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Showing posts with label Scotland's independence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland's independence. Show all posts

Friday, 1 May 2015

SNP 2016 manifesto and a second referendum – that is the question

It’s not on SNP’s agenda, it’s not on Nicola’s agenda, but it’s sure as hell is on the general election debate agenda, because the three main UK party leaders put it there. By using the question of a second Scottish independence referendum as an expedient political football, they have managed to score three own goals -

1. They’ve triggered a UK-wide debate on the independence question, a question that was at best dormant as Scots focused on trying to make UK democracy work for them after the Nationalists after lost the 2014 referendum.

2. They’ve effectively questioned the democratic right of Scots to vote for the party of their choice in a UK election.

3. They’ve catalysed English nationalism, and highlighted the political differences between Scotland and England at the very time they should have been emphasising what unites them.

The 2014 Referendum

The SNP, while reiterating its over-arching objective of independence for Scotland, did not commit to a referendum in its 2007 manifesto. During the four year life of that minority government, despite repeated “bring it on” challenges from Wendy Alexander, Alex Salmond did not set a date for a referendum or call for one, concentrating instead on the high-wire act of running the country as a minority government.

But as the 2011 Holyrood election approached, the strategy changed, and the manifesto included this explicit commitment, if elected, to a referendum bill during the lifetime of the 2011-2016 Parliament, later specified as in the second half of the term.

Ref2011Manifesto

Now, what determined this decision in go for it? Was it a great, popular demand from Scots for a second referendum? Was it a landslide victory in 2007 conferring legitimacy? Was it the outcome of a consultation exercise with the Scottish electorate?

None of these things.  There was no YES campaign, no dynamic grassroots organisation of activists as yet. The 2007 win was narrow, and had shown the possibility of a nationalist government, a giant step in itself, but not a mandate for independence. The national conversation and consultation was in the future, and the great debate on the second question had yet to come. The will of the Scottish people, now much in the mouths of politicians, was anything but clear.

So the decision to go to the electorate with an explicit manifesto commitment to calling an independence referendum if elected was not driven by “the will of the Scottish people” but by a brave political calculation allied to a wish to make it clear to Scots that, if they voted SNP again. they were voting for a government  that was committed to offering them a legal referendum and a democratic choice over Scotland’s future somewhere around late 2013 to mid-2014. (In the event it was September 2014.)

The landslide victory of 2011 on this manifesto could not be interpreted as a mandate for independence, but it undoubtedly was a mandate to offer the people a democratic choice.

On the face of it, therefore, a similar political calculation could be made in drawing up the 2016 manifesto, with considerably more justification – a huge membership, a powerful grassroots organisation and possibly an unprecedented number of MPs elected to Westminster, an outcome that for years unionists repeatedly accepted would be a definitive expression of the will of the Scottish people because they thought it would never happen.

But Nicola Sturgeon, the most powerful and charismatic popular leader the SNP has ever had, now a national and international political figure, backed by a huge party membership, clearly has no such intent – and explicitly rejects the argument that a large bloc of SNP MPs returned to Westminster on May 8th would constitute an argument for independence or a mandate for a second referendum.

Why is this formidable and popular Nationalist politician adopting such a stance?

The answer lies squarely in the fact that there was a referendum in 2014 and we lost it. The Scottish electorate democratically rejected independence, and crying “We wuz robbed!” doesn’t alter that fact.

Nicola believed in 2014, Alex Salmond believed in 2014, (I believed in 2014!) most independence supporters believed in 2014 and most anti-independence supporters believed in 2014 that this was it – our one big chance for, if not a generation, for a helluva long time.

She recognises that, while nationalists feel a great sense of betrayal over the outcome of the referendum, given the sordid way in which the UK Government, the unionist media and Better Together conducted themselves during the campaign, Scots who voted for the Union – a majority – would feel a great sense of betrayal if they were asked to vote again on the question.

In that context, and the context that the independence movement has achieved more since losing the referendum than they did before it, I think Nicola and the SNP strategists have judged that the gradualism of the movement towards greater self-determination for Scotland is a safer bet than another throw of the dice.

Is she right? Are they right?

My answer is probably yes – and I trust her judgement absolutely over my own limited perspective as a voter.

But – and it’s a big but – I’m not sure that position can hold in the face of events changing at exponential speed: politicians do not control events – they respond dynamically to them.

Let’s get this election over, evaluate the outcome and the UK parties responses to it. Let’s give it a chance to work. Big things are at stake, big immediate issues, Trident renewal, austerity, the desperate need for investment to kick start the economy.

It’s a long, long way from May 2015 to May 2016. We have time on our side, and Nicola on our side. Let her play the ball – she has done it superbly so far, and her best days have still to come.

Vote SNP and put your faith in our party leader and Scotland’s First Minister to do the right thing –because doing the right thing is always the right thing to do!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Nicola – fearlessly abseiling down the rock faces of the Union …

I have seen and heard many political performances in my life, from the 1945 general election through to April 2015, including some great ones, but I have never witnessed a flawless one – until yesterday at the Edinburgh International Climbing Centre.

The contrast between Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party and the confused, panic-stricken, contradictory, fact-free, humanity-free utterances of Tory, LibDem, UKIP and Scottish Labour politicians could not have been more starkly evident. Her calm, informed, gently humorous and profoundly human outline of the SNP manifesto and her responses to a wide range of media question could not be really be described as a performance – it was a direct expression of core values, coming straight from an intelligent Scottish heart.

This was not a contrived media persona, but the true face of a warm, vanity-free Scottish woman who patently has no fondness for the limelight or political celebrity, but who endures both as a necessary part of realising the hopes and dreams of Scots, of all ethnic origins and backgrounds who have placed their trust in her and the party she leads. Indeed, it is a trust that now extends beyond Scotland …

Gaun yersel, Nicola!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Latest YouGov poll – and that stark arithmetic, Ed …

The numbers still say the same thing, Ed – you need the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens. Even the Queen’s getting worried by the possible outcome of a hung Parliament. No point in going to see her unless you’re sure, Ed.

Don’t even think about a “Government of National Unity” with Tories – look what getting down and dirty with Tories during the independence referendum did to Scottish Labour. The same fate awaits UK Labour – don’t do it, Ed.

LATEST YouGov POLL

YouGov

Here’s the previous Newsnight Index poll and the YouGov Nowcast poll. (last blog).

I averaged them, perhaps invalid, but polls are a snapshot with error margin, so probably gives a good idea of state of play.

Poll Ave April 9th 2015

ANALYSIS (as per previous blogs)

Net out Sinn Fein and the Speaker leaves 644 voting maximum, so 323 minimum necessary for single party overall majority or voting deal combined majority, in coalition, confidence and supply or informal vote-by-vote, issue-by-issue basis.

Neither Ed Miliband nor David Cameron are remotely likely to have an overall seat majority as single party.

Any way you slice it – since SNP won’t do any deal with or vote with the Tories – Ed Miliband can’t ignore the SNP, whether Labour is the largest or second largest party.

If he leads the largest party, his choice is either minority government – with huge risk – or deal with SNP. If he’s not the largest party, his choice is either let the Tories in or deal with the SNP.

Quite simply, the SNP – with the help of Plaid and Greens as bloc - can make him PM on either outcome.

Since coalition is firmly ruled out, his options on an SNPbloc/Labour deal are therefore confidence and supply – a pre-deal delivering support on negotiated conditions – or informal issue-by-issue, vote-by-vote haggling with SNP bloc.

NICOLA POSTER

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A brief digression on Youtube comments…

YOUTUBE COMMENTS

Some time ago, I closed comments on all of my 1400+ YouTube video clips on my YouTube channel, which has been running since February 2009. I removed several hundred video clips posted between 2009 and January 2012, which is now the oldest clip. My main reason for doing this at the time was my inability to copy with pre-moderation of hundreds of daily comments, each of which had to be read, a decision made, and processed by approving or removing.

Leaving comment unmoderated would have relieved me of the pre-moderation work, but would have been legally dangerous, and deeply damaging to the objectives of the independence campaign, since a very small percentage of the abusive clips (less than 10%) were from those claiming to support independence, feeding the ‘cybernat’ slander perpetrated by the unionist media. Whether these were genuine or, as seemed likely in many case, agent provocateur fabrications mattered little since there they were.  Pre-moderation was vital, since a distressingly high incidence of abuse, threats, obscenity, blatant racism and incitements to violence occurred, with legal implications. Despite this, I was committed to retaining comments because they also contained good, vigorous and often highly productive democratic debate with which I was often fully engaged. So my only way of dealing with the burden of pre-moderation seemed at that time to be to reduce the numbers of live clips.

However, the situation remained unmanageable for a one-man operation, hence my decision to close comments, one that annoyed many loyal subscribers. From time to time, I forget to close new clips to comment, and comments briefly get through, until the pre-moderation email alerts me.

I had one such this morning – a violent, racist anti-semitic outburst from an anonymous poster, reinforcing my view that I should retain the comment ban.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Andrew Marr forecasts the end of the Union within lifetime of 2015-2020 Parliament. YES, YES,YES!

ANDREW MARR: "We are in circumstances right now, where during the lifetime of the Parliament at Westminster that we are about to elect, it's perfectly possible at least, that Scotland and England will finally go their separate ways." 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Polls: Newsnight index and YouGov Nowcast - and average, April 9th 2015

Here’s the latest Newsnight Index poll and the YouGov Nowcast poll.

I averaged them, perhaps invalid, but polls are a snapshot with error margin, so probably gives a good idea of state of play.

Poll Ave April 9th 2015

Net out Sinn Fein and the Speaker leaves 644 voting maximum, so 323 minimum necessary for single party overall majority or voting deal combined majority, in coalition, confidence and supply or informal vote-by-vote, issue-by-issue basis.

Neither Ed Miliband nor David Cameron are remotely likely to have an overall seat majority as single party.

Any way you slice it – since SNP won’t do any deal with or vote with the Tories – Ed Miliband can’t ignore the SNP, whether Labour is the largest or second largest party.

If he leads the largest party, his choice is either minority government – with huge risk – or deal with SNP. If he’s not the largest party, his choice is either let the Tories in or deal with the SNP.

Quite simply, the SNP – with the help of Plaid and Greens as bloc - can make him PM on either outcome.

Since coalition is firmly ruled out, his options on an SNPbloc/Labour deal are therefore confidence and supplya pre-deal delivering support on negotiated conditions – or informal issue-by-issue, vote-by-vote haggling with SNP bloc.

Nicola has made her pre-deal conditions and voting intentions abundantly clear.  Stewart Hosie expertly analysed the various options today on the Daily Politics, eventually in the face of an increasingly agitated Andrew Neil on Trident/NATO aspect.

The Referendum and the opposition to Scotland’s independence has always centred on defence, (see link below) the nuclear deterrent and Trident, as I noted some years ago. We didn’t win our freedom on September 18th 2014, but now Scotland is playing the Westminster game on their ground – but fully democratically and constitutionally on our terms with our democratic voting independence.

It’s the nukes, stupid!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Unexpected developments in lead-up to historic general election may trigger a political and constitutional crisis

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour

The new month opens with a series of maybe unrelated, yet possibly linked events, quite staggering in their implications for the general election.

Alan Cochrane has been named as the successor to Jeremy Clarkson in the new Top Gear flagship programme, to be renamed and launched as Gear Sticks United. His replacement on The Telegraph editorial team, in an move that has astonished Fleet Street, will be the Scottish Graphic artist and National cartoonist Greg Moodie, famous for his biting satire supporting the independence cause.

In an interview, Greg shrugged off questions about his change of allegiance and replied in his trademark laconic style “Don’t get sarky, guys – a suite in a mock-Gothic castle on Brecqhou clinched the deal for me.”

Her Majesty, in an unprecedented departure from protocol, has in a unique and moving ceremony, knighted Tony Blair and Gordon Brown simultaneously. As they knelt before her, the two architects of what was perhaps the last act in the Great Game of Empire, the Iraq War, avoided eye contact with each other as a mark of respect to the dead.

(The Palace said that rumours that John McTernan and Jim Murphy were to be equerries to Sir Tony and Sir Gordon were unfounded, since neither of the new knights owned a horse.)

But the news that has rocked the media and political commentariat broke at midnight. Its constitutional ramifications are as yet not fully understood, as Great Britain’s family of nations comes to terms with the announcement that Land of Hope and Glory will no longer close the last night of the Proms.

Four prominent composers – as yet unnamed – have been commissioned to synthesise a new national anthem using key motifs drawn from Land of Hope and Glory, Flower of Scotland, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau and The Londonderry Air which will reflect the combined spirit of our great family of nations. It is to be called O Britedonia

It will be sung by a choir specially coached by Gareth Malone OBE.  Early speculation on members of  the choir are Alistair Carmichael, Margaret Curran, Theresa May, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Ian Paisley Junior  and historian David Starkey. (No prominent Welsh national will be included as yet, since they can all sing well already.)

Alex Salmond, once a noted boy soprano, has regretfully declined, suggesting as his replacement Aled Jones. (A Palace spokesman said off the record that Mr. Salmond had never been invited: the Queen had vetoed Mr. Salmond’s inclusion.)

As yet, no proposals have emerged for the re-design of the Union Jack from the committee of British artists, celebrities and notables who love-bombed Scotland during the Independence Referendum.

Some have said they no longer “feel the love” in view of mounting poll evidence that the Scottish electorate intend to democratically elect representatives from a party that doesn’t seem to have felt the love in the way intended.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Salmond on Marr, Soubry on Salmond, Murphy in meltdown – just another day in Scotland-dominated UK politics!

SNP membership hits 100,000, polls couldn’t be better or more consistent – and Scottish politics seem so human, vibrant, cutting edge - and Westminster politics so tired, so contemptibly predictable, locked in the past.

Anna Soubry MP   does a fine archetypal Tory woman impression of Ann Widdecombe in full expostulating, "end-of-Britain-as-we-know-it" mode.

I must give Anna full credit - she does synthetic indignation body language better than anyone littering the Tory benches today.

 

Stuffed full of John McTernan soundbytes, Jim Murphy falls apart under Andrew Neil's relentless professionalism - and the cold, hard facts of the polls.

Defensive, misjudging speed of delivery, lurching in typical fashion from Scottish Labour backroom brawler mode to cloying attempts to ingratiate - all in all, Murphy's painful swansong.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

SNP and Labour after May 7th - Coalition? Confidence and supply? Issue by issue?

SNP and Labour after May 7th - Coalition? Confidence & supply? Issue by issue?

I'm totally against coalition (remember LibDems fate), but in favour of confidence & supply or issue by issue. A Rainbow alliance without coalition? It all depends on whether Tories or Labour have the most seats, but not an overall majority for either party.

Ian Murray MP eaten alive, regurgitated - then eaten again by Gordon Brewer.

Murray tried unsuccessfully to use the non-stop gabbling approach to avoid answering the simple question - "Will you rule out a pact/deal with the SNP?"  A lame performance by the dead pan, dead-eyed Murray - all in all, a car crash of an interview.

Of course, he won't rule it out, because Miliband hasn't ruled it out, Murphy hasn't ruled it out, Labour hasn't ruled it out.

They'll do a deal alright, if their political survival depends on a deal - and it will!

TACTICAL VOTING

I couldn't help noting the accents of the leaders of Forward Together and Scotland in Union - then was promptly ashamed of myself. But then the growling, unmistakably Scottish tones of Alan Cochrane sounded, enthusiastic about both campaigns and the Union, and I remember that Unionists are not defined by accent alone, although it can give a clue ...

Monday, 9 February 2015

Wedding of the Year - the impending nuptials of Ed Miliband and the SNP

The National gets better by the day: in today’s edition, it excelled itself.

From its eye-catching, ‘Russian Roulette’ front cover through its news items to its articles, analysis and readers’ letters, it provided a wealth of information on key topics for committed supporters of Scotland’s independence – and hopefully many others as yet uncommitted – that helps to make them the driving force in the best informed electorate in the world, despite the efforts of the rest of the mainstream media to misinform and mislead them.

And of course, there’s the regular Monday delight – the Greg Moodie cartoon, in my view one his very best to date. (My cartoon consumption goes back to the 1940s and includes the American funnies, sent to me by relatives in the U.S., and I was viewing the great newspaper political cartoonists from early childhood.) This one had a real story to tell, with the word balloons driving the riveting, graphic wedding narrative – the impending nuptials of Ed and the SNP.

The second part of Alasdair Gray’s series, titled Towards Democracy contained - among his musings on explosions in munitions depots  and the nuclear risk, the following gem -

Everyone wants to live as far from such things as possible, so the London Government has placed the most dangerous in Scotland.”

He also observes that “British and North American armed forces have been bombing and blighting foreigners in wars where a minority of British and U.S.A soldiers died, and this caused no explosions in their homelands before a suicidal guerrilla group destroyed the New York World Trade Centre.”

But perhaps Alasdair’s most interesting proposition was that Alex Salmond adopted the high-risk strategy of moving the SNP towards NATO membership – which almost split the party in 2012 – to stop Obama, the U.S.A. and its supporters from “directing a global blast against Scottish independence before the referendum.”

Alasdair Gray advances the idea that this was in fact counter-productive -

As a result, President Obama spoke as gently against it as the Pope. I believe the strong blast Salmond feared may have given the Yes campaign a clear majority, because a lot of Scots were getting tired of being told they could not rule themselves ..”

Well, we’ll never know – but I, for one, think Alasdair Gray may be right. But in this, as in so many other vital, pivotal judgments, e.g. the currency question, I don’t envy Alex Salmond the agonising choices he had to make. Characteristically, he made them bravely, decisively and without equivocation, not as a gambler, but as the statesman he was - and is.

Alasdair is in no doubt, and has a view on what must be done -

NATO will keep its bases in Scotland no matter how much an independent Scotland protests, but that is no reason the SNP conference should not return to its former policy of total nuclear disarmament.”  and “Alex Salmond’s amendment is less than three years old, and can be scrapped.”

However, for me, the most insightful and immediately relevant article in this fine National issue was George Kerevan’sTime to face up to reality about the role SNP MPs will play post-election”. Kerevan is one of the true political thinkers in the SNP camp, and unlike many Scottish journalists, is capable of getting right down to the structural heart of complex political issues that others shy away from.

Anyone who wants to understand the complexities of the Westminster situation Nicola Sturgeon and the new bloc of SNP MPs will face if they are returned in the numbers the polls suggest must read this article - and then read it again.

In the maze of options, from coalition (currently ruled out) to confidence and supply deals (not “supply and demand” deals as one journalist suggested elsewhere!) the voting behaviours of an SNP/Plaid/Green bloc will demand fine judgements, as Kerevan’s keen eye detects.

Yesterday, Iain Macwhirter, in an excellent Sunday Herald article In this era of Coalition, the political map has turned yellow addressed similar questions.  But he used the language of negotiation  (a language most journalists should take care to avoid, since they rarely have any understanding of the dynamics of negotiation) to describe the dilemmas facing the SNP Westminster bloc.

In examining the choices the new SNP bloc will face, the choices that Nicola will have to mastermind – having ruled out the possibility that Alex Salmond “could become the back-seat driver from hell”, he adopts what I believe to be a false premise, namely that Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out “playing politics with the Tories

Leaving aside the fact that the SNP minority government of 2007-2011 only survived because Alex Salmond deftly played politics with the Tories to get his budgets through, what Nicola has ruled out – as I understand it – is entering into coalition or any confidence and supply-type arrangement with the Tories. To do either would clearly be political suicide for the SNP in Scotland.

But this cannot be extrapolated into saying that the SNP would never vote with the Tories on any issue. (If Nicola said this, I missed it!) One only has to illustrate by extremes, e.g. what if the Tories agreed to vote against the upgrading of Trident against a Miliband Government determined to do it?

Although such a scenario  stretches the bounds of probability, it does illustrate that distaste for the Tories cannot overwhelm common political sense, where there are key voting issues on which consensus exists. Such a distaste for the SNP from 2007 to date led the Scottish Labour group in Holyrood into utter folly, directly contributing to the decline of their party.

So when Iain Macwhirter says of voting with Tories that “Remarkably, the SNP has chosen not to do so and make clear that the only party it will play politics with is Labour” I believe him to be factually wrong.  He goes on to say that -

Sturgeon has thus handed an extraordinary advantage to Ed Miliband. He knows that the SNP will go into post-election negotiations with with precisely zero negotiating clout

I must disagree totally with this verdict of a journalist, Iain Macwhirter, for whom I have the highest admiration and respect. Politicians, lawyers (Nicola is both!) and journalists rarely have even a rudimentary understanding of negotiation, but Nicola Sturgeon is a unique politician, as is her mentor and close colleague and friend, Alex Salmond – and both, although rooted in fundamental political principles, are supreme pragmatists.

They will deal – when and how they need to deal – when the situation demands it, in the over-arching interests of Scotland and the Scottish people.

Monday, 2 February 2015

As we wait for the Chilcot Report …

Waiting for Chilcot is a bit like waiting for Godot. Idly checking back in my past ruminations on the war, I came across these comment of mine in the Guardian, circa 2008.

Guardian, comments 18 December 2008

I have been totally opposed to the Iraq war, from the lies, special pleading and moral cowardice that led up to it and throughout the horror, mendacity and ineptitude of its dreadful progress. But I am shocked at the unrealistic and superficial attitude of many of the comments on the role of the British armed forces, from armchair critics who have never been near a battlefield, have never placed themselves in harms way, and have never laid their life on the line for their country. To compare our soldiers, directly or by implication, to Nazis, is obscene and inaccurate.

The responsibility for the crimes against humanity in Iraq lies with the politicians who initiated it, to the members of Parliament who voted for it, and to the electors of Britain who continued to return them to power after the war started, and who continue to support them in government - and to the religious factions and tribal demagogues who manipulate the tortured people of Iraq, and naive - and always young - idealists from other nations, perverting their religious beliefs and the teachings of Islam to suit their evil and self-serving ends.

There have been atrocities - a minority of serving soldiers have behaved badly, and their superiors have failed by omission or commission to prevent this. But such aberrations occur in every war, and where possible, it has been exposed and punished.

But the prosecution of the war by British forces has been conducted in as principled a way as the exigencies of any war permit. An individual serving soldier may, at great personal risk, refuse to carry out an order in a specific instance that violates accepted codes of morality and international law, but to expect serving soldiers at any level to refuse to carry out their orders because of complex political argument at levels far above them is to expect the impossible. It is simplistic and brutally uncaring.

And what of the generals? Once our generals start to pursue their own agenda and their own political beliefs by confronting their political masters, we are headed for a junta. I hold no brief for Sir Jock Stirrup, and I think he should have thought, and thought again before committing his vapourings to print, but I do not believe he should have disobeyed his order.

I am a Scottish nationalist, and I fervently wish to be free of the Union that sacrifices the brave young men and women of Scotland to serve the vaunting ambition and vanity of despicable Scots like Blair and Brown, and permits them to send young men and women to their deaths, but I have never doubted the bravery and professionalism of the armed forces. In a very real sense, it is a greater sacrifice to do your job and die for your country in pursuit of a cause you do not believe in, because the majority of the people of your country have willed that act.

Place the blame where it squarely lies - with the politicians and the people who put them there. Leave our armed forces to mourn their dead and maimed comrades, and their families to cry out against those who sent them to their fate. 

Blair, Brown, Bush and Cheney attempt to justify their actions, but the verdict of history will damn them. The ancient Greeks recognised their type, and foresaw their fate.

The gods fail not to mark those who have killed many
The black Furies, stalking the man fortunate beyond all right
Wrench back again the set of his life and drop him to darkness.
There, among the ciphers, there is no more comfort in power
And the vaunt of high glory is bitterness.

AESCHYLUS - Agammenon

It is Britain's, and the Labour Party's abiding shame that two Labour Prime Ministers initiated, supported, and still defend the enormity of the Iraq conflict.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Trident Renewal Debate – 20th Jan 2015

#Trident The moral and intellectual, not to mention the strategic and economic bankruptcy of the pro-nuclear case is staggeringly evident.

 #Trident Trident Debate 20 Jan 2015: Dame Joan Ruddock - Part 2  "Nuclear weapons have no utility..."

#Trident Trident Debate 20 Jan 2015: Dame Joan Ruddock - Part 1 “A unilateralist is a multilateralist who means it!"

#Trident #WMD God help us - look who's in the Deputy Speaker's chair - Eleanor Laing MP! -

#Trident #WMD Trident debate, 20 Jan 2015: Angus Robertson - Part Two

#Trident My least favourite Scottish MP, Rory Stewart (Jim Murphy close second) is on his feet

#Trident I take my hat off to Labour MPs attending who spoke for the motion. As for the Scottish ones who didn't attend - my utter contempt

#Trident Some of the arguments for retaining WMD sound like those that might be advanced by not very bright, morally deficient adolescents.

#Trident #indy #WMD Trident debate 20 Jan 2015: Angus Robertson - Part One. Angus Robertson on superb form ..

JOAN RUDDOCK: Nuclear weapons have no utility.They cannot be used to advance any cause or to secure any territory without devastating effects”

#Trident There's a grinning ghost missing from Labour benches - Jim Murphy, arch-Blairite, Henry Jackson nuclear hawk. Will he vote tonight?

#Trident I continue to marvel at what prats some English Tories are, e.g. Julian Fellows.

#indy George Osborne effectively confirmed today that he wants to see English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) applied to parts of the Budget

#Trident The argument for having nuclear weapons is identical to the NRA's case for every American family to keep an arsenal in their homes

#Trident Thanks God Labour has a tiny number of principled MPs left. Dame Joan Ruddock is one. Currently on her principled feet ...

#Trident Michael Fallon, in between defending WMD as a job creation scheme, attacks Labour's alleged equivalence on at sea nuclear deterrent

#Trident If ever we needed evidence that Labour and Tories are unfit to govern a civilised society, Trident debate offers it in abundance.

#indy Which is the more contemptible - Labour's loss of values and principles, or its attempt to hide the loss from the electorate by lies?

#indy Labour MPs absence from Trident debate says that they support WMD but are afraid to be seen to be doing so, afraid to debate. Feart.

#indy Survation poll this morning shows a majority of those who expressed a view are opposed to the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Tweets on Murphyism–a new New Labour sect

Peter Curran @moridura 

Murphy seems close to adopting a heretical YES creed. But NO voters wink and tap their noses: he's brought in the Witchfinder General!

Murphy says Scottish Labour is open to indy supporters. How exactly does he plan to deliver it? By referendum? By recanting? By Irn-Bru?

The Scotsman does its best to explain Murphyism with a straight face

Jim Murphy inspires me - to throw-up, then laugh. He reaches the depths of expediency other politicians cannot reach - not even Nigel!

Even non-believers in Henry Jackson may join Murphy's New Labour. Anti-NATO? We have a place for you too! George Robertson is a donor!

Murphyism - the new health food for disenchanted Labour YES supporters. It's bland, non-nutritious, cooked up by our new chef McTernan

Enough of politics - an indy crossword clue! Politician with no beliefs and forked tongue. No entries required - no prizes offered.

New Murphy Labour - open to all! We'll adjust to anybody's beliefs because our new party has only one - believe in Jim Murphy's career

Jim Murphy - why not invite unilateral WMD disarmers to join your new creed? And flat-earthers, creationists, perpetual motion fans?

To say that Murphyism is a confused, contradictory, opportunistic creed is not to do it full justice. Anyone who swallows this is nuts

SCOTSMAN on Murphyism: "referendum has resulted in the party being overwhelmingly characterised as unionist" Fancy that! 100 towns? Irn-Bru?

Murphy says Scottish Labour is open to indy supporters. How exactly does he plan to deliver it? By referendum? By recanting? By Irn-Bru?

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Ed Miliband is not a deal-making kind of guy–but he’ll do one post-GE2015!

Better mute the "pooling and sharing" bit with Scotland as you get closer to May 7th, Ed - the English electorate won't like it!

Get elected as a minority government, then do your deal with the SNP, Plaid and Greens - dump Trident, give the Scots what they were promised - devomax - then work with your new partners to undo the untold damage done by Blair, Brown and the Coalition to the people of these islands.

Newsnight Index projection GE2015

P.S. We'll be back sometime in the very near future for our independence after the next referendum that Scotland holds - without asking anyone's permission.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Murphy’s Big Idea – a flawed concept

It should be evident to all but the most blinkered right-wing Murphy media fan that Jimbo is not a deep thinker.

Despite presenting a media persona that affects profundity in its body language, Murphy is devoid of content – he’s a superficial, headline-grabbing soundbyte politician. You will search in vain for his deep thoughts in writing or in YouTube archives – Murphy’s tools are the ingratiating motherhood statement - oozing vague social concerns and that nauseating brand of Scottish Labour faux internationalism - alternating with a hectoring, blustering approach honed in long university student politics (at the taxpayers expense) and in the smoke-filled rooms of West of Scotland Labour politics, red in tooth and claw.

His core problem in trying to reverse his party’s fortunes before GE2015 is that of Scottish Labour epitomised in one man – the belief that values, policies and principles are coins that can be flipped over after the toss without the electorate noticing.

Time is running out fast for Jim – he was dumped by Miliband from his cabinet and from the shadow defence post that gave him his credibility in the Henry Jackson Society. His two mentors and role models – Tony Blair and David Miliband – are no longer around to support his right-wing HJS agenda of WMD and aggressive transatlantic US/UK hawkish foreign policy. He backed the wrong horse, the wrong Miliband in the Labour leadership election.

For a conviction politician, such setbacks would be a problem, but not for Jim Murphy, who is George Galloway in spirit, but without Galloway’s undoubted intellect and rhetorical gifts. Like Galloway, facing a declining career on the margins of Westminster politics, he looked north during the referendum campaign, and reached for his Irn-Bru crate.

Here was his big chance to grab media headlines and ingratiate himself, not only with Labour, Miliband, Brown and Darling et al, but with the right-wing unionist British Establishment and its shadowy international allies who held the key to the career path he probably aspired to – the Mandelsonian, Blairite, Robertsonish, David Milibandish high road to an international stage and the glittering prizes that awaited him.

It seemed to work, despite the eggings. The media began to call him a big beast, his face was everywhere. The plan seemed to be working. The NO vote prevailed. He seemed oblivious to the fact that the people of Glasgow were not too happy with him – indeed he wore their contempt as a badge of honour – and not even the fact that Glasgow voted YES, that Glasgow was YES City dented his complacency.

But it became evident even to a man as self-absorbed as Murphy that, post-referendum, a sea change had occurred in Scottish politics and the Scottish electorate, and things were not going according to plan. Scottish Labour – his party, was in a parlous state, as poll after poll chronicled their decline, while the SNP was doubling, then trebling, then quadrupling its membership.

As his allies melted away – Brown and Darling slinking off the stage  - and as his Scottishness became a poisoned pill in London Labour’s electoral strategy – and as the British Establishment and their media shills displayed utter confusion and bafflement over why the Scots hadn’t just rolled over and peed up their bellies in craven submission after the indyref, his Westminster career looked even more uncertain and his Scottish heartland was moving en masse to the SNP and the other independence parties.

Could he rely on the former solidly Tory East Renfrewshire electorate to still stand behind his right-wing agenda – pro-Israel, pro-NATO, pro-HJS values, pro-WMD – or would they be affected by the great tectonic movement sweeping Scottish politics?

London Labour wanted none of him, an uncertain future faced him after May 2015. His Westminster defence contacts were diluted and fading fast, and the revolving doors out of the Commons and into armaments industry, commerce, non-exec directorships and consulting contract, open to many in his position, didn’t seem to be spinning invitingly in his direction. But Johann Lamont really focused his mind, in the manner of her resignation.

Time to flip the coin – time to re-invent, re-focus – time to get the tartan carpetbag out of the closet. He threw his hat in the ring for the Scottish Labour Leadership, won convincingly and the new Murphy emerged from the Tardis, swathed in tartan habiliments, now claiming to be of the Left, and militantly anti-London Labour.

But there was the inconvenient baggage of his Blairite past and the dumbells of Scottish Labour’s core referendum arguments to fall over at every turn – Iraq, support for Trident, faux internationalism, unionism and the pooling and sharing mantra.

The motherhood statements and the shining, but suitably vague social vision were wearing thin as the general election campaign loomed. Something headline-grabbing that resembled a policy had to be found, and what better one, in the grip of winter and both Scottish and rUK NHSs under severe resource challenges, than a bidding challenge on nurses to fire at the SNP.

The SNP were in government, forced to balance budgets squeaking under the strain of cuts caused by Labour, LibDem and Tory incompetence, but Jimbo didn’t have to deal with the real life! All he needed, as ever, was a gimmick …

THE THOUSAND NURSES AND THE MANSION TAX

Murphy’s thought processes, as outlined by him and by enthusiastic and admiring journalists and commentators (almost all from the right of the political spectrum) with as little understanding of post-indyref politics as himself, ran as follows -

1. The SNP is past the post-indyref honeymoon period, needs to defend its record, and show why problems exists in areas under its devolved control, especially the NHS.

2. To play down his right-wing unionist London-Labour past, and to kill the Lamont branch office label, he has to demonstrate independence of Westminster Labour, and make a big gesture of defiance.

3. Nurses, and the pressure on nursing staff, are one of the key problems in both NHSs, and nurses always elicit public sympathy and support.

4. Since real policy formation, rigorous thought and economic rationality are not in Jimbo’s skillset, a simple outbidding ploy was needed. 1000 is a nice round figure (e.g. 1000 extra policemen a la SNP 2007-2011) and 1000 extra nurses is even nicer.

So – Murphy as FM would match any SNP staffing commitment by promising 1000 nurses on top of it.  But how to fund it? Easy – the mansion tax, popular on the left, unpopular on the right. Bash the rich, fund more nurses. In the Jim Murphy Ladybird Book of Politics, this was a nice wee simple story to feed a gullible Scottish electorate, especially the fabled 200,000 older Labour voters who were going to swing the election his way.

But this would offend London Labour and Westminster, since it would be essentially the London mansion owners who would fund it. Simples! Let them be offended – this would demonstrate that born-again socialist, Scottish Murphy is not afraid to put Scotland first and take the branch office sign down.

What’s wrong with this? Just about everything …

THE WORMS IN THE MURPHY APPLE

1. The Scottish electorate are no longer the gullible, reflex Labour-voting automatons that Labour relied on for generations – honed on the grindstone of the referendum campaign, they are now politically aware, social media adept, engaged, articulate and sceptical – and organised.

2. The pooling and sharing rationale, worked to death by Murphy et al during the indyref campaign, was never credible to YES supporters, and never mattered to rUK voters – except the ill-informed – because in practice, it didn’t work that way.

But in the post-indyref climate of rUK electorate resentment against Scottish vibrancy after defeat, SNP resurgence and the Smith Commission, a major sense of resentment and inequality was building over what was perceived as bribes to Scots losers.

And now pooling and sharing was expected to favour already bribed Scots and the Scottish NHS over the rUK electorate and the rUK NHS with English - nay, London! - house owners taxes!

This was guaranteed to upset just about everybody, except the right-wing media claque for Murphy. The Tories wouldn’t like it, Londoners of all shades of political allegiance wouldn’t like it, and for Miliband’s Labour Party in electioneering mode, it would be folly to endorse it.

But crucially, the Scottish electorate that Murphy hopes to con with his pledge know that he can’t deliver it without the support of Westminster, which won’t be forthcoming – and that it’s therefore an empty gesture.

And empty gestures are the essence of Jim Murphy …

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Let’s make it a really Happy, Labour-free New Year in May 2015

A guid New Year tae ane an a’ when it comes – an’ mony may ye see!

Campaign for – and vote for – an independence-supporting party in GE2o15

**a YES party**

best wishes,

Peter

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Sundry reflections

QUEEN STREET

The Scottish news is consumed by one awful event. There is little I can say that can add anything useful to sentiments already expressed or to the analysis and speculation on  events and causes of this terrible human tragedy, other than that it appears to be one of those horrific random events that periodically wreak such damage on the lives of people.

Like everyone else, I now feel guilt in pursuing mundane activities, especially at this time of year, while such grief afflicts others, yet I must. But my thought are with the bereaved.

READING

The referendum campaign consumed much of my energies over recent years, and I mean not just the official campaign, but the one that effectively started when a nationalist – and I use the word proudly with no equivocation – government was elected in 2007.

Along with thousands of Scots like me, my planned activities for this phase of my life – reading, writing and music - were sort of put on hold, or at least relegated to second place.

But now that things have calmed down, there’s more time and space, so I’ve made a 175-page dent in the intimidating 658 pages of Francis Fukuyama’s Political Order and Political Decay, and revisited old friends, including Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped (my all-time favourite book), Raymond Chandler’s short stories, American Popular Song by Alex Wilder and as bedtime reading, Alistair Cooke’s collected Letters from America.

(I also re-read The Ancient Order of Moridura periodically, but that’s a sort of masochistic vice.)

The Alistair Cooke collection I’m reading for the fourth time, and I find it infinitely rewarding. Cooke was born in 1908 in Salford, Manchester and died in 2004. The classic Anglo-American, his first Letter from America came in 1946, and he was a part of my life in his BBC broadcasts from my childhood up until his death. He chronicled all the great political events of the twentieth century, and his unique insights into America, American life and Americans were delivered in an inimitable prose style, carried by an inimitable voice in his broadcasts.

I’m back in 1956 with him at the moment, as he writes of the death of the grand old man of American letters, H.L. Mencken, the Sage of Baltimore. Apart from giving me another title for my re-reading list, his HLM: RIP essay came up with this strangely comforting quote on death from Mencken -

“… the dying man doesn’t struggle much, and he isn’t afraid. … he succumbs to a blest stupidity. His mind fogs. His will power vanishes. He submits decently. He scarcely gives a damn.”

I know not all deaths are like that, but only a man who had been close to death himself could have written that. It mirrors closely how I felt in the lead-up to my own cardiac arrest in 2010 and my subsequent six minutes of ‘death’ before resuscitation.

But here I am, almost five years on – five good years – and looking forward to Christmas, and New Year and the May general election, and an SNP landslide – and ultimately independence.

Monday, 1 December 2014

The Smith Commission–the “deal” and the fallout

Lord Smith of Kelvin - self-deprecating and modest about his role - appeared before the media in the National Museum of Scotland at around 9 o’clock on 27th November - flanked by the politician members of the Commission and key advisors - to announce that a deal had been arrived at on more powers for Scotland.

The BBC lead-in to this at 9.03 quoted from the multitude of leaks, hyping up the impending revelations by describing them as “the biggest transfer of powers since devolution began 15 years ago”, a factually accurate statement, but also the key UK propaganda sound byte attempting to airbrush out the the starkly evident fact that the powers fell far, far short of the various versions of The Vow, which ranged from vague promises through devomax to home rule and near-federalism, depending on which “promise” the electorate of Scotland listened to, in the last days of the referendum campaign.

Let’s take a step back and take a hard look at genesis of The Smith Commission

THE SMITH COMMISSION

September: a single poll shows YES Campaign ahead for first time and throws the Unionist parties, Westminster, the British Establishment and the unionist media, i.e. virtually all of the media, into blind panic.

The YES Scotland campaign could actually win! Desperate measures were clearly called for. Cometh the panic, cometh the lies, cometh the media - and the man …

Having opposed the second question and ignored the blindingly obvious lessons of polls throughout the entire campaign - that there was a solid majority of Scots and Scottish institutions that wanted far great powers but within the UK - they faced a dilemma: how to belatedly capitalise on this whilst retaining sovereign control over Scotland and avoiding giving anything of significance away that could strike at the very concept of the Union.

Their solution, albeit panic-driven - and ignoring the UK-wide impact on the rUK electorate in the run-up to the 2015 General election - was to make non-specific yet sweeping promises of more powers in a way that could be controlled, watered down, and ideally kicked into the long, long Westminster and Whitehall grass after a NO vote.

(I was tweeting suspiciously about devo max, Civic Scotland and more powers as long ago as July 2012)

The plan arrived at was crude – but it worked. The Scottish unionist parties already had positions on more powers, albeit differing widely. The big question was not what the parties individually wanted, but whether they could get their act together, then persuade their Westminster party masters to endorse something nebulous but seductive before 18th September.

A compliant media channel was required to act as cheerleader. What better one than The Daily Record?

Now all that was needed to administer a coup-de-grace to YES hopes (by convincing the wavering Don’t Knows and the soft NOes) was a blunt instrument, in the form of someone who held -

no position in Better Together

no Government position

no Shadow Cabinet position

- a powerful voice who had no authority to commit anything on behalf of anyone, and who could be safely repudiated if things went pear-shaped with the rUK electorate.

And there he was, growling, pacing and posturing in the wings, moral compass needle swinging wildly in all directions, desperate for a platform – banker of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, proponent of light-touch banking regulation and the architect of the collapse of the UK economyGordon Brown.

It worked. The Referendum was lost, Better Together won by a comfortable margin, and joy was unbounded in the British Establishment, the House of Lords, NATO, the Pentagon, the White House, the Ministry of Defence, the nuclear industry, hedge-fund managers and dodgy bankers and just about every right-wing European country  – and perhaps even the Vatican?

But the piper, in the form of the electorate, had to be paid after a NO vote - the Vow had to appear to be fulfilled, since it was manifestly impossible to fulfil it without defenestrating the Union. But the plan was already in motion …

A respected Scottish figure had to be found, and a confidential approach was made to Lord Smith of Kelvin before the referendum. He accepted. The task was formidable, but the appointment was not a poisoned chalice, because if he succeeded in achieving a consensus recommendation from the Scottish Parties  including the independence parties – no mean feat – Lord Smith could then pass the chalice to Westminster, job done and conscience clear.

Then, and only then, would the chalice contents undergo a transformation into a drink that would enter the system of the English, Welsh and Northern Irish electorates and run in potentially toxic rivulets through the constitutional structure and the very heart of the Westminster system, even the very concept of Union itself.

SMITH COMMISSION BASIS

The Commission was set up by Cameron to consult widely then attempt to broker a consensus between representatives of the five political parties in the devolved Scottish Government on what additional powers should be granted to Scotland following a NO vote. Their recommendations would then be to the three leaders of the main UK parties, who were pre-committed by the Vow (and now by the terms of reference of the Smith Commission) to take the recommendations set out in the agreement and turn them into law.

The five party representatives de facto formed two blocs – the pro-independence bloc (2) and the Unionist block (3) and to be present at all, they had to fully accept the terms of reference set by Government for the Commission: recognition that Westminster Parliament was sovereign and crucially, that nothing in the submission would disadvantage rUK.

Since the prime reason the UK opposed Scottish independence was the undeniable fact that Scotland leaving the Union would damage the UK in fundamental areas : its world status, the nuclear deterrent, defence, economic and social policy – if they persisted with the centre-right consensus policies  of the three unionist parties and their concept of foreign affairs and strategic defence – the likelihood of new powers even approximating to the wild promises of the VOW was close to zero.

After all, wasn’t that exactly why the Second Question had been blocked by the UK Government?

SMITH: CHOICES FACED BY SNP/GREENS BLOC 

In his foreword to his 27th November Report, Lord Smith reiterated what the purpose of the Commission had been.

Scotland voted ‘No’, but it did so with each of the three main UK parties promising more powers for the Scottish Parliament. I was asked to lead a Commission, working with the five parties represented in the Scottish Parliament, to agree what those new powers should be.

The words I have highlighted in red should, of course, have read

..to agree what we, the Scottish  Parliament representatives, think those new powers ought to be, and then submit our consensus view to the British Government and sovereign UK Parliament in the hope that they will ratify them.

The reality of this for the Unionist bloc of three was that nothing could be submitted that hadn’t been cleared at every step of the way with Westminster, however that was done – overtly or covertly. The idea that the Commission would deliberate in monastic seclusion, only revealing their consensus to an admiring world on 27th November was always risible, as leaks and last minute events demonstrated.

The Smith recommendations required a UK imprimatur before they were released, not after.

The Commission was always going to be an adversarial multi-party negotiation, with Lord Smith as mediator. Whether the party representatives were equipped for such a complex negotiating process is an open question.

I will not speculate on what the Greens choice’s were, nor how they viewed them. But the SNP’s choices were starkly simple – they could boycott the Commission a la Calman or agree to participate. If they agreed to participate, they were agreeing to negotiate, and by definition, to surrender part of their best opening position, i.e.

The SNP continue to advocate Scottish independence, and believe that Scotland will one day become an independent country. But of course we accept the referendum result, which means that independence is not part of the Commission's considerations. We wish formally to associate ourselves with the 34-page set of proposals sent today by the Scottish Government, and which I enclose herewith

If such a seemingly inevitable set of compromises were made, the SNP/Green bloc was accepting that a deal had been struck and, subject only to the over-arching qualifier that they believed that “Scotland will one day become an independent country” they were honour-bound to stand behind any deal they made.

The clear alternative, implicit in any negotiation, was deadlock followed by breakdown and walking away from the table.

However the political choices made this seemingly simple strategy more complex. Let’s examine the possible scenarios resulting from this choice.

If the SNP had refused to participate in the Smith Commission, the Unionist block would simply have met, deliberated, and reached a consensus recommendation to Westminster. (It is just barely arguable that the three unionist parties might not have reached a consensus, and fragmented into a Labour versus Coalition deadlock. That would have been interesting …)

The SNP would then have been presented as bad losers, immature politicians, sulking on the sidelines of the new, post-referendum game.

In my view, they made the right choice – to participate, to play the game and accept La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir 1939).

However,  the rules of the negotiating game also include the possibility of deadlock and breakdown, and a requirement that, faced with a bad deal and the failure of the process to satisfy crucial negotiating objectives, the SNP must walk out of the negotiation.

That scenario, albeit undesirable, was a viable one for the SNP. It was, after all, what most of the 1.6m YES voters expected from the Vow. It would not have surprised or shocked them. Nicola and the SNP Cabinet could have played a virtually identical hand to the one they did in fact play after the 27th November “deal” at FMQs and in the media – Powers inadequate, but they would be accepted and used, etc. There are obvious PR downsides to the scenario, but it has a certain integrity to it.

But the strategy – if there was one – seemed to be to work with the Commission, get the best deal on offer - in the full knowledge that it would fall far short of the Vow, of devomax, of federalism, of home rule - then criticise mercilessly the deal they had just made.

The major political upside of any deal that involved giving Scotland any new powers after a referendum defeat was that it would reopen the West Lothian Question in its new, nightmare reincarnation as EVELEnglish Votes for English Laws – and leave the UK parties and constitutional arrangements in tatters in the run-up to the 2015 general election.

That has duly happened.

SUMMARY

I don’t propose to offer a critique of the new powers – that hatchet job has been done expertly and acrimoniously by just about everybody.

On balance, I think the SNP – and the Greens – were right to join the Smith Commission, and right not to breakdown and walk-away. If I have a criticism, it is that they misjudged the post-deal tone, which offended the sensibilities of an old negotiator like me, specifically that if you make a deal, you accept your part in it and blame no one but yourself for its inadequacies.

But then, I am not a politician, and doubt that I ever could have been one. I’m something much more important in our new Scotland – an informed and vigilant voter – and there’s another 1.6m of me at the very least.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Happy Tweeting time–votes for 16-17, nukes and Murphy on tax

Peter Curran @moridura ·  5m 5 minutes ago

#indy "Murphy to support handing full income tax powers to Holyrood" Anointed Brit.Est. candidate is all over media http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/murphy-to-support-handing-full-income-tax-powers-to-holyrood.25960228 …

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  16m 16 minutes ago

@Sparraneil I agree. They won't of course. But I'd still accept the tax powers as a major move forward to ultimate independence.

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  19m 19 minutes ago

TIMES RED BOX: "Labour's tax warning to independent schools" I agree - stop giving these privileged people subsidies.

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  21m 21 minutes ago

@Innealadair Nuclear is the central issue for me, Martin but patently it's not for most Scots - and that includes a fair amount of YES Scots

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  29m 29 minutes ago

#indy Morning Call on about favourite smells. My least favourite smell is the smell of Jim Muphy's Blairite expedient, values-free politics.

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  31m 31 minutes ago

#indy #WMD They didn't waste much time - all WMD subs to Faslane. Just in case Scotland wasn't already the prime target in a nuclear war.

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  33m 33 minutes ago

@severincarrell The Labour representatives on Smith Commission are Gregg McClymont MP, Iain Gray MSP, not Jim Murphy MP, Guardian's anointed

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  36m 36 minutes ago

@severincarrell Got it in one - he's the mouthpiece of the British Establishment, which increasingly seems to include to Guardian.

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  38m 38 minutes ago

#MorningCall Caller: "It's the political elite that are against votes for 16-17s" Bang on, mate. Gaun yersel - puncture the patronising NOes

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  40m 40 minutes ago

@severincarrell "The significant switch will be confirmed on Tuesday by Jim Murphy, the favourite ... " etc. Murphy is Brit.Est. candidate.

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  43m 43 minutes ago

@severincarrell Nor does Santa Claus(e) come down the chimney. The thrust of the headline and content is post Murphy, ergo propter Murphy.

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Scottish CND @ScottishCND ·  58m 58 minutes ago

All UK nuke subs will be in Scotland. Subs to move from Plymouth to Faslane by 2020. http://thenational.scot

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  45m 45 minutes ago

Scotland to be offered total control over income tax after Labour U-turn http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/25/scotland-offered-total-control-income-tax-labour-u-turn?CMP=twt_gu … Murphy backs it, so it's a LABOUR U-turn?

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  48m 48 minutes ago

@severincarrell You makes it sound as if its BECAUSE Murphy backs it, Severin. It's an expedient Murphy, as always.

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Ron Dickinson @ron_dickinson ·  1h 1 hour ago

@JimhumeHume The arrogance of WM & MoD knows no bounds Scotland to be ONLY UK submarine port by 2020 UNLESS we kick them out via #indyref2!

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Peter Curran @moridura ·  51m 51 minutes ago

#MorningCall The anti-callers on votes for 16-17s typify all that is wrong with NO - and they ARE NOes. How do I know? Don't make me laugh!