of them have had glittering careers courtesy of the high road to England and the British Establishment.

With friends like Reid, Labour doesn't need enemies.

Monday, 28 February 2011

George Washington's Farewell Address 1796

So spoke a great patriot, the first President of the United States, who freed his country from the corrupt and venal grasp of the British Empire. (I hope he will forgive my spell checker changing favorite to favourite.)

He could hardly have foreseen the continuing relevance of his words in the 21st century - or maybe he knew, as all truly great men know, that they were for every age and every time.

They resonate ever more strongly today, especially in relation to America’s relationship with the United Kingdom - and the UK’s with America - and the poisoned seeds that the creation of the State of Israel - aided and abetted by Great Britain - planted in the heart of the Middle East.

Washington's Farewell Address 1796

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.

Sympathy for the favourite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.

It leads also to concessions to the favourite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld.

And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favourite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot.

How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils.

Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Every word, every line of the above is directly relevant  to our tortured planet, and to Scotland’s wish to free itself its poisoned union with the United Kingdom.

Saor Alba!