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Showing posts with label May 5th Scottish Parliament. Show all posts
Showing posts with label May 5th Scottish Parliament. Show all posts

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Our elected representatives - where are they? They’re on their holidays. No, they’re not. Aye, they are …

Scottish Parliament Site: “From 2 July - 4 September 2011 (inclusive) the Parliament will be in recess. During recess no Parliamentary business takes place .”

Why?

I make that 65 days of continuous holiday, during which “no Parliamentary business takes place .” In other words, the issues that concern the nation won’t be debated, and there will be virtually no media coverage of the doings of our elected representatives, since our lazy Scottish media, celebrity and sports-obsessed, won’t get off their arses and cover the worthy work we are earnestly assured our MSPs are beavering away at during their hard-earned break. (I await the squeals of outrage eagerly.)

Of course, the world has conveniently stopped to permit this break, paralleled by a similar Westminster break to permit our MPs to frolic in sunny Italy in expensive villas. There are no soldiers dying, no economies teetering on the brink of disaster, no hospital struggling to stem the tide of alcohol and drug abuse victims, no crime, no voters at the point of despair because of the threats to their homes, livelihoods, futures and in some cases, sanity.

Life and injustice have taken a 65-day vacation to permit our politicians, affluent and well-remunerated, to draw breath from their toils. And of course, it coincides nicely with the school holidays for politicians with families, unlike the unfortunate electorate, who work in jobs where the world won’t stay in convenient freeze frame - the police, the emergency services, the caring services, the National Health Services.

Of course for the jobless, the housebound, the frail elderly, the unpaid carers and the unemployed, well, their lives are just one long holiday - they can just wait out the 65 days, the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer until the people they put in Holyrood to do something for them get back to work, refreshed and re-invigorated by a vacation that the vast bulk of those who pay their wages couldn’t remotely contemplate or afford

I worked for most of my life in or with organisations that couldn’t just shut down for 65 days, organisations that had to stagger their holidays and ensure that a continuous service was maintained, otherwise they would have been out of a job.

Scotland’s Parliament can do likewise - this Alice-in-Wonderland system has to change to reflect the brutal realities of what promises to be a brutal decade. And independence won’t wait for holidays - Holyrood or Westminster.

When times get hard, the people expect a lot of their democracy and of those they have entrusted with its operation. If they fail, the people will begin to listen to other voices, dangerous, seductive voices, voices that promise simple solutions, ones that lead to violence and sometimes unimaginable horror.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Keep it simple - the arguments decoded

THE REFERENDUM

The unionists want a referendum now because the uncertainty is harming recovery in the economy.

Decoded

The unionists want a referendum now because the polls indicate that Scots would say No to independence. They want the SNP to lose.

The SNP want a referendum later because the economy is a pressing priority, because the Scottish people must have time to hear and evaluate the arguments - and because that’s what they promised in their manifesto

Decoded

The SNP want a referendum later because the polls indicate that Scots would say No if balloted now. They want the SNP to win at a later date.



SUPREME COURT

The unionists say a UK Supreme Court is necessary to provide a final court of appeal across the UK and to relieve the pressure of human rights cases on the European Court of Human Rights, and to handle matters of constitutional significance.

Decoded

The unionists set up the UK Supreme Court to keep the devolved Parliament of Scotland and the Assemblies of Wales and Northern Ireland in line, and to control any attempts by Scotland to secure independence by asserting the right of the Supreme Court to rule on constitutional matters, regardless of the law of Scotland and the Act of Union. A secondary motive was a deep distrust of our European partners and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.



THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

The unionists claim that the SNP government was elected by a minority of Scots, given the share of the vote in relation to the percentage of the electorate voting. They also argue that Alex Salmond and the SNP  will abuse their mandate by riding roughshod over the unionist opposition.

Decoded

The Scottish voting system, with the d’Hondt method of proportional representation, was deliberately set up to ensure that the Scottish Government would be ineffectual because no one party would have an overall majority, especially the SNP. Remember, this was set up by a Government elected by the first-past-the-post system, and is now supported by another Coalition government who mounted a successful vitriolic campaign to defend the first-part-the-post system, the antithesis of what was intended for Scotland. But most of all, the unionist attack on the SNP mandate is based on the fact that they are bad losers.

SCOTLAND’S SOCIAL AND WELFARE POLICIES

The unionist position is that Scotland can’t afford their generous social policies, that they are funded by Westminster, and that they must be retrenched in the light of the recession. Today, Frank Field, a former Labour Minister, has tabled an amendment to the Scotland Bill to limit Scotland’s public spending to within 5% of England’s public spending.

Decoded

The British Government is engaged in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan and was engaged in an illegal war in Iraq. It is now engaged in a misconceived operation in Libya. All of these involve an enormous drain on the UK public purse. The Coalition Government is engaged in an attack on public services, on the NHS, and on the ordinary people of the UK in an attempt to make them pay for the folly of two British Governments and greedy irresponsible bankers.

The UK must have its wars and foreign entanglements to serve the military/industrial complex and its insatiable greed, fed by the M.O.D. and the Foreign Office.

They cannot afford to let the people of England look north to a country, Scotland, and to a government, the SNP Government, that cares about its people, about its poor, its old and vulnerable, its pensioners, its sick and disabled and about the public services that serve their needs, and make invidious comparisons and draw the obvious conclusions.

Least of all can they afford to let that country, Scotland, achieve its full independence from their corrupt, declining empire.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The UK Supreme Court, the judges–and the Union’s future

I an indebted to an email from John Higgins for prompting the following reflections on the UK Supreme Court debacle.

I mustn't murmur against the judiciary, but with all due respect to the rule of law, it has never achieved the ideal of entirely standing outside of politics, nor has any judiciary in any country or kingdom or empire at any time in history. By the very nature of the ancient concept of judges, the process of appointing them is not, and never can be truly democratic (it doesn’t for a moment pretend to be in Britain) nor can it ever be free from the culture and the political climate within which it exists.

Of course the supporters of the UK Supreme Court and its recent human rights judgements argue that this is just what they are trying to do – stand outside politics - and that the Scottish Government and Alex Salmond are the nasty, sordid face of politics trying to pervert that aim. But then, they have that UK in the title of the Court to contend with. One only has to look at the most vocal supporters of the Supreme Court to realise that most – but not all - of them come from an anti-independence, unionist position, and that their opposition is in fact highly political. Last Thursday’s FMQs demonstrated that fact unequivocally, despite all the high-minded rhetoric – and unintentional low comedy.

(There was a documentary on the BBC Parliament channel  some time ago on the formation of the UK Supreme Court that I recorded - but now can't find – that referred to the mysterious process of selecting and appointing judges, and I must track it down.)

The bottom line is that Scottish Law and the Scottish judiciary exist within a complex and confusing legal structure created by the Union of 1707, and the creation of the devolved Parliament and Assemblies, and membership of the EU has multiplied that complexity exponentially.

The UK Supreme Court is in effect UK law, yet there is no such thing as UK Law - this is the contradiction that Alex Salmond sees, and he is determined to highlight the dangers that he sees flowing from it.

The most jaundiced interpretation of the situation is that the UK Supreme Court was created to keep the devolved nations in check. The less extreme interpretation is that it was created with totally honourable and high-minded intentions, but that its purpose may be perverted by politics. If this happens, it will be the politics of the dying empire - the UK - that does the perverting. Failing empires do not go quietly into that good night – they rage, rage against the dying of the light. (My apologies to Dylan Thomas!)

One only has to look at how United States Supreme Court judges are appointed - a highly political and polarised process - to realise that not even the most exalted, altruistic individual is free from political influence or pressure. And remember, judges were all members of the legal profession before they were appointed, a profession that  is heavily represented in the Westminster Parliament.

The break-up of the Union threatens the entire British Establishment - the aristocracy, the Monarchy (in its present dispensation) and the military/industrial complex, and the ramifications reach into European and American foreign policy. 

The judges, however principled, cannot detach themselves from the society within which they reach their judgements and of which they themselves are a part,  nor can they stand apart from great historical and constitutional movements - and we are in the midst of one right now.

I am not a lawyer, and have no legal training, so what the hell do I know? What I do know is that if a citizen cannot question the law, in all its aspects, then what is the point of law?

As the old Chinese curse goes - may you live in interesting times! And we do ...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The new English invasion, courtesy of Iain Gray

I have written many times on my blog of my English ties of blood, of marriage, of friendship, of business links, my personal respect and affection for the great country of England and the English people, and of my deep conviction that we must separate our distaste for the Union (UK) from our relationship with and respect for the English people.

I have been forced to confront the extreme and, frankly racist views from both English and Scottish extremists in the comments section of my YouTube videos, which is livelier than on my blogs. In spite of being urged to let it rip by many of the supporters of my blog and my stance on Scotland’s politics and its future, I insist on pre-moderating all posts to the blog and all YouTube comments, because of the abusive and often hysterical bile that spews into my mailbox as commentary. I believe it is profoundly damaging to the cause of Scotland’s and England’s independence to give a platform to this inflammatory abuse from both sides.

But there is a level of comment short of extreme that I am willing to engage with, because I believe that it often originates from the young or the politically naive - or both - that deserves a reply and where appropriate a dialogue. Here are two very recent examples, one pro-Scottish, one pro-English, from one of my YouTube clips on Cameron behaving disgracefully to a courteous and relevant question from Angus Robertson at PMQs.


 

  • comment from MSfeller

  • English arrogance at its best. So much for respecting the members of the so-called "Union". But we'll fight back tomorrow by going to the polling places and voting SNP for Scotland!

  •  

    reply from TAofMoridura

  • @MSfeller It's not English arrogance, it's Old Etonian unionist arrogance. Similar contempt for Scots has been displayed in the past by Brown, a Scot, Blair, a Scot of sorts, and others. It has nothing to do with Englishness - it has everything to do with the Union - the Disunited Kingdom. Stereotyping the English people is as wrong as stereotyping the Scots, or Welsh, or Irish. It is the concept of Britain as a nation that is wrong - it is not, it is a failing political entity. Saor Alba!

  • Personally, Id love it if Scotland had gained its independence a few years ago - preferably before the banking collapse - to see how it would would have coped bailing out its banks on its own. I think it would have been another Iceland.

    I also hate this tired argument Scots mindlessly wheel out about North sea Oil. If you're really happy to wager your future independence on the price of a barrel of oil, from an already depleted oil field - please, be my guest.

 

  • @MrSyrett The 'tired old arguments' are all yours, Mr. Syrett. But I appreciate your offer to let us wager our future on independence. That is exactly what we plan to do, although oil will be only a part of it. Scotland has an election on Thursday, one that may take us one step closer to independence. That will be good for Scotland, and for the nation of England, once it abandons its faded dreams of empire. Make a start by dumping this squabbling, inept ConLib Coalition. Saor Alba!

I think they give a reasonable flavour of my responses, even though a subsequent bombardment of even more abusive stuff from MrSyrett, under various aliases, caused me to block him.

But my wish not to get sucked into this kind of thing is put under strain by Scottish Labour’s anti-democratic and most unwise actions in enlisting the aid of a series of English politicians (Ed Miliband, etc.), celebrities (Eddie Izzard) and now today English Labour activists to interfere in a purely Scottish election. This culminated in the nauseating - for me - spectacle of Sally Bercow, Labour MP and wife of the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, stuffing leaflets through a Scottish letterbox on Channel Four News tonight.

Labour defends this as democratic and legitimate - I say it is not: it is an interference with the democratic process in an election for a devolved Scottish Government, a purely Scottish matter. It is patently unfair, but more significantly, it is unwise and potentially damaging to relations between the nations of Scotland and England, and it risks -perhaps quite deliberately - inflaming mutual prejudices and reviving old antagonisms.

It is bad for democracy, bad for Scotland and bad for England. It is the last, desperate act of the puppet Scottish Labour Party to serve its London party, borne of terror at the prospect of losing their northern fiefdom again, and is the misguided act of a dying political union, corrupt and failing politically and internationally.

I say this to Scottish Labour and to Iain Gray - if you touch pitch you will be defiled.

Both votes - SNP

Vote for your ain folk

Saor Alba!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Margaret Jaconelli–the ultimatum from GCC late this afternoon

(SEE END OF BLOG FOR EVENING UPDATE AND BBC VIDEO)

My understanding (by telephone 4.20 today) is that Glasgow City Council, having originally rejected the offer from the Scottish Government to mediate in the dispute, this afternoon offered to accept mediation if Margaret first vacated her home, i.e. mediation will only be accepted by GCC if the Jaconelli’s give up their sole bargaining chip in the fight against a rich, powerful adversary, with all the resources of the law, law enforcement and Labour political clout on their side.

Margaret has rejected this – it was her decision in consultation with her husband. I have no first hand knowledge of what her lawyer Mike Dailly’s advice was, but I have no doubt that, whatever his advice was, he will still fully support his client in the new situation.

As a professional negotiator by background and training, I have only this to say -

Mediation is the process of an independent third party attempting to assist parties facing deadlock and conflict to reach an amicable resolution to their dispute. A mediator is not a arbitrator – he or she does not offer a preferred solution or binding decisions, and the parties are free to resume their previous courses of action if the mediation process fails.

But an essential pre-requirement of mediation is that the parties have defined their settlement points and identified the gap that separates them, and crucially, that they are willing to indicate their willingness to enter the mediation with an open mind and to vary their positions if the mediation process is successful.

This is the bargaining gap that must be bridged by the parties, assisted by the mediator.

Margaret has always been willing to do this. GCC has not, and gave no such indication today. The gap between her and Glasgow City Council is money and money only, and it is the distance between her target settlement figure (unknown to me) and Glasgow City Council’s last offer of £90,000.

If Margaret has not yet identified her target settlement point, she must do so now, and there must be no suggestion by either party that an easy option of splitting that difference is the right solution.

If this is done, both parties – Glasgow City Council and Margaret – then know exactly what separates them, and can assess the costs to themselves of remaining intransigent or accepting mediation to assist a compromise solution.

More importantly, the people of Glasgow and the wider Scottish public must know what this money gap is, and assess the behaviour of the parties in relation to it.




EVENING POSTSCRIPT
Tonight's BBC news carried a report on the Siege of Ardenlea Street, and also a written statement from Glasgow City Council. The misinformation continues - GCC say that Margaret Jaconelli has been offered £90,000 and alternative accommodation. No such detailed joint offer has been made or formalised in writing.

Temporary rented accommodation was offered last year - I emphasise, TEMPORARY accommodation, and the £90,000 offer was only made at the 11th hour this year by telephone, with no written details.

£90k and PERMANENT rented accommodation have never been offered, but in any case, rented accommodation is NOT appropriate.

The Jaconelli's home of almost 35 years is being taken from them by GCC - they wholly own it, and the only appropriate offer is full compensation permitting the purchase of a comparable new home in an area of their choice. Glasgow City Council have destroyed Dalmarnock.

Monday, 24 January 2011

100-day Tweeting Time - the Holyrood Train heads for hope - or the buffers …

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

The Kraken wakes - the giant brain and magnetic personality of Iain Gray are in overdrive. He is half-awake instead of half-asleep. Beware!

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Just over 100 days to an election that is crucial to Scotland's future. In spite of the polls, paranoid Labour will "go negative". Watch out

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

The Opposition in Holyrood are not part of a Parliament - they are a unionist pressure group.Democracy comes a poor second to the UK Empire.

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Presiding Officer deals with complaint about Wendy by referring it to Wendy to deal with. Infringing most basic tenet of procedural justice.

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

"Infringing the most basic tenet of procedural justice, Mr Fergusson forwarded the complaint to Ms Alexander to deal with" James Mitchell.

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

" .presiding officer’s response to a complaint made by the academics ... Mr Fergusson forwarded the complaint to Ms Alexander to deal with">

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

"The behaviour of Holyrood Committee .. marks the final death of 'new politics" Prof James Mitchell - 'Herald'. Verdict on Wendy Alexander.

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Wendy and the Profs http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/guest-commentary/holyrood-on-display-as-new-politics-is-laid-to-rest-1.1081453

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

Wendy Alexander: Study the brief notoriety and downfall of Senator McCarthy- he was averse to facts when they didn't suit him. Don't emulate

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

@bellacaledonia What's wrong with Revelations? Turn 666 upside down and get 999 ...

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

#Hallett_Scott "It is inconceivable that this debacle would have been allowed in the Commons." Prof. James Miitchell. Wendy Labour again!

Peter Curran

moridura Peter Curran

#Hallett/Scott "the focus not so much of scrutiny as attack, while the actual evidence ... was ignored." Prof. James Mitchell - the 'Herald'